Posted on 1 October 2012 with categories: Sword Art Online

Now I also understand why Asuna is so incredibly popular: she’s literally the only female in the army. Seriously: this episode had the largest party gathered that the army could muster, and she was the only female that I could spot. Is this normal, in MMORPGs? That there is like one girl for every 50 guys? That makes it even weirder for so relatively many of them to fall for Kirito by the way. With so many others they can choose from, I mean.

But I digress: this was a very good episode for Sword Art Online. Due to the fast-paced nature of this series the first half was completely different from the second. The first half was about fishing, the second about encountering a really, really strong boss. Not as strong as the one we saw last episode, but still one who decimated the army with no sweat at all. I’m not going to deny that: that was an awesome fight scene.

A strange side-effect of this was that the rather silly part about fishing also had quite some interesting animation. It really was something that I’ve been waiting for a long time now, because it just showed some people living their lives without all of the drama: they consented to the fact that they won’t be able to beat the game. There also finally was someone who talked about his life outside of the game.

Just one thing. Don’t you dare to pull the “Asuna dies”-card next episode. I mean seriously, this episode contained a lot of those cliched hints right before such a thing happens…
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

31 Responses

  1. Kiseki says:

    Asuna was described to be the prettiest girl in the game and also, afaik, the strongest.

    Wasn’t there something about the population being a veryyyyy small percent female too? (Which makes Kirito getting so many girls piss me off so much oh man.)

    Had to do something with the period it was written in too, I think? MMOs were for the “hardcore” back then and not the casual gaming it is now.

    • meow says:

      Something like that. Although it didn’t seem to be mentioned in the anime. There seem to be girls everywhere in town, on the flower level, etc. There are supposed to be girls, but not many of them compared to the guys and girls on the clearing team were even rarer. And Asuna was one of the prettiest in the lot, if not the prettiest. That’s why she wore a shawl around her head during the fishing event to hide her identity. As soon as she showed off her sword skills, she would be recognized instantly as “Asuna the Flash”. The novel has a bit extra about some fans noticing she’s with Kirito and start putting two-and-two together and causing a fuss. “Are you married?!” “NOOOOOOOOooooo!”

  2. TheUltimateReaper says:

    I thought you would be happy with this episode. Actually I was pretty happy myself. I really liked the split nature of this episode, and for once CG didn’t bother me at all. Considering that they are indeed in a video game it actually felt pretty natural, and fighting was pretty darn cool. Asuna better not die, I cringed when Kirito just gave away his “back to life rock”. Come to think of it, doesn’t uh, that one friend of his still maybe have it? He was fighting with them.

    • TheUltimateReaper says:

      On the note of females. Yes. In fact, have you ever considered the female to male ratio on this blog site of yours? Heck the entire internet itself. As far as I know females generally play less games as well. I guess it’s different everywhere.

      • Ransom says:

        Yep. Internet used to be the place where men were men, women were men and little girls were FBI agents :D

        • Litho says:

          You could always join Pinterest. Everything’s reversed there. It’s filled with housewives posting pictures of food. Scary.

  3. omo says:

    >> Is this normal, in MMORPGs?

    Maybe in 1995.

    There are a lot of little things in SAO that are anachronisms. Can’t be helped I suppose, it’s a fast-moving field of development both socially and technically.

    • Longhaul says:

      SAO was written around 10 years ago.

    • Lackies says:

      I tend to agree. Even in 2009-2005 ( basically pre-WoW) while plenty of females played MMOs you’d be looking at about 25-30% of the player base being female at most ( its closer to ~40% now). Also realize KotB is essentially a hardcore endgame raiding guild, and the number of females present drops substantially again. basically nowadays I’d expect 2-6 females in a group of 50 hardcore raiders, but back when this was written only 1 or 2 wouldn’t be completely unreasonable.
      I freely admit these statistics are mostly vague remembrances of the guesswork or other people, but they jive fairly well with what I encountered playing MMOs for the last 12 years.

  4. HunterWulf says:

    IMO the best epsiode so far in the series, all the buildup from the previous episodes and side-stories is starting to pay off is spades (and i totally disagree they should have skipped the short stories, without them we wouldn’t have cared about kirito and Asuna as we do now .. and of course i’m speaking about people who didn’t read the novels).

    All the dialog between Asuna and Kirito in this episode was excellently done and mature (good to see a couple in anime that acts like a real husband and wife not air-headed teenagers), all the fishing stuff and calm/funny mood in the first part was excellent build-up to what’s coming next (the calm before he storm as they say), then the fight began .. and damn it, that’s definitely the most exciting and action packed fight since the start of the series .. seeing all the capable warriors from all different guilds fighting a desperate fight for their lives is damn epic (fantastic music and animation too).

    Now i’m really glad i kept watching SAO till now ^_^

  5. Blue Bomber says:

    “Just one thing. Don’t you dare to pull the “Asuna dies”-card next episode. I mean seriously, this episode contained a lot of those cliched hints right before such a thing happens…”

    Agreed. Usually when couples are this content in their relationship, with so many episodes left to go, it doesn’t end well. Maybe SAO will rise above this cliche! :)

  6. Armpit says:

    I’ve played countless mmo’s. Original EQ EQ2 EQOA WOW SWG FF11 etc and i think there is more than 50 males per female. It can be hard to judge though. I think WOW had the best ratio of females to males out of the ones i’ve played, but a lot of females just create male toons so they don’t get constantly harassed by the male players. I was in one of the top raiding guilds in WOW and EQ2 and both had a few females high up in the guild ranks, and a bunch of other girls who were regular members. Without vent it is really tough trying to figure out someones gender though.

  7. kazid1 says:

    For me the best sooo far anime episode of all season, Again Sao. Thanks i am watching this awesome anime.

  8. Anca says:

    What I don’t get is what the hell was up with Asuna’s costume – was it a message, that the perfect wifey should cover herself entirely in public? What was up with that? For a moment I thought she was trying to hide or something, but that also got proven wrong when she did that dramatic reveal and enjoyed the attention everyone was giving her. So what was it? The new SAO fashion for proper young ladies? Waterproof gear?

    And then there was Kirito going ‘We have a time limit wtf????? o_o’ . I mean, he was in there for two years and never ONCE thought about that?! Two years is a long time! I know the show makes more sense if you just imagine two weeks passing, but come on. And it was treated like a mini major reveal on top of it.

    • Kiseki says:

      She was trying to hide her identity as Asuna, but had to reveal it in the end to kill the monster.

    • Spike says:

      They cut out the part in the novel where Kiroto and Asuna talk about avoiding the public finding out they are married and where they are living. That’s why she’s covered, so the general population doesn’t recognize her since she’s kinda famous.

  9. Toki says:

    “Just one thing. Don’t you dare to pull the “Asuna dies”-card next episode.”

    The next episode title: The end of the world.

  10. Bunny says:

    it really annoys me how they dont put in these things. I mean for every episode i have come here to check comments just to find another “oh they skipped the part that explained this bit”. If it wasnt for the light novel fans i would be even more fucked up watching this. So thanks guys i actually appreciate it. :)

  11. elior1 says:

    it so clear they will pull the asuna die card next episode becouse of the title and i talking as novel reader who didnt got to the end of the aincard arc

    • Carbine Gammaximon says:

      *sighs*. That will be the ultimate troll.
      I don’t know how many episodes are left (24 in total, I think?), but unless they have a good contingency story post-asuna-death arc, I would be very disappointed.

      I can’t say I’m entirely against it, but man, do it right. We spent quite a lotta episodes building their relationship and then you kill it midway while playing with your feet for the rest of the season?

      Do the right thing SAO.

  12. eternia says:

    Yea. I hope the next episode will end just like how it ended in the 1st novel, and keep the 3rd novel’s contents away like a pest. It will be, such a good troll~

  13. TheDarkLord says:

    If you haven’t read the light novels for SAO….holy F*uck, you’re going to love these next episodes

  14. elior1 says:

    ok i just finished aincard arc and the next episode will be a good troll about asuna like eternia said if they will end volume 1 like the novel

  15. eternia says:

    I really thought [SPOILER] If he had planned to make it multiple online games story from the start, he wouldn’t use such an irrelevant title.
    :-)

    • meow says:

      I get what you mean but it’s not exactly irrelevant. Sword arts become the common denominator, even in FPS like GGO.

  16. psgels says:

    For god’s sake people, will you stop posting novel spoilers. I didn’t mention Asuna’s death in order for everyone to ruin the surprise there.

    • meow says:

      I know. But it took supreme effort not to respond to that last comment. XD

      Btw, if it helps, I think this is all speculation rather than actual spoiling. The real spoiler might be that…..
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      Nah, wait til this weekend. XD

  17. What? Asuna will die?

    HELL YEAH! FUCKING AWESOME!

    Can’t wait for the next episode! ^_^

  18. alex says:

    this anime is clearly one of the best these days.. I remember the old days and i’m kinda sad that there is less and less good action fantasy animes..

    I like all kinds of anime but i always need tons that are entertaining..

    In most anime i don’t like so much the love stories but in this one you really feel the characters beauty and strength and how they are perfect for each other..

    kirito and asuna are very good characters.. i wish this anime would be 50ep at least so they could really develop a complex story not just go fast paced into multiple levels…

    2 time a week would be better for most anime since anime are made to watch closely togheter not 1 week apart in my opinion

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    The frustration at the knowledge that an intelligent, innocent man was killed by dumbass fundamentalists is the most ironic part of it all.
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