Sword Art Online II Ep. 22: Ow, my kokoro.

Episode 22: Journey’s End

  • At one point when I was still attending university, the campus League of Legends club was having a tournament amongst themselves. I, among others, were grouped up based on our average rank. In the first few days we met up online, introduced ourselves, and played several matches together as a team to get at least a semblance of communication rolling. We had a good time playing together, and it was gratifying to see that our first round breezed through with two straight wins in a best of three.
  • Our second opponents were not as willing to bend, and we got completely swept in the next round. Nevertheless, because of the time we spent together over those past few weeks I felt that we had become friends. Buddies, even. We ended up making a ranked team and vowed to each other that we would keep playing together despite not being obligated to by the club tournament. We still keep in contact even now, at an age where we’ve already gone our separate ways across the state, across the country for one of us.
  • Indeed, we would stay friends forever.
  • ……
  • ……………

  • I lied. After losing at the second round we made that ranked team, lost hard in one match, and then made half-promises to keep playing with each other. No one followed up on them. After months of seeing their usernames online and realizing that I didn’t care about who they were or what they may be doing, I deleted all of their names from my friends list. Because I had more important things to be thinking about than some online schmucks I happened to play with over the span of a few weeks.

  • The transience I felt when playing with those folks in League of Legends seems to be nonexistent here, as we’re introduced to this episode with an Extinguished Lamp of Symbolism in the foreground. Asuna and the Sleeping Knights have been shown playing together over the course of maybe a day, with a battle count coming at a grand total of three. Enough time to maybe consider them to be acquaintances at this point, but they are hardly friends. As I have mentioned before, I am unconvinced that these people matter to Asuna enough for her to behave this way.
  • After that abrupt logoff from Yuuki, Asuna becomes visibly fraught with anxiety when she discovers that Yuuki isn’t online anymore. How long after, you ask? Three days. Three fucking days and she’s already fretting as if her dog went missing for a week. You can even see all the in-game messages she makes in an attempt to contact Yuuki. She isn’t coming off as a rational person, personally, but I get the feeling that she’s being portrayed as justified in her anxiety. I personally see it as being strangely needy when she already has friends and a p e r f e c t h u s b a n d o
  • Hell, these people even said to Asuna that they’d be disbanding after their party, so none of this should be coming as a surprise to her. Yet it still does. I feel like I am missing something here.
  • Sidenote: curious to know if this was written before or after the Yui thing in the first season.
  • Sidenote: Yuuki definitely has cancer.
  • None of the other guild members have been able to contact her, so clearly it can only mean that Yuuki doesn’t want to see her again. This seems like a dick move on their part, but it only really holds if you accept the assumption that Asuna is close friends with these people. To the knowledge I have been given by this show, they are not even friends.
  • As this conversation develops, it becomes clear to Asuna that they’re unwilling to share any information about Yuuki. Not because it’s to protect Yuuki or anything as potentially justifiable as that, but instead because it’s for Asuna’s sake. This is, interestingly, something which Asuna cannot accept. Perhaps it’s meant to be a parallel to how she won’t accept her mom’s behavior, since both of them want to force a particular decision onto Asuna for her own good. The comparability of these two situations, however, is not easily arguable. Asuna’s mom wants Asuna to abandon the status quo without question because she knows Asuna can’t understand the future benefits until she’s actually reaped them. In this case, information about Yuuki is being withheld because they don’t want Asuna to suffer the knowledge of Yuuki’s cancer or something or other that they’re hiding. I don’t think these things are comparable.
  • Maybe I’m just trying to find something substantial to think about other than almost laughing at how dramatic this show is being right now. Since I’ve already shown that I’m pretty uninvested in the story at this point, my mind wanders and find the nitpickiest of nitpicks to entertain myself.
  • It’s thanks to you that we were able to have that last wonderful memory in this world.” “Just forget about us.” Why yes of course, the mostest perfectest method of making sure someone will never investigate Yuuki’s condition is to completely rebuff them without ample explanation because that’s the least suspicious way of communicating that whatever cancer Yuuki has at this point is certainly not going to be a key plot point in the future.

  • kill me
  • The guild member then abruptly logs off, leaving Asuna with the Extinguished Lamp of Symbolism, because surely if the lamp is dead inside then Asuna is also dead inside.
  • i too wish to be dead inside
  • kill me please
  • Meanwhile in the real world, everything seems to be normal. Asuna wakes up and dresses for school, her stairs still have those symbolic rigid installations to them, and Asuna’s mom eats her breakfast with a two-pronged fork. All the more reason to see her as evil, I suppose.
  • Hey look, it’s her actual friends! And also Best Girl! I’ve missed you!
  • Man this is so great I can already see this being a brief s’life moment where Asuna has to confide with her real friends about the new friends she made online an oh boy we’d be in for some quiet character moments that this show desperately needs and-

  • oh no

  • no no no no

  • Kirito even knows where Yuuki is. How? Fuck you, that’s how.
  • And of course Kirito would be the one who figures this shit out. What a dependable p e r f e c t h u s b a n d o
  • Kirito tells Asuna to go to a hospital that has a fancy medical magcuffin. C’mon man, you can’t get any more “Yuuki has terminal cancer”-y than this.
  • Wow now that I think about it, they really are going to kill her off.
  • Kirito’s back to being the strongest boiz
  • praise be

  • Now ain’t that just the cutest thing. She thinks that a hospital prestigious enough to have advanced medical equipment would allow a stranger to visit a high-priority patient that she has no personal relation to! Of course they would shoo her away and stone her for her insole- WAIT, IT WORKED!?
  • OKAY THEN
  • okay so first Asuna meets Yuuki’s doctor, in a hospital where Kirito tells her that Yuuki would only be here because of some advanced VR medical technology being used. You can probably guess as to why Yuuki doesn’t want to see her. Asuna’s a smart girl, right? Surely after all the death flags she’s tripped over she’d get the hint by now.

  • …or not.
  • I dunno. Maybe in the light novel Asuna makes the guess in some internal monologue that Yuuki may possibly be maybe not so well concerning her bodily health and/or her chances of not being dead. Even if that’s the case, though, it was not translated into the animation. Makes it seems as though Asuna is completely oblivious to the possibility. Probably to bring more impact on Asuna’s emotions once the tragic reveal happens, but by now all of the buildup is about as conspicuously manufactured as I am making it out to be.
  • The intent is pretty visible, too. The doctor goes on a 1.5 minute spiel about the Medicuboid and its properties and how takes inspiration from the Nervgear by blocking off all outside stimulus and whatnot. All of this is to build this device to be the “dream machine”, as Asuna puts it.
  • That’s when the turn happens:

  • And tells Asuna that the Medicuboid is meant for terminal care. Cool. Asuna finally knows that Yuuki is terminal. Probably with cancer. Cool. They built up all the tension up to this point and finally the story is allowed to let go of its load. I didn’t really like how it was built up, but hey it’s finally over now and we don’t need to know many more details about how much Yuuki is Definitely Going To Die. Surely SAO is mature enough to realize that we don’t actually need Yuuki’s entire life story to make us feel sorry for her.
  • hahaha
  • haha
  • ha

  • i dont want this
  • no
  • NO
  • NOOOOOOOOOOO
  • HOW DO I DOOM THEE? LET ME COUNT THE WAYS
  1. AIDS. SHE HAS AIDS. im a little sad that it wasnt cancer but this is equally hilarious.
  2. Well shouldn’t they have treatment measures prepared for AIDS in the near future? WELL NOPE BECAUSE THIS IS DRUG-RESISTANT SUPER AIDS.
  3. She’s not the only one either! HER ENTIRE FAMILY GOT SUPER AIDS FROM A SINGLE BLOOD TRANSFUSION.
  4. YUUKI LIVED IN A BOX ALL HER LIFE WITH A COLLAR AROUND HER NECK WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO TAKE HER HOME
  5. But it’s okay! A DOCTOR CASUALLY BLABBING TO A STRANGER THAT YOU ONCE CONSIDERED KILLING YOURSELF ACTUALLY FILLS YOU WITH D E T E R M I N A T I O N.
  6. I don’t think you’re sorry for her yet. Are you fucking sorry? Well guess what shithead, she was also bullied! THE BULLIES WERE AIDS-IST. BEING AIDS IS A CHOICE.
  7. Does Yuuki have a sister?” well now that you fucking mention it she HAD a sister. she also HAD parents. thanks for nothing asuna
  8. But it’s okay because Yuuki thinks of Asuna as HER NEW SISTER thanks to THE POWER OF EXPOSITORY DIALOGUE.
  9. And then Asuna’s allowed to meet Yuuki in the game because hospitals are always equipped with VIDEOGAMES and then they hug in the FOG because Yuuki’s FUTURE IS UNCERTAIN LIKE THE FOG BECAUSE IT’S UNCERTAIN AND ALSO SO THAT ASUNA DOESN’T AIDS HER TO DEATH .
  10. Asuna reminds Yuuki of her older sister because Asuna smells like the SUN which reminds Yuuki of her SISTER because they would play under the SUN and now Yuuki can’t play under the SUN because of the AIDS which killed her SISTER who smells of the SUN a.k.a. INNOCENT TRAGIC PAST and this is SO DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP
  11. P.S. ALL HER FRIENDS ARE GOING TO DIE TOO.

  • ITJ SO TRSJICCCCC
  • WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH
  • PLS DONT DIEEEEE YUKKIK
  • ok going back to being serious for a moment this was my mental progression as the tragic reveal unfolded:

  • Because I wasn’t expecting this entire spiel to be so… excessive. I honestly thought it was a joke. I mean, your entire family dies, you’re bullied as a kid, you consider killing yourself, you’re unable to SMELL THE SUN, you yourself are going to die soon, and ALSO YOUR PRECIOUS FRIENDS WILL DIE IN THE NEAR FUTURE TOO. Every single star in the known universe aligned to make this poor girl’s life as shitty as possible and for what? This? Was I supposed to cry? I hope not. This was hilarious. Each time I though they were finally going to move on with another subject, they just kept going.
  • Compounding on the unintentional comedy of the situation is Asuna’s facial expressions the entire time this is happening:

  • There’s just something I can’t accept about her taking all of this so seriously. SAO has always had this problem of treating every little thing seriously in their precious videogames, but even in a case of terminal illness and tragic backstory I can’t help but feel that the show’s pathos lost me somewhere. Thinking about as charitably as I can, I’m supposed to be at the same position as Asuna. I know just as much information as her, I’m aware of all the same problems as she is, and I’m witness to the emotions she’s feeling at every point in time. From these things, I’m to gather that when Asuna learns about Yuuki’s story, I’m supposed to feel the same way as her. That is, to crumble into a little ball of sadness and pity about a girl you’ve known for, uh, how long now? I did say for like a couple days or so, but the story is very, very unclear about the time they’ve spent together. A month? A week? Definitely not more than a month since that’s the longest you can interpret this being (evidenced by mom’s warning about dinner),
  • Don’t get me wrong. Discovering that an online friend has been hiding a terminal illness and a lifetime of sadness from you can be pretty heartbreaking when the circumstances hit at their hardest. What I’m not understanding about this whole thing is why Asuna would be heartbroken about it. I’m just not convinced that less than a month’s time playing together would translate into the two being best friends who would feel this strongly about each other. Her behavior this whole episode has been nothing short of baffling.
  • Okay okay, enough about that. Obviously if we’re learning about Yuuki being terminal with Super AIDS, that means we need to fulfill some sort of wish for her so that she can pass on without regrets. It’s not like this kind of storyline will just dump all this information on us and then BAM SHE DED. So? What does she have in mind?

  • Maybe you could be meeting your friends instead? Since they’re going to die in a few months and all it’d be real nice to fund a method for them to meet in person and have a good cry about how they’re all going to die and it’d be all emotional and shit.
  • So why school?

  • wait a minute.

  • oooof course.
  • kirito banzai. kirito stronk. kirito the stronkest now and ur gonna die

Addendum

  • that was tiring.
  • there’s so little to be said about this episode because it’s all talk and very little time to react. I really, really don’t like how this was handled.
  • i bet people cried though
  • those babies
  • and their baby kokoros
  • dere haatos
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