July 12th, 2014.
ED – Competent, I liked the sound. But nothing out of the ordinary.
I’ll start with a couple of notes on production again.
The music was good throughout, especially in the action sequences. As Sinon ran up to the tower to snipe on Behemoth, the music was so much like the music in Kara no Kyoukai, which should come as no surprise, seeing that Yuki Kajiura is the one composing both tracks (and Madoka, explaining why many themes in last season were similar).
The desolate desert shots were really great.
And of course, the series keeps lingering on Sinon’s curves, “male gaze” alright.
Themes / Plot:
Following the “male gaze”, the group Sinon is with showcases a lot of typical MMORPG behaviours, but also things that don’t really make sense. Have a girl avatar/are a girl? Expect a lot of “chivalry” and “jerks”. People do make friends in such games, and eventually one thing leads to another and mention of real life drips in, such as them knowing she’s a student, but people still sometimes keep a distance.
You know the thing that stood out to me the most in this episode? Dyne treats the “hunters” as prey, as if they’re cattle, just like NPC-mobs, following their pattern. He lets them grow, then he harvests them. The note about the plasma shields was min-maxing. But what really stands out here is that Sinon and the others are the equivalent to Titan’s Hand, the Orange Guild in Aincrad when Kirito helped Silica.
In other words, Sinon is currently a villain, proposing things Kirito will never stand for. They’re not friends, she and her “allies”, it’s an alliance of necessity.
Being a sniper, she also doesn’t like unknown variables in her operations.
“They have no pride” say Dyne, and then he wasn’t willing to die, or even said he’s willing to log out and lose and not give those “grass-eaters” the victory. What a jerk. Another way in which Sinon is different than Kirito – she’s not only willing to die herself, but to have party-members die so she could achieve the goal. I guess there’s something to be said when your first experience is one where death is intolerable, compared to one where loss of limb or even death is just a minor setback.
“Be willing to run into the gun” and “Pride”, says the sniper, who is usually far away, but in the end she did go in. Still, her position is pretty ridiculous. Pride? “Courage”? This is a video game. The goal is to win. But this is finally where Kirito and Sinon are alike, that they see one’s behaviour and personality in the game as one with those outside the game.
Sinon spoke of “That fear” which grips her, she repeated twice or thrice how “being able to smile on the battlefield is a sign of strength”, and wished to obtain Behemoth’s strength by killing him (how ritualistic), and then upon waking up, the first thing she wished for was yet more strength. To Sinon this isn’t just a game, it’s the courage to run into gunfire, the ability to smile on the battlefield are marks of strength that she desires, viscerally.
Callbacks? A moment before we see Silica, still having trouble with the rapey tentacle-plants, when Sinon awakens and raises her hand up, she mirrors Suguha. But Suguha raised her hand to the sky, to the dream of freedom, while Sinon’s finger is in the form of a trigger-finger, she’s reaching for a gun.
The action this episode was solid, buoyed by really good music. All the fan-service/male-gaze were again unfortunate, and I of course found most of the notions on “Strength” and “Courage” a tad ridiculous. It is just a game, but not to Sinon, and this is a story that is both a shounen, and if we go by next episode’s title, one about bloody memories. So we’ll see some motivations.
((I’ve read the series, I’m avoiding giving spoilers or pointing out what’s important on purpose.))