Sword Art Online Episode 17: ALO’s Grand Quest
Lyfa agrees to treat Kirito to a drink, and she teaches him about using natural flight in ALO, through growing the virtual bone and muscle that make up his pair of wings. After flying to Sylvein in Sylph territory, she tells him about the grand quest of ALO, which happens to be Kirito’s personal quest as well – the wish to fly to the top of the World Tree. It is said that the Fairy King Oberon will grant the first race to reach the top the ability of unlimited flight, resulting in many heated trials to reach the top ever since ALO came out a year ago. Up in the World Tree, that same Oberon, Sugou, visits Asuna in her bird cage and harasses her, revealing to her his evil plan and true intentions for the game.
Oh god. You have no idea how much I want to punch Sugou in the face right now. No, scratch that. I need to grab his head and smash it in the wall repeatedly, until he lets Asuna out of that bird cage. What a fucking PRICK. He’s not only planning to coerce Asuna’s father into a marriage with his daughter, but he’s borderline sexually harassing her within ALO as well – what kind of pervert would sniff her hair or grab her face like that? She must feel so violated…and I’m sure all of us would like nothing more than to beat the crap out of him this instant. And naming her something as retarded as Fairy Queen Titania – what is this supposed to be, A Midsummer Night’s Dream? What someone needs to do some day is to market and sell stress balls with Sugou’s face on them, so we can all buy them in bulk and go through them whenever we need to take out our anger. Actually, remember that flash game someone made where you could shoot Kyuubey in a variety of ways? That’d be another idea. Asuna, keep memorizing that door code. You might not be able to see it, but try and remember the pattern at least.
It’s not just that Sugou is violating Asuna – it’s that he’s a bad person in real life as well. Full Dive technology is supposed to be the next step in tech advancements, and while possibilities like controlling thought, emotion and memory are really fascinating, it’s the minority who think about abusing that and using it for their own gains. And surprise surprise, Sugou wants to perfect it for the money. How shallow. It’s a pity that the team he’s working with is rather small, because the bigger it is the more likely someone would rat him out. It’s also interesting that Kayaba Akihiko was his senpai, but because that’s the case it makes sense that he’s able to link SAO to ALO that easily. This is what happened to those 300 SAO players that never woke up – and is also why Kirito’s data set is identical to his previous skills as well. Capturing 10,000 people in a floating virtual city for a boyish dream is one thing…but illegal human experimentation for the sake of some cash is another thing completely, and that’s horrible. Because players would find out about Asuna and the experiments if they managed to get up the World Tree, it’s likely that it’s an impossible quest, and so the ALO players are fighting for a futile goal altogether. Sugou, you disgust me.
All right. Sorry, I just needed to get that out of the way first, so let’s retrace our steps a bit. One thing I really admire about the world of ALO is its flying element, revealed by Lyfa to not actually need the secondary controller if you can grow the “virtual bone and muscle” that becomes your wings. That would be an extension of…your shoulder blades perhaps? It sounds like a weird concept, but I’d give so much to be able to actually try it out, because it must feel really fun to be able to fly around like that despite it being physically impossible for humans in real life. To go at such fast speeds and feel the wind whipping past your face must be really amazing too, and is something I hope technology eventually advances to in the near future, even though that kind of thing would probably be really expensive in the future xD Kawahara probably got the timing a little off by predicting this being the early 2020s, but you never know.
Maybe it’s because of the desire of flying forever that makes ALO’s grand quest – to reach the top of the World Tree – so appealing, as if you’re reborn as an Alf you can apparently do so with no limits. It just happens to be Kirito’s goal as well, and it doesn’t help that each individual race has been vying to succeed for over a year now. Kirito is in Sylph territory, and as a Spriggan he isn’t the natural enemy of the Sylphs, but then again not exactly the best of allies either. You saw how poor cockblocked Recon reacted to him. I’ve always thought Sylvein was a little village by the way, so I was really surprised to find out that it’s this huge bustling city, something like Algade from SAO! Might’ve just been me then. Anyway, if the goal really is possible and you need the co-operation of two races, Kirito’s absolutely right in saying that they’ll never succeed. It’s hard enough to find someone who’ll go that far and concede the prize completely to another – and even less when there’s pride as an MMO player at stake. Multiply that by a whole race and you’ll have issues instantly, be it personal matters or a race as a whole. That scale of co-operation is very, very unlikely in a setting like an MMO, where everyone has their own individual agendas.
Other than a small shout-out to Yui eating her cheese biscuit, the last thing I have to say is on Lyfa’s identity…yeah, she’s Sugu. Ouch. No, actually the most painful thing about it is that Lyfa has no idea that Kirito is her brother…just like how Sugu has no idea that Kazuto is Kirito. We already know of Sugu’s crush on her onii-chan, and Lyfa is just being extremely tsun to Kirito right now – yeah, we can all see the disaster waiting to happen when Sugu realizes that the two guys she loves are the same person. I think Lyfa might have an inkling that Kirito is already in love with someone – that look in his eyes when he talked about “someone important” waiting for him was the exact same look Kazuto had when talking about visiting Asuna in the hospital. Aside from that, it doesn’t really makes sense that they don’t recognize each other – surely Sugu must have heard of the “Hero Kirito” who cleared the death game SAO, or at least recognized him slightly. Kirito has more of an excuse due to Lyfa looking completely different
(and also having much larger boobs) but it’s similar to Star Driver, where once everyone puts their Kiraboshi masks on they all act as if they don’t know each other. Pffft. Anyway, yeah – I see an incoming sea of feels when Sugu/Lyfa makes the connection.