Sword Art Online II – 19

SAO 2-Yuuki

The Ultimate Swords… cutie?


I finally get to an episode of SAO! Thanks skylion for covering for my last one.


Goodbye, Kirito

SAO 2-Kirito and Asuna

Maybe this is the last we see of him for a while

At least for now. That’s the message I get from the new OP animation, which has not a hint of Kirito or even any others in the group that we’re used to. Instead, this is all Asuna and a new group, which I’m going to presume is the Sleeping Knights. I thought it was actually pretty clever that it used the same cuts, same styles, and same graphics as the previous OP animation, along with the same song, but with all different characters, which led to a bit of “this seems a little different, and wait a minute, who are these characters?” when I watched it through the first time. And let’s be honest, most of these new characters have to be at least as good as the old characters, because most of them were kinda just hanging around because we couldn’t just have Kirito go bash up everything solo all the time (seriously, I don’t know if the should could possibly marginalize Leafa, Liz, Silica, and Sinon any more than it has without just dropping them entirely).

SAO 2-oppressive

An oppressive atmosphere

But before Asuna is able to meet some new friends, she has to deal with an old nemesis: her mom. We haven’t dealt with Asuna’s family much directly in this show, just with her father when Asuna was still in the game and his disastrous pick of Sugou as her betrothed, something we’ve never heard about any backlash for since then. But this time, we’ve got an extremely uncomfortable dinner scene between Asuna and her mother, set in an oppressively too large, dark, and shadowy dining room. And to match the mood, Asuna’s mother is oppressive as well, lambasting her school, denigrating her friends, and pushing expectations upon Asuna. Expectations for her future that don’t include Kirito, don’t include the people Asuna considers friends, expectations that just deal with her marriage and career, and fit what her mom wants.


SAO 2-Hopelessness

Asuna was kinda blindsided

Now, I don’t really know if Asuna’s mother is going to turn out to be a villain here (no, I haven’t read ahead in this series, so I don’t know). For one thing, she seems a little bit too measured to be one of Kawahara’s villains. I mean, the man is excellent at making just absolutely hateful villains: Sugou, Death Gun, even that guy who was trying to stop the peace accords when Kirito first got into ALO. Somehow he can make these absolutely textbook terrible villains, and yet you don’t really roll your eyes at the narrative excess. You just want Kirito to punch the living **** out of them. He truly makes villains that are worthy of Kirito’s eye-rolly Gary Stu nature. It just works for the show. So when mom is talking here, she just doesn’t have that unctuous feel that those other guys did. Yeah, she doesn’t really give a flip what Asuna wants, she thinks she knows better, but it doesn’t really feel malicious. At worst, she’s opinionated and nouveau riche, overly worried about her status. I don’t even know if she acutally does resent, as Asuna says, that her parents weren’t rich. It’s not really a ‘resentment’ thing. She’s just worried about her own status, and to be fair she sincerely seems worried about Asuna’s status as well.

SAO 2-Action

One thing SAO does well is perspective during fights

So Asuna is feeling powerless, and remembering the way she used to be, a feared and respected warrior in SAO, doesn’t really help her current mood. Not that it really is affecting her mood as it’s time to go give fighting Zekken a try. Nobody told her Zekken was a girl named Yuuki, tho. And with a little taste of battle, she comes a lot closer to recapturing that strong, more independent side of her that has been waning since SAO. The fight was well done, and thankfully didn’t feature the usual Kirito face that usually turns SAO fights into cheesiness. And just when Asuna’s about to lose to Yuuki’s unique skill, something that she hadn’t had to pull out against any other foe (even Kirito), Yuuki declares the fight over, her objective met: Finding someone to steal and ask for help.

SAO 2-Stealing Asuna

Kidnapping time!


I thought this was another good episode of the show. After the reintroduction of Kirito and Asuna’s love nest last episode, and the air of contentment that it seemed to bring back to Asuna and Kirito’s relationship, this episode really shook it up with Asuna’s mother putting serious dents in Asuna’s current lifestyle, and making her feel a bit hopeless. I like the choice of Yuuki as a name because it’s what Asuna was looking for: courage (I might have liked Jiyuu a little better as Asuna finding her ‘freedom’, but it’s nowhere near as common a name). Can Asuna find her courage with what appears to be a new group? And what will the old group think? Earlier, we had Kirito essentially taking a break from the group, but Asuna is different.


Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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17 Responses to “Sword Art Online II – 19”

  1. Di Gi Kazune says:

    B… bu… but… Isn’t this series about Jesus-Kirito-sama?!? What will we do without him?!

  2. CarVac says:

    I think this might be my second-favorite episode of all of anime.

    It might just be the contrast from the previous two and a half arcs’ crappiness, but it was superbly written and animated. And that duel was incredible. I’ve probably rewatched it 20x.

  3. skylion says:

    Nobody told her Zekken was a girl named Yuuki

    Yeah, I pointed out the value of the “they/them” game last time. One of my least favorite writing techniques.

    So, is there any part of the mother character that is somewhat redeemable? I feel that at least part of her is acting in her daughter’s best interests.

    • BlackBriar says:

      I feel that at least part of her is acting in her daughter’s best interests.

      The cold hearted remarks she made belittling everything Asuna cared about were way too harsh for me to see that. It was like she was saying she knows everything and anything Asuna tries herself is likely to fail. As though she isn’t allowed to have her own free will because she’s from a priviliged family and must maintain an image.

      • skylion says:

        Yeah, I got that pretty much on the first viewing. But I know from experience that moms (and dads too) are complicated people. But does writer Kawahara?

      • Highway says:

        See, I think it was a little different. There was worry for Asuna in there as well, in that her mother is worried that if Asuna doesn’t have the means to live comfortably, she will not be able to pursue whatever interests she has, because she’ll be too busy trying to scrape together enough to live on.

        It is absolutely true that part of selecting a career is selecting a partner to move through life with. Can that person support you, financially and emotionally, when you hit hardships in your own career? Will you be able to support them the same way? Is that person stimulating to you in enough ways that count?

        That her mother doesn’t see the value in Kirito or Asuna’s school the way Asuna does doesn’t mean she’s mean or evil. She hasn’t spent any time with him, so of course she’s going to judge him based on what she’s found out. And for her, maybe emotional support is easier to come by, or much less important. She doesn’t know what happened in SAO, and it’s hard to imagine she could empathize with the experience of being cut away from all the things you cared about for over 2 years when you’re 16 years old. Mom doesn’t know how much comfort Kirito was in that time, she doesn’t realize that they were, literally, married for a time, and while that isn’t binding legally outside of the game, emotionally it still is. Mom can’t really understand that, because for one, I don’t think that Kirito and Asuna have acknowledged their marriage outside of the game.

    • Highway says:

      They / Them: In Japanese, I think it’s a little more forgivable, since it’s actually a normal manner of speaking, especially for women. Of course, Liz’s (and Kirito’s) reaction does show that they intentionally didn’t mention it, so being annoyed at the device is a bit justified.

      I think Mother is certainly redeemable, at least at this point. It’s what she will do later that will determine how that ends up.

    • Wanderer says:

      Asuna’s mother isn’t evil, she’s just incredibly narrow-minded, and conditioned by the “culture” of her class to believe that every action taken must be one that is specificially leveraged to increase one’s wealth or social standing. She is ignorant of Asuna’s feelings, as well as the fact that Asuna has become a fundamentally different person due to the SAO incident, because she hasn’t bothered to learn about any of that. Not out of intentional cruelty or laziness, but because it simply hasn’t occurred to her that it is important to understand her children, rather than simply give them instructions on what she thinks is the best way to live their lives.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    Overall a good episode though I admit to being pissed off at the first half due to how bitchy Asuna’s mother was to her about everything she does and cares about. The girl may be her daughter but she’s no object. Someone that frigid needs a good reconditioning (feel free to add suggestions). Uncomfortable is putting it mildly. Frankly, I was hoping for someone to tell her shut up. You’d swear the mother wants to live her life through her daughter. All that was said was suited to her point of view. I was proud to see Asuna retaliate by at least telling her off.

    So Kirito is taking a back seat to his other half for the remainder of the arc. Excellent because as I said in the earlier posts, my image of Asuna crumbled because of how helpless she was made in the ALfheim arc and that feeling lingered even after that so I was hoping there was a chance she could be redeemed. The image she had of Zekken falling apart as she turned out to be a girl was hilarious and I felt sorry for Kirito getting the evil eye right after. Jealousy is such an ugly thing. The fight was great. The one thing this series doesn’t hold back on is the animation.

  5. Foshizzel says:

    Asuna’s mom = worst mom

    The fight was cool ill admit, but the rest for me was zzzzzzzzzzzz

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