Sword Art Online – 20

Kirito and Leafa arrive at the meeting place just in time to stop the Salamanders. Kirito claims to be an ambassador for the “Spriggan-Undine Alliance” that will join with the Sylphs and Cait Siths if the Salamanders attack, but General Eugene doesn’t believe him, and challenges him to a duel. Using his Spriggan skills to create an occluding smoke cloud, Kirito grabs Leafa’s sword and surprises Eugene with a dual-wielding attack. Sakuya heals Eugene, who agrees to withdraw for now. Sakuya contacts Sigurn and banishes him from the Sylph. Kirito and Leafa continue to Arun. High up in the World Tree, Asuna enters the correct key code on the door and escapes, but must now navigate the tree’s maze of branches.

Is it just us, or is Kirito growing more insuffrably noble by the episode? He dispatches one of the (if not the) most powerful players in the game with authority, and is then clung to and yanked on by no less than three comely lasses, because Kirito is like a heroin-catnip parfait for the ladies. It’s a good thing this is all taking place in virtual reality. In any case, Kirito’s fight convinces both the leader of the Salamander attack force and his men to withdraw and they all gain respect for the Spriggans, whom everyone seems to hold in high regard (isn’t that racist, BTW?)

Now that Kirito has dealt relatively easily with a problem Leafa thought would be much bigger and more hazardous, they can continue on to the base of the World Tree, where Kirito seeks to rescue his true love – and he ain’t even gonna give all these other floozies the time of day. And with Asuna escaping her cell (which we hope wasn’t intentional on Oberon’s part so as to mess with her, though we wouldn’t put it past him), it looks like Kirito isn’t far from facing off against Foe Numero Uno. The issue of Sugu/Leafa and Kazuto/Kirito not knowing each others’ real-life identities, seems to have been shelved for now. Maybe they’ll never know.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Advertisements

Ao no Exorcist 22

Ernst overthrows the existing bureaucracy and names himself Pope, and rises Yukio to the rank of Paladin and head of the Japanese branch. Rin and all the other members of True Cross Academy are armed and given a new edict: kill as many demons as possible. The weapons absorb demon blood for a ritual to open the Gate of Gehenna and destroy Satan for good. Rin is the sacrifice to unlock the gate, while Yukio transforms into a demon himself.

This episode covered a lot of ground. One could almost say the series is now in a hurry to wrap things up. Ernst showed up a couple episodes ago, and we have no idea who he is or what made him so evil; all we know is, he’s a Bad Guy with plans for world domination, and he’s ensnared an extremely naive (and stupid) Yukio with a promise to save Rin by restoring his full humanity. The force of all the sudden change is so great this week it sweeps everyone up before they can even complain.

This episode also sets a firm morality concerning the fundamental role of exorcists. They’re supposed to slay demons, but not all demons. There are good ones, like Kuro the Cait Sith, Izumo’s foxes, and countless demons who protect forests, rivers and the like. In this regard, our protagonists should be on the side of Princess Mononoke. Like humanity, there is an entire spectrum of demonhood stretching from good to bad. What Pope Ernst has ordered upsets the balance of things. He’s bad, and our ragtag group of students – and Rin, if he’s still alive – must stop him.


Rating: 3