Sword Art Online Ep. 15: Return

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

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Last week’s episode of Sword Art Online ended the first half of the series. Kirito was logged out of the game and the first thing he decided to do was find Asuna. Now it’s a few months later and Kirito doesn’t look like a nutrition-deprived human being. He’s been building his strength and recovering from two years of being locked into an online video game. The catch? Asuna was never able to log out of Sword Art Online and her mind is still trapped within the game.

So Kirito’s been living at his house, visiting Asuna when he can. We are introduced to a new character named Suguha and she is Kirito’s younger “sister”. Kirito refers to her as Sugu for short, presumably as a sort of pet name and probably because she is likely younger than him.

One of Sugu’s first lines in this episode refers to her not looking anything alike to Kirito. This is because she is in love with her own brother. GASP, I know! It’s not actually that bad folks, because they are really only cousins. But still, there’s an incestuous vibe going on here and it’s a bit weird sometimes. Later on in the episode it’s very clear she has feelings for him, and that Kirito’s love for Asuna bothers Sugu more than it probably should. It’s also kind of awkward that Kirito has another girl interested in him so soon after last week’s episode. But I guess that’s the way the story goes.

Kirito reveals that he traded information about Sword Art Online with security officials to gain access to Asuna’s location in the real world. Thus, he’s been visiting her whenever he gets the chance. It’s sad to see her in a coma and to know how hurt Kirito must be feeling. I would think he’s probably blaming himself for the fact that Asuna and roughly 300 others weren’t able to log out of SAO when he defeated Heathcliff. Kirito’s only consolation is the dreams he has about himself and Asuna living peacefully together at the house they had within the game. Asuna sleeps peacefully on his shoulder until the dream becomes a nightmare.

To make things worse on this particular day that Kirito is visiting, Asuna’s father arrives with a man named Sugou. They have a discussion in front of Kirito about how Sugou would like to go through with marrying Asuna, even if she is in a coma. This obviously throws Kirito into confusion and then into anger, but Sugou makes it very clear that he’s in control of the situation. Sugou works for a company that took over control of the servers that inhabit Sword Art Online. In a sense, this wretched new antagonist helps to maintain the deep-dive headsets that are keeping the remaining 300 players alive. Using the fact that Asuna is alive because of him, Sugou tells Kirito to leave and never come back.

This guy’s an asshole.

If you put yourself into Kirito’s shoes for a minute, think about how you’d feel if you were told you couldn’t come back to see the one you love. That he or she will be married off to someone else in a week and there’s nothing you could do about it? You’d be depressed too, right? Well thankfully Kirito has his cousin/sister Sugu there to comfort and support him. Even though she’s in love with him, Sugu still tells Kirito to fight for Asuna and to never give up.

Yeah, it’s a little weird but…

The very ending of the episode has Kirito receiving an email from Egil that has an attached image of Asuna. It’s blurry; worse than an over-scaled JPEG. But it’s pretty clear that it is indeed Asuna. Just by watching the new opening and ending themes for Sword Art Online, it’s pretty clear she’s stuck within a game. It may not be the same game that the last 14 episodes took place in, but it’s still a virtual world. And that new world looks different from SAO because characters are flying and I don’t even know what’s going on. There’s also the hint that Sugu has been playing this online game. So where will all of this lead? My guess is Kirito and Sugu will log into this game to go and save Asuna. It only makes sense right? Until the next episode!

Sword Art Online can be found streaming on Crunchyroll.

About Jared Cyhowski

[Former Staff] Jared is a recent graduate from Fitchburg State University where he studied communications, video production, and English. He enjoys playing video games, watching anime, writing, and of course pizza. His favorite games are Shadow of the Colossus and Final Fantasy IX, but he can’t possibly choose a favorite anime. Jared enjoys following the games industry and observing what will happen next, and he puts out an invitation for discussion on these topics. He loves a great story in these mediums and prefers a stronger narrative design over most features. Jared is personally responsible for creating and managing the Anime section of the website, and hopes to inspired and entertain with everything he writes.