24 CommentsSword Art Online / By Inushinde /

Sword Art Online Episode 15: The Creepening

 

The return to the real world is doing a hell of a lot of good for Kirito’s character. No longer is he a never-ending source of inexplicable brooding and curt grunts of “I work alone”; he actually has a semblance of personality beyond being an antisocial dickwad with a fondness for wearing black trench coats. Sure, it’s not quite the same as being a decently crafted human character, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t a huge step in the right direction. And yes, it gets sabotaged later when this arc’s hilariously evil villain is introduced, but for a good 10-15 minutes, it’s the best that the show’s been, which is kind of sad when it doesn’t involve the SAO world at all.

Back in meatspace, Kirito’s recovery from his two year stint in virtual reality is portrayed surprisingly well. When sparring with his “sister” in a kendo dojo, he assumes the sword-fighting stance that he used constantly in the game, but is unable to properly grasp the physics of not having a system guiding his jabs for built-in combos. It’s a short few minutes, but it drives home the fact that while Kirito’s body may be mostly recovered from atrophy, he’s still firmly in the mindset of still being in the game. It’s a damn effective sequence, and the chats with his “sister” further cement it as the best thing that the show’s done in many an episode. It even got me to care a bit for Kirito and his “sister”, as small as that sympathetic streak was.

And then, once again, things get bad once Asuna enters the picture. Retaining her general level of usefulness well into her coma, she only serves as the catalyst for the next stage of the plot that showcases Kawahara Reki’s habit of inserting dire, yet easily-avoided altercations with smarmy bastards in impeccable attire.

The villain de jure this time around is none other than the impeccably dressed, smarmy Sugou, who’s in the process of persuading Asuna’s father to adopt him into the family as the informal husband of Asuna. Never mind the fact that this guy wants to be wed to an unconscious girl “while she’s still beautiful” when she can’t even consent (because of a lack of consciousness, you understand), the very fact that he isn’t willing to wait until she wakes up should set up a few warning flags that maybe he isn’t out for her best interests. Yes, it is an arrangement to make him heir to the Yuuki family’s assets, and Sugou exploiting that as soon as possible is perfectly reasonable as a motivation, but admitting that his scheme would be over if Asuna wakes up implies that her parents do take her feelings into consideration in these matters, which makes the fact that he wants to wed her while she’s comatose all the creepier.

I don’t so much think that the way he’s written is all that terribly, even if any hint of nuance goes hurtling out the window when he explains his diabolical plan to Kirito, but everyone in contact with him has apparently been living over a leaking gas main for the better part of the last few decades and don’t have the mental capacity to notice that he seems to covet the marriage into the Yuuki family more than Asuna returning to the waking world. And since Sugou is pretty much guaranteed legal adoption into the Yuuki family regardless of Asuna’s feelings, the wedding is an unnecessary frill to his scheme that’s infinitely less practical than formalizing the “marriage” itself beforehand, requiring more time and giving off much creepier vibes. I mean I know expecting a modicum of intelligence from Sword Art Online is taboo at this point, but it shouldn’t make its villains so unnecessarily, obviously evil.

 

Look forward to the next episode though, because apparently they’re all going to be flying elves in yet another MMO in order to save Asuna.

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24 Comments

  1. Redcrimson
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    No mention of the completely unnecessary incest subplot? I am disappoint.

    • Xyopq
      Posted October 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Is there any anime without an incest sub-plot?

  2. Andmeuths
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    It’s not handled in the same manner as most Harem-Incest theme animes, mind you. Actually, I’d think it was rather surprisingly well handled, and you can probably see the end and the denouement of that sub-plot if you read the hints directly.

    As for this Arcs villain, well, he is your classical Socio-path. At least Reki does one thing right: he can make villains very loathsome, though subtlety of course was his major weakness then.

    • Posted October 14, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      It’s not really that difficult to write villains the audience will hate. Any character that’s just unapologetically mean and nasty and rubs it in the hero’s face for no adequate reason fits the bill. Problem is, what people hate in that instance isn’t the character, but the writer.

      Villains like this guy detract from the viewing experience by being nonsensical straw men without depth or nuance. They’re cheap grabs for emotion, like imperiled trains full of orphans or puppies being kicked to death. Of course people resent them. It’s not a good variety of hate.

      • Vince
        Posted October 15, 2012 at 12:57 am | Permalink

        What’s ironic is the seiyuu behind this villain also voices Dio in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure who is supposed to be a total bastard and cunning in a very exaggerated manner, even Dio has more depth than the one in SAO. It’s just hilarious.

  3. elior1
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    just you wait he will get more creepy and do more disgusting things to asuna that you will think he is most worst and disgusting you ever sew in a anime

    • eternia
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      At least he didn’t bone her.

  4. Posted October 14, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I thought the start of this episode was interesting in how much it contrasted with everything we saw before. It felt much quieter and more real than the loud world of the game. I feel like the whole series should have ended on a scene like that, as it would have given a good feeling of closure to the story.

  5. lostsage
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    See? I knew SAO was a great show, all they had to do was take away the show’s entire premise! wait…

  6. overlyanimated
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    *thsssssssssssssssssssssssssss* BOOM! We gotta a creeper in this anime. Watching how creepy he was in the anime made it sort of worse. >> When you think about that creep might do to a sleeping Asuna.

  7. Daniel
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Inushide I know you dislike this anime but there is no reason to trash it by making up a fake episode. Everyone knows SAO ended on a bitter sweat note in ep 14.

    • Maria
      Posted October 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      There is a 15th episode, I’ve already seen the episode.

  8. Embok
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Hell yeah flying elves. Also hell yeah damsel Asuna because it presumably means less on screen Asuna. It’s like how Mario isn’t about Peach – it’s about the stages and boss fights you go through to save her. (Ha, like Asuna won’t get a bunch of scenes despite being locked up in a cage)

    Also the villain is silly but I forgive him because Takehito Koyasu NTRing people reminds me of Utena.

    • JD
      Posted October 14, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      He does it better in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.

      Seriously, there may be more subtlety in his portrayal of Dio Brando than of whatsisname here.

  9. Posted October 14, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    SAO is off to a good start! Can’t wait to see what this anime has in store for us.

  10. JTDR
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Why do the creepy guys look like the one from Deadman Wonderland?

  11. Mr.RR
    Posted October 14, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    He reminds me of the creeper teacher dude from HotD. He even looks similar.

    • JTDR
      Posted October 15, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      They must be relatives.

  12. Posted October 14, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    In my mind, SAO already ended in the previous episode and Kirito and Asuna died but didn’t come back. Period. I refuse to accept any other option, because any other option is terrible.

  13. SENSEISHUN
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    When did it become a crime for brother and sister to JUST be brother and sister. Why does every anime have to allude to 1 “siblings” unrequited love. It’s always sibling becomes cousin, 3rd cousin twice removed, uncle, and hell sometimes its still the damn blood sibling. I guess just saying “thats what familys for” isn’t enough to impact the plot. Other than that good episode. Also Kirito should of been hit that in SAO, now he has to watch this creep chew on Asunas hair while comatose.

  14. Arbee
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    To be honest, Kirito’s recovery is a little too fast from 2 years stuck in one game (two months of… something). >_> Generally because he has to catch up in the events, schoolwork and even changes within himself and around him for the past 2 years.

    Not to mention physical and psychological rehabilitation since people who just wake up from an MMO might result in “world clashing” i.e People cooking in SAO will think that RL cooking will be similar to SAO cooking, thinking that IRL “enemies” will be killed with a sword combo IRL. Which does not work.

    Also, let’s not forget strands of PTSD, where they can see people DIE in the game, or if you’re a Pker… be a MURDERER. Maybe even the fact that hospital bills are ridiculously expensive.

    Iunno, I’ve been overthinking this to the core, but who cares? There’s a creepy man who is touching Kirito’s precious waifu and keeping her imprisoned in a more normal MMO game and I think his cousin wants a taste of Kirito’s Gary Stu Sword Skills and maybe those two loli chicks are still around to complete the harem. And hey! Do not forget the loli daughter~

  15. Someone Else
    Posted October 15, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the comments above, suddenly reminded of THAT evangelion scene >.>

  16. Coolwihp
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Oh SAO, you make it look so easy to turn something good into worse…I’ll still finish this show because I’m optimistic about the ending.

  17. elior1
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    here the next episode preview it seems kirito going into the fairy land in the next episode http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pRHe6NSHj8s

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