Sword Art Online 03

Sword Art Online

Sachi…. ウワァァ—–。゚(゚´Д`゚)゚。—–ン!!!!

First things first, yeap they cut off quite another substantial amount of content for this but it’s not really all that important so I’m not as disappointed. They did redid the story structure quite a bit, so the time skipping and floor jumping felt quite a bit jarring at times. I really felt it would have been better to keep the original structure so that the emotional impact would be easier to understand. Nevertheless, I still teared up for Kirito this episode. Lesson learned: Never hide your levels from noobs.

Sword Art Online

Surprisingly, Argo actually appeared in this episode (even though she doesn’t really in the original work) so, I’m glad to know they aren’t planning to ditch her. Just that… she doesn’t really pop up much in the later stories, but I guess they might try to write her in. For those interested, her seiyuu is Izawa Shiori.

Sword Art Online

Thankfully, they still kept in Klein’s heartfelt plea to Kirito. Although it still feels a bit off since they didn’t really show the earlier confrontations. It still works though and now I’m just nitpicking.

One thing I feel like commenting though is how the music in SAO is really suspiciously similar to the Fate/Zero tracks. Aside from the ‘main’ theme (PV here), the normal tracks really do feel like they’ve been lifted wholesale from F/Z. I am a little disappointed by this since I was hoping for SAO to get its own ‘sound’, but I think Kajiura’s falling back to the phase of reusing her stuff efficiently. Hopefully it will improve as the show moves on.

Sword Art Online

This week’s end card. Black Cats of the Full Moon (;_;)

Next week, the loli episode! That should be a nice change of pace after this week and last week. I don’t think they can really screw that story up either w.


  1. Fencedude Said,

    July 22, 2012 @ 11:12 am

    ;_; Sachi

    Yeah, she was blatantly designed to evoke that reaction, and yeah, we barely knew her but…dammit. Sachi.

  2. Zeke Said,

    July 22, 2012 @ 11:39 am

    They can’t possibly fail such a simple but cool scene such as The Black Swordsman. They just CANT. Orz

  3. Dakkar Said,

    July 22, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    Klein needs Kirito to survive this game to get introduced to his sister, no doubt.

  4. omo Said,

    July 22, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    really enjoy the end song.

    and well, it’s kajiura. i would be much more surprised if SAO sounded not like f/z.

  5. Roarke Said,

    July 22, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

    The only gripe I had with this episode was that they didn’t animate either Kirito’s soloing ol’ Saint Nick or Klein’s stand against that other guild. I know the author didn’t go into details either, but wouldn’t that be what an anime adaptation is for? Cutting down the story to get to the meaty action?

  6. edlar Said,

    July 22, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

    Sachi is a useless moeblob. She deserved to die.

    Asuna is still best waifu.

  7. Kurogane Shiroikaze Said,

    July 22, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

    Eh, the focus of Red-Nosed Reindeer is to show a more ‘human’ side of Kirito.

    In the main story, he’s introduced mainly as a solo hardcore player, but they threw mentions to this story about why he’s so against partying or joining guilds. The real focus is how he became a little too conceited with himself, which resulted in the deaths of a bunch of people he thought he could get close to.

    Anime viewers lack this perspective for now, but presumably they’ll bring this up later when the main story comes in to play.

    So far, the production team seems to be taking a strictly chronological approach to the story, so the side stories which were supposed to be complementing the main story is getting animated first which results in things jumping around and feeling weird…

  8. Dakkar Said,

    July 22, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

    Well, this story is indeed important in terms of developing Kirito’s character, but, thank goodness, it’s over in just one episode.

    Was it really about him getting conceited, though? He distanced himself from the social part of the game, yet never appeared to be particularly happy about it, so he jumped at the easy opportunity to get some friends. Revealing his full profile would have caused a rift to form right away, so he decided to lie, and then it was just a slippery slope. If he were to say who he really is and that he was tricking everyone all the time, that would cause quite a scene, plus, actually, it wouldn’t have guaranteed that others don’t open the chest. All in all, it’s more about insecurity rather than conceit…

  9. Ronin AnimeLover Said,

    July 22, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

    So far, the production team seems to be taking a strictly chronological approach to the story, so the side stories which were supposed to be complementing the main story is getting animated first which results in things jumping around and feeling weird…
    As long as the “strictly chronological approach” makes sense, there will be no complaints.

    Sachi is a useless moeblob. She deserved to die.
    Sachi: a useless but moe blob. Fixed. :)

    Well, this story is indeed important in terms of developing Kirito’s character, but, thank goodness, it’s over in just one episode.

  10. Benigmatica Said,

    July 22, 2012 @ 8:21 pm


    But for some reason, Sachi reminds me of Yurin from Gundam AGE. Man, I cannot believe that this is the saddest Christmas episode ever!

  11. Marow Said,

    July 22, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

    The pacing is so high, any kind of emotional impact is lost. Frankly, it’s annoying.

  12. meow Said,

    July 22, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

    Dammit. I got so curious about Kurogane’s ranting that I wound up reading all the translated novels. LOL. Just finished. That was fun. Thanks for intro-ing me, Kurogane! XD

    About Aria, when was it written? I have a strange feeling that that side story was retrofitted into the timeline much later. It feels like Kirito in Volume 1 didn’t recognize Asuna as the same newbie girl he teamed up with in Aria. Kirito even seems to mention that his first time teaming up with her might have been during that murder investigation side story. I get why they slotted Aria in so soon though. They need to establish Asuna’s relationship with Kirito early as the basis for their eventual relationship over the other girls. There’s some inconsistencies here and there too. Vol 1 Kirito mentioned that the first person to call him a Beater was the leader of the Cats of the Full Moon but that guy in Aria called him a Beater too. Best to consider the anime a rewrite of the novels for better consistency.

    I do love the novelization that covers Asuna’s depression but maybe it would have developed her feelings for Kirito too soon if it was in the anime that early. I get the feeling the anime will become a bit “harem”-y and they want to keep the audience in suspense over who gets Kirito til closer to the end.

    Lesson learned: Never hide your levels from noobs.

    Yeah. I think the Cats may have overestimated their strength thinking a fellow lvl 20ish was already that strong. But I think it was just the tip of the iceberg. Kirito’s lack of experience working in a team really hurt here. He should have stopped them from going into such a high level area knowing they were underleveled. Instead he went with the flow hoping to tank the strong ones himself. He wasn’t counting on getting surrounded by mobs. I wonder if he knew yet about the generally established rule that a floor is only “safe” if your character level is 10 levels more than the mob level. And he didn’t know how to direct the team in battle. I wonder if he could have saved them if he just ordered them to get into a corner and focus on defence while he cleared the mobs. Well, it was insanely bad luck to get into a locked Anti-crystal room in the first place.

  13. gandalf8 Said,

    July 22, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

    The fast pacing necessitated because of the need to cram the entire side story in a single episode is really annoying. In this episode, they just rapidly jumped from one scene to the next, mostly following the LN content except the material the anime producers deemed unimportant, and charged headlong towards Sachi’s final message to Kirito. Non-LN readers would probably be satisfied, but I personally felt the episode lacked the emotional punch of the original version due to all the small details they omitted. Thus, we have non-LN readers asking questions like why Kirito didn’t give the potion to Diabel in Ep 2, or why Kirito felt so guilty for hiding his true level from his guild mates in this episode. Sometimes, I wonder if this is just another ploy to get the otaku crowd to go buy the light novels if they want the answer to all these questions.

  14. Kurogane Shiroikaze Said,

    July 22, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

    Ahh, Aria is a full retcon of Aincrad to be honest. Aria actually nulls a lot of the stuff in volume 1, like Asuna and Kirito’s meeting, the beater label etc etc.

    If you asked me, I prefer the Aria version of Aincrad a lot more better since it gives Asuna a non-Mary Sue introduction rather than the original’s “I just kinda fell in love with him”. Aria’s version really feels a lot more consistent and better for the characterization that the original story provides, so I’m more than happy to accept that version.

    In fact, Kawahara Reki is actually redoing the Aincrad arc in a just-announced series SAO:Progressive. It seems it will bundled in with the Blu-rays of SAO as a limited edition special. Apparently that will the be authoritative version after it’s done.

    So I’m not surprised that the anime is going through the series chronologically because Reki is going to rearrange it this way anyways. Unfortunately they don’t seem to get pacing and the fact some of these things work better when you have a proper context to place it in (like this week’s Red Nosed Reindeer).

    Oh well, I predict it’s going to be not a very ideal adaptation after these three episodes. Still, I guess it works great as a long advertisement for the LN’s themselves.

  15. meow Said,

    July 22, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

    Ah. I thought so.

    Well, I actually like Aria alot but I also like the original novels. In a way, the two could fit well together if they simply forgot about each other til they met again almost a year later. I hope Reki doesn’t do too much to change it. I really found the original Vol 1 very touching and good, especially the romance between Kirito and Asuna. Even if it seems flawed, it’s comfortably flawed like the “Super Peace Busters” marking in the Anohana kids’ hideout. It makes no sense gold plating it now.

    In fact, I don’t think it’s fully revealed how Asuna fell for Kirito. She might have remembered him from way back but considered him just a weird friend.There might not have been a specific trigger but rather something that grew on them over a long time without either noticing.

    Another important Aincrad loose end seems to be how the Laughing Coffin war turned out. I noticed Reki has been carefully avoiding any reveals on what happened to it’s guildmaster. Nazo nazo da.

  16. gandalf8 Said,

    July 22, 2012 @ 11:22 pm

    I think the Laughing Coffin crusade would make one heck of an intense side story if Reki ever gets to putting it on paper. I only recently read the Phantom Bullet books, and its obvious how deeply that event affected his life even after his escape from SAO.

  17. masterjaw Said,

    July 23, 2012 @ 12:39 am

    Overall, a good episode. For those who want to delve deeper into this story, there’s always the LN to read for. I’m still reserving my judgement until the whole series is done.

  18. Andsmeuth Said,

    July 23, 2012 @ 1:13 am

    @ Meow

    Reki actually added two more Post-Aria Stories. Rondo and Monochrome Concerto, the first of which covers the second floor and the second covers the Thirds tru Ninth floors. Both are Kirito-Asuna centric, so I do not know how he is going to tie it with RNR. In addition, both of these stories are incomplete- they aren’t incorporated into any volume yet, though it seems that they’d be incorporated into Progressive.

    As for this episode of RNR, it failed to deliver the same impact as the novels. Which was expected- after the one episode count, I couldn’t see how they could pull that part of

  19. Dakkar Said,

    July 23, 2012 @ 2:29 am

    The group had no problems surviving that dungeon, so while challenging it might have not been perfectly safe, it wasn’t particularly risky either. The problem with trap, though, was that it had higher difficulty than it should have had judging from the floor/level, moreover, it was the worst type of the trap possible, where you have to survive pretty much unlimited wave of incoming mobs (anime’s changed the way it works, actually). Even so, everyone had crystals to escape in the case of emergency, so while it could hurt their finances, the safety net was reliable. It just so happened that the area was also anti-crystal, which was a rare thing even at much higher floors and way more special rooms. And of course, when they held the vote no one save for Sachi listened to Kirito even though they’ve been relying on his experience all along.
    In other words, this is the case of reverse plot armor, where you die because the author needs you to die, and these novels aren’t very subtle in covering such things.
    I also wonder how much has the Kirito’s exhaustion contributed here. After all, he’s been sacrificing the sleep to secretly level for an extended period of time, and accumulated fatigue is bound to show earlier or later.

    BTW, I wonder if it’s just me, but I get the impression that the anime format itself hurts the series. When shown on screen, all the things appear somewhat plasticky, so to say, and it’s really hard to take things seriously and feel that the situation is life-threatening and people actually die.

  20. Mr. Large Said,

    July 23, 2012 @ 2:34 am

    well that was crazy time skipping right there. I’d rather they just take their time with the story instead of just jumping around and doing 2 minute highlights. This was easily the weakest episode so far.

    That being said, i still look forward to Asuna eventually showing up and becoming a main character.

  21. The Hordesman Said,

    July 23, 2012 @ 3:21 am

    Next episode is lolisode? Man, with a title like that I was expecting things to go BERSERK.

  22. AozuAkazu Said,

    July 23, 2012 @ 5:13 am

    I didn’t mind this episode that much but there were a few things that made it offputting for me. Firstly were, of course, the time skips and such which made me feel that they were cutting a lot out from the light novels (which may or may not have been the case) and made it seem almost a little rushed at some points. The biggest disappointment about this episode for me though was the fact that they didn’t animate the fight between Nicholas or even Kelin’s battle with the other guild to be honest. I was really looking forward to it since most of the actions scenes are pretty good and I feel as though I’ve been slightly cheated yb not being able to witness such a cool fight (whether it be Kirito’s or Klein’s). All in all though, it wasn’t too bad of an episode though. Oh well, let’s see what this show will bring to the table next week.

  23. Kurogane Shiroikaze Said,

    July 23, 2012 @ 6:56 am

    That’s the thing… Red-Nosed Reindeer actually starts with Kirito on the higher floor (F47) grinding like a madman then goes to the flashback of him when he met the Black Cats. It would’ve made more sense if they went that way since it shows him already in a state of regret.

    I can see why they want to do this in a chronological manner, but it just… feels wrong.

    As for the boss fight getting skipped, the novel didn’t really go in to that either, so I’m willing to forgive that part but what I can’t forgive is making the Fuurinkazan (Klein’s guild) vs the Sacred Dragon Alliance look as if some crazy PvP battle happened and they all killed them or something. Did they forgot about the death game premise? In the novels it was explained Klein challenged the other leader to a one-on-one PvP duel so that they could buy time for Kirito to finish.

  24. Dakkar Said,

    July 23, 2012 @ 8:33 am

    Hm, Archer vs Berserker fight wasn’t described in the visual novel either, yet it was one of the best, if not the best episode in F/SN. Told you, they should have left doing SAO to DEEN :D

    In anime, it clearly looked like there had been a mass PvP vs the SDA guild. In the novel, Kirito notes that only Klein looked beat up and exhausted, so yeah. But considering how they haven’t touched on the ending conditions for the duels, it’s not like it makes any difference to anime-only viewers.

    What looked the worst, though, was the BC’s leader’s suicide scene. It came abruptly, lasted for the whole 5 (or was it 10?) seconds, then things jumped to the next scene as if nothing’s happened. Cool, jump more.

  25. Luyomi Said,

    July 23, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

    “The biggest disappointment about this episode for me though was the fact that they didn’t animate the fight between Nicholas or even Kelin’s battle with the other guild to be honest.” (AozuAkazu)
    I actually don’t dislike that fast pace. It’s at least better than stretching every fight over 3 episodes like in Shounen-Animes. Although I have to admit that episode 3 didn’t get me emotionally while I shed two or three tears for Sachi in the LNs.

  26. Kirito IRL Said,

    July 23, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

    I’m Kirito indeed, afraid of opening up to others, and keeps secrets to avoid trouble but ends up making more mistakes. Born as a loner for life.

  27. Algester Said,

    July 26, 2012 @ 9:01 am

    well actually Kirito did have good reasons why he had to keep his level, considering his monologue he would not know how the backlash would ensue should they know he was part of the clearing group then again considering his lone wolf persona it does make sense in context, case in point his strength is also his weakness

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