Posted by psgels on 23 September 2012 with categories: Sword Art Online

Oh come on, Sword Art Online. Are you really serious with this episode?

This isn’t Phi Brain, which has built itself up as being completely crazy.The setting you’re trying to build is a fairly believable one, so you really don’t get away with pulling such ridiculously stupid episodes like this.

So let’s see what all happened in this episode:
– The soldiers with no will to live of a few episodes ago came from the first floor and were sent there by this maniacal tyrant. Ok, makes sense.

– A woman who saw last episode’s display of swordsmanship requests Kirito and Asuna to help and save one of her comrades who is stuck in a cave without any weapons. This also is fair enough for a power struggle.

– When they arrive they find that he is trapped by some incredibly strong level 90 monster. First of all: why is that one guy still alive? Did the guy who took him there serve as a shield and did he find some sort of place to hide out in? I mean, that monster could have easily killed him in one swipe so I find that hard to believe. Also, what was that monster doing there, contradicting just about every rule established so far. There had better be some very good reasons for this. Also, why on earth did he take so long to warn Kirito&co. He started with that incredibly long greeting. Instead he could have yelled “watch out! Trap!”. And for that woman to not listen or even react to that was quite cringe-worthy.

– But the worst came when Yui suddenly pulled out god-mode powers and instantly deleted that thing. Let alone having her regain her memories at a very convenient time, the story of her being an AI monitoring program for player health just makes no bloody sense. Why on earth would you want to give her emotions like that? What on earth was the idea behind this? If people go crazy just show a cute young girl to her? What on earth?

– The biggest insult however was this: the story that Kirito and Asuna changed her because they shared some happy moments together. And apparently were the only ones in the ENTIRE GAME to do so. Are you really serious here? Are you really serious that they are the only successful couple in the bloody game? Did nobody else hook up? I mean heck. I knew that this show looked down upon the players that aren’t Kirito or cute girls, but I didn’t think that it was this bad.

– And Kirito, what on earth were you doing hacking into the server? How did you get a GM account, why didn’t you use this before and why are you powerful enough to override admin actions? Why did he know exactly what to do and why didn’t Asuna question this? And come on. The heart of an AI? Really?

For christ’s sake, if you’re going to have these twists, build them up or something. Hint that it’s possible. Don’t just randomly introduce them from out of bloody nowhere.
Rating: 2.5/8 (Disappointing)

59 Responses

  1. Mi-Mi-Mikuru says:

    did you watch this without subs? some of the things you complain about are explained (eg. the high level monster, the gm account)
    you should really stop watching raws if you don’t understand japanese.

    what i didn’t buy was the deep relationship those three shared, after knowing each other for what, 2 days? i guess that’s once again a pacing issue of this adaptation.

  2. Ransom says:

    Well, when attempting to animate without providing aditional insight into the novels, you end up with something like this. The novels explain that Kirito is actually very good with computer things, basically a high-level geek. Of course, this is never explained in the anime. And so, you end up like this. Yui relation with both Asuna and Kirito could have been better explained in the anime… Alas, it would have taken more time too.

    Finally, is not like Kirito and Asuna are the only happy couple in SAO, they just happened to casually be the ones that caught Yui attention… And the following is something that is more of my personal opinion: Those two are in their honeymoon and I know from experience that there is this sort of newlywed bliss thing that might last for a few weeks or even more depending on the couple. Basically, those two are in Bak-couple mode :D

    • Algent says:

      In the novel it also said nothing about the gm window showing the matrix, I expected a GU.

      Some of the things you blogged about are (poorly) explained, but it’s true this episode wasn’t great,
      All the last part of this short story in the LN had some issues with the writing and they aggravated them greatly.

    • mike says:

      If i remember, in first episode, kirito’s monitor shows some weird programing software. But true, it doesn’t tell us anything.

  3. Knuckers says:

    Yeah, I’m pretty confused because a majority of the things you complained about here since most were explained. The guy was literally in a “safe zone”, Yui used the GM account to delete the monster and Kirito just used it while it was still accessible, etc.
    My thoughts were more along the lines of “Wow, so they’re to the point where these people are adopting a program and plan to keep her after they get out of the game”
    I am happy that we got some insight into the workings of the game from Yui though.

  4. Pp1T says:

    You shouldn’t watch anime when sleepy. This comprehension/attention errors seems to be very common in your reviews.

  5. Zero says:

    One tip: Don’t complain about nonexistent flaws. If you’re going to complain, at least bother to watch the targeted show.

    – Sinker was in a safe zone, meaning an area where monsters can’t reach.

    – The group was in a dungeon, and all dungeons have a boss monster. «Fatal Scythe» was the boss of Black Iron Castle dungeon, obviously. It’s not contradicting any rules. The group was in a hidden dungeon underneath the Army Headquarters, not the first floor dungeon.

    – Yui didn’t pull out god-mode powers from no where. As explained, she tapped into the GM console to delete the boss. She’s able to do that because she’s part of the system.

    – Kirito didn’t have a GM account. Yui activate the console—Kirito just used it before it shut off. Using that, he turned Yui into an in-game item, hence we get her “heart.” Kirito also saved Yui’s data into his Nerve Gear, so he can tap into it when Aincrad is completed.

    – Kirito and Asuna aren’t the only happy couple. They are, however, only one of the VERY few. Aincrad only has a population of 6,000. Subtract from this all the “older” folk, the children, and the clearers who are rather busy. And then take into account the people who aren’t too trusting of others—after all, inventory is shared among couples. We get maybe 2,000. As already explained, being a action-based MMORPG, there are very few females. I’d say the out of the 2,000 , only 250 of those are friends with someone of the opposite sex. And then only maybe 100 actually possess feelings for the other. Don’t forget, these feelings have to be reciprocated. In the end? a possible 25 couples.

    • Someguy says:

      But how did thinker get through the hallway with the level 90 monster in the first place? From my understanding, that monster would be powerful enough to one or two shot anyone. Also, Yui saving them in the last minute came around as a terrible deus ex machina. There was just no reason for her to be an AI in the first place. And that melodrama moment with her after that was also very rushed and uninteresting, as I simply didn’t care for the characters. And I’m pretty sure the show clearly states that she choose Asuna and Kirito because they were different from the other players.
      Overall, this episode was very rushed and really showed how much those filler episodes (from 3 to 8 if I’m not mistaken) hurt the series. Swaping some of them for some character development or story progression would certainly have helped.
      I ended up writing too much, sorry for the wall of text ^^’

  6. Ruka says:

    Well… I don’t care to much for the episode rating because the watcher clearly understand most of the episode.Zero said all the things that you didn’t understand, and… Saving someone in a dungeon or some player is not “bad twist” at all. Unexpected things happen in MMO… And c’mon, some geeks/nerds that play MMO know a lot of computer things, Yui left the GM account open and Kirito used it a bit JUST TO get “Yui’s heart”. If he was some God Hacker probably he would do more “game breaking” things.
    About the feelings of Asuna and Kirito with Yui… Well, if you don’t put yourself in the character’s skin you won’t get it at all.

  7. Ruka says:

    *the watcher clearly didn’t understand*

  8. UltimateReaper says:

    Dude I thought this episode was great.
    Dude nearly everything here has a proper explanation.
    Dude.
    Really?

    • Aidanak47 says:

      Hahahahahahaha…..hahahahaha…….hehehehehehe
      …..Ah….that was just classic. “This episode was great”…hehehe.

      • UltimateReaper says:

        I’m not really sure how to say this but you no longer exist to me.

        • AidanAK47 says:

          Then why are you replying to someone who doesn’t exist? It’s a sign of insanity for someone to talk to themselves.

          • Kamen Grinder says:

            You’re actually a pain in his ass he just can’t ignore.

          • Hououin Kyouma says:

            Yes, I think you’re a pain, too. He just said he “thought”(personal opinion) and then again there are some explanations dismissed for the sake of quality. It’s not that groundless, his opinion.

  9. Paralytix says:

    @UltimateReaper

    This episode sucks to the core. I say episode 3 was still the best episode.

  10. kenzie says:

    lmao at all the fanboys’ butthurt comments.

  11. Vicious says:

    Lately, from the time E7AO turned into a trainwreck and on, I’ve been kind of disagreeing with reviews in here.
    This episode was far from perfect, it had a lot of flaws, but it wasn’t as bad as it’s ranked either.
    The score feels even wronger when the last episodes of E7AO are ranked so high, and that seeing that E7AO has peaked down awfully in technical and storytelling terms…

    • Vicious says:

      PS: I feel this episode was so 2.5/8 as the last two E7AO episodes, and by that I mean disappointing.
      PS2: But at least it still hold technical quality.

  12. Spike says:

    Pretty obvious you and some of the other bloggers either know only very basic Japanese or just aren’t paying attention probly due to your bias since you’ve seemed jaded the past few episodes. Pretty much all your complaints were answered somewhere in the series.

    Yui was created to be a ‘friend’ that players would have before they ‘lost it’ like many players did and commited suicide / PKed / and all the other screwed up things that some players experienced. She is meant to think and feel like a normal player since an NPC isn’t going to be very comforting. On launch day, the system said – nope don’t do what you were created to do, just watch. Picture a normal person having to ‘feel’ the negative emotions of 10,000 people. Yui was broken by that weight but seeing the 2 TRULY happy ppl on the server changed her (a bit cheesy). All this was pretty clearly explained…

    • meow says:

      Difficulty believing that Kirito and Asuna are the only two happy lovers in the game. The flower level episode was full of happy-looking couples. And in several towns, there looked to be a lot of people who were having fun. Yes, there are badly broken people that could have traumatized Yui too but I think the animators missed a chance to correct a flaw in the novels. Maybe they were the closest ones to her at the time…? That level 22 area where Kirito and Asuna had their house looked like a peaceful no-monster zone.

      • sorcerer says:

        All “happy-looking couples” were NPCs.

        • Sta says:

          The problem here then would be a lack of understanding about AI. AI’s can’t learn or feel they simply process.

          In the apparent understanding or showing of emotions – the AI is just using a Markov Chain to gain statistical data which is then parsed through the computer’s pseudo-random number generator to produce probable reactions.

          Therefore AI’s don’t understand anything but just computes based on past data a probability based action – It is impossible for an AI to “break” just because the data is negative. If the data is within the programmer’s expected input values (which it is) the program would have no trouble with the input.

          To be fair – a good deal of things in SAO are frankly impossible and unlikely – even if VR on the MMORPG scale existed.

  13. wicked says:

    I cant really tell anymore, I’ve been blindsided by too many AO twists

  14. Aidanak47 says:

    It is true that you weren’t paying attention Psgels. However this episode is pretty bad and while explained the explanations still were kinda stupid. I don’t care if Kirito was hacker Jesus, to be able to create an item like that, when he has not had any computer contact in two years, with an unfamiliar system, and pulling it off in a span of a few seconds with some typing. That’s just ridiculous. Also how did that guy manage to end up in trapped in a safe zone right beside the boss? I mean literately, how? That boss nearly killed Kirito and Asuna in one shot, so how did some low level, unarmed guy manage to get past him? Even if he was put down there it doesn’t make sense.
    And Yuki, this really is your weakest OST.

  15. dsa says:

    Sword art online, is fun.

    But not a solid series.

  16. FUCK YEAH.

    Finally I can fullheartedly agree with you, psgels! ^_^
    That episode was so horrible, that I laughed, cried and bumped my head against the wall! All at the same time!

    R.I.P GOOD TASTE I WILL MISS YOU.

  17. meow says:

    The soldiers with no will to live of a few episodes ago came from the first floor and were sent there by this maniacal tyrant. Ok, makes sense.

    Actually it would make more sense from the novel. I was kind of hoping the animators would find a way to flesh out the Army a lot better than this but they didn’t so let’s see if I can. NOVEL SPOILERS ABOUT THE ARMY

    The Army was formed around the beginning of the game by Sinker(Thinker?). I don’t think they were called the Army back then but basically like it was explained this ep, Sinker tried to get everyone to cooperate together and share information and resources with as many people as possible to clear the game. They’re the largest guild in the game and maintain the prisons and some semblance of law and order and used to be very active in the front lines and often monopolized fields and hunting zones. However, I don’t know if it’s mentioned but every 25 levels, the boss monster becomes incredibly powerful, far more than previous boss monsters. The 50th level boss basically wiped out most of the Army’s frontliners and this caused the Army to decline. The small team that Asuna and Kirito saved a few episodes ago were remnants of the Army trying to maintain their image of trying to clear the game but they’re a shadow of what they used to be as they’ve had to try to rebuild/regrind from lower level members. This is why Kibaou was able to take power from Sinker. Sinker btw is one of the mature characters in the game, an editor of an online games news site called “MMO Today” which Kirito used to read to keep up-to-date on gaming news. All this got skipped in the anime’s rushed pace. >.>;

    When they arrive they find that he is trapped by some incredibly strong level 90 monster. First of all: why is that one guy still alive?

    That dungeon was actually not meant to be found. Like Yui explained, it’s an emergency access panel for Gamemaster use. That’s why it has a super-overpowered boss to keep players away from it. I do think it’s fishy how Sinker actually managed to get to the console room safely since the boss’s job is to keep people out but somehow he managed to. Well, normally players can’t access that panel but Yui, as an AI and part of the system can. And by accessing it, she got repaired but at the same time, got detected by the system as a rogue element after destroying the room’s defences. Btw, safe areas have been introduced before. Remember the scene where Asuna and Kirito first run away from the lvl 74 boss and get to a room where they sit down to have lunch? There are safe areas like that where no monsters can enter for players to catch a breather. Btw, Red/Orange Guilds often use safe zones like that as shelters/bases since they can’t enter towns after getting Orange status from attacking other players.

    But the worst came when Yui suddenly pulled out god-mode powers and instantly deleted that thing.

    She’s meant to be a part of the system that can offer limited psychological support to troubled players when GMs aren’t available to handle these cases hands on. She has console/root access, you could say. Best analogy I can think of is console commands for games like Oblivion, Mass Effect or Fallout 3. She can summon and delete game objects, probably teleport to any zone in the game and has access to players’ emotional state of mind through their links to the system. That’s how she can tell when people are lying or not and more. Btw, there may be more than one entity in the game with AI. When we first meet Yui, she’s badly damaged, unable to remember her original functions and acts like a baby. Also, it’s her damaged state that caused her programming to be altered so she would connect to Asuna and Kirito the way she did. Undamaged, she would remain more or less true to her original programming. Think of Cz from Scrapped Princess or Video Girl Ai. Certain events affect her and seem to unlock her abilities. Asuna saving those kids apparently caused her to be able to read mental states again. And finally, touching the GM control panel (which the animators really should have given the audience a glimpse of) repaired her enough to regain her memories and enough functionality to delete the boss monster.

    The biggest insult however was this: the story that Kirito and Asuna changed her because they shared some happy moments together. And apparently were the only ones in the ENTIRE GAME to do so.

    Agreed here. I have a hard time believing it too. Maybe the damage to her programming limited her ability to read minds until coincidentally, she ran into the happy Kirito and Asuna in the woods, which acted as a salve. She was supposed to be locked up in the system yet she manifested herself in the woods. I think it was just a giant coincidence that she happened to find two happy people among all the tragic ones that had broken her before. Not well explained in the anime, sadly.

    And Kirito, what on earth were you doing hacking into the server? How did you get a GM account, why didn’t you use this before and why are you powerful enough to override admin actions? Why did he know exactly what to do and why didn’t Asuna question this? And come on. The heart of an AI? Really?

    Yui unlocked the account before disappearing so Kirito had a brief window of time to access the console try to salvage Yui’s data into his local Nervegear storage space (apparently, it has one. ^^;). Brief window (see how he got thrown backwards?) so his only objective at the time was to save Yui from being lost for good. And yeah, the heart of an AI. Remember a certain other heart item from another episode? This is probably not the last we’ll see of Yui.

    Rushed, lack of explanation and build-up, a lot of suspension of disbelief moments. I miss Hyouka. T.T Nobuna just finished too.

    • elior1 says:

      about how kirito is so good with computers so suddenly it will explained after they will finish the game which will be very soon

    • hoiut says:

      Wow! Meow to the rescue with a gripping, in-depth missive on the founding, history, and functions of the Army (called the “Front” elsewhere, interestingly enough), as well as some fundamental insight into Yui’s nature. Kudos to you!

      I must say, the Army is certainly a great deal more interesting in light of your explanation than I was led to believe from the brief glimpses the anime provided. Quite a remarkable backstory for Thinker especially!

      • meow says:

        ^^;

        There’s actually more from the novels about the state of things in the Starting World, the home base of the Army. Basically it’s full of people who are terrified of dying from playing the game and are trying to stay safe in the safe zone of the starting town. So basically they’re all still level 1. They don’t even leave town and make do with doing safe quests inside the city like picking fruit from trees. It’s why Asuna’s scare tactics worked so well on the Army thugs. They may look like the guys Asuna saved from the lvl 74 boss but they’re probably just punks who have never fought a real monster before, not even the newbie mobs outside of town. And Sinker and his girlfriend/2nd-in-command Yuriel are mainly administrators in the organization so they don’t grind much in terms of levels. It’s really a miracle Sinker/Thinker survived his encounter with the terminal guardian.

        After this event, apparently they expelled Kibaou and his followers from the Army and changed it into a support organization for players and the inhabitants in the city, leaving the clearing to the current frontline guilds. We don’t hear from Kibaou after this again, at least so far.

  18. hoiut says:

    I think people are picking at psgels’ language a little unfairly. He probably means to question the following:

    – Why the boss was so high-leveled compared to the other monsters, which to the viewer’s knowledge has never happened before? Something unprecedented needs to either be accentuated properly or built up beforehand.

    – Why/how was Kirito able to use the GM terminal so quickly and effectively, when even GM’s in such games have no ability to access and compress core program data or modules (the extent of GM control is basic in-game item duplication, deletion, moving, and crowd control. Oh, and logging people out in various ways — hint, hint).

    – How is Kirito able to save game server data (Yui program) to his “NervGear” directly? Wouldn’t it go to his SAO save file on there instead?

    – Assuming this is the first/only window Kirito has ever had into the system, why would he get caught up in the moment trying to salvage program code instead of the myriad other tools at his disposal? If he has the ability to take ownership of core code required to clone, compress, and alter Yui into a game item, surely he could have corrupted or revoked the fatal “logout policy” long enough for a group suicide/expulsion.

    – The family building wasn’t developed enough in the anime to evoke the feelings it intended to.

    – Safe zone: yes, Thinker was in it. But the question is, how did both he and the tyrant manage to escape the boss long enough (unarmed in his case, maybe both of their cases) to reach/locate the safe spot without issue when they first arrived? Recall that the same boss nearly knocked out two of the game’s best players in full armor through their, um, 3-sword defense.

    – Why did she take on the form of a little girl? (Or, in item storage, a teardrop?) Why was she programmed to exhibit and express negative human emotion when all that would reasonably be required is to understand, parse, and address such emotion in a soothing way? Why was her module kept loaded instead of off or deleted? Why did she accumulate errors? (Interestingly enough, if she was forced to observe/”log” the huge amount of suffering, the log file could have gotten big enough to cause a buffer overflow she could then use to NOP-sled right over to shellcode and wrest control over herself from the calling function). In any case, little questions as to her identity can pile up.

    – Contrived convenience. Yui “happened” to single out the two main characters, “happened” to break the rules around them, “happened” to lose her memories immediately when found and immediately when convenient, “happened” to have a GM emergency terminal nearby she could access to delete a boss (instead of just taking advantage of her status as an immortal shield/diversion). The boss itself “happened” to be unprecedentedly overpowered compared to area monsters. And then Kirito “happened” to have leet enough skills to hijack the GM window that “happened” to be comprehensible to him and left open long enough (without verifying the avatar that used it) to save/copy/compress/shape-change her program (and ONLY tinker with that one program) to store it “directly” to his NervGear. All this because the Front vice-prez “happened” to catch wind of K&A still in town while the biggest event in her organization was occurring right underfoot at that very moment. And Yui (who looks just like a baby Sacchi) “happened” to beg and be allowed to tag along with them nonchalantly into an unknown-high-level secret dungeon rife with high-level ‘traps’ (the same scenario and lack of caution that Kirito conveniently forgets killed off his old guild…including “grown” Sacchi).

    But the shock value was high and the fight cool to watch — and really, what more do you really need in shounen? I’d say this episode as a whole was at least “enjoyable” despite a few logic shortcuts.

    • hoiut says:

      In light of meow’s post, I’m going to attempt to answer some of these questions.

      – “Why so high-leveled, boss?!” The entire dungeon was a secret area intended to hide the GM emergency terminal. Kibao (the tyrant) somehow stumbled upon it through dubious means when he probably wasn’t supposed to. The boss is overpowered to guard the terminal against any intruders.

      – “How was Kirito able to use it so well?! He ain’t no stinkin’ GM.” True, but apparently the terminal isn’t just a random matrix of numbers as the anime depicts. He’s not cracking in binary, he’s using a simple system human GM’s are supposed to be able to use (in addition to AI’s, apparently).

      – “So how was he able to copy, save, and compress server program files onto his NervGear directly?” No commento — probably a plothole (or just a simplification) on the author’s part.

      The level of “satisfaction” one might have with these answers aside, the other questions/issues remain unanswered/unaddressed. But that’s not necessarily a terrible thing.

  19. Arsalan says:

    This episode really annoyed me too. First the whole Parent/Child relationship with Yui. It went way too far, especially since for 99% of the time, they were under the assumption that this kid already had parents. After she was found out to be an AI and deleted, well that’s sad. However, they barely knew her! And Kirito copied her with his (sudden) unbelievably fast computer skills so they could raise an AI child after they get out? WTF. They just met this girl/AI!

    The other part that had me groaning hard was the existence of such an AI in the first place. If my psychological state isn’t so hot in game, running into a little girl AI is supposed to help? And why was she such an advanced AI? I mean shit, I know it’s the future, but damn. Also, she wasn’t even in use. Why not just have the process deleted from the get go?

    • wicked says:

      well, I dont think she was always supposed to manifest the way she did with these two, she was banned from interfering completely. At the very least she can stop people from killing themselves. The SAO system as a whole is self sustaining, and she seems to access multiple core functions, program still monitors players, just prevented to do anything with it.

    • meow says:

      It went way too far, especially since for 99% of the time, they were under the assumption that this kid already had parents.

      I kinda put it down to their newlywed mood. She and Kirito are kind of at a high point in their lives. And I really mean high. For the first time, this death game they’re stuck in has become something of a paradise where they can be together, to the point where they’re seriously considering not leaving and wanting to spend the rest of their lives in, even if their lives are considerably shortened. They have their own beautiful home, with a lot of good food to eat, have friends and possess what they need to thrive in their environment.

      I took Kirito’s question last episode about whether their relationship was only in-game to be quite realistic, in the sense that once they got out, everything would change. Kirito would be back to being a middle school gaming freak and Asuna, the daughter from a rich family. Likeliness of drifting apart and never seeing each other again are pretty high.

      If there would be one thing missing from their current bliss, it might be the ability to conceive. And hey, suddenly Yui appears, punching all of Asuna’s motherly instincts. (We don’t see much of Kirito’s reactions but he seems supportive.)

      The other part that had me groaning hard was the existence of such an AI in the first place.

      She’s an unusual case because she’s broken, which allowed her to evolve beyond what her creators meant for her. I think there are other AI around. The entire Cardinal system could be one giant AI too, but Yui was specifically created to emulate humans and, while broken, came to evolve into something closer to a human-like state. It’s her evolved state that allowed her to defy the system and, in doing so, sacrifice her own existence. It’s an old cliche from dozens of other sci-fis and the rushed pace of this story doesn’t help at all but there you go.

  20. Quick advice:

    How about spending your genius insight power and time more wisely by using it on series that aren’t totally screwed by the studio?

    It’s not only the “negative” aspects we saw this epsode that will be annoying the shit out of you in the following episodes.

    And what will happen?

    Exactly: You will question the waste of your precious lifetime on some poorly directed half-assed production.

  21. kazid33 says:

    Actually was a very good episode. Very solid and heart warming. I dont understand a lot of complaiments here either the “note” is like some guys have a grudge againts this series, is certain that the studio dont managed the source very well, is to rushed, but is neither bad, To me and to many people is already at the top of the animes of this year, and yeah for me, top to also to series like natsuyuki, Eureka, moyashimon, etc(except meaby hyoka I like to much that series) Please can you give a neutral treatment. I see a lot of nonsenses heaters here.

    • Dave S. says:

      I don’t have a grudge towards this series. I just really dislike poorly planned and executed anime, especially after they get your hopes up in the beginning, and it starts to turn into a big mess of cliche. Hey, I’m not saying you can’t enjoy it and that you’re the scum of the earth if you do. That’s not what’s going on at all. I just really dislike how the series is going. It’s not nonsense. And please don’t expect everyone to be all “Oh, I don’t hate anything. Everything is wonderful!” How bland this world would be if we all had similar opinions or never voiced different ones. But yeah, I agree there are still a lot of people who think this series is just enjoyable to watch if you don’t delve too deeply into the plotholes, but if you get butthurt reading comments speaking badly of SAO, don’t go to a critic blog because I feel like this series is really a you either hate it or love it thing.

  22. imredjimmy says:

    This episode wasn’t as terrible as 2.5 but it wasn’t good either. Yui was so freaking stereotypical annoying little over-cute girl. How did the guy manage to reach the safe zone without get killed first? Did he just run very fast?? Anyway, I don’t find Sword Art Online having any redeeming qualities. It’s not awful or terrible in any way, but it also doesn’t stand out either. The characters are fine, the actions is fine, the story keeps switching from awful, to fine, to kind of good to fine again. I’m giving this one last chance…although I’m not sure it deserves it.

    • Dave S. says:

      I think you summed it up really nice. It’s not cliche to the point of calling it absolutely terrible, but it’s nothing special either. It’s just kind of there, and I wish I could stop watching to save my time, but almost everything else that’s out right now is equally unremarkable or even worse. I’ll just go watch some older series now..

  23. rawr says:

    what you have to realize is that Sword Art Online is not an anime, it’s just a high-budgeted advertisement for the Novels. Once you’ve come to term with this fact, the anime becomes a lot more bearable to watch.

  24. Bunny says:

    I found it……………..boring :)

  25. Aquarion old fan says:

    Yui is GM, feel re-do your review…

    • meow says:

      Unfortunately, I don’t blame psgels for his reaction at all. I think this episode should have been able to depict more of the stuff I mentioned above, or at least, enough for easy inference, without requiring someone who read the novels to come in to explain things. I was actually intending to avoid discussion on SAO since I’ve already been spoiled by the novels.

      I wonder how I would feel about this anime production if I hadn’t read the novels.

  26. Alec says:

    They had a scene that felt shallow not long ago, now they have a scene that felt very shallow.

  27. Cheeseman says:

    psgels quality of review has been going downhill. Though I used to love reading his thoughts despite different opinions, not even getting his facts straight is beyond having a bias… For example, a while back there was an incident with the “clock” for Space Brother, but he realized his mistake. This time, although I would agree the anime probably wasn’t perfect at presenting the facts, but it was still there; an apology/redo of the review seems to be fair… A much better negative review can be found http://www.lostinanime.com/2012/09/sword-art-online-12.html IN FACT, I’ve found myself liking his reviews more, as it is more thought provoking, logical/coherent with solid evidence. Even though I personally like a number system for review, Enzo has demonstrated that one can still have a superior anime blog without number ranking. There are many other evidence showing psgels has been more bias and stubborn as his popularity soars beyond most other anime blogs. Hyouka got a production value of 9??? Seriously? What’s a more beautifully drawn anime recently? Eureka Seven Ao with that HIGH of a score? While I like the series it seems more of a trainwreck than Code Geass… You DO have the right to say whatever you want. You DO have the popularity and history to be respected. But there’s a limit to how much you troll the anime and the audience of this blog.
    Personally, I dislike this episode, but I would NEVER publish something in public with crapload of false accusations.
    Anyone who wishes to read more good blog on anime, I suggest you lostinanime. You might agree or differ in opinions, but that’s why reading/commenting on blogs are so fun, so long as they’re backed up by reasons.

    • psgels psgels says:

      Ohoho, you shouldn’t read some of my entries from a number of years ago. I might want to correct this entry, but I first want to catch up to the huge backlog I created from my holidays.

      What I don’t understand is why you suddenly grab Hyouka and Eureka Seven here. What do they have to do with Sword Art Online? Also, regarding Hyouka’s production values: I reserve the 9.5 and 10 ratings for series that do something really special with their animation (think Bonen no Xamdou, Casshern Sins, Fate/Zero). Hyouka’s animation was really good, but not good enough.

      • Cheeseman says:

        ohohoho, psgels actually replied! (half sarcasm, half genuine surprise in a good way) You’re right, I don’t think I would want to read your entries from a number of years ago, since some of those scores seemed to be inconsistent. However, when I found your blog about a year ago, it was good, really. The blog was updated constantly, and the posts were interesting.

        As for why I mentioned Hyouka and Eureka Seven here…those were just examples where I found the reviews were strange, which acted as evidence for my post why I think the quality of the blogs here are degrading. (I posted in SAO since this was the biggest blunder and I felt compelled to comment, which is pretty rare) There was no reason to post 3 times on different entries imo, but if you feel inappropriate, by all means take my post down.

        As for Hyouka, I believe it is in the same caliber as Fate/Zero (UTW BD) and Bonen no Xamodu (Thora BD), and I feel it is superior to Casshern Sins (Thora BD). It’s just different kind of style. If one examines Hyouka meticulously, one can see how much SUBTLE details are added to the world, even as minute as concrete dust making it so realistic. There were also some symbols, such as the last scene with the sakura. Those shaped more like hearts than the real things. Fate/Zero and Bonen no Xamodu are considered visual feasts, due to its epic settings, but Hyouka pulled something off differently and I thought for what it is, it deserved 9.5. I’m sure you have justifications for why they are superior, and I’m sure I would probably agree to a certain extent.
        So let’s assume you reserve 9.5 and 10 for the BEST of the BEST, so be it. But looking back at past reviews, most of production values were 8, 8.5, or 9…So how can you set Hyouka (or some other anime) apart? I believe some production values needed to be set lower, just so there’s a relative difference between the production values, since that is the whole point of a scale; and by no means it means the anime looks bad, it’s just doesn’t look as good as some other anime.

        Excuse my somewhat convoluted argument since I’m sort of sleepy now…and I wish I have the time to start my own anime blog, (e.g. for a proper argument above, I would also post the screenshot of the various scenes and tell the audience what’s the source for validity) …but due to time limitations, it’s almost impossible…which is why I’m so surprised you took some time off your busy schedule to reply. But author replies do make a difference in the blogs…lolz

        Anyway, I meant no harm and only wish this blog can improve instead of losing quality due to the cocky nature in all humans, which sometimes slip through our humble selves.

        * the last sentence probably didn’t even make sense… oh well…

    • Alec says:

      A little advertising probably won’t hurt

  28. Andmeuths says:

    It’s all about adaptation compression, arguably with a nasty bit of adaptation decay thrown in. The way I see it though, Kawahara WAS intending to publish more volumes after the second got greenlighted, so this was one of the side stories that paved the way for the next arc to make sense. This wasn’t in Volume 1, but in Volume 2’s Side Story compilations IIRC.

    From here on out, the narrative becomes completely cohesive, instead of jumping from place to place as had happened in the first Nine Episodes.

  29. RABUJOI says:

    - We’re fine with the Army being big and corrupt, but run by Kibaou? Honestly we barely remember that guy, but weren’t in any hurry to see him again. Now it’s almost like they’re foreshadowing him as a future baddie.

    – We didn’t have any problem with Thinker being cornered by a Level 90 Boss…overpowered bosses in hidden dungeons are nothing new to RPGs. He must have gotten to the safe zone by the skin of his teeth.

    – We also didn’t have any problem with Yui pulling out godlike powers. We were expecting it. Last week she was a total mystery but after seeing the whole game fizzle a bit when she passes out, we knew she was powerful, it was just a matter of when those powers would awaken. It’s pretty standard RPG fare for superpowers to awaken in someone in the nick of time (re-playing Star Ocean 3 at the moment). Also, while she bends the rules of the game to delete the boss, there is a balancing consequence – her own deletion. It’s not like she went around killing all the bosses and breaking all the rules for Kirito. She was an anomaly, not a party member, and there were clear limits to her power.

    – While we’re not sure what exactly Yui would do in such a capacity, “In-game mental health counselor” is actually an interesting idea when dealing with long-term VR players. Also interesting is that the ruling AI of SAO decided to sideline her rather than allow her to do the job she was programmed to do. In this regard, she’s an “exile” program similar to the Oracle in The Matrix, one that deals with the “human side” of the game in a way the ruling AI – obsessed with order and balance – may not quite grasp.

    – Another common thread amongst RPGs we’ve played is that you have longer-term relationships that build more naturally (i.e., Kirito x Asuna) and then you have shorter-term relationships that build less naturally, but are still treated as important, powerful bonds (i.e., Yui). Your point about Kirito and Asuna being the ONLY ones whose RABU & JOI is strong enough to get Yui’s attention is far-fetched, but as for how quickly they take a parental shine to her – and how devastated they are by her loss – that doesn’t bother us at all.

    – Kirito may be a former Beta tester, but we didn’t know until now he also had the technical skill to hack the system. This bothers us a bit, especially when he’s punished so lightly (a light shock). Considering lives are at stake anyway, you’d think security measures of the game would eliminate anyone tampering with the code, or at least cost them some inventory or gold. It’s also pretty convenient that there’s a console inside the safe zone (though maybe that’s just a fact we weren’t aware of).

  30. Kamen Grinder says:

    That’s got to be the lowest score I have ever seen for an episode. It’s good to see you can be harsh sometimes.

  31. Hououin Kyouma says:

    I don’t think either this ep deserves such a low score, we know this is not an overly deep anime, nevertheless we should keep in mind the LN’s.
    Ok, some things were poorly explained, others rushed and a few others not so easily credible but; I still think SAO is worth watching because manages to keep the impulse for reaching what lies at the end, who its mastermind is, and at least for me the shounen action is fun!

  32. Rod Payseur says:

    Hey. I believe there is some thing wrong with your links. I hope you are able to fix it!

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:38 PM)
    @gedata: For my own sanity after a while I began skimming episodes and following flawfinders posts here and there.
    @Vincent: Must rewatch that one and flags of our fathers sometime, need to get round to soldier of orange also.
  • Vincent
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 10:01 AM)
    Watched Letters from Iwo Jima again. Ken Watanabe is a great actor.
  • gedata
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 09:32 AM)
    Note that it’s not just regular AIDS, which is definitely treatable if caught early, it’s some dtug resistant SUPERAIDS that the character in question got from a blood transfusion soon after being born
  • gedata
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 09:29 AM)
    It’s not that the disease being AIDS is really all that important. You could even replace with anything, even Sudden Moe Death Syndrome from Clannad and the emotional impact would still be as blunt and forced.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 07:02 AM)
    Oh for fucks sake sword art? You put HIV drama into your show?
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:57 AM)
    Pretty much looking forward to the next two episodes and hope it gets more seasons too.
    I also liked how bleak it was.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:55 AM)
    *how twisty
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    . I was told to stay away from story six. Story seven was the most developed and ambitious of the selection but I feel mixed on it and didn’t really get into it until midway or so.
    Still I do love weird tales anthology stuff and this all fit the bill for me.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    The first story even I have to admit was genuinely horrifying, uncomfortable and got under my skin and of the selection it still stands out as having the greatest impact. The second one was good social commentary but doesn’t really give me much I didn’t already know. Stories three and were the most emotionally investing for me. I thoroughly enjoyed who twisty, twisted, truly nasty and cruel story five was and it is my second favourite of the lot.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Dec 21. 2014 06:54 AM)
    I did however feel that some of the dialogue and acting could have done with some very very slight tweaking in parts/some segments.

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