Sword Art Online II

November 19, 2016

Although this came out a couple of years ago, I purposely delayed watching Sword Online II because I read a few less than impressive reviews about it. And since there were more interesting animes to watch at that time, I put this on my back burner and hopes I would one day return to watch this sequel. Well, thankfully I did instead of procrastinating till kingdom come. Because the more I delay, not only the more I will forget (not to say that I remember many things by the time I started watching this) but I will be bogged down with so much negativity thanks to all those comments I have read and when I lose interest, I fear that I might even dropped something that I never watched and based off the opinions of people whom I will never know. And so it was that time again to clear my busy anime schedule to make time for this sequel. Whether for good or for worse, only I myself can determine that. Do I sound cool? Okay, never mind…

Episode 1
A famous Gun Gale Online (GGO) player, XeXeed is boasting what he knows best to be the top player in the game. His interview is being aired live all over the GGO in-game screens. This mysterious mask and cape character, Death Gun perhaps didn’t like how he was being so arrogant so he is going to judge him by real power. Other players laugh when he fires his gun at the screen. Can he kill him that way? But when XeXeed soon starts choking before instantly logging out, everybody starts wondering if this mere coincidence. It has been a year since the events of the last season so we see Kirito and Asuna still going strong in their relationship (jealousy rage!). He tells her what happened 4 hours earlier. He was reluctant to meet this government bureau guy of the virtual division, Seijurou Kikuoka. Also the first person who visited him when Kirito woke up from his virtual trap. Probably he was treating to him to anything he wants was part of the motivation. Kikuoka explains about the popular gun game with pro players only in Japan, GGO. A player was found dead in his apartment after the landlord smelled some foul stench. He was probably dead for a few days. Autopsy revealed he died of heart failure. Coincidentally, this guy who is XeXeed also ‘died’ during the same time in-game interview. There are other players recounting the events of XeXeed’s death with this Death Gun’s actions. Kirito brushes it off as coincidence. However there is another similar case. Another player named Lightly Salted Tarako was also found dead in very similar circumstances. Kikuoka is asking Kirito’s opinion if it is possible to die in the game and in reality this way. Based on their technical arguments, of course not. The bottom line of this meeting is that Kikuoka hopes Kirito can log into GGO and make contact Death Gun in person. Well, Kirito already brushed aside the possibility of such deaths and yet he feels scared and thinks Kikuoka is asking him to go get shot? Aside money and compensation as the motivation, Kikuoka believes Death Gun has a certain criteria in choosing his victims like being a pro. So don’t worry, Kirito won’t get killed off. But wouldn’t it be faster to contact the game administrators? Unfortunately Zaskar guarantees player anonymity and will not release information so easily. Plus, their servers are in America and with their emails and contacts all confidential, yeah, sending Kirito in seems a much easier option. Going back to Kirito and Asuna, they reminisce about things during Aincrad in SAO and the possibilities it gave birth to. Not that I can remember.

Episode 2
Sinon is a top sniper in GGO. She teams up with a group to do an ambush. When the targets are in sight, they analyze whom they want to take out. Sinon is suspicious of the large cloaked guy in the back but the leader brushes it off as him being a transporter carrying goods. The team takes their position and the ambush proceeds well as planned. Till the cloaked guy, Behemoth reveals he is carrying a huge devastating minigun! Despite its name, it really packs a punch and sends Sinon’s team into hiding after a few of their men is taken out almost instantly. They realize he is a hired bodyguard. Sinon warns about continuing to hide because this way they will all be wiped out. The leader is scared sh*t of attacking all at once and get owned by his minigun. He rather log out than handing him a victory. Sinon blows her top about being a coward and not even be brave enough to die by the gun. Better to go out this way, right? They follow her command and wait for the right timing to ambush. The coordinated effort, some sacrifices and Sinon’s daring move eventually gets the best of Behemoth as she nails him at point blank range. After that she logs out and Sinon’s real life alter ego is a high school girl, Shino Asada. Meanwhile in ALO, we see Kirito’s harem girls, Leafa, Liz and Silica working together to cut down a monster plant. Even more insulting, Kirito and Asuna are just sitting around doing nothing! Oh yeah. Like a lion and his pride. What better way than to spend a lovely day online with your girlfriend and let the rest of your harem do the work. Jealousy rage! I think after all that thinking, Kirito has finally decided to tell Asuna something important.

Episode 3
A group of bullies demand Asada lend her money. She won’t this time. When the leader makes her hand like a gun and threatens to shoot her (because her brother has got new firearms), this sends Asada reeling in some sort of trauma. Thankfully her friend, Kyouji Shinkawa rescued here by faking he called the police. At a café, they talk about Behemoth and some other GGO stuffs. Although he introduced her to GGO, he felt she improved a lot and he was left behind. Asada goes home. She picks up a gun model in her drawer. Her trauma starts. It all began when her father died in a car accident when she was small. She moved away with her mom to live with her parents. One day at a post office, there was a lone robber but he was mad and bold. He shot a teller when he pressed the emergency button. He threatened to shoot Asada’s mom next. That is when she got up and bit his hand. They struggle for the gun. She fired 3 shots into him to kill him off! Asada realized too late what she had done despite it was self defence. Blood all over her. Even her mother was shocked. You think she would at least be grateful for saving her ass… And that has been her trauma ever since. Asada’s trauma is so great that she became sick and vomited. She pleads for somebody to help her. Kirito tells Asuna he will be temporarily leaving ALO for a while to help Kikuoka in an investigation in GGO. He goes to see Natsuki Aki, the nurse who helped rehabilitate him after SAO. She will also watch over him when he dives into GGO. Why do anime nurses have to be flirty (or otherwise grumpy)? Because she loves touching his muscles and wants him to get naked! So she can hook up electrodes for the diving, that is. Don’t worry. She has seen everything during his rehab. Yeah… Maybe that is why she ‘likes’ him… I wonder what Asuna thinks. Asada also dives into GGO as she further explains her traumatic condition never improves. Every time she touches a gun, she goes into trauma mode. Shinkawa introduced GGO to her as some sort of immersion therapy. To her surprise, holding a gun in virtual reality doesn’t trigger her trauma. If her avatar grows stronger, she hopes her physical self would too. She hopes to win the next Bullets of Bullets (BoB) contest. Meanwhile on the internet, rumours of the deaths link to Death Gun are rife. Some even joked about getting shot by him. The real Death Gun seems to be having Sinon as his next target.

Episode 4
Kirito is now in GGO. OMG! He looks like a girl?! Who the hell f*cked up his avatar?! He is sure getting all the wrong attention with the guys howling at him. Naturally he gets lost so he asks from help from Sinon who is passing by. She too thinks he is a girl. Kirito’s goal is to join BoB (so he could attract Death Gun’s attention). She goes out her way to introduce some guns for him to buy but with his limited credit, there is not much money. She can lend him but he would rather work his share. Is there a faster way to earn money? Well, there is this gambling game. One needs to run 10 metres and dodge the NPC cowboys’ bullets. Do that and you get the entire pool of funds from failed players. It is virtually impossible since the closer you get, the more the cowboy ‘cheats’. So they watch a player going great guns at first but fails when he gets closer. Apparently genius Kirito has observed everything and knows what to do and enters. Despite everyone has no faith in him, we see Kirito easily dodging the bullets and even at point blank range, he manages to dodge them all and tag the cowboy to win it! How does he do it? Simple. The point of this game is to anticipate the prediction lines of the bullets. Say what?! With tons of credits, he can get better weapons but it seems he is interested in this photon sword (light saber?). Naturally. Sinon mentions nobody uses this because damage is dealt only in close range and in a world of guns by the time you get close, you’ll be blown away. Good enough for Kirito as he buys it. As you need a gun to enter BoB, Sinon recommends some pistol for him. He practises with it and of course being the beginner, he didn’t handle it well. They had so much fun that they realize the closing time for BoB registration is in 10 minutes! GGO has no teleportation. That only happens when you die and respawn. Good luck getting there. Kirito sees a buggy and rents it. If you are wondering how he knows how to drive this bike, it is because he played a lot of racing games too. Good for him. Now step the pedal to the metal!

Episode 5
Of course they make it in time to register. Guess what? Despite being in the same block, they’ll only get to meet in the finals. As expected… When it is time to change clothes, Sinon undresses before him. Surely he is surprised and reveals his true identity. Yup. Kirito is male. Her disgusted face… I wonder how many life points you lose with a slap. Because of this, she gives him the cold shoulder. But since they’ve been together for ‘a while’, I guess she is ‘kind’ enough to dispense some very basic rules of BoB. Lucky her friend Spiegel is here to make the situation less awkward. He isn’t participating but he is as shocked to learn Kirito is a guy. I knew this girly avatar would cause such problems. I don’t know what her problem is. Kirito has tried his best to be polite as always when she became a b*tch. Now that it is time to do gun battle and he becomes a little confident, she becomes b*tchier, unbelievable of his attitude?! WTF?! Not even a handshake. While waiting in transition for his match to begin, Kirito can’t help wonder if Sinon is Death Gun because he heard her say she will kill all the strong ones. He wonders which side of Sinon is the real one. Kirito is left running for cover since his opponent is raining down bullets on him. Then he thinks about using that prediction lines and his sword to deflect the bullets. Yeah well, I’m sure he can because he is the main character! So after deflecting a few bullets and surprising the enemy, he thrusts his sword into his rival. Man, that looks painful. Kirito wins. He returns to the lobby trying to find if Sinon is still in the game. That is when Death Gun pops up next to him and asks if he is the real thing. It is when Kirito realizes they must have met before somewhere. Because Death Gun wants to know if his name and sword skills are of that person, Kirito is convinced he is an SAO survivor like him. Which one? Damn it, I don’t want to remember all those unimportant extra characters! But here’s a big hint. Kirito sees a familiar mark on his hand. Does Laughing Coffin ring any bell?

Episode 6
Whether or not if Kirito is an alias or real name, Death Gun will kill him another day. This leaves Kirito very traumatized. He remembers in SAO, he was with Knights of Blood fighting against Laughing Coffin. Knights of Blood were in a pinch because it was as though their formation was leaked by an insider. The brutal and bloody battle ended in many deaths. Some Laughing Coffin members committed suicide rather than surrender and Kirito killed a couple with his sword. He starts going crazy if he could be a surviving member or even the deceased. He is snapped out by Sinon. It’s hard to be a b*tch when his trauma seems so real. Over the next few matches, Kirito becomes a crazy reckless guy in defeating his opponents! So crazy I think we even skipped some matches. The expected final is of course Kirito and Sinon. Thoughts of his traumatic face cause her to hesitate. Even more so when she sees him walking confidently towards her, like as though he has a death wish. Because of that, she missed her shot. Then she comes out of her hiding just to confront him about his attitude. Does he not care about their promise to fight their best? Seeing her tears makes Kirito realizes he is wrong. So he suggests a duel between her gun and his sword. When Sinon fires her bullet, Kirito is able to cut it. This takes her by surprise as she tries to regain her footing but then he is already holding his sword at her neck. Though Kirito claims this is just skill, upset Sinon thinks it is more than just skill for him to dodge her bullet like that. She has been trying to learn that kind of strength. So he tells her if this bullet can kill in real life and if she doesn’t shoot them, she or someone she loved would be killed, will she still be able to pull the trigger? Sinon feels he had a similar past to her. Kirito laments he never knew the names of those he killed back then. All he did was deny them and ran away, trying to forget it all. Since it is Kirito’s win and not his policy to kill girls, he requests she surrender. Realizing his hand around her waist, I guess b*tch mode is back. Yeah, yeah. She’ll beat him the next time.

Episode 7
Suguha shows a BoB article in which Kirito’s name appears on. He brushes it off as coincidence. He isn’t a good liar… Suguha knows he has been playing GGO lately as he has dropped off her friend list in ALO. She knows?! Plus, she also asked Asuna about it. Although she sounded confident, she also sounded worried. Apparently Asuna did offer her help but Kirito didn’t want her involved in this problem of his. All Suguha can tell him is not to do anything dangerous. Meanwhile Asada is complaining to Shinkawa about the sexual harasser Kirito is. Nonstop… I guess it makes this guy worry. She has always been calm and collected but now she lets this guy rile her up. Shinkawa sounds desperate in wanting to help her. What do you know? He hugs her! She pushes him away and whatever reasons she gave, all I understand that he is being friend zoned. But she gives him hope that she’ll think about it once everything settles. Kirito has some sort of counselling therapy with Natsuki. He is disturbed he has forgotten those he killed. Cue for her to hug him and apologize she can’t carry his burden as she has never played SAO and doesn’t know what it is like to kill. She knows he at least has the right to save himself. Before Kirito’s trauma can blow up emotionally, more big hugging from her to calm him down and have him remember that he did it to protect someone. We take a detour watching Kirito’s harem girls fighting a lizard monster in ALO. Is Klein temporarily in charge of them while he is gone? Because Asuna is so worried and spacing out not paying attention, Klein almost lost all his HP. The main BoB round is here. Apparently losing finalists qualify too so you bet Sinon is going to pay back the favour twice. Before it begins, Spiegel (Shinkawa) talks to her to give his support. I suppose he is still desperate because he starts confessing he loves her. At this crucial time?! Okay, okay. She’ll think about it after the battle. Don’t want her distracted, right? Lover boy believes in her and agrees to wait.

Episode 8
I guess we still have time before the start so Kirito continues to bug Sinon about the battle royale rules. Can’t blame her this time if she really feels pissed off. Yeah, does he ever read the rules? He then asks from the final list of 30 players, which names she has not heard before. There are 3 of them. She wants an explanation so Kirito explains about his life and death battle in SAO. The main BoB tournament begins. We are distracted with weaker ones being taken out. Sinon positions herself to snipe an enemy but Kirito stops her because he wants to watch this battle. He promises not to kill her. You can trust Kirito… They watch this Pale Rider move like an acrobat to dodge all bullets and easily defeat his enemy. Kirito is certain he is Death Gun but surprise! He is shortly taken out! They observe his character is paralyzed by a stun bullet and sniped from very far. Kirito is shocked when Death Gun appears. Sinon is even surprised he has a very high profile sniper rifle with silencer. Such a gun is only rumoured to exist in GGO. Death Gun takes out a handgun and prays as he is about to finish his opponent. That is when Kirito gets desperate and calls Sinon to shoot him now before he fires.

Episode 9
Kirito’s harem are watching BoB. They see how Pale Rider was taken out. When Sinon fires, Death Gun dodges. When Death Gun shoots Pale Rider, he didn’t die. His paralysis is over but soon Pale Rider starts going into convulsions before disconnecting suddenly. When Death Gun makes his speech about bringing true death, it brings back fearful memories for Kirito’s harem. Klein especially remembers him and knows he is a former member of Laughing Coffin. Asuna decides to log out and talk to Kirito’s employer about this. Kirito and Sinon try to trace Death Gun but he is undetectable by radar. Most probably he went underwater. Although it leaves him vulnerable because the rules has one unequipped when doing so, Kirito still it is dangerous for Sinon to follow him alone because he knows he can really kill. They agree to a truce to take him out. Sinon believes as a sniper, he would be hiding at the abandoned city to his advantage. They try to deduce who he really is. Out of the 3 names Sinon mentioned, since it wasn’t Pale Rider, he could either be Gunner X or Sterben. They believe Gunner X since it echoes with his Death Gun name. They plan their strategy to take him out and true enough they locate Gunner X’s signal in the area and going after another player in the vicinity. Kirito goes ahead and will signal to Sinon to as his backup to fire. As she waits, suddenly she is hit with a stun bullet. Her worst fears come true when Death Gun emerges from his invincible cloak. He then mentions about killing Sinon to see whether if this Kirito is real. Because if she dies and he goes berserk with his sword like the last time, it is the real Kirito. He wants to see Kirito’s rage again. As Death Gun takes out his handgun, Sinon recognizes it. It belongs to the robber she shot and killed. How could this be? Time for the trauma to resurface again.

Episode 10
Before Death Gun could shoot, Kirito fires back and sends him into defence. Kirito then throws a smoke bomb and takes Sinon to escape. They ride a buggy and Sinon realizes she cannot even pull the trigger. Get this. Death Gun is chasing them via horse. Can a horse run faster than a buggy? I know it is a mechanical horse but… With Death Gun breathing down their neck, Sinon is reduced into a cowering hopeless. She tries to aim again but she still can’t. She wants to give up. Kirito shows how freaking cool by doing the impossible. One hand he guides her rifle and the other he is on the accelerator! OMFG! How can they even keep their balance at that speed!!! Although Sinon manages to fire, she misses. Luckily it hit a nearby truck and it explodes. Death Gun seems to get caught in it. But don’t count on being him dead because Kirito saw him leap off although he will still sustain damage. Hiding in a cave, Kirito explains how he came to her rescue. When he went to face Gunner X, he knew that wasn’t Death Gun because she was female. Kirito defeated her and that is when he saw Sinon down. He borrowed Gunner X’s arsenal to rescue her. Kirito doesn’t want to drag her into this fight anymore but she insists because it sounds like she wants to die. I mean, the person she considers her rival is now consoling her broken and pathetic self. Kirito disagrees about her dying alone since she is now part of his life. See what you done? You turn her into an emotional wreck. Yeah, we know how much you hate him but that doesn’t change a thing. Cue to explain how she killed that robber 5 years ago although the media reported it his gun misfired. But she still had to live with the trauma of people accusing her as a murderer. Also about her phobia on guns but she thought GGO would make her stronger. However facing Death Gun regressed her back to her real self. She is scared to die but living in fear is much worse. Cue for Kirito to talk about his killing experience in SAO. Yeah, yeah. We know. That’s why you have to settle things here, right?

Episode 11
Sinon wants to know how he overcame his memories. He didn’t. He still gets those nightmares and needed to accept it to know what killing them meant. They discuss how Death Gun can kill players in real life when it is impossible to do so from the game. He senses something amiss because when Kirito came to rescue Sinon, Death Gun didn’t use his handgun to shoot him. Is there a reason why he couldn’t use it? On the question why Death Gun knows who you are, when one registers into BoB’s terminal, you enter your real name and address. But even so, how can he kill? Then it hit Kirito. Perhaps there are 2 Death Guns. The one in the real world will kill the player after being given the signal by injecting some kind of drug that stops the heart. Because XeXeed and Tarako lived alone in old apartments with low security, their deaths are only found out much later, after the body has rotted and thus doctors couldn’t trace the drug. Besides, it is not uncommon for MMORPG players to die from playing a game straight without rest. As for how the deaths in the game and reality coincide, perhaps Death Gun’s cross gesture is some kind of signal. Kirito then asks Sinon if she lives alone. She does. Despite having some security, she remembers the door chain is not locked. Kirito thinks there is a possibility the perpetrator is now in her room waiting for the signal since Death Gun has been targeting her. Sinon’s heart rate starts to increase as she panics. Kirito calms her down that she cannot log out now as it would make it more dangerous for her to face the killer. Meanwhile Kikuoka logs into ALO as Chrysheight to speak to Kirito’s girls. He explains but nothing that would amount to any revelation. It is basically what we already know. The girls would love to help had Kirito only told them but they know his character of not wanting them to be put in danger. Asuna learns where Kirito is diving from and will go to him. Kirito and Sinon devise their strategy to defeat Death Gun. In short, Kirito will be the bait (like always). When Death Gun fires, Sinon will use his shot to find his location and then snipe at him. By elimination, Death Gun should go by the name Sterben and Kirito plans to ask him the meaning of this chosen name if he gets close.

Episode 12
Kirito senses something amiss because with the counter that shows how many players left, it looks like there is one missing. Sure you didn’t forget to count yourself? One of the other survivors is Dark Wind and Sinon knows how fast and deadly this dude is. He came in second place last time. They discuss about using Dark Wind as decoy to lure Death Gun and talk about the possibility that there might be more accomplices Death Gun has. The plan now is for Kirito to be the bait. He will relay the enemies’ position and Sinon will take them out. Kirito stands in open sight. He barely dodges a bullet that could bring down a structure! Sinon then takes out Dark Wind. As Death Gun has already sniped, this allows Kirito to know his position as he rushes there. Sinon also detects Death Gun’s position and fires. Death Gun also spots Sinon and does the same. Their bullets destroy each other’s rifle. When Kirito is about to slash Death Gun, he got slashed by him instead. Don’t worry. It’s just a little wound. Asuna has entered Kirito’s room and is shocked to see his heart rate climbing. Conveniently with Yui’s help, they put on the monitor to see how Kirito is doing. Asuna recognizes the estoc weapon Death Gun is having. He is part of Laughing Coffin but can’t remember his name. She wonders if Sterben is a misspelling of Steven but Natsuki explains it is a German medical word for death at the hospital. Death Gun mocks Kirito for being a coward because he kills to survive. Kirito then reveals his dirty trick of how he is able to kill players in reality. But Death Gun says he isn’t quite there yet because he doesn’t know his real name. Flashback reveals he wanted to after that bloody battle with Knights of Blood. However Kirito refused to listen, believing they will never meet again. Death Gun begins his relentless assault on Kirito.

Episode 13
How can Asuna stop Kirito’s dehydrating body? Hold his hand and pray real hard! Yeah, it should work… Kirito remembers hard that he might have seen Death Gun before. In a briefing with Knights of Blood, there is a Laughing Coffin member with red eyes… Kirito calls out his name, Xaxa. Death Gun is stunned for a while. Death Gun senses Sinon aiming at him and as he tries to avoid he loses balance. That is when Kirito goes in for the kill and cuts his body in half! Death Gun’s last words are that it isn’t over yet till it is found out… Kirito and Sinon meet up. With the threat gone, he believes she can safely log out and take precautions. She reveals her real name and address, which is pretty close to where Kirito is diving from. And it seems they will finish their battle in another time. Can BoB have 2 winners? Sinon lets Kirito hold her grenade. And then she hugs him while smiling before they both go boom! And there you have it. Double winners Kirito and Sinon! As Kirito awaits logging out, he sees the names of Pale Rider and Garrett as victims and this confirms Death Gun had more than 2 partners. Asada wakes up and confirms her room. Nothing suspicious. Everything is safe. Shinkawa then comes by to congratulate her of her victory. Then he becomes that desperate idiot to remind her and all of us about her answer. He promises to protect her from now on. It gets creepier when he hugs her but when she fights back, he sticks a syringe at her body. Asada’s fears come true when Shinkawa admits he is Death Gun’s accomplice. Guess what? They’re brothers! At the last tournament, Shinkawa was playing as Sterben in GGO so this time he wanted to switch places. Shinkawa goes on to complain about how he tossed away everything in the real world and GGO is all that he has till XeXeed started boasting about those lies and that is why he killed him. Crazy Shinkawa continues to suggest abandoning reality and living in some fantasy world and start their own family. So crazy this guy that he acknowledges her as the only girl in Japan to kill a real bad guy with a gun. That is why he chose that gun as Death Gun’s weapon to leave behind a legend. Shinkawa’s rape face is getting scarier and Asada has resigned to her fate in giving in. Till her Sinon counterpart tells her to fight for a certain someone. She breaks out of Shinkawa’s hold and escapes but he catches up. Rape is inevitable till Kirito barges in to beat him up.

Episode 14
Shinkawa fights back like a mad man and stabs Kirito with the syringe! Asada knocks him out with a radio over his head. Asada is frantic that Kirito will die but Kirito is one damn lucky guy. Of all the places Shinkawa could have stabbed, he stabbed near the heart and Kirito’s electrode from a heart monitor saved him. Phew. Could have died from a heart attack too. Shinkawa confronts those b*tch bullies who want to borrow money. Since she won’t, one of them pulls out a gun. Asada holds in her trauma. The b*tch actually wanted to pull the trigger but because it was on safety mode, Asada coolly unlocks it and shows her sharp shooting skill. Better think twice about messing with her again. Kirito picks up Asada to meet Kikuoka. He explains about Shinkawa and his older brother, Shouichi’s conspiracy in the Death Gun’s case. They have been arrested although the third accomplice, Atsushi Kanamoto escaped but in no time he will be caught. Kikuoka details how Death Gun started when Shinkawa was jealous about XeXeed and told Shouichi about it. They planned how to take him and though it started out as a joke, they realize they can seriously pull this off and used a master key to steal dangerous drugs from their father’s hospital. They carefully research their victims’ background and carry out the murders in synchronized timing. However GGO players treated their deaths as a joke so the mad brothers decided to get serious by making a triple kill at BoB. That is when Kanamoto was roped in as he was Shouichi’s friend. They were in Laughing Coffin in SAO. As Shouichi was one of the prisoners during the SAO incident, when he came back and told his brother, he was so fascinated and believed every word he said. That is why he believed this was also a game. Asada notes the brothers don’t have a reality because Shinkawa threw away this world to level up in GGO. GGO was his reality. Like any other players, he wanted to become the strongest and stress got to him and that is where he got both worlds mixed up. Asada would like to visit Shinkawa and tell him her thoughts. Before they depart, Kikuoka reads to Kirito a message left by Shouichi for him. It states that everything isn’t over yet.

Kirito brings Asada to meet Asuna and Liz. Better not get too friendly because you know what is going to happen when a new girl enters the harem. On a serious note, the girls get to know each other first before they reveal why they bring her here in the first place. First, Kirito apologizes to Asada because he told his girls about her problem and they went back to her hometown to do some research. Asada is not very happy about this but Kirito asserts he needed to do this as she has not met the people she is supposed to meet and hear the words she needed to hear. The girls usher in Sachie Oosawa and her 4 year old daughter, Mizue. She was a clerk at that post office. She regrets not stepping out to help her and never got around to apologize or thank her. Sachie was pregnant with Mizue during the robbery. Because of Asada’s bravery, she saved both their lives. She is very grateful. Kirito adds Asada tried to always punish and blame herself but she has the right to think about the lives she saved. Mizue hands Asada a (hideous) drawing as thanks. Please don’t ruin the (hideous) drawing with your tears.

Episode 14.5
Flashback episode of Sinon and Asada and everything that has happened so far about her life. No new scenes. Just recycled footage with Asada’s narration and point of view. From that traumatic robbery event at the post office to meeting Shinkawa to playing GGO to meeting Kirito, fighting at the BoB qualifiers, taking on Death Gun in the finals, fending off crazy-in-love Shinkawa and finally overcoming it all after meeting Sachie and Mizue. She finally realizes the need to move forward and that this real world isn’t so bad after all. It is kind and warm.

Episode 15
Kirito learns that somebody discovered the legendary sword Excalibur in ALO. Though, nobody has claimed it yet. A few months ago when Kirito and Leafa ventured into the underground world of Jotunheimr, they witnessed and helped this elephant jellyfish whom they named Tokii defeat a Tyrant giant. To show its gratitude, it brought them up high enough to a floating labyrinth just hanging beneath Yggdrasil and that is where they saw Excalibur at its base. So looks like Kirito needs to organize his party to go claim it. They need 7 members. Let’s see… Kirito, Leafa, Asuna, Klein, Silica and Liz. One more room… Aha! Sinon. In this world she is a cat girl? So they descend to the icy world of Jotunheimr and ride on Tonkii. Along the way, they see a party being assisted by Tyrants. Did they tame it because they believe it is impossible. Popping up before them is Uror, Queen of the Lake. She wants them to save this land from the frost giants. Once Jotunheimr was like Alfhiem, filled with greeneries and peace but Nilfheim, the frosty land below it invaded and Thrym the king threw Excalibur into the lake, cutting off Jotunheimr from Yggdrasil’s bounties. Thrym and his army attacked Jotunheimr en masse and built many fortresses and castles, enslaving her servants and animals. Now they rule the land via the main castle, Thrymheim. Though Uror and her 2 sisters escaped, they lack the power they once had. The frost giants were unsatisfied and decided to kill the servants and animals. Doing so, their powers will completely vanish and Thrymheim will be elevated to Alfheim’s surface as it is Thrym’s wish to cover the land in snow. And there is some golden apple at the top of Yggdrasil he desires too. Because of their inability to slay the servants, Thrym has resorted to recruiting fairies (the players) in helping them in exchange for Excalibur. However it is just a ploy as Thrym will never hand over Excalibur. That you see is just an exact duplicate, Caliburn. But Thrym made one mistake. By sending his army below to assist fairies, Thrymheim is left unguarded and its defence weak. So you know what you’re supposed to do here, right? Infiltrate Thrymheim and draw Excalibur out from the keystone dial. She gives them an amulet that indicates all her servants will be dead when it turns dark. I guess this quest is too big a deal to turn down.

Episode 16
Yui explains how ALO is different from other worlds. Something about the system than can make independent quests and since it is based on Norse mythology, there will be that ultimate battle that involves Ragnarok and flame giants from even lower grounds destroying the world. After all, remember what happened at Aincrad? Even if the system had backup, only player data will be saved and not field data. No time to waste as we see Kirito and his team using all they’ve got to take down bull giants and other monsters. They reach a room whereby Freyja is imprisoned. Klein’s love meter must be tingling and wants to save her although the rest knows better it could be a trap since she has HP and deduce they have to fight her. But you know Klein, his code of honour won’t let him leave her alone even if it destroys this world. So he thought with his wrong head? After freeing her, Freyja can’t leave this place. Not until she retrieves her family’s treasure from Thrym. Against the rest’s better judgment, they allow Freyja to join their party. They are now faced with the final boss who is no other than Thrym. He offers them to take as much gold as they want but of course they are not here for that. He thinks Freyja has escaped her cage means that she is here to marry him. Of course she refuses him and will retrieve her family treasure after these warriors defeat him. (Apparently she was locked because she was caught sneaking around in his treasure room). Since talking isn’t going to get anyone anywhere, time for the final boss fight.

Episode 17
Thrym is no pushover. The team takes heavy damage if not for Asuna’s healing power. Kirito tries to find the golden hammer and when he does, he tosses it to Freyja. When she touches it, she powers up and becomes… OMG! Isn’t that a giant bearded man, Thor?! Oh, Klein you must be so disappointed. So if Freyja was a guy and Thrym was going to marry her, was he about to marry a guy?! I CAN’T IMAGINE THIS GAY SCENE!!!!!!!!!!! With Thor’s might, he crushes Thrym in no time with the rest helping out to add to the damage. Hit him with all you’ve got! With Thrym destroyed, as a reward, at least Klein gets to keep Thor’s hammer. Yeah, I bet he wanted the girl… The quest is not over yet as they have to pull out Excalibur. Kirito tries his might while the rest give vocal support. When he does so, the Thrymheim falls apart. Tonkii rescues them. Kirito feels Excalibur is too heavy for him and throws it away. But Sinon uses her whip to get it back to give it to him. Her only condition is that whenever he draws the sword, please think of her. Those suspicious eyes from his harem… WTF. You mean this mind boggling scene is for this cheesy moment?! Jotunheimr reverts back to its original beautiful state. They get a personal thanks from Uror and her personal sisters, Verdandi and Skuld. They officially let Kirito keep Excalibur. Wait a minute. Klein now wants to hit on Skuld and get her contacts? Did he get rejected?! He handles it well and Liz respects him for that. Back in reality, everyone celebrates their victory and since Liz hints about somebody being paid handsomely on his last job, Kirito has no choice but to announce he is treating all of them. Cheers, everybody.

Episode 18
Agil talks to Kirito and Asuna how he met his wife. They were both playing SAO. They were also in competition to get the NerveGear. Agil was glad he won because it could have been her who would be trapped during that SAO incident. His will to return to his family made him persevere. He thinks everyone in SAO had that same sentiment but Asuna begs to differ. She didn’t quite like her family that much and sometimes forgot the reason she fought. She loved their cabin at level 22 and feared if SAO was cleared, it would disappear. Yeah, all I remember was the virtual sex they tried… Agil relays the good news that New Aincrad will have another updated that includes this level. They don’t know if the place is still the same but they’re keeping the faith. We see the parties hacking and slashing an uninspiring rock boss monster to clear the level. And here it is. Level 22 like it was before. Even their cabin is still there. A simple click of the button is all they need to do to buy it. There. Let the good times like before roll. And so Kirito and the girls are having a fun time in their new summer cabin. So while Asuna spaces out over her real marriage arrangements (potential candidates with faces that look like they want to rape her?), the other girls talk to her about this new player, Zekken who stands by at some lone tree awaiting challenges. Nobody has been able to defeat Zekken because of some original sword skill and 11 hit combo! Leafa also challenged Zekken but lost out to default skills. Kirito also fought Zekken. They talked about something before Kirito lost. When asked what it was, he refused to tell them. Looks like Asuna will have to ask Zekken herself. This means she is going to fight him. Wondering if Zekken was a former SAO player, Liz denies it because Kirito told her if it was so, the two-sword skill would have gone to Zekken.

Episode 19
It’s such a gloomy reality for Asuna. You know sh*t is going to happen when her mom warns her about spending too much time playing that game. Although Asuna has shown proof that she has done well academically, mother is not impressed because results from that kind of school mean nothing. Mother has arranged for Asuna to be privately tutored and using the credit system she can enrol in a real high school and graduate to college. Is she trying to speed up her life? Mother claims that makeshift school for children trapped during the SAO incident is just for the government to keep a close watch on them. She continues reminding Asuna about her future and possible careers and all they want is for her to be happy instead of regretting it. Why do always parents who sound like this act like as though as they know everything about their child’s future? And since when marrying is part of her career? Asuna argues she will pick her own partner. Mother agrees if that person is worthy but as long as he is not a child of that facility. I guess she investigated about Kirito. That’s the last straw for Asuna. She leaves and tells mom this: Mom might be angry and holding a grudge towards late grandpa and grandma because she wasn’t born into a rich and important family. Nailed it. Asuna can only cry in her bedroom as she laments how powerless she is in reality unlike in those games. Asuna talks to Kirito about Zekken before she leaves for her fight. She asks what they talked about. He asked if Zekken totally lives in this world (like as though a product of this world). Zekken never answered by only smiled back. When Asuna goes to face Zekken, she is shocked that Zekken is a girl! Oops. Liz might have forgotten to tell her that. And this might be the reason why Kirito lost… The intense fight begins with Asuna inches from defeat. She can’t go out like that and when she remembers her harsh reality, she fiercely fights back, making Zekken fight even more serious. Asuna thought she is defeated by her 11 hit combo but Zekken stops. She is satisfied with the fight and was just looking for someone who is right. Now that she has picked Asuna, she takes her high above into the clouds where nobody could hear or follow. Zekken pleads for Asuna’s help.

Episode 20
Yuuki Konno (Zekken’s real name) brings Asuna to her guild, Sleeping Knights. They request her help to defeat a level boss. The catch is they only want to do it themselves. Normally such boss battles are done with many groups. However if done so and the floor is cleared, only the names of each guild’s leader is etched in the memorial. To have each member’s name, a single party has to defeat the boss. That is why Yuuki was scouting for a strong member. Asuna agrees to join. She asks weren’t there stronger players before her like Kirito. Because he found out her secret, it wasn’t any good. After the meeting is done, Asuna is suddenly disconnected. Seems her mom is not too happy she is late for dinner and as per agreed the last time, she will yank the cord. The next time this happens, she’ll confiscate her machine. Asuna journeys with Sleeping Knights to the boss’ lair. Asuna spots several suspicious players waiting outside the door although they claim they are waiting for their friends. Asuna and co go in to fight the boss. And lost. Quickly after they regenerate back in town, Asuna lets her comrades know about those suspicious players. They are actually scouts for their guild to find the boss’ attack patterns and weaknesses. Although they were fighting in a closed room, Asuna noticed a spy familiar watching. This means all of Sleeping Knights’ hard work will be undone and this guild takes the credit. However Asuna isn’t giving up yet. They can beat them by going back to fight the boss now since gathering other party members at this point takes time. But when they go back, a large group of people are already waiting. They won’t move or let them fight the boss. Yuuki makes a surprise suggestion to fight them. Her words clear Asuna’s hesitation as she calls for backup. As more members of thieving guild arrive, here comes Asuna’s reinforcement. Only Kirito? He is going to stand in their way. I thought she would bring the entire army or at least the other girls. Ah heck, this guy is enough to whoop an entire platoon’s ass.

Episode 21
You are dead wrong if you think you can beat Kirito with numbers. Remember, quality over quantity. Don’t worry. Kirito has a little backup from Klein, though I doubt he won’t be doing much at the back there. Sleeping Knights easily defeat the thieving guild and enter the boss room. Before the fight starts, Yuuki has time to feel guilty Asuna friends are helping them without getting any reward. Asuna says to win this boss fight as their reward. She also hopes she could hear more about Yuuki’s adventures. The intense boss battle begins with them doing the usual attacks and strategy as planned. But when Asuna notices a weak point (really? It was so obvious that they didn’t realize it just because it was high up there?) she lets Yuuki know as she slices and dices her way to do maximum damage till the boss is destroyed. When it is over, Asuna invites them to her cabin to celebrate. Asuna notes that her contract to help them has ended. But she still wants to talk with them and become friends and would like to join Sleeping Guild. Uhm, wasn’t she in one with Kirito and the other girls? Not that I remember. Unfortunately Sleeping Guild is going to be disbanded shortly as many of them cannot be regularly playing this game. Even so, Asuna would like to join until then. Then everyone heads to the memorial where each of their names has been etched. They take a group photo with it. Hmm… Shouldn’t it be a screenshot in this sense? When Asuna notes that Yuuki has been calling her nee-san a few times, Yuuki starts crying and logs out immediately. Did she say something wrong? Touched the wrong nerve?

Episode 22
Yuuki cannot be contacted anyhow. Does she really not want to see Asuna anymore? So what is Asuna to do but to rely on Kirito for information on where she is. All he tells her is a hospital that is using clinical trials for Medicuboid. At the hospital, Yuuki’s doctor is surprised to see her as he begins explaining from the beginning. So what is Medicuboid? To put it simply, it is a full dive system for the medical world just like AmuSphere or NerveGear. One of its pros is that it can act as anaesthesia and reduce pain. However it still cannot treat the underlying disease. Yuuki was born via Caesarean and given blood transplant. However it was contaminated. Asuna sees Yuuki’s true physical form and is devastated. You know how a person with AIDS’ syndrome kicking in looks like, right? With drugs, she was able to delay AIDS but had to put up with the stigma of society as well as the drugs’ side effects. There was one point she wanted to kill herself but decided to fight on. 3 years ago, her immunity system suddenly collapsed and ever since she was placed here. At that point Medicuboid prototype was just completed but with the scandal surrounding NerveGear, nobody was willing to take the risk. Yuuki jumped on that chance in exchange for a clean room that would reduce her risk but what sealed the deal was her longing for the virtual world. She has been living in the virtual world since and logging in 24 hours a day. Although she is safe in there, she is still terminal. Asking if she has a sister, a twin in fact. Aiko was very similar to Asuna. Unfortunately she passed away a year ago and her parents 2 years ago. Time for Asuna to let her tears flow. Yuuki communicates with her but it would be better if they just dive and talk in the virtual world. Asuna finds her and gives her the most emotional hug. Time for some emotional talk too. Yuuki reveals that Sleeping Knights had more members but they died. Thus it is decided when another member is going to bite the dust, they will disband. Thus the real reason the guild disbands is not because nobody has time to play anymore but rather they have been diagnosed to have a few months left to live. They wanted their last mission to have their names on the memorial and thus they searched for a person to help them do so. Asuna asks if there is something she would like to do. How about going to school? Oh, so Asuna is going to arrange that?

Episode 23
With a little help from Kirito’s tweaking, Yuuki gets to experience school. At least she is a surveillance camera on Asuna’s shoulder. She gets to participate in class and is quite popular with the classmates. Or is it because Yuuki’s form is such a novelty? After school, Yuuki requests to visit her family’s house in the area that they only stayed for a short while. As she talks about her family, Yuuki also gives encouragement to Asuna to go talk to her mom like how they usually do. Yuuki did just that but she wants to talk to mom not in the real world but in the virtual world. At first mom disagrees since if she can’t say it right now it isn’t worth listening. But after pleading how much she wants her to see with her own eyes about her world, she relents with a condition that she will still fill up the paper work for her school transfer. In the virtual world of Asuna’s cabin, she takes her mom to look out the window. The snowy woods. So? This scenery reminds Asuna very much of her grandparents’ home in Miyagi she loves so much. When mom was busy making headlines and corporate decisions, appearing all over the media, grandpa once told Asuna that mom might get tired of it all one day. When that happens, grandpa and grandma will always protect and preserve this place so that she will have a home to come back to. Now Asuna has understand some words that were said to her she never did in the beginning. Life isn’t about doing things for yourself. She wants to make others happy and continue doing the things she loves. Mom is so touched that she cries. Wait. They have a programme in this virtual world that you can’t hold back your tears?! Back in reality, Asuna is all smiles that mom isn’t forcing her to transfer but she ups the ante that her grades must be exceptionally well and have to go to university. It’s going to be a very fine day.

Episode 24
Yuuki and Asuna spend the rest of the days having fun online and even in the real world. Asuna is also doing great in her studies. One day Asuna gets a message that Yuuki’s condition has deteriorated. She rushes to the hospital. The doctor says her heart stopped once before but they revived her. The next time won’t be so lucky. She has been fighting the harsh reality for 15 years so it is best to let her rest now. So I suppose the best place to say goodbye is to hook up in the virtual world since we can hear them talk properly. Yuuki transfers her original sword skill to her. Not only the rest of her Sleeping Knights and Kirito’s group come to pay their respects but all the fairy guilds of ALO! Amazing?! They have to respect the strongest swords(wo)man in ALO, right? Yuuki is glad to have lived and experienced as much as she can. Time to let those tears flow freely. Asuna is at Yuuki’s memorial service. She meets one of Sleeping Knights members in the flesh as she talks about her own terminal disease as well as how Yuuki inspired hope in them all. Kirito and the doctor have been exchanging information about the communication probe. Thanks to all the data from Yuuki, Medicuboid is ready for official use around the country. When it is mentioned its external helper was Professor Rinko Koujirou, Kirito recognizes that name as Heathcliff’s body caretaker when he was diving. This means the real person who invented the basic design was Kayaba himself. Kirito and co enjoy a picnic. They talk about how they thought when the gap between the real and virtual world got closer, the world would be a better place but instead it deceived many. But they can take heart it also saved many. They vow to be with each other till the end of the world and forever. As in virtually and reality as well?

Sword Art Offline II

Special 1
With Asuna as your host, Kirito the commentator and special guests from Silica and Liz, they talk about the headline of Sinon taking out Behemoth, reviewing and commenting on selected scenes in the episode (I’m sure the girls want to grill him about Natsuki’s ‘flirting’ but to show how much Asuka loves her man, she doesn’t get mad) and the problem solving corner in which Silica tries to anonymously seek help to defeat a skirt flipping monster. Wait, was she playing the right game? Unfortunately the problem wasn’t solved and Kirito got beaten up. Why oh why.

Special 2
The headline is about Kirito looking like a girl in GGO. Asuna even has her fun laughing so hard at girly Kirito. With Sinon as the special guest, apparently she is still very unforgiving about Kirito’s true gender. She replays several clips that only serve to hammer his cross-dressing fetish and perversion. Kirito can’t even defend himself. Worse, Asuna’s faith in him is wavering… As for the problem solving corner, some GGO guy is having problems getting a certain girly boy out of his mind. More ammo for Sinon to just tell him to date this guy, become gay or send a cute photo of his girl self to him. I wonder how much HP embarrassment can inflict.

Special 3
Because Kirito’s avatar looks like a girl, online rumours surfaced about Kirito and Sinon being a popular girl team. So apparently this special too, Sinon continues her unforgiving nature through the playbacks and even wanting to shoot him a few times to take out her rage. Even Asuna agrees! Because sometimes she feels like stabbing Kirito! Again, the problem solving corner has another GGO guy having problems trying to court a girl he likes. Apparently Sinon knows this guy since he is persistent about her. Another reason for her to complain about Kirito and falsely accuse him of his girly fetish. Not too sure if this special has less abuse or Kirito has gotten the hang of it…

Special 4
This time they are discussing about the final battle between Kirito and Death Gun. Then there are also scenes of Sinon’s weak moments like Kirito saving her and she confiding in him in the cave. It makes her feel humiliating just to think about it. When they discuss about Death Gun’s cloaking ability, Kirito had to open a can of worms that he might use it to peek at girls changing. Much better than being a guy acting like a girl, right? You dug your own grave there. Once again the problem solving corners have those GGO guys who are fans of Kirito and Sinon wondering what their relationship are (remember, they still think he is a girl) because their manly testosterones have never heard of yuri before. Kirito wants to come clean with his identity but Asuna rejects because she doesn’t want him to ruin the dreams of his fans! Sinon is okay with their girl on girl relationship as it will stop pesky advances from other guys. Another loss for Kirito…

Special 5
They talk about Kirito’s win over Death Gun as well as discussing if Death Gun or Asuna is better. Kirito of course vouches for Asuna knowing she has a faster and better skill. Flattered Asuna is quite embarrassed by that so much so she accidentally unleashes that skill on him. And then again but this time due to her anger when Kirito explains a crazy nickname she got during ALO. And that bike scene Kirito was supposed to pick up Asada from school? Asuna envies and would love to experience that. For the problem solving corner, for once it isn’t some love problem. Instead, certain girls from Kirito’s harem complaining about their lack of screen time. This leads to the discussion why Sinon, Kirito and Asuna would prefer not to stand out more be it their sniper position, special skills that make them a target or just plain real life stalkers. Since this is Sinon’s last appearance, she wants a commemoration by shooting at Kirito one more time. Hasn’t this guy taken enough damage already?

The Art Of Living
Initially, I thought they should just call the second season Gun Gale Online seeing more than half of this season is about this. However it is also attached with a couple of other minor ‘non-important’ adventures at the end so I figure it wasn’t appropriate either. Then again, if you remember well that the original SAO world was destroyed at the end of the first arc in the first season. You don’t get to revisit here again except via flashbacks. So why didn’t they just call it ALO or something? Maybe SAO sounds better and less sissy than ALO. You remember the hardships and terror in SAO but ALO was just like child’s play fairy version, right? And probably the same reason why it wasn’t named GGO either. Because it might mislead fans to think this is some sort of new spin-off but it isn’t. But having it as SAO II doesn’t that too feels misleading? Argh! I’m so confused!

Just as I feared, the second season wasn’t really that great either. But now I can be sure of saying it from my own mouth and heart. While the GGO arc is still by far the most interesting arc compared to the mediocre Calibur arc and the emotion filled Mother’s Rosario arc, it still pales in comparison to the first SAO arc. Despite the action and drama in GGO, the only thing that retained my interest was trying to figure out Death Gun’s identity. Yup. That was the only thing that kept me from snoring and falling asleep in front of my monitor. I’m not saying the action is boring or the drama between Kirito and Sinon is uninteresting, but they aren’t just enough to make me feel like I want to immerse myself in this world. Sure, GGO is much different than ALO and SAO but with the arc about trying to catch Death Gun before he commits another crime, the beauty of this dystopian is not really in focus.

Because I had a hunch who was Death Gun and when the true culprit was revealed, the only thing left interested was how he did it. Honestly, I wasn’t quite satisfied with that answer although it seems most plausible. Because I was expecting something SAO-like but that may be part of my fault to expect something like that and thus the disappointment when the arc ends. Even I was thinking there would be some sort of conspiracy involving Natsuki. Nope. How can flirty nurses be baddies? Besides, regarding Death Gun’s identity as an ex-member of Laughing Coffin, I thought it would be an identity from someone we would know. Instead we will be asking, who the f*ck is this guy anyway?! As good as they could have put it as any damn person from any damn guild or just a random guy who hates Kirito for no reason. Maybe this guy did make his cameo in SAO but it was too insignificant for us to remember. With such sentiments now, I don’t really want to go back and rewatch SAO just so that I can point him out and then approve of this that they didn’t pull the rug from under our feet.

The other mind boggling thing was to have double winners for BoB. I mean, is that even allowed in such reputable tournaments? Sure, the circumstances leading up to that may seem that it has no other choice but does this mean there were no other avenues to select a single winner? Isn’t that what being a champion is about? To be the one and only one at the top? And everyone accepted that result? Isn’t it an insult to all those who fought hard and were knocked out of the tournament only to see at the end there were 2 winners? So let me guess if such a ‘broken’ system was really in place, I think everyone can be winners. Everybody just toss a hand grenade and then give each other one big group hug. Oh yeah! Boom! Everybody wins. Everybody’s name turns up on the champion’s list. No need for all those useless gunfights. Get what I mean? And I thought this would be a good timing for Kirito and Sinon to truly settle it GGO style but I guess if she is to become part of his friendly harem, this sort of route has to be taken.

The remaining arcs didn’t fare well either and like I have said they pale in comparison. Because I felt the Calibur arc was just to give Kirito’s girls and Klein some screen time and to remind us that they are a close knit party. Yeah, to show off they can work together and save an entire world. When you have mystic and powerful beings falling from power to another that threatens the very existence of the world, only a bunch of kid players can change things for the better and save the day. Yeah, it was a bit of BS with Kirito even tossing away the Excalibur he wanted to get so much at the start. So can you not believe this arc is probably the shortest in all of SAO series lasting only 3 paltry episodes? Yeah. Maybe it was a good thing it ended quickly. There. Liz, Silica and Leafa. Are you happy now that you got more screen time in this short arc?

At this point, I am sure we are tired of seeing Kirito as the main hero, right? That is why for the sake of feminism, it is Asuna’s turn to hog the limelight in the final Mother’s Rosario arc. Kirito is tossed aside so that Asuna can be in focus because after playing the damsel in distress in last season’s ALO arc and being just secondary in GGO and Calibur arc, it is time to remind us why she is the main heroine of the series in addition to being just Kirito’s pretty girlfriend. Really. And thus Mother’s Rosario is just a long drawn out emotional drama about Asuna and a dying player whom she befriended very closely. It is like to show us that after playing countless hours of online games, people like them still have emotions and that no matter how deep you are in the virtual world, you’re still tied to reality. Because eventually you’ll still die in real life. Sad but true.

So while we don’t get to see any harem battles over Kirito, the new characters in focus based on the arcs are Sinon and Yuuki. Both have their set of issues and troubles dealing with their past or troubled life. It is pretty decent since they have enough episodes to flesh out their character. But I just can’t help that Sinon after her GGO arc is over, she becomes somewhat irrelevant. It is like her character can be done without subsequently. Although she did join Kirito’s group in ALO, it was as if to tell us where she is instead of just scrapping her character for good. You know, if she was totally discarded, you’d be wondering where the heck Sinon is. So with her part of Kirito’s party, you’ll go, “Ah, so there she is”.

All of last season’s casts are retained. New ones added to list include Miyuki Sawashiro as Sinon, Aoi Yuuki as Yuuki/Zekken, Ayako Kawasumi as Natsuki and Hiroshi Kamiya as XeXeed all of whom I recognized instantly. I thought Asuna’s mom sounded familiar but only later I found out it was Megumi Hayashibara behind it. For the rest of those I don’t recognize, I’m too lazy to list them down. For this season, the opening and ending themes didn’t quite appeal to me. I’m not saying they are bad but they don’t come close or as attractive as last season’s Yume Sekai. The first opener is Ignite by Eir Aoi. I don’t know, it feels like the singer is trying to sing at the top of her voice. The second opening theme is Courage by Haruka Tomatsu. Generic pop beat. The first ending theme is Startear by Luna Haruna, a slow rock ballad. The second ending theme is No More Time Machine by Lisa. Another slow rock outfit, the third ending theme, Shirushi also by Lisa.

I have to be fair and give them credit where it is due since the art and animation department are still great. The visual effects from the battle (gun and sword) as well as the magic effects are still a sight to behold. While the character designs in GGO are still looking great because of the brutal dystopian setting, it is mind boggling that Kirito had his avatar then like a female. He stands out so much like a sore thumb that it is so distracting. Like as though he is in the wrong game. Like as though the producers listened to some of the fans who wanted to see a gender bender of Kirito and granted it for that arc.

I’m not sure if I would want to watch a third season if it ever comes out because this series seems to be going strong with its legion of fans. Unfortunately I’m not one of them. There was this special movie lasting almost 2 hours, Sword Art Online: Extra Edition that came out at the end of 2013 that I didn’t see (most probably turned off by the length even though I read in the synopsis there would be some pool fanservice…) and there is another movie coming out in 2017. Don’t even get me started on the numerous video games… While this season isn’t exactly a flop, it all boils down to taste and whether you are a big fan of the series. The plot feels a bit silly, the characters lack in major development but the visuals are good. Like as if you buy a video game for its graphics instead of its game play… Sometimes it makes me want to run away from reality and live a virtual life for the rest of my pitiful existence. Oh wait. There’s already Minecraft…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: