Sword Art Online II Ep. 24: IT’S OVER

Episode 24: Mother’s Rosario

  • Whenever anyone has a party in SAO, it’s always populated with people we’ve seen before. This might have the intended purpose of recognizing old faces from past arcs, but it also implies that these people have literally no other friends to invite and it kind of paints them as a lonely bunch outside of their small social circle. I don’t know if that’s intended or not, but I always notice it.
  • I’m guessing this is a montage of Yuuki being HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY to make up for precious lost time, since the sequence of events that unfold after this comes at lightspeed.
  • The moment they suggest defeating the next floor boss and the congratulation screen at the end are only separated by ten seconds of airtime. Ten seconds. They spent two episodes defeating the previous floor boss and building it up to be this awesome achievement and now they just splapp-me-do this shit and feature it on the wall alongside their previous one. I don’t appreciate this at all.
  • And then this duel between Kirito and Yuuki, which doesn’t even last 30 seconds, ends with Yuuki winning by technicality. Meaning that, of course, she has to die.
  • And then Asuna gets the Good Grades That Lead Mom to Regret Making this Deal in the First Place. What a compelling story arc that turned out to be.
  • And then they bother to show Kirito’s posse hanging out with Yuuki’s posse? Well, at least it bestows upon us its latest glorious feat in animation:

  • And then the gang goes to Kyoto? The hell is the battery power on that camera? HOW DOES IT WORK, SAO?
  • But look, everyone is happy and smiling and smells of the SUN even though they’re just talking on a porch until this ethereal painting that defines our reality gives way to the starry dynamo of vicarious youthful frolics and bluhgh
  • by the way this montage only lasts two minutes. If this is meant for me to gain sympathy points towards Yuuki’s inevitable doom, this isn’t working. I already feel like they were seriously pressed for time with this arc and having these crucial s’life moments fly past doesn’t help address that issue.
  • And now, an establishing shot of a sky being covered by bare tree branches because Yuuki is going to die.
  • oh hey what did i tell you
  • she gon die
  • run asune
  • do it for the FREINDSHIPS
  • They already accentuate the urgency of the situation by showing how much distance she has to run to get to Yuuki’s room, so this sequence where the anime is literally counting up to zone 4 strikes me as a bit excessive.
  • Also, are there really no other workers or patients in this region of the hospital? The place seems pretty empty for a hospital.
  • Essentially this whole thing is a race against time to glorify Yuuki’s struggles as much as possible. I hesitate to even call them struggles, if I’m being honest about it. All evidence of her trials and tribulations begins and ends with what this doctor tells us she goes through. We as an audience never get to witness what Yuuki goes through for her daily life aside from the shock value of seeing her limp body across a glass pane, and in the end we never really know her as the frail bedridden child doomed to expire in virtual reality. On one hand, it keeps us from looking at Yuuki in terms of her real life persona, since the only thing that matters about her in this arc is how she impacts Asuna’s life online. On the other hand, the whole point of revealing her terminal status to us is to cash in on as much tearjerking as possible, but merely being told about it from a third party is not nearly enough to get me to actually feel sorry about her fate.
  • What bothers me, as this doctor drones on and on and on and on about Yuuki’s life accomplishments, is that, rather than me respecting her existence in the story and letting her circumstances speak for themselves, I’m instead too distracted by how the story uses her to accomplish this cheap emotional payoff. I’m not critical of the fact that Yuuki is terminal. What I’m so irritated about is that this could have been executed so much better. Did her illness need to be a surprise? Was it worth spending so much time busting through that one quest and skipping out on numerous chances at character development, just to infodump the shit out of her until she dies? At this point, I don’t think so.
  • And the way the story treats this doctor is contemptible too. You’d think that, since he knows so much about Yuuki and her personality, the doctor would actually be the one that would understand her the best and not Asuna. Sure, he needs to keep their relationship professional and thus there’s a limit to how close a doctor can be, but that shouldn’t stop him from caring about Yuuki or get as close as possible. There’s an untapped element hidden somewhere in the relationship between Yuuki and her doctor that is fascinating to me, since he doesn’t seem to be a gamer and thus only really knows Yuuki as the sickly teen with a steel will. Had the anime bothered to incorporate this doctor into the story in a more inclusive manner, I would have been very interested to see where the story could have gone by balancing out our perception of Yuuki as an online avatar and Yuuki as a terminal AIDS patient.
  • What happens instead is that the doctor exists as a mouthpiece, informing us of all the struggles that Yuuki has gone through in a detached and offscreen manner, which steals away away the importance of his position in the story. By doing this, we never get to witness how he actually feels about any given situation. I made a point at the end of the GGO arc where the government agent was just being used as an means to convey Shinkawa’s characterization that was long since overdue, and I feel that this complaint applies here as well.
  • Asuna sees Yuuki doing nondescript things, and assumes that she wants to get online. This is a problem, since the doctor was told quite clearly that her last moments should be off the Medicuboid and thus offline. Why? I don’t know, honestly, but in this case you would honor a dead person’s wishes, right? Surely Asuna would react sensibly by respecting the doctor’s authority as Yuuki’s goddamn doctor and back off like anyone with common sense would.
  • No, she wants to go back to that world once more.

  • what a wonderful name which is also the title of this arc which means it’s SO. DEEP.
  • Meanwhile, the story has deemed this scene to be at an insufficient syrup levels so Asuna must supply some more corn.
  • Tearfully, with a smile, she says to Yuuki “Your blade will never disappear.

  • Oh look, her buddies are here! Yuuki told them not to come but they did anyways but it’s okay because it’s too late for Yuuki to complain about it and see look she’s even happy about it anyways so that means PROMISES MEAN NOTHING TO THESE PEOPLE PLEASE SHOWER THEM WITH YOUR PRAISE FOR THEIR WONDERFUL BEHAVIOR BECAUSE THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS.
  • on the flipside we get sakuga
  • no seriously look at this sakuga
  • LOOK AT IT
  • oh yeah kirito and kids came too
  • and thats not all
  • oh no
  • they brought everyone

  • and now we’re talking to the undine person because it’s 14 minutes into the finale and we’ve run out of things to do
  • In terms of Serious Discourse, the one thing I’ve been able to consistently get out of this arc, as it is displayed in this particular conversation, is that Asuna was inspired by Yuuki to assert herself and approach life with more conviction than she previously had before. It’s a good lesson to learn, and it allowed her to confront her mom head-on without hesitation unlike the other times she tried. And hey, there were tangible results out of this growth too! She gets to stay in school with her friends and… Kirito…

  • Right. They can’t possibly write her out of Kirito’s grasp by the end of any arc. That would jeopardize sales.
  • On the other hand, I find the show’s efforts to bring this change out of Asuna to be, uh, cute? It’s kind of adorable in its earnestness, but it doesn’t stop the execution from being sloppy. That the show resorts to the most extreme instance of “life is something you must take control of”, by which  would be heavily compounded by the prospect of untimely death, to make Asuna learn this lesson? Sure, it ends up working in this arc because there’s so little goddamn time to establish anything, but it just bothers me that this story thinks it can just kill off an underdeveloped character and achieve both the intellectual and emotional resonance that it seeks from me when it hasn’t built up sufficiently for either.
  • I can see what this arc is going for, but that’s a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because since I know the end result I can focus my attention towards how the anime will construct itself and see how it makes a path towards that result. It’s bad because I’m heavily disappointed in the path it took to get there.
  • Back to the conversation at hand, the undyne person feels very guilty that she’s recovering from her illness while the rest of her friends are still slated to die in the near future. Asuna, obviously, replies that life is worth living and that girl should cherish the life she has regardless of what happens to it, the point being that Asuna herself is inspired by Yuuki to be more open to herself and others because if Yuuki is able to be headstrong and confident while also combating terminal illness, then there’s virtually no excuse for anyone with better circumstances to shy away from what they want in life.
  • Logically, that’s very true. Anyone with a normal lifespan will have access to more opportunities simply by virtue of having more time. When you’re a teenager- hell, when you’re not even in your 40’s, it’s very hard to argue that you have fewer opportunities than a terminal AIDS patient. It’s that much harder to invalidate a person’s points when they’re about to die. And that’s what I really despise about this whole thing: it takes an irrefutable, irreversible point of view held by a cute genki girl on her death bed for Asuna to learn something, anything, about how to get through her own life. Not from mom, not from dad, not from her friends, and certainly not anyone else she met personally. Just a little girl past the expiration date that she met on the internet.
  • As for what Asuna was able to give Yuuki, aside from the whole “conveniently looking like her sister who by the way smells like the SUN” thing, apparently her friends were able to tell that Yuuki had a lot of fun when Asuna was around. I don’t really have much to say about that. It seems cheap to me, since y’know I’m biased as hell, but there’s too little information to really refute that in any way. Yes, Yuuki smiles whenever Asuna sees her. Since we never see Yuuki without Asuna, there’s nothing to compare it to aside from hearsay. There’s literally nothing I can do except believe what these people say.

  • wow
  • you know what would really ruin this moment right about now? That’s right.

  • im so deep that ive struck water
  • ive saved california bois
  • Oh hi Kirito. For all intents and purposes I’m kind of glad you were absent for most of this arc, but fuck you.
  • Oh, the doctor is here too!
  • Note: It’s not that I’m being facetious and omitting his name because his character is pretty forgettable. I literally have no recollection whether his name was ever mentioned. Like, at all.
  • This isn’t a post-mourning tearjerker arc without some medical jargon to go along with it. Sounds like a good enough excuse to talk about the medicuboid. Yes, the medicuboid. What a device.
  • Yes, who made the Medicuboid? I’m sure given how much Yuuki talks about the thing (read: she never did), surely she was dying to know.

  • because of course he would know
  • kirito would know more about doctors than the doctor
  • what a great way to end this arc
  • sasuga sao

  • oh my god
  • no
  • NO

  • YOU DEVOTE ALL THIS SCREENTIME TO ASUNA’S PERSONAL GROWTH
  • YOU BAIT ME INTO THINKING THAT FOR ONCE IN THIS FRANCHISE’S GODDAMN FUCKING RUN THAT WE’D PUT THIS SHIT ON THE BACKBURNER
  • WE MAGICALLY MAKE THIS ABOUT KAYABA AKIHIKO AGAIN
  • BECAUSE FUCK YOU THAT’S WHY
  • WAIT
  • WAIT ONE
  • MOTHER
  • FUCKING
  • GODDAMN
  • MINUTE

  • THAT’S HOW IT ENDS!?
  • IT JUST ROLLS CREDITS
  • WHAT HOLY

  • WHO

  • FOR REASON

  • AKJSBVOIUEB

  • DFNFVSAHGDAGD

  • ZNXBVCMNZBXVZXNBCV<ZMNV<NZBXC

  • okay
  • im sure
  • im sure you guys out there
  • who legitimately enjoy this show
  • have your opinions
  • and im sure
  • very sure
  • that theyre coherent
  • and that i may be able to understand them
  • give or take a few days of processing them
  • but for now
  • just
  • i only ask this as someone who was able to get through all of this
  • just
  • with your opinions

  • thank you

Addendum

  • what the fuck do you mean “there’s going to be a movie in 2017”
  • im sorry i dont speak trash
  • god help me
  • god help us all
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