Sword Art Online II Episode 21: Swordsman’s Memorial
Don’t do this to me, Yuuki ;_;
Tears. Tears everywhere. That first nee-chan moment was so perfect yet so painful. And the second was just… I felt like crying along with her. Then there was that fucking tree in the ED ;_; I don’t know why I’m even trying to hold back, but there are more appropriate moments in this arc to give in to the feels. It’s not time yet. This is not the time.
I think the unspoken pain has been building up inside Yuuki for some time, even though she usually does a good job of not showing it. That last scene definitely reminded me of that Leafa moment by the way – yes, that Leafa moment, the one that culminated in tears, a hasty logout and a lot of angst-filled shouting. Say what you will about Fairy Dance, but I’m still amazed by Taketatsu Ayana’s performance to this day – though of course this time Yuuki’s pain is a very different sort of pain. If you’re not already familiar with the story of Mother’s Rosario, then you should seriously revisit these initial episodes once it’s all over – knowing everything will make it for a very different viewing experience, with the added side-effect of making you think how precious Yuuki is every time she does anything. We already know that she’s hiding something from Asuna, but it’s not malicious or anything like that – after all, Asuna’s not telling her a couple of things too, like the fact she came from Aincrad. There are good reasons behind keeping the secrets they keep, even if they’re friends – actually, maybe it’s exactly because they’re friends, in Yuuki’s case. It’s been an underlying current all throughout the arc, but I felt like there was a particular trigger this week. It wasn’t Asuna’s idea to hold the victory party at her house on F22, nor was it how she wanted Yuuki to tell her about herself. Rather, it was her request to join the Sleeping Knights. It’s a big step for Asuna, as someone who’s only ever been part of Knights of the Blood, but it’s an even bigger step for Yuuki and the rest of the guild, as first-time viewers will probably find out next week.
The boss fight itself was fun! There was a nice segment at the start where Kirito displayed his well-refined bullet-cutting ability, and managed to scare a couple of the guild people into taking a step back by merely drawing Excaliber. I think both him and Klein did actually die in the end, from what I can’t remember. At least, they weren’t there any more when the doors opened after the fight ended. I’m glad that ultimately, the spotlight was still very much on Yuuki, whose own amazing sword skills were showcased. Asuna took special care with keeping the glory strictly directed towards the Sleeping Knights themselves – she pulled out her sword to deal with the guild people, but once that was over she switched to a support-type role. Even when she noticed that thing’s weak point, it was Yuuki who acted on it and got the last attack bonus. In the end though, I don’t think I would call this the true plot of the arc – there’s something else that’s about to begin. And concurrent to that will be the sub-plot with Asuna and Kyouko as they try to navigate their complicated relationship with each other.
Three episodes left. All aboard the feels train!
Note: If you’re reading this and are also following my Akame ga Kill posts, I haven’t forgotten about that, don’t worry. I’m not ignoring it out of hate either, it’s just that I haven’t actually watched it yet. My anime backlog in general has piled up significantly recently, I’m two weeks behind on Chaika, WIXOSS and Trinity Seven, and it’s looking even worse for other shows. I’m glad I put some time aside for Yuuki though.