Hey, the loli’s dead so we can finally move on with the sto-… oh for God’s sakes, we’re still at this crappy lake. Welp, you guys know what time it is. Time to bash the anime we so love to hate.
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• And this episode begins by introducing us to the fishing grandpa. Faaaaantastic. So… how does a balding old man who loves to fish find himself stuck in an MMO? Nishida, we’re told, is the head of some network security company in the real world. In fact, he was formerly in charge of the network security for this game, but for whatever reason, he decided to play the game. I’m amazed he’s as jovial as he is. I mean, I guess this is more believable than an orphanage full of children, but still…
• This certainly looks appetizing:
• Nishida is amazed that you can get soy sauce in SAO. For some reason, Asuna tells him it’s homemade. What does that even mean within the context of an MMO? She crafted it, right? So is every crafted item “homemade?” Why even bother with this distinction?
• I remember spending my last summer before college fishing moat carps in Final Fantasy XI. Y’see, it was the best way to make money, and I didn’t want to level up without already having the best gear possible. Oh how everything seems like a good idea when you’re a kid…
• What is this episode even about? A legendary big fish in the lake? I thought we were done with filler episodes, but here we are…
…don’t you people have a game to escape? Don’t you people have a loli to revive? So what the fuck are we dilly-dallying about for?
• Kirito and Asuna being all lovey-dovey still doesn’t jive with me. The main problem is that I never really understood how they fell in love to begin with. They were just kinda friends… not even close friends, i.e. the type that shared any personal secret other than Kirito’s tale about his former guild. All of a sudden, however, the two are in complete love with each other. Part of the problem is that two years have elapsed story-wise, but we don’t really feel the effects of it as an audience. It’s hard to really see two years of character development in just a handful of episodes.
In any case, perhaps one way to fix this problem was to simply have the two “date” for a bit. I realize dating in an MMO might be a little tricky — let’s go out to Chez Simulacra! — but they could’ve simply been an item for a while and not necessarily a married couple right off the bat. This way, perhaps the relationship would have had a chance to develop a little more. Finding the two snuggling in bed wouldn’t thus be so jarring (still vomit-inducing though). In the end, however, everything’s rushed. Asuna and Kirito jump right into marriage, and shortly afterward, they jump right into “parenthood.”
• On the following morning, everyone’s gathering around the lake to cheer Nishida on as he attempts to catch the legendary fish. I know appearing as though you live a normal life is a way to cope with any troubling situation, i.e. trapped in a shitty MMO, but really? An episode about a fisherman?
• Also, what’s with Asuna’s conservative get-up:
Would there be trouble or something if someone recognized her as the second-in-command of one of the game’s premier guilds? This can’t be the reason though, since she ends up dramatically discarding her hood and cloak in order to fight the legendary big fish. So… was she wearing all that shit just to pose? What a joke.
• I initially thought the old man would have a larger role. Maybe getting the couple to help him with the legendary big fish was merely a small part to some bigger scheme, but no, this little “side-story” literally ends here. We wasted a good half of an episode on an old man and his fucking fish just to get the message across that frontliners, like Kirito and Asuna, are not all that different from the casual gamers like Nishida. Whoop-dee-doo.
• Asuna goes on this big recapping tale about how Kirito showed her that you can still live your life to the fullest in SAO. I feel as though this is missing the point, which is a little bizarre because Asuna just happens to be one of the main characters. As such, you might think she’d understand the entire point of their struggle. The struggle here shouldn’t be over whether or not Aincrad is a world worth living in. It’s to liberate people from their inability to make a choice. Whether or not they choose to stay in Aincrad is a whole different matter.
Sure, there are plenty of people out there who will preach the commonsensical assumption that the real world is superior to any virtual world, regardless of the authenticity of your experiences. Even so, it was still stupid for Kirito to say something like, “Oh yeah, it’s too beautiful outside to go dungeoning.” Even though he’s not personally suffering — ’cause he’s a giant Mary Sue and all that — there are so many other people in the game that are suffering. You can’t just say, “Oh well, this world is beautiful too, y’know,” because no one had a choice about it. We’ve just gone through an episode full of kids stuck in the game, unable to log out. Are you going to go up to them and say, “C’mon kids, it’s so beautiful out! That’s why I’m not dungeoning to save you yet!” With great power comes great responsibility, blah blah blah. I personally find the main characters’ blase attitude rather disgusting.
• Nevertheless, Asuna’s pouring her heart out and Kirito looks a bit… disinterested:
• I suppose to answer one of the complaints above, Asuna tells us why Kirito is so important to her, but y’know… “show, not tell.” If Asuna was really that miserable before Kirito entered the picture, I sure as hell couldn’t tell. This scene might’ve been more meaningful otherwise.
• “Life’s not so bad,” says the old man who has the luxury to fish all day. Deal with it, orphans and people who get PK’d.
• Besides the main characters, nobody seems to really care all that much (and even the main characters don’t care that much). The leaders of Asuna’s guild just calmly deliver the news to them that a bunch of their people might’ve died recently. Oh well, their deaths are just another statistic, right? ‘Cause Stalin is a man worth listening to…. I mean, I guess it’s possible that the commander is sending his people into a trap, but if that’s the case, he’s doing a poor acting job and nobody’s catching on. So either he doesn’t care, or he’s a shit actor and everyone’s stupid.
• Finally, we have a clue about what is possibly happening in the real world. Well, not so much a clue, but mere speculation. Kirito panics about their latest mission, and suggests to Asuna that they just run away and live in some secluded forest. Asuna reminds him that they have no clue whatsoever as to what is happening to their real world bodies. Perhaps they’ve been moved to a hospital, and are just barely surviving as a result. What if someone decides to pull the plug?
• Even though Asuna just went on and on to Nishida about how experiences in the virtual world can be just as meaningful, in this scene, she cries, “I want us to date for real. To really get married….” The emphasis is mine. I guess deep down, the virtual world still falls short, huh? So much for the simulacrum.
• The commander joins them in the fight against some skeleton scorpion thing, so I guess it wasn’t an acting job on his part. He just doesn’t give one shit about the people who probably died.
• I’m not even sure why the guild is there. It only seems like a handful of them are even fighting, and by a handful, I really mean the heroes. In the end, Kirito and Asuna pull off a coordinated attack — it’s like the double techs from Chrono Trigger — and while I don’t necessarily have a problem with this per se, I think they could’ve taken advantage of something like this. Rather than just two lovers fighting in complete synchronization for no apparent reason other than the fact that they’re now married, the show could’ve developed the idea that maybe they’ve been training together more often. Still, that would require the show not to be such a rush job, and we can’t have that, right?
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I’m finally done with all my posts for the day. Back to World vs. World… when do I get to fight the anibloggers in Guild Wars 2? Are you guys still PvEing?!