Yay, it’s Saturday again! So you know what that means! That’s right! We’ll be spending time with our favorite SAO characters as they proceed to spend time in the… uh… real world…
— I like how Sinon’s name in real life is just, well, Shino. Once again, SAO claims to love MMOs, and yet, it hardly tries to emulate MMOs. Kirito is merely Kazuto, and Asuna is literally Asuna. No one ever gives themselves a new, exotic name. Nope, that’s not what MMOs are for.
— So what’s going on? A girl, another classmate of Shino, has sent her lackeys to retrieve Shino. No, really, her lackeys. What for? Well, for money, of course. They need money for a karaoke bar. Now, why would Sinon allow herself to be put into this situation? Why wouldn’t she just say, “Yo, fuck off.” Well, duh, obviously the lackeys, despite being just high school students themselves, have strong-armed our heroine into coming along with them. High school girls are very scary, you see, and if they tell you to follow them, you follow them, no ifs and/or buts!
— The bully merely turns one of her hands into the shape of a gun, and this is, uh, enough to make Sinon’s knees buckle. Y’know, when I had read somewhere that Sinon had a complex about guns in real life, I was like, “Eh. I guess….” But I never realized it was this lame. I never realized the girl would literally piss herself scared over a hand shaped as a gun. But leave it to SAO to blow my expectations out of the water. But hey, this makes it even dumber that the girl would allow herself to be taken down a dark alley. That’s high school girls for you, though. They can be very persuasive…
“Hey, come ooooooooooooooon, come down this dark alley with us.”
“We’ll be your friends.”
“God, you’re so mean!”
— In any case, Sinon would’ve given up all she had if someone had not come by and save her. This is just pathetic. I can sympathize with victims of bullying in most cases, but this was really pathetic.
— Who does she get saved by? I don’t know. Some random dude we’ve never met before. Well, if we have, I certainly don’t remember him. Kinda odd that he just happens to be nearby as she is getting bullied. I wonder if he’s going to get some kind of stalker subplot.
— Afterwards, Sinon proceeds to play GGO–… wait, no, she’s having coffee with the guy who saved her. In real life. I…I was told there’d be MMO fun in this series…
— Oh, what a big surprise. This guy plays GGO too, and he knows all about the girl’s latest exploits. Staaaaaaalker. Psst, he wants to steal your e-panties, install a smell plug-in, and go to town with them. Knowing this anime, if e-panties did actually exist, they’d probably force you to scan your real life panties just to ensure you wear the exact, correct panties in the virtual world too. But of course, Kirito would get special, crotchless ones.
— I like how the Behemoth guy from last week has no ranking, because the type of character he plays does really poorly in 1 vs. 1 battles. Okay, sure, but most robust PVP games nowadays have multiple game modes and thus a ranking for each respective game mode. 1 vs. 1? How ’bout 3 vs. 3? 6 vs. 6? If Behemoth was as fearsome in a group setting as he is said to be, then he’d be highly ranked in some form or fashion.
— Sinon aims to be the top PVPer in GGO! Surely, if she can do this, she will get over her fear of real guns. Wait, no, it’s not even that. She’s afraid of anything in real life that might even resemble a gun. Hell, it doesn’t even have to resemble a gun all that well! GGO could be the most lifelike MMO you have ever fucking seen, but the fake, e-rifle in Sinon’s hands won’t bother her one bit. Meanwhile, someone can make a shitty facsimile of a gun from one of their hands alone and it’ll be enough to make the girl want to puke. That makes sense. A kid could point a twig at her and she’d probably flip her shit. What’s even funnier is how she intends to overcome her problems. Merely handling virtual guns won’t do shit! You have to win with them, then magically, your phobia will go away because… because I said so. The logic checks out, folks! Just trust me on this!
— This Shinkawa guy whines that Sinon has left him in the dust even though he was the one to introduce her to the game. I wonder how that conversation played out: “Yo, I know you have a fear of guns, but how do you feel about strapping a virtual reality device to your head, and literally have thousands upon thousands of people per server appear to shoot at you with their giant guns?” In any case, Shinkawa goes on to whine that agility-type players like himself can’t go very far without a better gun. Boy, for a game with a thriving e-sports community, GGO sure does suck. You can’t even compete unless you get some rare drop from a dungeon. In other words, you can’t compete at the highest levels of PvP unless you grind the PvE aspect of the universe. That’s just plain stupid.
— Yep, it looks like this guy likes Sinon. Don’t worry, our Gary Stu will steal her away. Then of course, the bad guys will attempt to steal her too. Didn’t you watch the ALO arc? It’s just one big netorare fest! After all, the worst thing you can do to a man is to steal his woman and sully her purity! Sully!
— Afterwards, Sinon plays some GGO–… oh, I’m sorry, what I really mean to say is, “The girl comes home to an empty apartment, strips for us, stares at her desk, so on and so forth.” Yay, what an exciting anime about virtual worlds!
— I’m now watching the girl stroke a toy gun. Holy shit, she is stroking a fucking toy gun and I’m watching it. SAO II: SAO Harder!
— Afterwards, she drops the toy gun to go play some GG–… fuck, it’s a flashback scene about her complex. Jesus Christ, man. The problem is, the flashback doesn’t really add anything to the story. I don’t actually gain any deeper insight into Sinon’s character. No, really, I don’t. I already knew she was afraid of guns. How does it add any depth to her character at all to learn that she had specifically shot a robber in the past in order to protect her mom? It doesn’t. These are just empty details — like empty calories — for the audience to gorge themselves upon.
— The best part of the flashback was when younger Sinon knocked the gun out of the robber’s hands, and they proceeded to tussle over it for a short while before she ended up pulling the trigger. Meanwhile, all the adults were just like… “Let’s see how this plays out.” Then afterwards, the girl got multiple shots off… and you still don’t see anyone else in the room react!
— What was her mother doing this entire time? Just playing possom, I guess:
— Then instead of cradling her daughter and comforting her, the mom stareed at Sinon in shock. First, the adults did nothing, especially when the girl had to wrestle with the robber by herself. Then, the mom was completely, and utterly useless afterwards. I’m not saying that the mother’s behavior was unrealistic. I’m just saying that the whole thing felt so contrived in order to maximize the audience’s pity. If the writer could just pull it back a bit — a teensy, tiny bit — then I doubt I would’ve said anything. For example, let’s say the mother instantly rushed to Sinon’s side and told her that everything was going to be okay. Would that have really made the scene any worse? No, of course not. If anything, this would make the scene seem a lot less forced.
— I could say the blood that seeps towards the girl’s legs is overt symbolism for menstruation, i.e. this is the exact moment in time that she lost her childlike innocence, but meh… it’s SAO.
— I laughed:
Especially at the voice-acting too. Top notch work, lady.
— I’m not saying either that Sinon’s fear of guns is unrealistic. I just don’t buy the idea that the girl can stomach hyper-realistic gunfire in an MMO, and yet a hand shaped into a gun is enough to make the girl want to puke in real life. We talk about simulation and simulacra. Kirito even talks about how the only thing that separates MMOs from real life is the amount of information. Even so, there’s no fucking comparison between video game violence and a hand made to look like a gun. C’mon.
— After her little panic attack, Sinon collapses onto her bed and mutters, “Save me. Someone, save me.” The anime proceeds to cut straight to Kirito riding his motorcycle like a badass. Heh, don’t worry, baby. This Gary Stu’s comin’ to save ya! Hey, why even bother being subtle about it? It’s a Gary Stu world out there, folks!
— We see a flashback in which Kirito discusses some of his plans with the love of his life. He conveniently omits the part where he could, y’know, die. Apparently, he has to quit ALO in order to play GGO. No, really, he has to. Well, he could make a new account for GGO, but instead, he’ll go through some “reconverting” shit instead. I take it this means Kirito will transfer his ALO character over to GGO and thus retain his stats or something? What kind of fucking MMO is that, though? This literally never happens because MMO developers want you to spend as much time as possible playing their game. So of course, they would rather you just make a new account and start over from scratch. As a result, this scene is stupid. Plus, if Kirito’s working for an official government agency, why don’t they just supply him with a tricked out account? Surely, you can buy MMO accounts in this universe, right? I’ve been told that your character is tied to your real world ID or something, but I repeat, Kirito works for an official government agency. Can’t they just fucking make some shit up? No, of course not.
— But hey, we finally got a scene from within an MMO in this anime called Sword Art Online. It just took the episode fifteen minutes to do so. Not only that, it just so happens that this scene is yet another goddamn conversation between the show’s characters…
— But back to the real world — aw, already? — Kirito gets to his destination where he finds a hot, young nurse. And of course, the hot, young nurse walks right up to him and starts groping his ass:
Yep, chick magnet online, chick magnet in real life too. After all, who could resist such a chiseled physique:
— So finally, nineteen minutes into the third episode of the sequel, the main character finally enters GGO–… aaaaaand now we’re back to Sinon in the real world.
— Wait, come back! Where are you all going! I swear there will be MMO action later. I swear! Will… will this make up for it in the meantime?
Why is she naked? Uh… well, why not?
— Sinon thinks to herself, “Ever since the incident at the post office,* just seeing a picture or a video of a gun was enough to send me into a situational panic attack.” And yet a virtual reality featuring guns, guns, and more guns… Obviously, she’s using GGO to get over her fear of guns. But we’re talking about simulation and simulacra, right? So why is GGO somehow less scary and less traumatic than a hand made to look like a gun? “But strangely,” Sinon says, “when I’m Sinon in the game, holding a gun or seeing one pointed at me doesn’t trigger an attack.” But why? Merely saying that it doesn’t isn’t enough. You have to explain why. Otherwise, it’s just stupid how a person’s hand shaped into a gun can make the girl want to puke. I’d understand if she was still afraid of a real gun, but a hand shaped into a gun doesn’t even come close.
*Holy shit, the robber tried to rob a post office of all places.
— Alright, the scene with Sinon is over. Surely, we’ll now see either Kirito or Sinon in GGO, doing the cool shit that you would do in an MMO, right? Right? Nope. Instead, I get to watch as a bunch of static images talk to each other. We then see the bad guy open up an image of Sinon, then proceed to stroke his computer monitor. And just like that, the episode is over. In this week’s episode, we’ve probably spent less than three whole minutes in an online setting. Christ…
— Bad guy looks like the Shinkawa dude, though. Again, subtlety has never been an SAO‘s strong point.