October 25th, 2014.
A quest, to save the world of Alfheim online, and more importantly, get Kirito that sword! :P
Thoughts and Notes:
1) Game Mechanics (AKA Exposition):
1) See, here we speak of The Cardinal system, running the world as it sees fit, as it did with SAO. A system to run (virtual) worlds.
2) Who made such a crazy engine?! Ah yes, Kayaba Akihiko, and as I said elsewhere, it’s not Kirito that is the author’s “stand-in” (or Mary Sue), but Kayaba Akihiko – the man who creates worlds he saw in his imagination, who controls the virtual lives and deaths of people, one who can create worlds, but also end them. The Cardinal System is essentially an author – taking together various storylines and melding them into a new experience.
3) “At this rate, I’ll run out of MP in 150 seconds!” – This is like watching Log Horizon ;-)
4) Yes, Leafa, looking at the Medallion as you’re in the middle of the fight is going to change stuff… I guess it’s ye olde “count-down bomb” scenario, where it’s supposed to add tension. Never liked that device much, and it feels even weirder here, as Kirito is in the middle of fighting that minotaur.
However, “If we die, we won’t have time to come back”, means you can’t go full “Log Horizon”, or normal MMORPGs, where you die and use the knowledge to come back, we’re back to the SAO rules – “No dying, or we lose.”
2) Blast from the Past:
1) The return of the dual-wield! Though I won’t explain how he did it. I don’t recall if it’s explained here or in Mother’s Rosario. Wouldn’t be surprised if they explain it here to save us from next arc. I think it might even only be explained in Alicization (arc after next)? Hm.
All that Sword Arts fan-service, showing us Klein’s, and Leafa’s, etc. Going one by one, showing us the magic powers (sorry Klein, it’s magic :P).
2) That “I’m frozen” bit? And how Kirito said, “You’ll leave yourself open to counter-attack”? Sword Arts are “System-aided” or “pre-programmed moves”, just like in many games (DotA, League of Legends, Starcraft), you have an animation “wind-down” post-attack that you can cut short by stutter-stepping, same here, except you can’t. After you use your Sword Art, the swing continues, and there’s a delay during which you essentially can’t do anything extra, which is why everyone was amazed by Kirito stringing several moves together.
3) “Do I have to say what I did?” – “Yes, I never saw it before!” – And Asuna with “I have an incredible sense of déjà vu.” – Well, that’s what side-stories are, small references to past events, while winking at fans. Ho! They even pulled that sequence from episode 9 of the first season, in case anyone forgot.
4) Ah, Yuki Kaijura’s music, fighting that serpentine boss, reminds me of the music during the witches’ segments in Madoka.
5) A blonde girl in a cage, another déjà vu, eh? Even the same “ear-protectors” captive Asuna had.
3) Meta-Gaming Like a Champion, Like a Beater:
1) “If it has an HP-bar, that means we might have to fight her.” – That’s an example of meta-gaming, using logic from outside the game to bear inside the game. Everything with HP can potentially be killed. After the Deities and Demigods modules for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons similar comments had been made – until the deities were statted, they could be immortal, but once given stats, they can also be killed. Similarly to how Descartes bringing logic to bear in proving God’s existence also moved disproving him to the realm of logic, rather than sheer belief.
2) “It’s a trap, definitely a trap.” – And Klein goes straight for it. Well, that’s our Klein. Games are about living fantasies, even if it’s a trap, if your fantasy is saving the damsel in distress, then you can’t walk past it, or you’ll be betraying your fantasy, including the “code of honour” one self-imposes, because that code is an integral part of the fantasy. To leave her behind would be a betrayal of Klein’s, nature, fantasy, life? I’m not sure, but it’d be betraying why he’s gaming to begin with, and what use would continued gaming be after said betrayal?
4) Witty Repartee™:
2) Considering Yui has unlimited access to the internet, don’t think you can salvage her innocence, “Papa”.
4) “The more noble the flower, the more fun it is to pluck. I’ll give you lots of attention, soon enough, geheheheheh!” What a charmer.
Post Episode Thoughts:
So much talk at the end, and fights that were mostly a love letter to the sword arts from the first half of the first season, showing us why such a game attracts people. Klein and his code, and hormones, and quite a bit of fan-service.
Well, two weeks to Mother’s Rosario. An alright action-adventure episode, nothing more or less to it.