Sword Art Online II Ep. 7: An episode long therapy session

my emotions

This is the most action-packed SAO episode yet!

— The episode is off to a slow start as we see Kirito stumble in his attempts to allay his loved ones’ fears. Apparently, Leafa’s (I’ll just use these characters’ online monikers for simplicity) has seen the name Kirito in an article about the latest Bullet of Bullet tournament. Her brother tries to pretend as though it is someone else with the name Kirito, which, as you can imagine, isn’t a very convincing argument. Baby, please… it’s a common name! Everyone wants to be me! I’m the hero! Seriously, though, I don’t even know why Kirito feels the need to lie. Just say he’s been asked to check something out, and it’s very official business that he can’t talk about in great detail. He doesn’t need to tell her all the details, but c’mon, I think we all deserve not to be lied to from our loved ones. Yes, he doesn’t want to worry her, but at the same time, he’ll worry his family and friends by simply lying and disappearing off to do god knows what for hours and hours everyday. He’ll also worry them by lying about online gaming, too. After all, online gaming is nothing, so if you feel the need to lie about it, it’ll just concern people even more. It’s like if I lied to my girlfriend about anime blogging. Anime blogging by itself is such a benign activity that if I feel the need to lie about it, there has to be something serious going on.

— Yeah, yeah, undercover cops don’t tell their loved ones when they go undercover, but Kirito is not an undercover cop. If he was, he wouldn’t have taken the name Kirito into GGO. I mean, c’mon, it’s not even remotely the same.

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— Leafa says she has noticed how he’s no longer on her friends list. In response, the guy goes, “It isn’t as though you check that list every day.” I’ve played MMOs. I know I always use my friends list to see who’s online. Especially if it’s a close friend. Especially if it’s my own brother. But all of this talk is silly. Just tell the truth. Not the whole truth… but some of it to allay her concerns.

— Afterwards, pretty much the same thing plays out with Asuna. She’s far too nice and passive to make Kirito feel uncomfortable, though.

— “This is my problem.” Well, no, once you get into a relationship, your problems aren’t just your problems anymore. That’s just selfish talk. I’m not saying he should get Asuna to join GGO and help him battle Death Gun. I’m not even saying he should tell her about Death Gun’s experience. But the girl is obviously concerned about him and what he’s doing, so it’s her problem too already. Don’t minimize her feelings. Hell, he could even use her worries as a source of strength to strengthen his resolve or whatever cliche motivational bullshit he want to believe. The “This is my problem” line just sounds selfish and short-sighted.

— Holy crap, now Kirito’s back to talking to Leafa. This is indeed Talking Art Online. Can we please move on, already?

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— The anime cuts to Sinon in real life, aaaaaaaaaand she’s kicking a pole over and over because she’s all worked up about Kirito. Good lord.

— Apparently, Kirito’s a sexual harasser because he saw her online avatar in nothing but its underwear. I repeat, he saw her online avatar. Hey, I’m the first person to bag on Kirito, but c’mooooooooooon.

— “Why would you come to GGO to use a sword, anyway?” See, now that’s a legit complaint. Obviously, Kirito’s a special snowflake.

— Sinon’s too worked up about this. I mean, who the fuck cares? Oh no, he pretended to be a girl! Big fucking deal. It’s like she’s never been online before. People pretend to be someone else all the time, and I’m not even talking about online games.

— This Shinkawa guy is obviously a bad guy — hell, the show hasn’t even been coy about it — but let’s pretend for the moment that he’s not. I think his suggestions make sense; if Kirito bugs her so much, let’s gank him in game! But the girl suddenly does an about face: sure, Kirito annoys her, but “the way he fights is so straightforward and honest.” As a result, she doesn’t want to gank him. It must be an honorable one-on-one duel! Groooooooan.

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— Oh my god, the girl managed to shape her hands into a gun… in real life! What progress! Such breakthrough. Very therapeutic! This is fucking stupid. Realistic guns in my MMO? Meh, whatever. My own hands are now makeshift guns? WOAGHSHIT! And it’s all because of Kirito, too! He makes her so mad, it’s chipping away at her trauma! What a Gary Stu! Even when he annoys girls, he’s really healing their mind and body!

— “I think that’s who you really are. I’m sure that someday, the real you will be able to be like that, too.” Makes sense.

— Shinkawa acting real creepy now: “So I worry when I see you getting upset or mad over a guy like that. I’ll… I’ll help you!” He then tries to embrace her. Dude, chill out. But man, you gotta feel sorry for these girls. They either have to fall in love with the Gary Stu or deal with guys like Shinkawa. There are apparently no other males in this entire universe.

— But hey, it’s been 11 minutes, and all we’ve done is sit around and listen to these characters talk about their feelings. Woo, Talking Art Online! Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with a drama anime where the characters discuss their feelings in depth, but you kinda have to be good at it. It’s not like I’m sitting here, watching a fascinating character study. These characters’ problems are just so mundane. Uguu, I’m mad ’cause the Gary Stu pretended to be a girl in an online game! Also, I have the most ridiculous gun phobia ever! No, it’s not exactly Aku no Hana, now is it?

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— Guess what? Now the nurse is trying to have a conversation with Kirito about his feelings. Christ. Kirito just goes from one girl’s arms to the next. Is this what this whole episode’s going to be? Is he really going to bounce from one hot anime babe to the other, talking about his feelings? Hell, it’s not even a bad thing per se for the characters to pause and reflect on their actions, their feelings, and what they’ve been through. But holy shit, an entire episode about it? One reflective moment after the other? Please, can you learn proper storytelling and space this shit out? Yes, these hot anime babes notice that there’s something off about Kirito, but it’s not like they must all talk to him at once. There’s no law that says, “Oh my god, the Gary Stu looks troubled! I must talk to the poor guy right now!” You can break these conversations apart and sprinkle them in between the show’s “exciting” action scenes. Instead, SAO opts to have these conversations all at the same time, back-to-back-to-back. The only thing here to break up the monotony of Kirito’s therapy session is Sinon’s own therapy session. Fucking ridiculous.

— “Sou da ne.” “Sou da ne.” “Sou da ne.” — SAO Nurse 2014

— Kirito’s distraught because, in his words, “I’m a monster who can even forget people I’ve killed.” Or, y’know, you’re traumatized, so you’ve dissociated yourself from your painful memories. But no, I’m a monster! I’m a monster because I don’t even remember these PKers’ face and names! Oh, the horror! How can you not remember a murderer’s face! Who’s the real monster now?! That’s it. I’m done, man. I’m tuning this shit out. I’m literally not paying attention until Kirito is back in GGO. Fuck you and your feelings. And if anyone actually tries to defend this episode in the comments, I will blacklist you. I don’t even care.

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— 15 minutes in, still not in an MMO yet.

— Still tuning the dialogue out, but I have eyes. I can still see. So, uh, what are his hands clutching in this very scene?

Random balloon.

— 16 minutes in, still not in an MMO yet.

— 17 minutes in, Kirito has entered the MMO, but the anime opts to cut to Sinon instead. Therefore, we’re still not in an MMO yet.

— Finally, at 17:36 we are in… uh…

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…ALO to watch Klein babysit Kirito’s harem. What a nice guy. Since he’s not a Gary Stu, though, the girls aren’t very impressed. In fact, Asuna’s too worried about Kirito to even play the game!

— After defeating this salamander thing, everyone’s going to gather ’round and watch Kirito compete in the Bullet of Bullets tournament. At the end of the day, it’s still all about the Gary Stu. Speaking of which, we’re now 19 minutes into the episode, and we’ve yet to see Kirito in an MMO.

— Holy shit, 19:36 into the episode, we finally revisit GGO. Aaaaaand…

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…we see Shinkawa confess his feelings to Sinon. Way to dump your feelings on her right before the big tournament, dumbass. Actually, screw it.


56 Replies to “Sword Art Online II Ep. 7: An episode long therapy session”

  1. “if anyone actually tries to defend this episode in the comments”

    No way, this was like the worst episode yet.
    I only watch SAO to laugh at it but this time it was so… empty/shitty/whatever I couldn’t even begin to do that.

    1. The only “positive” thing I can say about SAO II so far is that it looks FINE. And I’m saying that half-heartedly. Sinon’s flatbread ass aside, most of it looks okay, and by that I mean pretty generic. Generic being an industry standard, no frills and no thrills.
      At least it’s not the animated version of Aku no Hana. Jesus Christ, what were they thinking. Generic-anime look would’ve worked just fine there.

    1. No one who has a functioning brain with a single ounce of intelligence would write anything like that. Nah, wait, there are a couple thousand people who genuinely like this show; I guess another indication that we’re fucked as a society?

    1. Like the post said, it shouldn’t be done right after the other. There was no craft or organization to make those one-on-one’s more interesting. It’s like the staff was like “Ugh, we gotta do this talking shit. Might as well get this over with”.

  2. If it makes you feel better, the biggest point between my friends and I watching this together was wondering if the ALO crew literally meant they were going to watch the GGO tournament in ALO. Which led to us imagining how fucking hilarious it’d be to see them in their colorful, playful fantasy world with unrealistic monsters and ages long lost taverns watching a dark and gritty post apocalyptic gun-filled murder simulator.

    Like that one image of some fantasy girl playing a NES in a tavern.

  3. This episode was so vapid that once I noticed the huge computer setting in Kirito’s room, it was more fun wondering about that than everything else. Why a gaming station like that when he only needs an headset for SAO or GGO? Why did he uses his phone to videocall Asuna instead of his computer? It must be really annoying to always keep an arm raised to hold the phone not too close to his face and everytime he shifts his posture it must be a blurry mess for Asuna. I can’t remember anything else from that episode.

    Probably I keep watching that trainwreck because I can read afterward your blogging impression.

  4. Look, i understand that this ep wasnt the best written or directed (it lacked the necessary tone, pacing, gravitas, and character intrigue to be even considered a character study, let alone be genuinely impactful), but i think there is at least some merit with what this ep tried to do with their characters…even if it did come off as a little clumsy. The attempt to actually bring some introspection to these characters is a step in the right direction, and i thought the theme of being able to accept your sins and move on so that you can be at peace with the ones you love and those who love you ring true as as a life lesson in the real world. i could at least give this ep points for that. This certainly wasnt a terrible episode, but it did fall flat as the character study it was trying to be. I dont know, i can acknowledge what it was trying to do and give it some points for that; A 6.4/10 for me

    1. I wasn’t joking:

      “And if anyone actually tries to defend this episode in the comments, I will blacklist you. I don’t even care.”

      1. I am wondering, Who the fuck gets paid to greelight this kind of sh1t. I seriously have to ask who is it, I seriously cannot believe that anime producers are so far gone that they cannot longer appreciate what is entertaining from what is not. On a side note, At least Tatsuya will never need therapy sessions.

        1. Need? No. Receive? Yes.

          As a way of showing that Tatsuya’s so badass he doesn’t need therapy sessions. You know it will happen.

        2. It’s a no-brainer to greenlight this shit. People love SAO, and even the people who hate SAO love to hate it. If you’re an anime executive, you’d greenlight it too. We can sit here and talk about art this and art that, but c’mon, money is money. SAO brings in the money. Sure, I’ll bash the show, but there’s no mystery as to why it exists. It’s not the executives’ fault people lap this up. If you want shows like SAO to die, you have to convince the average anime fan that these shows suck.

      2. You are like the Cinimasins and Honest trailers of anime. Actually anyone noticed that the woulds most popular pieces of utter mind numbing pieces of shit have lately been coming from books lately. Twilight bad in every shape and form extremely popular, Sword art online and Mahouka Koukou both come from light novels, 50 shades of grey a book also being turned into visual media. It is like rejected losers are creating flawed fantasy worlds where they are perfect and adding 500 pages of useless dialogue since they can’t actually write and need filler so their book is not just 10 pages of some asshole being perfect in a perfect world designed to bend and twist around them. Worst of all people eat this stuff up. I don’t comprehend it at all. I could see if it was just in 1 form of entertainment for 1 culture but the shit is happening everywhere at the same time in forms of entertainment that have nothing to do with each other.

        1. It’s just providing entertainment to lowest common denominator, whoever they may be.
          Regardless if they like it, people are not going to have a very hard time understanding Twilight. On the other hand, most people will probably scratch their heads over something like Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” or the symbolic nature of Moby Dick.
          Same with SAO. It’s junk food that less-informed people just inhale and claim that it’s the tastiest thing ever. Literally no one that I know who watches anime AND has a university education finds SAO entertaining at all. Why? Because they’ve learned what makes a compelling story that is made up of compelling characters. Maybe I’m just lucky that I found educated people, but that’s where my image of viewers that enjoy SAO come from. They’re drooling babies that get excited when the lights flicker on and the clowns start dancing. There’s no substance. Maybe that’s a little harsh but I’m more inclined to listen to someone who can critically analyze and critique something than somebody who passively gets drawn in by explosions, swords and flaccid fanservice.

          Has anyone asked Haruki Murakami if they could adapt one of his stories? I’ve read only some of his stuff, but I’m sure the caliber of his writing compared to most LN’s published today are LEAGUES apart. An animated Murakami work would make for an interesting watch.

        2. I could see if it was just in 1 form of entertainment for 1 culture but the shit is happening everywhere at the same time in forms of entertainment that have nothing to do with each other.

          Look at the world out there. People’s confidence in the future are at an all-time low. A majority of parents don’t believe their kids will have a better life than them. People need a pick-me-up. Unfortunately, it’s coming in the form of wish-fulfillment fiction.

  5. Your feelings about Kirito is the same I feel about Hana from Captain Earth. One simple shot in making a simple meaningful moment, amd they fuck it up. Considering they are Sues in their own right.

  6. the least they could do would be to follow the first season formula, you know… less talking and more action? I am just using SAO2 for days where i cant seem to fall asleep, so that’s it’s job ..

    1. You say that, but is the action that good that it’s a better alternative to TALKING?! Lemme answer that for you: no.
      This show’s gunplay (yawn) being abysmal coupled with Kirito’s Gary Stu aura powering his sword, there’s no winning in this.

  7. this episode made me cries. i felt moved there is someone who had to shoulder that kind of burden. i would never be able to handle such burden. but, you sir… made it. despite breaking into burst now. i salute you for keep blogging this “should be interesting and fun super cool story while to this day we were just bored to death” super anime.

  8. “Kirito-kun is sooo deep! U just don’t understand his PTSD and struggle!
    It boggles my mind that people can make excuses for this show’s objective flaws. You can enjoy the show, but please don’t whine when the show is awful on a technical level. Plotholes? Flat characters? Awkward pacing? They don’t exist. Feels > Reals, you guys.

  9. 1. Wow, Suguha clinging onto onii-chwan like they’re not related at all! Seriously, no less creepy and trashy than it was from the very beginning. But hey, gotta pander to the wincest-crowd somehow. But it was nice seeing a familiar face again. /sarcasm

    2. RL Sinon’s gun-trauma. Just every week of this nonsensical journey she’s on. Hey, I’m not calling bullshit on her mental trauma (because it’s her “thing”), I’m calling bullshit on the writer for knowing next to nothing about how to treat mental trauma in the real world. Oh, are we in the real world where professionals like therapists exist? But again, this week’s Sinon problems are like every past week’s: ranging from “Meh, who cares” to “Wow, that’s fuckin’ dumb”. Hey, at least the show is consistent with SOMETHING.

    3. The nurse, another haremette. What? Sure’s she another haremette. Of course Kirito’s physician isn’t a male doctor or an older female nurse/doctor. That doesn’t make any sense to pair that with our Gary Stu. Not to mention, she’s acting super professional by hugging Kirito. Yeah, that’s what real care-takers and medical practitioners do: they give out comforting hugs willy-nilly because they’re huge softies. But hey, also gotta pander to the nurse-fetish people right?

    4. Boo-hoo Kirito cry me a river. Why don’t you use your Gary Stu powers to their full extent and get over it. I’m sure you’ll be able to manage that in a second. Oh Kirito, so cute for trying to act like a human being when obviously he’s A GARY STU GOD. In other news, sympathy for his trauma is at an all time negative.

    5. It’s hilarious that Asuna’s hardly written about. Yeah, she’s been pretty nothing. What a great way of using your main heroine/haremette. How the mighty have fallen. Remember how she used to be cool? Yeah, me neither. She does have a max cooking stat because that’s pretty important for being the main heroine.

    5. Holy shit Klein, you pimp-ass player, look at all the unrealistically hot bitches in your circle. You are such a pimp-ass beast dawg that none of the girls like you. Seriously, he should hang out with Sho from Rail Wars! and talk about all the pussy that they don’t get because they aren’t Gary Stu material. Ah, but don’t worry, Kirito, trust your bitches with your best bud and hope that he doesn’t do anything ecchi with them. Wait, no. Klein and Sho are eunuch-brothers, so no worries about them be real guys who have interests in hot chicks. Real bros don’t even look at their bro’s harem.

    6. I’m like 75% sure that Sinon will just become a haremette. She’s not supposed to in the light novels, but I got a feeling the anime staff just threw their hands in the air and asked themselves, “Why the fuck not?”. She’s a girl after all. She’s not as desperately written as the other characters, but Goddamn, she’s almost already there.

    7. Holy shit, way to respect your characters. You know, the past two season where Kirito spent all his time (haha) to gather up a respectable harem and they’re doing nothing of value in this season. Like cows locked in a barn until they need some sunlight, like this episode! Don’t haremettes have rights too? They certainly aren’t things you use and throwaway right? Because that’s totally chauvinistic and this show is certainly not THAT.

    SAO, the only thing it’s consistent with is its weekly drivel. What would we do without you?

    1. 1. It’s not like they have a mother/aunt who takes care of the bills and all. Not that she’s a great person letting their kids still play MMOS despite them being potential death traps. She was an MMO player herself, so we can excuse that.

      2, I think the comments here said best. Her PTSD was kinda watered down to be totally cute and dere-dere enough for Kirito, Our Gamer God, to save her. Plus her back story on why she had a fear with guns, plus we don’t get to see her patch up with her mom (or see her mom), plus her being a psychopath in a gun based MMO because it’s therapy doesn’t make a lick of sense when you bring it together. Also apparently therapies exist but they are against her too because JAPAN GUN PROBLEMS AMIRITE.

      3. Yeah. Apparently the rule now is that all girls in the anime must praise Kirito or else they will be considered unimportant or dead. I mean what happened to Rosalia or with Yuki is totally not because they have lives and motives outside of praising the gamer god. Even their all-girl manga SPIN-OFF has the girls of SAO praising on how much awesome Kirito is. Hell, even their new female character WANTS to be like Kirito.

      4. Here’s the thing. I could have understood Kirito’s trauma IF HE ACTUALLY SHOWED IT THROUGHOUT THE FIRST TWO ARCS. Because as of what I saw, he certainly didn’t give a fuck about killing people as his form of selfish justice. The PTSD only applied to the three people he killed and it only appeared in this episode. Not Kayaba or Rosalia in the anime tho.

      5. Wait until future episodes where Asuna gets to actually support Kirito in the most waifu-y way possible. Not like she’d log out and actually go to GGO and fight Desu Gan herself since she has the same predicament as Kirito.

      5. It’s actually kinda sad that Klein has to be the new beta comic relief friend. Iunno. he seems like the most decent gamer you definitely wanna game with. Plus he too old for the harem, so literally babysitting Kirito’s gamer cult harem members here.

      6. We’ll just go with one big fat yes.

      7. See Answer 3.

  10. I gotta wonder if SAO2 and MAHOUKA are competing for Worst light novel adaptation of the decade. I get it that the original material isnt as good as lets say spice and wolf (massive understatement) but I seriously there are other light novels they could have adapated such as…heavy object, (moar spice and wolf), zero no tsukaima OVAS with true ending , second season of tokyo ravens, Fuk even strike the blood wasnt as bad.

    I cant believe that adapated this sh1t over horizon in the middle of nowhere….

  11. The most fucked up thing is, they are watching people play MMORPG while they are in MMORPG themselves. While their bodies lie unconscious, unmoving for hours. Every day.
    What a healthy life style!
    Even if this technology becomes reality in the future, there’s no way I am going to do this.
    These kids are losers. Oh yeah, they are even talking about MMORPGs while they are meeting in real life.

    1. Anime metabolism is so unreal. That is unless you HAVE to get fat for plot’s sake. But of course if you’re the MC or a main chick, you don’t get fat.

    2. While their bodies lie unconscious, unmoving for hours. Every day.
      What a healthy life style!

      Eh, sitting around at the computer is hardly any better.

        1. i think the real question is how often do they need to take a piss in them “VRMMOs” Never seen that issue pop up in this show.

        2. It turns out the main issue actually isn’t that you’ll fail to burn calories because you’re not moving — it’s that you’ll get all kinds of injuries from lying on your back all day instead of sitting upright.

          Our characters should probably be suffering to some degree from foot drop (because their feet are just sitting there), pressure ulcers (because they always lie down in precisely the same position and do not move while in-game), and pneumonia and collapsed lungs and spinal pain (from being on their backs all the time).

          One might handwave this away using ambiguity over precisely how long they spend in-game each day, but then you still have the problem that everyone should already have these issues from being trapped in SAO for literally years.

          And sure, there’s something to be said for suspension of disbelief in an anime that’s about the virtual world, rather than the real-life physiological implications of such a world, but maybe if we spent some time in that world rather than watching people talk about their contrived* personal issues then I’d have something more interesting to think about than Kirito’s bedsores.

          * Narratively contrived, not personally. Trauma from violence is real; what’s not real is Shinon’s convenient and clean trauma, nicely packaged to be acceptable and moe rather than messy and unpleasant like PTSD in real life.

          1. Actual health issues that accumulate over a long time of abuse wasn’t even my point in this debate. I just think it’s silly to get all high and mighty about what the characters do in this story when sitting at the computer all day isn’t healthy either. You can do the same comparison with outdoor exercise vs. sitting all day. To me, it’s like looking down on cocaine when you do meth. Yes, cocaine is worse, but c’mon.

          2. Yup. This is quite different from sleeping, too.
            We still toss around while we sleep.
            But this, the game took over all your nerves and brain commands and sensory information. Which means, you really, really don’t move during all those hours.
            So, yeah, they are going to suffer pneumonia, collapsed lungs and hurting back bones.

  12. meh.
    really. just meh. i can’t even be bothered to write up a rant for this. This was lukewarm air, delivered in a depressingly colored baloon.

    I say it again:


    1. He didn’t exactly feel guilty killing that woman in Silica’s episode (which makes me question Kirito’s and Kawahara’s treatment of female characters)… also, he treated Kayaba, the guy he killed and who have indirectly programmed a death trap, as a hero.

      1. Well to be fair, he didn’t go as far as killing her. But he definitely stated with confidence that it didn’t matter to him that much get rid of her, so we could either consider that pure bluffing, or… something that once again, doesn’t fall in line with this new portrayal of Kirito that GGO presents us.

  13. “And if anyone actually tries to defend this episode in the comments, I will blacklist you. I don’t even care.”

    But muh, world building, muh character development!!!
    You’re just a hater because you don’t understand what it’s like to have a mental condition for guns Uguu~!!

    But seriously, the cringe factor is abysmal. Oh well, that sumo wrestling anime looks interesting.

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