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.