Sword Art Online II Ep. 3: Rat-ta-tat-tat, where my Linkin Park fans at?

Episode 3: Memories of Blood

  • dis gurl is a qt. Meet Asada Shino, the RL identity of Sinon. Is this a thing in Japan where your online name has to be related somehow to your real name? Because that’s hardly the case around here in the West.
  • The instant someone calls out Shino’s name she twists around with a clenched fist. I could have sworn she was holding a tomato a moment ago. Did she crush it? Is this the memories of blood we’ve been looking for?/??//
  • Ooh, Shino’s getting bullied? I guess in order to become a main character in SAO, you need to be persecuted in some way. Poor Kirito and his Beater status making him a loner. Poor Shino and her trauma making her an easy target for bullying.
  • The hell kind of bully promises to pay you back the money you’re being physically coerced out of? This doesn’t seem like a first time thing, either, so Shino has no reason to believe that she’s lying about it. Naturally, Shino refuses to pay for their train fare as a principle against bullying, but I can’t help but wonder. If she was going to truly pay her back, would it be THAT much trouble to withdraw the money necessary? The issue suddenly becomes a lot more complex when you think about it in those terms, but it’s unfortunately sidestepped in order to make things simpler: Shino is right in saying no, and her bullies are unreasonable and in the wrong for trying to take money from her. But Shino is really making more problems for herself through her actions than it’s worth.
  • And you know, if you’re gonna portray Shino as some strong-willed girl who says no in the face of a bully, why did she even agree to go with them into a dark alley, where literally no one can see this shit happening? Maybe if she said no earlier, when she was at the grocery stand, she could have caused enough of a commotion to avoid interacting with the bullies altogether, at least for that moment. Maybe I’m being too nitpicky about this detail, but it comes up in retrospect because this is buildup for what happens next.
  • What’s she gonna do, punch Shino?
  • Nope… it gets better.

  •  What.

  • What.

  • What.
  • I was told that Shino had a fear of guns in real life. Based solely on the last episode, you can tell that she had some sort of psychological inhibition when it came to even imagining a gun. I understand and appreciate the sentiment that went behind doing this scene. However, the execution is both contrived and way over the top.
  • First, I am to assume that Shino did not have the foresight to imagine that her bullies, people who will do anything to make you do as they want, would pull a stunt like this. Apparently it even happened in the middle of class, so that’s even more reason to be cautious about triggering your own panic attacks! I once had a high school teacher with epilepsy. You know, the condition that lovingly embraces you with seizures and foam in the mouth at the mere mention of Darth Vader’s Lite-Brite torso. And you know what she does with this information? Everything in her power to avoid seizures! That includes driving, rave parties, watching movies in the dark, and other events that have too many flashy flashy ding dings for her body to handle.
  • So, if Shino suffers panic attacks from just imagining a gun in someone’s hand, why doesn’t she just avoid her bullies, who are for certain to pull this crap? Logically, this entire scene should not be happening, but it exists because apparently there isn’t a better way to portray 1. Shino being bullied and 2. Shino’s gun trauma at the same time without resorting to the measures taken here.
  • Second, I may be belittling a legitimate psychological trauma right now but please understand how silly this looks:

  • Now let me be fair and say the panic attacks themselves aren’t over the top. The execution is over the top. Shino feeling intense nausea and disorientation is fine. However, zooming in on the bully’s finger three times in a row, Shino’s pupils shrinking to the size of pins, and the gif animation above are not. It’s very hard trying to qualify my opinion on this scene without sounding completely ignorant on the subject, so bear with me on this, but surely the girl has a wee bit more self-control than that. Surely no one with her intellect, or her stoicism, falls apart that easily and can still function in society at the same time. I mean, she’s no 95% off Eggs-kun  from Aldnoah.Zero but come on.
  • Anyways, muh gun traumaz is cut short by… who? If no one figured out this was happening, then the guy who came to her rescue must either be a really, really good friend or a creep. Perhaps both. His name’s… What was it, again?
  • His name’s Shinkawa. I had to watch the episode again to catch it.
  • They transition into a cafe of sorts and spend about two minutes talking about the previous episode and the BoB a.k.a. Bullet of Bullets (I think it’s supposed to be Ballet of Bullets but the subs are Crunchyshit). They then go into a discussion of how pure agility builds don’t matter much anymore and how Shino has surpassed Shinkawa in skill, even though it was he who introduced her into the game. We’re basically back to the author speaking through the characters again, so.
  • So it is true that Shino is playing the game as a sort of immersion therapy for her gun trauma, but the goals set for herself are arbitrary. She legitimately believes she’ll be cured of panic attacks if she totally owns those n00b fgts.

  • Did she ever seek professional therapy about this? Maybe there’s a better way to go about alleviating her trauma. I mean, imagine what happens when she loses. Does the therapy backfire? Does she become MORE AFRAIDER~ of da gunz?
  • You know, I wasn’t going to say this earlier, but this episode makes it real obvious that Shinkawa is Death Gun. Death Gun goes after high-tier players who no longer rely on agility builds. Shinkawa laments that his agility build is basically shit without some sort of weapon to compensate like, oh, I dunno, a Death Gun?
  • He’s not even going to be competing in the BoB because he’s that salty about his in-game choices! Meaning he will have no excuse if Death Gun starts killing people during the event.
  • Hell, even the OP makes it a bit obvious.
  • So wait, if I’m right about Shinkawa, then this whole bullshit with Death Gun about “false power” is because his precious agility build is no longer the metagame? Now wouldn’t that be a shitty motivation? I really don’t want this to happen.
  • I’m not so compelled by Shinkawa’s problems. Namely, his stereotypical high-expectations dad wanting him to become a doctor when he’s only in middle school. Mostly because it runs the risk of having no relevance when it comes down to the whole Death Gun vs. Kirito and Sinon that’s inevitably going to happen in the end.
  • On a side-note, I really do hope that the final battle will be as epic as it’s depicted in the OP. The first OP lied to me about Asuna and the second OP, well, no one expected the second half of SAO to be like that.
  • Agility builds can’t solo anymore,” Shinkawa laments.

And then the clouds parted.

A single ray of light shone through, robbing Shinkawa of his sight. He reels back in terror and shields his eyes with his left arm. A moment passes. Shinkawa peeks into the light. And in that ray of immaculate glory it was Digital Jesus Kirito.

Armed with His full agility build, Digital Jesus Kirito tore people limb from limb with His bitchin’-ass lightsaber in the BoB. None shall oppose. All men grovel in His wake and compliment the superior size and quality of His sword. All female loins moisten in His presence.

All praise be unto Digital Jesus Kirito, as He died for our gigs.

  • You almost forgot that Kirito was in this anime, didn’t you. Admit it.
  • Shinkawa sure is protective of Shino. Enough to offer a walk home together. Perhaps this is because she just got out of a horrendous and improbably bullying incident, but this just rings disingenuous to me. Like he’s a Bloody Reboot of Recon from last season. By the way, what the hell happened to him? He just dies in episode 23 and he’s never mentioned again. Ever.
  • Shino refuses because she needs to become stronger. Perhaps she’s taking the whole “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” adage a bit too seriously here.
  • I hear from reliable resources that these apartment keypads are the norm in places such as Japan and Korea.
  • Because that’s the kind of security it takes to protect dat sniper booty
  • Luckily, the show stops at her wearing her large t-shirt and underwear, which only reminds you that this kid is still probably in high school. Unless she’s in the same grade as Shinkawa. Then she’s basically Sugu plus glasses minus a massive rack. Stop looking, you pervert.
  • She keeps one of those old light guns you use in videogames in her drawer. Presumably to check to see if she’s still traumatized.
  • Step 1: Sensually stroke the gun

  • FEEL EVERYTHING
  • Alright, before we go any further, ask yourself this: did you just understand what happened in those three images? Because I did. Shino killed a guy with her gun when she was a kid. That’s what’s fucking her up in the head. Got it? Good. Backstory done. I now understand the extent by which she has been traumatized and do not need to know the exact specifics by which she was trau-
  • WAIT
  • Did you just say FLASHBACK TIME
  • NO? WELL FUCK YOU BECAUSE IT’S FLASHBACK TIME UP IN THIS MOTHERFUCKING BITCH
  • Well, since we’re here and need a reason to waste your time on a backstory you already know the ending to, we’re gonna crank the outrageousness levels through the roof. Starting with…
  1. Her dad dying in an accident before she can remember him.
  2. Shino and her mom living a peaceful if HOLY SHIT TRAUMATIZED life, minding their own business at the, uh, post office? Bank? What is this place? Until…
  3. But that peace was suddenly broken.” Oh, boy. Prepare your Linkin Park AMVs.
  4. Are you enjoying your stay at the Flashback of Questionable Importance? Have some complimentary drug addict drool on the floor for good measure!
  5. And he THREW HER ON THE GROUND, PUT HIS BAG ON THE COUNTER, THEN TOOK A FEW SECONDS TO UNZIP THE BAG
  6. HOLY SHIT A GUN
  7. HOLY SHIT
  8. HE SHOOTED THE GUN AT HIS BODY
  9. HOLY SHIT
  10. LOOK AT THIS UNREASONABLE SITUATION SHINO IS IN
  11. GET OUTRAGED
  12. HE GONNA SHOOTED THE MOM
  13. HOLY SHIT
  14. WON’T SOMEONE STOP HIM
  15. SHINOOOOOO WHAT A BADASS THIS SHOW IS SO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD
  16. FUMBLE!
  17. HOLY SHIT A GUN
  18. HOLY SHIT
  19. DRUG ADDICT USED TACKLE!
  20. DRUG ADDICT USED PLAY ROUGH!
  21. OH SHIT IS SHE GONNA SHOOTED THE GUN
  22. NOT SURE IF SHE SHOOTED THE GUN.
  23. THE SHIT IS NOT HOLY.
  24. THE BULLET DIDN’T EVEN EXIT THE BODY AT POINT-BLANK RANGE. WHAT A SHITTY GUN.
  25. OH SHIT NOW SHE SHOOTED THE GUN
  26. HOLY SHIT
  27. SUCH STRONG GRIP ON A HANDGUN FOR A TINY TOT
  28. SHE’S SUCH A BADASS
  29. THIS SHOW IS SO GOOOOOOOOD
  30. HOLY SHIT SHE SHOOTED HIM IN THE HEADSHOT
  31. HOLY SHIT
  32. HOLY SHIT
  33. HOLY SHIT

  • If you can’t tell by now, I think the entirety of Shino’s tragic past is pretty bullshit.
  • I look terrible…

  • Now you do.

Addendum

  • Another 2k words, another week of suffering.
  • I think I only got this many words down because it’s still the beginning of the season and we’re still in the talk’n’balk phase of storytelling. Meaning I have lots to object to based on spoken word alone. I think the posts will become shorter as time passes by.
  • joey pls no copyrino

8 comments

  1. gerdmeier · · Reply

    Great post, I really like your writing style and sense of humor. Will you bother doing reactions for the rest of the show? I’m looking forward to it.

    1. I’m probably going to cut down on the the wordcount next time, but I plan on covering the entire season.

      1. gerdmeier · · Reply

        I’m happy to hear that. So far the second season at least looks like it actually goes somewhere, and even if it screws up it probably won’t do so in a boring fashion. There is no way this isn’t going to be entertaining.

  2. My impression about the ‘we’ll pay you back’ bit is that it was official cover, not reality. In reality they would ‘forget’ to do it and if reminded would both make Shino regret the reminder and say ‘oh we’ll do that soon’ and then ‘forget’ again. And if anyone official makes enough of a stink they can actually find some money, pay Shino back, and be pretty much free of problems.

    1. That makes sense. It was just a small detail I found confusing, but thanks for giving it some context.

      I still think the setup is dumb.

      1. Oh I definitely agree that the setup is dumb. It’s a standard bullying cliche without anything done to make it interesting and it’s over-dramatized on top of that (eg the scene being down an alleyway). The idea is useful but the execution is angst and melodrama all the way through.

  3. You can’t tell me what to do.

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