“Once in the real world, twice in the virtual world”
(Leafa points out the best sales)
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Genre: Game, MMO, Fantasy, Sc-Fi, Age: 13+
Released: 6th July 2012 – onwards
From the previous episode, Suguha is determined to help this virtual stranger in Alheim Online, and agrees to guide him to the top of the Tree. A short visit around the town is needed to gather equipment, but their leaving plans might not be so easy. Especially since Leafa is helping a being a different race.
Warning! May contain spoilers!
Leafa’s guild leader, Sigard, is unhappy about her plans to leave the guild.
(“You can’t leave, I’m firing you!!”)
Both Kirito and Leafs will become renegades; (hated people that have abandoned their race) after they leave the guild. Kirito thanks Leafe for her sacrifice, but Leafa insists that it her plan to travel anyway.
(It’s not easy to commit suicide in Alfheim)
Recon, Suguha’s classmate in real-life, wants to join Leafa and Kirito on their journey. He pledges his sword to Suguha, even though he will be staying behind to keep an eye on Sigard.
(“Sorry, Recon. You have to be above Level 4 to join us”)
Asuna is still being held captive in a cage, at the top of the Tree. Oberon, as is Suguo’s game persona, tries to convince Asuna that that they are a couple in the game and in real life. He reveals that Kirito has been visiting Asuna’s body in hospital, but that he would be too afraid to dive back into a virtual world to save Asuna.
Asuna is unresponsive to Oberon, and he eventually leaves, giving Asuna a clue about the cage’s lock combination.
(Holding a girl hostage to woo her only worked in Beauty and the Beast…)
Kirito and Leafa battle their way through enemies, and eventually reach a clearing to rest their wings. The two decide to take it in turns to watch, while the others gets some food in the real world.
(Leafa grows angry at Kirito’s armput farts)
When Kirito is out, Leafa is in the process of examining him closely, when Yui pops up. Yui seems like a gentle and naive child, and claims that Kirito is her real father because he saved her.
Yui can’t explain what it mean to like someone, and Leafa is embarrassed by these questions, because her mind immediately leap to Kirito.
(“He’s my daddy, and we’re going to rescue Mommy, and I’ll grow three feet taller…”)
Kirito and Leafa, being brother and sister that live in the same house albeit unknowingly, narrowly miss seeing each other in the real world.
After they both return to Alfheim, they are both aware that they are being tracked, but with nothing else they can do, they decide to proceed.
(“This is no time to sit around. We have a magic tree to reach!”)
Overall, I feel like Sword Art’s episode quality keeps slipping, with each episode that is spent in this world. Kirito and Leafa are dragged by benign tasks and lack-luster characters, that seem like mere shadows of other characters from the previous episodes.
Kirito feels like no great warrior, since he seems to have virtually no fighting scenes anymore. Posing with sword pointed at enemies, doesn’t count. Waiting for Leafa to guide him is pulling down the pace of the series, making Kirito’s behaviour like a tourist.
I have never enjoyed the way the animators linger on Suguha (particularly her body), and she comes across as a baseless character, with no dreams and ambitions. It boggles belief that she is one of the main characters, when even Yui has more personality than her. Her nasty behaviour towards Recon is not endearing in the least. He is supposedly her friend, otherwise why would she hang out with him in a game, but she treats him poorly.
Asuna has gotten quieter in captivity, and doesn’t have a spark. I’m crossing my fingers for a grand escape by her, and some sort of fighting. Ignore the bad logic, that her *digital* lock is *inside* the cage, and has *big, red numbers* on it, making it infinitely easier to let prisoners escape. Guess what’s going to happen..?
On a side note: The previous episode, where Leafa and Kirito spent the entire day in the local tavern eating food is completely at odds with their “resting scene” in this episode. Why did they eat virtual food, if they still have to eat real food?
Rated – 2/5 Tedious conversations, and poor character interactions.