Sword Art Online – 09

Kirito and Asuna take a quick look at the boss, Gleam Eyes, but they quickly withdraw and then have lunch. Klein and his Fuurinkazen guild show up, and are excited to see the legendary Asuna in person. A squadron from the Aincrad Liberation Army also appears, and their commander gets the dungeon map from Kirito. When Asuna hears the cries of his men, she, Kirito, and Klein hurry to the boss room, where the army is getting decimated by the boss and teleport crystals are useless. Asuna rushes in, but is overwhelmed by Gleam Eyes’ power; Kirito has to bail her out. Kirito utilizes his secret dual sword-wielding skill to barely defeat the boss, with only a sliver of HP left. When he wakes up, a concerned Asuna embraces him. Later, the Knights of the Blood Oath Commander Heathcliff challenges Kirito to a duel; if Kirito loses, he must join the guild.

Kirito wasn’t fooling anyone when he said he wouldn’t engage the boss. They were fighting that boss, one way or another. Turns out, they did it to relieve a bunch of foolhardy guild members who rushed headlong at the boss with no strategy and no hope of victory. And surprisingly, it’s Asuna – not Kirito – who rushes in first to save them. Her innate decency won’t allow her to stand in the doorway and let weaker players get slaughtered. It’s a ballsy move, as she and Kirito run out of the boss room screaming in the beginning of the episode, with no interest whatsoever in engaging the guy alone. When the chips are down and lives are at stake, however, they’re more than willing to stick their necks out for their fellow players.

It’s nice to see Kirito actually break a sweat as he does this week. He even has to whip out his secret weapon, a heretofore unheard-of ability to wield two swords at once – including the one Lisbeth made him. Speaking of ladies: Asuna’s showing signs of seriously falling for Kirito. When he’s almost killed delivering the coup-de-grace to Gleam Eyes, she’s almost in hysterics. Far from indifferent to Kirito’s existence, she comes out and says she doesn’t know what she’d do if she lost him. When news of his victory gets to Blood Oath HQ, both he and Asuna are in trouble with the commander. Apparently they won’t allow him to poach Asuna, and he’s going to fight him for her. One wonders why Asuna doesn’t have a choice in the matter…

Rating: 8 (Great)

One thought on “Sword Art Online – 09”

  1. Asuna doesn’t have a say in it because of this strange perk Japanese have for social life and organizations.

    Japan doesn’t even look large on a map, and with so much of the place being actually inhabitable mountains, and some 100m inhabitants, they are packed tightly.

    It’s possibly the only country where, if you dump pet bottles on non-combustible garbage collection day, you may get reported to the police by a neighbour, and upon being told off for your misbehaviour, you’re supposed to thank and give a gift to whoever reported you, since they were inconvenienced by you and took trouble to make steps to have you returned to the Correct Social Behaviour path.

    And then, society and “groups” always come first.

    Company – with overtime, and habitual work team after-office activities, usually drinking – BEFORE family.

    School club and class BEFORE your interests.

    To a japanese, it’s obvious in this context, Asuna has no say, because her obligations as a guild member, not even mentioning her being the sub-leader of said guild – ALWAYS come first, before what she may want to do.

    In many a net game, she’d be tempted to log out (never to return) and reroll, but then, japanese MMORPGs are famous for grinds, just like the one we’re seeing in SAO. It’s really HARD to start anew, and in SAO, of course, you simply can’t.

    Also… well, having read the novel, I am spoiler’ed as to what happens next, anyway – looking forward to see your reaction to it, when it happens.

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