October 07, 2012

Game Over

 That was unexpected.

You're telling US!?

Episode 14 of  Sword Art Online again surprises.

There's a lot to like about this episode. It touches on several interesting ideas.
After last weeks battle reaches its Pyrrhic resolution or heroes sit shellshocked and contemplate the sheer number of people they lost to this one 'boss' on the gate to the  75th level...of 100.

Assuming similar casualties on the remaining levels they're looking at 6-8 hundred more people dying before they can even FACE the final boss. 4 THOUSAND have died already and only a small percentage of the six thousand survivors are even participating in clearing the upper levels...most have given up and have settled down into the second life aspect of the game. The heroes take a moment to contemplate these cold facts which  do not bode well at all.

Kirito's comments to his comrades just before everything turns higgly piggly bring home the fact that he and Asuna are not the only heroes, everyone there is an exceptional individual and for several of them their time in the game has been at least as impressive and heroic as the two the show has focused on.

Of course, Asuna continues to be transcendentally awesome. Multiple times, in multiple ways..

...and she can cook!

And the surprises were, well, they were surprising.

Kirito's decision towards the end of the episode is certainly heroic but it's eminently practical too. I also like the fact that the show acknowledges that even the finest hero, with the noblest cause can be outmatched.

At no point did anyone say "I've been holding back on my true power, and now the battle REALLY begins!"

Instead there was genuine drama and pathos.

..and hearbreak.

There was also a surprisingly satisfying conclusion.



There is considerable annoyance in the comments that the write-up was exceedingly coy, which is certainly true.

However,  I was aiming the spoiler tags mainly at those who had seen this episode and wanted to discuss it. Additionally, the main reason this episode worked for me was that there were some unexpected elements, so if anyone was considering picking up the show I didn't want to spoil it.

Here is a quick RDV.of the series thus far and this ep in particular.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 03:46 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 297 words, total size 13 kb.

1 Yeah, the losses were grim, especially considering that they'd already lost 10 people in the scouting trip. Probably half a dozen of the survivors would have given up in despair and "gone fishin'", and it would have gotten even harder to recruit and train replacements. Their odds of eventually finishing were not good, and the big reveal made it even worse.

As for Asuna's surprise:


Posted by: J Greely at Sun Oct 7 17:01:52 2012 (2XtN5)

2 Heh. Yes.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Sun Oct 7 18:17:12 2012 (e9h6K)

3 So...

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Mon Oct 8 06:31:31 2012 (+rSRq)

4 Never mind. I found a post that described what happened without obfuscating or being coy.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Mon Oct 8 06:43:21 2012 (+rSRq)

5 I can see why a lot of fans are royally angry about this.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Mon Oct 8 11:10:42 2012 (+rSRq)

6 The problem the animation team faced is that the story arc that ended in episode 14 was just the first novel. They padded it out with side stories that were written later, but the actual SAO game ended in book one. People who've read the books say they still cut corners, but some of that was inevitable in any adaptation.

What did the author come up with to continue his standalone story when offered a contract for sequels?


Posted by: J Greely at Mon Oct 8 15:42:00 2012 (fpXGN)

7 I have added an addendum to the post that is less coy. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Mon Oct 8 17:06:03 2012 (e9h6K)

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