Posted on 7 October 2012 with categories: Sword Art Online

I must say, I had been spoiled by that thing with Asuna, but I did not expect this show to go so far already. For a midway climax, this felt more like it was the end of the actual series with all the things that happened here.

I actually like the twist of the creator also being a player of the game. It makes perfect sense, because if I made a game like this, I sure as heck wouldn’t want to sit around for two years doing nothing. His whole proposition of ending the game definitely lead to some interesting developments, giving Kirito the responsibility of 6000 people over just one fight.

After that followed a bit of an anti-climax. First with Asuna sacrificing herself, just like the build-up previously hinted at: every time there is a happy couple, someone will die to break it up. What? Is it that uninteresting to watch a healthy couple here? Well, this show apparently thought the same and pulled some deus ex machina so that Asuna didn’t die after all, and Kirito somehow was able to override game rules with his angst.

The whole talk he had with Asuna and the game creator at the end of the episode was very good again, and Kirito waking up was entirely awesome. That was the moment we’ve all been looking forward to, and it really paid off. The episode ended at right the exact moment: there was no cheesy runion, just Kirito limping through a hospital.

But really… how on earth are they going to follow this up? I mean after this, nobody is stupid enough to start playing these games again. Sword Art Online is dead now. What’s next?

Although, a killer idea would be to indeed drop the entire series, and instead focus on tracking down the creator of the game. I mean, it’s been two years and his servers still haven’t been found. His body still isn’t recovered. That really would be awesome. But knowing the nature of this game, it probably won’t go so far.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

71 Responses

  1. JaK says:

    3 more games to go

  2. Roninski says:

    That’s just the end of the first book (plus the side stories from book 2). There’re still 8 books left :D

  3. Bunny says:

    Why was this rate so high, I was going for a 3, oh well

  4. UltimateReaper says:

    Yes! psgels was pleased! I don’t feel bad about really liking this episode anymore! Actually I’m wondering too, where the hell this is going. I think I recall getting somewhat spoiled a while back, I hate spoilers as much as anyone and just say that the deus ex machina of undeath isn’t so deus ex machina. At least I think.

  5. Avalon says:

    I’m probably wrong, but Kirito used Asuna’s sword to do the actual stabbing of the final boss. Since Asuna had just barely died, the weapon was still registered as hers so the game considered her a victor as well as Kirito who used the weapon.

    That may explain why she lives, but I don’t know how Kirito actually came back to do the stabbing…hopefully that will be addressed later on?

    • UltimateReaper says:

      That is an excellent point.
      As from rule breakers, Asuna’s speed earlier in the show, someone mentioned it was beyond human limits, her break of paralysis, and Kiritos delay of deletion; I always assumed it was like the Matrix series; basically the human brain has power over a virtual world you’re plugged into; the brain is basically a computer in of itself- a very powerful one at that.

      • Avalon says:

        That actually sounds like the incarnate system from Accel World…if anyone even finished that anime on here. The power of the characters will gives them hidden powers in the virtual world.

        Since the two take place in the same universe…it may be possible SAO has some sort of similar feature. Of course if that is the case it has never been mentioned so it just feels cheap to us.

        • Mike says:

          Pretty much. Without going into spoilers for AW and the later arcs of SAO, suffice to say that a person’s “soul” being able to overwrite the rules of the system is a theme/system that is being built up in Kawahara’s work.

          Is it a DEM? yea, it’s hard to say otherwise at this point, but it’s something that gains more explanation and is built-upon as the series goes on.

  6. sato says:

    About Heathcliff: called it! http://psgels.net/2012/09/09/sword-art-online-10/#comment-72299

    I figured that was why nobody wanted to respond to that comment.

    But yeah, I totally thought this was the end of the series.. and then there was a preview. They all should have died though, including Heathcliff… that’s the rules right? You die in the game (as a non immortal object), you die in real life. If Klein did still have the revive crystal, one could have lived.

    Also… when Asuna and Kirito were having their teary goodbye and giving their full names.. why not also share a phone number, or email or house address? I mean, it might make reuniting a bit easier with real contact info.

    And Kirito better hang on to that nervegear helmet in the hospital if he wants to go about reviving Yui! I’d think the police would want to investigate it as evidence.

    • TheFauxHunt says:

      From what I understand, both didn’t think they would actually make it out since technically they had “died.” No real point for addresses then…

  7. AidanAK47 says:

    It’s all downhill after this Psgels. I thought this would be the point where SAO redeemed itself but it turned out to be a little underwhelming. And now on to the ALO arc. Ho boy…won’t that be fun…

    • Longhaul says:

      Keep in mind the story after this point will not have been written for a 250 page limit writing contest.

    • meow says:

      I was good with it as an after-story, kind of like “Little Birds Remember” to “Welcome to the Kanya Fest”. It’s still good stuff, if cheesy for some and has better closure than what we just saw at 14. I liked the after-two-year-coma dynamics for Kirito and his family, as well as the introduction of a whole new cast and world. And I was and still am very curious about Kayaba, his motives, and the things he set in motion, especially after reveals from Mother Rosario and Alicization.

  8. Paralytix says:

    I think that conversation with the creator in the end was stupid. I was expecting a good reasonable reason why he made the game. Instead, he gave us some bullcrap that he just wanted to see that “castle” bull shit. Adios SAO thanks for wasting my time.

    • TheDarkLord says:

      a quick extra piece of information….the reasoning is elaborated a bit more at the end of the next ark….

      • meow says:

        Oh, yeah. That’s putting it mildly. I’d say more but that would make things too predictable. XD I wonder if I should mention the pieces of the puzzle that have already been laid out.

  9. Longhaul says:

    You could point out that Heathcliff agreed to not let Asuna commit suicide, and throwing herself in front of his blade would be considered suicide.

  10. I see.
    The SAO virus corroded all of your brains.

    How the fuck can you just ignore the stunning amount of dumb acting, bad scripting and total lack of realism in this episode?

    I’m sick of trying to enlight the deluded SAO cultists, but here’s my last try. Listen to some arguments.

    http://moesucks.com/2012/10/06/sword-art-online-ep-14-the-best-comedy-of-the-year/

    moesucks points it out brilliantly:

    The main villian’s motive is just absolutely ridiculous (“Huh, I dunno why, I forgot why I did this long ago”), Slutsuna gets rid of her paralysis with THE POWER OF LOVE (shitty scripting, anyone?) and of course there has to be a randomly pulled out deus ex machina scene, just to compensate Kirito’s recklessness and truely stupid behaviour, when he attacks that game creator head on like some savage animal. Doesn’t he think he should at least be a bit cautious when dealing with that OP opponent? (remember: he has lost to him before) Oh yeah, and that “plot twist” with the game creator was so unsurprising and boring – just as fucked up as the rest of the entire series.

    Bad taste has befallen the anime community and even psgels is drowning deep in the see of conceited fanboys. I am apalled.

    • Anca says:

      Slutsuna?

    • sato says:

      The “see”??

      Haha relax, I don’t think anybody here posted glowingly positive comments. We all pretty much agree that the series is flawed, but it’s still an entertaining train wreck. And if you dislike it so much, why continue to watch?

    • elior1 says:

      well i cant wait to see what you will say about the next bad guy in the second arc since he completly pure evil

    • Ruka says:

      She could just have “Null Paralysis” or sorta, it’s common in RPG. And Kirito… He could have an acessory or something with “Reraise” effect, or his regen ability to just deal the last blow. Of course, the anime (and maybe the novel) never said that, but it’s very possible in RPG department. It’s not miracle of power of love.
      The only thing i agree is about the villain… But that doesn’t make the episode/series bad. And… C’mon, the series if far from pure trash (it’s not GREAT either). If you don’t like it, just stop it already. There were far worse episodes before this.

      • imredjimmy says:

        No, I’m pretty sure it was the power of love here. I mean, the dude created the game. I doubt he would have made such a dumb and obvious mistake.

        The villain’s motives were laughable here.

        SAO is extremely flawed, but I guess that they still won in some way, I want to know what will happen next episode.

        • Mike says:

          No, it actually wasn’t the “Power of Love” in the classical sense, but rather the ability of a person’s “soul” to overwrite the system. It’s something that will get built on more in the later arcs.

          • hoiut says:

            I would very much like it if my soul could rewrite, say, TCF bank’s system. I am trapped in it, after all…

            ;-)

    • Taara535 says:

      I did find the episode somewhat enjoyable. But moesucks has many excellent points. Thanks for the link Castlevania – others should definitely read it. These are very fair criticisms.

      • meow says:

        I think this show just isn’t to his taste. He’s made up his mind and I’m not too interested in changing it. To each his own I say but please allow me to rebut him a little here.

        • Even in the penultimate fight, the animation feels lazy. Halfway through our opening, A-1 Pictures just completely gives up. So we’ll zoom really far out to burn some time…

        Right. I take it you prefer Naruto/Bleach style battles that take 4 episodes to deal with one duel. Each chock-full of unique, expensive eyecandy that would make the dot hack movie or gundam unicorn look like crayon drawings. What kind of budget do you think made-for-tv has? I’m personally happy they didn’t recycle battle animations. They’re squeezing in 4 novels worth of stuff, which might have worked out better as 2 seasons into 1 season of anime. Yes, it’s rushed. We already know that. At least the point gets across.

        • Suddenly, Kirito feels compelled to attack the commander. I know our hero has his suspicions and everything, but what if he had been wrong? What if the commander was just really good at avoiding damage and keeping his stamina up? Was a hunch enough to go on? Really, it was just a hunch, wasn’t it? Oh man, you don’t look tired! Let me try stabbing you in the neck:

        FYI his intention was to just put him in the yellow zone. Kirito’s a vet. He knows the game and knows how much damage to do. Heathcliff had never had his hp go into the yellow, in spite of tanking a one-hit killing strike for, what? Hours? And he was the only one acting out of place in the whole group. Why wasn’t he on the ground panting? How the hell does any player block that one-hit kill scythe attack so easily? Their last duel where he dodged that blow was already way weird for an elite player like Kirito who’s been studying the system for 2 years. This might have probably been Kirito’s only chance to check if his theory was correct. The next time, he might have been one of the casualties.

        • Any normal person would’ve just asked the commander some pointed questions

        Yeah. The hated Beater accusing the hope of all the clearing team, the player practically responsible for all of them getting this far in the game of being the ultimate bad guy without solid proof. That would have gone down real well.

        • Our commander is revealed to be Kayaba Akihiko, i.e. the creator of the game. More importantly, he is the lamest storyteller. Kayaba was planning to betray everyone had they reached the top floor, but since Kirito had to go and ruin the fun, you get to have the final boss now. What? No special transformation? No “One-Winged Angel”-esque song blaring in the background? No pontificating about mankind’s struggle against the shackles of Western religion? Pfft… and you call yourself a Japanese RPG.

        He could have had something like this in mind but it was meant for a raid group that had gone through 24 more levels of grinding. Believe it or not, he wanted a fair fight and was willing to let the players win.

        • For some reason, Asuna reacts to this revelation by grabbing one of Kirito’s arms. Innocuous gesture or yet another example of a former heroine turned damsel-in-distress?

        Hm. Trusted guild leader, most powerful player, possibly the biggest hope the SAO survivors have of getting out of the game (Seriously, without Heathcliff, Skull Reaper would have probably wiped out half of them in it’s initial drop attack.) turns out to be the ultimate villain. Yeah, everybody read that a mile away. Why is the ultimate boss even helping them? Why is the guy who trapped them there helping them win the game? Not even slightly confused? Remember that 2nd episode where Kirito advised Asuna to only join the Guild of someone she trusted? The person you trust the most turns out to be the biggest villain in your world – you’re just going to take that in stride, right?

        • Kayaba: “Well, these unexpected events are part of the fun of an MMORPG.” What on earth is he talking about? MMOs rarely have unexpected events.

        Unexpected like a guy you just killed not pixelating already and suddenly stabbing you in the chest and killing you?

        • I like how Kayaba has the time to open a menu to paralyze an oncoming attacker.

        Right, He should have just been able to drop everybody without doing anything. He’s the God of SAO. Or maybe just stood there while everybody hacked at him for a few minutes with no effect. To each his own?

        • Now, the smart MMO player would likely play it safe. In fact, the smart MMO player who knows he has a kickass e-waifu would definitely play it safe. Why risk losing it all here when my e-waifu and I can grind some more, get some even better gear, and ensure complete victory? But we’re talking about Kirito. He’s the Gary Stu. As such, he’s got to be the hero. His dick wouldn’t allow anything else.

        Think about it. What would have happened in this battle if Heathcliff wasn’t there? As it is, they lost almost half their number. Now he’s about to go. Future battles are not going to get easier and there aren’t that many players up to their level as it is. This is the biggest party they could muster against a deadly boss and half were gone. How much longer could their real bodies survive in a coma? Kayaba offered Kirito a chance to skip 24 levels of potential losses and get straight to the final battle. It’s a huge risk but also a huge chance. Maybe their only chance. Heathcliff did admit that he got overwhelmed by Kirito once before. If anything might stop Kirito, it might be the urge to play it safe or simple fear of death, which leads to…..

        • I don’t even know how the flashbacks are supposed to justify Kirito’s dumbass decision.

        How about emotion like pain and anger overcoming Kirito’s fear and indecision. Memories of all the people he’d lost?

        • “Chaged into Immortal Object.”

        Yes. Epic fail. I wonder how many viewers in Japan noticed. Sadly, your average Japanese doesn’t have great English. Kind of like your average everybody else doesn’t have great Japanese. Can you correct the above sentence in perfect Japanese? You might be able to. I can’t. Not a great excuse but it’s kinda like a horseman from Middle Earth getting spotted wearing a wristwatch. We should get them to give back all those Academy Awards.

        • According to Kayaba, they’re not even hiding the servers for the game or anything like that. It’s just sitting in some corporate headquarters, but the real world was nevertheless unable to save anyone for the past two years. Those servers must have one hell of a password system.

        10,000 hostages. One mistake, 10,000 lives. We’re not talking red wire/ blue wire anymore. And I don’t believe they failed from lack of trying. Geez, how do you make a game that connects directly to your senses and can control body functions like hunger? It’s like wondering why humanity didn’t just hack the Matrix and shut the machines down.

        • I want to call the show pretentious, but the show isn’t even trying to sound smart:

        Kayaba: “In every world, once you die, you’re gone.”
        Kirito: “Why… why did you do this?”
        Kayaba: “Why, huh? I forgot a long time ago. I wonder why…”

        C’mooooon.

        Up til now, there hasn’t been a glimpse of RL. Nobody in the game knows what happened to the people who got killed in the game. Did they really die? A lot of players committed suicide in the game early, hoping to wake up in the real world. A lot of red players who went around murdering indiscriminately justified their fun by claiming that there’s no proof these players actually died when killed in-game. How derped will you be if it turns out Kayaba had spared a few like Sachi? That’s what Kirito was asking. He was also asking if Kirito and Asuna would get to live since technically, they got killed. We know Kirito made it out in the end….

        • Look at them. Look at them listen to Kayaba go on and on about his mystical fucking castle:

        They weren’t stuck in a game of Pac-Man. If it weren’t for the fact that this was a death game, it would have been amazing. Better than life maybe. The kind of thing you’d prefer to live in rather than real life for some. Asuna and Kirito met and fell in love here. They even considered spending the rest of their lives here. Makes you wonder what could make someone with that much genius who created something so beautiful could make it into a death game and be responsible for 4,000 deaths. And then Kayaba allowed them to win it. He had total control. He didn’t have to keep his word but he did. Actually, Kirito and Asuna died too. Their brains should have been fried. What were they still doing alive? Lots of contradictions here. You’re not going to get a smart one liner to wrap this one up. Especially since he’s responsible for kids like Sachi. 9 novels later, the layers are still getting peeled back.

        • Asuna: “It’s the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.” Yes, yes, a 17 year old girl is happy to have died in her e-lover’s arms. No, I didn’t waste my life or anything… why do you ask?

        They’re about to die and making the best of it. I’d like to think we’d all hope to be this happy when it’s our turn.

        • But wait, isn’t this series supposed to be 26 episodes long or so? Oh boy, I can’t wait till they find themselves stuck in another MMO. And in some basement out there, Kayaba mutters to himself, “And I would’ve gotten away with it too if it weren’t for those meddling kids!”

        Please don’t force yourself to watch this show if you don’t like it. It totally fails. Shit happens. Go watch something better.

        • Mike says:

          I thought about typing up a rebuttal comment on that flamebait of a blog, but decided that it’d just be 15 min. of my life that I’ll never get back :p

          I just don’t get people these days, if I don’t like a show, I just drop it, I don’t keep watching it week after week and then rage posts(inaccurately I might add), and whines about it for hours on end.

          Those people need to find something more productive to do with their lives.

          • JaK says:

            Meow i cant believe you wrote all that -,-

          • meow says:

            @Jak

            The stuff with the dots are moesucks. I thought of italicizing it but got lazy. The thing is it feels like a lot of people share his opinion so I thought I’d share mine. I don’t know if moesucks opinion is unjustified. This series is rushed, has issues and it ain’t Hyouka but it was good enough to hook me into gobbling up what I could of the novels (Thanks, Kurogane XD). I like this series a whole lot more than AW. I don’t really know moesucks so I felt bad about intruding on his blog but I felt comfortable enough to share my opinion with readers here who were kind enough to reference it. I don’t know. Maybe I’ve just got a high tolerance for cheese. Moesucks had his say and Castlevania and Taara liked it. This is my say.

            @Mike

            The thing is he’s not alone, and I don’t quite get their point of view. Maybe they’re looking for something more but couldn’t find it. Something more realistic and serious like Ghost in the Shell meets Eden of the East or something, found this shounen fanboy fantasy that a 15-year old wrote years ago instead and raged at the missed opportunity. XD I don’t know. I loved the novels myself. My problem with the anime is lack of adherence at some points and maybe some differences between Kirito’s anime character and novel character, which may mean some issues if they choose to adapt later novels. The usual book vs movie discordance which pretty natural I think. I don’t think SAO is the complete fail that others seem to think it is. I don’t know. Maybe I’m reading more into events in the anime having already read the novels. Psgels seems to like the anime somewhat too though, even though he didn’t read the novels so that’s a small comfort. My point of view may not be completely off. I was kinda expecting him to pan this episode too.

        • Silty says:

          Can I subscribe to your newsletter?

          • meow says:

            I have a newsletter? ^^; That’s news to me.

            Closest thing might be to stay tuned to this blog, where many minds and odd thoughts lurk.

        • Gin-735 says:

          Crud. Posted at the very bottom of the page instead of one of your posts directly. Sorry. But replying here too just so you notice the other post.

          • meow says:

            Hey Gin-735. Nice post. Actually, I think posting in the wrong section was the best mistake you made tonight cos your long post would have been crushed into this little column, which makes for poorer readability. XD

            It’s okay if you don’t want to reply, meow. But if you do read this post, could you at least make a note that you did. Thanks.

            No. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I’m going to slowly go through it and hopefully try to give a suitable response. Might take awhile. ^^ In a nutshell, I actually mostly accept your point of view, especially considering you’re a lot more experienced at MMOs than I ever was. I used to MMO too but I never made it anywhere near the top tier so reading your point of view is quite interesting.

        • I have to acknowledge your persistence, that commentary wasn’t half bad, although you were missing the point a few times.

          As I don’t care about this show anymore (yes, dropped), I’ll wrap it up quickly:

          The problem is NOT that this show is crappy. It’s a generic shounen anime and quite average compared with other shounen (bleach, naruto and that shit)

          What the real problem is that you people desperately try to defend the show against any criticism by writing walls of text and trying to twist any argument there is by sneaky use of words. Btw, there are always the same dumb statements from that side, ignoring reality:

          a) “Read the novel. EVERYTHING is better there.”

          Are we talking about anime or Novels? Yeah, and fuck you all for recommending to waste more lifetime on that shit. (16.5 anyone?)

          b) “They can’t do it better they are working on 5 shows simultaneously and they have limited budget.

          That EXPLAINS why it sucks. But it does not JUSTIFIY a sucky thing.

          c) “Everyone is so mean about SAO! We have to defend it with our comments!”

          Actually, somebody here really said that there are a lot people, who hate this show. Like hell. Where is your proof? You are glopping out words, without any reasonable facts and call me flamer, whatsoever.

          Is anybody actually keeping track on MAL?
          Look at the stats of SAO there.
          It’s ranked: #43. If you consider “hating” is a rating of 3 and lower, the percentage of haters isn’t even two percent. Yeah. Surely seems like a LOT of people hate it. Who was talking that bullshit again? Be happy that it drowned under other comments.

          So it went long again, huh.
          Just let me say this once and for all.

          I will not flame this show further.
          Instead, I will insult anyone personally who dares to write more fanboy, troll or nerd comments.

          @psgels: I really like how you always try to point out the good parts of a show, especially when talking about underrated stuff. But it seems that your optimism now has expanded to the overrated series. Continue that way, and your site is going to be overpopulated by fanboys soon. I’d hate to see that.

          • wa says:

            When the series is over, there is nothing to write about SAO by fanboys if you’re afraid of that. It’s usually good that a series creates discussion.

            I somewhat disagree that this is a generic shounen series because I wouldn’t normally follow them. Haven’t seen Naruto nor Bleach – too long series and probably wouldn’t bring anything unique to the table. It may be true there are some series similar to SAO (someone mentioned .Hack and others), but as I haven’t followed any of them, this is unique, interesting and well executed enough for me.

          • meow says:

            Actually, somebody here really said that there are a lot people, who hate this show. Like hell. Where is your proof? You are glopping out words, without any reasonable facts and call me flamer, whatsoever.

            Ok. You’re right. I just didn’t quite get where you’re coming from. You’ve opened my eyes. SAO is genetic shounen, overrated and has enough plotholes to sink the Titanic. And it apparently (and inexplicably) has a whole slew of misguided fans that far outweigh it’s few detractors who are desperately trying to get them to see the light and save them from their own banality.

            Which is why I’m so sorry to have to tell you that SAO has me by my fanboy G-spot and just won’t let go. I just can’t stop my orgasmic walls of pointless text.

            BUT GOOD NEWS!

            The wonderful thing about Psgel’s blog is..it’s compartmentalized!

            You can avoid all this pointless drivel by simply avoiding comments and topics that have the words SWORD, ART and ONLINE in them. It’s that simple! XD I do the same thing with topics that repel me, like new anime about little kids with psychic powers who use them to murder people. XD

            Or you could just sit back and watch people drone at each other about mediocre MMO anime. Speaking of which, why does the second hottest girl in Ixion Saga sound like Lelouch? Best trap since Shangri-la’s Momoko.

          • Mike says:

            @CastlevaniaPro93

            What the real problem is that you people desperately try to defend the show against any criticism by writing walls of text and trying to twist any argument there is by sneaky use of words.

            As if the people desperately trying to trash the show against any counter-argument by writing walls of text and trying to dismiss any opposing viewpoints by going lalalala I-can’t-hear-you is any better :P

            Are we talking about anime or Novels? Yeah, and fuck you all for recommending to waste more lifetime on that shit. (16.5 anyone?)

            Nobody said the adaptation is perfect, which is why people who’ve read the novels offer explanations and insights that should’ve been in the anime. Also, 16.5 is about as official as your random hentai doujin for every series, so I don’t know what you’re trying to say here.

            I will not flame this show further.
            Instead, I will insult anyone personally who dares to write more fanboy, troll or nerd comments.

            Really showing your maturity there, because being a DB troll makes you so much better than fanboys, lol.

    • TheUltimateReaper says:

      You mother-wonderful-people piss me off so much I have finally been able to cut off all of my emotions and respect for other peoples ideas an opinions. Especially when they don’t even know the basics of their own arguments and either missed crucial information against their argument or were too idiotic to calculate it themselves.

      • meow says:

        It happens. That’s what brainstorming is for. People come from different places and backgrounds and have different ideas and everybody thinks they’ve got everything figured out from their point of view. And then they come together and….this.

        I came here thinking the world is flat but there’s people out there saying it’s round so I’m hoping someone comes around to help me understand where the curves are. And then there are those going, “Who gives a ****?”. They’re not exactly wrong either. We’re arguing over a story and how it was told. It’ll be nice to a consensus though. We might all find something useful there.

        I’m grateful to Gin-735, Castlevania and everyone else who participated. Yeah, Kirito suddenly going for Heathcliff’s neck looked like a bad idea. Too rushed, not enough build-up, not enough evidence to do it. Too weak a premise for advancing the plot that way. One curve down? I don’t want to be stuck thinking the world is flat and wondering why so many think otherwise.

  11. TheDarkLord says:

    ARK NUMBER TWO BEGIN!!!!!! :D ALO!!!!!!!!!

  12. wa says:

    A perfect ending in the middle of season. That’s something!

  13. Gin-735 says:

    Will just say that, while I may be a long time on-and-off reader of this blog, this is my first time posting… Well, as far as I can remember anyway. I apologize in advance if I stray from my trail of thought or drag on certain points. I’ve only had four hours of sleep in the past two days… And I suddenly find myself writing this post when I just refused to watch any of the new shows out this season. Something’s wrong with me. @_@

    I watch the show. I don’t exactly love it, but I don’t consider it a trainwreck either. I like it just enough to enjoy watching, and I’ve even read most of the novels (somewhat – frequently discuss with a friend who lives in Japan and spoils a lot). I realize that there are limits to a 250-page story that was written by a then fifteen-year old teen at the time, but those could have been amended with an adaptation that came afterwards. Kawahara tried adding more depth to the original story by writing volume two and the side stories, so I don’t understand why they didn’t do something similar with the anime adaptation, considering that the series has its holes. I’m not saying that they should have changed the plot. I’m just saying that they could have added a little more content instead of being totally faithful to the source material. I understand that there are issues like budget and the number of episodes (among other things) to consider when creating an anime, but one problem with this is that they underestimated the popularity of SAO. Had they ventured into anime-original territory, or heck, even added the battle against Laughing Coffin, then I’d think that the returns would have been higher. Heck. The novels are still ongoing. They can afford to put off the latter half of the stories for sequels if they can maintain the current level of interest in the show.

    AAAAANNNDDD I’m straying from why I’m writing a reply in the first place. Anyhoo… will respond to the points you’ve raised against Moesucks. Have to say though, both of you have valid points, so I won’t completely agree with either of you. This is just my take on the stuff you pointed out. Might be long though, so I apologize in advanced for dragging on. It’s been a while since I last posted on a blog or on a forum.

    Note: • – Moesucks, •• – meow.
    Most of the Moesucks and meow comments have been shortened.

    • Even in the penultimate fight, the animation feels lazy. Halfway through our opening, A-1 Pictures just completely gives up. So we’ll zoom really far out to burn some time…

    •• Right. I take it you prefer Naruto/Bleach style battles that take 4 episodes to deal with one duel… Yes, it’s rushed. We already know that. At least the point gets across.

    First off… YES. THEY SHOULD HAVE SETTLED FOR TWO SEASONS FOR THOSE FOUR VOLUMES. *cough* On to the fight… From what I know, Kawahara wrote the stories based on what he thought happened with top tier players in MMOs (and I do mean soloing bosses that take a party from lead guilds to do in – Yes, e-penis). Having been a prominent solo boss hunter for different MMOs in the past decade, I can say that Skull Reaper had the closest feel to what you can get from a newly released raid boss. No one knows how to fight it, so everyone prepares more than they usually do, and even then a lot of them get done in with single hits. Desperation creeps into the more serious players as supplies run out and the raid party’s numbers start to thin with people giving up on winning the fight that day. In SAO, and especially considering that sometimes there is no option for escape, the desperation is amped up. This was portrayed extremely well with the previous episode. Skull Reaper was fast, powerful, and menacing. The fighting was desperate but still somewhat coordinated. That was how a raid boss should have been in a death game. It gave me goosebumps, something that I didn’t get while watching the fights with Ilfang and Gleam Eyes. So it kinda broke my heart to see it reduced to an oversized bony caterpillar after the party barely dented it in the previous episode. THE THING HAD FIVE FREAKING HEALTH BARS. As far as I can remember, bosses only have four (not sure about 25th and 50th floor bosses) and they’re at their strongest at the last bar. In any case, I guess Skull Reaper wasn’t the focus of both episodes and they spent the budget on him in the previous ep and needed what was left for scenery porn in this one. It was just kinda sad to see him go like that, I guess.

    • Suddenly, Kirito feels compelled to attack the commander… Oh man, you don’t look tired! Let me try stabbing you in the neck:

    •• FYI his intention was to just put him in the yellow zone… The next time, he might have been one of the casualties.

    I’ll agree with you on the intention. I just want to point out where I think you may have been wrong…

    ••1. FYI his intention was to just put him in the yellow zone. Kirito’s a vet. He knows the game and knows how much damage to do.
    - In a game where you can one shot someone on a similar level and weak points increase the amount of damage taken, attacking the neck is a whole different story. Had he been wrong… Well… XD

    ••2. Heathcliff had never had his hp go into the yellow, in spite of tanking a one-hit killing strike for, what? Hours?
    - Normally, it would have been enough to believe that his Divine Sword puts him as the strongest tank in the game and that nothing but glancing blows even chip away at his HP, considering that all that’s getting hit is his shield. The killing blow depends on what part of the player is getting hit. Kirito had one of the scythes cutting into his shoulder and Agil took a direct hit to the elbow (possibly should have temporarily severed it ala Kuradeel vs Kirito hand chop action), but both could continue fighting. Had their HP went into the red, they would have switched out to heal for a bit. Kirito and Agil had no other way to defend other than to parry blows that seem to knock down most players. On the other hand, Heathcliff had been shown to only get knocked back while still being able to maintain a solid defensive stance and keeping aggro. Something that should be expected of the main tank role. Not to mention the most powerful tank player.

    ••3. And he was the only one acting out of place in the whole group. Why wasn’t he on the ground panting?
    -As far as I can tell, there is no physical exhaustion in SAO. Only mental (AND EMOTIONAL) stress. I’d believe that even the sensation of pain is just a shock reaction caused by the stress induced from knowing that the chunk of damage you took means you’re getting closer to actual death. I’m wondering if that’s even how emoticons are set to act in the game. Kinda like how tears would work… Auto-emoticons, or something. Causing you to pant or sweat or cry. In the case of Heathcliff, the party has just lost fourteen men. The group is devastated, but as their leader, you shouldn’t show that you were disheartened. There are still a quarter of the floors left to clear. If everyone is down, it’ll be worse if even the leader shows signs of being despirited. Someone has to stand strong for the group, else they would all fall into despair.

    ••4. How the hell does any player block that one-hit kill scythe attack so easily?
    -Block? With a shield. That’s how. So far, in the world of SAO, we have yet to see a shield shatter (as far as I can remember). Surviving a direct hit is a different story.

    ••5. Their last duel where he dodged that blow was already way weird for an elite player like Kirito who’s been studying the system for 2 years. This might have probably been Kirito’s only chance to check if his theory was correct. The next time, he might have been one of the casualties.
    - True. I agree to this. But then again, as moesucks put it, “Let me try stabbing you in the neck”. Everyone can see everyone else’s HP bar. Heathcliff’s was down to 2/3. Being a vet, he should have known that a hit to the arm from someone of a similar level would have brought his hp down enough to yellow. Again, I stress… Had he been wrong… XD

    • Any normal person would’ve just asked the commander some pointed questions

    •• Yeah. The hated Beater accusing the hope of all the clearing team, the player practically responsible for all of them getting this far in the game of being the ultimate bad guy without solid proof. That would have gone down real well.

    True. True. Kirito’s also just a youngster, so the thought probably didn’t cross his mind. Though I do have other complaints about Kirito’s character (especially his age and role in the game) overall, but nevermind those as this is Kawahara’s wish fulfillment story and a shounen one at that. I am not the target audience. XD

    • Our commander is revealed to be Kayaba Akihiko, i.e. the creator of the game. More importantly, he is the lamest storyteller. Kayaba was planning to betray everyone had they reached the top floor, but since Kirito had to go and ruin the fun, you get to have the final boss now. What? No special transformation? No “One-Winged Angel”-esque song blaring in the background? No pontificating about mankind’s struggle against the shackles of Western religion? Pfft… and you call yourself a Japanese RPG.

    •• He could have had something like this in mind but it was meant for a raid group that had gone through 24 more levels of grinding. Believe it or not, he wanted a fair fight and was willing to let the players win.

    I agree with you on this. It’s his world. He can decide how to do things and no one can tell him otherwise. He might have had a one-winged angel transformation at the end, or not. We’ll never know. All we know is that it was a relatively fair fight. My only problem with this is that it was such a curb stomp considering that Kirito tried to fight without using sword skills since Kayaba Akihiko designed the dual sword style and might know how to stop the pre-made combos… And still lost. But that was after an episode where said sword skills still nearly beat Heathcliff before he used an admin hack. Dual Swords… Designed to defeat the final boss. Final boss designed Dual Swords so he knows how to defend and counter against the resulting sword skills. Thus forces the player to not use sword skills and to rely mostly on white damage. Inconsistencies abound. Though I can still say more about Sword skills being only a player assist system, which can be forgone due to the hazard of combos being undisruptible. Somehow, I would have liked an episode where it showed that people chose to use single strike or low chain combo skills because there was that hazard. Would have boosted the high risk-high return rating of Kirito’s Dual Swords. XD

    • For some reason, Asuna reacts to this revelation by grabbing one of Kirito’s arms. Innocuous gesture or yet another example of a former heroine turned damsel-in-distress?

    •• Hm. Trusted guild leader, most powerful player, possibly the biggest hope the SAO survivors have of getting out of the game turns out to be the ultimate villain. Yeah, everybody read that a mile away. Why is the ultimate boss even helping them? Why is the guy who trapped them there helping them win the game? Not even slightly confused? Remember that 2nd episode where Kirito advised Asuna to only join the Guild of someone she trusted? The person you trust the most turns out to be the biggest villain in your world – you’re just going to take that in stride, right?

    I agree with you on this one. Kirito was close by. It was a normal reaction to grab his arm. XD

    Though I’d like to point out…

    ••”Seriously, without Heathcliff, Skull Reaper would have probably wiped out half of them in it’s initial drop attack”

    I apologize, but I’ve spent more than 15 minutes writing this. I need to put an actual smile on my face somehow… The XD smileys aren’t cutting it. So…

    ••”Heathcliff had never had his hp go into the yellow, in spite of tanking a one-hit killing strike for, what? Hours?”
    ••”How the hell does any player block that one-hit kill scythe attack so easily?”

    TANK. TANK. TANK. TAAAAAAANK.
    ^___________________________^

    • Kayaba: “Well, these unexpected events are part of the fun of an MMORPG.” What on earth is he talking about? MMOs rarely have unexpected events.

    •• Unexpected like a guy you just killed not pixelating already and suddenly stabbing you in the chest and killing you?

    No. No. Here, Moesucks was just talking about MMOs in general. Unexpected events are not part of the MMO experience. Everything is either scripted by the developers or organized by GMs. It would have made more sense had he said, “Well, I guess these unexpected events are what I wanted to see most when I made this world.”

    • I like how Kayaba has the time to open a menu to paralyze an oncoming attacker.

    •• Right, He should have just been able to drop everybody without doing anything. He’s the God of SAO. Or maybe just stood there while everybody hacked at him for a few minutes with no effect. To each his own?

    Considering that he had “no-hands” access to a game breaking admin console during their fight against Kirito… Yeah… I was expecting him to make them drop without even waving a finger. Just want to add though… CARDINAL! THE PARALYZE EFFECT IS WAY TOO OVERPOWERED! WHY AREN’T YOU DOING YOUR JOB AND NERFING IT? XD

    • Now, the smart MMO player would likely play it safe… He’s the Gary Stu. As such, he’s got to be the hero. His dick wouldn’t allow anything else.

    •• Think about it… How much longer could their real bodies survive in a coma? Kayaba offered Kirito a chance to skip 24 levels of potential losses and get straight to the final battle. It’s a huge risk but also a huge chance. Maybe their only chance. Heathcliff did admit that he got overwhelmed by Kirito once before. If anything might stop Kirito, it might be the urge to play it safe or simple fear of death, which leads to…..

    To each his own, I guess. Different people will make different choices. An outsider can only judge. We heard what Moesucks would do. If I were in Kirito’s position, I probably won’t take the risk. If I lost there, SAO wouldn’t only lose two of the strongest players in the clearing force, but two of the only players with known unique skills. A loss there would be doubly devastating for the remaining playing population. Instead of fighting, I would ask for confirmation regarding certain game mechanics… And confirmation of the existence of the other unique skills. I’ll start from there. This could have been the case had it not been for the 250-page limit requiring a deus ex machina ending. I’m generally interested though… What would you do, meow? And no, I’m not trying to bait you. As I said, different people will make different choices. I just want to hear yours and the reasons behind them.

    • I don’t even know how the flashbacks are supposed to justify Kirito’s dumbass decision.

    •• How about emotion like pain and anger overcoming Kirito’s fear and indecision. Memories of all the people he’d lost?

    Again. Different people, different choices. Driving forces too. Fear, anger, duty. Whatever else. It differs from person to person.

    • “Chaged into Immortal Object.”

    •• Yes. Epic fail…

    At the very least, we all somewhat agree on something ne? And yes. I understand your explanation. Just that… Well… Still a fail. XD

    • According to Kayaba, they’re not even hiding the servers for the game or anything like that. It’s just sitting in some corporate headquarters, but the real world was nevertheless unable to save anyone for the past two years. Those servers must have one hell of a password system.

    •• 10,000 hostages. One mistake, 10,000 lives. We’re not talking red wire/ blue wire anymore. And I don’t believe they failed from lack of trying. Geez, how do you make a game that connects directly to your senses and can control body functions like hunger? It’s like wondering why humanity didn’t just hack the Matrix and shut the machines down.

    Actually, I don’t think it’s the servers. It’s the NervGear. It was mentioned in the previous episode that there was a point that people were somewhat disconnected from the game when they were believed to have been transferred over to hospitals (THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN PART OF AN EPISODE). It’s been said that forcefully removing or tampering with the NervGear would cause the helmet to fry the user’s brain. I’d like to believe that they tried to take out the helmet, but stopped trying after the number of failed attempts started to rise with little hope of success. Would have been nice if there was an episode where someone did try to hack the server, contact the players inside and alter the game in their favor, only to be kicked out of the system by Cardinal afterwards. Hey… It could have happened in those two years. Who knows?

    Tried to answer the rest… Really did. But my brain’s too fried to say anything more now. It’s been thirty minutes since I started writing, so I’m giving up on responding to the rest. Just want to remind you though that I’m watching SAO because I like the show. Not because I want to hate on it. I like the setting, and from my own experiences when I was his age, I can somehow relate to the stuff that happened to Kirito. Specifically with the Black Cats (albeit in my case no one died – but yeah, the feelings of regret and loneliness when you remember the times when the game used to be really fun) and to being one of the prominent soloists with the occassional partying with one or two members from powerful guilds. I haven’t touched an MMO in two years, but I’m still probably a boy at heart, and I love SAO for it’s shounen moments. Hell, ep 13 was my favorite precisely because of the SoL fishing side story (that showed bits of the non-clearing population who can’t fight or are too scared to try) and the kickass introduction for Skull Reaper. But as a veteran MMO elite, counseling psychologist, former GM (not the MMOs I played mind you – different company and not an MMO), and story writer (short one-shot comics for multimedia students – Not nearly on the level of Kawahara), there are a lot of things that I can’t help but nitpick on.

    SAO has potential, yes. So does Accel World. But there are a lot of holes and inconsistencies in both stories. I laud Kawahara Reki for writing SAO when he was a teen. But right now, he’s forcing too much of a connection between it and AW. SAO still has a lot of potential. SAO. Not ALO. Not GG. Not that other game I forgot about. But SAO. When his stories end, it wouldn’t hurt to make a reboot of SAO. It still has a hell of a lot of potential. Two years in a death game. A game where normal rules don’t apply. A hundred floors. Ten thousand players. HUGE POTENTIAL.

    Again, I apologize if I went off topic at certain points. My brain isn’t functioning at its best right now. Case in point, I confused Moesucks with Lostinanime’s Enzo and only noticed now. I’m off to sleep. Will be posting this only on psgels, though I originally wanted to post it on Moesucks as well because, while I’m mostly responding to meow, I also addressed some of the issues Moesucks pointed out, and I haven’t read enough of his blog to know how he would react to what I’ve said. I don’t know if my post is welcome or not, but I wrote this much with my headache constantly reminding me that I still have two meetings to attend tomorrow… Errr… Today. Dammit. It’s okay if you don’t want to reply, meow. I might have been offensive at some point, and if I was, then I’m sorry. But if you do read this post, could you at least make a note that you did. Thanks.

    Just one more thing… Since this is psgels’ blog, I at least wanted to respond to one thing he said… But it’s more of what I would do instead of an actual response… “I actually like the twist of the creator also being a player of the game. It makes perfect sense, because if I made a game like this, I sure as heck wouldn’t want to sit around for two years doing nothing.” In my case, I’d play the game AND be the sole GM at the same time. Soloist yes. Pop in and out at different parts of the game. Joining regular players, and when I’m not… BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. Then again, instead of killing players that died in-game, I’d send them to a different Aincrad to start over. Making different layers per number of times a player died. And the only actual cause of death would be to forcibly remove a player from the game. XD

    Night, guys.

    • stop it…
      please…
      stop wasting your life…

      another wall of text about a series more and more people seem to be indiferent?
      Seriously, that’s wrong wrong wrong stop it. All of you.

      No more comments, no more walls of text, no more talk, no more waste of lifetime, no more shitty troll, nerd, rage or fanboy comments, just stop it.

      STOP IT NOW.

      please <3

      • psgels says:

        Castlevaniapro: please stop. I understand that you don’t like the show, but why do you want to spoil things for the people who do enjoy it and want to talk about it?

      • Gin-735 says:

        @CastlevaniaPro9
        After a good five hours of sleep, I wake up to see my post called a waste of life by someone I didn’t address. Then again, this same person was the one that pointed me to Moesucks blog (thanks for that btw). So I write this response for you, CastlevaniaPro9. I’ll try to keep it at three paragraphs (including this one) and will not praise SAO, so please do take the time to read it. Will even give you a bonus at the end.

        First of all, I resent having my post called a waste of life. Yes. It was a good 30 minutes more than I thought it would have taken me to finish, and I didn’t even manage to respond to everything at all. But after having to deal with eight hours of work together with three to five hours of class everyday, two project-based jobs on the side, and a little dog to walk every morning… Those 45 minutes of typing up something that I wanted to talk about was definitely a breather. Reminded me of the things I did when I was younger, which was to hang around forums all night. People have different hobbies. I just happen to like talking about stuff I’ve seen recently.

        Lastly, about my long wall of text. If you had cared enough to read it, you would have noticed that I had mixed feelings about SAO. I said it had potential, but also a lot of shortcomings. Just so you know, I switched back and forth between agreeing with either meow or Moesucks, and even added my own take on certain things. A huge chunk of it was my opinions on how SAO could have been written or explained better, but those are merely my conjectures and won’t change a thing. If I were to write about the stuff I can complain about and why, then it would easily double the length of my other post. But I accept SAO for what it is, a huge ball of shounen wish fulfillment that has potential that will never be realized considering how the anime industry works. Regardless of which, it’s still a relatively enjoyable watch, for me at least.

        For your enjoyment though (having read this far), I will briefly state 5 things I find stupid in SAO.
        1. The very concept of unique skills in a supposedly fair game. The unique skills aren’t even unique. (Dual Swords – Dual Wield, Holy Sword – Auto Guard)
        2. Asuna. Way too perfect of a character. Shounen wish fulfillment to the max. Truth be told, I like Liz and Silica better. Way more believable.
        3. Silica’s Beast Tamer class not being a unique skill. In a game about swords, she basically has a autonomous mobile healing potion dispenser that can possibly fight back. Also, there have been no other Beast Tamers shown.
        4. Kirito as the player with the fastest reaction speed. Being sucky at Kendo should have automatically disqualified him. He’s not even a champion gamer (at the very least there was no mention of it). Just a shut-in beta player.
        5. THE POWER OF LOVE. Deus ex machina. ‘nuf sed.

        Thank you for taking the time to read.

        • meow says:

          Read this and had to respond.

          1. The very concept of unique skills in a supposedly fair game. The unique skills aren’t even unique. (Dual Swords – Dual Wield, Holy Sword – Auto Guard)

          I feel you’re missing the point of “unique”. SAO’s unique means restricted to one unique player rather than original concept skill.

          2. Asuna. Way too perfect of a character. Shounen wish fulfillment to the max. Truth be told, I like Liz and Silica better. Way more believable.

          True, but to be fair, she’s gotta be a character you could buy that anti-social Kirito go above and beyond for. Plus, remember SAO’s real target audience of 15-year olds. XD No, that’s just an excuse. I think I just eat up shounen-wish fulfillment. XD (*Tries in vain to beat up my inner shounen-fanboy*)

          3. Silica’s Beast Tamer class not being a unique skill. In a game about swords, she basically has a autonomous mobile healing potion dispenser that can possibly fight back. Also, there have been no other Beast Tamers shown.

          Pretty true. Very odd trait to find in a game otherwise dedicated to sword arts. There is strong mention of the background since the “Beast Resurrection” quest was discovered and documented before Kirito met Silica though. And one of the major traits of this anime is the prevalence of in-game AI to some extent or another, although it isn’t well explored. I’m thinking of a certain episode where Asuna and Kirito argued in a strategy session over using NPCs as bait. On the surface, it seemed like it was meant to show how Kirito and Asuna had a rough relationship in the beginning but I was pretty curious about Kirito’s attitude towards NPCs since they shouldn’t ordinarily display AI characteristics like Yui or even Pino. I got the strangest feeling something happened with Kirito and NPCs that we, the audience, didn’t get to see.

          4. Kirito as the player with the fastest reaction speed. Being sucky at Kendo should have automatically disqualified him. He’s not even a champion gamer (at the very least there was no mention of it). Just a shut-in beta player.

          You’re talking about him as a kid though, and getting a daily grilling by a tough-as-nails old school kendo master. He was more interested in games and fiddling with gadgets and he had talent there too. His aunt may have been an alternate influence on him too. And I don’t think he was a scrub at gaming, since he survived well into the late game playing solo. Something ordinarily suicidal in a death game.

          5. THE POWER OF LOVE. Deus ex machina. ‘nuf sed.

          Well, you know what they say about no greater love. It’s the best example you could get a wide audience to identify with when you’re looking to get characters to go above and beyond. If you’re looking for an alternate form, someone like PoH might come to mind. >.>;

          Also, go easy on castlevania and yourself. I’m betting he couldn’t bring himself to read your whole post verbatim when he has an idea he’s not gonna like what you have to post. Calling it a “wall of text” is a big clue. Unfair, but human. I have days like that too. Why do you think they invented abstracts and executive summaries? XD

        • ujer says:

          love your writing.
          can see the maturity in your word
          you wall of text is not a waste of time…
          this is what we call sharing opinion.

          • meow says:

            Totally agree. Most of us are just kids talking about anime with a direct brain to keyboard connection. Don’t take some of the dumb things we say sometimes too seriously.

    • sato says:

      “Then again, instead of killing players that died in-game, I’d send them to a different Aincrad to start over. Making different layers per number of times a player died.”

      If I’m understanding this right … INCEPTION!!! That would be kinda cool.

      • meow says:

        Um…well…Inception….hmm….

        Do you believe that Mal was the real one? Did the spinning top in the end keep spinning?

  14. meow says:

    It’s very interesting to hear your point of view about the Skull Reaper battle. Recreating the experience of a top-tier raid battle on a brand new boss would indeed have been interesting to MMO enthusiasts but I’m not sure how a general audience would have felt about it if the battle had drawn out Bleach style. As you said, that’s 5 bars of health and even in the opening exchange, the bar didn’t even chip. I imagine it would have taken hours and I’m not sure what kind of tactics would have been displayed since SAO’s mechanics seem very simple compared to other MMOs with a greater variety of roles like healers, buffers and back-row artillery. I imagine it would have been a recreation of the level 1 boss fight but with a lot more tension since Skull Reaper wasn’t contained. Groups covering different angles switching and attacking with hurt guys backing away to pot while a backup took their place. Probably the most interesting part may have been Skull Reaper’s final bar pattern change/power up – if there was one. IMHO Skull Reaper’s attacks were already one-hit killers and imba. Anything more damaging may have damaged the clearing team beyond recovery, which I think would not have been what Kayaba would have wanted. (I strongly suspect this is what happened at the Floor 50 grand battle that wiped out the Army’s elites, which may have prompted Kayaba to offer Heathcliff as GM assistance to the hapless survivors afterwards.) I don’t think there would have been much more to the battle than what was depicted in 13/14 so I can’t say I was unsatisfied, especially considering the episode limit crunch we’re looking at now. You might have a lot more fun with the Caliber after-story, if A-1 ever gets around to doing it, for a full raid experience, although it’s a lot more light-hearted..

    Considering that he had “no-hands” access to a game breaking admin console during their fight against Kirito

    Good point. I was okay with him using menus though cos at least it would be clearer to the audience that Heathcliff was responsible for the effect. I agree it’s a hole in the story though. If Heathcliff could activate that teleport move in the middle of a duel inches from getting head-struck, I don’t see how he couldn’t have activated it to dodge Kirito’s neck strike. Both times, he was caught by surprise but had split seconds to react. It’s not like Heathcliff was truly off his guard like if Kirito had struck at him from behind and could only tell he’d been attacked from the “Immortal Object” warning. *shrug*

    Normally, it would have been enough to believe that his Divine Sword puts him as the strongest tank in the game and that nothing but glancing blows even chip away at his HP, considering that all that’s getting hit is his shield.

    The thing is only his shield seems effective. Most other players have shields, seem to be guarding with shields but Skull Reaper’s scythe seem to slide past them and go right for the torso armor. I don’t see other regular players, even the other KOB knights use their shields this effectively. They survive but it’s not shown how. Were they simply not being targeted by Skull Reaper? And there would be chip damage, no matter how strong a tank you are. I just share Kirito’s suspicions about how Heathcliff could have withstood that much chip damage without going into the yellow zone, without switching out to heal (i assume he never had the chance to pot, since it seems only he, Kirito and Asuna could successfully block the twin scythes).

    In a game where you can one shot someone on a similar level and weak points increase the amount of damage taken

    Not sure if this mechanic is there. But I’ll concede this point. It was a huge risk for Kirito to take to just attack him without more solid proof. If his suspicions were false, he would risk murdering their hero on misguided suspicions. I still think he would have been able to hold back his strike enough to just damage him down to the yellow zone. It wouldn’t have taken much damage since Heathcliff was already at the borderline. But I just thought of a different plothole: Assuming he was taking chip damage during the boss fight, enough to drop his hp below the green line, wouldn’t the Immortal Object marker have appeared then? Did nobody notice in the heat of battle? It would make more sense for Kirito’s surprise attack to actually land but do no damage to his health bar. Hmmm…

    My only problem with this is that it was such a curb stomp considering that Kirito tried to fight without using sword skills since Kayaba Akihiko designed the dual sword style and might know how to stop the pre-made combos… And still lost.

    Not sure what a curb stomp is but Kirito panicked when he got cut and he instinctively activated a sword skill in the heat of the moment, forgetting that Heathcliff would be able to block it perfectly. Well, it was a suitable setup for Asuna’s sacrifice and Kirito’s deathblow from death.

    I’m generally interested though… What would you do, meow?

    I don’t think I would be able to tell you if I were in Kirito’s shoes without being in that situation in reality. But I already argued my case for Kirito’s decision. Their raid party suffered almost 50% losses with Heathcliff’s tanking. Without it, I don’t think the clearing group would have stood a chance. They were literally getting GM assistance. It was Heathcliff that gave everyone warning about Skull Reaper’s initial drop attack too. I suppose if Kirito had refused, it’s possible that Kayaba might have taken into consideration the players’ weakened state and rebalanced all the subsequent bosses. (I actually wondered if he may have tweaked Skull Reaper to be that powerful to compensate for Kirito being powerful enough to solo the lvl 74 floor boss.) But if I were Kirito, a chance at skipping 24 more harrowing boss battles where either he, or much worse, Asuna may have gotten killed would have been the chance of a lifetime. Especially since only he was the one at risk. Remember, this is the guy who solo-ed Renegade Chris for a chance to resurrect Sachi and came within a red sliver of getting killed himself trying to save Asuna. Plus he managed to bargain with Heathcliff to keep Asuna from committing suicide too.

    • Kayaba: “Well, these unexpected events are part of the fun of an MMORPG.” What on earth is he talking about? MMOs rarely have unexpected events.

    •• Unexpected like a guy you just killed not pixelating already and suddenly stabbing you in the chest and killing you?

    No. No. Here, Moesucks was just talking about MMOs in general. Unexpected events are not part of the MMO experience.

    I’m pretty sure Kayaba was referring to his own player experience dealing with a player who unexpectedly managed to overcome his induced paralysis status effect and block his deathblow on Kirito, just like how players would experience these MMO scripted events as unexpected. Eg. The first floor boss wielding a Nodachi as it’s final bar power-up that surprised even the beta testers.

    Actually, I don’t think it’s the servers. It’s the NervGear.

    The mechanism to kill the player is in the Nervegear but it can receive orders from the server to kill the player, such as when the player dies in the game. I imagine the reason why authorities couldn’t free the players by attacking the servers was because doing so would risk Kayaba or the system itself killing off the hostages. They couldn’t just shut down the servers. It would be equivalent to disconnecting the Nervegear. And the trouble with the system was it’s state of the art sophistication, beyond what the authorities had at their disposal. And yes, that’s a plot point. Although the system was run by a private company, it had public funding for medical and military use. The only reason why it got hijacked so easily was because it was hijacked by it’s main developer, Kayaba.

    Would have been nice if there was an episode where someone did try to hack the server, contact the players inside and alter the game in their favor, only to be kicked out of the system by Cardinal afterwards. Hey… It could have happened in those two years. Who knows?

    Interesting possibility but it would have to have been an intrusion undetected or tolerated by Kayaba since whatever they did failed to rescue the players in itself. I don’t see evidence of such an intrusion in the main story so I’m not sure how it would fit or how it would matter.

    SAO still has a lot of potential. SAO. Not ALO. Not GG. Not that other game I forgot about. But SAO. When his stories end, it wouldn’t hurt to make a reboot of SAO. It still has a hell of a lot of potential. Two years in a death game. A game where normal rules don’t apply. A hundred floors. Ten thousand players. HUGE POTENTIAL.

    Maybe in the upcoming PSP game. XD Although I kinda wish it was a game where the player could create his/her own original character rather than play Kirito. Playing Kirito feels like you’d be stuck in the novel’s script without much room to maneuver. I’d like a chance to change things in the story like save Sachi and the Cats or explore side character personal storylines like joining Klein’s guild or raising Silica’s dragon into something that could be ridden/flown or developing a romance/partnership with Liz or Agil or maybe even Agos. (What happened to her?) But I don’t see 100 floors worth of content fitting inside a UMD. :/ Wish that SAO game was for PS3 instead….ugh wait no. Bandai-Namco will probably kill it with expensive DLC i can’t buy without a japanese credit card. =.=;

    I wonder if Reki ever continued that Dark Elf story he was writing about in his doujinshi. He mentioned a Queen’s Knightsword that Kirito will get at the end of that quest in his latest novel but I was curious how the Dark Elf AIs would have worked. Somehow it’s got to fit Kirito’s dealings with Tonkii in ALO though. Hm….

    Btw, ALO, GG are just settings. I still love the stories set in them and the characters that are introduced. I am so looking forward to how they’ll depict fairy flight and airborne duels and magic and more AI. Illusion Kirito, Kirito vs General Eugene, Tonkii (They’d better set up Caliber right!) Sigh, I suspect a lot of the details will be skipped though. This anime Kirito is a lot more serious than the carefree Kirito from the novels. I don’t see him pulling some of the comedy he does in ALO. I am looking forward to him reconnecting with Suguha. I’m looking forward to their kendo duel.

    Then again, instead of killing players that died in-game, I’d send them to a different Aincrad to start over.

    Interesting that you’d mention that. I assume you already know what happened to Kayaba. Have you read up on Alicization?

    I may have missed some other talking points. I’m past my bedtime too. Talk to you again later.

  15. Andmeuths says:

    Really, at this rate, it wouldn’t be long before the Haters start calling Sword Art Online the Twilight of Anime. Especially if sales are good enough for the later arcs to take an anime format – though IMO, the later arcs ARE stronger, so I think we are soon going to see quite alot of Red face (=

  16. eternia says:

    “But really… how on earth are they going to follow this up? I mean after this, nobody is stupid enough to start playing these games again.”

    Ha ha ha. They. Played. Again.

    • raingod says:

      They played again? I thought the later stories in the LN where like flashbacks or something.

      Actually, I would play again. Because now I know there are loopholes in the system. But I really have to say, that is some serious deus ex machina. Spirits and ghosts in the machine. WTF?! At least be consistent. I wouldn’t mind if they change some things because I haven’t read any of the LN. If they are going to pull something, at least give it good a reason. If they have introduced some bugs from the beginning then it wouldn’t have been a big shock. Maybe an error in loading a map or in teleporting, something like that.

      I still like the idea of the anime. I hope it ends in a high note.

      • meow says:

        14 establishes that SAO is gone. Erased. 15, no, maybe 16 will talk about a different game that has disturbingly familiar characteristics and a pressing reason for Kazuto to jump back into it.

        But I really have to say, that is some serious deus ex machina. Spirits and ghosts in the machine. WTF?!

        Yeah. Sadly Reki thought this up years after finishing the first novel that just ended. You could say they’re just hints of stuff he will expand a little on at the end of the anime and really dive into in earnest (maybe) in the most recent novels.

  17. elior1 says:

    @CastlevaniaPro93 i wonder what you will say when you will see the next bad guy since he pure evil and unlike kaybe he not have loughble reason to do somthing

  18. kazid1 says:

    wow 6x+ comments i remember penwin drum comments now

  19. Vince says:

    Oh my god! It’s like Code Geass all over again. Needlessly seeing a wall of text over nothing.

  20. banagherlinks says:

    It still looks like the power of love or love ex machina. Cause the series didnt even attempted to explain that kind of detail so it will always look like it resorted to that magic- like E-Minor said its not even trying to become smart anymore.

    To me, it’s not good even for the standards of an MMO, fails on story telling department and dependant on the LN for it to be enjoyed to its fullest- based on the sh-tty pacing.

    Smartest anime this past years? Smart my @ss. XD

  21. Argon says:

    Best anime ever!! ^_^

    • Armpit says:

      If there was a like button you my friend would get 100+ from me… It’s always nice to see a fellow genius who uses facts!

  22. SAOhater says:

    Soooo… At the start of the series I ended up really liking it, and it was kinda my number 2 anime. And as previous people have mentioned it had a natural end after kirito wake up.

    Then they had to go and do that stupid shit. No one is dumb enough to play games like that again. And the fact that kirito, just because they use the same game engine or something, is supposed to have super powers at lvl 1 in this game kicks who is supposed to be the best player in game without too much difficulty? Seriously?

    And the show is so childish, kinda ironic since I’m 19 and I’m ranting about a cartoon but whatever, I really hate the little pixie girl who calls them mommy and daddy (it’s just so fucking stupid), then it’s the fact that kirito’s sister wants to fucking suck his dick, the retarded fact that kirito in stead of going over to the guy who wants to fuck his girlfriend (and just fucking torture him till he give her up, like I would) he instead decides to go into the game where he got all the control. Sooo lame and stupid.

    I’m at episode at episode 22, which starts off with kirito trying to reach the top of the tree. And all this music comes on and he just fails and like of course this dumbass kirito is just going to rush into everything and think he can do it all.

    B;SDOPGJSDIOGDJSGIOSIOGSDJGSDIO

    • meow says:

      Damn. And I thought we’d be spared all this after Psgels dropped this series. PLEASE tell me I didn’t trigger this with my off-hand comment in the November review. I did, didn’t I? Shot myself in the foot there. Damn.

      Well, I’m having a miserable moment so I’m going to chew some troll. Let me off this once, Psgels. Just need to blow some steam. Won’t do this again. Kind of pointless. Like hitting your head on a wall.

      No one is dumb enough to play games like that again.

      Yeah. Hundreds, maybe thousands of people died in plane crashes throughout history. Nobody flies anymore. We stick to ships and trains and cars cos nobody gets killed on those. Oh, wait.

      And the fact that kirito, just because they use the same game engine or something, is supposed to have super powers at lvl 1 in this game kicks who is supposed to be the best player in game without too much difficulty? Seriously?

      He kept his old stats and some of his old skills from two years of intense grinding. Like for most of his time awake. ALO started like a year later, which means even the guys who started from day one and grind daily are like a year behind the SAO frontliners. And there wouldn’t be many who can grind at the same rate as the SAOers, since for them, who were locked in, the game was literally their lives, and their lives were actually at stake. So whoever was way up in front in SAO are way better than the best guys in ALO. Do you MMO? Assuming they don’t have level caps like WOW, do you think you could catch the guys at the top who started from day one if you started now? Assuming they’re still actively grinding. Plus all those rare weapons and pets and other stuff they’ve accumulated over time. And all the tricks about the game they’ve learned. I apologize. For actually finding it cool to see what SAO-Kirito could do to regular gamers after what he went through. And he’s not even cyber-bullying. Much.

      he instead decides to go into the game where he got all the control.

      Try re-watching previous episodes and paying a little bit more attention. Asuna’s still in a coma. Which means she’s stuck in a system somewhere like they all were in SAO. Think of a certain photo Kirito was shown soon after waking up. Just in case it wasn’t clear, it was taken in ALO. Try to comprehend why that might make Kirito want to investigate ALO to see if he could find Asuna. If you have a better idea of what Kirito should be doing in real life that could actually help Asuna, I’d love to hear from you.

      And all this music comes on and he just fails and like of course this dumbass kirito is just going to rush into everything and think he can do it all.

      Well, duh. How hard a fail would it be if he could solo the final ultimate raid of the game that even entire guilds haven’t been able to for two years? And you complain about Kirito keeping his old SAO stats. I get why he’s doing it though. He has to test it to come up with a way to beat it. Unless you have a strategy guide, how else do you go after bosses in games? What do you think those recon teams were for in SAO til Level 75 when the boss room locks you in?

      Concerned about the death penalty system the game implements though. That Salamander lancer guy (Kagamune?) was concerned enough about the stat loss to avoid getting killed. Not sure what it’s effects are. I wonder if Leafa reviving Kirito with magic will spare him the debuff. Also makes for a good way to reveal each others feelings and identities to each other. Drama. Drama. Drama.

      Out of curiosity, what are you watching now that you actually enjoy? HxH? Jojo? Psycho Pass? Please stick to those and stay away from SAO. You know what you like. Everything edible can’t be the same as your favorite food so figure out what you like and stick to it. But stop trolling people who like other kinds of food. Psgels already dropped this show. It’s your f**king win. Why are we still doing this?

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  • Emma
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 06:43 AM)
    @Realist: After O malley wasn’t in it anymore I stopped watching.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 06:23 AM)
    Oh wait, I did enjoy that Halo 3 adaptation of 28 Weeks Later.
  • ninjarealist
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 06:17 AM)
    I thought the first few seasons of Red vs Blue were pretty funny. Once it became a drama I lost interest.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 05:58 AM)
    @Emma Ah, Halo. I played it up to Halo 2 and switched to PC. No, I was never a fan of those “machinima-esque” things.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 04:53 AM)
    Now speaking of series originating from rooster teeth, any red vs blue fans here?
  • Emma
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 04:51 AM)
    @Reaper: I never got into rwby, the art style and poor dialogue turned me off.
  • TheUltimateReaper
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 04:48 AM)
    @K-Off ew
    I liked Dandy’s music episode
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 02:32 AM)
    Anyone else watching RWBY? The art style is cringe worthy, but it’s a decent distraction for me.
  • notintheface11
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 01:59 AM)
    Awesome, thanks Aidan.
  • KaZuHiRo
    (Monday, Jul 28. 2014 01:36 AM)
    gelukkige verjaardag, psgels!!

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