Posted by psgels on 27 August 2012 with categories: Sword Art Online

So, the main storyline has begun. But does that also mean that this show has gotten better? Well, slightly.

I had my problems with this episode, but what I liked about it was that it further developed the relationship between Kirito and Asuna. It’s actually good that they spend a bit of quality time together, and this was done better than with the other girls Kirito met so far, on top of just being good build-up.

However, the one who is responsible for translating the novel storyline into the anime storyline needs to pay more attention to detail. I feel like this episode left out some key parts in understanding the characters and a few things in this episode didn’t make any sense because some key parts have never been shown. They’re small bits of details, but take for example the point at which Kirito enters Asuna’s house and is impressed with how expensive this is.

Now, I’m actually very interested in the story behind this, because it doesn’t really make sense from the perspective of an MMORPG: Kirito solos bosses and is constantly improving himself. Any loot or money he takes is something he gets to keep for himself. And knowing MMORPGs and boss drops, he can probably get quite a bit of money by just selling all of the rare high-level stuff he finds that is inaccessible to the people of lower level. Asuna and her guild meanwhile may kill more monsters together, but I do doubt whether they kill more monsters per person than what Kirito does. So how do they make money? Escorts? Taking on paid jobs from lower level members?

I also have a few complaints about how Kirito’s relationship with Asuna was handled. The scene with that one night was just cheap. It already started off clichéd with that random boob-grab, but even then: he just randomly starts acting possessive, without giving us the chance to see why he does this, especially considering how this guy is probably amongst the oldest people in the game, they just blow it off as stress, but to me this just feels like another one of those “punk”-scenes. You know, the scene where the cute girl is attacked by punks and has to be saved by the lead character for a bit of drama? I feel that the creators are actually doing a pretty good job on the acting for Kirito and Asuna, but this guy was really badly portrayed.

On a side-note: I just realized something: next season, A-1 Pictures will be likely working on six different shows at the same time: Fairy Tail, SAO, Uchuu Kyoudai, Gyrozetter, Magi and From the new World. That’ll be interesting to see if they can handle it.
Rating: 4.5/8 (Good)

26 Responses

  1. Jalapeno Bagel says:

    on the difference between money from Kirito and Asuna, I’d assume it gets explained in the novel but I’d think that it’d probably be precisely because their positions are very different.

    Being a solo-player certainly means that Kirito gets to keep all the loot for himself, but it’s probably also harder for him to tackle dungeons because he’s alone. because of that, he probably spends a lot more money on support items and equipment than Asuna. since Asuna is part of a guild (and one of the higher-ups), she probably receives support from a larger variety of members/contacts than kirito does. that and, probably like you said there’s also the possibility of side-jobs. it’s like trying to compare a high-level executive in an enormous, successful company with that of a talented freelancer.

    • Freedert says:

      Yup, I mostly play solo in mmorpg so I kinda understand, I spent a lot of my money on potions, since I don’t have cleric to support me or anyone to help me if I’m being after by many monsters. And also I could done less quest alone than anyone in group. Which means a lot since most of the money comes from quest.

      • meow says:

        Agreed. He winds up spending a lot on consumables that could have been saved if he was working in a team. I think he also has to spend more on overpowering his equipment to help make up for having to fight solo. Not only does he have to spend on enhancing his current equipment, he usually needs to get better equipment crafted like the way he got Dark Repulser. Ordinarily, it would cost a pretty penny. Asuna, always fighting as part of a team, has more leeway. Even her cooking skill is actually very unusual for a front line fighter because players have a limit to the number of skills they can have and usually they’d want to fill all the slots with skills that would help them in battle. In the novel, when Kirito first heard that Asuna had mastered her “Cooking” skill, his first thought was: “She’s an idiot.” ^^

  2. Bunny says:

    Psgels-didnt you just feel so cheated when they didnt even show you what the meal asuna made looked like.

  3. Raggers says:

    Since this was part of the actual plotline rather than just a side story this ep felt a lot more solid to me. Nothing standout brilliant, but it was a build-up episode so I’m hoping the rest of the series can actually become something good.

    PS. I think the first month or so – seeing everyone try and survive – should’ve been the first 7 eps to introduce us to the world, and the side-stories included as specials in the BD releases.

  4. Ben says:

    A-1 pictures is only did the fairy tail movie, statelight does the series.

  5. elbin says:

    so they actually stated that kirito has enough money to obtain everything asuna has. its just a choice he mad to not buy it. if want to rewatch it its during the scene where kirito sits in the chair after going into her house. he asks how much everything was and he says that he has just about that much right now.

  6. Cytl says:

    This episode felt so much better now that the series isn’t going by the episodic format, even with Kuradel (Cradil?) and his initial creeper act (which I find kinda realistic given the SAO’s setting). The next episode can be really good with the right direction and production values.

    • Carbine Gammaximon says:

      I sure hope so. Part of me cringes when I find an episode ends. I just felt it deserved 25 episodes where they could have fleshed it well instead of these episodic tease-like morsels.

  7. meow says:

    he just randomly starts acting possessive, without giving us the chance to see why he does this

    Um…it looked kind of obvious to me. Asuna was clearly intimidated and it got to the point of her getting manhandled. The point of the slowdown was to show Kirito had a brief window of opportunity to save her from the bully or be cowed into submission and allow Asuna to be taken away from him.

    I did find it kind of odd that Asuna would get intimidated in the first place though, after all we’ve seen of her so far. She’s no weak little girl and was the guy’s superior too. It’s not like the guy was the guild leader. Unfortunately, this scene got written in the novel waaaaay before most of the episodes featuring Asuna so far were developed. Yay, retcons.

    And as for the boob grab, I didn’t really have a problem with the concept per se. It’s a pretty typical anime cliche that kind of helps indicate that Kirito and Asuna are likely to become a couple. I did find it really odd that his arm and hand was missing from the shots of his face. I think they should have been visible. It felt like an animation error. Maybe that was meant to be the other arm/hand.

    I love the swordplay animation though. I hope there’s a lot more to come. And suddenly the rush of the past 6 episodes seems to have slowed down a lot. I was half expecting Gleameyes to get finished off this episode somehow, after what they did to Lizbeth’s arc. Hm…I get the feeling A-1 won’t be doing Fairy Dance next course after all.

    and this was done better than with the other girls Kirito met so far

    Agreed. I was a little disappointed in Lizbeth’s episode. I think they covered the bases (barely) and it was well performed but I would have liked that stew to have been cooked a little longer/better, if only so the audience could buy some of the depth of Liz’s emotions at the time. Kirito wasn’t quite as affectionate to her as he was in the novels and her sudden midair confession was a bit too rushed to swallow. On the other hand, maybe the creators wanted to establish that Kirito wasn’t interested in Lizbeth.

  8. UltimateReaper says:

    I’m late on everything lately. I did feel this episode was a bit more shallow, I literally rolled my eyes at the boob grab, and don’t get me wrong awkward situations don’t phase me but this was just contrived.

    It think really issue with this adaption is as you mentioned, so much detail is cut out. If it had shown Asuna running away from that pompous player I probably wouldn’t have rolled my eyes, I didn’t even realize that coming out of the portal that way wasn’t just her tripping for no reason until the other guy came through.

    All that being said I’m excited, the end left with story which finally looks interesting/actiony.

    Is anyone else minorly appalled with how much time has passed in SAO?

  9. makooo says:

    I’ve heard that the writer of the novel actually has very little experience playing MMOs, only to a casual extent. Small inconsistencies like the money thing are bound to appear with such a flaw. I was already upset with the 2nd episode killing off the blue haired guy after getting one-shot by the boss (I’m more upset that he refused to drink the potion and died for no reason at all), and then the guild Kirito joins getting slaughtered in the trap room. Why were they grinding in a place where monsters can one hit KO them?

    I find Asuna one of the most attractive anime girls ever, and I’ll happily watch more of this so long as people keep writing good doujins.

    • Longhaul says:

      Kuradeel(?) was overzealous to the point of stalking but his reasons were fairly obvious.

      Asuna is high ranking in that guild and by her own admission responsible for many people, making her a person of very high status to the point of having a title of sorts being associated with her. As such being her bodyguard would be a very important and respected job that is clearly taken seriously.

      Kirito is viewed by the playerbase as a shady individual being a beater, which would immediately put the bodyguard on alert. By wanting Kirito as her escort rather than her normal bodyguard Asuna basically gave him a huge slap in the face, effectively saying that he was inferior to someone of low status.

      The duel would allow Kuradeel to both prove Kirito was not worthy of escorting Asuna as well as remind Asuna of her position. It just worked out that Kirito was indeed stronger.

      • Longhaul says:

        ^^^ curious that was not supposed to be in reply to another post

        As far as the money thing goes, solo players in MMO’s tend to not be able to farm nearly as fast as a proper guild, and by having to kill fewer monsters for xp they would have a smaller pool of money earned.

  10. RABUJOI says:

    We weren’t bothered by Kuradeel’s behavior. He’s tasked with protecting a beautiful, famous young lady with mad skills – an honor and a pleasure. We’d be pissed if she dumped us for someone we considered beneath her, so it makes sense that he would.

    In all we’re pleased with how much this episode progressed Kirito and Asuna’s relationship. They’ve proven capable both in battle and in domestic situations, and share the ultimate goal of clearing the game and getting back to the real world.

    We’ll also be pleased if Lisbeth the blacksmith isn’t utilized as a love rival similarly to Zessica Wong.

  11. Anna says:

    A-1 Pictures has been pretty consistent thus far but…that IS a lot of series. And I’m slightly disappointed with the pacing of SAO

  12. ender650 says:

    Over the past few years A-1 has managed to keep their quality pretty high while increasing the number of shows per season/ per year. Im fairly confident they will be able to maintain their standards even while doing all those shows at once. Keep in mind that last season they were also doing a theatrical film which typically have better animation/ are more work.

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  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:21 AM)
    All thats left now is macross 7.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:20 AM)
    However this one begged to go on for more than just five episodes, come on now and it had the franchises penchant for weak villains. It doesn’t get me as emotional as do you remember love does, the characters of Macross plus were more likeable. Still its a step above Macross II and I at least had fun with it on an action level.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:17 AM)
    Thats Macross zero completed then, it was great to see the background arc/plot for this franchise, the pace is tight and the action is arguably the most immersive, well done of the Macross universe along with Frontier.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:33 AM)
    While Tatami Galaxy and Ping Pong were definitely sharp I felt that Kemonozume and Kaiba were more inventive.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:30 AM)
    Aye,it was the visual style of the film being so different from the norm that drew me in. Still out of Yuaasa’s stuff I found myself more taken with tatami galaxy.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:22 AM)
    I think creatively the anime industry has plateaued a bit by now, where we see more derivative stuff and there has a formed an almost universal “anime style” which hinders non-traditional voyeurism.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:18 AM)
    I love the tonal whiplash that the story goes thru and the then-impressive-and-new visuals. Both 4°C and Hifana take queues from the Kansai art and the underground graffiti styles that prospered in Japan after the 70’s. Parallel to the postmodern movement in the Western world, the new wave was more expressive than fine and you see its heavy influence on the manga and anime industry.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:14 AM)
    @Bam: It is at the last stretch on the film where it is at its strongest visually in my opinion.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:10 AM)
    @Bam: For only 100 minutes it did a decent enough job on its protaganist in any case.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:02 AM)
    Mindgame is amazing. It is as unorthodox as they come but not really pretentious. It’s pretty humble and does have an actual message and proper story arc, so it’s definitely not just random for random’s sake. The industry needs more Yuasa.

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