Sword Art Online II Ep. 9: Trigger Happiness

Episode 9: Death Gun

  • Granted, that idea is quickly shot down by Asuna and Yui, but come on.
  • This is the kind of stuff that you joke about and then not actually think it’s going to happen. Kirito still using swords in a gun MMO would be funny to think about, but you shouldn’t actually believe that it would be right for him or that it would work so overwhelmingly well for him to be playing in a competitive free-for-all. I just get less and less convinced that this is actually a professional match with professional players the more I learn about it.
  • Hell, they’re even figuring out shit faster than Kirito is.

  • Okay. Get scared by a poorly animated cape. That’ll do the trick.
  • Wow, they’re even watching the same scene we just saw an episode ago.
  • Using the sun as your establishing shot only works for so many times without feeling a bit uninspired.
  • DO WE SHOOTED THE DESU GUN YET!? YES. Sinon’s gun recoil is so strong that it whips Kirito’s hair back and forth.
  • The shot misses, of course, because we wouldn’t have a story if he did get shot. One could dream, though.
  • The urgency of the situation begins to slip from my grasp once Kirito and Sinon start talking about how Death Gun could have possibly dodged the bullet. Can’t you, uh, be more frantic about this? He’s still standing and still capable of shooting Pale Rider. Why not take another shot? Chase him away or something?
  • Kirito also looks a lot less distressed now that she failed to kill Death Gun, which kind of contradicts how he looked last episode when he wanted Sinon to shoot Death Gun.
  • Hell, Death Gun doesn’t seem to be fazed at all by this situation and still takes his time to shoot the guy point-blank. He also takes the apparent luxury to watch Pale Rider stand up and prepare to shoot him, only to inexplicably lose all strength in his trigger finger before collapsing on the floor like a ragdoll stiff in its joints.
  • A lot of things are kind of happening without a lot of sense just to demonstrate the “power” of the Death Gun. And you know what? Whatever. It’s been eight episodes without a single detailed demonstration. If this is how they finally choose to do it, okay.
  • Kirito and Sinon are just watching all of this, too. Did you forget for a moment that they existed? Because surely no one of intelligence would dare try to take a shot again after the first bullet missed!
  • Maybe this just comes with the dark and gritty aesthetic, but Death Gun stomping on the “disconnection” notification has an alarming amount of cheesiness attached to it that the show probably doesn’t mean to convey.
  • What’s Kirito’s harem even scared for? They know absolutely nothing about Death Gun or what the events on screen really imply, so why do they seem to know exactly what we know as an audience?
  • Wait.
  • A group of people sitting around watching GGO and commenting about it.
  • Having opinions.
  • Kirito’s harem is watching SAO II like we are.
  • We are the harem. The harem is us.

  • I have successfully unlocked the universe.
  • kill me before its too late
  • My true name, and the true name of this gun, is Death Gun.” We’re sure that this is a grown adult that wrote this? Okay. Just checking.
  • I have the power.” He’s got the power.
  • Going off the assumption that the person controlling the Death Gun avatar is a SAO survivor and a Laughing Coffin member, it’s interesting that he directs his motivations towards the camera rather than, say, Kirito or any of the players from SAO. Even though it’s not very fleshed out from what we’ve seen so far, I’d assume that any rehabilitation program meant to bring the SAO players back into society isn’t necessarily one size fits all. If you get to kill in SAO with little repercussion and you’re suddenly brought back to a society that frowns upon that behavior, it can get impossible at times to cope with that, especially if you liked killing. I guess. I’ve never killed anyone before, so I wouldn’t know if killing people can be that kind of addiction. But it IS clear that whatever Death Gun is after, he holds his situation against an audience who cannot hope to understand what happened in SAO.
  • Think of it like this. Death Gun goes after strong players because he believes their power is “false”. What does he mean by that? It’s simple: none of them, and no one else spectating these games, would ever know what it would be like to actually kill someone. Despite this, you get the typical arrogance you see in the gaming community about what it means to have strength in a video game, much more so in a virtual reality game. Because their kills in-game do not have the supposed “sensible” consequence of killing their opponent in real life, Death Gun proclaims this “power to kill people in-game” as false. In SAO, people died in the same way with their avatars exploding into shiny triangles, but in THAT game you knew for sure that it meant their brain was fried. Now you get to kill people in other VRMMOs and suddenly it doesn’t hold that kind of weight anymore.
  • Think about it from that perspective: if you were to just come out of SAO and you see these other piece of shit games where people don’t actually die where they are killed, doesn’t it kind of trivialize how much meaning you put into the PKs you’ve committed in SAO? You’ve seen how Kirito reacted when he first heard of ALO. Don’t remember? He scoffed. He fucking scoffed. People weren’t actually being killed in ALO unlike SAO, and all of sudden the game doesn’t hold the same kind of weight SAO did. Imagine how this killer would think of that, though.
  • I imagine that they’d get scared. Sure, You can now kill people in-game and have none of the social consequences aside from some verbal abuse through the interwebs, but it just doesn’t feel the same. There’s no sense of finality to it, no realization that you just did something very empowering about yourself (a very dangerous realization to have, I agree). And someday? Someday they’re going to forget that kills meant something back then if they don’t do something about it quick. Thus, when the opportunity arises where you can actually, legitimately kill people in real life through the game, you get a character like Death Gun.
  • It feels stupid and kind of inefficient to have that kind of reason to kill people, yes, but SAO hasn’t really fleshed out its villains until this very moment, and for once in its runtime we’re able to interpret and assume a lot of things just from one gesture towards a fucking camera. And I’m thankful that SAO II allows me to think about these kinds of things without me having to nitpick about it.
  • There’s just one problem, though.
  • That bit of dialogue is the one of the only overtly positive things I have to say about this episode.

  • Prepare your anus.
  • Because nothing good would ever come to this show after a dangerous guy like Death Gun belches out an Engrish catchphrase. Oh, no, I have been so instilled with the fear of the Death Gun that I cannot stop laughing!
  • I admit, I half-expected the sky to turn red and tear apart in the most metal way possible after the glass broke. Like it did in episode 15 of last season.
  • Again, I’m just not feeling the urgency of what just happened when Sinon isn’t even paying attention to her target. Even if she’s not in the loop that Death Gun may just have killed someone in real life, the fucker dodged your bullet! He might even be strong enough to smile on the battlefield, for Christ’s sake! Give the guy some goddamn respect!
  • AND HE JUST PEACES OUT CASUALLY, NO PROBLEM, EVEN THOUGH A SNIPER BULLET ALMOST PASSES THROUGH HIS FUCKING SKULL MERE MOMENTS AGO. HE JUST LEAVES LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED.
  • Kirito seems oddly insistent on mentioning the color of Death Gun’s death gun. I get that he likes black, but…
  • And at this point it should be so obvious to Sinon that both Kirito and Death Gun are from SAO that Kirito may just as well say straight out that he’s from SAO and Sinon would not be any less in the dark about things. It’s a bit of a wonder, really, that the show seems to be making this fact some sort of shocking realization for later. What’s the significance of withholding this sort of information when the anime seems to be doing its damnedest to imply just that?
  • I see that we’re gonna tread this particular cliche this time around. The anime DOES seem to make it a point that Kirito is extremely reluctant to ask for help about anything, but it doesn’t seem to be framed as a flaw in Kirito’s case. More like foreshadowing that, once Sinon inevitably forces her way to Kirito’s side, she’s automatically on the shitlist towards imminent danger. Doesn’t the guy learn by now that this is exactly what happens, every time?
  • And whaddaya know, she’s going too.
  • If you lose to him, you can’t fight me.

  • Even if she did believe Kirito’s story about Death Gun, that’s certainly not how it works. There’s many opportunities outside of BoB to 1v1 that scrub. It doesn’t have to be here.
  • Well, now we’re on our way to find Death Gun, right? WRONG, BECAUSE HERE’S A RANDOM ACTION SCENE YOU DIDN’T REALLY ASK FOR.
  • Aside from Kirito sensing a disturbance in The Force, Sinon somehow fails to discover that another person was tailing them on the satellite thing.
  • God. Damn.
  • This budget.
  • Just for one nameless grunt.

4029652

  • No, seriously, the only line this guy ever says is “No way!” As in, “There’s no way this show could possibly dump its budget on a fight as pointless as this!” BUT THEY JUST DID.
  • OH REALLY JUST LIKE THE GOOD OLD DAYS HUH SAO.
  • She’s probably just impressed with his skill with the beam saber, but there’s just been so much goddamn subtext about her romantic inclinations towards the guy that she might as well have the hots for him too.

4029657

  • I’m not sorry about this.
  • In comparison, Sinon’s part in this scene is a lot less exciting. She just points the gun and fires. Hell, the guy was also so unimpressed that he just repeats his only line in the entire anime.
  • we portal now
  • we psycho pass now
  • we akame ga kill now
  • There are many things I wish about this anime, and one of them is for Kirito to stop touching Sinon so goddamn much. She gets touchy about Shinkawa making these same grabs, but for some reason a complete stranger like Kirito gets a free pass.
  • As said from earlier, I don’t understand why Kirito’s harem is so troubled by the fact that there’s a Laughing Coffin member in GGO. No one, and I mean NO ONE, aside from Kirito and the government know for sure that Death Gun actually kills people for real. So I can’t find any good explanation for this particular shot other than the two admiring Sugufa’s cleavage. If it’s just residual memories of their time in SAO, I guess this sort of thing would happen.
  • Weird how the glass would dissipate after it breaks but not the liquid inside. I get that it’s for the emotional impact, but you don’t need to bend your own game physics to do it.
  • Meanwhile in BoB, we have two options as to who Death Gun might be registered as: Gunner X or Sterben.

  • Y’know, this was the kind of interaction I was expecting between the two. None of that whole tsundere business going on with Sinon and none of Kirito’s unintentional chivalrous bullshit, just a plain old friendship with its bouts of shared laughter and camaraderie over their respective traumas. You don’t HAVE to make her the love interest in the canon for the relationship to be interesting. Making it romantic doesn’t do the anime many positive favors. Hell, making them stand this close to each other makes it all the more awkward!
  • When I talked to Josh from Chromatic Aberration Everywhere about his experience in the Kawahara Reki Q&A panel at Anime Expo, one of the things he talked about in concerns with Sinon was that Kawahara felt that, up until this point in the story, Kirito had no one that he could really call a good friend. And that, according to Kawahara, Sinon was supposed to fulfill that missing piece in Kirito’s character development. To the anime’s credit, even if they did have to retcon a whole traumatic past for Kirito in order to pull it off, you DO get that faint sense of kinship between Kirito and Sinon because they can at least relate to each other’s issues with a more empathy than your average joe.
  • However, I also came into this anime with the expectation that the relationship would be a lot more… equal in comparison to Kirito’s history with other girls, and especially when it comes to Asuna. We’ve had all of these girls admire the strength Kirito holds, and Sinon is clearly no exception to that rule, but Kirito has never really outwardly shown his appreciation towards the strength of any girl other than Asuna, back when they were dueling together in SAO. I’m basically saying that what’s missing in this relationship between Sinon and Kirito is a reciprocation of Sinon’s respect towards Kirito as a player.
  • We see Sinon admiring his beam saber skills and his unorthodox methods of beating GGO, but it’s a one-sided affair. Kirito has not, for any single instance in this anime, done the same for her skills. Sinon clearly isn’t a wimp, and the story demonstrates this by showing us that entire second episode. And as powerful a figure as Kirito is in this story, him acknowledging someone’s power is a huge indicator of his willingness to respect them as an equal. Because we’re not given anything back after all of Sinon’s bouts of admiration, it now feels like romantic frustration on Sinon’s part. And I’m kind of disappointed that this relationship has turned out that way.
  • Additionally, it doesn’t help that Kirito constantly and perhaps unintentionally belittles her potential by keeping her on a support role and FUCKING PATTING HER SHOULDER WITHOUT END JESUS CHRIST DUDE
  • DO YOU HAVE ANY FUCKING IDEA WHAT PERSONAL SPACE IS.

  • How come we’re never told about optical camouflage in GGO? I’d think this would be very important to have in a cover-based shooter game.
  • Kirito, this will tell me if you’re real or a fake. I remember your raging anger back then. If I kill this woman and you go mad the same way you did then, you’re real.” Huh. I didn’t really think Kirito got THAT angry during the raid. Seemed like a sensible reaction, imo. Still, that’s some Rurouni Kenshin shit right there, threatening to kill someone close to Kirito in order to bring him back to the past. Well, not close, but he still cares about Sinon’s well-being.
  • But really, Death Gun doesn’t HAVE to confirm that it’s Kirito he’s looking at. How many people do you know that could possibly use a sword in a gun MMO?
  • As he’s saying this, Sinon is reaching for her sidearm (well more like her buttarm if you ask me), until this happens.

  • The anime doesn’t explain whether or not this particular gun is supposed to exist in GGO. If it is, that’s really stupid of Sinon to enter BoB without first getting over that particular trigger. And if it isn’t, I’m supposed to believe that Death Gun was able to hack his way into doing literally everthing that he’s done by now and not get caught by anyone moderating this game. Either way, this is really dumb.
  • Also if Death Gun knew to flash that gun out in order to stun Sinon, that’s just more fuel to pin Shinkawa as at least being involved with Death Gun. It’s also pretty fucking twisted if Shinkawa wanted Death Gun to use this particular gun because it’s taking advantage of the very trauma that he’s supposed to be curing.

  • I can probably abuse this.
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