28 CommentsSword Art Online / By Inushinde /

Sword Art Online Episode 7: Crystal Swords and the Art of Haremization

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.

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  1. anon
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know either, but once they showed Asuna back in ep02, I just knew I had to watch this.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I really liked Asuna when she was introduced in episode two as this complex and shy and troubled individual… or so I thought. Looking back I may have looked at character traits that just wheren’t there.

    Also, damn you, Inushinde! I was going to have vanilla vla (which is much like vanilla pudding) for dessert today, but now I’m not sure if I will.

    • Inushinde
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 5:27 am | Permalink

      I thought that she was interesting then too, especially since her introduction wasn’t played up as something important. Asuna’s not anywhere near as irksome as Kirito, but she doesn’t stand out from the herd either.

  3. luffyluffy
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    is that a giant pudding

    • Posted August 20, 2012 at 3:56 am | Permalink

      It was either that or giddy sailors giving creepy glares, because “seamen”. I opted for the visual representation instead of a bad pun.

      • luffyluffy
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        I’m convinced that you could have just made a blank post and Koko would have been answer enough.

  4. Seihai-kun
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Maybe it’s because I hate Haru so much but Kirito seems like a good character. He wasn’t completely oblivious to Liz’s feelings when he searched for her after she ran away.

    Anyway, Elucidator has attack of 700-710. Dark Repulser+0 has attack of 680-700. I’m guessing you can increase the quality of smith made swords?

    • Inushinde
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 5:24 am | Permalink

      Oh hell, anybody’s going to look great when compared to Haru. There’s nowhere near as much wrong with Kirito, but he could be replaced with a houseplant and I wouldn’t feel that the show’s missing an important component.

  5. BwackNinja
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I was more satisfied by this episode than any other so far. I guess Kirito’s attraction is that he’s human despite everything being a game, and that’s especially unexpected due to his badassery and lack of social skills.

    Unfortunately, you made me realize that every episode other than the first one was “lets see how this girl reacts when she comes in contact with Kirito,” not even “how does Kirito respond and grow due to girl.” The series suffers from making all the other guys bad people or somehow less interesting than Kirito. That’s alright I guess for a harem anime, but other than Asuna, no girl is lasting more than an episode.

    • Inushinde
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      I kind of hoped that Sword Art Online wouldn’t fall into the harem trap. This episode is definitely an improvement over the last few in that it didn’t feel like it was stretched too thinly, but the problem with Kirito essentially being Casanova (Kiritonova?) is a bit too blatant.

  6. lonn
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    there is an rpg game on the gba (can’t remember the name) where a dragon gives the heroes some crystals, which he then smirked to himself “also known as my poo hehehe” (actual translation)

    maybe theres a thing about dragons shitting crystals in RPGs?

    • Inushinde
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      That would be kind of neat. Maybe I should look into it a bit more.

    • Ragamander
      Posted October 13, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      The game is probably “LUNAR Legend,” the (crappy) GBA remake of “LUNAR: The Silver Star” (Sega CD) or “LUNAR: Silver Star Story Complete” (PSX). I can’t say for certain, though, because I’m sure there have been other games in which crystallized dragon turds are actually valuable items.

  7. diz1776
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Just stop following the damn show if you hate it so much. It seems to me like it causes such a great waste of your time for you to even blog about it.

    • Posted August 20, 2012 at 3:54 am | Permalink

      You don’t have to read if you’d rather have some glowing praise. I do this with most shows that I watch, and I like a great many of them in spite of their flaws. Hell, I loved Sankarea and I never ran out of things to bitch about week to week.

      For the past couple of weeks I haven’t said or meant to imply that I hate it, so I don’t know where you’re getting the idea that I dislike it from. I’ve enjoyed myself each episode, with the exception of three, in spite of disliking Kirito. It’s genuinely imaginative and fun, the characters just leave something to be desired.

    • Adrian
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      It’s kinda difficult to remark the good points of a show when the flaws are much more obvious. In most of the cases where you actually “try to be fair” and point out the pros, they’ll lack substance and it’ll feel like you’re purposely trying to make up for what you wrote earlier. Fanboy speechs is something we would rather avoid the most.

      • Inushinde
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        Thank you for explaining my point better than I could. Again, I don’t dislike it, there are just enough flaws to warrant a post filled with what I’d like to think are reasonable complaints every week.

    • Mr. Anon
      Posted September 11, 2012 at 12:04 am | Permalink

      Same goes for you, Diz1776. If you hate these blog posts so much, then why do you read them

      • diz1776
        Posted September 11, 2012 at 12:56 am | Permalink

        I think you’re mistaken. When did indicate that I hate these blog posts?

  8. matrixEXO
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    For the namesake, you really need to read the novel first. Then you can criticize about it all you want. I honestly don’t like how they are handling the port of the novel version onto the anime by cutting about 75% of it’s content (which mostly are not needed to tell the story, but gives an in-depth detail on a lot of things).

    Then again, for the namesake, I’m still gonna follow it (and rant about how they cut this part and that part out).

    • Inushinde
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      I’m judging the anime on its own merits, not those of the light novel, though I’m guessing the tedium of nearly every girl falling for Kirito is adapted faithfully enough. I’m not going to read the novel, because the anime has to make the story stand on its own without needing details from the source material, and I don’t want to taint my perspective.

      By all means, rant your heart out about how they cut stuff out, that just isn’t for me.

      • matrixEXO
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Hmm… I see. Just curious… after the anime finish, will you eventually pick the novel up?

      • Inushinde
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Maybe if a compelling enough case is made, but my backlog of reading material is gargantuan as it is.

      • Apple
        Posted August 27, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        All the girls,except for Asuna, only appeared in Side stories after the event was completed. There was no harem in book 1 of SAO, so :/
        The anime has to do it this way because of chronology, and I guess also because of the fact that there honestly ain’t much plots in the novel to be adapted. The duel in episode 8 was at 1/3 of the novel (and did I say that most episodes about the girls falling for Kirito is side stories published in the next book?), and it took about 3 episodes to get there.

  9. eternia
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    I don’t get it why the fanboys and MMORPG fags keep saying things like ‘shut up haters’ or ‘don’t watch it if you dislike it’ whenever someone critics Hype Art Online. Critics are color of life, please don’t take it as hate. Please imagine a world where everybody nod their head and scream ‘Sugoooi. This show is so deep and incredible.’ I watched episode 1 to 7, I have read volume 1, 3, 4, 5. I think 6.5/10 is a pretty approriate score for this self gratification and otaku’s wish fulfillment story. I didn’t rate it as 3/10, so I am not a hater. Right?

    • Inushinde
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      A high 5 or a low 6 is about what I’d rate it so far. Definitely has pizzazz, but also has too many obvious problems to ignore, like the aforementioned wish fulfillment. I’ll be overly-positive about this when it gives me something to be overly-positive about, dammit.

  10. Cody Stephens
    Posted August 23, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    If you don’t understand something about the anime, try reading where it came from, the light novel. Yeah, maybe the implementation of Lisbeth kinda sucked in the anime, but it was 100x better in the light novel. Yes, I’m happy that the light novel became an anime, and it’s a well done anime so far. It’s not going to have filler, it’s not going to deviate, it’s not going to have 196 episodes like Inuyasha (includes the Final Act).

    It’s going to follow the light novel, and end with the light novel. In my opinion, the anime will make more sense if you read the light novel, much like the Harry Potter movies made more sense if you read the books.

    And yeah, it’s a harem. Another harem. Ok, so what? You don’t go around crushing on just 1 person, right? If you do, the bravo zulu on proving me wrong. Still, Kirito is a good person and the ladies notice. Possible in real life, yeah, but not likely. Still, isn’t it normal to want to have more than one person like you? Just like how multiple people likes the same person you like? Just like a quote I like to say: “Think about it from both sides and not just one. Only then will you be wise and not blind.”

    • Inushinde
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      If the anime actually forces me to read the light novel to understand something, then it did a crappy job at exposition. These are episodic reviews of the anime series, not on the material in the light novels, though if this is fairly accurate then I can’t fathom how they got such a large, vocal fanbase.

      Any adaptation has to stand on its own regardless of the content of the source material, otherwise it’s both a shitty adaptation and a shitty standalone product. No amount of apologizing for the material and claiming that it’s better in the novels will change my stance on judging different kinds of media separately. If I have to preface every post with that to get the point across, I will.

      As for the harem argument, I’m not bothered by him having a harem as much as I am by the fact that it seems to be the sole meaning of life for Sword Art Online’s female occupants. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but I’m not a fan of harems in shows that don’t explicitly claim to have them. If you enjoy that particular aspect, more power to you, there’s nothing wrong with that.

      Please take your own quote to heart and remember that if you like this, my complaints really shouldn’t give you the compulsion to attempt to “correct” my opinions or means of expressing them. Again, this is a review of the anime’s material, not that in the light novel.

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