Man, it’s been twenty-four long episodes. Sadly, this still isn’t the end of the series.
Plot summary: Kirito and Yui manage to reach Asuna’s birdcage, but their tearful reunion is short-lived. Sugou appears out of nowhere, removes Yui to God knows where, and disables both Kirito and Asuna with gravity magic. He then tries to rape Asuna in front of Kirito, but our hero is somehow empowered by the late Kayaba. Yes, the creator of SAO. With his newfound admin powers, Kirito cruelly eviscerates Sugou and all is well… UNTIL WE INEVITABLY RETURN TO SAO FOR NO REASON! But until then…
• So why is Yui now
lifeloli-sized? Why does her attire change but not Kirito’s? Why can she just disintegrate walls? Maybe she’s rewriting the world’s code or something, but why couldn’t she do it before?
• Kirito: “This is the top of the World Tree? There’s no Floating City up here… Some Grand Quest! Everything was a lie. I won’t let him get away with this!” Kirito sorta has other things to worry about… like, y’know, the villain is a scumbag who wants to mindrape Asuna. But grr, the Grand Quest was a lie! How could they deceive us with this sham of an endgame!!! By God, he’ll pay!
• Holy hell, Yui has to remind him to save Asuna. This guy, man.
• Sure, we have time for a tearful embrace. Let’s not hurry or anything, guys. I’m sure the villain isn’t lurking around the corner or anything.
• Asuna’s voice is so high-pitched. “Kirito-kun~~~~~~~~~” So moe.
• No you’re not. Don’t lie, bro. Don’t lie:
You took your sweet-ass time getting here.
• So Yui can just melt through walls but Asuna’s locked down by “complicated codes.” ‘Kay.
• Oh hey, guess what? The villain showed up while our heroes were busy chatting. Now, you could say they would’ve been caught anyway, but maybe they’d look a lot less dumb had they actually tried to escape.
• Here’s the part where the villain dawdles and explains his master plan to the heroes for no particular reason. Just to brag, I guess. Y’see, Sugou’s experiments in ALO will allow him to control a person through their minds! He’ll become a God!… as long as you connect to his MMO. But hey, he tried.
• Christ, is the threat of rape all that they can come up with?
Stay classy, SAO.
• So not only will Sugou rape Asuna in the virtual world, but he’ll make a recording of his virtual rape to shame her in the real world… whereupon he’ll rape her some more. Rape, rape, rape! Someone’s been reading too many doujinshis.
• No one’s saying that you can’t have rape in fiction, but let’s be mindful of what we’re actually watching. Yes, rape sucks for anyone. Yes, rape is traumatic. If you want to portray a horrible villain, it’s so easy to cry rape! But there’s something very orchestrated by the way Sugou tortures Kirito, and this sort of premeditation on his part — or perhaps the author of this tale — that seems to imply that the worst crime of all is that our fair maiden garbed-in-white will have her purity besmirched — besmirched, I tells ya! — in front of her very own man. This is why Sugou goes to such lengths as to assault Asuna in front of Kirito. If he truly and simply lusted for her, he could’ve done so hundreds of times over before Kirito ever manged to reach the birdcage. But no, he doesn’t rape her until now. He doesn’t do anything but tease her until Kirito actually shows up. In his sick mind, therefore, the worst thing he can do is not necessarily to rape a woman, but to “steal” her in front of her own man. So we have to be very careful when we are horrified by such a scene. Are we horrified because a woman’s autonomy is about to be violated? Or are we more outraged because Kirito’s woman is about to be NTR’d? The latter is a very dangerous mindset to have. It is the sort of mindset that leads Titus Andronicus to murder his daughter Lavinia in cold blood.
• Kirito: “Is this my punishment? For thinking that I was the game’s strongest hero? That I could save Asuna alone?” Yes. It ceased being a game once your true love was at stake. But on a more serious note, at least in SAO, Kirito could reasonably argue that the creator was obsessed with fairness. Remember how he kept going on and on about how SAO was inherently fair? That the creator would never allow people to cheat? Assuming those premises, Kirito can at least believe that he’d have a fair fight against Kayaba. I have no idea, however, why he assumed a fair fight would exist in ALO. Sugou has already made his intentions very clear from the very beginning of the arc: he was going to NTR Asuna. Why would Sugou be like, “Yo, you can duel me mano-y-mano! I won’t cheat!”
• Speaking of Kayaba, here he comes outta nowhere! This is some straight-up Dumbledore bullshit right here! Is it possible that some remnant of Kayaba’s existence was copied over to ALO? Maybe, maybe not. Who really knows? According to the anime, this is an “echo” or “an afterimage.” Whatever. In the same series, we’ve seen ghosts, so I guess this mumbo-jumbo fits right in.
From a psychological standpoint, it isn’t silly for Kirito to think back to his fight against Kayaba, and thus be inspired by how he managed to overcome such long odds. After all, Kirito was pretty much defeated, but he somehow came back and won, right? It’s just funny to see and hear inspirational words actually come out of Kayaba’s mouth. Y’know, the same guy who imprisoned ten thousand poor souls in his game against their wishes, allowing them to literally die should they venture outside the safe zones. These poor souls even included children and old people. Yes, I really want to receive your sage words, Kayaba. You sure seem like someone worth listening to!
• What? Why? If you have admin privileges, just fucking end this right now? Save your half-naked waifu and go home!
In the end, Kirito hasn’t learned anything. There is a time to play make-believe, and there’s a time to get serious. Now’s not the time to play make-believe and have a duel with the guy who was about to rape your true love! And don’t even say, “Oh, that would have been boring!” Pfft. If Kirito had done the right thing, all the fans would’ve written countless words about how he’s matured and become a better person.
• Actually, this part is pretty sick. Kirito pretty much tortures the Sugou in return. Basically, “eye for an eye” retribution shit. The reason why Kirito even duels Sugou in the first place isn’t to stop an evildoer from committing any more harm to either Asuna or others. If that was his main goal, he’d just delete Sugou out of existence. But no, he gives Sugou a weapon and forces the guy to fight and for what? To inflict as much pain as possible; it is no accident that Sugou exclaims at how painful it actually feels to be hacked apart. This isn’t justice; this is just childish vengeance. And look at how it’s glorified:
Digital blood and all.
• Kayaba is like a drug-dealer.
Heh, here’s another sampling of SAO! Trust me! This is pure, uncut shit, bro!
• Yui is conveniently okay. Oh goodie!
• What a long and Gary Stu journey this has been.