Sword Art Online Episode 4: Dragon Tamer Silica
When Dragon Tamer Silica gets into an argument with her party members and wanders off into Floor 35’s Lost Forest alone, she finds herself quickly outmatched, with her dragon familiar, Pina sacrificing itself to save her; Kirito turning up soon after and defeating the three attacking apes easily. Kirito tells Silica about a familiar revival item that grows on a field dungeon on Floor 47, and offers to go with her to retrieve it. After fighting through the dungeon and obtaining the item, the pair encounter one of Silica’s former party members – Rosalia, a member of an orange guild, Titan’s Hand, that Kirito has been searching for.
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There are many types of players in SAO, and like with many MMO’s, they all take on different roles and assume different personalities within the game. Here we see the idol type in Silica, or rather, the child idol, who usually makes you have the feeling of wanting to take her home and keep her; at the very least using her as a mascot during party raids on dungeons. This becomes even more prominent in SAO, where roleplaying is kept to a minimum due to the mirror back in Episode 1 that revealed everyone’s real appearances – I’m sure they wanted to remind us of that when the two guys (one still wearing his girly pink suit) who tried to fool each other appeared again, vying for Silica’s attention. I think she’s grasped to an extent that her popularity is very artificial and probably due to her looks and status as a beast (or dragon) tamer, but she did take it for granted back in the Lost Forest. And of course, you get your lovers and haters, the former usually being of the opposite sex. Just look at Sakura Ichiko.
Kirito’s involvement this time gave me mixed feelings. I definitely saw a hint of wanting to atone for Sachi when telling Silica about the familiar/pet revival item – as of course, there’s a limited time before revival becomes impossible, which Silica had no idea about. It’s obvious that she really cares for Pina despite this being just in-game, and this might be part of the reason why Kirito decided to help her, as well as the fact that she looks like his not-sister-but-actually-cousin, in real life. We have no idea when SAO will be cleared and things will be sorted out, and so it’s like Kirito is trying to play his role of a big brother towards Silica, that he could never do to in real life. In that sense, Silica is more of an imouto character rather than a haremette, though for an imouto there was lots of ecchi to be found, especially with suspicious monster plants and tentacles. And they just had to show her in her underwear didn’t they…
We’ve seen Kirito the Beater and Kirito the onii-chan, but let’s not forget that Kirito the solo front-lines player is an important part of his personality too. If you thought he was overpowered before, he’s managed to keep that kind of standing and is a terrifying Lv 78 now, and so strong that seven mid-level players can’t kill him even if he just stands there all day. That is absolutely badass, and the Black Swordsman definitely deserves his nickname (and his own fangirls too, if he wasn’t a beater). Or does he already have one in secret?
Going back to the roleplaying aspect for a bit. I think it’s hard to call emulating bad guys in SAO proper RP’ing, especially as you know…you actually die if a player killer beats you, and so it becomes murder, not acting out a role. Of course, the green, orange and red system lets you know who to stay away from, but like that it provides stigma and prejudice towards people that wrongly ended up orange somehow, as well as some green people like Rosalia actually having bad intentions. A red designation – the same as monsters, will definitely come into play later on, now that something reserved for the really evil people has been revealed.
Today was less rushed, which was nice, though admittedly there was less to cover and go into compared to Sachi’s side story. Also there were no awkward time-skips xD It seems that the next episode is a bit out-of-whack volume-wise, as we’re skipping to Volume 8’s side story about a certain case within an area. It’s a long one, so I hope not much is rushed, as they really take their time explaining some of the game mechanics within SAO. I was surprised they were even going to animate it in the first place – I didn’t think they’d take “chronologically” that seriously o.O At least there’s more Asuna.