Sword Art Online II Ep. 16: Giant-killers

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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.

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— 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?

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— 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?

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— 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.

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— 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.

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— 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.

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— 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.

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— 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.

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— I wanted to see the World Tree get burned to the ground, but that ain’t happening.

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20 thoughts on “Sword Art Online II Ep. 16: Giant-killers”

  1. So the author can’t even get party balance right. No tank? How the hell would that work on bosses? Their aggro must be a complete mess.

    1. i know right… it’s a raid 101, like it or not, u will need tanks to aggro or else the battle will just be a mess and takes up more time.

      wait i am sorry, we are on a time limit? Then at least decided who should be playing the role of a tank… ffs

      1. Tank, Buffer, Condition Damage, Range Mage, Offensive Support, Defensive Support, Dodge Skill, Using Actual Goddamn Magic.

        It’s like Reki is stuck soloing RO alone….

  2. Yeah they don’t do a good job describing what’s going on with the twin minotaurs. One is phys-resist and one is magic-resist and they both start active at the beginning of the fight. When one gets really low health it goes into a meditative state(what was shown) while it heals back to full. I believe in the Light novels when they go all out on the phys-resist one is the second or third iteration where they are getting tired and Asuna’s about to go OOM. The problem is that despite being top of the line players, they still went into the raid with 1/7 the people raids take.

  3. Great review! Your blog has replaced SAO as my Saturday highlight of the week!

    Also making a quick mention here that Klein might not get a woman, /because Freyja may not even be a woman/.

    The story in this arc is suspiciously similar to Thrymskvitha, the Norse myth where the frost giants steal Thor’s hammer, and Thor disguises himself as Freyja in order to retrieve it from the giants (it would make everyone saying “it’s a trap” still relevant)

    1. Ninja’d.
      In spite of being completely lifted from Norse mythology, the reference is decently integrated, and obscure enough for most of the general audience not to catch it immediately.That’s… mildly clever of you, Sword Art Online.
      But yeah, all evidence points to the Thrymskvitha, up to the names. Brace yourself for a oh-so-comedic moment of realization… As if anyone would ever be allowed to harem but the Harem Lord.
      Being Klein is suffering.

      PS: that girl gamer line was perfect!

  4. Who needs a tank when there’s a Gary Stu, a tank just gonna steal his spotlight and this story is all about Kirito’s greatness, even if he fails and get killed, he’ll respawn even stronger by the power of love or some shit.

  5. 1. Gary Stu, Dual Swords, Still? ……. It’ll never stop being lame and facepalm worthy. Yeah, yeah. Special Snowflake stuff and stuff.

    2. Glowing swords still. Oh well, still a couple of months for Star Wars Episode VII… I’ll have to get my fix for my glowing swords fetish from SAO until that comes out. Because I’m totally not tired of that.

    3. You know, for people that have logged a pretty respectable amount of time into MMO’s, the cast don’t know shit do they? Well, I really should blame Reki Kawahara for again demonstrating that he vaguely knows what a “MMORPG” is but nothing of substance past that.
    If the makers of a MMO thought that a group purely made up of high-DPS assassins or black magi were enough to clear out dungeons, then they wouldn’t need to input job selection in the character creation process would they? After all, a good party isn’t a well-oiled machine with niche functioning members, it’s about how much damage they can do OR how cool they look right?
    And this is the hilarious part. It’s almost too apparent that Reki Kawahara thinks that tank and ranged characters are such a drag. Nah, they aren’t cool. If he thought anything of them, then why couldn’t Klein have been a tank or Silica as a pure mage? But what do we have here, an entire party of blade wielders because aren’t swords and shit the coolest thing?
    How fucking juvenile is this shit.

    4. I recall a pleasant time during Dark Souls for the Ornstein and Smough boss fight. Yes, I remember the good chap Ornstein walking up first, bowing, and proceeding to fight me one-on-one. Quite gentlemanly, in fact.
    After I defeated Ornstein soundly, Smough walked up, bowed, and again proceeded to fight me in a solo duel. He was the playful sort who enjoyed a good test of skill in individual combat.
    It was a fulfilling part in that game that I will cherish until my final breath.

    5. Oh! Silica and Asuna, come here girls! I know we treated you like utter garbage during the GGO arc. So as a recompense, we’ll let you have a SINGLE scene of self-worth. Thank daddy for throwing you this bone, only God knows when the next one will be.
    Who is this? Leafa and Sinon? Oh dear. It looks like I gave the last of the treats away. Until next time I hope.

    6. Klein’s got needs too buddy. Just because he’s BETA MALE CHARACTER doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to feel the warmth of a woman’s(?) flesh. Like, the computer script’s flesh. Wow, Dr. Krieger’s got more game. Step it up Klein. Well, too fuckin’ bad the harem’s off-limits.
    Hey, Kirito you cockbag. Why don’t you return some of the bro-love to Klein and have one of your girls do the sexy on him? Don’t worry, you’ve got plenty left over and who are we kidding, you’ll probably get more later. I’ll bet whoever you choose, she’ll do WHATEVER you’ll tell her to do for Klein.
    Oh, is that too dark and greasy? Yeah, I guess SAO is too clean and highbrow for something like “rape”.

    7. Bleh, the pacing is just… horrible as usual. Is A1 Pictures really having that hard of a time with the whole “make the episode flow”-thing? But I guess if I wanted “flow” I’d go read the light novels for a wholesome and enlightening experience.

    Maybe other people are right: if I just shut my brain off and re-watch these episodes, maybe I’ll glean some excitement out of this show. Wait, I’m getting déjà vu… Yeah, I already tried that for The Expendables and Transformers.
    Well, here’s to the finale to when it hopefully comes soon.

    1. After all, a good party isn’t a well-oiled machine with niche functioning members, it’s about how much damage they can do

      The thing is, the latter is possible. Meleeburn parties became a thing in FFXI. At the same time, however, this was made possible because of a very powerful support class (Bard). You don’t see any such thing in SAO. They just take turns attacking, because the story is lazy as fuck.

  6. Let’s play “What I see wrong in this episode as a player of MMOS…”

    Actually, this is sorta an example of those “dynamic world-changing quests” that a lot of modern MMO games are promoting, but the thing is that world-changing quests matter because EVERYONE is involved and not just Kirito and his gamer cult (who “happen” to only do it for Kirito just to get his special sword.) Also, randomly generated quests are bullshit because, quests are made to make their players have equal opportunities.

    SAO’s Universe LITERALLY bends into Kirito and his cult’s will. This is not being “fortunate.” This is not “oh, they were just that lucky.”

    Another problem I have is that if you fail this quest, MMO world gets burned. For… some reason. But it’s not like they will die in this MMO, and if anything… this could have been a good initiative for other MMO players to fight back and save their MMO world (since this game is all about the power of human willpower or some shit). Hell, it worked for GW2’s Lion’s Arch event chain for Living Story, and that event was actually good.

    Final problem I had is the formation and tactic of the party. Everyone (But everyone’s favorite Head Waifu whose waifu skillz are only to heal others) are just melee for some reason. What the heck happened to Kirito’s speshul Illusion Magic? In fact, ain’t this MMO more about Magic?! And it would have worked if it wasn’t for the fact that they don’t seem to have much of a tactic aside from USE YOUR GODDAMN SWORDS. Hell, there’s not even a form of build aside on what type of weapon they were using. And Maybe the pet. And maybe Head Waifu.

    So in conclusion, if it wasn’t for the gaming terminology and the HUD appearing every now and then, this episode would have been like any other pathetic generic Harem Anime.

    Also, Klein… what happened to you. I liked you. Why are you being Kirito’s bitch? Also, it’s an obvious trap because SAO does not allow its mains to not revolve their lives around Kirito.

    1. Actually, this is sorta an example of those “dynamic world-changing quests” that a lot of modern MMO games are promoting,

      But at the end of the day, those quests are still scripted. The idea here is that the server randomly generates new quests on the fly by pulling from the world’s repository of legends and mythology. I’m saying I don’t believe for a second that automatically generated quests can be any good.

      Hell, it worked for GW2’s Lion’s Arch event chain for Living Story, and that event was actually good.

      GW2… now that’s a game I haven’t played in a long, long time. Truth be told, the game fizzled out for me.

      Final problem I had is the formation and tactic of the party. Everyone (But everyone’s favorite Head Waifu whose waifu skillz are only to heal others) are just melee for some reason.

      There’s hardly any utility on the team. No one needs to be a tank, per se. But goddamn, not only are they all melees, the melees fulfill the same function on the team as well. No one lowers the enemy’s armor or anything. No one snares or impairs the enemy’s movement. They’re all just pure DPS. What a joke. It feels nothing like an MMO.

      1. But at the end of the day, those quests are still scripted. The idea here is that the server randomly generates new quests on the fly by pulling from the world’s repository of legends and mythology.

        I’m not buying this one then because the random quest they “generated” happens to be something that so totally fits the mythological/magical Norse mythos setting that so “happens” to get a very strong sword as a reward. What is the true point of a random generated quest if some “generated” quests get better rewards than others. If anything, that seems unfair and broken even in an actual MMO.

        GW2… now that’s a game I haven’t played in a long, long time. Truth be told, the game fizzled out for me.

        Ah, no worries. The game’s doing pretty well for itself. Megaservers were invented to make all realms and worlds fight together without guesting so much and to not make any PvE Servers any lonelier. The Living Story and Monthly Events were the one that sold me, really. Especially a more intriguing Season 2. Lion’s Arch is still in ruins, actually but people are getting by.

        There’s hardly any utility on the team. No one needs to be a tank, per se. But goddamn, not only are they all melees, the melees fulfill the same function on the team as well. No one lowers the enemy’s armor or anything. No one snares or impairs the enemy’s movement. They’re all just pure DPS. What a joke. It feels nothing like an MMO.
        They are simply following the rule of Kirito: Brute Skill is Strength. DPS is GOD. Actual Tactics are Banned save aside main Waifu Healing.

        1. I’m not buying this one then because the random quest they “generated” happens

          Shrug, that’s what the anime told me.

          The Living Story and Monthly Events were the one that sold me,

          There just isn’t enough meat to the Living Story to keep me hooked. I lost interest shortly after getting a few characters to 80. What I like about MMOs is character building, and I felt like it was to easy to finish developing your character in GW2.

        2. What I like about MMOs is character building, and I felt like it was to easy to finish developing your character in GW2.
          Ah yeah. Aside from equip strengthening and maybe the hunt for legendary weapons… the leveling up to MAX does feel too easy. The newer build of the game makes you level up even faster as well. Ah such is life.

          Though what MMOs are you into recently, E?

          1. Honestly, not much anymore. After being let down by almost every major release in the past five years, I’m almost done with MMOs altogether. When the FFXIV expansion comes out next year, I’ll have fun leveling again. I’ll also have fun completing the story content. But once I hit endgame, I’ll probably quit the game again. I just don’t have the time to raid, and all the casual alternatives in these games are wholly unappealing. The most fun for me is seeing the world, going through the story, leveling up. Sounds like I just want a single player RPG, right? But at the same time, I also enjoy playing with my girlfriend. Unfortunately, it’s either too easy to hit endgame nowadays, or the leveling up part is a boring chore (e.g. Tera Online had the dullest quests I had ever seen).

  7. Wait, I probably missed something considering I go by your reviews and don’t actually watch the show, but wasn’t ALO all about magic? I thought the charm of ALO was supposed to be that instead of SWORDS like SAO, it was MAGIC!!

    So what the hell is this bullshit that everyone minus uguu healer waifu is now melee? Didn’t at least Leafa use goddamn magic? Goddammit, why do I even try to make sense of this show.

    And somehow, nothing enrages me more than the horrible sissy pose Asuna is making when she KS’s that minotaur. Gotta bring my knees in to make me look feminine when I stab things or what will my boyfriend think of me! Seriously, where is the momentum in that stab. It looks like she’s trying to kill a bug with a Swiffer.

    1. I thought the charm of ALO was supposed to be that instead of SWORDS like SAO, it was MAGIC!!

      Guess not.

      And somehow, nothing enrages me more than the horrible sissy pose Asuna is making when she KS’s that minotaur.

      She’s just a dainty waifu at heart.

      1. “She’s just a dainty waifu at heart.”
        If what I’ve been reading is true, her nickname in ALO is “Berserk Healer”. Now, perhaps she just hasn’t earned it yet, but methinks this show needs to open up a dictionary some time.

        1. Dude, there’s never any magical tactics aside from “Head Waifu now Heals people.” Berserk Healing sounds like some crazy cleric healing EVERYTHING (even the boss) because his mouse is being a total shit.

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