Sword Art Online – 13

Worst. Honeymoon. Ever.

Time for some more epic talks of Sword Art Online! So lately the overall feel I continue to get every week seems to focus on Kirito and Asuna getting dragged along on some emotional roller coaster, but this that isn’t necessarily a bad thing right? So what have I been doing recently besides anime? Well simple! If you are a gamer you probably know that Blizzard just released their “final” expansion aka Mists of Pandaria that pushed players from 85 up to 90! So you probably know what I have been doing for the past week! Lots and lots of WoW…anyway what have you been up to Overcooled?!
I’ve been trying my hardest to finish The Last Story since I wanted to write a game review for it, but it’s become such a chore that I might have to abandon ship. I usually fall for JRPGs hook, link and sinker, but this one just straight-up isn’t fun to play. Sounds like Fosh is having more luck finding games he enjoys than I am. At least I’m not stuck in SAO trying to fend for my life though, right? That’s always a plus. I’m especially happy to be grounded here in reality after seeing the end of this week’s episode. Yikes ._.


Digital Fishing is so Cool, Bro!

Foshizzel // I admit I was immediately turned off after I saw the preview for this episode because I thought it was going to be all about fishing! I mean suuureeee I have nothing against fishing or people that love it, but I really did not want a whole episode dedicated to the sport. Thankfully the main focus of the episode followed something very important; however the main fishing scene with Kirito fighting to reel in the giant fish was pure comedic gold for me! Who knew Sword Art Online had such great scenes? I mean sure we have seen the whole “reel in the big ass fish” events in Tsuritama, Sengoku Collection episode 25 and now probably countless other anime I might have missed. Even though fishing for me is really dull and boring in real life because spend hours and hours waiting for the moment to reel in my catch; however in anime you can always count on the animation studio to go all out with those scenes! I really loved how crazy the animation got in Tsuritama and that past Sengoku Collection episode because they always have a stylized flair to them.

Back to Sword Art Online! So you are probably asking yourself why in the world would you spend your time fishing in a MMORPG? For most players out there they do it to farm rare cooking materials for certain recipes, I used to do it all the time in WoW because they always gave you the chance to fish up a super rare turtle mount. I am going out on a limb this week to say that Sword Art Online was trying to teach us some important life lesson about finding something special to follow in our own lives? I know it gave Nishida a chance to relax and enjoy life for once even though he was stuck inside a crazy video game. This also shows how a handful of players in Sword Art Online have adapted from fighting to survive every day to finding new and exciting hobbies to follow, like fishing instead of becoming a merchant or a day to day job.


Let’s Make A Killer Game!


Overcooled // I was not particularly pleased to see that this week’s episode would be about fishing since it screamed “FILLER” to me, but I actually quite liked Nishida’s character. I enjoy seeing the odd specialist player who focuses on trade skills such as fishing instead of fighting. He gave up trying to clear the game and seems to not have any real monster-fighting abilities given his horrified reaction to the boss fish (which Asuna dealt with in one blow) and not being able to reel in said monstrosity. My guess is that fishing requires a high skill to get the fish to bite the hook, but if you don’t have enough STR to reel it in then either your rod will snap or you’ll go flying into the lake. That’s where Kirito came in! All in all, he was a really nice guy who seemed to help Kirito and Asuna grow even closer, and his connection to the creation of Sword Art Online got me curious about how the development process happened. SAO always introduces tantalizing topics and themes, but then never really delivers in a way that satisfies me. This leaves me to ponder the implications of things that are barely even mentioned in the episode – such as what’s going down in meatspace. Bear with me as I derail a bit on a selfish tangent!

Creating Sword Art Online was a huge undertaking that must have been worked on by tons of people day and night until the release date. Nishida was one of these people, although he worked on the less integral component of network security for the game (compared to, say, programming or level design). Was Kayaba Akihiko the only one in the development process aware that the game would be used to trap people? Clearly, Nishida had no idea this was going to happen, or else he wouldn’t be trapped there himself.

Imagine pouring your heart and soul into making an MMO for everyone to enjoy and beaming with pride at this entirely separate world that you have created for gamers everywhere to enjoy. Now imagine how you feel the moment SAO suddenly becomes a black hole from which no one can escape on the launch day, quickly dashing all that pride away. Instead of creating a masterpiece, everyone who worked on this game helped create a death trap. This is assisted murder, and they had no idea it was happening until the blood was already on their hands and the knife had clattered noisily to the floor. The initial shock must have been traumatizing, although I imagine most people would be able to rationalize their way out of associating themselves with murder given enough time. It wasn’t actually their fault if they weren’t in the know, but that doesn’t make the revelation that “oh my God, I helped to make a game that has killed innocent people!” any less of a troubling thing to ruminate on every night before bed.

Assuming not everyone who worked on the game is also trapped, then the real world must be in chaos. Kayaba Akihiko and the company that worked on the game must be getting sued left, right and centre for what they’ve done. Trying to weed out the people who knew they were going to enprison players in a virtual world from the poor victims who toiled away endlessly without any clue about what they were creating is going to be tough. Or was everyone cold-hearted enough to actually want to make a game like that, and people on the outskirts of the development process like Nishida are the only safe ones?

Even if he’s innocent, Nishida mentions that he might not be able to return to his old job once someone beats the game. Would you hire someone who aided in the construction of a virtual guillotine? I would think twice about asking someone like that for a job interview, even if it technically wasn’t their fault. Nishida may be hopeful (partially thanks to his meeting with the astoundingly optimistic Asuna and Kirito) but I like to imagine that things are pretty bad back in the non-virtual sphere. There’s a whole different battle being fought in the real world from SAO, and it’s a little more normal, but just as fascinating to me. There could very well be just as many suicides there as there are inside Aincrad. There, now isn’t that a much more cheerful thing to think about than Kirito and Asuna being romantic?



Foshizzel // Ahem…so the honeymoon is over thanks to good ole master Heathcliff is here to ruin the sexy fun times for Asuna and Kirito and of course who doesn’t want to fight anymore? Kirito and Asuna! They are suddenly having second thoughts about participating in the Knights of Blood raid thanks to all glitches lately that and Kirito doesn’t want to lose Asuna which is fine because they currently have a good thing going on as the number one married couple in Sword Art Online, but did anyone really expect Asuna to stay behind after Kirito asked her to stay at the guild base for her own safety? OF COURSE NOT, but I know it is in her character to say “PSSSH Oh hell no! You are not telling me what I can and can’t do!” or something like that right?

There was one important scene that stood out for me this week with the whole talk about how their bodies in the real world are doing if they continue to avoid completing the game, but I know most of us watching this series have pretty much drilled a massive hole in our heads about that subject since the first episode…and I think it was one of those moments where everyone was like DURR WE KNOW! But I remember thinking to myself or maybe out loud while watching this episode like “Holy crap! It really is about time these two wake up and think about the real world.” I think that whole talk with Asuna was a good thing for Kirito for the whole plot progression of our main couple, but I think both of them suffer from the thoughts of not seeing each other ever again if they finish the game…heaven forbid them from ever asking each other their home addresses and phone numbers right? So yeah anyway these moments in anime always bug me when the main cast finally catches onto the plot! Just look at the latest episodes of Eureka Seven Ao for example.

Overcooled // Thank you Heathcliff for dragging these two back to the frontlines! It’s a lot harder to squish in romantic scenes when everyone is busy trying to keep their limbs attached to their torso, which I am infinitely grateful for. I’m not very tolerant of them being all over each other in a cottage when nothing else is happening to distract me. I find the aspect of couples who fight alongside each other to be easier to swallow. It makes the battles more interesting because it feels like more is at stake. Asuna and Kirito are no longer focused on the finish line like a horse with blinders on because they have a lot more to lose and a lot more to gain. There’s a whole future waiting for them on the other side, made brighter than before by the spark of love.

There’s also the fact that if one of them dies, that spells death for the two of them. It’s a bit of an unhealthy way to structure a relationship so that the remaining partner would commit suicide instead of living on, but I’m willing to attribute this obsessive level of devotion to 2 years of torture in Aincrad. After going through all that time fighting and watching their comrades die at a steady rate, they’re desperate for something stable. They would love to just settle in and fish every day with Nishida at their cottage, but that can’t happen. There’s no time to relish their happiness, because it could be taken away at any moment if someone just pulls the plug on them in their hospital bed. I found it kind of sweet that Asuna and Kirito are married, yet they still don’t have exactly what they want yet in terms of stability. They never will until they get out and stop having to beat up monsters. I just don’t want these two to be perfectly happy until the end, so some chinks in the marriage are needed to make their drive to survive and engage in combat more compelling. They’ve gotta get out, get busy, and pop out a little Yui number two!

“You know…this game ain’t so bad sometimes…”

As for the time limit, I’d say most of them should be fine for a while. Although hospital beds are scarce, I don’t think doctors can just euthanize patients willy-nilly because they feel it’s their escape from Aincrad is hopeless. This is the future, after all, so the medical care should be top notch. Whether or not someone would be “unplugged” depends on their living will – which describes what to do in the event that the patient is unable to decide what kind of health care they receive (at least, this is how things work where I am. I have no idea if Japan is the same). There are usually specific instructions, so some patients might have DNR (do not resuscitate) orders, or ask to not be sustained as a human vegetable if they fall into a coma. Care may also be given to someone like a family member, so that they make all the main decisions. It all depends on whether the unconscious gamer’s health care proxy decides to keep them sustained or not. After a certain point, it may so stressful that all the mothers and fathers may lose hope and just write off their children as being dead. It happens. Ahhh, yet again, I’m getting drawn into the real life consequences of a virtual prison. In the words of Chitanda Eru…I just can’t stop thinking about it!!


Raid time! Hajimaru yo~

Foshizzel // Now that Asuna and Kirito have chatted about the real world it was finally time to ROW ROW FIGHT DA MONSTERS! With the other key members of the Knights of Blood; however they were entering a dungeon basically blind because the scout party never returned to base! That sure sounds safe doesn’t it? Whenever I think about raiding I always have flashbacks of my guild dying over and over again for several hours a night to the tough bosses and we called that “learning” however sooner or later some guild learns how to defeat X boss and they usually share their strategies online, but SAO players have no freaking idea what awaits them right now. So what creepy ass boss monster are they fighting this week? I called him OMG-SKELETON-SNAKE-ALIEN-THINGY or OSSAT for short, but DAYUM that thing will give you nightmares or will it? I just remember setting there staring at the BEAUTIFUL animation! I mean good god wow everyone fighting as a team looked totally badass…I mean except for all the random cannon fodder characters that got killed off after in an instant after one swing for a good one shot kill! So how will our heroes deal with the powerful OSSAT! With the power of friendship of course or maybe they can summon a giant dog to simply eat the monster? I sure wish that Silica or Yui were around to give us a-ultra-hnggggg-she-was-so-freaking-cute-attack…because after this hardcore fight I think everyone will need something like that or maybe just an adorable hug? I will take that hug now!


Final Thoughts

Who would have thought that a little bit of fishing would segue perfectly into a boss battle? Catching that big fish served as a reminder to both Kirito, Asuna and Nishida that returning to the real world is important. It’s just not right to spend all your time fishing, just as it’s not right to focus solely on clearing the game. There has to be a balance between enjoying your time in this admittedly gorgeous game world and still holding the real world in your heart as being important, and something worth working to return to. I liked that message. What I didn’t like was how they tried to relate it back to Kirito and Asuna becoming a couple, as if they tried to make us nostalgic for a grand romance story that never existed in the first place. Kirito and Asuna just suddenly became a couple without much of a smooth transition or any real substantial moments to make me feel like they naturally grew to love each other. Only in hindsight when you scrunch your face up and try to skew what already happened to fit in the schema of Kirito and Asuna being in love will you able to piece together something vaguely resembling a budding relationship. I’m probably never going to get on board with this couple, so thank God that raging skeletal beasts interrupting vacations are a thing. That boss battle was incredible! It’s not even done yet and it was already so good! All I ask of SAO is copious amounts of killing and people freaking out from the trauma of being trapped in a virtual world. The next week’s episode with the second part of that boss fight can’t come soon enough…

So this week was fishing, life MOE-ments and scary raid bosses! That pretty much sums up the entire episode, but I was really impressed with the battle animation because the artist in me is like WOW! One day I want to animate something that cool…well…I mean yeah it takes years and years of practice to get THAT good but I can always dream right? So our main couple is finally realizing they can’t simply stay in the game world forever because they realize their bodies in the real world are practically dying very slowly. So what did you think of that moment? So was it an I KNOW ALREADY type of thing or maybe you enjoyed watching them discuss that problem? For me those moments always bug me, but I know why it happens because you don’t want your characters breaking the fourth wall all the time. While this episode had some great moments I am really excited to see episode 14! I hope we continue the epic battle and get some plot/story progression without the OH MA GER WERE GONNA DIE to something else next time.

A cliffhanger! I don’t even need to think of something witty to convince you to tune in next week then!


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26 Responses to “Sword Art Online – 13”

  1. AllenAndArth says:

    i also thought that it would be only about the fishing episode(it’s part of the novel after all)
    but, what surprised me the most was that the followed the novel a lot they put all the cheesy speech befor the battle with skull-kun(or as you said OSSAT).

    but i disagree with Overcooled about them as a couple, because if look back at the firsts episodes when kirito became THE BEATER(yeah, he fitted quite well in that role), he was in a party with Asuna and they are quite in sinch with each other they’ve been friends during the role event, and the seem to have start to fall for each ohter long ago, it’s just that the patetic man named kura-something was used as the turning point for the whole thing.

    anyway it seems that next episode will be the best Show ▼

    Anyway back on track, the battle against the walking-fish-thing —> a.k.a WTF-chan(the letters are fit the image, just a matter of rearranging them) was a disappointment(not that i was expecting much in first place, but it was kinda anti-climatic, because WTF-chan was a kind of extra-boss) at least they covered well with skull-kun.

    this is the end for now…such problematic post yare yare

    damm you kishimoto for creating shikamaru and kakashi >.<
    i tootaly got habits from them

    • Foshizzel says:

      Ahhh yeah I thought the saameee thing! I was like really? They are going to have a full episode about fishing?! Thankfully they did have a epic and creepy boss battle so that made up for the fishing event.

      Great! I look forward to something exciting next week <3

      Walking-fish-kun was creepy looking and quite hilarious at the same time and I wonder if Asuna cooked that giant fish after Kirito caught it?! Yeah that new boss was crazy looking.

      • D-LaN says:

        The LN mentioned tht the fish drop a…..

        TADA!! A shining white fishing rod.

        So nope. She didn’t even get a fish meat.

  2. elior1 says:

    i have a very bad feeling somthing not good going to happen in the next episode since the title is “the end of the world”

    • Sirmon says:

      me too i have a bad feeling and i wonder if Klein still have that revival item from episode 3…
      but i look up on wikipedia and we still have episode for the month Show ▼

      I hope for a at least 24 episode series

    • Foshizzel says:

      I think we say that every week trololololl

  3. Highway says:

    In my wheelhouse, up my alley, dead center, I don’t know what particular metaphor you’d want to call it, but this series is there for me. I have nothing at all to complain about. All the things other people are complaining about, I’m saying “… but I LIKE that!”

    I mean, I know that even in the worst of times, I’m exceedingly lenient with what shows want to do, and will let a show get away with just about anything. But this show isn’t getting away with stuff with me, this time. It’s just great. I enjoy the love story stuff, I enjoy the side story stuff, I enjoy the stuff with Yui, I enjoy the amount of fighting, I enjoy the world building.

    So yeah, I’m a total fanboy for this show. More like this, please!

    (and Fosh, anime takes up too much of my leveling time, only to 88!)

    • Elucidator says:

      same. cliche became cliche because people like it after all.

      some people really find ways to take the enjoyment out of the shows they watch. if they just sat back and relaxed then they would have enjoyed it better.

      • Foshizzel says:

        Yeppers! If you go into a series just based on people saying “OH THIS FREAKING SUCKS.” or “WOW THAT WAS DUMB.” you usually have to jump right into a series and make up your own mind, but I have learned not to get to hyped up for anime based on trailers! Damn Guilty Crown did that to me T___T Also K looks AMAZING! So I have to keep my excitement back for that series…

    • Foshizzel says:

      Yeah I am the same as you Highway! Even though there are a few dull and boring episodes I can always find something to like! Hell even guilty crown had a few moments that I loved a lot, but part of me always expects to see a few complaints here and there about random events or things fans did not like.

      Story stuff was wonderful this week! I mean we got that whole fishing story and Asuna and Kirito finally realized they NEED to beat the game instead of chilling in the game world forever~

      Ohhh wow you play WoW as well? What server/character name!? I can add you to my friends list <3 add Foshiizzel! I raid on Cho'gall server horde side as a shadow priest! Muhahhaahah

  4. D-LaN says:

    GASP Skull Reaper and Asuna going yandere!! Watch out Klein/Lizbeth/Silica shippers!!

    Umm Asuna, mind getting Yui outta way 1st?? I know she probably saw 16.5 but srsly dude.

    Kirito expression is giving Yu a run of his money lol. You clearly does not have enough derp faces, Yu.

    Finally things is picking up for the epic finale!! (Of SAO arc) And ofc there are ppl screaming 4 plot hole…. (But the anime did cut out some plotdump so can’t rly blame them.)

    And to think those suppose to be pro players getting one-shotted so our main cast can get some action lol. Finally some Klein time yo! I don’t mind KiriSuna but the side cast needs a bit of camera hugging too…. (I dunno who is worse, Egil or Klein…)

    • Foshizzel says:

      Skull-chan is going to turn into Yuno soon <3

      Ahahahha yes 16.5 has happened over and over and over again for Kirito and Asuna ;P

      I hope so...I want to see what happens next!

      Thankfully the other "main" characters are finally getting some screen time at last! I want to see them join the Knights of Blood, but I don't see that happening.

  5. BlackBriar says:

    The episode was aptly titled “Edge of Hell’s Abyss”. A proper fight hasn’t started yet and we have a mass of players murdered in the blink of an eye. The Skull Reaper is a perfect example why I hate these kind of boss battles: Too overpowered with an insane amount of HP. Reminds me of that Elder Wyrm dragon from Final Fantasy XII. Seeing that a lot of despair is injected into this one scene, it’s a safe bet an important character is going to bite it big time.

    Knowing the dungeons are this dangerous, If I were there, it would be a priority to stock up on healing and status items. An MMORPG like SAO should have a rare item like an automatic Phoenix Down, found in hostile areas or made from raw materials. It could save a lot of lives.

    Nishida’s character is alright. Kind of like the grandpa fishing out on the lake figure. His fate is ironic, though. The guy who helped oversee the game’s development has been trapped in his own product for two years.

    It wasn’t surprising when everyone eventually admitted on giving up the possibility of returning to the world. Once something becomes comforting, it’s almost impossible to let go and the players have become exceedingly cozy. The theory Asuna brought up concerning the bodies lying useless sounds a lot like .hack//Sign’s Tsukasa’s condition.

    • AllenAndArth says:

      i know that they seem overpowered sometimes, but they are near the end of the tower and in a common RPG there’s always an overpwered boss, the ting in SAO is that…if they lose, they die… normal RPG don’t have that so SAO as a RPG follows the same rule

    • Elucidator says:

      well yeah, we don’t have a phoenix down, but we did have that one and only Divine Stone of the Returning Soul (the revive item). also, crystals work instantaneously but we all know that the boss room is an anti-crystal area so… ehhhh :/.

      The only thing they can do is not to get hit, since it OHKOs front liners (except for tanks, e.g. Agil).

    • Overcooled says:

      It’s cheap to have a boss that strong and to not allow teleportation crystals to work, but I guess the whole point of trapping people is to try and kill them so this is how players get caught off-guard. Phoenix Down would make it a lot less difficult. Not easy – but less difficult.

      In .hack//SIGN, I recall Tsukasa and several other players falling into a coma and being placed in hospital care as well. The only difference is that Tsukasa didnt have a game visor on (from what I can recall) but his mind was still trapped. Still very similar situations though.

  6. Gecko says:

    The start of this episode was kind of lame. Fishing, whatever. I suppose Nishida was a nice character to have, since he reminded Asuna of why exactly she loves Kirito. And it segwayed nicely into the boss battle, because it is the “call to duty” for our two front-liners who may have just taken a pretty terrible honeymoon. But it had to end someday, whether it be returning to battle or the actual unplugging of the real body.
    I’ve been wondering why exactly we haven’t seen what has been happening outside the game in the world. It could make an interesting dual-plot if done well. Asuna mentions the idea that everyone’s been put in hospitals, on life support, but the anime does nothing with it. I figure the LN had little about the entire process, but seriously, it really is assisted murder/suicide. I wasn’t thinking very hard about the whole deal, since the anime brushes it off quickly. But it would be very interesting to see what kind of legal complications are involved with SAO in the real world, and what could happen when someone finally beats the game.
    Perhaps many people are like Highway, and like a lot of what SAO does, but I feel like it is missing some things.
    Hopefully, this “End of the World” next episode will pick things back up and remind our happy couple that SAO is not always so happy.

    • AllenAndArth says:

      i think that they aren’t showing stuff about the “real” world because Show ▼

      but SAO is having repercussion in the real world, just beacuse e don’t see, dosen’t mean it’s not affecting, think about their families, the must be going ape shit, i mean it’s been 2 years and a lot of people died

      • Overcooled says:

        It would be an interesting parallel, right? I would love to see a mix of both, although I suppose SAO is more focused on the in-game portion. .hack//Quantum did an excellent job of mixing real world consequences with in-game drama, so it can definitely be pulled off. Ah well, maybe like Allen says we just have to wait to see what’s going on the real world…Stuff is happening in the real world, but I WANT to see it! Not just imagine it!

        To me, SAO has a lot of cool ideas…it just doesn’t execute them very well. Some things are rushed, missing, or just done in a way that seems stupid. It evens out to be an average kind of show, but I do feel like it’s missing things too.

        I second that sentiment. END OF THE WORLD sounds more like my kind of thing~

  7. Elucidator says:

    i actually applaud the decision of the staff to not show the outside world, since we’re seeing SAO in Kirito’s POV after all. It gives off the the feeling that they’re really stuck in that game, with no idea what’s going on the outside world.

    • Overcooled says:

      I think what’s going on in the real world would be 10x more interesting than Kirito snuggling with Asuna in bed, but that’s just me.

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