Sword Art Online – 12

“Aw, don’t worry about Yui. She makes an excellent meat shield!”

Twelve episodes in and we still do not have a second new opening to drool over? Maybe we will get one after thirteen or fourteen? Anyway last week was boring for me with the lack of anything cool happening, but thankfully the introduction to Yui made up for the lack of saving the game world because wow she was so CUTEEEEOOO, but what are we in for this week? Judging by the commenters from last week I can only assume something dramatic…what about you OC? Are you prepared for something different this time?
As long as the lovey-dovey couple is together, I’m not expecting things to suddenly change any time soon. Now that we’re easing to the halfway point and the main story is continuing to roll along, I hope the momentum continues and SAO either keeps up the status quo or gets even better. Getting better would be preferred, of course. There’s a lot to compete with in the upcoming Fall season.


A New Challenger Appears!

Foshizzel // No we haven’t entered Accel World this week, but this week introduces another new character named Yulier a member of the local army who arrives with a super-secret-side quest of DOOM for Asuna and Kirito because someone named Thinker was tricked by Kibaou who most of us remember from the second episode, oh and with a name like Thinker you would THINK he had a bit more brain power and maybe not fall for a weak trap set by Kibaou? So why did Asuna and Kirito accept this random side mission in the first place? I suppose they had two real reasons. They are both really high level and they felt kind of sorry for Yulier because they know what it means to LOVEEEEE and CAAREEEE someone special! That was nice but who tags along on this dangerous mission? Oh Yui of course! Wow Kirito and Asuna are such cool parental figures for taking their daughter to work with them because nothing says I love you like killing giant man eating frogs.


Error: Heart Not Found

…Have you tried unplugging it and plugging it back in again?

Overcooled // Most of us seemed to hear alarm bells as soon as Yui appeared mysteriously in the forest without any of the tell-tale indicators of being a player or an NPC. Something just wasn’t right. It turns out she was a program created as a counsellor or psychologist to help players cope with the trauma of living, fighting and dying in Aincrad. However, being unable to actually help people during the launch day despite that being a critical period for mental strain made her reason for existence very…meaningless. Why create a program to help people and then wait until a peak period of usefulness is over to use it? Most of the severely troubled players are dead by now and things are at a state where only the mentally strong survive. She broke down after watching so many tragedies without being able to do anything, so she was probably left alone since she was only a prototype. Does this mean they never bothered to make a final version, or that other versions of this Yui program could be floating around and helping people? The mystery of where Yui came from hasn’t been fully answered. We know she’s a program, but a lot of the nitty gritty details remain obscured from view.

Humour me for a moment and use your imagination. What if Yui was actually implemented into the game in a useful way that genuinely helped people cope with their torment. Every player could have their own personal counsellor that could monitor their mental states and just pop by when they’re feeling low. Even one Yui making visits to as many players as possible could be an option. Do you think it would work? If the players knew she was a program made by the same person who trapped them in this place, would they still trust her and treat her as human? I think the effects would be limited. While it might work in cheering up people who are only a little bit depressed, it might be impossible to help those who witnessed terrible things like their friends dying in a failed raid. Even though Yui seems real, I think if people knew she was a program from the start that it would be hard for her to gain their trust in the first place. It would take prolonged exposure for her to have any effect, and by then it might be too late.


My Artificial Intelligence Can’t Be This Cute

Foshizzel // So after Yui successfully defeated the reaper she turns to Asuna and Kirito to inform them she regained her lost memories and she discovered that she was the artificial intelligence for a system called Cardinal, but what is Cardinal? That system basically maintains the balance of monster and NPC AI, drop rates for items and money and it also monitors the player psychological care aka Mental Health Counseling Program, prototype1: Yui! DUN DUN DUUUUNN…sadly thanks to the opening I always had it in my mind originally that Yui was some type of AI that magically gained the ability to materialize into a human like form, but they placed in the amnesia storyline which started to change my mind with her introduction from last week; however the system detected Yui as a “virus” and proceeded to delete her from the game! That moment was really depressing because minutes before it actually happens Asuna makes a promise that they would be together forever which only made losing Yui even more heartbreaking. I know I usually poke fun at Asuna and Kirito most of the time, but damn I felt really bad for Asuna, Kirito and of course Yui this week. Why do all the Yui named characters have to have such dramatic deaths in anime? I swear there is a trend…so you have won this time Sword Art Online! I WILL GET YOU NEXT TIME I SWEAR!


Losing Everything

Overcooled // Most couples around the age of Kirito and Asuna have problems such as what movie to see on the weekend, how to sneak in a make-out session before their parents get back home, and arguing over whether it’s best to eat the crust or the tip of the pizza first. Trivial things. These two have to mind a house, regularly save people from life or death situations, raise a child and then deal with the soul-crushing agony of losing her. The amount of responsibility thrust into their hands is huge, and they have grown stronger as a couple as a result of braving these storms together and making it out on the other side okay. They support each other. It’s great for their development as husband and wife, but they already seem so…so perfect!

Yui mentioned that these two have an unusually high mental fortitude for a pair trapped in a virtual world surrounded by bloodthirsty monsters and impending doom 24/7. They seem to overcome everything with relative ease. Killing Kuradeel – a living, breathing human – left no lingering guilt or doubt. Kirito and Asuna flip from total despair to hope within a few minutes in the same episode after Yui dies. I understand that there is some hardening and emotional growth going on here that makes them overcome obstacles more easily, but it just makes the previous tragedy seem cheap. It’s like they’re saying “Yui? Pshh, she’s old news now. Onto the next arc!”


Yui Loves Monsters

Foshizzel // So the producers of Sword Art Online are telling us to bring small children into dangerous dungeons this week because it is totally safe for all ages! Wait…no it isn’t! THOSE KIDS WOULD GET OWNED unless Kirito and Asuna trained them like I said last week? While on this mission to save Thinker they encounter a super elite monster that looked like a grim reaper! Elite mobs usually take a while to kill by yourself in any game and trust me I should know because Guild Wars2 has lots of them running around that can practically two shot you within a matter of minutes. So what about this reaper monster? Well after Kirito and Asuna tried to fight this monster that knocked them around! Yeah that part made me laugh and go “OH SNAP KIRITO IS GONNA DIE!” Just kidding…now this is where things get amazing because for some reason Yui walks casually up to the reaper and whips out a massive sword! Seriously that sword is like twice her size and it catches fire for some extra wow factor, but Yui takes out the reaper with one swing causing it to burn to a crisp!


Final Thoughts

You can expect more love from me for this episode based on the (thankfully) decreased levels of AsunaxKirito fluff. It’s still there, but it’s in the right level of dosage to offset the shakes, whereas last week was a full-blown overdose of romance. My tolerance level is pretty low, so anything after that will seem better by comparison. But really, I was moderately sad when Yui died because of what it meant to Asuna and Kirito. I didn’t care so much about our moe pile of data since she’s a new character and hasn’t done much expect mewl “mama” and “papa” ad nauseam. I was more concerned with what it would mean for Asuna and Kirito, and their distraught reactions were my favourite part of the episode. I could frame that misery and put it on display. :3 If anything, I’m kind of upset that they got over it so quickly! However, I doubt this is the last we’ll hear about Yui, so maybe things aren’t as ironed out as they appear. Ahh…if only the reason Yui died wasn’t because a throwaway character-of-the-week lead them there…*sigh* Well, I guess SAO is comfortable with this formula now so I shouldn’t be surprised.

This episode…THIS EPISODE! Damn you for killing off Yui like that! Just kidding I sort of had a feeling in the back of my mind that this cute girl was doomed ever since Kirito picked her up…that dude I swear has powers of being totally awesome and a trigger for several death flags for other characters and yes I know not everyone he bumps into dies after all Klien, Liz and Sicila are still alive and kicking ass in the game world! Speaking of Kirito for a moment when the hell did he learn how to hack computers? Does being a beater grant you other skills besides the ones based in the game world, but then again the anime series really fails to explain his real life minus the stuff about his sister. Oh right I forgot the whole “gamer code” that doesn’t allow for such things…I swear that gives me a headache whenever I stop to think about it…silly gamer codes…anyway the loss of Yui was so freaking sad, but in the end they turned her death into a positive and it gave Asuna a fancy necklace…

Sorry, sorry…MANLY tears. Maybe things will be more cheerful next week?


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38 Responses to “Sword Art Online – 12”

  1. belatkuro says:

    About Yui, she’s actually a trial program in the Cardinal System to monitor players’ emotions. It’s gonna be a unique feature of the Nerve Gear when the game launches so as to listen to the players. It’s the developers’ way of entrusting everything, and I mean everything, to the system.
    But as you know, she was prohibited to get close to them as by orders from the Cardinal System, which is obviously handled by Kayaba. Most probably it’s to further emphasize the new reality scenario as there’s no need for a support AI for the players because it’s not realistic. Players need to overcome this game’s horror, trauma and trials on their own and an AI that comforts and listens to them is not needed. So yeah. Besides, there are 9999 players around you to listen to your problems and you’ll listen to them as well. So yeah.
    But you haven’t seen the last of her as she’s still existing in Kirito’s Nerve Gear memory.

    And about overcoming about killing Kuradeel quickly, it will actually be tackled later on but all I can say is that it’s still there, the guilt and stuff. It’s just buried and eclipsed for the moment by the happiness they’re feeling right now. Asuna did say it took them two years to find happiness so they’re cherishing and enjoying it at the moment with their honeymoon. So yeah.

    Still a good episode, though everywhere I go seems to say otherwise. Oh well.
    I doubt next episode will be more cheerful when the title is ‘The Depths of Hell’. Be prepared.

    P.S. The thing I was mentioning last week that was removed was about Yui opening her own window so she open the trade window with Asuna and she can change clothes. Her menu window was actually pretty basic. Her level doesn’t show, there’s only a few buttons around and her name where the player name should be has the words ‘Yui-MHCP’. Either way, it seems unneeded with how this arc went. Just mentioning this.

    • Overcooled says:

      Leaving everything to the system to this extent is kind of frightening…

      I don’t think I’d go as far as to say there would be no need for Yui. Her effects may be very limited given the huge volume of suffering players, but she might genuinely be able to turn people’s negative perspectives around and give them hope. There are already enough harsh aspects left up to the Players themselves and Yui wouldn’t hamper the experience. Having a cute counsellor doesn’t make living in Aincrad any less terrifying.

      Ahh, I’m glad the stuff with Kuradeel isn’t going to just be ignored. The next episode title certainly sounds ominous, so maybe I’ll get more of that lovely drama of the flavour I’m craving soon. :3

      Wow, neat, I didn’t notice her player window at all. It’s a nice little detail.

      • belatkuro says:

        Yeah but having a cute AI counselor at your side when you feel down doesn’t seem like something Kayaba would want to provide to players. He’s basically forced them to play his game with their lives on the line so I don’t think it’s in line with his goals if Yui was active. That’ll make clearing the game easier. He wants them to clear it on their own will and skill.

        And yeah, I’d look at the preview down below. I wouldn’t think they’d animate that part but oh well.
        I don’t think we’ll get to that part discussing Kirito’s guilt though, unless they do a second season.

        That player window part was in the novels but was removed in this part of the anime. That happened before they went down in the first floor. It seemed like extra and unneeded info in the long run so that’s probably why it was removed. I was just mentioning it since it didn’t show up in the anime.

        • Overcooled says:

          He definitely isn’t interested in the mental health of the players (or else why put them in the game)…But if he WAS interested in somehow making their experience as pleasant as possible (minus the death thing) then Yui would be a pretty darn good idea. I’m ignoring Kayaba’s interests when I say Yui could potentially be quite effective as psychological help if she was implemented properly in SAO.

          Ah, alright, I thought I had missed it during the anime or something.

  2. lvlln says:

    Individually tailored AI acting as therapist for each player would be quite something. Yeah, once AI is advanced enough, why wouldn’t you make new instances for every player? Don’t know how much trust one would have in them, but hey, if it can at least effectively act as listener, that could be helpful.

    I’ve heard that marriages rarely survive a lost child. Perhaps Kirito and Asuna will split up due to this down the road.

    • Highway says:

      I wouldn’t think this would have quite that much of an effect on them. There’s a huge difference in circumstances between that statistic and what happened here. As much as they might have fallen for Yui in the couple days they were together, it’s nowhere near the same as years of bonding. Plus, the youth of Kirito and Asuna would like help them to be able to rebound if they need to.

      • Overcooled says:

        When people are lonely, even something like AI can be comforting. In a (theoretical) virtual reality game like SAO, I think having AI that just monitors player’s mental states would be a good idea. Why not help a few people if you can, right? It would be less useful in a game where you don’t actually die, but still a good way to help people.

        Losing a child certainly isn’t GOOD for their marriage and certainly increases the odds of a divorce. However, these are very extenuating circumstances so their reaction may not be entirely comparable to real life analogues. It would be interesting if they split up, but the way things are framed, these two look like their relationship is just as strong as ever.

  3. Yerocha says:

    I think having individual AI for players who need them could potentially work out. Even for those who don’t see her as a human, they might imagine her as something like a pet. As long as they have something to talk to and care for, they won’t go insane quite as easily. Granted, there’s always the issue of becoming too attached to them, but I suppose that’s better than the suicide option.

    • Overcooled says:

      Except she’s even better than a pet because she can talk and respond. Getting attached to something that’s there only to help you is much better than committing suicide. Although, if this were just a normal virtual-reality MMO (i.e. SAO without permadeath) and someone became too attached to Yui then there might be more meaningful, real-life implications with that. Such as ignoring your real friends to see Yui…But I’m getting a bit sidetracked. I just really want SAO to be a real game!!!

  4. elior1 says:

    yui is not dead i say this becouse it not a spoiler and was in this episode kirito somhow succsed to get part of her and turned it to a game object which is this tear

    • Foshizzel says:

      If Kirito had that item he won on the xmas event he can revive her! Just kidding…yeah I guess he could revive her but why? She can’t really exit the game because she is an AI? I guess so Asuna and Kirito can return to the game and “visit” her? Seems kind of sad if you think about it >.>

  5. Joojoobees says:

    Ugh. What a mess. I wasn’t sure that introducing a fake child into KxA’s marriage was a great plot development, but the way they wrapped it up was ridiculous. I wouldn’t have minded quite as much if she had merely “died”, but for Kirito to hack the system into converting her into a jewel was ridiculous.

    Folks, you can’t do that. Certainly not in, like, 5 seconds. Even if there was a special feature to freeze game AIs into jewels, I can’t imagine how Kirito could find it in that time, let alone set it to download Yui into his plug when they exit the game, or what could possibly make them believe they will be able to extract her in a meaningful way at some future time.

    :shakes head disapprovingly:

    • Overcooled says:

      I love sad endings, so I would have really preferred it if Yui wasn’t preserved too. I have no idea how Kirito so conveniently shoved Yui into a gem, or how that would even be a meaningful thing to do. It was such an “oh, by the way” sort of thing that I basically ignored it and decided to just think of Yui as being dead.

      I guess the necklace is mostly just a nice memento for the moment, and maybe they can re-create her again in the game. By then they’ll have a real child though, most likely…I’m just glad she’s essentially gone so these two can stop playing house. :B

      • D-LaN says:

        She will be back, tht for sure. Ain’t gonna explain it now cuz it will ruin the show. (I think… I need to reread the LN for details)

  6. Highway says:

    I think the idea of an AI therapy program would be an excellent idea, but the circumstances confuse me. There would be no need for an AI therapy program if the game was ‘normal’, as in you could log out and go about the rest of your life. If you still needed therapy for something in game, you could get it out of game. So the development of such a program reinforces the idea that locking the players in the game was Kayaba’s idea from the get go. And if that happened, then a therapy program would be an excellent thing to have. But then to not use it is a very strange development.

    I start to wonder if the reason that Yui’s program was locked away from the players is because of what she ended up doing with Kirito and Asuna: Become very attached to the players (since such a program could presumably be highly empathic, and indeed Yui was) and thereby decide on its own to interfere with the game in order to save the players. No, there might not be a GM console around every corner, but there would be enough interference that it would be problematic.

    I still liked the episode, tho, and don’t really have problems with various deus ex machina happenings, especially when the world is the machine.

    • Overcooled says:

      Hmm, the usefulness of an AI therapy program would definitely go way down if the game was normal. While it’s highly relevant in the SAO situation, it would be used a lot more scarcely if the game let you log out and wasn’t potentially lethal. I still think it could be useful if developed properly though. Gamers tend to be recluses who don’t want to go out and see a therapist, and most regular people don’t want to admit they need the help of a counsellor since it’s a sign of being weak. Yui is like anonymous aid that can be reached any time, and takes place in what could potentially be the most comfortable setting for someone. Some people are more comfortable and open interacting online than in real life, which might be a huge help to some people. Still, it’s a relatively small subset of people that would use it, and I imagine a real therapist would always be more effective than a computer showing fake emotions. I’m mostly rambling because I find the idea of an in-game, virtual therapist to be fascinating ^^;

      From my understanding, Yui was barred from interacting with anyone from the get-go before she even started to feel bad for anyone. Upon creation, she was already forbidden to have any contact with other players.

      Yui diving in to save them was expected, so I didn’t mind. The gem thing was kind of “lolwut” but it’s such a forgettable, small thing that I don’t mind either.

      • Highway says:

        I don’t think the gem thing was that problematic at all. Basically, Kirito put her program code into a container, and manifested that container in the game world. Because the code is not actively running on the system, it doesn’t see it to seek it out and destroy it.

        I was mentioning the possibility of the mental health program becoming too attached as a possible justification for the sequestering. I don’t think that was why it was done, however. I think it was just a malicious thing on the part of Cardinal.

  7. BlackBriar says:

    If this is a 24 episode anime, we probably won’t get another OP until episode 13 when it starts the second arc. That’s the standard procedure for animes of that length: No new OPs until it’s halfway through.

    The idea of an AI therapy program would have been perfect to console the players that were going through extreme PTSD after finding out they were locked into the game two years ago. It could have prevented a lot of suicides. But like Highway pointed out, if it was all necessary then it means the very game itself was a deathtrap from the beginning.

    The new girl, Yulier, for some reason, reminded me a lot of Campione’s Liliana. I’d say they both share the same appearance but it’s just that Yulier is older. If I was the leader of her guild, I would have done a background check on any new members because of its rapid expansion. They could have joined out of an agenda that’s needed to be accomplished. From what I remember, Kibaou was scum therefore shouldn’t be trusted and kept on a short leash.

    A child wandering alone in a forest never should be taken lightly. I knew after the system warping last time that she couldn’t be human. But her time monitoring humans has made her gain emotions. Maybe she was abandoned because a more advanced replacement was made that didn’t carry the “flaws” she developed over time and then was overlooked until she helped Kirito and Asuna. And the way she deleted that monster, in anime, kids can be just as dangerous as adults or have you forgotten that crazy little girl with that segmented sword from Deadman Wonderland?

    • AllenAndArth says:

      Yller strangely does remember liliana from campione, you’re right… it’s invading SAO run Kirito or you’ll transforme into godou \O.O/
      yup never trust a child alone in the forest, one in the head and another in the heart to make sure is dead, resident evil taught us that
      but yui is just so…she’s too cute to coment /|(OvO)|\

    • Overcooled says:

      I don’t think it would be PTSD if the trauma was happening RIGHT THEN, but I know what you mean. Yui could have saved a lot of people if she had been released at the right time.

      Yeah, Kibaou is scum. Sadly, growing Guilds don’t have as much time to screen members. Kinda like Asuna’s Guild. They should definitely make an attempt though. I hope they kick him out :/

      Well, she was programmed to react in a way that mimicked human emotions, but whether or not you’d call that real depends on your definition of emotions. If they made a replacement, I wonder where it is?

      Kids are always trouble in anime. I won’t forget ANYTHING from Deadman Wonderland any time soon…

  8. AllenAndArth says:

    yui is forever…
    i think it’ll be a few chapters more before the new opening if there’s one…

    • Foshizzel says:

      Yui is forever CUUUUUUUUUUTEEEEEEO!

      Awwww yeah I think you are right! I guess we will have to wait for more episodes before we get a brand new opening…ah well I think 13 is the “halfway” point xD

  9. Gecko says:

    I am glad Yui was something other than a troubled child. Making her a program, making us find out after almost two episodes, that was good. Although the OP was a bit annoying, ruining it. But still, she was not exactly what I expected anyways. Yui’s existence is so troubling- she’s a program with emotions, and so when it seems like she has emotion, it’s not true at all, because it’s the program creating those emotions and her reactions. It felt like a mutation in the program, but it wasn’t.
    As for the idea of everyone having a Yui, I think you would have to make the Yui act like a player who ran into the chosen account/player somewhat randomly, but at the same time, whenever they needed the most help. And the Yuis would all need to be different-looking with different voices. There are a few other bugs, but other than that, it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to work them out.
    As for Kirito/Asuna’s emotional fortitude, while it is a bit cheap, come on, we don’t need another Shu/Inori. Kirito and Asuna have found ways to keep themselves happy in the game while beating it. A lot of it is that they really, really like each other. Their presences calm each other down. They’re sad about losing Yui, but at the same time, they barely knew her. So by having the necklace, they can remember her. These two just deal with tragedy in a different way than we do. (I do think Kirito’s random hacking skills were really random, though.)
    I do think they’ll be remembering Yui in another way, after they get out of this game… *coughchild’snamecough*

    • Overcooled says:

      It would be very annoying if they had to tote around an ACTUAL CHILD the entire time. It’s strange to create a program with simulated emotions. Can emotions really be simulated? I can’t even begin to imagine how you would program feelings into something.

      It felt like it was a mutation in the program, but it wasn’t.

      The storyline of a robot having a “mutation” and then being able to actually feel is a common story element, but Yui was actually made to have emotions in the beginning.

      It just seems like Kirito and Asuna are rolling through side characters week by week and then going right back to their baseline state almost immediately after. Where’s the sense of growth and development in overcoming a challenge so easily? I don’t want another Shu/Ionri (oh God now) but I wish their interactions felt more solid and less contrived.

      Oh yeah, you can bet their firstborn will be named Yui :3

      • Gecko says:

        An actual child would be pretty annoying after a while. Yui was alright but I didn’t really love her voice or anything.
        I get the feeling that Kirito and Asuna are taking a lot of this game on from the perspective of gamers- complete a quest, move on, defeat a boss, move on. It’s obvious they both had hobbies consisting of video games before SAO, so perhaps their mentalities are just like that. I do wish they could grow already, or face a serious challenge. But maybe that’s coming up? I have no clue, honestly. I was expecting a longer, more thoughtful plot than this for SAO. I mean, it’s a great setting to explore the boundaries of emotions, stress, all sorts of things, but everything gets delegated to 1 episode, really. Maybe 2, if it’s a big deal.

  10. elior1 says:

    here the next episode preview and honestly i didnt think they will show this part of the main story at all this is suprise for me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woSWcpVu9nA&feature=player_embedded

    • AllenAndArth says:

      it’s a filler EP again? T-T
      they could’ve let this part pass

      • D-LaN says:

        Fishing LOL YEAH! It will be as cool as the P4 one lol.

        @Allen your main story should happen in the 2nd half of the episode.

    • Foshizzel says:

      YAY FKING FILLER also fishing seems to be popular lately in anime! Sengoku collection just did a whole episode about fishing >.<

  11. elior1 says:

    here the next episode titles and it seems the next main story arc will begin soon:
    Episode 15 – Return
    Episode 16 – The Country of Fairies
    Episode 17 – The Captive Queen

  12. Dangos says:

    Only one more side story to go thru, seems like they’re doing the whole set from the light novel

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