28 CommentsSword Art Online / By Inushinde /

Sword Art Online Episode 14: The Ghost of Kirito Past

Sword Art Online episode 14 is in the running for greatest comedy of the year. Daily Lives of High School Boys may have had peerless skill in meta-humor and comedic sociopathy, and yes, Symphogear may have had the greatest premise for a plot since the Odyssey (prevent a skimpily-clothed priestess from blowing a hole in the moon, using the power of song) but Sword Art Online truly has peerless comedic execution. What’s more, it doesn’t even have to try! Clichés and sappy dialogue flow into the show endlessly, creating a brilliant concoction both sickeningly sweet and just plain sickening. Also, Kirito dies (spoiler alert), so happy times all around!

At first, I was dubious of just how well they could finish the fight with the boss monster from the last episode; it left off in a way that would suggest a climactic, nail-biting finish to a fight already brimming with suspense taking up a good portion of this episode. But I needn’t have worried, as the foul beast was vanquished within a minute, often with the slashes against its bony body shown at a distance that required squinting to understand what the hell was going on. Phew, and here I thought that was going to be exciting! Don’t scare me like that, Sword Art Online, you almost had me intrigued!

The momentum continues to pick up (pick up meaning “laze about more than Hedonism Bot”) as the big twist is halfheartedy revealed by (who else?) Kirito, stabbing at the Knights of the Blood Oath guild leader to reveal that he’s the game creator in disguise. I will happily admit that this was surprisingly well done, if not too surprising in itself, but come on, really? Nobody else noticed that this guy was an immortal object whose health bar never sunk below a certain level, and it was up to Kirito’s Gary Stu powers of deduction to figure it out? And he was given dual wielding because he’s apparently the person who’s expected to clear the game? There’s having a well thought out plot device early on, and then there’s penning a wet dream immediately after waking up, and where this falls is pretty obvious.

But hey, at least Asuna wasn’t useless! I mean apparently the only use that she’s had in the past several episodes is to take a fatal hit for Kirito, a clumsy swipe at trying to justify the attempts of the past few episodes to turn her into a moeblob, but she actually did something for once that wasn’t collapsing into a pile and sobbing when she didn’t have Kirito to cling to like a goddamn lamprey.

Unlike lamprey, even when depicting death, Sword Art Online’s remarkably toothless, almost as if it’s afraid of alienating its core demographic by delving into any interesting themes beyond chuunibyou power fantasy. Here, both Kirito and Asuna’s “deaths” are funnier than they are tragic, particularly when Kirito’s ghost comes back to finish the job. It’s damn silly when it should have been one hell of a finish to the game world, and there’s something wrong when the filler-ish side stories had more complexity than the main plot than this lump of animated afterbirth.

This episode could have been exciting, with the gravitas of the situation showing in Kirito’s actions, and an actual explanation being offered for the whole ordeal. Instead, it’s one boring, listless encounter after another before a final farewell to Asuna that’s about as emotionally affecting as accidentally burning toast. No weight, no reason to be invested, nothing. And then, as if to mock the notion that it’s supposed to be exciting at all, Kirito is shown waking up and wheeling his way down a hospital corridor, credits slowly scrolling in front of him. An appropriately anticlimactic ending to an already anticlimactic series.

All in all though, Sword Art Online wasn’t bad. It was hardly great, rushing when it should have and focusing on Kirito and Asuna acting lovey dovey in the most PG fashion imaginable for several straight episodes, but for a 14 episode series aimed squarely at the shounen demographic, it’s hardly the worst thing imaginable. I mean it’s not like it’s going to go another 12 episodes in ANOTHER MMO or something, right? Right?

Edit: Fuck, it is.

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  1. Posted October 10, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Lol @ the end.

    This nerd wish fulfillment of a show’s questionable plot developments definitely had me scratching my head this week. The 2 deus ex machinas(Asuna breaking paralysis,Ghost Kirito) definitely disappointed me when I saw them because I expected better from all the hype.

    This is a fun show to watch but for different reasons than one would expect from this genre( the wrong ones :P). I still think this show is better than the ghastly Guilty Crown, which was also hyped immensely, but not by much.

    • Inushinde
      Posted October 12, 2012 at 1:39 am | Permalink

      Sword Art Online is a perfectly serviceable show that at least runs on some sort of internal logic. Again though, it’s just toothless, wasting a potentially good setting on a bland shounen story with an even blander shounen lead.

  2. Redcrimson
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I loved how Akihiko’s explanation for the entire SAO ordeal was basically “Hell if I know” and then handwaved with some existential BS that is somehow supposed to be profound or something. Ugh, the writing is just so terrible.

    • Inushinde
      Posted October 12, 2012 at 1:37 am | Permalink

      You can tell that SAO wants so desperately to be cool, but it does a pretty shitty job at that when it can’t even properly explain itself.

  3. Embok
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    “and there’s something wrong when the filler-ish side stories had more complexity than the main plot than this lump of animated afterbirth.”

    Man I legitimately enjoyed the episodic side stories. Things actually happened in them, and I even felt the blacksmith chick had some decent chemistry with Kirito.

    I mean sure Kirito was overpowered, but so was Vash the Stampede and nobody cared then. Kirito was never the problem with the series. Everything wrong with it can be traced directly back to Asuna, whether it’s spending multiple episodes playing house or awful love based DEMs in the final episode.

    At least there are elves to look forward to.

    • Inushinde
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Vash at least tried to be likable while being overpowered. He’d always intentionally take the hard way out and attempt to preserve the lives of others who went after him, and that’s a hell of a lot more endearing than essentially breaking the game while brooding like a machine.

      The side stories themselves weren’t terrible, but they built on the world in a way that at least excused their existence. This crap is just dull.

  4. anon
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    1. when you’re busy fighting for your life, you tend not to notice certain things, such as somebody’s HP bar never going yellow. heh, you can even argue that “woah, that guy’s too powerful, his HP doesn’t even hit yellow!” or something like that.

    2. out of all the people in that boss fight, who was the only one who had the chance to duel that person? and who among all those people already had suspicions about him having a game breaking thing going by becoming “too fast”?

    3. from what i know, dual wielding is given to a person who had the potential to be a hero or whatever kayaba explained to kirito. it was explained in a previous episode that cardinal was able to control every aspect of the game, we don’t know exactly how that thing works, but it can surely explain how kirito was chosen to have that skill.

    apart from that, the explanation for the creation of SAO, the boss fight scene shown from a mile away, asuna magically being able to move and kirito’s ghost killing the final boss were… idk what to call it lol.

    • Inushinde
      Posted October 12, 2012 at 1:41 am | Permalink

      Oh no, I’m not saying that Kirito figuring out Akihiko’s character was all that cliched, I’m just kind of surprised that nobody even chimed in with “Oh yeah, that makes sense!” Given how much time they’ve spent in the game, I’d imagine at least one other person to have suspicions. But hey, it’s one of my pettier gripes, and certainly not one based on any real flaw with the show itself. Thankfully, there are many more to make up for it.

    • anon
      Posted October 12, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      yep, everyone else just doesn’t have the brains to figure it out apparently. the more intelligent ones are at level 22, fishing for lake monsters. LOL

      • Clead HeavenHell
        Posted October 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Only Kirito has seen Kayaba cheating in close quearters, and you don’t usually stab your ally in the back just testing if he is the big boss.

        About Asuna, is stated in the novels that Asuna got in SAO an Unique Skill too, that make her somehow able to evade temporarily status effects to protect important persons to her.

        About Kirito… in the novel is not a ghost, is just before the animation of dead, everyone can move a bit, but they usually just talk, is not the first time in a game that there is a draw almost simultaneous done by a dead character.

  5. Straewolf
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Not Another MMO! That whoud be horrific!

  6. eternia
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I believe there’s a next arc preview at Youtube, showing everybody in elves form.

    Kirito : “Why, why did you do all these crimes, Kayaba Akihiko!?”
    Kayaba : “Hell if I know… I was just following Kawahara Reki’s instruction.”

    • matrixEXO
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink


      ALO, where Kirito enters a game world yet again. This time, it’s a normal game world but the main goal is to save Asuna. And some things kind of happen here and there at the same time.


      • Inushinde
        Posted October 12, 2012 at 1:42 am | Permalink

        … Save Asuna? In a normal game world? Really?

  7. Posted October 10, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Your summation of Symphogear offends me. It was a brilliant show, and you should make sure that you outline all of its brilliance when discussing it. Thus, “Using the power of songs with lyrics about murder volcanoes, scantily-clad idols fly through the sky to save the world from blobs. Eventually, they must prevent a priestess who has carved her consciousness into her own DNA and who built the Tower of Babel once because she was in love with God from destroying the moon because it symbolizes her curse and disharmony. Also, wicked gay (in the homosexual sense).” Much better.

    • Inushinde
      Posted October 12, 2012 at 1:43 am | Permalink

      Yes, but that wouldn’t have flowed in relation to the post. Think of my needs for once.

    • Posted October 12, 2012 at 5:43 am | Permalink

      I refuse.

  8. Erif
    Posted October 11, 2012 at 3:53 am | Permalink

    Now for fourteen episodes of Kirito whining like an angsty teenage brat and getting his arm cut off, amirite?

    • Inushinde
      Posted October 12, 2012 at 1:45 am | Permalink

      Here’s hoping for both arms!

  9. elior1
    Posted October 11, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    ok here the trailer for the new arc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8VqZI23Ap8

    the bad guy in this game going to be pure evil so i think you will like him

    • Inushinde
      Posted October 12, 2012 at 1:45 am | Permalink

      Should be more believable than Akihiko, at any rate.

  10. Mr.RR
    Posted October 11, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I think the villain did it because he always wanted to be a raid boss, but he didn’t was casuals walking in a getting free gear so he put the game on hardcore mode so that the gear you got showed how special you were.

  11. Anca
    Posted October 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    The guild leader was the strongest tank in the game, of course his HP didn’t drop as much. My problem with that scene was that Kirito pulled the conclusion out of his skinny ass.

    • Inushinde
      Posted October 12, 2012 at 1:47 am | Permalink

      I won’t say it was all that unfounded, though how he JUST saw that the leader was an immortal object was pretty silly.

      • elior1
        Posted October 13, 2012 at 12:55 am | Permalink

        the next episode will be focus only in the real world so you will get to see what kirito life out of the virtual world

  12. BwackNinja
    Posted October 11, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    SAO confuses me. I stopped watching, but I find it odd that I don’t like it. I attribute popularity to properly pandering to the target audience and having a big audience that you’re targeting. I was pretty sure that I liked this genre; I was excited when SAO was announced. Apparently they dropped a nuke on that target and I barely got a whiff of the radiation. Why can’t I like it instead and fanboyishly call you out for making petty points trying to detract from a “masterpiece”?

    • Inushinde
      Posted October 12, 2012 at 1:49 am | Permalink

      You just can’t understand how great it is.

      • elior1
        Posted October 12, 2012 at 2:18 am | Permalink

        by the new arc trailer you now undertend what the reason he get in to anoudher mmo right?

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