Sword Art Online II Ep. 5: ARE YOU *heaves* THE REAL THING?

Episode 5: Gun and Sword

  • Oh my god it’s actually called Bullet of Bullets and is not a Crunchyshit mistranslation
  • They go on to explain that GGO is an American game.
  • Why are you doing this to me, SAO.
  • BUT MOOOOOOOOOM~
  • It’s kind of weird that the only way to apply for BoB is to enter a certain building in the server and fill out an application like you’re at the DMV or something.
  • Kiriko’s feeling a bit weirded out that an MMO is asking for his real information, but this does give a bit of context about how Death Gun might be able to hunt people down.
  • Of course, he doesn’t have to input real information, it’s just that he won’t be eligible for prizes if he wins. Not that this is important, he’s only doing this to investigate the Death Gun rumor so there’s no way that he’ll have to agonize over the decision like some impudent littl-

  • I really should learn from my past mistakes about interpreting this show. Of anything the show did last season, humoring me was not one of them. At least, in terms of the anime’s comedy bits. I probably would have laughed if I were maybe 7-9 years younger, but I’m not in middle school anymore. Thus, its constant attempts to undermine its potentially serious plot with jokes such as this kind of comes off as immature. This is exactly the word to describe SAO, and not in a bad way. This anime is made to entertain people much less cynical than I am, usually of a younger and more impressionable age.
  • Sinon and Kiriko are miraculously registered in the same tournament block in order for the story to establish both the scope of the preliminaries and not have to separate the two main characters by the statistically more realistic option of having them in completely different blocks. It’s for the sake of making the story simpler and easier to get through. I get it. But it’s so transparent that I can’t help but wonder if there was a better way to do this.
  • I have no problem with the both of them potentially making it to the main tournament because other professional gaming tournaments usually allow the top three teams to advance to the next stage of tournaments e.g. League of Legends has many different regions of tournament play and each one allows the top three teams to play at the World Championship. But again, this adds to how transparently the story is being manipulated to preserve the status that Sinon and Kiriko hold in GGO. Namely, even though they’re eventually gonna fight, we’ll still see them advance to the next stage of tournament play. This is not a criticism of how Sinon and Kiriko are going to advance regardless of who wins or loses because real life tournaments work like this too. This is just a personal gripe I’ve had with SAO’s story structure that dates back to season 1, and it’s manifesting in an albeit less manufactured manner here.
  • Sinon uses GGO’s disconnected existence from legal/social interaction as a springboard to explain how Sinon herself feels when playing GGO. Namely, she feels that her IRL identity and her in-game identity are two different people. Perhaps there was a better way to compare Sinon to Kiriko without having to resort to Sinon awkwardly transitioning from explaining the game to explaining her metaphysical struggles with virtual reality to a complete stranger without any sort of significant prompting.
  • In fact, the anime does quite a few other things to characterize Sinon/Kiriko at the expense of my suspended disbelief. For example, the story needs to convince us that Sinon is much more knowledgeable about the BoB than the average contestant. Take the time they’re in the lobby with everyone else. People have their weapons out in the lobby and Sinon ridicules them for giving out such crucial information about themselves. But the way the story goes about this is for everyone else in the room to be fucking stupid. So literally everyone except Sinon is waving their guns around and wasting cartridges in their shotgun solely for the purpose of intimidation. When it comes to empowering your main character through the power of status alone, it’s important not to be clumsy in the execution. Since I have no reason to believe that Sinon is wrong about everyone else being complete idiots, it feels a bit clumsy in execution.
  • Maybe I’m being dramatic. Not everyone in the room behaved that way, but the focus was definitely on the people being idiots.
  • I’m not happy that the story has been using Kiriko’s muddled gender identity as a drop point for jokes, screenshottable facial expressions, and wacky situations. Speaking of wacky situations, let’s talk about this one:

  • Look at this shit. It speaks for itself.
  • I was right, they never did introduce themselves. I suppose it makes some sense for Kiriko to hide his real gender in order to get Sinon to be more willing to help him, but… this?

  • dat oshiri
  • On a side-note, Kiriko is old enough to ride a motorcycle. There is no fucking way he’s THAT nervous about seeing some ass. And there were much better ways of handling this situation, like asking to change alone, or leaving the fucking room for her to change first, but no000 we need to have our wacky dressing room joke because “omg kiriko a gurl”.
  • Having Sinon look down realizing she’s just in her underwear in front of a guy is enough, but the camera really doesn’t have to follow her gaze. And go looking for better angles. And steal her nose. What a terrible cameraman.
  • And of course it ends with a slap in the face. Sinon’s place in Kiriko’s harem has been locked into place.
  • So now that Sinon’s fully aware that Kiriko’s a dude and basically took advantage of her hospitality, she’s has all rights to be angry and evasive of him. But it’s unclear whether some of her reactions are because of the dressing room mishap or the fact that Kiriko manipulated her. Maybe it’s both, maybe it’s one or the other, but having that moment for the sake of comedy muddles how I look at the show as a whole. Am I to sympathize for her, or am I to be like the other viewers who watch this show and find her current behavior to be omg so kawaii tsundere~? Because she eventually relents and continues to assist Kiriko until the games start, for the sake of finishing what she started.
  • I’ve taught you so much, and I want to teach you one last thing.
  • One last thing?
  • The taste of the bullet that means defeat.
  • Try saying that out loud. Go on. I’ll wait.
  • ……
  • You done washing out your mouth? Alright, let’s continue on.

  • Oh? A callback to episode 2?  And it makes sense? I thought the show didn’t have it in itself to pull that off. Congratulations, SAO. Have a gold sticker and a granola bar for your troubles.
  • Of course, there’s a lot of ways this whole “strong enough to smile on the battlefield” gimmick can go, so it’s not too important to be happy about. I’m just satisfied that the show finally acknowledged that episodes 2 and 3 happened before this one. Or maybe it didn’t. Shut up.
  • Sinon finally introduces herself to Kiriko in the most chuuni way possible.
  • At which point Spiegel, Shinkawa’s GGO avatar, appears. And is used to further fuel Kiriko’s joke status as trap bait 
  • Also his fucking face.

  • Kiriko is the homewrecker SAO deserves, but not the one it needs right now.
  • we finally ggo now
  • :3
  • To which Spiegel looks at him all suspiciously and stuff. Thus furthering the fact that he is indeed Death Gun.
  • Oh cool, he’s first to play. That’s good. I thought we’d never get to see people play GGO at this rate.
  • It’s very clear that the show makes parallels between how Kiriko and Sinon treats their videogame avatars as discernable alter-egos, so I was expecting Kiriko to pick up on that right away. It’s unclear whether that actually happens, but I want this to be addressed at some point.

  • “DID I FUCKING STUTTER?”
  • Kiriko gets the feeling that he might know this person.
  • This name…
  • That skill with a blade.
  • Are you the real thing?
  • I dunno, man, maybe if you ask him seven more times he’ll answer.
  • Ah, so he’s a survivor of SAO. That kind of narrows it down a lot. But Kiriko thinks that he’s personally met the guy even though legend has it that Kirito was widely revered across the land for his sick Dual Wielding skills back in episode 9 of Season 1.
  • So the show starts using old footage of the people he met back in SAO/ALO as a sort of catch-up to jog people’s memory. A nice gesture, but it means that none of the people listed are actually Death Gun.
  • Man, I’ve been reading Sword Art Online Progressive and I would have loved to see more of her.
  • SCRATCH THAT IT’S DEFINITELY THE OLD FISHERMAN FROM EPISODE 13

 

One comment

  1. […] creations to come out of Japanese pop culture, there are only so many ways to reiterate that fact. Some people can pull it off. Part of it is that I don’t think I can, but my insecurities aside, […]

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