Yay, it’s time to watch my favorite MMO-themed anime of the season… woo. Can you just feel the excitement in the air? We’re about to learn all about Karen and how LLENN came to exist. This is crucial lore, you guys. Pay attention.
— People gawk at Karen just because she’s six feet tall. I’ve never been to Japan, so I have no clue if Japanese people really do this. Still, I can understand why this might make the heroine insecure. I’ve often heard that Japanese culture is conformist. Maybe this has been exaggerated, maybe not. But she does not be in Japan to be feel insecure. We’re all insecure about something. My nose? Too big. I wish Karen could lend me her height, too. And man, don’t even get me started on my unstylable hair. I guess I should just thank my lucky stars that I’m not balding.
— What I can’t relate with, however, is that the girl plays a loli avatar just because she’s tall in real life. That’s nothing I’ve ever done.
— Also, she supposedly struggles to make friends… but that can’t be due to her height, can it? When she sees a group of girls walking down the street, she literally turns away from them. You can’t blame your height at that point. She thinks that if she was short like them, everything in her life would be fixed, but that’s the wrong mentality to have.
— Wait, wait, wait… she’s moved to Tokyo for university, but because her parents won’t allow her to get a part-time job, she simply won’t? C’mon, that’s pathetic. You’re an adult.
— What a spacious home.
— Man, who’s this loser?
— The show reminds us that 4,000 people died in the SAO incident. Four thousand. What a mess.
— Basically, the anime is now telling us how Karen got hooked on VRMMOs in the first place. It’s kind of overdoing the height thing a bit, though. I really doubt people would just turn around and make this face whenever they see the girl. She ain’t Shaq. She’s just 6’0″ tall.
— Apparently, Karen tried ALO first. She chose the sylph as her race, and her character ended up being too tall. Her VR unit immediately logged her out, because she freaked out at her own avatar’s height. Yeesh. First, what’s with these MMOs and their lack of a character creator? Who would make games like this? No one. No one. The SAO universe is the only universe I’ve ever seen in which people’s avatars are auto-generated for them. This is not a thing in any other story. It’s such a stupid plot contrivance. Second, if she wanted to be short… maybe she should’ve picked the gnome race. It was an available choice.
— So she keeps trying new games, but none of her randomly generated avatars are to her taste. Look at all these games losing potential customers simply because they lack a character creator.
— Finally, after going through 37 games, Karen gets to be the loli of her dreams. Yay…
— The sad part about this is that she’s just as cute as a tall girl.
— Oh lord, this animation.
— Why did she pick a name with all caps anyway?
— This game is like the NRA’s dream.
— Anyways, Karen’s going through the game’s tutorial, which basically teaches her how to play the game and how to use a gun. This is all really boring stuff, so don’t expect much commentary from me. I don’t care about guns. I’ve never cared about guns. Guns and weapons in general just aren’t very interesting to me.
— According to the tutorial NPC — who’s doing a poor job of imitating R. Lee Ermey, but whatever — there are monster battles in GGO as well. I don’t recall ever seeing such a thing, though.
— The PvE sure looks exciting. It also seems as though she’s just as friendless here as she is in the real world. Basically, her height has nothing to do with it. Personally, I can’t stand playing MMOs by myself. On their own, they’re shitty games. They’re only fun because you can play with others. When you play them alone, you just feel like a loser. So in a way, MMOs are like alcohol.
— We then see the girl dye her clothes pink, because she’s on a never-ending quest to be cute. Unfortunately, she’s so over-the-top cute that other people think that her avatar is probably controlled by a boy. That reminds me of my experiences in Final Fantasy XIV. Basically, 90% of the people who play female miqotes are likely dudes…
— Whoa, did she dye the entire zone pink too?!
— In the older MMOs, there’s a whole lot of waiting and camping. The games were designed to explicitly waste your life. They still are, but it’s a little easier to come home after a long day and instantly find something engaging to do. God, I wasted so many hours in Final Fantasy XI just waiting for rare monsters to pop. Good thing I was a college student back then. If I had gotten hooked on MMOs as an adult, I probably would’ve lost my job.
— Who is this Elsa Kanzaki that they keep bringing up? I thought she was just some random popular idol in this universe, but the fact that people keep mentioning her makes me think that she’ll eventually show up in GGO as a player.
— Suddenly, a trio of male avatars are approaching Karen’s location, and she starts to freak out. Still, it’s always just men in the field. This game does have other female avatars, but you rarely ever see them unless they’re story-important (i.e. Sinon and LLENN). That’s just… weird.
— Hah, she manages to blend into her environment.
— The jokes practically write themselves.
— God, this animation, man…
— All of a sudden, Karen now has the taste for hunting down other players. Ah, she’s one of those people.
— It’s remarkable that she hasn’t been ganked first by max-level players. That’s why I stopped playing games that mixed PvP and PvE. I don’t mind fighting other players on an even level, but when I’m in the teens and some level 80 starts ganking me, that’s just bullshit.
— Like I said, you’ll only ever see other female avatars in the field if they’re also important characters. Her name is Pitohui, but you can call her Pito for short. It’s better than spelling your name in all caps, at least. Nevertheless, it’d be dumb if it turns out she’s that Elsa person in the real world, but this is SAO so I wouldn’t put it past the author.
— Pito tattooed her face to keep guys from hitting on her. Sadly, I’d believe it. There are some bad tattoos out there, but for the most part, it doesn’t make a difference to me.
— Yay, Karen finally makes a friend.
— So… does this show have a plot? SAO was about escaping the evil game, then saving your waifu from the evil NTR man. SAO II was about hunting down a killer, and… uh… AIDS? On the other hand, I have no clue what SAO Alternative is about at all. Tall girl plays a short girl and… then… what?
— But really, I can’t even fathom how a gun can be considered cute.
— What the fuck am I even watching? First, the gun is cute, then Pito tells Ms. All Caps that “P-Chan” is a good name for a gun. Now, she’s waxing poetic about how you gotta kill lots of people with your gun, because it’ll never betray you!
— The Elsa girl just came up again. Yep, Pito is Elsa. This seals it. This fucking author.
— Pito: “If we ever do meet in real life, I’d reveal my true identity.”
— Pito then tells Karen to beat her one day in a one-on-one match. If Karen wins, she gets to meet Pito in real life. Jesus, is that really going to be the plot? Why can’t Karen also build her own harem and ruthlessly kill a guy who is trying to NTR her husbando? Why does she get stuck with such a crappy quest?
— And because Pito is so tall in game, she’s probably super short in real life, huh?
— Finally, the episode ends with Pito telling Karen all about Squad Jam, the tournament that we saw in last week’s episode. I personally can’t stop squinting my eyes at Pito’s oddly drawn hips. That looks painful.