“Enter a champion”
(“Did we elect an ambassador…?”)
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Genre: Game, MMO, Fantasy, Sc-Fi, Age: 13+
Released: 6th July 2012 – onwards
From the previous episode, from the information given to them by Shinichi, the Caith Siths and the Sylphs are forming an alliance. Kirito wants to help these two races succeed in the game, anf rushes forward after hearing the Salamanders want to interrupt the meeting. He bracingly introduces himself as am ambassador for the two sides; although the two leaders have no idea what is going on.
Warning! May contain spoilers!
A tense duel gets underway when Eugene, the general of the Salamanders doesn’t believe Kirito’s strength. Kirito tries his hardest to last the thirty-seconds-challenge set by Eugene, but even after that Eugene wants to destroy him.
(Sparks are flying. Clearly, they have a chemistry…)
Borrowing a sword from Leafa, Kirito uses his dual-sword ability to fight Eugene, and eventually kills him.
(“I can’t lose. This is my anime series!”)
Eugene is revived by Sakuya, the leader of the Sylphs. Assured of the strength of Kirito, and the rest of the Caith Sith and Sylph alliance, Eugene leaves them alone.
(“You’ve been very naughty, Eugene. Say you’re sorry!”)
Kirito and Leafa reveal Sigurd’s plan with the Salamanders, and Sakuya brands him a traitor. She contacts Sigurd and banishes him from Sylph territory, as well as stripping him of his rank in the Sylph race.
(“Shame on you! Tsk tsk!”)
A simpering battle between the leader of the Caith Sith and the leader of the Sylphs is taking place, with both girls wanting to get to know Kirito a little better. Leafa is silently fuming at this, and almost blurts out her true feelings for Kirito in her jealousy.
(Caith Sith leader wants Kirito to be perfectly sure of what she is offering)
Kirito politely declines the offers from all sides, and even declares that he is not bothered by Leafa’s presence because he does not consider her a girl.
After handing a large sum of money over to the Caith Sith and Sylph alliance, him and Leafa leave for the city of Arun.
(They could hold a bake sale for more funds)
Meanwhile, Asuna uses the pass code that she gleamed from Oberon, and escapes from her cage at the top of the World Tree.
(“Aha! The password was ‘1234’!”)
Overall, it feels like the series has finally released the pacing shackles and is hurtling forwards. In just a short space of time, it feels the Salamander-race issue has been taken care of, despite them being formidable enemies. It’s almost like the writers shrugged and said “well, maybe they aren’t so bad”.
The battle between Kirito and Eugene takes place in the sky, with hurtling, action-y angles, that show a lot of flashes and hits, but seem to lack the urgency of a face-to-face drawn out duel. When Kirito pulls the trick with the dual-sword, it’s a throwback to the earlier Sword Art episodes, of him pulling off stunts that other characters think are inconceivable. The Salamander army seems to leave with their tail tucked between their legs.
Leafa contributes almost nothing to this episode, except the odd gasp. Thankfully, Asuna has finally gotten off from her cage-palace and decided to be a strong female lead again. Her escape has definitely rekindled my interest.
Rated – 3/5 Quick resolution to a long-suffering problem.