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Title: Sword Art Online II
Season: 2
Episode: 6 [Duel in the Wastelands, or Showdown in the Wilderness]
Watched: August 10th, 2014
Aired: August 9th, 2014

August 10th, 2014

Hey there everyone!
How are you doing?

I just wanted to point out before I start writing this (or rather before you start reading the review) that I am aware that, in my previous post, I said I would keep posting twice a week in order to catch up, and… at the time, and even now, it sort of seems a bit unlikely that it will happen, but if the dates provided by Wikipedia appear to be true, then by Episode 10, I will have caught up and will be posting one episode review of Sword Art Online once per week at that time.

This episode review contains spoilers, please be aware of this before reading more! I’ve also tried to separate the review with lines. If you want to skip through my thoughts on particular ‘main events‘ in the episode [first section is about the “introduction to Laughing Coffin”, the other to the preliminary matches, then to the final, all the way to my overall thoughts (I know my posts are long, so what can I do?)].

Have I mentioned how much I liked the opening song? It’s not in my playlist yet, but I really like it, so that might happen soon.

First off, I’m glad that Kirito brings a perspective on killing during video games to both the viewers and to Sinon. On the bigger picture, I think it sort of it as a warning or a reminder for the many people who play virtual games and who apply this in real life and make shootings all over the world [or is it only in North America that people are this twisted? (maybe)]. Maybe I’m just over thinking it, but it’s nice to point out that despite these games being virtual, there’s a difference – a huge one – between the real life and the virtual one. Even if I want Sinon to become stronger, I don’t want her to lose track of the fact that there’s always going to be a fine line between her life and her sniper self. I hope that Kirito will help her find that strength WITHOUT the blood thirst that she seems to have acquired on that path.

I was glad for the flashback about Kirito, along with Asuna and her guild (along with Klein and his [by the way, can he appear soon? And NOT just in a flashback? I like his bromance with Kirito!]) going to defeat Laughing Coffin. I did remember some of the members of such a guild. I’m not sure if I like the fact that we see this scene only now. That scene was totally new and though I enjoyed it (even if Kirito killed a couple of them, in TOTAL self defense), I somehow thought that it would have put a little more exposition about Kirito’s thoughts about actual murder as well as conclude the whole string of Laughing Coffin‘s ‘arc’, because I remember that throughout that first season, I kept expecting Laughing Coffin to reappear and call for Kirito’s blood, and it felt like it never happened… until this flashback, for which I’m still thankful for, by the way.

I’ll give the creator that. Later in this episode, Kirito DID mention that he would just close his eyes and try to ignore the guilt from killing them. He’s done that super well since we didn’t know he had problems with killing until… pretty much now, right? (did he show this during the previous season? I do have a bad memory, so maybe this is just me complaining for nothing).
I like that his guilt made him doubt himself for a moment, thinking that perhaps one of those he killed was Death Gun – it couldn’t possibly be true, since people who DIE in SAO simply DIE in real life!

Regarding the fact that we might not see Klein. We did see him in a shot where he may have stabbed someone? It doesn’t mean necessarily that he killed someone, but perhaps that was enough to quit video games other than the ones he can play with Kirito and the gang? Also, Kirito mentions that 20 of the Laughing Coffin members preferred to be destroyed rather than surrender. This means that, even if Kirito killed 2, 18 others were murdered. Is there blood on Asuna’s hands? Is there blood on Klein’s? How do they live with it? And are they living with this guilt differently than Kirito does?

I’m glad that Kirito connected the man from Laughing Coffin with the man called Death Gun. That leads less obvious things for us to see him find out. I wonder if this realization will change his plans, or if it will increase his worry about Death Gun really killing people in real life. I want to see this being played out soon!
I also wonder if Kirito will be sharing this knowledge with Sinon at some point. I wonder if they will bond over the fact that both of them are murderers and feel the guilt immensely (but I don’t want them to end up together, because I’m still dead set on Asuna being with Kirito), even if they try to alleviate that pain differently.

I’m surprised that Kirito only got a scratch during his second battle, to be honest. He wasn’t moving at all when it happened, meaning that either that person is not a sniper or that person is really bad with aim in general (if so, wow, you really have gotten lucky during your first round, buddy)…
It was slightly difficult to watch Kirito going through his duels in “berserk mode“, to be honest, despite being so cocky during the previous episode, and despite being so shaken by kills in general. Such a huge contrast! It was like he had shut down completely (which is probably what happened; he felt the guilt, shut his feelings off and just focused on winning through killing).

I’m glad that we didn’t have to go through the whole battles in the tournament, watching each and every battle that the two characters must go through.

Nevertheless, I’ve also enjoyed that we got to see Sinon fight a little bit before her eminent duel with Kirito. This made her showcase her ability at sniping with such accuracy, even from a long distance, a moving target [and it was controlled by an intelligent human being, too, not just some random computerized pattern], which is no small feat!
Not only that, but her obvious knowledge of every field of combat is also to take major consideration of during duels. She also studies her opponents before each match, it seems, since during this one, she knew his main weapon and already had a plan to counter him.
I wonder if Kirito and Sinon will also be cooperating together instead of just being rivals and fighting each other. I’d like to see how they could be teammates in this season.

The main dish in this episode truly has to be Sinon vs. Kirito, which, to be honest, I did NOT anticipate to be this early in the season, even if they did end up in the same fighting block (F) and they were the only exceptional characters in such block.
After all, there ARE 24 episodes (according to Wikipedia). Of course, this is only a preliminary period (sort of) to enter the MAIN tournament, and since both Sinon and Kirito have qualified for the semi final in the F block, they will be qualified as well for the main tournament, which will be very nice for Sinon, since that’s her goal.

It was difficult for me to predict who would win definitely. I thought that with Sinon’s abilities and knowledge, she would be able to withstand at least a little bit, but I predicted that, somehow, Kirito would get the better of it, because that’s just the extent of his abilities/charm?
And indeed, while she has this blood thirst about her, constantly so obsessed with being stronger and getting stronger than anyone else. I know that Kirito could dodge anything even without the prediction lines, since he doesn’t need them to dodge bullets. He has his instincts [like holding a girl, remember, Kirito, you have a WIFE]. Plus, we already know that he beat the SAO world many times.

It was nice to see Sinon explain to Kirito how even if most players thought otherwise, for her, it isn’t just a game. She, of course, did not reveal to him the reasons why (although it feels like she should, I mean, even Asuna didn’t have as much backstory explained for her in season 1). It gives you another aspect of gaming, because, when you have as much technology at your hand and when you practically live in such a virtual world, it ISN’T just a game.

The fact that they clashed this episode isn’t just a battle of skills as players, but it was also, it feels to me anyway, a clash between lines of thoughts. As I mentioned before, Sinon has this particular idea of ‘strength’ and how to use such strength to get rid of her guilt. Kirito gets rid of his guilt by “going berserk” (except when he faces a friend as an opponent, apparently, then, he would just let her kill him), he also knows that he owns skills, not strength.

During his speech, multiple questions arose for me. You can totally skip this part, but… was he speaking about the three people he killed in SAO or was he speaking about the three people he eliminated during the tournament?
Also, is he saying that he doesn’t think that he can protect Asuna or others by killing someone else? Is he saying that he could do it before (well that’s actually what he did to the two people of Laughing Coffin)?

I know that in the previous episode, I totally played (even joked) on the fact that Kirito would somehow attract Sinon at some point, but… to find this post on Tumblr made me shake in anger (just a little bit, because I do remember Asuna (where’s your wedding ring, Kirito?)). To make a change, here’s a review on WordPress.

I really liked the special effects used on the “teleportation” of other players to their designated battlefields, as well as the “virtual” effects, from the prediction lines to the “borders” of each battlefields, the details on the light saber, the sniper’s lock on abilities).

I can’t wait to see Sinon beat Kirito (hey, it’s bound to happen at least ONCE during the episode, yes?), what were your thoughts on the episode?

Ponyta’s out! 「(°ヘ°)