31 CommentsSword Art Online / By Inushinde /

Sword Art Online Episode 23: A Wretched Hive of Swords and Psychopathy


That’s right, Recon has returned from his brief stint as a corpse in Salamander custody! Granted, he probably could’ve been let out earlier since the Salamanders’ plot of ambushing the meeting between the Sylphs and Cait Sith(s) literally exploded in their faces, but why let logic get in the way of a dude in a bowlcut poisoning his way out of custody like a psychopath, rather than waiting until they realized that he had no real value? And indeed why let logic get in the way of anything in this show, like the reconciliation between a brother and his sister that plays out more like two dolphins bludgeoning a seal to death than any sort of emotional understanding? Or actually arresting the stupid fucking villain who reveals his evil plan to everybody who gives him the slightest bit of attention? By the way, when are they getting back to that, in lieu of horribly orchestrated fighting? Fucking hell this show’s awful.

Seriously, this is something that somehow outdoes its writing with each subsequent episode, and it just takes the cake here for how it ends Suguha and Kirito’s arc on the least satisfactory note imaginable. It’s not because Suguha, like all women in Sword Art Online, is still afflicted with a case of Kirito Envy so blatant that it would make Freud blush. Nor is it because it’s a nuanced, sympathetic portrayal of an unconventional familial relationship as it goes through several trials, because that couldn’t be further from the truth. The way it’s resolved basically boils down to the following abridged script, recited and embellished with all the gripping emotional angst of realizing that their toothpaste is all gone:

Kirito: I somehow never understood that you liked me, and you’re just being silly.
Suguha: I’m sorry for thinking you’re the bee’s knees.
Kirito: I have emotional baggage that I need to get over represented by Asuna, who’s literally in a gilded cage because I’M KAWAHARA REKI AND I BET NOBODY’S EVER THOUGHT OF THAT. Fight me, Suguha.
Suguha: Okay. We fought. I’ll help you now, even though we have no greater sense of understanding between us and I still want to sheath your sword.
Kirito: Good, now fall in line behind the rest of my harem.

Even for Sword Art Online, that’s a pretty shitty way to resolve one of its peripheral conflicts.

Thankfully, this episode isn’t all bad. Well okay, it is, but Kirito explaining the factors that prompted his fascination with online games is actually an entertaining kind of unintentionally creepiness. It’s not only lazy writing (what isn’t?), but it would actually be harmful were it applied unchanged to a completely different perspective occupied by nutty media watchdog groups, and wouldn’t that be delightfully ironic if it were appropriated as such?

The speech itself is the same schlocky spiel that somehow gets crammed into every one of Reki’s works, but the overarching moral is that off or online, all guys will be irreprehensible fucks, and all girls will be subservient, obedient creatures jealous of how men (specifically Kirito) wield their swords with such vigor. That, and the creepy balding dude with a harelip claiming to be “TtlH@wtGurl XOXO” online is indeed TtlH@wtGurl XOXO, because that’s how you know him, and when has somebody ever lied online?

Not only does Reki have no idea what he’s talking about, but he doesn’t at all mind if some of his fans end up in a meat locker. Okay, that’s going a bit far, but what can you do when its message is essentially to ignore common sense? It’s no wonder why nobody in this show seems capable of acting like a reasonable human being.

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  1. Posted December 10, 2012 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    One new method I discovered in getting through an SAO episode is to picture the fact that Shinmaru missed out on this mess because he thought Who Is Imouto would be the “best” bad summer show to follow. Works great.

    • Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      lol keep telling yourself that lol

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        You can’t deny your curiosity as you read each and every tweet and post regarding this anime. Soon, it will consume you lol

    • R1CK_D0M
      Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      You can’t deny that who is imouto is hilariously bad.

      • Posted December 10, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

        Actually, I can. Out of all the episodes I watched, only the first three episodes (or to be more specific, Episodes 2 and 3) were amusing. After that, the novelty wore off quickly and it just became a snorefest with the occasional funny joke every two or three episodes.

  2. Arbee
    Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    Moral of this story: Kirito is awesome. Men should praise him and women should wait in line to get in his pants. Kirito wants a fantasy sexy party at any time, you know.

    • Inushinde
      Posted December 13, 2012 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      Hey, no arguments from me. I mean he can wield two swords at once. Two motherfucking swords. That’s like, more than one!

    • Arbee
      Posted December 15, 2012 at 4:50 am | Permalink

      It’s not like Dual blades are like class-features that can just be obtained by ANYONE in an MMO. That shiz be for the real hardcore gamer leets.

      But it would be MORE amazing is Kirito wielded THREE SWORDS at once! I mean, people will elevate him to Digital GodHood outta that, man!

  3. Chipp12
    Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    It gets worse, I swear!!!

    • Andmeuths
      Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      How about an Android added to Kirito’s Harem (=

    • Inushinde
      Posted December 13, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      I wouldn’t be watching if it didn’t keep consistently getting worse. I mean I would be since I’m blogging it, but if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be watching if it didn’t keep getting progressively less good.

  4. JD
    Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    I loved how Recon’s sacrifice is entirely pointless and immediately forgotten about. That’s quality combat choreography for you.

    • Mr. Anon
      Posted December 10, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      They also completetly forgot about the archer enemies, and in the end Kirito got through all the shit just by holding two swords and finally bothering to use some unspecified ridiculously OP skill. No reason to be found why he didn’t just do that from the first second, but who am I to expect more than kindergarten level writing?

      • R1CK_D0M
        Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

        Well I’d assume it’s because he didn’t have Suguha’s (or really anyone’s) sword to use as his second sword. But then again why didn’t he just buy fucking two swords, so lol sao, I guess

      • Inushinde
        Posted December 13, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        The most quality show of all years.

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      I said it last time, “What’s so hard about buying another sword?”
      Yeah, brain-dead level writing.
      Yet some website hailed it as smartest anime.

      • Inushinde
        Posted December 13, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink

        Smartest of the last three years, according to the geniuses at Kotaku.

  5. Madu_Scientisto
    Posted December 10, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Somewhat amusing that Kirito’s “Giga Drill Breaker” technique was… well basically pulled out his arse. Two swords = “Ultimate Gary Stu Power Unlocked”. Overall this episode was kinda boring.

  6. Posted December 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    The cute girls were back, that’s all that matters.

    • Inushinde
      Posted December 13, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      If there’s any reason for watching this, that’s as good as any.

  7. Chipp12
    Posted December 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I guess I’ll remember 2 things from SAO:
    1) Shouting of Kirito;
    2) Original author loves dual weapons style really much.

  8. Posted December 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    So I tiptoed through the last half of the episode because who actually watches this show and still understood the whole post while also understanding exactly what was going on. Uh, good show huh?

    On a separate thought, your posts are a joy to read. I feel bad for those in the rest of the room, most of whom are trying to work, because I am howling with laughter.

    • Someone Else
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Still wondering why is this anime so damn popular. And dual swords rocks? Did the author played too much Ragnarok?

      • Posted December 12, 2012 at 1:53 am | Permalink

        The author played as Dual Blade Assassin all the time, invest everything in strength and agility, and thought he’s the best.

      • Arbee
        Posted December 15, 2012 at 4:54 am | Permalink

        Dual Blade Assassin? I’m guessing he’s abusing the Dual Ice Picks like crazy in there.

    • Inushinde
      Posted December 13, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      At least there’s (usually) no shortage of things to write about in relation to this crapfest! That’s always a positive thing.

  9. Adrian
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Too bad you lost to chance to weekly cover Girls und Panzer. If there is a second season (and judging from preorders, we can hope for the best), make sure you do.

    • Inushinde
      Posted December 13, 2012 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Your grievance has been noted. I’ve written about it twice on my own site (not episodically though), if you want to take a look. Link’s in the blogroll.

  10. elior1
    Posted December 12, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    oh man the part i hated the most in alo come in the next episode pepoles will rage about that part in the forums like crazy

  11. luffyluffy
    Posted December 13, 2012 at 2:12 am | Permalink


    • Inushinde
      Posted December 13, 2012 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      I don’t think my heart can take it.

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