Sword Art Online Episode 25 [Final]: Fairy Dance
“Let’s go, Kirito-kun…Lyfa-chan.”
Kirito meets a nasty surprise when he reaches the hospital – Sugou, who is feeling the after-effects of their fight within ALO, has come for revenge in the form of an attack in real life. Despite being wounded, Kirito manages to overpower him and barely restrains himself from choosing to kill him, later learning that he has been arrested and that his crimes have come to light.
The World Seed has sprouted, and takes the form of a virtual world creation MMO, in which anyone with a server powerful enough can build their own virtual realities. ALO itself has been taken over by a new company, and one night, Lyfa attempts to fly higher than she’s ever gone before, only to be stopped by the in-game barrier. Kirito catches her, and he is invited to dance, with Lyfa telling him of the distance she feels between them. Kirito responds by asking her to protect him as they attempt to clear Aincrad for real this time, with everyone flying towards the castle in the distance.
Everything that starts has to come to an end eventually, and for SAO, after 25 Saturday nights this is where it ends. But lots of stuff happened this episode, so I’ll get to the sentimentalities later xD
For those that weren’t expecting the nasty surprise that awaited Kirito when he got to the hospital, it must have been a shock – I suspect that’s why the hospital’s night scenery was featured in the OP, as it was the location of the true final fight, the real-life battle against the last boss before the hero can rescue the princess. And it makes complete sense – no matter how much the Fairy King Oberon is destroyed in the virtual world, that world will remain virtual, and it still stands that in the real world, Kirito is merely a powerless teenager against a high-ranking official who works on the forefront of cutting-edge technology. For someone that doesn’t “have any real power”, Kirito still has to overcome obstacles in the real world as well. And Sugou is an intimidating boss, wielding a knife that will actually hurt, as Kirito learnt the hard way. But at the same time, Sugou is as pathetic as he as scary – what kind of adult would be willing to attack a teenager at night in a parking lot, actually intending to kill him with a knife? He would have succeeded as well, had his depth perception not been off from Kirito’s sword going through his eye in ALO. Sugou even acts the same when cornered, screaming like a stuck pig for his life once the knife was in Kirito’s hand instead. It was a cowardly weapon for a coward of a human being, and while it was definitely more than enough to kill him, I admire Kirito for having the willpower to suppress his rage and do the right thing, even after everything Sugou has done to both him and Asuna.
“Go on – she’s waiting.”
That voice…was it Sachi? Yui? Sugu? Whoever it was, it sparked massive feels from the romantic within me, and looking back at everything they’ve been through, it struck me that this was the first time Kirito and Asuna would actually meet properly in real life, finally introducing themselves to each other in the real world. There’s a different feel to it all – while the Warmth of the Heart side story did highlight an emotional connection despite characters only being data in a virtual world, there’s something about a physical connection between the two that finally ends one chapter in their romance and begins another, and the silhouettes in the snow of the swordsman Kirito and the “Flash” Asuna prove that even more. The tales describing the love between those two have ended now, and we instead begin the story of two teenagers in love, as the start of the epilogue showed.
What the anime never mentioned were the details behind the special school in which all its students are SAO survivors – being two years behind in their studies would require special education, and it would make sense that a new school is constructed for that purpose. It’s also a place where survivors can be monitored for any changes in their psychological or mental well-being, especially those who were orange players and committed crimes that would have been illegal in the real world.
But most importantly, we get to see Asuna, Liz and Silica in school uniforms – uhhh, I mean, a glimpse of the high tech that eventually becomes common 20 years later in Accel World xD I’m surprised people like Klein managed to get their jobs back so easily, as he must have had a pretty nice boss if a job was waiting for him when he got back despite two years of inactivity.
Anyway, it was nice to see all the characters from SAO around again, from Liz and Silica to Agil and Klein, all in an atmosphere not within a virtual reality death game. The World Seed’s usage was also mentioned – to revive the dying virtual MMO genre after the media backlash, the Seed is a method in which users can create their own virtual world for various purposes that stretch even outside of gaming – for education or medical reasons for example. Agil uploading it for free onto multiple servers (then having mirror servers hosting it as well) means the rebooting of the genre on all sorts of scales – including bringing back Alfheim Online, who is now hosted by yet another company. Kayaba, who probably anticipated something like this is dead – or at least his physical body is. Having successfully copied his consciousness onto the internet, he’s still somewhere out there, doing whatever he’s doing. Perhaps we’ll see him again sometime in the distant future, if he returns to give Kirito a hand with the latest issue he’s gotten tangled up into.
Kirito ended up keeping the identity of the Spriggan Kirito instead of transferring over his skills from when he was the Black Swordsman, claiming that the role of that world’s Kirito has ended – and in a way, it’s very symbolic of the way the show is going to pan out from here on. Kirito’s purpose was to clear the death game he was trapped in and rescue everyone living inside it, and now that he’s completed the latter, his job is over. But it’s a very satisfying end to know that now the floating castle Aincrad has been implemented in SAO, he’s going to try to conquer it once more – properly this time, not as a victim with his life on the line but as a gamer. But even as a gamer, Lyfa still feels far away from Kirito, despite the small moments of magic they shared like their dance together. Even after trying on a pair of fairy wings, she can never occupy Kirito’s heart completely just like how the system stops her from flying above the limit, and I do find that a little sad, even as a Kirito x Asuna supporter. But at the same time, if being by his side makes both Sugu and Lyfa happy, then I’m glad that she’s okay with it.
So…it’s over. That’s it. I feel like everyone’s gone really far since watching the first episode, though things still are a bit circular, with both the beginning and end having Kirito staring at Aincrad in wonder while that epic “breathtaking scenery” OST plays. It’s…been a fantastic run, and while the show isn’t perfect, and has had many ups and downs it’s still a series that I think a lot of people would enjoy, no matter what your anime background is. The end of this “Fairy Dance” arc also marks the end of the story as we know it – should we ever get a second season (and it’s very likely) the world experienced within the GGO arc takes a drastic turn from the fantasy-type worlds we’ve seen so far, and is quite unlike both the worlds of SAO and ALO. Other types of media are also possible, such as an OVA series or a movie for some of the longer side stories that turn up in the future – whatever form a sequel will take, it’ll all still be exciting. While this episode marks the end, I hope that it’ll also serve as a lead up to a new beginning, one which I’ll very much be looking forward to. It’s been an honour covering Sword Art Online, and hopefully I did it justice.
The soul went on a journey. From one world to another world. From this life into the next life. And, longing for someone. Strongly calling to each other.
In the past, in the big castle floating in the sky, a young man dreaming of being a swordsman, met a girl who cooked wonderful food, and fell in love. Although they no longer existed, their hearts after an endless journey, finally met again.
While I stroked Asuna’s back as she cried, I looked with tear covered eyes through the window. In the increasing fluttering snow, I thought I saw two shadows side by side. One, with two swords on his back and dressed in a black coat. The other a girl dressed in the red and white of a knight, with a rapier hanging at her waist.
They smiled, holding hands as they turned around and slowly moved far away.
<Sword Art Online, End>