Sword Art Online – 14

The most popular date spot in SAO…for those who can teleport into the sky.

So here we are folks…fourteen episodes in and Kirito and Asuna are still fighting big ass raid monsters, but I hope our band of heroes win some phat loots this week! In other MMORPG related news my horde guild on WoW finally downed the first two raid bosses in The Mogu’shan Vaults, but we still have four more to go…anyway it is time to talk about this episode of Sword Art Online with Overcooled!
Good luck with that, Fosh~ I’ve been getting through my own raid, battling a giant turkey with my stomach. This is part of why I’m posting so late. I had not one, but two thanksgiving dinners! One with my boyfriend and another at my friend’s house. My own family didn’t actually do anything. :/ So, Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who live where it’s that lovely time of year! If you don’t, well, there’s always SAO to celebrate with.


Time to D-D-D-D-D-D-D-DUEL!

Oh God Oh God It’s still alive DELETE DELETE DELETE DELETE

Overcooled // All this time, Akihiko has been draping himself in the garb of a normal player while secretly watching his trapped subjects from up close. He adopted the role of a player named Heathcliff and fought on the front lines with Asuna’s Guild so that he could get a front row seat, since just laying low wasn’t enough. As a creator, he loves the world he’s made and couldn’t resist admiring his work. The only thing he seems to show a passion for is Sword Art Online. He doesn’t care if players die or not, or even what he’s doing by trapping players in SAO, apparently. He was awfully cruel to Kirito for someone whose motive wasn’t to make people suffer. He went from ruffling Kirito’s feathers and toying with him to saying “well, I have no clue why I did any of that.”

Still, the revelation that he was Heathcliff all this time didn’t fail to surprise me. It was a nice turnaround, since the bosses couldn’t possibly get any more horrifying and difficult to defeat that the one they just fought against. Kirito fighting against Akihiko was pretty cool though. Asuna conveniently sacrificing herself was cheesy and so was Kirito’s last minute death stab, but hey, I’m willing to buy it. This is hardly the first time Kirito survived miraculously with just a sliver of health. This time he just survived with zero health. …And people still say he isn’t overpowered.


Game Over, Man!

Foshizzel // Thanks to Asuna sacrificing herself to save Kirito he managed to pull out a successful win and “defeated” the all-powerful Akihiko or did he? Dun dun duuun! Of course not because that lame game designer is probably still alive and kicking in the real world somewhere. So was anyone else laughing at Akihiko’s main motivation for trapping everyone in Sword Art Online? Maybe laughing really isn’t the correct word and maybe we should use confused instead? I know Akihiko probably wasn’t really doing wrong when he first started developing his game because he was just trying to act out some personal dreams of a flying castle in the sky right? However he really didn’t have any right to screw up player’s lives after all his actions caused a lot of real world deaths. Now if the design team came out weeks later and said hey! There were no real world deaths caused by the game I wouldn’t call Akihiko evil anymore; however I don’t think anyone could simply look past the random mental and physical trauma caused by the game. So now what? With Sword Art Online finished what is going to happen to Kirito? I assume he takes a few months to recover and he probably decides to check out other MMORPGS to search for his OTP? I have some ideas about the rest of the story, but I will wait to see what happens next! I just hope the next game Kirito signs up for does not have some ultimate death penalty if you die…

Overcooled // YEAH, WHAT A DICK. I second everything Fosh said about Akihiko. I’ve been waiting all this time to find out the reason behind trapping helpless players only to learn that there was no reason. The explanatory monologue never came. Thousands of players risked their life for a reason that was forgotten by the grand schemer. Kirito and Asuna just blankly accept it as if his babbling about castles makes any sense, but I find it very hard to take. Part of what makes the reveal so disappointing is that I was expecting Akihiko to explain some vision about why he thought forcing people to play SAO in this manner was morally right. I wanted him to try and justify his methods, only to be shut down in the end by Kirito and Asuna. Akihiko – the big mystery villain – did absolutely nothing, and had no real goals to speak of. I hope he gets arrested for hurting so many people for the dumbest reason ever…because he had no reason.


Raids and Surprise Appearances


Foshizzel // Ohhhhh man…what…the…hell is going on this week!? After successfully working as a team to defeat that creepy skeleton looking monster Kirito discovers something very shocking in the form of Heathcliff being revealed as wait for it…Akihiko Kayaba aka the original game designer the whole time! Were you shocked like me when they revealed that key plot point? I certainly had to stop and think about it for a moment; however I did have to face-palm afterwards because HOW DID KIRITO figure out it was him in the first place? I guess he used his other special character ability called script reading. Just kidding I know he started to piece everything together just based off Heathcliff’s expressionless face after defeating a really hardcore boss, but I think the whole immortal object thing gave him away anyway! At least Mr. Heathcliff err Akihiko gave Kirito the chance to finish the game for good and he was not about to turn down that opportunity!

Now for some other dumb moments like Asuna throwing herself between Kirito and Akihiko during the duel? That was really dumb for me, first of all wasn’t she paralyzed at the time? I mean no one else just magically stood up and moved around to help Kirito? I suppose the power of love gave her the strength to stand and protect her husband, but hey it was still an interesting scene even though it just caused me to get a bit annoyed because it doesn’t really add up and I think Kirito “died” and somehow got saved again? Maybe Yui saved him at the last minute…


New Game+

Overcooled // Instead of getting his brain scrambled by high-powered microwaves, Kirito is let off the hook despite his HP depleting to zero and given a chance to live. Likewise with Asuna (I would presume). Kirito wakes up in a hospital bed after two years of lying there in what was essentially a coma. I know SAO isn’t exactly aiming for the realistic approach here, but I find it to be annoying how Kirito hardly had any life-sustaining devices (such as a feeding tube, or medical ventilator). He also just stood up and started to walk, which should be impossible for anyone who has laid in bed for that long. They show him as skin and bones as if to say “yeah, we know his muscles are atrophied” and yet he’s able to limp around as if he just slept in for too long and is a little shaky on his feet. I’m no expert, but I think rehabilitation to real life should be a little more difficult than just waltzing out of your hospital bed in search of your waifu.


Final Thoughts

Sword Art Online can be polarizing. Not just amongst anime fans, but just in one person as well. I have very mixed feelings about this episode that range from exasperation to enjoyment. While sitting there casually on my couch as I relax and watch SAO each week, I could easily say that this show is fun. It’s got lots of action, it’s eventful, and I love the MMO setting. However, it starts to stretch at the seams a bit when I start to think about it. Akihiko not even bothering to recall why he made SAO this way (and not even caring enough to stop what he was doing at that point) was a really horrible outcome for the arc. All that build-up for nothing. What’s going to happen now? They go into another MMO? I really don’t see why this series should keep going, because I can’t think of a single good reason why Kirito and Asuna would ever want to set foot in another MMO. They were so desperate to get married and settle down too. If the rest of the series are the real life adventures of the lovely couple Kirito and Asuna then…*shudder*…I dare not think of it. All in all, SAO didn’t end the arc very well and I have no idea how the hell they think they’re going to start a new one.

This episode was so INTENSE! Seriously from start to finish it kept me hanging on especially with the reveal of Heathcliff’s true identity as Akihiko and I bet the light novel readers are probably laughing, but I have to say thank you for not leaking that bit of information and I bet it was hard to keep a straight face during Kirito’s big duel against Heathcliff huh? I think we all just want to know what happens next to Kirito and Asuna! Thankfully they gave each other their real names, but I would have been asking for addresses and phone numbers? Then again I guess there really wasn’t enough time to do everything at once. Maybe they should have just exchanged emails instead? I think I saw some cover artwork of the next arc for Sword Art Online and honestly I must say it seems to be boring to me or does the next arc pump new life into this series to help it become awesome? I just don’t want a rinse and repeat type of storyline with Kirito playing all of these random MMORPGS and somehow gets stuck inside them over and over again! However I assume the days of “death games” is over for good…hopefully…

Hey, you never know. See you for episode 15~


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41 Responses to “Sword Art Online – 14”

  1. Highway says:

    Once again, I find I’m extremely lenient with a show. I really don’t mind the melodrama, the moony eyes, and the half-baked twists here. We did get some explanation of a couple things tho, like why Kirito got the dual-wield skill (because he’s the fastest person in the game, where’s Haruyuki? 😉 ). I did think it was pretty lame the game broke up and self-destructed.

    As far as Akihiko not remembering why this was all set up like this, I took that to mean that whatever his initial reasoning might have been, it’s been melded and changed and overwritten and all sorts of other things by his experiences since then. I presume that he’s also been trapped in this game, living with everyone else, and who knows if there was any sort of reason for it, besides a whim. I didn’t have any problem with him not trying to justify it, I think that would have just cheapened it, because there *isn’t* any justifying what he’s put 10,000 people through. Even if it turns out that they didn’t kill the people who died in the game, it’s still been imprisonment for two years. Anything he said would only have been a reason, not a justification, and it certainly wouldn’t have made him less of an amoral person. So I think it’s fine that he didn’t even try (and this actually fits my worldview pretty well: judge people on the actions they take, not their motivations).

    I’m just kicking back and letting the show take me where it wants to go. Are there warts? Oh yeah. But I overall like the story, and I’m hoping for a quick reunion of Kazuto and Asuna. And seriously, if they can’t manage to find each other, it’ll be pretty lame (I totally need to stop clicking spoilers, too).

    • Overcooled says:

      All the more power to you for being able to like more of SAO! I still get caught up by some of the dumb plot points. It feels more like a storytelling cop out to have Akihiko forget his reason for making the game than his outlook on life changing as he played. I doubt he was “trapped” in the same way since he was immortal and could exploit the system at will. He probably put in a back door somewhere, but never used it because SAO is a pretty balling place when you can’t die, and someone would notice that he was logging out.

      I find the motivations behind murder to be incredibly interesting. While I agree that why he did it wouldn’t make what he did any better or worse, it would certainly have made the finale more satisfying for me. We don’t get a single glimpse inside his head except for one vague statement about castles and forgetting his motivation D:

      I’m trying to avoid spoilers too, but since I co-wrote the post and now I’ve come across quite a few. I know almost exactly what the next arc is about now. :B Avoiding spoilers is so hard!

  2. AllenAndArth says:

    man i knew what would happen but i almost cried when Asuna got hit, it was like… kakashi dead and jiraya’s funeral

    • Foshizzel says:

      Ohhh? Were you prepared for Asuna? At least she kind of lived at the end and shared one last kiss with Kirito! D’awwwww

  3. elior1 says:

    the next arc wont be boring at all i was read the novel and this next arc are much better then the first game and here the next episode preview it seems they will focus on the real world in this episode http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-fCCuowaJ0

    • Foshizzel says:

      Yeah I took a look at that preview! I can’t wait to see what has changed for Kirito IRL so that has me interested, but not so much for the elf stuff…Kirito looks really dumb with spiked hair and pointy ears? It looks so hilarious!

  4. belatkuro says:

    Well this might come off as defending it and grasping straws but Asuna did say last episode that she did obtain something important in this past two years by meeting Kirito. And it goes the same with Kirito. The two years they spent in the game had some meaning even if there was the death rule around them. That’s why they didn’t show any kind of hatred for Kayaba. Of course there was a monologue at this point of the novels about this but there wasn’t in here.

    And Heathcliff’s face after the boss fight should have been something of a god looking down on his pawns. That’s why Kirito was suspicious. Coupled with the trick at their duel, he just tested it just because he wants to. If he was right, then conspiracy revealed. If wrong then he’ll just apologize. That was how it went.

    And it’s pretty hard to defend the deal about Kirito and Asuna. But there isn’t a game without any errors or bugs in its system(Yui) and the game is hard-wired to the brain so…yeah, willpower and stuff. Note that Heathcliff was surprised when Kirito was still moving. Something that can overcome the system exists in front of him. And he probably resigned to his demise because of that.
    This is still in line with his scenario. To be the final boss and the one inheriting Dual Blades to be the hero of the game. It was just done 25 floors ahead of schedule.

    I still liked this episode despite my tones. It’s not perfect but it’s still enjoyable and entertaining for me.
    And new arc, new OP/ED next episode. Should be good.

    • Overcooled says:

      I guess the gains outweigh the losses considering the depth of their love for one another. I’d still have the energy to be mad at him regardless of what I may have gained considering that so many people died pointless deaths. Maybe that’s just me though.

      Willpower? I thought as soon as your HP went to zero you died via high-frequency microwaves that kill the player. That sounds like it would be pretty hard to just GUTS your way through.

      Looking forward to a new OP/ED! I almost forgot about that.

  5. elior1 says:

    here a trailer for the new arc with the opening and the ending song in the backround looks like this arc will be very good http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8VqZI23Ap8

  6. D-LaN says:

    The charac design for fairy dance arc.

    elior1 beat me to the preview vid lol.

    @Overcooled The anime cut out the Gel Bed that was specially designed for coma patient that minimize the effect of muscular atrophy and yadda yadda. Kirito also “said” that every step was painfull but the pain of not seeing Asuna is greater.

    SAO PSP game trailer out.

    The details:

    In the game version, a mysterious system error occurs in Aincrad, the 100-floor world of the in-game MMO ‘Sword Art Online’. The game becomes realized on the 75th floor of Aincrad and beyond. Players are tasked with climbing the next 25 stories. Just like the anime, there are bosses on each floor, but there are also mobs over level 90. It is unclear at what level players start the game.

    You’ll play as Kirito, the main character of the anime, who can be equipped with a number of weapons, including: a one-handed sword, dual swords, dual axes, a dagger, or a rapier. Each weapon will have its own Sword Skills. In addition to skills which appeared in the anime, there will also be skills outside battle. New, unique skills will appear by continuing the “Sword Arts School.”

    • Foshizzel says:

      Ahahah those designs are so freakish! I don’t like the elf look on Kirito…he just looks…I dunno…less bad ass? Ah well at least we get some new characters to drool over, but the next “half” feels like The familiar of Zero-ish to me thanks to all these elfs popping up.

      So basically the next few episodes are just like an “expansion” pack for Sword Art Online? aka introduces new races and what not? I guess we wont see any magic being used huh? And LOL Sword Art School? Hmmmm Interesting….

      • D-LaN says:

        Umm… Kirito is holding a BFS Guts (Berserk) style. That should give him some points.

        Nope. Most of your 2nd paragraph is wrong. But I won’t be a Lighter.

        • Foshizzel says:

          Ooooh is he going for the badass main lead with a GIANT sword? I guess spiked hair does that to you huh? I keep picturing Kirito as Cloud from FF7 only with black hair >.>

          Ohh? I see! Well that has me curious <3

    • Overcooled says:

      Thanks for explaining Gel Bed! That makes things much more plausible. Hooray for future medicine~

  7. Gecko says:

    My brain must have died or something when I was watching this because everything that happened here was kind of a big “aaaahhhhh whattttt” to me. I do think that it’s a good time to end this death game, though. And ending it with giving Kirito a chance to free everyone right then was nice. No more time skips, ect. Although I kind of wish they had gotten Kirito up to the Ruby Castle so he could fight there. Oh well… That’s for the game, I suppose.
    I was waiting for Akihito to be like Sanetoshi of Penguindrum and troll Kirito and Asuna with his reasoning of making SAO and all, but gosh, dude, write it down on a piece of paper so at least you can remember your reason!
    As for the rest of the show, I am somewhat hoping that because everyone is out of the game for good now, there should be some kind of justice system slammed onto Akihito for making this game. Like going to court or whatever. And then Kirito and Asuna can finally be together after that and whatnot. But I am worried that nothing much is going to happen. Maybe someone forgot to tell us that the anime got cut down in size by 10ish episodes, so they had to end it sooner…

    • D-LaN says:

      Didn’t Kayaba said tht he wanted to create his dream world??

      And it will have around 25 ep. But I’m not clear can they fin the next arc in time…. Or do a cliffhanger ending.

      • Gecko says:

        Yeah, I think he did. But even then, did it have to be a world for everyone? Shouldn’t he have just made the system for himself and only himself at that point? There’s no way a sane person (not that he’s sane) could want people to die in a game. He had no reason (so far) to kill those people… Oh well.

    • Overcooled says:

      That doesn’t sound like a very pleasant reaction lol.

      I prefer villains like Sanetoshi who have very specific reasons for the evil things they do, so Akihiko really fell flat for me. I wonder if that’s really all we’ll see of him, because I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit of real life action now. To be honest, I think SAO will stray away from real life scenarios. Gah, I spoiled myself so I know the gist of what happens next. Otherwise it could have just ended with episode 14!

      • Gecko says:

        I love Sanetoshi so much. Favorite character ever. Akihiko seemed to just be flat. We barely saw him do a thing, really. Besides pretending to be Heathcliff and all. Sanetoshi… gah, he did so much and pulled off the cool guy appearance to the viewers. Akihiko was just some boring programmer with a lab coat. Bleh.

  8. Miyu says:

    I…. was really speechless after watching this season D: it’s true that SAO has obvious flaws but the entire setting of it is so intriguing that I can actually just ignore them because IT IS SO ENJOYABLE.

    I completely agree about Akihiko having no real purpose in creating the game. The entire point of SAO was to reach lvl 100 and to get to meet the creator himself to find out why on earth did he create such an abomination and in the end– I DID IT BECAUSE I FELT LIKE IT??? Really? :c Because that kind of means Kirito and Asuna and every other dead player in the world had joined this game because of a madman’s whimsical dreams and that just makes me… sad.

    After this episode I was really confused as to how the series hadn’t ended yet, and then my curiosity got the better of me and I wiki-ed it. Hint: it involves a neverending cycle of deadly games HAHA (but not really – you’ll see, they’ll have their reasons for entering one of those crazy ass MMOs again) GAH so many feelings!!! Frankly I’ll be happy even if they turn it into a Kirito and Asuna’s Lovey-dovey Couple Adventures!, but then OC will threaten to kill somebody so okay :c I shall keep my romanticist tendencies in a deep dark corner of my heart.

    • Overcooled says:

      It’s a good show plagued with bad delivery. That’s how I see it.

      Not only did Akihiko have no reason for doing this, but Kirito and Asuna didn’t even seem to mind. What a terrible character, and I don’t mean that in the evil sense either.

      Yeah, I think a lot of us gave into temptation and found out what Kirito is going to do next. I’ll hold from commenting about it until it actually happens though!

      Oh my gosh, Miyu, it sounds like I’m bullying you o_o You can have romance if you want it! No need to hide! Well, you’re right that I won’t enjoy it though….

  9. BlackBriar says:

    The anime pulls an anticlimactic end to an arc yet I’m surprisingly alright with it. Weird. Maybe it was because the setting was so beautiful that I couldn’t begin to care.

    Heathcliff being revealed as Akihiko was the biggest plot twist of the entire arc. Who better to be the final boss than someone who has been fighting alongside you? It injects a drastic amount of drama.

    What made sense about his revelation was that his HP was way too high for someone fighting an intense boss like that, special items in tow or not. Only someone who knows the game to a terrifying detail or who had a hand in its development could manipulate it like that. Yet, as I said that it was anticlimactic, it could have been more impressive if the truth was used toward the very end. It’s one of the many flaws SAO has but we manage to push it away.

    I’ve read that Akihiko’s motivation for his cruelty was to observe what happens to the players after he traps them which to me, in other terms, means he did it just because he could. Or maybe so he could have an exclusively populated world where he and he alone pulls the strings. If that’s not selfish, I don’t know what is.

    What’s on my mind now is, if the has officially been cleared after two long years of struggling, where do we go from here? I have some theories about the subject but they feel a little too cliché.

    Welcome to Zombie Art Online

    That has Fosh written all over it and the atmosphere screams Resident Evil. Particularly Resident Evil: Apocalypse.

    • Overcooled says:

      Maybe it’s because we know it’s technically not over too. If this was the actual end of the series, I’d rage pretty hard.

      Where did you read this? Not to question your credibility, I’m just curious. At the end he didn’t seem interested in the other players at all – only in the world he had created. What everyone else did within it seemed to be boring to him. He could have just said that if that was his reason too. =_= Even that’s slightly better than “LOL I DUNNO MAN. SOMETHING BOUT CASTLES???”

      I actually didn’t notice the Umbrella Corp logo he put on the wall of that screenshot until after I posted it. XD A nice touch.

      • BlackBriar says:

        If it really was the end, I wouldn’t have been happy at all. Seeing the preview for the next episode made it a lot more comforting.

        I read it from the List of Sword Art Online characters page of Wikipedia. Now I’m trying to forget that little detail because I just spoiled something for myself. I advise you don’t check it out or you’ll end up feeling the same regret.

        The moment I saw that Umbrella Corp logo with the hospital hallway Kirito was walking through, I instantly flashed back to that particular scene in Resident Evil: Apocalypse.

        • Highway says:

          I’m totally with you guys. I was watching this episode end thinking “This isn’t the end of the series, right? It can’t end on episode 14, right?” If this was the last one, it would have been a crappy ending. But because there’s more,I didn’t think it was a bad way to end the Aincrad part.

    • Foshizzel says:

      The moment Kirito walked down that hallway I was like OMG RESIDENT EVIL! And yeah the 2nd one because Alice wakes up in some random hospital with no one around… xDDD

  10. Liexi says:

    Trust me next arc will be MUCH better than the first one. I will admit I was irritated by the whole thing with Akihiko in the end. I mean is Kirito so willing to let him go; the man responsible for the deaths of Sachi, Diabel, and various other players And let him leave with a bull reason? The episode was good, but some parts just felt too rush being an LN reader.

    • Foshizzel says:

      I sure hope so because all the elf stuff has me laughing more than anything, but I made it this far right? I can’t stop now! Ooohh I can only imagine how the LN fans felt with that whole reveal and honestly it felt like a giant let down in the end because I really wanted to see the final boss! Ah well I hope you are right about the next arc ;D

      Thanks for the comment!

      • D-LaN says:

        The final boss is Heathcliff…He said it lol.

        What I am curious is the stage for final boss, the castle on the top of Aincrad. Guess the game will answer tht. And its in Jap + PSP D:

        • Foshizzel says:

          Yeah I know I just wanted a DIFFERENT boss instead of “OH HEY LOOK IT’S ME!” LOL

          NO!! That sucks

  11. Sirmon says:

    … i dont want to see spoiller but i want to see more… arg a little OVA zombie art online would be cool, that was fun
    “Hey, you never know. See you for episode 15~”

    • Overcooled says:

      ZAO, where Kirito has to find a way to turn Asuna back into a human from her zombie state while fighting off other zombies! Coming soon!

      • D-LaN says:

        ZAO, where Kirito has woken up from a coma, only to find the hospital choke full of ZB and Asuna, his wife is gone. So, Kirito dress up as a swordman and journey to find Asuna only to discover tht Raccoon City his town is being locked down!!

        (Yeah I know I ripped TWD and RE: Apocalypse off lol)

        • BlackBriar says:

          While on his search for Asuna through Raccoon City the overrun city, Kirito dispatches a group of stealthy Lickers in a church, battles a horde of freshly risen zombies in the graveyard, only to finally come across Nemesis.

    • Foshizzel says:

      Kirito will get the title of zombie beater <3

  12. akagami says:

    Yay, I’m finally caught up to the most recent episode (actualy, 15 just came out >< )
    I heard the Aincrad arc was written early and it was rushed, and with (from what I understand), the anime adaption cut alot of material. I wish they had extended the Aincrad arc, because I really enjoyed the world. As a former mmorpg'er, I loved the whole concept (yes, I loved the .hack series as well).

    While it hasn't been a masterpiece, it's been highly enjoyable thus far. I think my sister is now team Kirito. ^^

    • akagami says:

      That is, the Aincrad arc ending in the LN was rushed, and with them cutting out a lot of the source material to make it fit in 14 episodes (and the ending in 1) will make it even seem more rushed.

      Sachi wasn’t in the end card!!! ToT

      • D-LaN says:

        Well appaently the author agreees too. He’s writing the reboot of Aincrad arc SAO Progressive,

        Isn’t it sad, Sachi?

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