Studying Sinon’s Character Reflects on Kirito’s – Sword Art Online II Episode 10

This episode seems like it was about Sinon, but it was about Kirito, and Kirito’s past. I’ve said this before the season aired, but one of the things this season does, which is not all that subtle, but it’s also not entirely spelled out, is using Sinon’s character, and her character development, to actually explore Kirito, and to retroactively explain his actions and fill him with more depth.

Sword Art Online II anime episode 10 - Sinon gives up hope

Screenshot Album.

When Kirito is talking to Sinon, he’s actually talking to his past self. “I’m fine with going there and dying on my own. I’d rather die than be weak.” You can also replace that wit “I’d rather die than be depressed”, but who does that remind you of? Why, Beater Kirito, who would fight alone, who would fight against opponents just on the threshold of too strong for him, rather than fight safely. Why? Because if he were to die, it wouldn’t inconvenience anyone else, and it’d be just him dying on his own.

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Sword Art Online II Episode 9 Notes – The Visceral Nature of Virtual Reality

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

Well, they’re actually moving pretty rapidly. I’m not sure how they’re going to fill the 24 episodes. Maybe as some people assumed, we’ll get Excalibur as well this season. What I know for sure is that there’s going to be a lot of action, and reflecting on one’s past, from here on out until the end of the GunGale Online arc, at least.

Thoughts and Notes:

Screenshot album.

1) Audience Commentary Part 1: Kirito the Blackguard:

Sword Art Online II anime episode 9 notes - Shocked Haremettes - Leafa, Asuna, Lisbeth, and Silica

1) “Knowing Kirito-san, I thought we’d see him all the time.” – They show fights, not people sitting on their asses, and Kirito isn’t one to not wade into combat, eh? But he’s here to work, not have fun. Well, I can understand the girls, they’re only watching because Kirito is playing, not like they’re invested in the game, and even when you care for the game it’s very different watching a player or a team when you’re rooting for them or against them, and when not invested at all, like watching western LCS or watching the OGN, if you don’t know any of the players (League of Legends).

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Sword Art Online II Episode 6 Notes – Berserker Trauma

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

Berserker Trauma

Sword Art Online II anime episode 6 notes - Berserker Kirito in Gun Gale Online

Ah yes, the episode that lays the thematic cards on the table, all of them.

Screenshot album.

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Sword Art Online 2 Episode 1 Notes – Everyone’s a Jerk

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

So, going to be tricky talking about this. You see, I know what’s going to happen, but I want to not only not spoil things, but also not tell you what matters later. I will say there are a couple of sentences in this episode that are foreshadowing – not to this arc, but to the next one, and to the one after that. And I… won’t tell you which sentences these are, or how they matter. I did just publish a piece on novels 5-12 focusing on themes, so broad spoilers, but no specific plot-point spoilers. You can give that a look, I guess.

Screenshot album

Production Stuff:

Sword Art Online 2 anime episode 1 notes - GunGale Online

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Sword Art Online – Books 5-12 and Adaptation Thoughts

Sword Art Online Phantom Bullet / Gun Gale OnlineSword Art Online was probably the most popular anime to air during 2012. It had and has many fans, and many detractors. I for one liked it a whole lot. I liked it enough that after it ended, still in the throes of desiring to know what happened next, I’ve actually gone ahead and read all of the Sword Art Online novels. Well, from the 5th novel onward, so I didn’t revisit material which the series had covered. My opinion of the series might be coloured by it, but hey, I strive to give information for you to make your own minds as well.

I’m going to try and avoid spoiling the novels by Reki Kawahara and their content in-depth, but will touch more about plot-structure, themes, and how I felt about the books/arcs in general – so broad brushstroke/theme spoilers, not so much particulars. Furthermore, the second season is going to begin airing this weekend, so I will give some thoughts on what I think the upcoming adaptation will cover.

It’s Still a Light Novel Series:

I wrote a post about how Light Novels aren’t the best-written literature out there, and especially how that is relevant when one adapts the light novels to anime. Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, which I wrote a post about the first 11 novels of, is the perfect example of endless internal monologues which replace characterization and action, a lot of non-action, and purple prose that is so overbearing and ubiquitous as to drown everything out. As one could see, a focus on non-action and internal monologues doesn’t translate well to the visual medium – either you kill the pacing by delivering these things, or you’re left with an indecipherable world due to the lack of explanations, or actions that support said things.

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Sword Art Online – Emotional Attachment Through Repeated Exposure

Sword Art Online cover image, from Crunchyroll

Sword Art Online is a series that had occupied an important part of my psyche for a while, and even now I think of it often and fondly. It was the right show at the right time for me, though I suspect any time it’d have come out in the past few years would’ve been the right time. It’s not without its blemishes, but it’s still one of my all-time favourite shows.
It also helped that the concept was something that had immediately drawn me in – “MMO, the players are stuck within, and if they die inside the game they die in reality.” I probably expected it to be a lot more “Lord of the Flies” than Shonen kick-assery, but I liked it, it had a lot of heart moments as well.
EDIT: This is something I meant to write in but forgot – I watch anime in large part in order to feel, this is why I watch anime. As such, the story is often secondary to how much the show makes me care, so long as the story isn’t broken so much I can’t stomach things any longer.

When I’ve began watching the show, it had about 15 episodes out. I’ve watched them, rapt with admiration for the show. And then, about episode 9 I’ve caught myself thinking, “Wait, in a couple of hours I’ll catch up to where the show currently is, and what will I do then? How will I wait one week at a time for an episode?!” and indeed, I’ve been in nearly physical agony at times, thinking of the show, undergoing withdrawal as I was waiting for the next episode to come out.

But, I did not just wait for the next episode to come out, as I will go over in a future article, I’ve rewatched episodes, I’ve rewatched sequences that were fraught with emotional impact in the show, for me, and those scenes did not only keep my attachment for the characters, but it reinforced it, and made me think of the way emotional attachment can form, and how we can grow to like characters more.

(This is a “Things I Like” post, and as such covers more my thoughts, and is less focused as an actual bona fide review. There will be a medium amount of spoilers in this post. I will also talk a bit of things happening in the Light Novels but not yet covered in the anime, but only with regards to pacing and emotional manipulation – not story content.)

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