Sword Ass Online 05 – Hey, why not go for a mystery this time?
Aaaah… this is like a fanfiction right now. Nothing really has any impact on the main story at all, it’s just out of place and generally terribly written. Let’s have an animated crossover special with Lupin III next time, alright?
This was also incredibly stretched out. The first third of the episode didn’t have anything to do with the killing at all and the last third was just very mundane info dumping on things that had little to no impact on anything at all. It certainly doesn’t help that Kirito and Asuna are so dense. Their character interactions aren’t worth mentioning either. Asuna kinda hates him but still likes him because she’s a tsundere and that’s all there is to her. Apparently, the writer couldn’t come up with a better conflict for the two of them than “DDOOOOOONTTT KILLL THEEEEE NPCCCSSSS!! ;_; THEEEY AARRREEE PEOPPPLEE, TOOOOOO!” although I guess this still beats their way of befriending: They literally spent 2 or 3 minutes on explaining that taking a nap can do some good. This also had the nice side effects of having a hotness lie next to you. Be a little more subtle about your wish-fulfillment, SAO.
Oh, but we know this show’s deal with subtleness, don’t we?
Hey, otaku-kun! This can happen to you at any time, because you’re the greatest! And now buy the DVDs like real winners do! Asuna is practically yours!
Well, now let’s get rid of the good: This had some decent world building, explaining the rules of dueling and when Kirito shouted out “Look out for the ‘Duel won!’ message!”, you could easily tell that some thought went into this. The city’s backgrounds were also quite beautiful. Eh, so much for the good.
Okay, onto the bad then: Explaining the rules of dueling just so that you could come up with a mystery story about those very specific rules five minutes later is very heavy-handed writing. What’s worse, it doesn’t even make the slightest bit of sense – SAO isn’t a game you play with your body but with your mind. If you’re asleep, there should be no way someone could challenge you to a duel by using your body to confirm the duel. Mind you, this still doesn’t beat the first victim moaning in anguish over his wounds even though they are not supposed to feel any pain. There was also yet another time skip and as of now, already 2 years have passed. You know, only a few shows manage to pull off some entirely believeble time skips like Mnemosyme did and this one certainly isn’t succeeding at it.
Okay, now let’s have some theory making: Going by the rules of decent mysteries, the culprit shouldn’t be any character who has yet to appear on screen, so I’m quite sure that Blue-chan is the killer. I guess her motive is revenge for Griselda-san’s death or something like that. First she kills Kains, then she makes use of this seemingly impossible crime to tell some stories about Griselda’s ghost to get the other ex-members of the guild afraid (maybe to the point where they commit suicide?) since they are somewhat at fault for Griselda’s death, and then she kills herself, strengthening the point that it must have been a ghost. Heck, right after she was stabbed, she immediately turned around so that everyone could see her wound… although this could also be due to the poor direction of the anime.
There’s an easy way to pull off the killing with the first guy who died: First of all, you get the husband’s weapon. You then proceed to challenge your victim to a duel (the trick was explained this episode) as long as he’s asleep. Then you put a rope around his neck and stab him with the husband’s sword. You make it impossible for him to pull out the sword by freezing or paralyzing him, therefore leading to his death. This of course still leaves some stuff unexplained and I guess there’s some rope construction or something (the author kinda admitted that this side story was just a ripoff from a mystery novel), but I don’t particularly care about that. That’s at least the best I could come up with after 3 minutes of watching. It could be something entirely different and the dueling mode might have been just used as a red herring or something, I dunno.
Btw, the main story apparently starts with episode 9. Seeing how people already treat this as the MOST AMAZING THING EVER!, I just can’t wait for the actual plot to kick in so they can claim it to be the MOSTEST AMAZINGEST THINGEST EVEREST!!!!.