Sword Art Online Episode 19: Illusion Magic
“Is that you…Kirito-kun?”
While in the Lugru Corridor, a mountain passage Kirito and Lyfa realize that they’re being trailed by Salamanders, and quickly destroy the tracer, revealing to them their knowledge of the trace. Despite their attempts to escape, Kirito and Lyfa are cornered, and are forced to battle the group, who decide to use magic and target Kirito specifically. Asking Lyfa to stall for him while he sets up, Kirito transforms into the illusion of a huge beast and easily takes them all out, leaving one alive for information gathering. In the nearby city, after Lyfa gets back from contacting Recon IRL, she tells him that the Salamanders have prepared an ambush – Sigurd has betrayed them, and the safety of the Sylph and Cait Sith Lords are threatened.
I actually found today’s episode of SAO to be pretty stagnant – still entertaining, but not quite to the standard that I’d like it to be at. Whether that’s just a random blip in general or a planned decision in order to deliver next week’s epicness in all its glory, I have no idea. We were still treated to a fight though – this time one with Kirito and Lyfa on one side, and a group of 12 Salamanders on the other. No matter what situation you’re in, 12 VS 2 is definitely unfair, and Kirito’s sword skills don’t really come into play here, as long-range magic is used that he can’t defend against, as he’s had no previous experience in dealing with it. With Lyfa acting as support, the battle because 12 VS 1 instead, which is scandalous – they’re really just ganging up on him and taking advantage of the fact that he has no long-range defence. He tried really hard though, and it was behind the backdrop of a battle theme from SAO that he promised not to let any party members die – which is really reminiscent of his time in SAO, where death was the real deal, and the priority was life above everything else. Without Lyfa to cover for him, he’d still have lost in an instant. He was actually going to lose, well…until he transformed into that giant thing, anyway. And that was as per Yui’s suggestion, which is quite a scary thought.
Spriggans are apparently known for illusion magic (much like how Undines are healers, hence their use as backup when fighting those sea monsters) and that’s all they can do. Even so, Kirito managed to transform into this giant horned monster that suspiciously looked similar to the Gleam Eyes from SAO – yeah, that boss that he soloed after revealing his <Dual Blades> for the first time. I wonder if that’s a personal thing, or if it’s something that a standard Spriggan would transform into with a high enough ability. I’m sure becoming a giant beast was aided by one of his current skills, as there’s no way a newbie at magic would be able to achieve that on his first go. It was surprisingly morbid actually, seeing him impale random Salamanders on his claws, or even chewing into one of them to kill him. God that must have been scary for the guy. The lead Salamander mentioned that it was an illusion – yes it’s an illusion, but sometimes that doesn’t make any difference. In some cases, just knowing its not real isn’t enough, and clearly it’s a solid illusion, with the same reach and physical ability a real demon would have. From Kirito’s perspective though, it really must have been fun xD
Something that kinda bothered me was Kirito’s growing…friendship with Lyfa, which is starting to get borderline past friendship now. It doesn’t make me feel comfortable when Kirito’s happily going around biting Lyfa’s fingers affectionately, which would usually be a romantic point of interest, just not when Asuna’s still stuck up the World Tree at the mercy of Sugou. It gets even more awkward when you realize that, from the point of the viewer, you know that Lyfa’s actually Sugu, which Kirito has no idea of. He’s also throwing around “I like you” far more easily than he should be =_=
The other main revelation this week was Sigurd’s defection to the Salamanders – hinted at last episode, but only really fully brought to light today by Recon,
who turned out to be really useful after all xD In short, he’s a traitor to the Sylphs – he sold out the Sylph Lord Sakuya. Why he would do that is beyond me, as he’s presumably a high-ranking Sylph, looks like a wealthy guy, and- oh, he’s probably after more power isn’t he. He’s high-ranking, but not the Sylph Lord. Yeah, I see where this is going. Well, he couldn’t have timed his betrayal better, as Sakuya is signing a peace treaty with the Cait Sith in neutral territory, where both leaders are vulnerable. If they get ambushed by the Salamanders, it’s obvious that Alicia Rue (the Cait Sith leader) will think it’s a trap, with trust lost between the two races for a long time. If either of the two leaders get killed, then that race gets hit with a massive loss, with 30% of their territory gone, the ability to invade the defeated leader’s town for 10 days and tax its citizens whatever the winner wants – it’s a high, high price. It’s probably why leaders don’t commonly venture outside to neutral territory as they please because of this risk – and Sakuya and Alicia Rue are doing so as a form of trust in each other, so they can eventually sign their pact.
We have the two Lords arriving at the meeting, Kirito and Lyfa sprinting towards that meeting, and a large force of Salamanders also flying towards that same meeting – I think it’s easy to say that shit will very clearly be going down next week, and an epic clash should be expected!