34 CommentsSword Art Online / By Inushinde /

Sword Art Online Episode 24: Uuuugh

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There are a few things on this good planet that are simply irredeemable. While terrible anime isn’t exactly sitting alongside genocide and torture in the grand scheme of things, it takes shows like Sword Art Online to remind me as tortuously as possible that animation does occasionally plumb depths that I previously thought unfathomable. Ordinarily I’d open with one particular scene that stands out, or a concession toward decency that Sword Art Online hesitantly makes every once in awhile, but what can I do when everything is at such an equal level of horrible idiocy that it’s difficult to pick out which scene or development offends the senses more? It’s equivalent to being given a bag of dead possums, and told at gunpoint to eat the one that’s most swarming with maggots.

If I had to choose which possum had the vilest maggots making a home in its eye sockets, and take a hearty bite, it would probably be the possum representing character likability. Seriously, pick which character most embodies fluffy cuddliness: Sugou the one-dimensional pseudo-rapist, Asuna the living prop that only knows how to cry, and Kirito, who starts out useless, but then tortures his foe to death in a manner as needless as it was literally pulled out of the ether. The only person that elicited any sort of reaction from me beyond disgust was, ironically, Sugou, and that’s only because his evil laugh ruined any sort of tension. I mean he was still a flat, revolting character, but at least he offered something to break the tedium of awfulness, even if it was just more awfulness.

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What’s perplexing is we’re supposed to be rooting for a particular side when they’re all equally terrible in the end, and it’s not the one engaging in fetishistic pseudo-rape with a chained redhead. This would be fine, if Kirito weren’t somehow made even less likable after acquiring admin privileges from the ghost of the first game’s creator. Not only was he essentially given power over the game, but it was gifted to him by SAO’s creator, a double-whammy of a Deus Ex Machina that I never thought possible.

There are plenty of problems with the writing as is when a gem like that is born, but it really pokes holes in the audience’s investment in the protagonist when he takes that chance to free Asuna and log out with her to inflict excruciating agony on Sugou using the pain slider (oh yeah, there’s an admin pain slider for some reason) after slicing him in half. I’d appreciate if this was a conflict that Kirito has had before, or if it was addressed at all after the fact, but it’s a needlessly drawn out scene of Kirito essentially killing a defenseless man by means of repeated evisceration. Woo Team Protag!

Wooooo!

Wooooo!

One moment did serve as a glimpse into what we could have had, were this story handled by somebody who wasn’t an absolute cretin. Right when Kirito begins to show off his newly-acquired admin skills, Sugou curses the SAO’s creator for always sabotaging his progress before Kirito interjects and cuts him down. It’s the only thing approaching depth that Sugou has had in the entirety of the show. Once again, it goes to show how horribly the antagonists in this show are handled when they could actually be something other than caricatures.

Needless really is the word to describe what the hell transpires in this episode. From start to finish, it’s nothing but a breakneck ride through A-1 skimming the shallows of Reki’s creative capacity, a ride that circles the same dilapidated go-kart track until the actual cart catches on fire. So much of the torture and general skeeviness could have been easily averted, allowing for an experience with actual content rather than a recollection of disturbing fantasies involving Asuna. This is the first time that I’ve taken absolutely no joy from watching anything related to Sword Art Online, and that’s a fucking accomplishment when it ends on par with Apocalypse Zero in terms of entertainment value.

I’m somebody that’s usually of the mind that there’s no such thing as a bad or wrong opinion. Everybody is different, entitled to their own tastes in a way that doesn’t deserve to be judged. This episode is one of those few things that disprove that theory with every fiber of its being. It’s difficult for me to concede that the show has good points (which it really does) when there are episodes like this seeking to sabotage everything that it’s worked for in the name of… fuck, I don’t even know anymore. If this material was jettisoned into a black hole immediately before airing, the world would be a slightly better place. A-1 Pictures, shame on you for adapting this shit.

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34 Comments

  1. Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Hey Inushinde, before you criticize this you should make a light novel more successful than Sword Art Online!

    • Inushinde
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 1:17 am | Permalink

      But I don’t want to cater to the revenge fantasies of 15 year olds!

    • Posted December 18, 2012 at 1:58 am | Permalink

      “Don’t say my cooking is awful when you can’t cook any better!”
      “Don’t laugh at those bad football players when you can’t do better!”
      “Don’t…”

  2. Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, Mira is right. You suck. You cannot do this.

    • Inushinde
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:19 am | Permalink

      Sorry. :(

  3. Posted December 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    ^^ I know you guys are joking, but you do realize “I don’t see you doing any better” is one of the lowest defenses anyone can use, right?

    • Posted December 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Not if you’re Kawahara Reki, bro. You’re basically invincible.

      • Inushinde
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:20 am | Permalink

        What with being the greatest LN author of our time and a- AHAHAHA I just can’t say that with a straight face.

  4. Posted December 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    P.S: I’m really sorry you had to go through this episode Inushinde. If only we could all go on pretending it never happened.

    • Inushinde
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:20 am | Permalink

      I knew that this might have happened when I took the responsibility of covering this week to week. I have no one to blame but myself.

  5. Chaos_Alfa
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    This arc is the worst arc of Sword Art Online. I hope we get a second season so we can get the third arc, Phantom Bullet which is leagues better than the Fairy Dance arc.

    • Kiseki
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been hearing people say ALO is the worst arc. Sure, whatever. But to think that this sold enough for Kawahara to continue SAO… _:(´ཀ`」 ∠):_

      Having not watched SAO past episode 2, I quite like Sugou. He makes funny faces.

      • Inushinde
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:21 am | Permalink

        Sugou’s faces have saved many an episode from becoming boring.

  6. Shadow
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Ok…where is the Psycho Pass review? It’s been 5 days since the episode aired. Where is my weekly Moe Akane Dosis >.<!!! I know SAO sucks i kinda figured that by myself by episode 5.

    • Inushinde
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:22 am | Permalink

      But it’s sucking in new and exciting ways now!

  7. Posted December 18, 2012 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    How an episode as bad as this was even created is absolutely flabbergasting. It wasn’t just the writing; from the direction to the camera angles, everything was just incredibly inappropriate. I’ve made it my rule never to drop a show, but my god, this is the first time in years that I’ve ever come so close. I’m not even pissed off at the episode; just deeply upset.

    Although previous installments had at least something to hold on to (usually the external ability to mock), there was zero reason to watch this episode. Zero entertainment, zero story, and zero merit. Upon opening the video file, I highly suggest that one closes it immediately.

    • Inushinde
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:23 am | Permalink

      This is the closest thing to match the quality of One since actually watching One, and that’s no small feat.

  8. Chipp12
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    “LOOK AT ME I’M SO EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVILLL!”

    • Inushinde
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:24 am | Permalink

      Hey, don’t make fun of the effective characterization. I mean how would we have known he was bad, what with him being such a complex, morally-ambiguous character and all, if it wasn’t explicitly pointed out time and time again?

  9. Borneo
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Well, I kinda understand why people might be appalled by this episode, but… I have to say that it might be one of my favorite episodes of the whole series. No, I’m not kidding. Sugou’s villainy was so insanely and hilariously over the top and cartoonish (He even gleefully licked up Asuna’s tears! Those are Eric Cartman levels of evil right there!), I couldn’t help but laugh the entire time. If that’s not entertainment, I don’t know what is. Maybe for all the wrong reasons, but I don’t really care. I never really understood why SAO became this unstoppable juggernaut of a show, which everyone keeps talking about and is loved and hated with fiery passion – so I’ve been watching it mostly out of peer pressure, not out of honest interest. As such, I didn’t love the show, and neither did I hate it. It’s been just average entertainment for the most part. But seeing the show pull a hilarious stunt like that enables me to say that the time I spent on it hasn’t been entirely wasted.

    • Inushinde
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:24 am | Permalink

      To each their own, but this was the one episode that did me in. It’s just… how can somebody cram so much tastelessness into one 23 minute segment of animation without being Go Nagai? Just how?

  10. Random
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, SAO has amazing sales, only slightly beaten by Nisemonogatari and Fate/Zero.
    So expect more SAO clones coming in.

    • Posted December 18, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

      Well at least the clones couldn’t possibly be any worse… right?

      Honestly, I think you could try to copy SAO’s thematic structure to the letter and end up with something less awful by mistake.

      • Inushinde
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:28 am | Permalink

        But hey, at least it isn’t doing better than F/Z and Nisemonogatari, right? That’s something.

  11. Arbee
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    To be honest, I just keep on thinking if all of these events will eventually turn Kirito into a villain… I mean, he certainly HAS the qualities to becoming a traditional villain:

    Power-Hungry, Uncaring about anything else but his own pride, Treats everyone else like pawns he steps on in order to advance, Has Unique Skills that he ABUSES, Whatever Episode 24′s carnage showed me… That sorta thing.

    • Inushinde
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

      It did hint at a potentially flawed character in earlier episodes, but no followup means that it probably won’t dare to tarnish Kirito’s perfection with villainy.

      • Arbee
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:18 am | Permalink

        But seeing the episodes so far, no one has yet called on Kirito’s bullshit. ESPECIALLY Asuna. She’s just being a good little waifu all “It’s okay if you slowly hacked the bag guy away without questioning your morality standing, you are still my perfect widdle Kirito and I still wuvy wuvy wuv you and your sword skills.”

    • Vlykarye
      Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      Lol at ARBEE. So wrong on so many levels about Kirito.
      That’s like thinking Lelouche of Code Geass could be a villain.
      Lol.

      • Arbee
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:22 am | Permalink

        lol. Oh. Wait. You’re serious. Let me laugh even harder. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH~

  12. PhantomRenegade
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    Having unfortunately read many of the SAO universe light novels I can safely say that they are all bad, with the next arc’s ending being arguably just as skeevy as this and Kirito continuing his “I am the perfect gamer” MMO run.

    • Inushinde
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:29 am | Permalink

      B-But it’s about guns and stuff! How could somebody possibly make that bori- oh right, it’s SAO.

      • Arbee
        Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:30 am | Permalink

        Kirito bought a lightsaber into a gunfight. Still won.

      • Posted December 19, 2012 at 5:47 am | Permalink

        He cuts bullets and dodges them like in Matrix.

  13. elior1
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    what was happen in this episode going to happen again next episode

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