Sword Art Online – 04 Review

Kirito Girl

SAO II 04 – It’s Kirito being Kirito… Again

Is there anyone out there that isn’t completely sick of Kirito? <sound of crickets> Okay, I thought so. Unfortunately, Kirito is a major part of SAO, and he’s back. He’ll probably play a huge role in every episode from now on, so the only thing we can do is resign ourselves to the stupidity and try to make the best of it.

Synopsis:

Kirito logs into GGO, and happens to run into Sinon there. She (and everyone else) thinks he is a girl due to his very feminine avatar, and Kirito does not disillusion her. As Kirito has no money, he plays an in-game gambling game and wins. He is apparently the only person in the history of GGO to win the game, of course. Sinon and Kirito take his newly made fortune shopping to get him equipped for GGO – he buys a lightsaber and a handgun. Sinon and Kirito realize that the deadline for entering the Ballet of Bullets is only 5 minutes away; Kirito saves the day by renting a trike-motorcycle, which normal people can’t drive.

Review:

How I FeelThis is how Kirito makes me feel.

What can I really say about this episode? It’s Kirito being Kirito… He can do everything better than anyone else, instantly. It’s absurd. I mean, he’s never played the game before and has no idea how it works, but he is able to beat the gambling game easily on the first try.

Anticipate

Screw you, Kirito.

Of course, Kirito manages to come up with some “new” way of playing GGO; he anticipates the prediction lines before they appear. Seems obvious, right? Then why the hell hasn’t any other player out of the thousands across the globe ever thought of that?!?!

kirito motorcycle

And then the bit with the motorcycle… He just hops on and drives it perfectly. Because he’s “played racing games before”. Like none of the other GGO players have ever played a racing game in their entire lives? It’s honestly just gross how enamored Sinon is with Kirito after spending an hour or two with him. Sinon isn’t acting like an idiot yet, but I’m sure she will as soon as she finds out he has a penis.

lightsaber

At least Kirito can’t shoot worth damn. But it doesn’t matter, since he’s got his lightsaber. Should I even bother to mention that fighting snipers with a sword is ridiculous? This is SAO, so I’m sure that Kirito will figure out some way to do that. Actually, when they remarked at how expensive the lightsabers were, I immediately thought that the lightsaber will have some special distance-killing property… If it’s used by someone with the right stats, or, rather, if it’s used by Kirito.

GGO backgrounds

This episode was mostly world-building filler, and that’s okay. I would have preferred for it to move a little faster and be related to the overall plot a bit more, but I didn’t hate the episode. I like the cyber-punk look of world of GGO, but I wish the backgrounds had more detail instead of being whitewashed and blurry.

I think the fact that Kirito’s avatar looks like a girl was supposed to be a bigger surprise or have more effect on the viewers than it did. Honestly, I don’t really care that Kirito looks like a girl. It could probably make for some very interesting commentary about female-gamer stereotypes, but it’s highly unlikely that SAO will ever say anything intelligent about gender. For a moment, I enjoyed that Kirito was being sexually harassed – I thought, “Serves him right, maybe he will be less of a patronizing bastard after this.” Then I realized that the point of all that was probably just to reinforce the fact that Kirito is the only male in the entire gaming universe that treats women nicely.

stats last week

One thing I was wondering about. Last week, Asuna mentioned that converting your character to a new game resets your items. I guess it doesn’t reset your stats though? Like your experience points or whatever? (I’m not a gamer, so bear with me.) When Kirito started playing ALO, I know his stats were supposed to reset, but there was a bug in the system (due to Yui, I think) that made it so he could keep everything. I’m confused. Does anyone know what the deal is with this? Please don’t spoiler us though!🙂

stats this week

All in all, the episode was fine. If it weren’t for me sighing and being annoyed about the infinite Gary Stu-ness of Kirito, I would give it a better rating. The episode showed us more about how GGO works, it rules, and its limitations, and that is a positive thing. Showing the details of each game are part of what make SAO unique, and it’s one of the things I appreciate about the show. Unfortunately, I feel like the only reason SAO makes such a big point of outlining a game’s rules is just so that we can be awestruck at how many times Kirito breaks them.

Can I enjoy SAO even though I’m totally sick of Kirito? I don’t know. I’m going to do my best to take SAO II for what it is, without letting SAO I cloud my judgment. I’ve been enjoying it so far, and I think I will continue to do so, as long as the plot stays strong, the action is good, and Sinon continues to be a multidimensional character.

Episode Rating: 7.0/10.0

Did any of you have thoughts about this episode? Is Kirito’s “awesomeness” just too much for you? Do you like the world of GGO better than SAO or ALO?

About kelfio

Keepin' it real down in the sweet sunny south.

Posted on July 28, 2014, in Anime, Reviews, Sword Art Online and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. O Kirito the God !
    Please continue to be as godly as much as possible

    Ps: I’m seriously mean it!

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  2. Like you mentioned, it was a bit filler-esque but it was worth going through this stage to build and introduce female Kirito (FK) into the gun world.

    Artistically I watching at 1080 on a large screen, I really liked the matte painting of the city. Very reminiscent of blade runner which a lot is put against these days.

    There are some exciting times ahead in the anime and can’t wait till the story ramps up and we get sucked in.

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    • “watching at 1080 on a large screen”

      Yes, I’m sure that made it better. I was watching at 720 on a small-medium screen.

      I like the cyber-punk world of GGO. It’s very Blade Runner. It seems like a combination of a very futuristic city with an old one, like London. It reminded me of the movie Fifth Element, just without the flying cars. Although, it has that barren, desert-like theme going on outside the city, which is nice too.

      “There are some exciting times ahead”

      I hope so!🙂

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  3. Well, I had some complaints about the episode…
    1. Why is he acting girly at some parts? UGHFHGHUFUGUGYFBHJDCSJKGLSDAFLBKJSCADBKLJ
    2. I actually like the world of GGO….
    I guess we are still getting introduced…
    THE OP-NESS OF KIRITO IM SORRY, DYING SOMEONE HELP..
    Way. Too. Can’t. Dying.

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    • “Why is he acting girly at some parts?”

      Yeah…. That part was a bit ugh. He’s trying to act like a girl so that Sinon won’t realize he’s a guy. So, I guess that’s how Kirito thinks girls act? Actually though, the girls he knows (his harem) really *do* all act like that when he’s around, which is funny when you think of it like that.

      “I guess we are still getting introduced…”

      Yeah, I’m definitely ready to get the plot moving again next week.

      “THE OP-NESS OF KIRITO”

      I know, right?

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  4. It was so poor in term of visuals I almost cried. I’ve just watched episodes 1 & 2 of the completely generic Akame ga Kill! (random action anime to premiere this season) and it’s got ten times more animation than SAO2… I mean, how can an anime be composed in 99% of still frames?! I suppose the term “anime” originates from the full word “animation”, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?

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    • I saw your comment on the Episode 3 review (sorry for not responding!) and I was wondering what about the visuals bothered you the most. Was it just the still frames? Or the blurry/white-out backgrounds (that bothered me some too)?

      I have noticed that they have used some of the exact same frames over and over again. I’m thinking about the one image of the tower-thingy in the sunset; I put a screenshot of it up last week. That seems kind of low-budget, especially considering what you said about how this show definitely has a ton of money behind it.

      As far as the still frames… I hope that will change when the introduction/set-up stuff is done and the series gets into more action-oriented stuff. We’ll see.

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      • For me it’s not the backgrounds and that’s because I think the lighting is rather well done – the picture has a nice, pulsating vibe to it. It’s the pervasive inertia that gets me going: those shameless still frames, conversations that take place in what feels like only two opposite shots of the characters’ faces, the general lack of movement in the world and the ubiquitous blackouts of surroundings (yeah, I know those are a must but I feel like every *zonk* moment Kirito has sends him to some kind of purgatory)… And there’s also the shot repetition you mentioned, especially visible in episode 5 (I’m sure you’ll point that out in your review ^^) where there’s one scene shown three or four times in a row, only inverted every second time.

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  5. To answer some of your questions…. Converting game characters is the same as converting money from US dollars to Pounds or something. Some things get lost, some things become another thing, or just become a random bit of data (like a lot of it did when Kirito went from SAO to ALO) what Kirito did accidentally when he went into ALO was convert his character information to ALO. I believe, however, that he later makes a new character to start again in a side story. So this character, is either his two year old SAO character converted to ALO and then converted to a GGO character or his new ALO character converted to a GGO character.

    I believe he started a new character after the GGO arc though, because it is explained in the novels his “Female” character came from the accumulation of time from playing SAO. As such, you can take the concept of “converting” the same way you take converting money. He probably lost all of his items and money, but his STR and AGI he got from SAO is still there.

    I found it really amusing you made a comment on the medical implications of the Nerve Gear in another review; (Kind of but not really spoiler) that’s the next arc (if we get it.)

    Oh, and there’s an entire arc with Asuna as the main character. I haven’t read it in a while, but I think it was pretty good! (I think.) In terms of the patronizing-males-in-games, I actually think that’s a cultural thing. Japan, it seems to me at least, have a much more patriarchal society than the western whole today. Apparently, I read in a new article once, it was alright to read a manga of a woman being raped on the train. Like. What.

    In that sense, Kirito IS one of the few people who are nice to females (in that view at least). NOT TO SAY HE IS PERFECT.

    In the recent arcs of the novels I’ve seriously wanted to kick his arse so hard sometimes it was funny.

    Anyway, have fun with this arc! I liked it much better than SAO I definitely. And the harem thing…..WASNT PART OF THE ACTUAL NOVEL. It was an accumulation of all the side stories in chronological order….. The real storyline STARTED at the end //facepalms omfg.

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  6. SAO is the best anime🙂 Kirito & Shino xD

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  7. Well, they stated lightsabers are pricey not expensive, and well you ever seen stars he is one of the best sword fighters due to playing games often an than got stuck on a game 2 whole years every day fighting, do you do how good you can become on something if you do it, 8-20 hours cause your life depends on it over 2 years? even normal ggo player will not spend more than 12 hours a day on ggo.

    second he lied over the racing games, he drives a motorcycle in the real world, well i have a driving licence for motorcycle, only 1 out of 10 sometimes even less have this licences and driving often it is his only vehicle, like mine too, and when i started with a small one i only could handle up to 140km/h but now its my third bike after 6 years i can handle up to 200 over time, and up to 240 for shorter periods cause it really, strains your nerves and this speed, so he has mostly more experince at driving something like, this and sinon startet most can´t drive it, which means some can like 1 out of 10 ? or less because how much otaku, are cool enough to drive motorcycles?

    well and coming up with a new way, is he though of sword fighting you have to now where the opponents hit with out lines, and it was already stated that he has afucking high reaction time in SAO so well, i would be better if he had made mistake and only made it on the second run,
    but i myself played wc3 with friends on a lan and well havent played that much before against humans mostly ki in the campaing and used towers to help me and hack myself trough a wood which fukcing suprised my enemy and fucked him to the core, even he was way higher in rating, well it only was effective the first time, and not on every 1on1 maps cause some times the starting positons suck, but well some ideas come from new players which have played many games, cause most players 80% are only trying to copy the top 10, and well it is hard to copy something better than the original so comming up with an own way is much better,

    not that i look like i am a flamer i like the changes in sao for asuna an kirito really be partners with yui and so on since she rescued him and was willing to die for him, but after that it became redicilous with asuna, and well with leafa/sugu at soem point to cause falling in love with your brother not brother, when you hit puberty and he is in coma for 2 years comes back as hero, well that can cause some emotional unstable situations, and i think sinon will get soem moments for kirito to save her but will save him as well and i hope that all this fanservice on her isnt that bad, that she will get up with her self, after he has helped her and gets on with this shinxxxx what ever who become a docoter and the family runs a hospital,
    and well i tell you my job, is at a hospital, in a military enviroment, so i know both guns and nurses, and well with some patients you joke with some you console, and some you have to say fuck your self turn your cigarette of cause this is a fucking hospital, and i am your doctor now even if i am not over 30 i know what i do and when i dont i get someone who knows, so with all due respect, sir (was an colonel i am also an officer but well there is a gap XD)put your pants down so that we can start with the inspection.

    so well despite the fact that asuna was really made into princess peach, in AOL the first 13 episodes where good an GGO is okay, so far havent read the light novels, andhave watch till episode 7 and i am just here cause i wonder why the hell i see sinons ass this often and if its just me being paranoid, or if there aremore that wonder.

    so and kirito isnt awesome, cause he cant shoot, he sucks at it, has now idea about weapons, and he is intuitive at fighting and things but isnt the all knower. the only things that was even in aol that he can do everything pretty quikly too quikly that was a bit annoiyn and 2 years in 13 episodes and 1 week in 12 was a bit of well annoying where the speed in somethings kept the same.

    and well the converting thins is possible in some other games, too where the statswehre kept, and some skill where delete cause they odestn exist in aol like in sao, the basic stayed the same, well if you have int, agi, str, in one game and in the other in the same fighting system and data system well it stay but you cant posses items that just doenst exists in the other game, so well, there are some flaws, and well man i am bad at names, the recon guys was a bit too submissve but the other too in sao could be nice, too and the new guys seems okay too.

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  8. I am late to this party since I just came across this blog, but I have been enjoying the quality of the reviews as I click around it, so I will check it regularly.🙂

    We (myself and the folks with whom I watch anime) eagerly await installments of SAO since we have gotten into an SAO sweet spot where we don’t look at Kirito as a serious character. Sometimes we stop so we can savor describing his actions as part of a poorly-written character intro to a roleplay, e.g. (and hoping blockquotes work in wordpress replys… I forget)

    my oc
    he is a game player, he plays a lot of games
    he is even a beta tester
    they let him play games that aren’t even out yet
    and he is awesome at them
    you see my oc is very good at games
    and so this one game that is a really cool game, he is playing that one and he was a beta tester for that game and now that it is out, he is the best at it
    all of the other players are all panicking and freaking out and messing up but not my oc
    because he is cool
    he wears black
    and has a sword
    and in fact this game is about only people who use swords
    but among all the people using swords, my oc is special
    you see, my oc is so cool that the game gave him a special skill nobody else has
    and he is the ony one who can use two swords at once
    but he can’t let anyone know that he is super awesome and higher level than them and also can use two swords because if they knew how awesome he was they would just attack him
    because his awesomeness scares them
    so instead he just keeps it a dark secret and goes around solving problems for a lot of people
    but mostly pretty girls that are in trouble
    and all the pretty girls like him a lot and they also think he is cool and attractive and they love him, even if they are mad at how cool he is at first
    because he is really good at games and also really cool
    and wears black

    At the very starty-start of SAO there was something of a Kino’s Travels vibe, which was promising but, honestly, the whole [unintentional?] oc-parody thing they moved onto is good fun. I hope they can keep it up in season three (and beyond!).

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