Forged in the hottest virtual fires by a skilled smith, Kirito’s new sword Dark Repulser is ready to taste the pixilated flesh of the dastardliest of foes as he quests to exit the virtual prison of Sword Art Online. It’s a beautiful piece of forged crystal, slender and heavy with enough force to cleave even the strongest enemies in twain. It also happens to be made of dragon shit, though whether this is a rare moment of self-awareness on the creator’s part regarding his own work is unfortunately left to the imagination.
In all seriousness, this episode of SAO exceeded my admittedly low expectations by actually handling its plot well. Even though it’s pretty difficult to cock up a concept as simple as going to a location and collecting drops from a tough monster in order to craft a new weapon, brownie points deserved for good execution. With that said, it’s hardly worth salivating over as Kirito remains the single weakest link, somehow made worse by the inclusion of his new smithy friend Lizbeth. But I’ve bitched enough about Kirito being almost as bad an amalgamation of blandness since Ouma Shu, so I’m going to try something new and explain why Lizbeth’s implementation sucks.
By herself, Lizbeth isn’t bad; even though she’s one of many of the characters that fall into clearly-defined archetypes, she’s more endearing than annoying for it. Hell, she remains one of the few people to get irritated by Kirito whenever he tries to act like a badass, and keeping that smug bastard in line is always appreciated in my end. It’s when she starts drooling over him (in what I’d like to assume is delirium induced by subzero virtual temperatures) like nearly every other girl that my warmness toward her starts to wear thin. No matter how useful she is to Kirito, her only lasting use seems to be as another neglected piece in his ever-growing harem.
Everything good in the episode falls apart as this is continuously reaffirmed, the final few minutes consisting of nothing but Lizbeth sulking over the fact that her feelings toward Kirito aren’t reciprocated and Asuna further solidifying her position as the season’s most bafflingly popular character by doing fuck all. I apologize for going on a tangent, but seriously, what do some of you folks see in her? I’m honestly curious as to why people like her when the only thing that I’ll remember about her is being the recipient of two years’ worth of… well, you know.
Character blandness aside, it was an entertaining episode. Neither Lizbeth or Kirito are masters of banter, but it hardly matters when most of the show involves fighting a dragon made of crystal to craft a sword out of its crap. Hell, nothing matters compared to that.