“After all this time…you’re okay with this, Yoruko? You’re okay with being killed like this?”
When Asuna treats Kirito to a meal for doing her a favour, they both end up witnessing a death within the safe zone – without any signs of a duel having taken place, which is the only way safe deaths would have occurred. All that was left was the murder weapon – a sword named Guilty
Crown Thorn, made by a blacksmith named Grimrock. The victim’s friend, Yoruko, agrees to provide Kirito and Asuna with some information, but it’s only when she hears Grimrock’s name that she decides to really tell them the whole story – of how her former guild broke apart due to opposing decisions on a rare item, which indirectly led to the leader’s death. Calling another former member, Schmidt to the inn, Yoruko suddenly starts raving and is stabbed, falls out the window and dies.
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It’s a mystery murder, SAO style! While one part of me wants the show to hurry up and get on with the main story, I’m glad that this side story was animated despite being in a more recent light novel, because it really is a good story. It’s also one that doesn’t rely on power level or the awesome skill that both our protagonists have, and instead leaves them stumped for the first time in the show, and having to use their brains instead of brawn to solve this mystery. Whodunnit?
Or rather, how did they do it? We explored the idea of PK’ers and actually murdering other people, but seemingly, we now have methods where people can player kill inside safe areas like towns or cities, which potentially makes the whole of Aincrad unsafe. The sleep kill is already heartless enough; killing someone when they can’t even defend back, or try to retaliate. How is that kind of killing even satisfying for the red players? Granted, they’d have to do it in some place isolated so no-one apart from their friends would see them, but who would want to kill Asuna? Apart from her haters maybe, if she even has any.
I’d love to say I’m eager to find out how this mystery’s gonna end, but knowing the ending really sucks at times like this, where the mystery is the driving force of the whole episode. It’s really clever though, and has a twist that other parts of the series makes use of as well. What anyone can tell right now is that no matter how sad the death of Griselda was, both Yoruko and Schmidt are suspicious despite being the ones opposed to selling the ring, with Yoruko actually hiding a bit of info before Kirito + Asuna pried further, and Schmidt speaking as if he was a really bad actor. Kains looked like he wasn’t really trying to pull the weapon out even when he was dying…how do you string a noose over someone and throw them out the window without any commotion anyway? It’s definitely one of the seven members of the guild, and if Grimrock made the weapon, he must approve of it’s use. It’s called Guilty Thorn, which hints that it’s meant to make the victim atone for what they’ve done – quite fitting in this situation. What the adaptation never mentioned is that it’s a DOT weapon – damage over time. That means someone could be stabbed, then thrown back into the safe area and still be receiving damage at regular intervals – but if the anime missed that out then it’s clear that this game mechanic isn’t involved.
Let’s talk about Asuna! Going from someone rather reclused back at Floor 1, to the sub-leader of the Knights of the Blood Oath, literally someone famous all throughout Aincrad. Kirito’s pretty good with predictions xD It’s amazing how her personality’s changed so much from joining a guild and working her way up, though her getting embarrassed and being kawaii has stayed the same. May we get helpings of Asuna fanservice every episode in the weeks to come *prays* Also she’s much closer to Kirito than either of them would like to admit, just that both of them are in denial right now. Kirito x Asuna forever <3