Sword Art Online 03 — Death, Be Not Proud

This episode had some… interesting… directorial decisions.

After the battle at the end of last episode to beat the first floor boss, suddenly we’re in the mid-twenties. And after Kirito has vowed to do it alone from now on, he proceeds to join a guild. Great.

After he hangs out with these people for a couple minutes, the girl in the group asks to elope with him. They sleep together. Then they all die.

Next, Kirito fights a renegade goblin Santa Clause. A magical bauble apparates in front of Kirito which lets him hear the girl’s conveniently recorded final thoughts.

So, again, this episode’s direction was all over the place. Kirito’s decision to join the guild seems to come out of the blue, especially since the rest of the group isn’t even half his level. We barely get to know the guild members at all, and hence feel little remorse for their deaths. The Santa Clause monster was just plain dumb. There’s also something going on with Kirito and the friend he made on the first day, but we have no idea what. They’re going way to fast and skipping over too many details for me to get much of anything out of this.

One final thought, which came to me after the rumor regarding the Santa Clause’s treasure. We have nothing to prove that people actually die in real life from a game over aside from the word of the developer. And why should we trust him? The players are completely incommunicado with the outside world. I have to wonder if he’s lying.

14 thoughts on “Sword Art Online 03 — Death, Be Not Proud

  1. I’m sure that you’ve heard that pacing complains are the biggest charge levied against the SAO anime.

    That being said, the Novels were also rather disjointed, and the most cohesive part of the Aincard arc is the Main plot- which we haven’t even hit yet. The thing is, the first arc of SAO are a series one of One Shots with one cohesive main plot centering on the last month of SAO.
    -First Day (Skipped)
    – Aria (Beater, Episode 2, Highly Compressed)
    – Rondo (2nd Floor) (Skipped)
    – Monochrome Concerto (3rd – 9th Floors) (Skipped)
    – Red Nose Reindeer(Episode 3, was originally a Flashback in LN format)
    – Black Swordsman (Next Episode).

    And then, there’s two more side stories before we hit the cohesive main plot. The LN went even further, by the way. It jumped straight to the 74th floor.

    SAO is a very tricky anime to adapt, because the first arc is a string of One Shot Side stories, with a main plot (a very good one) covering the last month. Which is why apparently the author is planning on Rewriting the first Arc of SAO, to string all those Side Stories into a cohesive narrative.

    But yes, Pacing issues are rife. Thankfully, the next two stories to be animated are more self-contain, and feature much smaller time-skips.

    1. Two more side stories? After Black Swordsman, Warmth of the Heart should be the only one left before the main plot starts up. Morning Dew Girl doesn’t take place until three-quarters of the way through the first arc, so that won’t be showing up for a while longer.

    2. Thanks for all the explanation! I didn’t realize the beginning of Sword Art Online was a series of one shots, that would explain a lot. I guess I will start looking forward to the main story then!

  2. Ahahah yeah I agree Draggle! What the hell is going on with Kirito? Suddenly the super powerful solo guy joins a guild?! I think he either

    A) Felt sorry for them
    B) Tired of talking to himself
    C) Was attracted to Sachi

    Yeah the story was all over jumping from a few months of being with the Black cats to BOOM! Christmas time with evil Santa mixed in with some dramatic deaths of Sachi and the other guild members thanks to him keeping quiet about the trapped room…that guy needs to stop dragging people along with him that are derp.

    Ah well I am still enjoying this series so far; however the DIE-O-Rama has to stoooppp sometime! I WANT MORE FIGHTING AND STUFF AAAHHHRRr

    1. I’m guessing a combination of B + C, but it wouldn’t hurt the show to offer a bit of motivation.

      This could use a bit more fighting. Well, a bit more of anything other than this pointless drama.

      1. Yeah once they get back to Asuna meeting Kirito again I am sure the drama moments will go away for a bit, but! I fully expect to see something happening later on with other character deaths of course.

  3. I’ve been toying with the ideas surrounding the claims of the game developer and what must be happening in the real world. I can think of two possibilities as to the device killing people: a) it kills people when taken off prematurely, as claimed b) it slows down perception of time, i.e. it speeds up thought and all this is happening in accelerated time as in Accel World. I’m pretty sure it has to be one of those, because otherwise everyone who doesn’t live alone would’ve left the game as their VR helmets are removed.

    We know the helmets would be removed if they could, because the helmets turn the wearer into a vegetable. That means that the ~8,000 players left must all be in long-term care. Someone is feeding them somehow, they’re likely catheterized, and are receiving at least light monitoring on a 24 hour basis. That’s a lot of expense for something that could be removed without harm, so we can assume the harm is there.

    I only offer the alternative because if time were sped up then all this could happen before anyone in the real world could react. We do not, however, know if a real death actually accompanies an in-game death. These users could be logged out with no way to rejoin and the in-game experience would not change. It doesn’t seem logical that the crazy game creator would kill those who exit early due to outside intervention but not those who die in-game, though.

    1. That’s a good point, I’d forgotten about the deaths caused by taking off the helmets as you mentioned. I’d have to agree with your two hypotheses for that problem: death or some sort of accelerated time. If this trial is actually going on for three months and people are dying, I have to wonder why: a) the best scientists in the country aren’t all working on hacking this game, and b) how the programmer plans to not get thrown in jail.

      It doesn’t seem logical that the crazy game creator would kill those who exit early due to outside intervention but not those who die in-game, though.

      Nothing he does seems logical though, so I’m not so sure. For his claimed purposes, nothing matters once the person leaves the game. So killing them or letting them live serve no difference. Why not let them live though? It’s not like the guy’s goal is to kill people, as far as I can tell.

  4. I was surprised at first what happened to Asuna. But I came to like that the story does not go straightforward but takes time for some side stories. The story imo was a good way to give a broader picture of what it means for different sorts of people to be thrown in the SAO world. I also liked that the girl was actually frightened and admitted to it.

    What I really would like to see is an episode completely devoted to fluff, like about people who decided to stay in level #1 and live a peaceful live until someone else takes the trouble to open the escape route from the game.

    I hope this series goes for 2-cour as otherwise the creators might well run out of time to properly explore such a vast setting.

    2 things I do not understand, though:

    1) As I see it, Saichi’s odds were not that good as she was deployed by her guild in the frontline even though she wasn’t that fit for fighting at all. Didn’t her fellow guild members treat her unfairly?

    2) Why does Kirito feel that hiding his true level caused the death of his guild members?

    1. I guess it is good to have one character who’s frightened and panicked by the new and dangerous world. But I’d wished they’d done it in a way that didn’t just build her up to discard her for cheap emotions.

      Ha, I’d be interested in seeing what’s going on at the starter village as well. A single cour isn’t going to work for this show.

      1) Yes, I thought that was a bit unfair as well. Why didn’t one of them switch to fighting in the front? They didn’t seem so paralyzed with fear, at the very least.

      2) Not sure. He just likes to feel guilty and has a big ego, I think. 🙂 Maybe since he was so powerful and they all thought he was at their level, they all thought they could handle more than they were actually ready for? Just speculation though.

  5. I think the novel made a passing comment somewhere that the software was not tampered with/hacked because of fear that it would result in more deaths. As to why the creator isn’t found and arrested… Let’s see if the anime actually gets up to that part

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *