Sword Art Online Ep. 17: Captive Queen

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

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*Spoilers Ahead*

Captive Queen is the title for episode 17 of Sword Art Online. Wait a second, episode 17? This means there’s only 8 or 9 more episodes until the end of the series. By the time Christmas roles around we’ll know if Kirito is able to save Asuna… and exactly how Sugu will handle learning that Kirito is actually her cousin.

This episode didn’t do a whole lot for me except for maybe the ending. It starts with Kirito finishing what he started at the end of episode 16, slashing away with mad skill at a few guys dressed in red. Because Kirito basically saved Leafa from being killed in the game, she seems to have a need to repay him with a drink. She also helps to teach him how to fly.

It would really be quite fun to play ALfheim Online. I would love to be able to fly around like that and go anywhere that I wanted. Then when I was finished flying around I could spend time with friends and converse with them. There really hasn’t been much conflict shown in ALO yet, besides what we’ve seen with Leafa and Recon. I’m not sure what that’s all about but the flying alone would be a grand time.

Leafa makes it clear to Kirito that reaching the top of the World Tree is impossible and that players have been trying to accomplish this feat for over a year now. Although giving up is certainly not an option, as Kirito is only playing ALO to find Asuna. Even Yui would agree that her “momma” is first priority.

Although Kirito and Leafa spend some time together, the scene doesn’t really develop much in terms of a relationship between the two. There’s Leafa, whom Kirito randomly ran into in the middle of the woods, and Kirito’s just trying to get as much information as he can. We do learn that the entire point of reaching the top of the World Tree is so that one of the races in ALO can evolve into a premium race. The catch is it probably requires more than one race to reach the top, but only one race may take the prize of flying as high and for as long as they want. For Kirito this spells bad news because it means no one will want to help him out. Save for Leafa, of course, who admires his passion to reach his goal. But just who exactly is Leafa?

Of course it’s Sugu, folks! Who else would it be? And it makes sense that she doesn’t really know who Kirito is in real life. At first the dramatic irony was that we knew she has a thing for her “brother”/cousin, but now she has a thing for her… “brother”/cousin and doesn’t realize it. Now wouldn’t that suck? This girl is just set up for heartbreak isn’t she?

The later half of the episode focuses on Asuna and her situation of being locked up in a bird cage. We knew it was Asuna all along, but now we really know. We have also been reintroduced to Sword Art Online’s main antagonist Sugou. Although now we may refer to him as Oberon, King of the Fairies. Or whatever he wants to be called. The cool thing about him is that he’s absolutely crazy. He thought Hayaba was a fool in Sword Art Online for just capturing people in a game and doing nothing with them. Sugou is currently using at least 300 people from SAO as test subjects for inserting new memories and emotions into their minds, altering who they are over time. He keeps Asuna in the bird cage because he loves her and that’s about it.

Also, Sugou has renamed Asuna as Titania, hopefully a name I won’t have to utter again. When he makes advances towards her she completely shuts him down and tells him he’s full of it, but I would be careful if I were her. Now that she knows Sugou has the power to alter her memories, she has to understand that he can completely wipe Kirito from her mind. Then she will love Sugou with everything she has. Doesn’t it seem that Sugou will wipe her memory just as Kirito comes to save the day? And then Kirito will need to somehow retrieve Asuna’s memories or something like that, and he’ll only be able to get her back by defeating Sugou. Does that sound like a predictable situation to you, too?

See, I like where Sword Art Online is heading but I just kind of find this episode to be a bit weak in content. I know it’s setting up the premise for the rest of the series but episode 17 was lackluster compared to some of the other episodes we’ve had. In SAO there were many times when I had no idea where the series was going or what would happen next, whereas ALO is chock full of predictable events. Even so, I’m still having fun with the series and I’m sure the story will pick up again at one point or another.

Sword Art Online can be viewed 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.