Posted on 2 September 2012 with categories: Sword Art Online

This was actually really good. Thew best episode of Sword Art Online since the first, and the creators are starting to use the build-up provided by the earlier episodes. Due to showing these episodes first, at least we did get a good feeling of who the characters are, rather than jumping right in and this episode made really good use of that. I just have to ask one thing here:

Kirito, for god’s sake stick with Asuna. Become a couple. I really liked that part in this episode, however it will become rather pointless if he’s going to be flirting with another girl next episode. I mean, he can still interact with them and all, but I’d hate to see more and more girls falling in love with him. just focus on his relationship with Asuna. The problem with these earlier episodes was that they showed Kirito developing a relationship with a girl, then moving on to the next, and then to the next… and it just wasn’t written well enough to make all of them count. With more time given to Asuna however, they did a very good job of showing the relationship between them develop.

One thing I missed here was a look into the mindset of that one commander who just showed up from out of nowhere on a place he had no business being on. Him just charging into battle seemed very out of character based on the description that was given of him just a minute earlier. He would have been completely dead by now if he always acted like in this episode.

Oh, and Yuki Kajiura came with a background tune that sounds actually different from her previous works. It’s still choirs and strings like her trademarks, but the choirs were very different from the ones she used in the past few years, and just that touch gives these songs a very different atmosphere that to be honest, fits this show much better.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

47 Responses

  1. Cytl says:

    Good episode. The action was nice and the plot moved quite well (although I admit that commander was just fodder); even the changes made from the original source ended up looking good (or even better). Finally I’m starting to enjoy this show by itself.

  2. elior1 says:

    just to tell you there is going to be one final side story in episode 11 and 12 with a girl which will be big part of the main plot also she wont be like thos who was fall in love in kirito she will be diffrent and by diffrent i not mean tsundere or yanadree.she will be somthing else

  3. AidanAK47 says:

    There really is something I would like to say here but can’t because it’s a spoiler. But even if I do say it I feel the later novels negated it making you actually correct. Honestly it’s the thing that put me off the novels after the first one and has been annoying me ever since.
    Which brings me back to the point that they should have just animated the SAO stories and not try to squeeze in ALO as well.

    That said this was a good episode. No complains here. And I finally got a Song from the SAO soundtrack that I want to download.

  4. Kaiser Eoghan says:

    I must be the only one here that didn’t think this episode was all that, an improvement yes, but I felt it took too long to get to the fight bit and I can’t help but feel that while Asuna was thankfully involved in the action in the end the episode just should she’s a vehicle to make Kirito, who gets the last attack in look cooler.
    It seemed like the boss fight itself was going to be a huge deal but Kirito pretty much easily trashed it in the end.

    • Carbine Gammaximon says:

      Well, I’m not sure we would have gotten a 2-parter for this boss, between the action and all those minutes cashing in on flashbacks. that would have been awesome.

      PS: Thinking again, the portrayal of this episode’s boss was enjoyably threatening. Look at the way Kirito and Asuna fled in terror! I laughed so hard!!

    • Jalapeno Bagel says:

      actually, I also agree, although not for the same reasons. i thought the direction in this episode was a little lackluster. animation was ok, but it was poorly paced imo and didn’t have any real stand-outs even though this was a boss fight. i don’t know how closely it followed the novel, but it did feel like there were gaps in the episode that made it feel somewhat rushed, which i suppose is coming from the supposed inclusion of the ALO arc. yuki kaijura’s music here was different, but felt pretty underwhelming for a scene where everyone’s lives were at stake.

  5. Carbine Gammaximon says:

    Hell yes! My patience with this series has paid off! All that eye candy and cashing in on flashbacks for buildup. I saw it coming but I honestly never chose to mind since Blood C.

    As for the commander, I gotta ask what were the soldiers thinking? How could they follow such a leader? Other than that, I think the adaptation per this episode was spot on.

    I’m not sure how many episodes are left, but if the series is 12 episodes (ANN) I’m very worried how this would end, given where the story is in the anime and comparing with the manga.

    • Scruffy says:

      It’s 2 seasons but to be honest I’s a pity it’s not only 1 as the next arc has the lamest bad guy .. I mean like Accel World lame :( Pity really as It’s putting me off watching the show.

      • Kaiser Eoghan says:

        If this episode was pulling out the best and theres another short story on the way and an arc with a poorly done villain I think by next season I’ll not have time for this show.

        • Scruffy says:

          I wouldn’t mind if they skipped novels 3 and 4 (the AOL story) but unfortunately I think they need them for some important developments. The later novels are much better IMHO so if it got a second season then that would be good.

  6. UltimateReaper says:

    By far one of the best episodes so far.
    Am I the only one who didn’t think the commander was out of character?
    Arrogant, fight fight type of guy, but yeah, weren’t they supposed to be becoming stronger and laying low?
    Actually the development in this episode felt a little rushed
    But I know that its been like what 2 years?
    In which case everything is moving along rather smoothly story wise
    Well I’m enjoying this, lets hope the momentum isn’t lost in the next arcs

    • Carbine Gammaximon says:

      True. But man did I enjoy it.

      Nitpicking: If Kirito cared about what would happen to the Army after seeing the boss himself, why did he hand over the map data so easily in the first place? Even though he would done later on, maybe he thought their common sense would kick in when they saw it (The Boss) themselves. if only he knew….

      • TheUltimateReaper says:

        He probably just didn’t want any trouble.
        One thing I have noticed (nitpicking as well)is that the fight scenes aren’t as fluid as they should be. I get a sense that everyone is standing in one place, that being said the fight scenes themselves have some great production value.

  7. Carbine Gammaximon says:

    Am I the only one who was asking myself how could asuna hug kirito for so long and not say anything while kirito and Klein we talking? 2 minutes!

    • nandab says:

      I was actually thinking the same thing…
      Overall this episode had that same cliche, I mean, Asuna and Klein later did nothing else besides watching Kirito… I would actually like to see some action with real teamwork…

  8. Bunny says:

    It was good but seriously it was so cheezy when they showed you his health bar after the fight and it was on like 1%.

    • Lex says:

      Haven’t you ever defeated a boss on the verge of a wipe? If you play MMO that is. Fighting, fighting, fighting. The healer’s mana depletes, healing subsides, the monster enrage more and more, becoming stronger, stronger, dealing more and more damage. You see the boss HP bar showing 5%, 4%, 3%, 2%, 1%…. The tank goes down. The boss starts rampaging towards a group of DPS, slashing, scattering the flimsy rogues, archers and mages in the air. It’s a matter of seconds before the entire party is annihilated, and finally the boss dies.

      So maybe it is a bit convenient, but there are basically two outcomes of any battle: victory and defeat. It is a massive difference between winning and losing. Of course you can win easily or be far outmatched, but overall. Now, could Kirito lose this battle? Sure, he would be dead.

      The bosses aren’t that powerful, the reason that the players don’t take on the bosses with smaller groups are … well, permanent death. So they have a huge wall of tanks, with the DPS dealing quite a bit below the threat threshold, slowly and safely dwindling the bosses. Think about it, from a game designer perspective. They can’t create a boss that would require 5-6 wipes in order to learn the boss, obviously, there would be no front-line players left. Of course the bosses are harder and harder, more and more special attacks, but overall it is fairly balanced.

    • Taara535 says:

      wow I thought it was very well-done and very very tense. This is the first time Kirito was close to death in this series, and they did it wonderfully.

  9. Silty says:

    The anime did a poor job of explaining the combat system. The novel explained it really well by this point, so the following is not a spoiler.

    If you were wondering why:
    1) All the Army players were losing despite attacking at the same time.
    2) Kirito was soloing the boss and nobody else was helping him, yet he somehow still won.
    3) People sometimes “switch” in the middle of combat.

    The answer is that, it’s not like WoW where 25 melee characters can surround a boss and pound away at him at the same time – and yes, melee characters – note that SAO is practically all melee. Rather, SAO sword skills are designed in such a way that players will get in each others’ way if they try to attack at the same time.

    So, what happens is that players sometimes help each other out by taking turns engaging the monster – this is what is referred to by the “switch” in the middle of combat. And since the game focuses more on individual skill than teamwork, it’s more feasible to solo a SAO boss than a WoW boss.

    Still, I’m surprised how few of you had your suspension of disbelief shattered by the fact that Kirito managed to solo a boss in an MMO – I mean, those things aren’t usually meant to be soloable. For a moment, mine shattered too, but then I overanalyzed it and came to a conclusion SAO is much more solo-friendly than most MMOs, as far as game mechanics go.

    Also, most players who are still alive probably operate within a high margin of safety, because of the whole dying thing. And since Kirito’s one of the strongest players, he certainly has a fairly decent margin against regular monsters, even on the highest level that’s been unlocked so far. So it’s more like Kirito soloing a boss several levels below him.

    Heh, thanks for sticking with me so far. /endfanboyrant

    • edlar says:

      Soloing a boss is also possible in WoW. The one instance I know of was also done via a talent that was even more broken than Kirito’s dual blades.

    • Lex says:

      In some regards, yes. As long as you are able to avoid the most critical damage. Yet also remember there is no direct healing in the game. There are potions but they are healing-over-time and presumably break upon damage.

      One of the reasons they switch is also in order to heal themselves. Kirito however has battle healing, which should make him last longer in battle. Though only by a few percentage each second, if I recall they said 600 every 10 seconds, out of 14 700 HP, meaning 0.4% HP / sec. Not much.

      Also remember paralysis and the like, which is fairly solo-unfriendly. Unbalanced I would say, because honestly, a paralysis that last minutes is broken ;)

  10. eternia says:

    It’s amusing how that brigade of suicide guild is able to survive for two years, and reach floor 74.

    • Silty says:

      It’d make more sense if they explained more about the guild. I am guessing they will in a few episodes at the latest.

      • Carbine Gammaximon says:

        Now that you mentioned it, you’d think they would have made at least a reference or two to the army in any of the past 8 episodes before now. Quite frankly its inexcusable. Just foreshadow them passing and someone makes a side commentary before going on with the story. I feel they realized too late that there were a lot of things they needed to cram into one episode to move forward from buildup/side stories and in an ironic twist this episode in part suffered as a result.

        • Adigard says:

          We probably lost them in the time skips. And really, how important are they? A group that vanished from the front lines 50 some’odd floors ago only to re-appear now to lose to a boss?

          Yeah, inexcusable or not they’re just not that important to our character’s right now. If they are a re-occurring group and are important later on the show can detail them later on.

          Heck, we know almost nothing about Asuna’s guild, and they’re vastly more important to the storyline.

    • wahsatchmo says:

      In the novels, they explain that the Army traditionally hung out on lower floors after they lost a number of members fighting the boss on level 25. In fact, many of them reside on Level 1 as a sort of police force/communal government. It’s a guild with hundreds of members who usually fight in massive groups for protection. The “suicide” group was supposed to be their elite warriors, which was recently formed to return to the front lines. Obviously they weren’t as elite as they thought.

  11. meow says:

    I was pleased to see Lizbeth show up but kinda surprised too. This doesn’t happen in the novels. Also, she seems to refer to Kirito’s dual blades as “their” secret – which does happen in the novels but didn’t happen in the anime. Her earlier episode should have had an extended scene where she asks Kirito why he would be satisfied with Dark Repulser, as it’s abilities aren’t a great improvement over his current Elucidator and he was a one-sword wielder anyway. He wound up giving her a demonstration of Dual Blades, in exchange for her keeping it a secret. I guessed then that they wanted to save Dual Blades for dramatic effect this episode but it’s weird for Lizbeth to suddenly show up in the anime and talk about a secret they never had. I wonder if she’s back out of fan popularity. I wonder if any other previous surviving characters will make cameos too. Personally, I think it’s possible for Kirito to show Lizbeth his new ability off camera in her episode, maybe just showing some shadows on the wall and Lizbeth having an impressed reaction and leaving the audience guessing what just happened. It would raise the tension this episode too because the audience will finally get to see Kirito’s big secret. Just my two cents.

    Another thing I’m a bit concerned about is how Heathcliff is going to be portrayed. I was expecting a bit more dignity out of him as he’s a pretty important and hard-to-read character that is still being developed 9 novels later.

  12. RABUJOI says:

    Sachi was constantly afraid of death, Silica was the little sister figure, Yoruko was the murder witness with a hidden agenda, and Liz is literally swept off her feet. Asuna is the one girl Kirito has always considered an equal – not someone to save or protect. They work together and have great chemistry and are comfortable in domestic situations. Out of all the choices, Asuna is definitely the right match for Kirito, and we too hope he’ll stick with her.

    Our only qualm is why it’s such a big deal for Asuna to respectfully resign from the blood oath guild. Can’t she just tell the Commander “Sorry, but it’s not working out”? Or did she take an actual “blood oath” that she can’t back out of?

    • meow says:

      Unfortunately, she’s the 2nd in command of their guild, and being one of the clearing guilds, has a pretty important part in ending the death game and releasing everyone from their captivity. It’s a pretty heavy responsibility to shrug off on a whim. It’s not like she can’t but it’s sort of like the 2nd in command in charge of a major campaign suddenly deciding to drop everything and take a holiday halfway.

  13. Anca says:

    “If you win, you can have her.”

    What the-

    It’s because of crap like this that I strongly prefer Accel World.

  14. Kaiser Eoghan says:

    @Anca:It almost sounds like a line a character in a low-rent harem would say. Chauvinistic to say the least.

  15. raingod says:

    The Commander asked Kirito, who just killed a boss almost single-handedly, to a duel? Really? I have never read any of the light novels but that is stupid. Not brave-stupid but stupid-stupid. And where is Kirito’s auto-heal?

    Question. Is there any lifesteal sword/ability in SAO?

    • Cytl says:

      I read the novels but now that you mention it I do wonder what happened to his auto-heal; my only guess is that maybe it only works during battle. Also I think it works like every x-amount of seconds or so the red bar may have been like that during this lapse of time.
      About Heathcliffe (the commander): believe me, he is not being stupid (in any level).

      • ahhhh says:

        yeah pretty much this, healthclife is smart as hell.

        And accell wolrd over sao. . . I would agree untill they put that NTR’ing villain arc in -.-

        • raingod says:

          You can spoil it for me (but tag it for the others), Healthclife is stronger than Kirito? Then THAT would make me watch the next episode. A fight between two players is better than a player vs a computer character.

          • Juno says:

            Okay, then, but… big warning…

            *MAJOR ENDING SPOILERS BELOW!!! PLEASE DO NOT READ AHEAD IF YOU WANT TO AVOID SPOILERS FOR THE ENDING!!!*

            Heathcliffe is the boss of the final floor…

            *END OF MAJOR ENDING SPOILER!!! DO NOT READ ABOVE THIS!!!*

          • Anca says:

            Juno: it’s a bit hard not to read the spoiler even if you warn for it in caps – especially because you wrote the warning in caps and not the spoiler itself, making it hugely eye-catching.

            But it’s okay, I’ve already been spoiled.

  16. elior1 says:

    i think that yui story in episode 11 and 12 will be a bit hard to understend in the anime with all the computer and program stuff even in the novel it was hard to understend

  17. elior1 says:

    pepoles you better be prepred for episode 10 becouse kirito and asuna take their love to the next point

  18. I think this anime is overated. For me, The only good episodes of SAO are the Episode 1 and Episode 2, the rest are trash… The graphics (Animation) and fighting scenes (especially the Boss fight) are good but the story/plot is bad. SAO’s potential as a Virtual World MMORPG anime are limitless, you can come up a better story than the original one (especially about MMORPG things)… I have high hopes / expects many things about this anime but…well nvm…It’s not a bad anime, just an average anime for me….

    If you want to watch Sword Art Online episodes LiveStream, here’s the link:
    http://soul-anime.tk/Watch-Sword-Art-Online-Anime-Online.html

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  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 01:44 AM)
    Take Brothers, a tale of two sons for example. That game through it’s controls managed to make the player feel the same way as the character on screen. It’s difficult to explain without spoiling but it managed to provoke something deep with no text, dialogue, or visuals. No other medium, not Art, film or anime, can truly accomplish this.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 01:39 AM)
    @Yuumei, Art is usually used as pretentious term that the untalented use to make themselves seem smarter than they actually are.
    However if we are talking about whether Games and anime can provide thought provoking messages or experiences on the same level as film or art then I say yes. Definitely.
  • Yuumei
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 12:37 AM)
    What do you think about game and anime art? Is it art? For me, although I do work on such things, I consider them to be entertainment. Nothing more, nothing less. They’re not meant to provoke any thought, they’re meant to entertain.
  • Yuumei
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 12:31 AM)
    Hello, I couldn’t help but noticing your conversation on the state of art. What do you think of the state of modern art and art criticism? There’s been some crazy pieces people are calling modern art, like the man from Vienna who urinated, defecated, and masturbated on stage while singing the Austrian anthem.
  • Friend
    (Wednesday, Jul 23. 2014 07:26 PM)
    @Vincent Also, 4koma gives scanners a lot of work.
  • JaK
    (Wednesday, Jul 23. 2014 07:23 PM)
    because mos of them use one line gags and gags are a bit difficult to translate from Japanese
  • Vincent
    (Wednesday, Jul 23. 2014 07:16 PM)
    Why do scantalators take so much longer to scan 4koma??it makes no sense.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Jul 23. 2014 07:08 PM)
    @Jak: irk…wishful thinking on my part maybe sorry =< I was just so glad to see more of it.
  • JaK
    (Wednesday, Jul 23. 2014 06:54 PM)
    emma isnt that just a fluke? xD it gets a new chapter released like every 8 months and then the group forgets it the series is already past 100 chapters in raw form
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jul 23. 2014 03:39 PM)
    @Kero, try watching the 90′s english dub of Sailor moon. Then you will know true annoyance.
    Usagi is an annoying character anyway so it doesn’t matter how nice the voice actress sounds.

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