Time for some dungeon-raiding inaction.
— So what do we get? Infodumping right off the bat. Sword Art Online never ceases to impress, does it?
— Yui tells us that the MMO has the ability to automatically generate quests by gathering “the traditions and legends from all over the world,” throw in some fancy magic, and voila! Quests! Infinite quests! Okay, I suppose an advanced enough algorithm could do such a thing, but it still feels lazy. Why? Because these are automatically generated. No matter how advanced your algorithm might be, it won’t make for good storytelling. And trust me, some MMOs have decent stories nowadays. I’d rather have a good story than infinite quests.
— Besides, if the game is auto-generating quests, then what are the developers even doing?
— And way to make one quest — the one quest that our heroes are on — magically super important. Most quests in an MMO are whatever. They don’t mean much. But the fate of the entire world hangs in the balance here! If we fuck this one up, flame giants will literally burn down the entire World Tree! But again, should that come to pass, then what? What will the developers do? Are they going to literally let the server die? Or will they just reset the game, because without the World Tree, we don’t have an MMO? Even Leafa expresses incredulity: “There’s no way a game system would destroy its entire map.” Nevertheless, Yui assures us that the Cardinal System can! In fact — and despite how stupid this sounds — they can’t even load a back-up of the current field data! If the world gets destroyed, it’ll never come back! So we really, really have to win or we will lose ALO as we know it! Yeah, I find that pretty fucking hard to believe, but fine. Let’s pretend they can’t bring back the old ALO if our heroes fail.
— Let’s see it, then. Fuck the quest. I rather see this novel possibility over yet another run-of-the-mill, happy ending. I’m not being sarcastic; I would really like to know what happens. But you know we won’t get to see what happens. Y’see, SAO doesn’t go far enough. It wants to us to take these MMO elements seriously, but it won’t follow through with its scenarios all the way to the end.
— The point is, it would actually be more interesting to see our heroes fail. All bets are off if they fail. This would actually make the show unique, y’know? In the current state of MMOs today, we don’t have a world-changing quest like this. We don’t have a quest where, if you fail, all the cities in the world be razed to the ground. This is the one thing that would make SAO’s story rather novel and different. But the anime merely raises the possibility of complete and total change… but it won’t go there. At the end of the day, our heroes will beat the quest and Kirito will get his dumb, golden penis extension.
— Klein: “I haven’t met the person I’m fated for yet.” You have… you have, my friend. His name is Kirito. Why would any woman come close to you? She knows she’d just get sucked into the manly black hole that is the Gary Stu!
— They can’t even call a GM because it is outside their support hours. Uh, what major MMO doesn’t have 24/7 GM support?
— After the OP, our heroes are locked in a battle with two minotaurs. One has high physical resistance, the other one has high magical resistance. Needless to say, our mage-less group isn’t doing so hot. But I always laugh when the UI appears like so. Our characters are literally hunched over on the ground, panting. It’s pretty obvious to anyone that they are low on health. Nevertheless, the anime feels the need to show us their health bars anyway. It’s just redundant information. Also, way to not dodge a simple line attack.
— Then we have to painstakingly watch those bars fill up when Asuna heals her party. It’s stupid.
— How would this quest be different in, say, Log Horizon? Well, part of the problem is other adventurers helping the bad guys out by killing those floating squid monsters, right? I feel like Shiroe would somehow rally all the adventurers to his side, then everyone would raid the floating castle together. He wouldn’t risk the fate of the whole world by trying to accomplish everything with just seven people. But to be fair, Log Horizon would also come complete with a ton more exposition, glasses-pushing, and internal monologues. So I’m not sure which anime would do it better, to be quite honest with you.
— You… you don’t expect me to take this seriously, do you?
— Wow, the party balance here kinda sucks. The majority of them are melees, and no one seems particularly tanky. And again, they lack a long-range mage, because Asuna has somehow been pigeon-holed into the healer role.
— I like how they all charge the yellow minotaur, and the black one simply and conveniently doesn’t exist for the time-being. I mean, what is it doing while its buddy is being killed? These bosses usually fight in tandem, you guys. Why even have two bosses if they’re only battle our heroes one at a time?
— Boy, I sure do love hearing our heroes grunt over and over.
— But to be fair, I suppose, the rest of Kirito’s party members are suddenly frozen in place. Why them and not Kirito? Oh well. In any case, it’s all up to the Gary Stu to look cool and fight by himself for a good thirty seconds. It’s like a shitty solo in the middle of what was already a mediocre song.
— And the longer this scene continues, the more I wonder about the black minotaur and what it’s doing. Twiddling its hooves, I suppose. Anime is so stupid.
— And it’s always lame how the MMO elements aren’t consistent. We see the yellow minotaur’s health bar drop down to just a sliver, but is the boss panting and hunched over like our heroes were before? No, of course not. Instead, it gives us a shit-eating grin as it swings its axe at Kirito.
— Suddenly, our healer jumps into action to put the yellow minotaur out of its misery. Yo, way to kill steal, babe. Gawd, girl gamers!
— Then after the yellow minotaur dies, the black one steps up to fight. It’s so stupid. It dies in much the same way, too. Just faster. And even lamer.
— Kirito is so special, he had used a non-system skill. Okay, whatever. This isn’t even funny anymore. Just eye-rollingly bad. Asuna even realizes that something like this has happened before, but Kirito just tells her she’s imagining things.
— If you only have a limited amount of time, why bother to clean out the third floor? But it really doesn’t matter, because the show has no imagination. We just see the same thing over and over. We don’t really see floors, per se. We just see the same, drab-looking boss room. Anyway, they kick this thing’s ass, then move on. Nothing special whatsoever. Well, for once, the side characters get to pose for the camera.
— Since Asuna got her time in the spotlight last time, I guess it’s now Silica’s turn. This doesn’t really make up for having to be a useless character for 99% of the time, but I guess the haremettes will take what they can get. Plus, Kirito still got to land the finishing blow this time. You think he was going to let his haremettes disrespect him and kill steal again? Hah!
— On their way to the last boss, they come across a prisoner. Yo, it looks like she’s thin enough to slip through those bars. Just sayin’.
— Even though his friends tell him it’s likely a trap, Klein insists on freeing the hot anime babe from her prison. Yo, it’s a goddamn NPC. It’s not like she won’t be there after the final boss is killed. I guess he’s just so desperate to free himself from Kirito’s harem that he’ll risk the entire mission for an NPC. He stupidly insists that saving her is what he has to do even if they all end up failing as a result. Minus 50 DKP, buddy.
— The freed NPC then says she can’t leave until she retrieves her family’s treasure. Naturally, they have to drag her all the way to the final boss’s room. That sounds like a good idea! Let’s have a stranger in the same room, so that she can potentially fuck things up for us! I hope it’s like that maiden in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, where sunlight reveals that she’s an evil ogre. Then she NTRs Klein away from Kirito.
— But Kirito is too much of a softy. He just can’t resist it when his haremettes do the Asian whine. One “Hey, Kirito~~~~~” from Klein is enough to convince the Gary Stu to let the former do whatever.
— Look at how his haremette beams with happiness. This is what being a harem lead is all about, folks. Those special, heart-melting moments when the haremette looks at you with that doe-eyed expression!
— When Klein moans shortly after the hot anime babe presses her breasts against him. Kirito mutters, “Don’t give Yui any weird ideas.” Yeah, says the guy who spent much of the ALO arc cavorting around with his cousin and giving money away to hot babes just for the sake of it.
— So the hot anime babe’s name is Freyja, and she even helps the party by buffing their HP at the start of the final boss fight. That’s neat. I guess she won’t be betraying them. Somehow, the characters are astonished to see a spell that increases your HP. Then again, they don’t have a single tank character, so…
— Oh well, here’s the final boss. He looks kinda lame. Just a blue-tinted giant. You’d think they could put a little more effort into this.
— The final boss makes them an offer: tell him where to find Urd, and they can have all the gold in the room. Or, y’know, they could just kill him and have all the gold in this room. That’s not really an impressive offer, buddy.
— Klein: “A samurai doesn’t eat. He just laughs!” What does that even mean?
— Apparently, the final boss also wanted to make Freyja his wife. At least he has the decency to not force it, I suppose. But God, does her face look ridiculous right about now or what?
— Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. We all know the show’s just buying time until the episode ends, so we can leave the final battle to next week’s episode. Meh.
— Klein tries to talk big in his defense of Freyja, but I suspect she’ll just disappear at the end of this arc anyway, leaving him woman-less and trapped in Kirito’s harem forever. But anyway, Thrym throws a punch and that about does it for our episode. Tune in next time to see how our heroes will inevitably save the day and resolve this story in just about the most boring way possible.
— I wanted to see the World Tree get burned to the ground, but that ain’t happening.