Sword Art Online 2 – 23

SAO 2-Sharing a moment

Asuna shares something with her mother that she never really thought about

spring14-highwI get the penultimate episode of SAO, and not just because I like to make posts with ‘penultimate’ in them. And that’s probably good, because this was pretty much the last episode, as far as anything happening.

School Days

SAO 2-Setup

Can’t have an episode without Kazuto

After the big emotional moments of last week, this week was kind of a reward episode. A reward for us to see Asuna and Kazuto give Yuuki her chance to go to school, and a reward for Yuuki for being herself. Maybe it’s because we’ve been led to believe that this school is special in its ability to deal with people in special circumstances, such as having been trapped in a video game for 2 years, but they do handle the specialness of Yuuki very well, welcoming her as a new student and inviting her back any time.

SAO 2-Yuuki in school

I really liked this one, with her change into a uniform

There were a couple of things that I thought were kind of odd, tho, and maybe this is me projecting a little bit too much from what we have now, but we do have telepresence ‘robots’ now, which are ways for people to have a physicality in one place while they are in another place. Sure they are usually screens on sticks with wheels, or look like a folding chair, but I’m kind of wondering why, if this is technology that we have in 2014, why wouldn’t they have something the same, if not more advanced, in 2025? Although that would lose some of the closeness of Asuna and Yuuki, it would make that up by allowing Yuuki be her own person, something that I think would have been impactful. The other thing that I kind of wish they hadn’t done is use the skeuomorphic transistor radio speaker sound with Yuuki’s voice from the camera unit in the school. I liked that they got rid of it later when it was just Asuna and Yuuki talking, but they should have not had it in the first place, because I found it anachronistic and unnecessary.

SAO 2-The House

Saying “goodbye” to a place.

The scene at Yuuki’s former house was nice, a good wind-down, and a good way of using Yuuki’s new freedom to do something that is somewhat regretful but still emotionally necessary. It also helps cement the closeness between Asuna and Yuuki. I didn’t think that it was a situation where Yuuki was being overly sentimental, nor that she was saying goodbye to life. She realizes that she doesn’t have that much time, but this was more of the house going away than Yuuki going away (I find it interesting that houses in Japan pretty much only depreciate, completely losing their value in about 30 years. That’s why the house was going to be knocked down to sell the property). I do think that Asuna would marry Yuuki if she could, and if she didn’t already have a husband, but it was played off very well. And the message about Yuuki’s mother in remembrance dovetailed nicely into the thoughts Asuna has about her mother, and the realization that they are both talking past each other, or in Asuna’s words, they don’t hear the other. They see the other person talking, but they don’t hear. I took this from Asuna to mean that she accepts her part in the lack of meaningful communication between the two of them, and it gives her the impetus to try to fix it.

SAO 2-Yuuki and Asuna

This is much closer than it might look 

Fighting by Not Fighting

SAO 2-Asking for a favor

Convincing in her own way

I think that given the way that the show is, where disagreements end up with swordfights and gunfights, heroic maneuvers and unrealistic feats of strength, it’s noteworthy that Asuna’s ‘fight’ with her mother is not what anyone would consider a fight at all. More of a play to sentimentality and an appeal to emotion, when her mother agrees to let her talk to her within the world of ALO, she is able to use the similarity between Kirito and Asuna’s house and her mother’s childhood home to show that she has a goal that is just as acceptable as her mother’s goals. And that while her mother was ambitious and results-driven, Asuna is able to show that there are other results besides personal success and accolades that can matter. I think it helps that she doesn’t minimize her mother’s accomplishments, and while it could have backfired using her grandparents as examples she wanted to emulate, Asuna is able to get her message across to her mother, along with taking advantage of the emotional interpreter in the game. That may have been a little bit of a home-field advantage, bringing her mother to a place where she can’t use her usual stoicism to prevent an emotional reaction like crying, and I can see where it could have backfired, had her mother rebelled against the emotions, but it does work, getting the point across.

SAO 2-Realization

Mother’s realization


As I said, this was a bit of a wind-down / wrapup episode, dealing with the Yuuki-going-to-school plotline and the Asuna-and-her-mother plotline. Both are handled fine, and I didn’t find either one too predictable or clichéd. It certainly wasn’t as emotional for me as last week’s episode, with the tears on screen kind of forestalling my own, but it was a nice ending. Of course, it’s not quite the end, and there’s another episode to go, but that is probably going to be a lot more of a victory lap kind of episode, since this was more of the ‘cruise to the checkered flag’ ending. It’s certainly not unlike this series to do that at the end, and the first series ended with a big party in the same vein.


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!
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

19 Responses to “Sword Art Online 2 – 23”

  1. Wanderer says:

    And that’s probably good, because this was pretty much the last episode, as far as anything happening.

    Show ▼

  2. skylion says:

    I can think of some general reasons not to have a robo-presence. One, they are clunky now, and no one likes them, so I doubt anyone are working on them in 12 or so years. Two, you would have focus on the robot, which would take some focus of Yuuki. With just the camera and the voice, your sense of closure is trying to anthropomorphism. They probably ended up creating more sympathy for her.

    As for the voice…it’s expected. And if it would have been a real voice, disembodied, it would venture into Uncanny Valley territory.

    I was thinking the exact thing you were, how Asuna used the childhood home gambit. Despite their differences, she knows her mom better than she thinks. Plus your happy when your kid thinks highly of your parents.

    As for the house, I think of it as her saying “This is where I once lived. And now it’s being torn down” she is at peace with her passing.

    As for not much more happening? I’m spoiled, and will leave it at that….

    • Highway says:

      Well, they did have a ‘real voice, disembodied’, when it was Asuna talking to Yuuki. And when Yuuki was reading in class. So that’s why I didn’t really care for the different EQ the other times, because it was a haphazard switch back and forth.

      • skylion says:

        Yes, that was a fumble….

        • skylion says:

          No..wait. Yuuki was reading to herself inside her own Full Dive environment…they choose not to make that available to the outside world. As for her talking to Asuna…it really had to be like that…

          • Highway says:

            No, there were plenty of times that we were looking at Asuna talking to Yuuki, and Yuuki talking back without the EQ. Even when she was reading, and we were looking at the class listening to her, they didn’t use the EQ. But then sometimes when Asuna talked to her, and when the rest of the class talked to her, they did use it.

            It was annoyingly (to me) inconsistent, and unnecessary in the first place.

    • JPNIgor says:

      Besides, it’s a high school project. It’s not like they would have the resources to make a working, independent robot for Yuuki in such a short time.

      • Highway says:

        I’m talking about the ones that already exist, in our time 10 years before this show. Yes, they’re expensive now, but I’d think that it might be worth having around.

        • skylion says:

          To me the technical feasibility is not so much the issue. A robot is a robot and it draws it own attention. The focus should remain just on Yuuki, and a bot just splits the focus…

          • JPNIgor says:

            Well, robots are actually feasible in SAO’s timeline. So much so that (this is a minor spoiler) the next arc features one robot being developed. It is the first of its kind, one that can move like a person would and could store some kind of consciousness to make it move like a person. So far where I’ve read, they were having big problems with it’s development, so it’s not like robots became the big thing by 2025, it’s most likely just a little more advanced.

            • skylion says:

              I feel the discussion is falling into the Where is my Flying Car area.

            • Di Gi Kazune says:

              Just transplant her consciousness into a cybernetic body if they have all the knowhow.

            • Wanderer says:

              @ Di Gi Kazune:

              As it so happens, they don’t, so they can’t.

            • Di Gi Kazune says:


              Useless buggers! Have all this funky technology as they waste it on making games for to create SuperJesusKirito instead…

  3. BlackBriar says:

    A good follow-up from last week’s episode. At least now Asuna and her mother can see eye to eye and she can stop looking like an oppressor, even though such an appearance wasn’t her intent. Asuna is in the clear as long as her grades hold up. However, I wonder how she plans to introduce Kirito to her parents later on. That I’d like to see.

    Though she’s found an outlet, it bums me a bit to see Yuuki not fully being able to attend school. Good for her that Kirito and Asuna were able to offer some kind of comfort to her.

    • Wanderer says:

      It’s not just fear of infection that keeps her in that room. When the doctor says her condition is terminal, he doesn’t mean she can just keep functioning like a normal person until one day she’ll suddenly die. Yuuki’s body is breaking down. She is blind and deaf. She cannot walk. She cannot move her hands to write. Not only can she not get out of bed, she is literally incapable of surviving out of it. Her body is a terrible prison of dying flesh surrounding a soul that is so incredibly full of life that it brings tears to my eyes just thinking of the manifest unfairness of her situation.

      It is impossible for her to physically attend school. 🙁

Leave a Reply to skylion