Anime: Sword Art Online – Episode 23 Summary + Review

“Let’s all support the main guy”

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(“This is why family shouldn’t play in the same virtual world!”)

Studio: A-1 Pictures

Genre: Game, MMO, Fantasy, Sc-Fi, Age: 13+

Released: 6th July 2012 – onwards

From the previous episode, Kirito has now found out the truth about Leafa being his sister in the real world. A confrontation happens in the real world where Suguha admits that she has fallen for Kirito ever since she found out that they were not siblings. She refuses to hear Kirito out, and locks herself in her bedroom with her woes.

Warning! May contain spoilers!

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A trip to Alfheim reveals that Recon, Shinichi, has managed to escape from the Salamanders by poisoning them. Shinishi senses Leafa’s mood is low, and confesses his feelings for her. Leafa doesn’t take him seriously, and he is shot own.

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(Shinichi won’t give up his stalking though)

Kirito catches up to console Leafa after the nasty revelation. He explains the reason he joined Alfheim; to rescue Asuna from her online prison.

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(Kirito tries a bribe with High Level Weapons)

Leafa agrees to help Kirito’s cause, and Yui and Shinichi also help out.

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(“All for one, and one for all!”)

The trio decide on a new tactic for defeating the guardians at the base of the World Tree. While Kirito attack the Guardians head-on, Shinichi and Leafa will stay behind as Healers.

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(Things are always easier the second time round.)

The strategy works until Leafs realises that Guardians have different A.I to the other enemies in the game; they will attach back-party members. Shinichi tries to take a chance by using his black magic to break down a large group of Guardians. It works, although it costs him his life.

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(Shinichi decides to prove his love, by suicide in a virtual game)

Leaders of the Sylphs and Caith Sith arrive with an army to dragons and players, to take down the Guardians.  The battle to get Kirito to the top loses a lot of players.

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(The Busy Back-Up is here)

Eventually, Kirito reaches a small clearing at the top of the dungeon. The Caith Sith and Sylphs make their retreat.

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(This is almost as cheesy as walking into a sunset)

Kirito reaches the top of the gate, but Yui tells him that there is no way to get inside the entrance. Both of them realise that the game makers wanted no-one to get this far. Kirito remembers that he has a pass-card that fell from the top of the World Tree. Using the code within it, Yui unlocks the gate.

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(The secret entrance to the X-Lair)

Overall, this episodes back away from the incest so quickly I have whiplash. Suguha is now Kirito’s cousin, and she has loved him ever since she found out, that he was not-closely-related-enough-for-incest. It a typically poor reason that is being given for a girl’s adoration of Kirito.

After the rather cruel shot-down of Shinichi (I have a soft spot for him), the rest of episode is rather action-packed. Kirito finally builds up enough momentum and epic-ness to burst through the waves of Guardians.

The only part that fell flat was the helpfulness of the Caith Sith leader and Sylph Leader. They are, at best, some bosomy characters that appeared an episode or two ago, and didn’t have much character development. One would assume that they had their own reasons for getting to the top of the World Tree. As such, it is incredibly strange to see them back off when Kirito manages to reach the top.

Surely they would travel up too? Isn’t the prize for the race that gets to the top ‘eternal wings’ or something?

With two more episodes left in the series, I’m anxious for this overly long arc to wrap up.

Rated – 4/5 Action-packed second half.

See the next episode!

See the previous episode!


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