By Jared Cyhowski / November 21st, 2012
Are you ready for some serious butt-kicking? Because that’s what this episode is about. There really isn’t any advancement in the story in General of the Blazing Flame but it does feature one of the best sword battle animations that I’ve seen in an anime series. At least, that’s what it felt like when first witnessing the battle between Kirito and General Eugene.
Let’s stop right there for a moment. Seriously? General Eugene? What a ridiculous name. This guy is supposedly the “game’s strongest player” and he wields a unique sword titled “Demonic Sword Gram”… Seriously who chooses these names? At least his public persona and absolute skill make up for the ridiculous naming of this episode’s antagonist.
So Kirito and Leafa are last seen dashing through a cave avoiding monkey monsters. Once they leave the cave it’s clear they need to make it to the meeting spot mentioned in last week’s episode, but it looks like they are too late. Of course Kirito lands in the nick of time with a thunderous thud, stopping the Salamander army in their tracks. Only one thing can naturally happen from this occasion, and that’s General Eugene announcing he will kill Kirito on the spot.
This battle is what makes this episode of Sword Art Online unique and memorable. It’s an amazing sequence of flight, swords clashing, and Spriggan magic. For now, though, check out these images of the crazy battle.
That’s right folks, Kirito literally cuts Genral Eugene IN HALF and sends him cascading into a ball of FIRE. I don’t really know how this happened but it’s truly a sight to see. Kirito was smart to grab Leafa’s sword and begin to dual-wield with it. Although I thought his dual-wielding ability was taken away when he began ALfheim Online. Either way he kicked ass against a General whose sword has a special ability that becomes invisible (sort of) when hit against another sword that is defending. It was all just a crazy sequence of smokescreen magic, truly high skill levels, and explosions. Not bad!
After this epic battle it becomes clear that Kirito is truly living the life. Sakuya, Alicia, and Leafa each give their attention and praise to him. I guess this is a harem, as so many followers of Sword Art Online have been mentioning. It was fairly entertaining to see Leafa not know how to describe her relationship to Kirito, and to see Yui give her “dad” a talk about how he’s spending too much time with the ladies. It’s not his fault that Kirito is now apparently the strongest player in the game. Ladies love a strong man.
Let’s talk about that a bit. This episode of Sword Art Online could only be established properly with Kirito having his high level in SAO translated to incredible skill levels in ALO. Kirito won the battle against General Eugene solely because of this. At times it was kind of annoying to see our hero be so overpowered, but now it makes sense. He doesn’t need to level in this game because that’s not what this arc is about. He needs to get to Asuna sooner than later, and the only way for him to do this is to plow through any obstacle that comes before him.
Speaking of Asuna, the scene at the end of the episode was completely pointless. We already knew two episodes ago that Asuna learned the code to get out of her prison cell, and for some reason she waited until now to escape? It just doesn’t make sense to me to throw her piece of the story in at the end. It’s like they tacked on this minute of story to appease Asuna fans and that’s about it. Sure it makes for an interesting cliffhanger but the entire episode focused on Kirito and the others, not Asuna. It was a tease to see her escape the bird cage but the tease wasn’t that affective, and the next episode should feature more Asuna if they truly want to develop her situation.
Sword Art Online is streamed weekly on Crunchyroll.
animeCrunchyrollSword Art OnlineSword Art Online Season 1 analysis