Sword Art Online II Ep. 8: Moisture is the essence of wetness

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…and wetness is the essence of Gary Stu. Merman! It’s merman, Asuna, not mermaid!

— Exciting exposition at the start of the episode. Very exciting.

— After the OP, Kirito continues to bug Sinon, because the guy honestly can’t take a hint. He’s never had a girl reject him before, so I’m sure he has no idea what it feels like.

— Speaking of Sinon, doesn’t it feel uncomfortable to constantly have your butt crack exposed? Oh right, it’s just an MMO! Why worry about, y’know, people seeing your buttcrack, or you in your underwear… oops.

— Again, Sinon has to tell him to shut up, because there’s probably no mute function. But even if you give the show any benefit of the doubt, it just gets worse, i.e. if there is a mute function, then the girl is stupidly not using it for some reason or other. Probably because she’s an airheaded haremette.

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— Could you imagine the game without a mute function, though? People love trolling the shit out of others in any online setting, much less a shitty VRMMO. So it’s looking more and more like there likely is a mute function, but this tsuntsun girl just can’t bring herself to mute such a godly Gary Stu.

— Kirito wishes to share information with Sinon before the tournament begins. Nevermind the fact that he knows nothing, so he’s just leeching off of her knowledge. Rather, look at this stupid and obvious attempt it is to get the characters to sit around and drone on and on about God knows what. Sinon even admits it’s going to be a lecture, so wheee… Strap yourselves in, boys. This episode of Sword Art Online‘s about to get crazy up in here.

— Kirito gasps as the doors in front of him open up to… to…?! This spectacle. A futuristic shooter sounds neat on paper, but the anime hasn’t shown us anything worth looking at. The previous two arcs dropped the ball a lot too, but at least we actually saw some new cities and environments. Hell, even the Extra Edition was more exciting than this… for the five minutes where they went underwater. Here, our Gary Stu has been reduced to gasping over grey and brown-colored bar. Fucking hell, guys.

— Oh yeah, it’s a complete sausage fest too. Are you really telling me Sinon is the only female player in this entire game? And no one’s harassing her? Yes, yes you are.

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— Apparently, we’re supposed to be impressed by this room semi-full of people because “[t]he main tournament is always like a big party.” Whoops.

— “I’d love to be shot by Sinocchi,” said nobody in an MMO ever.

— Great, people are already scared of Kirito. First, he instantly became a beast in this game even though he had never played it, but it’s okay! His stats carried over! And now, his reputation is spreading throughout the land simply because he got through the qualifiers. The most damning part of all? Why the fuck are they even scared? What? He’s going to kill them? Even in the most hardcore PVP games out there, I have never seen anyone get scared of a PVPer even if he or she is legitimately awesome at the game. If you piss someone off and they gank you later, you want to know what happens next? You call your guild to gank them. They then call their guild to fight your guild. All of a sudden, you have a massive PVP battle in the middle of a zone for no other reason than that PVP is fun, because shit, you’re playing a PVP game so you should fucking like PVP. But hurr durr, please Kirito-san, don’t hurt us lowly assholes just standing here!!!

— Welp:

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— You’d think this tournament would be a pure test of skill. You’d think that, wouldn’t you? After all, if real money is on the line — if this is honestly a legitimate e-sport — then why on earth would skill not be the number one concern? But apparently, the main tournament drops thirty competitors into a single map, and the last man standing is the winner. In other words, there a ton of things more important than skill when it comes to winning this shitty tournament. The ability to form alliances is suddenly important. And if you’re unlucky enough to spawn close two two people who have decided to team up for the time being, you’re screwed! Skill won’t help you beat a 1v2. Oh, but what am I saying? Kirito is Kirito, so he could literally go 1v5. Before you know it, his HP will regen faster than his opponents’ bullets can hurt him! Plus, he already has an alliance… with Sinon! The girl won’t be able to resist once the tournament starts.

— But hey, watch as these two sit there and talk about the details of the upcoming tournament. Holy balls, this is an exciting action anime!

— “Anyway, all of that was in the e-mail the admins sent you!” Baby, please. I was trapped in a game for two years. I don’t know how to read!

— “I d-did read it, but…” Yeah, “read.”

— “I wanted to make sure I understood it.” So… read it again? Look for discussions about Bullet of Bullets online, because it’s likely other people have questions about the tournament format too? Naw dawg, I literally gotta waste time talking to this hot anime babe, because there’s nothing fans want more than to watch me talk to a hot anime babe for significant chunks of the episode.

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— Exposition! Exposition! Oh lawd, I love me some exposition!

— B-b-but E Minor, if they don’t explain how the tournament works, viewers will be confused and get really mad! Seriously? Do you really need the show to explain to you how a free-for-all really works? Even the satellite bullshit is something we could easily pick up as it happens. Say an alliance is after Kirito. He thinks he’s lost them. All of a sudden, a satellite flies by, and he now sees where his chasers are headed: for him: Gunfire starts raining down on his location. Bam, you instantly know what the satellite had done. But no, don’t show us any fucking action. Show me a fucking map instead as Sinon dryly talks about the nature of the game. Please, please, I invite you to bore the shit out of me.

— Kirito then asks if any of the BoB participants are new like him. He suspects that one of them might be the Death Gun he’s after. What if they’re all Death Guns? How do you even know Death Gun is one person? What if Death Gun is Asuna herself, having gone mad from her time in ALO! I’d go mad if I was assaulted over and over while my “true love” was busy dicking around with is cousin. Here’s where some annoying “I’ve read the books!” guy chimes in and adamantly insist to me that the virginal waifu Asuna was never assaulted, not realizing that I’m just being facetious.

— Kirito sounds like such a loser. Sinon is demanding to know what Kirito is after, but he’s just whimpering like a scared, little kid. Jesus Christ, are you trying to tell me Sinon is intimidating? That Miss Eternal Buttcrack puts the fear into you?

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— Blah, blah, blah… more recaps of shit that had happened in the Aincrad arc. With that being said, is it that big of a deal if you just tell her you were involved in it? Later in the conversation, Sinon has to ask whether or not he was in “that game,” but she suddenly apologizes for even mentioning it. Apparently, you’re not supposed to bring “that game” up. Trigger warning, girl!

— But hey, another therapy session for Kirito-chan! We’re ten minutes into the episode, by the way. Let’s pick this shit up, already. In fact, in the past 30 minutes of this show, it has been nothing but people sitting around and talking about shit. Fucking Sword Art Online.

— Kirito won’t run anymore! He’ll face his fears head on! Then Sinon is all, “Dude, I totally empathize with you! I empathize with you, bro! Take me into your arms and ravage my butt crack!”

— “…if you let someone else shoot you, I won’t forgive you!” Whatever you say, tsundere girl.

— Guys, this is the hardest VRMMO. The hardest! That’s why we’ll have you rely on luck and diplomacy to get far in this tournament.

— Finally — final-fucking-ly — the tournament begins, and it only took us more than half the episode to get started.

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— I just love these set pieces, though. Here are two idiots shooting at each other from this ridiculous distance. Don’t you just love that brown, barren landscape? Here’s a guy running away from his enemy in an equally brown and dusty-looking forest. Brown, brown, brown. This is a gritty-as-fuck VRMMO! It makes you wonder why these characters didn’t think ahead of time. After all, when we finally see Sinon, she’s in her bright-as-light clothing. How do you plan on being a top-notch sniper if you can’t even learn to camouflage yourself?

— “Uguu, I wonder if he’s still alive… but it’s not like I care about that jerk!” Boring. Boring. Boring. Boring. Boring.

— We see Dyne running away from an unseen enemy; it’s Pale Rider but we don’t get to see his face yet. All of a sudden, Dyne crosses a bridge and plops himself down at the other end of it. Cover? Who needs cover?

— Sinon is about to take her former ally out when Kirito jumps on her and pins her down. Oh boy! He has a plan, though!

— Actually, he doesn’t have a plan. He just wants to see what the Pale Rider looks like. And all Sinon can do is sit there and whine about her opportunity to fight Kirito for real.

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— So here’s the Pale Rider, and he just walks headfirst into Dyne. But it’s okay, because as soon as Dyne starts opening fire, the Pale Rider suddenly becomes the Pale Gymnast. He starts twirling around in the air like some damn ballerina. It’s really quite ridiculous. Plus, the show has been semi-realistic up until now. No else remotely has the ability to do this. Hell, I’ve never even seen Kirito float around like this. But Pale Rider’s acrobatic skill is just really high! So high, it looks like he’s ignoring the game physics! So high, he can glide across the asphalt of the bridge! So high that the frictional coefficient is zero! The world’s hardest VRMMO, my ass. All I’m saying is that if the MMO is really this type of game, then fine, but we’ve seen nothing like this before so it just ends up looking silly as fuck.

That perspective.

— So Pale Rider easily takes Dyne out, but before Sinon can take a shot, someone takes Pale Rider out. Who is it?!

— It even turns out you can hide from the satellite by swimming in the water. The satellite literally has to be able to see you. That’s just dumb as hell. So if you know the timing of the satellite (it’s every 15 minutes), you can easily avoid detection and camp out forever. Hell, the entire point of the goddamn satellite is to avoid campers from extending this tournament forever.

— B-b-but how can Kirito swim in the river with all that gear on him? Yeah, he took all of his clothes off. Apparently, this includes your fucking underwear too, because we all know how much underwear weighs.

— Screw it. Let’s get back to the actual subject at hand: who attacked the Pale Rider? Well, prepare yourself…

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DUN DUN DUN!!!

— Surely, the admins are monitoring this game, because it’s the biggest tournament… right? Right?

— Kirito frantically tells Sinon to fire at Death Gun before Death Gun can finish off the Pale Rider. Obviously, he’s afraid the Pale Rider will lose his life for real. But honestly, they say these VR helmets are supposed to be safe. I-I don’t think dying in-game will kill you in real life. It just doesn’t make any sense that they would create yet more VR headsets that are capable of physically harming people. As a result, I think Pale Rider is dead even if he doesn’t die in-game. I think this has to be a two-man operation. I could be wrong, though. There could be mystical bullshit to explain why dying in GGO will kill you in real life, but would SAO really dip into that well twice in a row? We’ll see, I guess. Never underestimate SAO‘s stupidity.

— One more thing before I end this post… Y’know, the battle royale kind of thing has been done before. For example, the movie Battle Royale, which I’m sure the creator of SAO has seen. The Hunger Games are pretty popular too, but I have no clue whether or not their popularity extends to Japan. My point is, the idea of dropping a bunch of random people into a giant environment and have them fight each other is nothing new. It’s been tried-and-tested. And what we normally see in a typical battle royale scenario is that no amount of preparation will prepare you for the brutality of the actual thing. That’s where the tension comes from. I see no such thing in this episode, though.

— Oh yeah, the same conditions for commenting — the conditions I had laid out in last week’s post — will still be in effect. Why? ‘Cause I think it’s funny.

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49 thoughts on “Sword Art Online II Ep. 8: Moisture is the essence of wetness”

        1. … Now, thinking about it… Perhaps that’s not even *two*. “Mirror” seems like a suspiciously weird name for an avatar in a shooter, even if said avatar belongs to the archetypal loser friend.
          Could Spiegel and Sterben be the same guy? Or is that a bit too unsubtle, even by SAO standards?

  1. I already couldn’t get over Sinon’s confident assertion that nobody in GGO uses lightsabers because they’re a close combat weapon, but this is just ridiculous. Pale Rider can somersault forwards at highway speeds down the entire length of a bridge without being harmed even slightly, only to end the fight with his shotgun literal inches away from Dyne’s face, and I’m supposed to believe that only Kirito thinks to use a sword in this game? All those swordfighting skills he apparently picked up playing fantasy games aren’t even relevant here! His opponents can’t defend themselves in close quarters and his weapon kills them instantly, meaning the only thing that matters is how quickly and safely he can enter striking distance!

    Being a melee “specialist” in shooting games is something I do all the time and this just drives me crazy. People like me do not care that the method is inefficient and often pointlessly dangerous – it’s goddamn satisfying to play like that when you succeed, and I’ve yet to find a game where I couldn’t develop a reputation for being the guy who brings a knife to a gunfight and wins. Sure it’s an eccentric minority, but don’t try to tell me it doesn’t exist, SAO.

    1. Yeah…
      When you have that sort of acrobatic skill, it’s very easy to land behind your opponent and kill them in Tenchu style. So why is it melee weapon is no use and out of the question? So that only Gary Stu bother to use it?
      Kawahara Reki! Ladies and gentlemen.

    2. and I’m supposed to believe that only Kirito thinks to use a sword in this game?

      We’re just making shit up as we go along. Remember how Kirito is the only person to have dual-wielding in Aincrad? Yeah, about that

      1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure Kirito is the only one with the dual-wielding skill (as in, the other sword is aided by the aim-assist or whatever it’s called) and that other people can use two weapons but the second one isn’t assisted by the game.

        That or A-1 Pictures just fucked up again like they usually do.

        1. The story made a big deal out of him being able to dual-wield. Adding an additional qualifier on top of that seems pretty silly to me.

  2. I don’t have much to say, except about your WELP moment.

    My friends and I watched this at the same time. We’re separated by some three hundred miles and usually use Skype to chat/watch in a semi-synchronized manner..

    Despite the latency all three of us yelled cries of terror IN UNISON as that happened.

    It’s totally baffling, why the hell do they want me to take this show seriously when they have the odd moments like KAWAII KIRITO-CHAN and Kirito as The Little Merman? At least Tokyo Ghoul’s humorous non sequiturs are clearly removed from the episode itself.

    1. I almost threw up in my mouth when I saw the “kawaii Kirito” moment. Apparently it has the reverse effect on anybody who sees through the show’s bullshit.

  3. This is the nittiest of nitpicks, but I have to say it. Do you all remember playing Halo (any of them), picking up a sniper rifle and wrecking anyone who sits still with a turret imagining themselves to be invincible? Of course you do.

    So why is Shinon scared of the “will never move” machine gun guy. Easiest kill of her life. Jesus.

    Also Kirito clearly never learned breaststroke.

    1. Tactically, anything that is stationary is a target and can be destroyed. And like you said, there’s literally no reason for Sinon to be scared about a stationary MG guy.
      As a sniper (like she is), she’d out-shoot him nine times out of ten, just because of the sniper rifle’s original design philosophy of power & accuracy. Whereas the machine gun is more of a suppressive high-volume-of-fire weapon that’s good for keeping the enemy’s head down. So if she was semi-competent (or at least written to be semi-competent) she’d sneak up and take a well aimed shot. And again, like you said, easiest kill of her life.

      But no, she has to appear human and attract the viewer’s sympathy so she’s just nonsensically afraid of whatever.

      1. Having actually designed for a modern military FPS, I can say that you’re 100% on the ball, at least regarding sane game design if not also the real world. We literally went out of our way to make snipers the counter to entrenched machine gunners, because their strengths and weaknesses complement one another so perfectly. Agile CQC frontliners beat sniper, machine gunner beats momentum-based frontliners by being an impassable wall, sniper beats machine gunner because he’s an easy stationary target.

        In SAO, though? Reality just defers to whatever is coolest. Your only tactical disadvantage is being a guy who isn’t Kirito, and it’s a fucking dire one.

        Because truly “long” range isn’t always applicable in your small-scale FPS levels, designers go out of their way to carve a niche for support weapons like sniper rifles and machine guns by engineering gameplay situations where they have a unique advantage. It’s why machine guns have an exaggerated deploy animation and need bipods to shoot straight, and why snipers can’t hit worth a damn without scoping in first. It’s not about absolute, tactile realism – it’s about creating a fun and authentic situation.

        GGO, with its expansive AI-created superworld based on SAO, can afford all kinds of interesting, nuanced scenarios for basically no cost, without relying on so many of these tricks. It’s a shooter designer’s dream that only the likes of Planetside 2 has come close to conceptualizing. A truly emergent, open-world FPS is something we’ve never seen – something just cresting the horizon of the gaming scene, close enough that we can understand how fun it would be, but not so close that we’re playing it now. That could be GGO. But it isn’t. Instead we get a series of isolated one-off matches which wouldn’t be out of place in a 2004 FPS, let alone something from the future.

        SAO II doesn’t bother to think about these things. SAO II just isn’t interested.

      2. I think her reasoning is that the Machine Gunner won’t move, so she can finisher him off any time. So she’ll go after more threatening targets of opportunity first. At least that would make more sense then the idea that she’s afraid.

    1. And also, people are watching this right? Isn’t this a battle royale tournament?
      So it’s fine just to strip naked for no reason and show off mosaic junk?
      Way to ruin your trap disguise Kirito.

  4. Lmao well this was amusing. Seeing Pale Rider become an acrobatic ballerina gave me a good laugh.

    It does make me think that his style of fighting would work better with a Beam Saber then that weak shotgun though.

    If I was forced to justify it I would make a guess that maybe putting enough skill points into PHYSICS DEFYING BALLERINA leaves you without enough Str etc to equip a more powerful gun or beam sword etc etc. That would explain the obvious questions like WHY HE HAZ NO SWORD, or WHY SHOTGUN TAKE SO MANY HITS TO KILL?! It still looked pretty ridiculous though.

    Also… wtf that Kirito-chan Mermaid err Merman body. I know he’s supposed to be a trap, but what the hell? It even looks like he has breasts.

    1. Behold, more examples of inconsistencies that will be put under a scroll-long length of a list.
      I’ve lost count just of how many there were, just incredible.

    2. I don’t know about the gun but I would say it took so many shots because Dyne has Kevlar under his cowboy get-up and judging by his slow speed and confidence in the laser bubble shield in ep.2, he focuses on defense.

  5. It seems I’m the only one here that found that kawaii kirito moment funny and the pale rider scene. Don’t take sword art so seriously people. Rather than watch and criticize it for what it’s suppose to be, watch and laugh at it for what it actually is.

    1. Haha don’t worry I know what you mean. I found the Kirito scene to be lol worthy and was highly entertained by Pale Rider’s 3D movement. Making fun of SAO for the lulz is just that.

  6. ” It just doesn’t make any sense that they would create yet more VR headsets that are capable of physically harming people. As a result, I think Pale Rider is dead even if he doesn’t die in-game. I think this has to be a two-man operation.”

    You are right. Deathgun is not only just one person. One of them play with the Sterben profile and others kill in the real life.

  7. This past week I ran into a comment saying that “SAO is fun if you don’t read and think too deep into it”.
    It’s probably the most hilarious thing I’ve read this week. I wonder if the commenter considers “fundamental logic” as being too deep.

    1. It’s stupid, because nothing I’ve written here remotely involves any sort of labored thinking. I’m just reacting to the show and transcribing my thoughts. I don’t actually sit here and think about what to write. These words just come naturally. If that’s thinking too deeply on the subject matter, then I don’t want to know what the alternative is.

  8. Was it a running gag at the studio animating SAOII to see how much worse they can fuck up Sinon’s ass every week? That’s not a girl-ass, that’s a teenage boy’s ass who starved himself to fit into his sister’s skinny jeans.

      1. Accel World. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he was, seeing as how Accel World and SAO are both authored by the same dude.

  9. I was annoyed enough by the fourth image here, since I’m getting tired of Kirito mocking girls with his feminine avatar. But this time what really got me was that he let Pale Rider shoot Dyne while outright stating in his inner monologue that he was unsure if Pale Rider was Death Gun. Seriously? He was just gonna potentially let a dude die?

    1. Seriously? He was just gonna potentially let a dude die?

      Well, what can you do? You can’t root out Death Gun if you just take everyone out.

  10. Found a quote and thought that it was relevant to this.

    I do not have much patience with a thing of beauty that must be explained to be understood. If it does need additional interpretation by someone other than the creator, then I question whether it has fulfilled its purpose.

    -Charlie Chaplin-

    Perhaps you’ve already read this quote judging on your opposition to exposition filled plot filler (Also just plain boring stuff).

    1. If it does need additional interpretation by someone other than the creator, then I question whether it has fulfilled its purpose.

      I disagree with this part.

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