Sword Art Online Ep. 18: To The World Tree

Friday, November 9th, 2012

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*Spoilers Ahead*

This episode of Sword Art Online was full of Sugu fan service, flying, and more fan service. The episode was an alright adventure but it didn’t really get us anywhere. In previous episodes of Sword Art Online I would take a look at how fast the pace was moving and how the series needed to slow down. Now I’m about ready for it to speed up.

Sword Art Online

Although if I keep hoping for the series to speed up at the speed Leafa is flying in that image, the series would likely end in two episodes. Right now Kirito and Leafa are on a journey to the World Tree. Once they figure out how to get to the top, ten minutes will be devoted to Sugu having a meltdown and Kirito will save Asuna. To stretch the series out  another eight episodes, everything must be paced slower for character development and to express the series’ one week time frame in which Kirito will prevent Sugou from marrying Asuna.

Sword Art Online

See, there’s a large world to be covered in ALfheim Online. This screenshot really solidifies that tone. It looks like there’s a grand adventure to be had here but then the series turns back to the real world and the awkward relationship between Sugu and Kirito. She has a thing for her cousin and he doesn’t have a single clue. And then in the game she is now developing feelings for the same guy, and again he will likely have no idea what is happening.


The fan service has really been amped up recently as well. I’m not sure if it was so highly emphasized in the light novels, but Sugu’s breasts are everywhere. I wonder if this is on purpose. Well, of course it is because the creators designed Sword Art Online to be like this, but are they contrasting Asuna being locked up in a cage to Kirito’s non-recognition of Sugu’s attractive body? She’s there for him, supporting him along the way. And Asuna is locked up in a birdcage while Kirito is pursuing her location. It kind of adds to the dramatic irony don’t you think?

Sword Art Online

Maybe Oberon should have gone after the girl who’s more open to being with someone. No no, that would just destroy the entire plot. In episode 18 he continues to be a creep while asking Asuna to basically forget her morals. He made it clear that he understands it can be very lonely locked up in a cage. This scene seems like it was added to primarily convey that Asuna still needs to be rescued. It didn’t do much else I’m afraid.

There’s also the character Recon who we met before when Leafa was first introduced. His real name is Nagata and he’s a student at Sugu’s school. I don’t quite understand his purpose beyond having an entertaining voice, but it seems he has something up his sleeve.


Recon made a remark to Kirito and Leafa at the top of the launch tower about how he’s going to stay behind with the party and figure some things out. I have a strong feeling he may come in handy when Kirito will be trying to figure out how to get up the World Tree. What other purpose does Recon really have in the series? Maybe I’m not giving him enough credit but he just seems to be a weak character.

It also looks like Nagata believes he is Sugu’s boyfriend in real life, but of course she doesn’t admit to anything. This wouldn’t make sense anyway with her admitted feelings towards Kirito. I guess it’s just another day in the life of our main character, the one-man harem. I hope next week’s episode makes an improvement with pacing and storyline. I’m ready for some new developments.


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.

  • Link_jzu2

    If they keep up the good work on adapting the light novels, this is going to be the best anime ever made. The depths of the following novels show how the writer brainstormed all possibilities of how NerveGear/AmuSphere technology and VR can revolutionize this world. This series is brilliant, not just as an anime but as a literary masterpiece. Just like Cervantes, in a way, predicted things like space traveling in “Don Quijote”, the author of Sword Art Online could currently be predicting how we will live in the future.

    •  I am not sure I would agree with you. While Sword Art Online holds its own for being a good anime, I don’t think I could qualify it at being the best. While the series has a fun storyline it certainly has its fair share of pacing issues. Also, there are not a lot of elements that push SAO to a higher level in quality. You know, to that plateau of ever-lasting anime series. As for the author predicting the future of technology, it’s just not the same when you take what time period we are in into consideration. How long ago were the light novels written compared to Cervantes’ work? It’s more revolutionary that Cervantes would predict space travel compared to the author of SAO predicting game headsets that project you into the game. I’m not sure if SAO was written before or after .hack, but the nerve gear type stuff seems to have been done before in sci-fi.

    • Link_jzu2

      The thing is, it will stop being about games sometime soon. And no, it is not as Cervantes, but it was the quickest example I could think. 

  • Actually, one purpose of showing Asuna in the cage is that she is trying to escape.  We found out last episode that Sugou corrupted her vision feed and she couldn’t see the keypad (why does a cage in a digital world need a keypad? Especially since he is an admin. w/e) , but she was trying to figure out the passcode.  This episode we see she finally figures out the passcode, meaning she can leave the cage now (I’m pretty sure she repeated the whole code, if not then she’s getting close).  This could either change the story if Asuna escapes, or she will be caught and give Sugou an excuse to reconsider NOT messing with her memories.

    •  Good point. If she does escape and actually leaves the world tree there will be a new, unpredicted narrative. But if she escapes only to have Sugou/Oberon capture her, then there’s a strong chance she won’t be recognizing Kirito when he eventually shows up to save her.

  • Volare

    Other than the male fan service. Every female character falls in love with Kirito. He is unbeatable in all fights and plays oh so cool, so above it all. It is really getting on my nerves. A boring “perfect” main character plus a one-dimensional villain. Aiiii…. 

    They didn’t even give a good backstory to the previous Boss (forgot his name. The guy in lab coat). After all that he has done, he only said “I have forgotten why i even did it”. WHAT?! Was the writer that lazy?

    • Volare

      Don’t get me wrong. It’s entertaining to watch, nonetheless. But i just grow to really dislike Kirito.

    •  I haven’t really been a huge fan of Kirito since the beginning. He stood out for being a “beater” and that was cool and all, but the pacing of the story made him kind of random. Then the entire Asuna love story happened. At first he was standoffish to a relationship and then switched instantly to really caring for her. And yeah, almost every girl seems to be into him.

      The main bad guy in SAO, yeah I forget his name too… haha Heathcliff (but not really). He didn’t quite forget why he created the world and locked everyone in it. It’s more like he lost track of his original goal. At first it looked like he wanted to create a world that was close to real life. Then somewhere along the way he lost track of it all and decided to lock everyone into his world. Or maybe I’m completely wrong about that