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Friday, October 18, 2013

The Girl Of Morning Dew: Sword Art Online 11

The newly married couple is enjoying their time away from the front line. But a new guest will take them all the way back to the beginning. (Source: Crunchyroll)
Spoiler warning: Review contains spoilers for the eleventh episode of Sword Art Online.
This is going to be a quick and dirty post. No, I mean, the content won't be dirty, it just won't be as long-winded as my other Sword Art Online posts. Which works, because this episode is more of a prelude to grander things on the near horizon and not many actual events occur within "The Girl of Morning Due". However, it is the first episode featuring our newly married couple, Kirito and Asuna, who are clearly enjoying their honeymoon at their secluded little cottage far from the action on the front line. But as their guild leader reminded them, they won't be able to stay away from the battle for much longer...

There is a lot of cute scenes featuring Asuna and Kirito as typical newlyweds - well, typical newlyweds who are trapped in an MMORPG and are also concurrently fighting for their lives. The scene where Asuna rides on Kirito's shoulders and people gawk at them was oddly adorable, as was when Kirito was trying to spook Asuna out with the ghost stories. I found Asuna's reactions to his stories very realistic. Her fears from the outside world, such as ghosts and the supernatural, still come through in this digital fantasy world. Don't cry, Asuna, I get spooked too!
Also, I loved the fact that they've pretty much decided that when they break out of Sword Art Online and back into the real world, they'll find each other and fall in love all over again. My heart, cultivated by years of rom-coms and shojo manga, pretty much burst into thousands of sparks and rainbows and happy emoji when that declaration was made. I have no doubt in my mind (or my heart) that Asuna and Kirito will find each other beyond the boundaries of Aincrad. Y'all can't stop true love. Or the power of married folks!
Yui as a character bores me. Right now, she seems like a plot device to further develop the married relationship between Asuna and Kirito, as well as shed light upon the fact that there are still people living on floor one, which was thought to have been abandoned after episode one. Yes, folks are still on the bottom floor, and for some reason there's an orphanage? So I assume there wasn't any minimal age cap for joining SAO, which means these kids joined and were subsequently abandoned by their parents. Awesome parenting skills. Except for the ones who died in the first month and didn't just skip off and leave their kids behind. Actually, that is a really depressing realization, especially if these players' avatars actually reflect their true age and their real parents brought them into the game only to die on higher levels. (In the words of Hurley from LOST, "Dude." With that sad infliction Jorge Garcia does so well, of course.)
I probably should not be so hard on poor Yui, considering she has amnesia, but the fact that she reverts to this child-like state and calls Asuna and Kirito as her Mom and Dad for some reason grates after a while. It's not terribly realistic. Although it does make me wonder what kind of brain damage can be sustained in Aincrad through the virtual reality set everyone is wearing, if a user's memory can be so heavily distorted.
Also, maybe it's because I played a lot of MMORPGs back in the day, but why is everyone assuming Yui is who she says she is. Do you know how many assassins I played with on Diablo 2 - a female class - that were being controlled by guys behind their keyboards? A lot. Although I don't blame the guys for playing as avatars of skimpily dressed blade wielding women: assassin is best class, come at me bro.
We also see the pathetic Aincrad Liberation Army again, a faction of which we saw in the previous episode fall to a level boss after being whipped into exhaustion by their leader. Naturally, these Army soldiers are drunk on power and abusing the children left behind on floor one. Luckily, Asuna is there to teach them a lesson. She didn't even have to flaunt her status as a guild member and really high ranking soldier on the front line; her skill set with her sword and her spirit alone send the Army's so-called soldiers scurrying away. Did I mention I love Asuna? Gosh, I love Asuna.

So is Yui a glitch? A genuine amnesia patient? A liar and a creep? At the end of the episode, we know less about Yui than when we started - which means we're in the negatives. But Asuna and Kirito clearly care about her, therefore we as viewers must care about her safety and memory. I hope she turns out to be a plant from the game's creator, sent to remind the two of them that Aincard isn't a safe place and that their happiness is not guaranteed. Watch me be Jossed royally, though. If anything, Sword Art Online is good at dashing all of my theories to the pavement.