“It’s so warm…you and I are both data in this imaginary world, yet…”
Kirito needs a new one-handed straight sword to accompany his Elucidator, and is referred by Asuna to a smith shop run by the blacksmith Lizbeth. After easily smashing the best sword she has on display, Lizbeth tells him about a special ingot on the 55th floor that would easily make a strong sword for him, and they head off to locate it. While fighting the ice dragon guarding the ingot, they fall into a pit, later discovering the ingot while realizing that it was in fact the dragon’s nest. Lizbeth forges the sword Dark Repulser for Kirito, and is seconds away from confessing before Asuna bursts in, leading her to realize the relationship in-the-making between the two.
With another side story comes another
haremette female acquaintance of Kirito – the second one to be precise. Yoruko doesn’t count, because they pretended to kill her off in a story that was far too sad for her and the people around her. Lizbeth on the other hand is the definition of cheerfulness, who makes up SAO’s resident moeblob and face-expression-maker all at the same time. You always have one of those; the people that make a variety of dramatic and unusual faces that never fail to entertain. Though to be fair, Kirito did walk in and break her best longsword with no warning. I feel that somewhere in that happy expression is a person who has a lot of complex emotions inside – both at the start of the ep in private (when she had just forged a sword) and at the end, when talking about being trapped in the game and what she feels is real in a virtual world. I wouldn’t go so far as to say her happiness is a mask, but certainly she’s making the best of her situation, cheering up both herself and the people around her.
That’s why it really made me sad seeing her so disappointed in realizing it was an unrequited love. Both that and the fact she had Asuna for a rival made me really feel for her, especially since she was so selfless in making the choice to give up on him, knowing that her best friend liked the same guy she did and seeing the obvious chemistry between them. From the viewpoint of an anime fan, it was unlucky that she fell in love with Kirito, the main hero with the hax skills, because each of these new girls is going to end up having an unrequited love for Kirito in some form. It goes without saying that Kirito x Asuna is the only way to go, and I ship it as well – it’s just that nice girls like Lizbeth (or Silica) deserve being happy as well, and it’s sad to see it being unlikely since this is one of the shows where I actually care about the support characters (instead of those shows where each harem member gets boobs and a clichéd personality).
Lizbeth’s whole feelings came from Kirito walking in one day, needing a new sword! I’ll leave the question of “why does he need one if he has Elucidator” hanging in your minds, and move on to the material gathering they did to make Dark Repulser. As always, SAO pulls even a dragon battle off in a cool fashion, with that slight arrogance of glossing over it in still frames – because of course, Kirito will prevail xD I’m sure that protectiveness for Liz and him not wanting to let her fight was again in memory of Sachi, as was the falling into the hole. Kirito said himself that in SAO, all the players live for survival, and in essence for themselves – but not everyone is like that, and dying alone in a virtual world is a very dark prospect. If you’re going to jump into the pitch black unknown, isn’t it better to do it together with a friend? Coming from a solo player like Kirito, it shows how much he’s grown and changed the things he values most.
Even in SAO, not everything is bleak, and like how there was definitely a way out of the dragon’s nest, the scenery was pretty much a visual reminder of that. For Liz, its sometimes the simple things like the warmth of Kirito’s coat and now, the warmth of her own heart that keeps her going. I can tell that Kirito’s maintenance visits to her shop will be a highlight of her day, even if she’s not quite ready to confess to him once more.
Thus ends the last side story for now – there’s still another one later, but that’s not for a while yet. If next episode’s title, “The Black and White Sword Dance” is what I think it is, then we’re officially starting SAO’s main story! Of course, it refers to something very specific that would be spoiling the fun by mentioning any further xD Along with the package we get more helpings of epicness, Asuna and everything else that makes SAO the cool experience it is. These side stories have been good fun and helpful in explaining more about the game and its mechanics, but in the end a linear story is best. Well, we have waited, and shall be rewarded!