Sword Art Online Episode 2: Kirito the Beater

Woke up despite jetlag to watch SAO. I REGRET NOTHING.

Summary

A month after the start of Sword Art Online, 2000 players have died, and the boss room to the first floor has finally been found. A strategy meeting is called by the knight Diabel to discuss tactics, and a player named Kibaou berates beta testers in public for getting ahead in the game themselves and leaving the beginners to struggle. Kirito makes a party with a girl in a hood named Asuna, and discovers during the boss fight that she is actually skilled with a rapier, despite being a gaming beginner. When Diabel gets killed and dies, Kirito is forced to reveal what he knows about the boss as a beta tester.

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Impression

I’ll jump straight to the main focus of today’s ep and comment on how insanely cool that boss battle was, especially with Kajiura Yuki’s music playing in the background. I noticed how it was mainly Kirito, Asuna and Egil that ever did anything to Illfang the Kobold Lord, while the background characters (including Kibaou) just stood there and got tossed around by the boss. In terms of Illfang, I imagined him to be more of a scary dragon-type monster rather than a Zelda moblin, but it’s just the first floor boss after all.

Action does play a huge part, but in a death game like SAO, you really feel the in-depth psychology that’s being portrayed. You have people like Asuna (OMG IT’S ASUNA *GLOMPS*) who decide that they don’t want to spend their virtual time holing up in a starting city inn, and instead make a difference and try to remain herself, as she would have slowly wasted away otherwise, sitting in a random inn waiting for someone to clear the game. If you can’t see anyone realistically getting anywhere, do it yourself. Even though she’s a complete newb at gaming, I’m sure her mentality is much better than some of the 2000 who died, probably because of stupid reasons. On a random note, her rapier looked much cooler once it had lengthened. Or that might have just been the angle I saw it from xD

Then you have guys like Kibaou, who I’m sure was a victim of some sort of situation where he lost out because of not having enough knowledge. Go on, blame it on the beta testers then. It’s true that they have a better advantage, but there really is no real reason for the beta testers having a responsibility to help out everyone else. The way he said it, it just makes Kibaou look like a guy who’s trying to find someone to blame for his own problems. Egil even said that the beta testers compiled a book for all the beginners and sold it for free – what more does Kibaou want?

He was definitely butthurt that Diabel died – though he didn’t know that Diabel didn’t die because of lack of info, but instead because of his greed at wanting to get the LA, last attack bonus, as a beta himself. It makes sense coming from a gaming point of view, and I’ve come into situations where these leechers stand by, waiting for you to cut the enemy’s HP, then steal the LA and get the drop. Bastards. Anyway, it’s clear that Kirito did a noble thing by taking all the rage against beta testers and shoving it onto him, labelling himself a beater, beta tester + cheater. It’s best described as a sort of in-game swear word I guess. I’m sure he did it due to having no real friends in SAO, and thus won’t drag anyone down with him, much less a whole group of beta testers. It was a pretty good evil laugh actually, complete with badass Coat of Midnight and all. Though now Asuna seems interested in him, especially after spending the episode wondering what his name was xD

Fellow LN readers will recognize this ep as the SAO side story Aria in the Starless Night, compiled after Volume 1. It looks like they’ll be doing everything chronologically, meaning that another side story, Red-Nosed Reindeer is next, instead of the later Vol 1 events. Oh my god, I just remembered this one. Prepare tissues, guys ;_;

Vantage

I love cute things.

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7 Responses

  1. Sabin Kim says:

    Just a question Vantage, up to which LN volume did you read?

    • Vantage says:

      Atm I’ve only finished Early and Late, Vol 8, and I have Vol 9 but I’m waiting for Vol 10 to get translated so I can read Alicization Beginning + Running together.

      • Sabin Kim says:

        It’s not a spoiler or anything so I will mention it here. In the beginning of the volume 9, it hints that SAO and AW timelines are somewhat starting to converge together so when you do get to read it and post a review for 9th volume, please tell me what you think about it

        • Vantage says:

          That’s very interesting…I’ve read the AW + SAO crossover, and I know the various theories on Haruyuki/Kuroyukihime’s heritage, but I’d never have thought a converging timeline would become canon. I’ll try to get round to it soon xD

  2. Er Manaois says:

    I’m surprised that there are no rant about this post. Actually I’m very disappointed at this episode since Aria is the my favorite side story/volume of SAO. Details and features of the game isn’t explained at all which are needed for those who doesn’t play MMOs

    SAO is a series driven by character interactions, not its fight scenes. I am extremely irritated that Asuna’s and Kirito’s meeting was not dealt with faithfully, but I’m more irritated as to how this acts the first domino in a contingent series of events following it. They even made Diabel seem like a “great” guy….

    Sorry for this lol but I really feel like crying for the adaptation of 175 pages Aria in 1 episode… RNR sure will be adapted in 1 episode too and if A-1 does rush that arc again then I’ll really lose hope for this adaptation.

    • Vantage says:

      A light novel will almost always be superior to its adaptation, and if they’re planning to include the ALO arc then things unfortunately have to be rushed – I’m trying to look at it without comparing to the LN and the things they changed, though I agree that Kirito and Asuna’s meeting was way better in the original version. They should have time for explaining various game mechanics over the side stories, since I imagine that they don’t want to info-dump the watchers.

      However if I’m going to draw comparisons, I’d say that there should be more despair, and much more of it. Perhaps we’ll get it soon…

      • Er Manaois says:

        I was just irritated at how much of the essentials of Aria were skipped. SAO’s a series revolving around social interaction and game mechanics [which were skipped], not fight scenes [the one in this episode took half the episode].

        Asuna’s character could be further changed for the better in later episodes, but as of right now, she’s just a generic heroine in the anime adaptation :(

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