Hey, I found this neat piece of fanart out there on the internet! Alright, alright, let’s watch this terrible show.
— Dork Gun: “But whether you’re a fake using his name or the real one… Someday, I’ll kill you.” Alright, right there and then, you know this guy can’t kill people through the game. Why? Because what kind of loser goes, “Someday, I’ll kill you?” If you’re actually a badass who can kill anyone you want, you’d just do it. Why would you hesitate, especially if it’s the infamous Kirito? But Dork Gun can’t just kill you in-game. Dork Gun has to be able to track you down in real life. And hey, GGO allows anyone to put in their real name and address to receive prizes. It all fits! The only question is how can Dork Gun kill people in real life and also appear in-game at the same time, but this can be easily explained too: it’s a multi-person operation.
— Kirito is really shaken up by the encounter, though. Since Laughing Coffin wasn’t particularly well-developed in the original series, we now see a flashback in which Kirito and a group of people from the Aincrad arc had attacked Laughing Coffin’s base of operations.
— Just more reasons I’m disappointed with SAO:
Bad guys look like Death incarnate! But the good guys wear white armor! If you actually look at a real MMO, however — any MMO, in fact — people wear all sorts of outfits regardless of who they are or what clan/guild they belong to. As such, the first SAO was just a fantasy anime pretending to be about an MMORPG. And now, SAO II is a shitty, futuristic anime also pretending to be an MMORPG. Sure, it has competitive FPS elements, but it also has levels for people to gain? And stats to develop that no competitive game would ever have? Like honestly, who would watch an e-sport where the victor is simply someone who has done more stat-grinding than the loser?
— If you take notice of this scene, it’s just the same animation being looped over and over. SAO still felt the need to show it to us twice. It’s hilarious that an anime as famous as SAO still needs to cut corners in its animation budget.
— Then at some point, the action simply gives up. Instead, we’re treated to still shots of people fighting as Kirito resumes control of the narrative, telling us flat-out what had happened afterwards. Yawwwwwwn.
— Sinon drops by to check on Kirito, but he’s still shaken up. She doesn’t know what’s getting to him, but seeing the guy… I guess triggered would be the right word, it reminds the girl of herself. And uguu, we can both be triggered together! Do I buy Kirito’s trauma? No, not really. I’m not saying it doesn’t make sense. I think most people in his shoes would react the same way. But the problem is that most of us aren’t Gary or Mary Stus. So y’know, we have real reasons to be scared. We’re not invincible. And you could argue that Kirito isn’t invincible either, but that’s only true in theory. He’s actually been quite overpowered in the story. So honestly, I feel like it’s cheap when a character who is overpowered 99% of the time suddenly starts shaking with fear. I feel like he’s only vulnerable when it’s convenient. In fact, you could argue that a personality like Tatsuya of Mahouka fame makes more sense story-wise. Tatsuya is overpowered, and he knows it, too. As a result, he acts and talks accordingly. With Kirito, on the other hand, he’s overpowered as shit, but we’re supposed to believe he’s also shit-scared of some chumps? Eh, I don’t buy it.
— Another thing that makes the GGO arc rather lame is that, well, the original SAO was at least an adventure. The characters would go from places to places, see different things, complete various quests, fight dragons and whatnot. Here, Kirito sits in a room until it’s time for his match. He is then whisked to some random battlefield we’ll never see again where he does the same thing he did last time: kick someone’s ass in a short minute or less. Ho-hum.
— Oh dear, our previously shaken-up Gary Stu has now gone berserk. So that’s what it has come down to: his one small window of vulnerability is just another reason to make him become even more overpowered than before! Sure, he suffers a few scratches, but he also wins in record time.
— Then immediately after this match, we see Sinon’s next match. It’s just not interesting or fun to watch. It’s just one series of drab matches one after the other, all in these boring, concrete-filled locations. It’s one thing to watch a competitive e-sports game play itself out on the same maps over and over. If you’re watching a CS:GO tournament, you’re not exactly there to admire the environment. You’re there to see the players’ skills and organization. Since SAO is not a real e-sports tournament, it makes no sense to admire the players’ “skills” unless you’re emotionally a child and are thus thrilled by Kirito’s displays of overpoweredness. The truth is, there’s nothing interesting here to see or look at at all. There’s no visual narrative whatsoever. Just pretty anime characters doing things in brown and grey locations.
— Uguu, Sinon can’t concentrate ’cause she keeps thinking about Kirito.
— And y’know, it’s boring enough playing a sniper in a real FPS game. We now get to watch Sinon win her match by taking a single shot. She literally wins by sitting in one place and pulling the trigger. Ex-citing.
— Finally, it’s time for Kirito and Sinon to face each othe-… alright, I officially declare A-1 Pictures unfit to draw any asses from now on. Please, stop. You guys are just ruining asses for all of us.
— Kirito ends up psyching Sinon out by walking directly at her. As a result, she misses her shot. The guy doesn’t even dodge, but she misses her shot. She then misses again and again and again. This has to be the dumbest way this match could unfold. It’s obvious that Kirito doesn’t want to fight, especially since Sinon is one of his precious haremettes. But how insulting! No, I get it. He only wants to make it into the actual tournament, so the results of this match doesn’t matter to him. He has nothing to gain from fighting her. But you know what? It’s called respect, man. Have some respect for both your opponent and the tournament itself. Even when, say, the Miami Heat had their playoff seed all locked up by the end of the season, they still sent their subs out to play the game. The subs still, y’know, tried. What Kirito is doing here is just a blatant slap to the face. And it’s hilariously dumb on another level: SAO tries to make it seem like MMOs and virtual realities are stuff we’re supposed to take super-seriously ’cause they’re just like real life, y’all, but then our Gary Stu goes and pulls this stunt. Not only does he not respect Sinon’s intent to duel him, he also makes a mockery of the tournament. Who cares if the results don’t matter? It’s called sportsmanship.
— Sinon then decides to run right up to her opponent to ask him, “Why?” What a great MMO, huh? You can’t even message people or talk in general chat. If you want to talk to someone, you have to get within hearing distance of them. Why, it’s almost like this is not an MMO. It’s like the anime’s just pretending to be about one!
— But then the guy fucking flip flops in a span of a minute. Holy shit, way to stand by your convictions: “It’s only a game. It’s only a single match. But that’s why we need to fight as hard as we can. Otherwise, we don’t have the right, or reason, to live in this world.” Gee, thanks for coming to that conclusion now rather than earlier so we could actually have some real action. You’d think he would’ve known this already from his experiences in the original series — hell, the previous MMOs were such serious business that he got a girlfriend out of the whole experience — but no, it took Sinon’s tears to remind him what he had always believed in the first place. He just conveniently forgot, that’s all. But please, fuck up the actual match instead, so that you and your haremette can have a tearful exchange in front of everybody. After all, this is Talking Art Online, is it not?
— So to make up for his blunder, Kirito proposes a duel to decide this match. Unfortunately, this is still dumb. Why? Because talk about wasted potential. I’m not even joking when I said there was actual potential here. After all, Kirito and Sinon’s fighting styles couldn’t be any more different. Armed with a sword and a handgun, Kirito has to get up close and personal to win a match. In reality, this shouldn’t be easy. Kirito would have to use the layout of the battlefield to his advantage. Instead, every single one of his matches have come down to the Gary Stu running headfirst at his opponents, blocking bullets with his sword like some shitty Jedi Knight.
Meanwhile, Sinon is a sniper, so she has to keep her distance, maybe even lay out traps so her opponents can’t get close to her, and plan out multiple escape routes in case they do. But like with Kirito, we don’t see any of this. She literally sits in one place, takes a single shot, and wins. So what happens when Kirito and Sinon meet up in the finals? It’s one magical shitstorm of un-creativity.
First, Kirito doesn’t even want to fight. Meanwhile, our sniper has the easiest target any goddamn sniper out there could ever ask for, but she can’t hit him! She magically can’t hit him, because she’s too goddamn psyched out. Who wrote this shit? It’s like watching a game of horse between the NBA’s best players, but when we get to the finals, Kobe (let’s assume he’s in his prime) pulls out a lawn chair and Lebron shoots airballs.
And now, they’re going to have a duel. They’re going to have a one-shot takes all duel. Between two contrasting fighting styles, the match comes down to a competition that doesn’t highlight either player’s strengths and/or weaknesses. Instead, it’s just another opportunity for Kirito to display his overpoweredness by cutting Sinon’s one bullet in half at such a short range. Then, he bullrushes her only to catch the girl with one hand, and shove his long energy sword in her face with the other hand. Meanwhile, people are spectating this shit. This is so unbelievably stupid.
— Sinon: “He’s strong! That strength goes beyond a virtual game.” OH BABY, JUST TAKE ME ALREADY. IF I’M NOT SCARED OF YOUR GUN, I WON’T BE SCARED OF ANY GUN.
— Sinon wants to be as strong as Kirito in real life. But he says he’s not strong. ‘Cause he doesn’t know if he has what it takes anymore to pull the trigger that will save the people he cares about (really?). But he can pull her closer…
…dokidoki…. YO ASSHOLES, THIS IS STILL BEING STREAMED TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD.
— But hey, I know why he didn’t tell Asuna about him playing GGO. Wouldn’t want her to be watching this shit, huh? It’s funny how the story even needs a new girl for every new arc. It’s like if we don’t swap out girls, we’ll get bored of them or something.
— Remember that thing I said about respect? Y’know, respect for both your opponents and the game itself? KIrito goes, “…would you surrender? Killing girls isn’t my thing.” Yep, more chauvinist bullshit. Can’t kill you, ’cause you’ve got a vagina! So please, just submit to me.