This past week’s episode of Sword Art Online set in stone a clear definition of Asuna and Kirito’s relationship. It also helped to finally better establish what happened to many player’s bodies in the real world over the past two years. And then, finally, the progression through the next boss is an overwhelming sense of challenge. But get this, the first half of Edge of Hell’s Abyss was about fishing!
While the first half of episode 13 may have taken place over at Kirito and Asuna’s new house in the countryside, it helped to establish something very important between our two main characters. They indeed love one another, and Kirito’s attitude has changed even more about the relationship. I always felt like Kirito may have just been going along for the ride but now I know he’s truly in love. I’m not trying to say that Kirito didn’t actually love Asuna or anything like that, but he always seemed a bit off about the situation.
The entirety of the fishing scene and the ridiculousness of it all was set solely to define a different scene half way through the episode. The older fisherman character states his purpose within Sword Art Online, and Asuna and Kirito reconfirm that they are fighting on the front lines to help protect people like him. The guy can only fish, but our two heroes (or should I say lovebirds?) will be the ones to help get everyone out of the game.
But is this what Kirito and Asuna really want? There sure was a lot of emotion in the following scene. Kirito pleads to Asuna for her to remain back in the town for her own safety, but Asuna reminds Kirito that they will fight to protect one another. The whole purpose of this is to get out of Sword Art Online’s game world and back to the real world right? But Asuna brings up how near the beginning of the game there was a time when many players went offline, presumably as they were moved to hospitals and put on some form of life support. What’s happening to their bodies in the real world Asuna ponders… And they both then understand that maybe staying inside Sword Art Online forever may be the best thing for them. Thankfully, through Asuna’s realistic sobs she makes it very clear to Kirito that she wants to date and be with him in the real world. The faster they clear the game, the faster they can truly be together.
I worry about Kirito and his emotions. He made it clear to Heathcliff that if Asuna is in danger on the battlefield that he would save her first before worrying about anyone else. I feel like this could be a massive character flaw. It’s already kind of shown through with the battle at the end of the episode. There were a few times where Kirito just stands there in shock as the awfully gruesome boss just continues to hammer down on the entire party of players. Asuna even reminds Kirito by protecting him that they can still fight together. The Kirito we once knew is more emotionally conscious about the state of his feelings for Asuna and what’s happening to his body in the real world. Everything is now more real for him, and the days of being a solo player are over.
And just to point out a few things, this episode had a higher quality of animation, pacing, and voice acting over the majority of other episodes. The battle animations were especially strong, and I would say it really represented the tension of just how important surviving this battle is. The pacing was well done considering half the episode was semi-unrelated to the more serious second half. And the voice acting was kicked up a notch considering the events of late. Asuna’s voice actress in particular, Haruka Tomatsu, was especially realistic in her emotions and believability. In both this episode and the previous episode I have found that she is gravitating to a more mature and adult level. And how about that cliffhanger? Episode 14 should be rather exciting!