Episode 21 Impressions: Sword Art Online II

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With Kirito covering their backs, it seems the Sleeping Knights will have their chance at victory yet.  Except the group of monster slaying players before them isn’t the only obstacle they face if they want their name on the Memorial wall.

e21swordartonlineii02Synopsis
As they face the players in an all out match, Kirito utilizes his new-found skill in deflecting by keeping magical spells at bay.  As the Sleeping Knights go on the assault, they quickly realize their damage is useless with the healing parties keeping them refreshed.  Leading Asuna to take some drastic measures in securing their victory.

Once inside the boss chamber, they utilize potions to restore their health and get a quick pep talk from Asuna before stepping forward.  While it seems their attacks are dealing damage, it’s not quite enough.  However the Sleeping Knight’s choice in recruiting Asuna proves beneficial as she shows off her cunning knowledge of boss encounters.

Thoughts
While the early segments were definitely filled with some good action, this episode turned out to be even more solid foreshadowing of what’s to come.  An obvious emotional rollercoaster involving Yuuki and her closer team mates.

I have to admit that Kirito ended up doing some great work in holding off the assaults, and definitely pulled off his typical epicness, but Asuna really took the cake this time around.  Showing off why she’s called the Berserk Healer.  Although I have to admit that I’m quite unsure where her new bullet dash came from as I’ve never seen anything like it in any of the worlds they have been in so far.

While the boss encounter was quite lackluster, it was refreshing to see them go a bit more involved with the attack animations than experienced in their recent dealings with bosses.  Less black screen slices and pained monster faces, and more dashes and connecting hits.  That said, I do recognize quite a bit of wonky faces and character models.  Especially during the PVP routine.

That all side, the more important point to note in this episode was the aftermath of their encounter.  As Asuna begins to connect with the characters, it become obvious that Yuuki and Siune seem to be hiding some secret.  Even more telling is Yuuki’s obvious attempt to guard herself (or maybe Asuna) from growing too close.  Putting a more definite tag on Yuuki as possibly being not long for her current life, or life in general.

What’s great is that even with the element of predictability and foreshadowing, the show is doing well enough to tease the situation while making me care for the characters.  Something I haven’t really been able to do for quite some time in this series.  The characters are likable, they don’t feel like they are throwaways, and I’m getting more and more invested in them.  Making what is possible to come, heartbreaking.  However I wish I could say the same for the rest of the Sleeping Knights.

Either way, this isn’t going to end well for the faint of heart.  Prepare the tissues and corners you will cry in as SAO continues to dig itself out of its bad writing hole and into the realm of good build up and heart shattering.

Episode 21: Swordsman’s Memorial

THUMBS UP!

THUMBS UP!

IMPRESSIONS VERDICT:
Great

Pros:

  • Good action
  • Great emotional build
  • Cute moments
  • Troubling foreshadowing

Cons:

  • Wonky character art and faces
  • Lackluster boss encounter

Impressions are based on a single episode and don’t necessarily reflect the series as a whole. Unless dropped, we will continue to give updates on thoughts and impressions of the series as time goes by.

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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.