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.

  • This guy is an idiot in addition to being a terrible person, as he doesn’t appear to have any thought out reasons for wanting this:
    1)Asuna hates him.

    2)Since she is in a coma and so he cannot legally marry her.  Instead he is being added to her family registry (essentially equivalent to being adopted into her family), so the “marriage” holds no legal binding.  She can do whatever she want’s once she’s awake, assuming…

    3)If her father is any kind of decent person, he will not force Asuna to legalize the marriage if she wakes up.  Asuna’s father will probably also be a quite upset that Sugou tricked him, along with the fact that Sugou is most likely keeping Asuna in the coma. (What, you think they would introduce him like they do and NOT have him be behind everything?)

    4)The marriage offers him no feasible benefits as far as I can see:
    *He can’t talk to her or appreciate her as a person.
    *She can’t leave the hospital.
    *Her father would probably be willing to admit him into the family without the marriage (he already thinks of Sugou like a son).
    *It could be for bragging rights (she is just a trophy to him), though some people might not react positively (the reason he can’t legally marry her in this state isn’t because people find the idea totally acceptable).
    *Playing with her unconscious body?.. (he does this in front of Kirito, yes I will continue to call him that.)  He could do that in private anyway, and it will be seem no less weird/distasteful if he’s caught.

    5)He just antagonized the “Hero” who saved everyone in the SAO incident, and I would be willing to bet that Kirito has at least some sway with the authorities involved (if he does the writers won’t let him use it). He is also apparently trapping Asuna in another online game, and Kirito is really good at those as well as having at least some form of hacking skills (saving Yui to the pendant honestly felt like it came out of no where). Admittedly this is the weakest reason, but Sugou did needlessly antagonize him.

    To me, the reasoning behind Sugou’s actions seems rather hollow.  Anyone got a different perspective on it, cause I would prefer that one of the very few people I hate with a burning passion actually had a reason to call my ire.

    (Admission of cultural differences, her father might force Asuna to legalize the marriage if she wakes up, I don’t know.  Japan is a very honor based society and while not legally binding, the marriage is a promise and her father may honor it.  The perception and treatment of women in japan is different as well, so it might actually be acceptable to them.)

    •  @twitter-268916174:disqus , I agree that it’s quite low of Sugou to force the idea of a marriage with Asuna. It seems he’s doing it to spite Kirito and to gain entrance into Asuna’s family. I’m not an expert of Japanese culture but I do believe that Sugou is exemplified as an antagonist because of his actions. It’s clear he doesn’t care about Asuna in the slightest, except she’s a tool to piss off Kirito. He may have some hidden agenda against Kirito when it comes down to true motivation, especially since it looks like he is the one who is truly keeping Asuna alive.

    • That was an interesting theory, that he was after Kirito and just using Asuna as a weapon, though the newer episodes have answered this question.  They have also rendered pretty much my entire rant up there irrelevant, explaining his motives.  I guess I overreacted, deciding to rant before seeing if they actually explain his actions.

  • caleb1993

    Nice to see the review for episode 15. I personally love the hints at the new storyline. On the other hand, the incestuous vibe coming from Sugu is somewhat irritating, though I think that she could end up as a decent new addition to the main cast. As for the villain, it’s nice to have already seen him this time. It kind of lends itself to a lot more tension since we, as the viewers, already know who is behind this. That and he’s such a total jerk. Cannot wait to see how exactly he is dealt with. 

    Anyway, awesome read. Glad to be seeing these weekly. 

    •  Yeah the thing with Sugu is a bit off-putting but at the same time it works. It almost seems clear that she is actually playing that new game too, and that she will probably join with Kirito along the way. Thanks for your feedback!