Sword Art Online II Episode 23: Beginning of a Dream
Now, while I’m sure you must have been expecting lots of feels, I bet you didn’t think they’d come from an Asuna/Kyouko scene. And certainly not from one with both of them talking in Alfheim. This was yet another one of the many scenes I was looking forward to watching animated from the Mother’s Rosario novel – in which Asuna and Kyouko look out towards the quiet forest covered with snow. I’d initially thought there was more to this subplot than they ended up animating, but at any rate they did really well with wrapping it up. It’s the first ‘real’ conversation they’ve managed to have in what I think’s been quite a long time, ironically being in the virtual world Kyouko’s shown her distaste for time and time again. In climbing the ladder both academically and socially, Kyouko’s lost sight of a lot of things, some of which may have more inherent importance than sucking up to the ‘main family’ or chasing careers. It’s made her seem heartless and overly cold, and here’s where we see that this might not really be the case. It’s quite odd in a way, because from previous episodes you’d never think that this was how they’d improve their relationship – or that it’d ever be improved at all. Asuna even leaves her mansion in the mornings now with a bright smile on, something which she’d never have done before. I’d like to think that these positive changes were helped along by both the rabbits and loli Asuna.
Incidentally, there’s one more final scene I’m anticipating – for next week’s finale. And it’s a Yuuki one. If they pull it off right, this is where so many tears will flow. As for this episode though, it was a relatively happy one for Yuuki – certainly the happiest since she told Asuna the full truth behind her situation. I said this last week as well, but never before have I been more grateful for Kirito’s programming abilities than now, especially as it’s one of the rare times it’s actually had an effect on the plot in some way. It means Yuuki can go to school! And it’s a school that doesn’t discriminate against her at all, and instead treats her with mostly excitement and interest – well, all the students there have undergone rehab as an SAO survivor anyway; a ‘virtual’ presence from someone currently in a hospital can’t be too far from their own experiences. I don’t think anyone in a school environment has ever given her that sort of reception before, so it was heart-warming to watch – like Asuna and Yuuki themselves, I tensed up a bit when the teacher asked her to start reading a passage out loud, but it ended up being a really wonderful scene. Oh, and I’m glad they kept the ‘Yuuki Yuuki’ comment in from the novels too, so that Yuuki got to lampshade her own name!
So it all ends next week. It’s been a really cool arc adaptation on the whole, and alongside another feels truck we’ll finally learn the namesake behind Mother’s Rosario. For those anime-only fans who don’t know the meaning behind it, you can rest assured. It’s a wonderful meaning.