Episode 12 of Sword Art Online is named perfectly, for everything is centered around Yui. In episode 11 we met the young girl who would somehow automatically become Asuna and Kirito’s child. Yui’s Heart builds on her amnesia and then answers what we’ve been wondering all along: who is Yui and why is she important?
The first half of this episode features a new character named Yulier. She’s a part of the army that wasn’t so nicely represented in the previous episode. Apparently the army’s leader, a guy named Thinker, was tricked into traveling inside a high-level dungeon without any equipment by some guy we met in episode 2. I know that’s a bit vague, but honestly the guy I’m talking about isn’t too important right now. I’ll give him more attention if he comes back in a future episode. Yulier needs Asuna and Kirito’s help to find Thinker, and of course everyone agrees to help.
The dungeon they travel to is actually kind of cool. It’s apparently located underneath the Town of Beginnings, and the dungeon has been expanding while each level has been cleared above. On the way some silly shenanigans go down between our romantic duo, which makes Yulier laugh out loud for the first time in a long while. Yui picks up on this and seems to be incredibly satisfied by Yulier’s expression. But nothing can stay peachy forever, right?
When the crew finds Thinker in a safe zone, a large grim reaper-like monster comes out and attacks. Kirito and Asuna are no match, but Yui suddenly steps out and decides to kick ass. She summons an awesome sword and engulfs the high level monster in flames, totally proving she is nothing but an oddity within Sword Art Online. It’s revealed that she’s actually an AI program that’s built to help characters out if they are feeling down and need someone to talk to.
I think the creators did an excellent job in handling who Yui is and why she decided to seek out Asuna and Kirito. The Cardinal system, otherwise known as Sword Art Online’s AI computer system, controls everything that happens within the game that’s not related to the players themselves. Yui was created to be a therapeutic character of sorts, but she was instead locked up to view everyone’s tormented behavior. If you think about it, this must have been incredibly painful for her to bear. So many players committed in-game suicide while others were devastated about the fact that they could die in real life because of a game. Somewhere along the line Yui found Kirito and Asuna, and she decided to try and break free from her devolved role and spend time with them. Kirito and Asuna embody hope, love, happiness, etc; all the things that Sword Art Online needs.
Unfortunately when Yui abused the computer system and deleted the Death Scythe monster, the Cardinal system evaluated her as a broken program. Thus she was automatically destined to be deleted. It was a sort of sad moment, because everyone in the room knew they wanted to continue being a family together. Kirito was somehow able to save Yui’s remaining code into a single jewel, ultimately embodying Yui’s heart. I really enjoyed the line spoken about Kirito recreating Yui later on when both he and Asuna make it out of the game.
Although it’s a bit cheesy, Asuna and Kirito did indeed lose their “first child”. It’s a little awkward knowing they’re only about 14 or 15 years old, but it was realistic nonetheless that Yui was like a child to them. The fact that Yui was embodied to a small gem, and Asuna wearing that gem around her neck, shows that we will probably see her again in the future. You know, at one of those moments where Asuna will almost be killed and Yui will come out of nowhere to save the day. Or maybe Yui is just a piece of Asuna’s outfit from now on. At least it gives cosplayers another item to wear.