Sword Art Online Ep. 21: The Truth of ALfheim

Friday, November 30th, 2012

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*Spoilers Ahead*

I’m not sure why this episode of Sword Art Online is titled “The Truth of ALfheim” when we already learned the truth a few episodes back. But hey, I guess I won’t argue… Episode 21 was an okay episode but at times the pacing was awful and nothing really happened. Was this episode just a way for the series’ creators to take up some space in their episode roster? Also, Sword Art Online just became a lot more kinky.

Everything starts out fairly interesting with Kirito and Leafa arriving at the bottom of the World Tree, also home to the capital city Arun. It’s a beautiful site to behold but then they log out for the night due to system downtime. This is the part of the episode where things are generally interesting and entertaining because for once our main characters are logged out of the game.

Can you imagine what it would be like if there was an entire episode of Sword Art Online where they characters weren’t logged in? Sure it would come across as filler but if done properly it could be really fun. Maybe I’m just bored with this particular episode and I wish that’s what would’ve happened.

It turns out Kirito and Sugu decide to visit Asuna in the hospital. This is clearly strange for Sugu considering her feelings for her cousin, but she goes along anyways. I enjoyed the simple back and forth shots of them sitting on the bus having a conversation, as it just felt natural. Of course, when they arrived at the hospital things were awkward for Sugu as she witnessed the everlasting love that Kirito presents to Asuna.

  

At the same time the creators decided to intersperse shots of Asuna escaping her birdcage and trying to log out of ALfheim Online. That’s cool and all but the pacing was awful, especially at first. We would go from Kirito doing something silly with Sugu to Asuna running down a corridor. It’s as if they needed to add a pointless scene just to express the passage of a few minutes time in ALO. I know I’m being picky but come on.

Asuna eventually makes it to the “experiment room” where she fully realizes what’s happening to the people the evil Oberon/Sugou has kept locked up in the game. This is where the title “The Truth of ALfheim” is supposed to be made clear, except as I mentioned earlier we already knew the truth… Regardless, Asuna is captured just before she is able to log out by tentacle monsters.

Yes, tentacle monsters.

  

I have no idea why Sugou’s right-hand men take on the shape of tentacle monsters in ALO but it’s just silly. It was already challenging for me to take Asuna’s escape seriously with shots of her traveling intercut with Suguha and Kirito making a salad. Then one of the tentacle guys gets his freak on by moving his tentacles all over her. I mean, the first impression any anime fan has when seeing this scene is that of tentacle porn and hentai, so why would they put this in Sword Art Online? It just kind of devalues the seriousness of how close Asuna was to actually logging out on her own.

And that’s pretty much it. The only other event to happen in this episode is Sugu logging back in to ALO and revealing to Kirito that she has a broken heart. The irony is clearly still there as her cousin, who she clearly doesn’t know is her actual cousin in real life, is comforting her because he doesn’t love her back… in real life. I feel like the lighting in the inn room was done well and it set a nice atmosphere, but this is following ridiculous shenanigans with tentacle monsters.

At the very end of the episode Yui, our favorite navigation pixie, alerts Kirito that Asuna’s location is straight above Arun. This is actually important because up until this time Kirito had no idea if Asuna was actually in that birdcage or not. Now that he knows, I think the next episode will be much more entertaining as he tries to reach her at all costs. I think we’re about to hit the home stretch.

Sword Art Online is streamed weekly 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.




  • Blastinburn

    Another important thing did happen, Asuna swiped the key-card from the controls console, dunno how useful just the card is though?  Maybe it will open all doors, or let her log out in other locations, I don’t know.

    As for the part with the research assistants, I agree that it devalues what is happening and gives a poor impression.  I’ve actually noticed that there has been a decrease in character development and increase in fan-service since we left SAO, and this bothers me because I really love this show, but fan-service hurts my enjoyment in general.