Sword Art Online, Episode 7 Rant

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We open Episode 7 on June 24, 2024 on Floor 48. It’s been nearly two months since the last episode, and we are introduced to Lisbeth, the last of the “viable” harem that Kirito gets while in Aincrad. No, by the end of the arc Kirito doesn’t actually end up with multiple ladies at his side (thank the stars), but Lisbeth, along with Silica, Asuna and the long-since-dead Sachi do make up a quartet of potential wives for this supposed harem. I wonder if at some point this wasn’t actually considered? Lisbeth is a blacksmith, the only character we’ve seen so far with a penchant for the non-combat skills (we’ll be ignoring Asuna’s cooking proficiency), and she’s working on a sword for Asuna.

Lisbeth asks if Asuna isn’t hunting with the guild, to which Asuna replies she’s taking the day off. Kirito’s asshole ways are clearly rubbing off on her. But I won’t harp on the issue, as I am lenient on this particular matter. Long as no one mentions a dungeon crawl it’s cool to take a day now and then.

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Of course, Lisbeth isn’t entirely stupid, and realizes that Asuna is actually taking the day to meet with a guy (as indicated by her earrings). I won’t hold a suspense over who it is, since clearly it’s Kirito because as far as we’ve seen Asuna doesn’t know or speak to any other male character in this series. Never mind that she probably interacts and talks with dozens of other people (all male most likely) as second in command of a large guild. The fact that she continually remembers Kirito even exists is testament to the author’s firm hard-on to get these two together. Asuna and Kirito being familiar makes more sense in the Progressive reboot series, as the two spend much more time together exploring the lower levels of Aincrad not long after the start of the series. But I digress.

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We get a brief view of a picture (didn’t know they could print these in the game?) with a younger Lisbeth and a few “friends”. This would probably be a good chance to give her a bit of background but instead we cut straight to the opening credits. Is it because they’re all ugly or old that she didn’t shack up with any of them? Or did they all die? These are entirely valid questions we will never get answers to. In all honesty Lisbeth is probably the least offensive and overall best written character of the series. While she lasts; which isn’t long, and it’s a shame she drops out by the end of the first story arc.

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A customer walks into Lisbeth’s shop, and who should it be but fucking Kirito. Of course, right? I would raise questions over how he came to find her place way down on Floor 48 but it’s entirely possible he heard about it from Asuna, whom we know he socializes with. Asuna had also mentioned Lisbeth briefly back in Episode 5. I’d like to point out Lisbeth’s question is also fair, as Kirito is still sporting his crappy black cloak from Floor 1. Sadly, we all know Kirito is usually rolling in cash for being a loot hog and probably having stolen all the money from the Moonlit Black Cats guild after the rest of them died. They did own a guild house worth 200,000 col, remember? No doubt ownership passed to Kirito after the leader committed suicide.

Kirito is in the market for a new sword (duh) and asks Lisbeth for her best work. We see for the first time the name of Kirito’s black sword, which he’s had for some time now and according to Lisbeth is “one of the best magic swords you can get from a monster drop”. We don’t have any idea what floor is the latest, but last it was mentioned was hovering around the late 50s. This means Kirito has been using this sword for a long time, making me question just how powerful (or not) it really is. Makes me question how good Lisbeth is at her job as well. But I’m nitpicking at this point.

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To test Lisbeth’s sword, he tried to cut into his own, breaking the weapon and causing it to disappear. This scene raises a number of questions.

First, was this necessary? From an anime perspective, yes. If we just took Kirito’s word for it, how would we truly know Lisbeth’s sword wasn’t durable? Never mind there’s another way to test durability and that’s to scan the weapon.

I’m fucking serious; all a person has to do is tap the sword to see its attributes. It’s a video game, remember? Everything in this world is quantifiable and easily checked. There was no need for Kirito to pull a stunt like this. Not only did he break a sword (and therefore has to pay for it), he’s practically spitting in Lisbeth’s face by showing her that her supposed “best work” is utter shit. This could be pointed out in a more tactful way, is all I’m saying. This whole scene was for show and Kirito’s “meh” nature to having to pay for a broken sword only shows how much he doesn’t care about being conservative with his money. Anyone can be when they have a guild’s resources in their pocket after slaughtering them all.

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Lisbeth’s reaction to the broken sword is understandable.

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Lisbeth’s anger is also justified. Like I said a moment ago, Kirito could have simply CHECKED THE WEAPON STATS.

To save face (why I don’t know), Lisbeth tells Kirito that with the right materials she could make a better weapon. To which Kirito agrees, and even to her condition that he help her acquire the materials in order to achieve this task. Kirito tries to keep Lisbeth out of the party for this part, but naturally we have a contrivance to keep them together for the duration of the episode:

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There’s a dragon on Floor 55 that can drop a rare material, but only if a master smith is in the party (as Lisbeth points out). How fucking convenient. Not to mention a blatant fucking lie. Trust me, I’ll get back to that one.

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I swear sometimes even Kirito looks like he doesn’t want to deal with the bullshit of this anime.

We cut to Floor 55, a snowy mountain and Kirito and Lisbeth climbing to reach the summit. Lisbeth is understandably cold, since her outfit consists of a thin dress. If only to shut her up, Kirito lets her have his coat.

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Lisbeth points out that it’s warm, which I’m pretty sure they meant to say she’s feeling Kirito’s residual body heat from when he was wearing it. No, they didn’t specify this exactly, but it’s obvious that’s what they were going for. You mean to tell me residual heat is a thing that can actually be experienced in this virtual reality? Boy those developers sure did know how to program the darndest things.

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Hate to break it to you Lisbeth, but you probably shouldn’t be. Not for reasons of modesty, but because Kirito is likely to have you killed if you so much as upset him. The Moonlit Black Cats aren’t around anymore, just saying. Also, take note of the fact Kirito’s name and HP bar doesn’t show under Lisbeth’s, despite the two being in a party. Inconsistency!

Upon reaching the summit, Kirito barks orders for Lisbeth to hide during the fight with the dragon, have her teleport crystal handy and to shut the fuck up the entire time. I guess it’s fair to say he’s learned his lesson from when Sachi was killed on his account, huh? Of course given his sociopathic tendencies I wonder what compels him to try and protect his party members.

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The dragon in question shows up and Kirito takes him on solo. He effortlessly beats on the dragon, all the while Lisbeth watches in shock. One could almost say Kirito is somehow CHEATING? Nah, I’m pushing it. Lisbeth disobeys Kirito’s orders (like a dumb bitch) and steps out of cover just before Kirito finishes the monster off. This of course causes the dragon to target her, instead. Now, let me just point something out here:

This is a video game. I know I have to keep saying this because at times the anime itself forgets this is a video game. The laws of the video game are in effect here, including that of aggro. For the uninitiated, aggro refers to the idea that a monster will target whoever is causing the most trouble in the battle. This can relate to which player is dealing the most damage or generating “hate” through supportive actions. In this example, it’s obvious Kirito is the only target for the AI-controlled dragon because it’s been a one-on-one fight all this time. Even assuming the dragon could target other players based on sight alone, Kirito has too much aggro and hate accrued from the fight for the dragon to simply abandon him for Lisbeth when all she did was step into his line of sight. It just doesn’t work that way.

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Still, the dragon shifts targets and blows Lisbeth away and into a seemingly endless pit. Kirito in a shocking display of selflessness jumps in after her, taking her in his arms and using his own body to absorb the impact of the fall. Fall damage itself hasn’t been showcased in the anime thus far, with the only real penalty being death for the suicide jumps off the edge of the game world. Assuming fall damage is a thing in this game (it is) it’s unlikely Kirito or even Lisbeth will survive such a drop. Guess that’s the end of this adventure, huh?

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And yet somehow they both survive. Of fucking course. Normally I’d be on Lisbeth’s side but honestly this whole mess was her fault to begin with.

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As the two lick their wounds, Kirito asks this obnoxious question. Of course, Lisbeth’s response is to just teleport out of there, which immediately fails. Almost as if Kirito knew ahead of time! Gee, I wonder how? Not to mention if he did, why the hell he didn’t just say so in the first place! Anyway, Kirito’s plan to escape this supposedly inescapable pit is to “run up the walls”.

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“Are you stupid?”

Seriously, are you fucking stupid? That reply is shonen anime level shit. This might be a video game but it’s a video game with RULES. Is wall running possible in the game? Has it ever been done? Clearly not, since Lisbeth herself can’t imagine such a feat being possible. And I don’t fucking blame her. But all the same Kirito tries, manages to climb up a few dozen feet somehow before the game forces his idiot ass back to the ground. Yet somehow he isn’t fazed, and claims it could work if he had more of a running start.

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What she said.

With no other option, the two are forced to camp out at the bottom of the pit. They don’t even know if there is a way out, and they’re just going to wait until morning? How about calling for help? Asuna maybe? Anyone else they know? Surely someone can find them a way out of there, right? NOPE they just decide to try again in the morning. It’s a good thing they pack sleeping bags at all times, right?

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Honey, don’t ask that question. The writer’s hand is all over that awful decision. Or maybe he just really needed her alive to have that sword made? Probably that.

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“I’d rather die with someone than let them die alone.”

Excuse me.

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YOU FUCKING LIAR. Tell that to Sachi and the rest of her guild whom you LET DIE out of selfishness! What gets me about this whole attempt at having Kirito do “right” in penance for his crimes is that he hasn’t learned his lesson! Kirito is still a solo player, he still values himself and his secrets more than anything else. This whole attempt at character growth would make more sense if the minute Sachi died (or at the latest, after hearing her message last Christmas) he turned over a new leaf and joined a guild. Hang with the few people he knows, work closely with the frontrunners. No. Instead he just keeps on trucking it alone. This isn’t someone looking for forgiveness for his errors in life. This is someone PLAYING at seeking forgiveness to ease his twisted conscience. If he even has one.

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And to boot he insults Lisbeth right to her face. She’s likely as old as or even older than you, asshole.

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AND SHE BELIEVES HIM. But I really shouldn’t be surprised, because if you recall…

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SACHI BELIEVED HIM TOO. AND LOOK WHAT THAT GOT HER.

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In either case, the night passes and Lisbeth wakes up to Kirito shoveling around in the snow. If this were a real setting, I’d make the joke that he was covering up an early morning shit but this is a game so why Kirito is doing this is anyone’s guess. Lisbeth recalls holding Kirito’s hand as she fell asleep the previous night, which was weird but somehow we had to get her to fall in love with him in the span of a single night, right?

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Kirito finishes digging, and produces a piece of material that JUST SO HAPPENS to be what they came looking for. What fucking luck, right? WRONG.

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It’s like a sick joke. And not the kind that’s meant to be funny. Or actually, it’s meant to be funny but in reality it isn’t. Let’s break this down:

According to Kirito, the material in question can only be obtained at the bottom of this pit because it’s dragon shit. Literally. This means no one else in the game so far has been able to acquire this drop because it’s an unconventional one. Assuming this is true, how do you explain WHY everyone seemed to know about this drop? Or hell, let’s assume only Lisbeth had heard about it. That it trended her circles. Remember?

There’s a dragon on Floor 55 that can drop a rare material, but only if a master smith is in the party.

Who told her this information? It was a fucking lie. We have to assume it came from the mouth of some jerkass because even Kirito didn’t know about it. Meaning Argo the Rat doesn’t know about it. So NO ONE DOES. Lisbeth’s inclusion in this whole endeavor was pointless and just an excuse to have Kirito play with another girl who will undoubtedly develop affections for him. It’s disgusting.

And to top it off, what possessed Kirito to go digging through the snow to find this? What possible reason or line of thinking would have him do such a task to uncover this rare material? This anime has more plot holes in it than a slice of swiss cheese.

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To add yet another plot hole, they come to the conclusion that the pit is the dragon’s nest. Once the beast descends into it to sleep, Kirito and Lisbeth hitch a ride on its back to escape. So you mean to tell me this is a scripted event? What if others players had failed to ride the dragon out of the hole? I can only imagine this part was designed for SAO before it turned into the “game of death” it is. But I’m tired of harping on this one thing so I’ll just leave it at Kirito and Lisbeth riding the dragon out of a pit designed to prevent escape. Because reasons.

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And why not? Let’s have a moment of wonder during a freefall that could just as easily kill them as their previous dive into a bottomless pit.

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Also this happens. One night with Kirito the prick and she’s confessing feelings? I’ll give her some credit, at least she doesn’t hold it in for years like most anime protagonists.

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We cut back to Lisbeth’s shop, where she forges a new sword that (as the image shows) isn’t even listed in the game directory. This doesn’t mean she created a wholly new sword, just that she’s the first to make a sword that hadn’t been catalogued by the other players yet. Good for her. Guess that’s what happens when you use material no one else has. And OF COURSE this one of a kind sword now belongs to Kirito. Asshole gets all the nicest things.

Satisfied with the result, Kirito offers to pay for the sword, and Lisbeth should charge him every single penny he has for it. But for some reason the girl doesn’t charge him a single col! She instead asks for exclusivity, demanding Kirito go to her for all his weapon needs. This is a ridiculous notion but makes sense when you factor in that Lisbeth is a single sentence away from marrying Kirito. The only thing stopping her from doing this?

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Asuna showed up at just the right moment to fuck over Lisbeth’s plans. Because we can’t have anyone else shacking up with Kirito, can we? The better question is why would anyone do this? Makes me wonder if Kirito will actually spill the beans on what he did to the Moonlit Black Cats at some point…

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The look on Lisbeth’s face is quite something. She’s only known the dude for less than a day! Cheer the fuck up, why don’t you? And even if Lisbeth realized Asuna and Kirito MIGHT be a thing, why not simply throw it out there? But I suppose that would be a dick move, and Lisbeth actually has a good heart and wouldn’t interject herself between a friend and some guy. Maybe shrugging Kirito off this way was the smartest decision ever? Like if the character herself had a will of her own to reject the shitty writing.

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All the same, we get a brief scene of Lisbeth curled up somewhere as she processes these feelings. And who should show up to fuck over this moment of silent introspection than Kirito? Lisbeth tries to get Kirito to fuck off, so she could have her moment alone but the idiot doesn’t get a hint and starts spouting nonsense he himself doesn’t believe. You know, attempts at making Kirito seem like the decent human being he clearly isn’t.

Lisbeth all but confesses how she felt, but the dense asshat doesn’t realize this. The episode ends rather abruptly, showing just how awful Kirito’s inclusion in this final scene was.

Sword Art Online, Episode 7 Rant

Sword Art Online, Episode 6 Rant

Reminder as of this writing (February 2016), SAO8: Early & Late has not released in English and therefore I cannot compare the anime to the original light novel story. With that out of the way…

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Following the events of Episode 5, Kirito spots the supposed “murderer” of Yoruko (who honestly needed to be killed) and immediately gives chase across the rooftops. The man in the cloak uses a teleport crystal to escape, and Kirito’s attempts to slow him down fail because they are still in a town and therefore he cannot harm him in any way. Upon his return to the inn, Asuna gives him a bit of shit over running after the guy but she can shut her trap. Asuna still lives with one foot in the real world (not a bad thing) but it doesn’t give her the best gut reactions to happenings in the game world.

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Okay, fuck off. Schimdt claims the robe the murderer was using belonged to Griselda the old (and dead) guild leader and is now convinced it was a ghost that killed Yoruko. First, at what point did he see the murderer on the rooftops? He was no where near the window when the murder happened, did not approach the window after it, and certainly wouldn’t have gotten a good look at the cloak from such a distance since the murderer took off at blazing speed once Kirito gave chase. So I call bullshit on this, but we need Schimdt to lose his shit to move the plot forward.

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I actually share Asuna’s expression on this one.

Thankfully Kirito isn’t buying into the ghost theory, and mentions the murders HAVE to be explained in some fashion through the game. We the audience figure as much but we have to remember the anime thinks us too stupid to figure it out on our own. And to be fair, without the anime telling us how they did it, we wouldn’t have the first clue. When the explanation comes later I’ll pick it apart as well, don’t you worry. Sadly we remain at the mercy of their explanations since we aren’t privvy to the information inside the writer’s or characters’ heads.

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Shut the fuck up, Asuna. Kirito again repeats that it couldn’t be a ghost and we move on to-

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Fuck. ANOTHER food scene. To quote what I said back in Episode 2:

Food serves no practical purpose in SAO. It is never reported to have healing properties, or provide statistical buffs of any kind. It exists solely to be eaten. I wish I could say the novels make sense of this, but sadly they don’t. It’s merely a given that food is needed because the players feel “hunger”. Hunger is a bodily function; the body demands nourishment. However, these aren’t their real bodies. These are projections in a virtual space. Their brain is currently disconnected from the rest of their bodies, if you recall. Therefore, the notion of hunger SHOULD NOT EXIST. They cannot feel hungry if the signals informing them of hunger CANNOT REACH THEIR BRAINS. Food’s inclusion into this story is solely for its own sake. As is the “need” to eat that is mentioned in the novels.

The fact that food also has durability is actually the only consistent concept, if a bit of a dick move on the part of the game developers. Items running out is one thing, but running out while stored? I think this concept was removed in SAO Progressive as durability of items was a key plot point in a couple of those stories. The other thing is flavor, which is a ridiculous notion. How does one program FLAVOR into a game? Is flavor quantifiable?

Once again I point to Log Horizon, where a recurring gag of the first two novels was how all food in the world tasted the same (soggy rice crackers, or some describable form of flavorless). This should apply to SAO; even if it’s a virtual reality, it’s also among the first and therefore the idea that people can program TASTE into a game is ridiculous at this stage. Come back after a quarter century and then we’ll talk.

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Cooking is a skill in this game. This isn’t so out there; many MMOs even today have cooking subclasses. But remember: in those games, food has a practical purpose. It buffs. It heals. Not in SAO. So what’s the benefit to mastering cooking in this game? JACK FUCKING SHIT. But Asuna has to know it because it only makes sense we have the lead female in a story also be the epitome of perfect woman for the man. It’s almost disgustingly sexist, in a way.

Kirito drops his sandwich and it vanishes, which gives him the epiphany regarding the murder cases. But before we hear about it, we cut away to Floor 19.

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We see Schimdt here begging forgiveness at the grave of Griselda. Yes, there are graves for players. This kind of thing would be something of a joke in a Dragon Quest style MMO but here it’s a one-off thing that only serves to show how inconsistent the writing can be in this series. Did they buy that gravestone? How much did it cost? Where would you buy gravestones in a game where death wasn’t a real thing but is only now a hack of sorts? KEEP YOUR STORY STRAIGHT DAMMIT.

To Schimdt’s surprise he hears a creepy voice answer his plea. It causes him to nearly shit his pants when all of a sudden a figure approaches from behind. Schimdt looks over his shoulder to see:

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A rabbit. If it had been a white rabbit I would have called it a Monty Python reference.

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Then an actual person shows up and keeps up this charade of it being Griselda. We the audience know this isn’t possible, and we wish Schimdt wasn’t so stupid but alas we have to let this show play out. Another figure shows up and starts questioning Schimdt, and of course the guy spills the beans on everything. How he was an unwitting (or willing?) participant in a set up to have Griselda murdered. Well, that’s what happened but he claims he had no idea.

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Turns out our “ghosts” were actually Yoruko and Kains, who set this all up to get the idiot to confess his crime.

We cut back to Kirito, who begins to drop all the details on how this whole “murder” played out. According to him, the trick is Kains let his armor be destroyed by the spear, and at the same time it vanished he teleported from the scene. Let’s break it down!

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The above image shows what a destroyed object or person effect looks like in SAO.

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The above image shows what a teleport effect looks like.

CLEARLY THEY’RE IDENTICAL! The fact is for this to have worked the two effects would have to be identical, which they are not. And it doesn’t make sense that in a game with this much “attention to detail” the two effects wouldn’t overlap to give some clue as to what was happening. Not only that, don’t forget that players can AT ALL TIMES see each others’ HP bars.

HP bars that change color from green to yellow to red the closer they get to empty. You mean to tell me Kirito didn’t think it strange that this guy “died” without a single change to his HP bar? And even if we assume he was “too far” from him to see it, he was watching Yoruko in the inn room from a few feet away. He saw her get stabbed by the knife. He saw her plummet to the ground. And not a single change to her HP bar!

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“Incredibly similar” you say?

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YOUR EYES ARE BROKEN ASSHAT.

Kirito then pieces together that Yoruko and Kains came up with this plan to lure out the true murderer. Regardless, Kirito insists they leave the rest to them. Shockingly smart considering they went poking their nose into the matter in the first place. Better late than never, huh?

We return to the other three who are suddenly assaulted by a murdering guild called Laughing Coffin. As important a role as these fools play later for Kirito himself, right now they are at best a cameo. And since our protagonists aren’t present, I won’t bother with this part of the episode.

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And suddenly Kirito shows up on horseback? FUCK YOU ANIME. His entire reason for being here is to just play the hero. Never mind it’s out of character for him. But it’s all for naught since the Laughing Coffin members just walk away. Kains then asks how Kirito knew they’d attack at that very moment.

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Yeah, SUCK MY DICK ANIME. This entire scene was not only contrived but fucking stupid as well.

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Among the pointless banter regarding the murder subplot, we cut to Kirito and Asuna discussing marriage and its purpose in SAO. This is solely to explain the concept now before Kirito and Asuna marry. What? Spoilers? We all knew it was going to happen, you idiots. But for all the claims of it being “practical” it’s a blatant lie. There’s never any mention of item storage being limited in the game so sharing the storage is actually more of an inconvenience than anything else. Because it was Asuna who brought this up, Kirito asks her if she’d gotten married.

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And this is her response. Fuck you, Asuna. I hope you rot alone for being such an overreactive cunt.

Of course the entire point of this whole cut away is for Kirito to piece together what happened to the Agility Ring Griselda wanted to sell in the first place. After all, we can’t have the three people who are actually RELEVANT to this subplot figure it out, can we? No we need our intrepid heroes to do that! If you’re slow on the uptake, basically Grimrock, Griselda’s husband was the one who ordered her death to keep the Agility Ring for himself. Shock…?

This ties in why Laughing Coffin was at the scene (hired by Grimrock to dispose of everyone), but it doesn’t explain why Grimrock himself was hiding out nearby. Why? Dude could have been sipping tea in an inn somewhere and waited to hear back from the assassins he hired. But no, we needed him present to wrap up this idiotic subplot nice and neat.

In short, Grimrock shares that Griselda was his real life wife, and while in the real world she was submissive to him, in the game HE became the bitch of the relationship. So he had her killed to “put her in her place” so to speak. It’s honestly pathetic but whatever ends this episode.

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Well technically it was your problem to begin with, Kirito was just poking his big nose where it didn’t belong. The three members carry off Grimrock, and then we get this pointless scene:

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Yes, her actual ghost showed up for a moment. We’ll all pretend it didn’t happen because it makes NO FUCKING SENSE. The episode ends with Kirito and Asuna becoming friends (like literal friends in the video game sense) because in 18+ months they haven’t done this? Whatever. Just finish this stupid subplot already.

Sword Art Online, Episode 6 Rant

Sword Art Online, Episode 5 Rant

An advisory prior to the start of Episode 5 rant: unlike the rest of the series, at the time of writing (February 2016) SAO Volume 8: Early and Late has not been released in English. As such I do not have access to the official translation with which to make comparisons to the anime episodes (5 & 6). Though I doubt the novel version would help the plot, I have been making use of it until now. That said, enjoy the show.

We open Episode 5 on March 6, 2024. It’s been two weeks since we left Silica’s awful existence behind and we find ourselves on Floor 56 of Aincrad. There’s a strategy meeting going on for members of the front line, and among the crowd we see the likes of Egil, Klein, and Asuna who has been absent from the show for a couple episodes now. They are discussing how to deal with the field boss, which until now hadn’t been brought up in the anime. According to the novels, these are floor midbosses that must be beaten before ascending the tower and facing the true floor boss and moving on. Asuna’s plan is to lead the boss into a town, allowing the boss to focus his attention on the villager NPCs and thus spare the players from potential harm. A wise move, I give credit where credit’s due.

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So naturally Kirito has to step in and throw a wrench into the gears. Kirito is about to claim that the NPCs aren’t mere objects to be destroyed, when Asuna cuts him off and shuts him the hell up. Never mind that this goes against Kirito’s established nature of being a selfish prick, the fact of the matter is Asuna has a point. This is still a game world, and the only things in the game world that aren’t safe from true harm are the players themselves. The fact that Kirito is starting to feel sympathy for NPCs, or even think of them as “real” is a scary sign. It’s been 15 months since they’ve been trapped (needlessly) in this game. It wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility that the players are losing touch with reality. But for this to affect Kirito of all people?

Well, I suppose one could make the argument that Kirito would be among the first to lose that touch. We’ve already seen his personality in action, and we’ve seen how he places the utmost importance on himself above all else. We’ve seen his blatant disregard for human life, so it’s entirely possible Kirito being trapped in the game gave him a chance to show his true colors where such an opportunity would never have happened in the real world.

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So yes, Asuna has the right idea. She’s looking to save real lives, not fake ones meant to add a layer of realism to this fake world, this very real prison they’re trapped in. And yet Kirito insists on speaking out against the plan! But before he gives any real reasons Asuna pulls rank on his ass (now second in command to a guild!) and tells him he WILL obey. No threats of any kind needed! Asuna is taking charge!

After the meeting is over, Egil approaches Kirito about his “constant” fights with Asuna at the meetings. We’ll have to take his word for it, but I guess it’s not a stretch to believe Kirito would participate in front line events for a chance to steal rare loot. The scene is otherwise pointless and serves only to remind us of what Kirito told her at the end of Episode 2, as well as establish she’s now high up the food chain in a front line guild.

After the opening credits, we cut to Floor 59 on April 11. It’s been a month. And we get no word on how that operation turned out or if Kirito even participated. I question the point of the whole scene then? Other than to show us Kirito is probably past the point of no return when it comes to differentiating reality from the game’s fantasy.

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Kirito is lying down in the shade of a tree taking a nap when Asuna walks by and scolds him for being a lazy body. Kirito completely ignores her, and tells her it’s a good day for taking a nap out in the open. Again, this scene only seems to paint Kirito in another negative light. Is this how he usually handles dungeon exploration? How often does he partake in the expedition? Or is he the kind of person who only shows up for the boss fight for that rare loot? We get no confirmation either way but given his general attitude and past behaviors (as well as supplements from the novels) we can safely deduce Kirito only joins when it’s in his benefit. Like rare quests or the like.

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So when Kirito tells her it would be a waste to go dungeon spelunking that day, Asuna responds like a rational person. Yes, I will say that 16 months of nonstop game life involving life or death battles deserves a holiday here and there. But that holiday could be a day when THEY AREN’T EXPLORING THE FLOOR DUNGEON. It has been established these dungeons are the hardest parts of any floor. Take your idiot holiday tomorrow, after the boss is dead and it’ll take another few days to reach the next dungeon!

So ultimately Asuna is correct: they’ve already lost 16 months of their lives. And they’ve barely made it past the half way point of the quest. And while clearly this is a middle slog of the adventure, it’s now that they have to redouble their efforts most to keep up the pace.

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But Kirito doesn’t care. Kirito has accepted his life in Aincrad. This is his life now. Why are we rooting for him? Why is he our protagonist? Can we switch to Asuna?

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I take that back. Asuna is one gullible moron. Careful, girl; Kirito might lead you into a trap room if you ask the wrong questions!

Hours pass and by sundown Asuna finally wakes up. And for some reason she feels indebted to Kirito for sticking around to let her sleep? We later learn the reason for this was as to prevent Asuna from getting killed in her sleep. She was sleeping in an open field area, where any mal-intentioned player could strike. Still, a simple THANK YOU would have sufficed.

So they go to a place on Floor 57, where of course everyone seems to know Asuna (understandable since she’s a girl and on the front line) and questioning Kirito for being with her. I suppose this whole set up is true to gamer life; if there was a girl half as pretty as Asuna is claimed to be in such a scenario you can bet she’d be drooled over by every guy there. Male gamers are a sorry bunch of forever alone basement dwellers.

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And not 10 seconds after pointing out that towns were safe from player killing, we get this scene of a player being killed in town! Consistency! Though to be fair there’s an explanation for all this, so we’ll proceed along keeping this in mind. Kirito tells the man to pull the spear lodged in his chest, but the guy looks at him like this:

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“Pull it out? WHY I NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT!”

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What’s more the guy clearly looks to be in pain. Let me refer you to a line from my Episode 1 rant:

While any man would lament such a happening, Kirito condescendingly reminds Klein that there is no pain in SAO. No pain in SAO. Remember that.

So what is it our friend in armor dangling from a balcony feeling? Maybe he’s imagining the last time he took a really large shit that ravaged his tight asshole at the same time he’s pulling that spear from his chest. Just saying.

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The dude goes boom, leaving behind the spear that offed him and the crowd in a noticeable and acceptable panic. This truly is… a crime within the walls (ba-dum-tish)!

Kirito immediately asks the crowd to find the killer, who would be easily identified by the DUEL WINNER notification above his head. But there is no such person, and Asuna informs Kirito there was no one inside the house where the man was hanging from. They two go up there and find the noose tied to a table inside. Clearly someone planned this in detail, got the man to put the noose over his neck, impaled him with the spear and then threw him off the balcony. All this work? Clearly something’s afoot but our two protagonists can’t seem to piece it together. Idiots. They immediately jump to the conclusion that someone has found a way to kill within the safe zones. Bigger idiots. And Asuna insists they both leave the front line to investigate this matter. What fucking-

Wait, WHAT? Why them? What the hell do they care? Aside from the obvious implication the claim makes they have no reason to undertake this mystery themselves! Hell even Kirito is baffled by his inclusion in this mystery subplot. If Asuna wants to solve this more power to ya girl, but fuck do the rest of us care? But we get no say in the matter, sadly.

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Kirito and Asuna begin by asking the crowd if anyone saw the whole thing. Never mind the fact that by now some could have left including the culprit? Whatever. We meet Yoruko here who claims she was around to have dinner with our dead fellow. Suspect Number One literally walked right up to them! Can it get any easier than this? Dead fellow is called Kains, and Yoruko claims they got separated in the plaza shortly before it all went down.

Okay, back the fuck up. You’re telling me Yoruko was with the man in the plaza, lost sight of him for a few minutes, and then suddenly he’s hanging from a balcony dying? Come up with a better lie, girl. That shit would never fly. The window of opportunity for a murder was like 5 minutes tops!

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THEY BELIEVE HER.

Yoruko mentions she MIGHT have seen someone up on the balcony but can’t be sure. And he didn’t look familiar. Could have been Ronald McDonald and it wouldn’t make it any less plausible. She’s clearly fucking lying.

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Good question, if generic. Also the ass shot was totally necessary. Naturally, Yoruko answers no and they escort her to an inn. Good sleuthing, you two. Master detectives, the lot of you. Asshats.

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Yes, lets: Yoruko is mighty suspicious, knows too many details about what happened, claims to have lost sight of Kains for “just a second”… SHE’S FUCKING IN ON IT YOU ASSCLOWNS. Instead, Asuna insists they find out who made the spear what killed Kains, and that would help them find the killer.

Question: HOW? A weapon is just that. It could have been made by anyone. Person could be dead, for all they know. And even if they aren’t, the maker doesn’t point to the killer. What if they bought the weapon off the person? So unless the creator is the same as the killer… this is going NO WHERE.

What kills me about this whole scene? Kirito can solve this with just a fat purse. I know those in the anime exclusive world have only seen Argo the Rat ONCE and hardly know about her, but in the novels she’s a force to be reckoned with. Kirito has often gone to her, dropped a purse, and gotten any info he wanted so long as it existed straight from her. Why not just call her up (he can) and ask her for anything on this matter? I can bet you in an hour she’d have the killer’s name, location and favorite time to take a shit if they so wanted. Sadly, we instead don’t get to use Argo and follow these two numbnuts on this wild goose chase.

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And then we get this from Asuna? You’ve known Kirito since the game started. He’s never bothered to call you anything but your name. Why are you bringing this shit up now? Has the authority gotten to your head and now demand it even from this loser?

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THEN WHY THE FUCK DID YOU BRING IT UP?! FUCK!

So to find someone with the appropriate skill to appraise the item, Asuna mentions a friend (we meet her later on) but claims this is her “busiest time”. It’s the middle of the night. At worst she’s sleeping like any other normal person. But whatever, this is why Kirito is around to call on his bald associate Egil.

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Do that and you’ll never make a profit, asshat. But then again, all this money is fake anyway so as long as you get what you want the rest is pointless. After a pointless shoch scene from Egil regarding Asuna, Kirito shares the details on what happened with the murder. Egil does his part and tells them the spear was made by a player named Grimrock. They also learn the weapon’s given name is Guilty Thorn but what this has to do with anything is beyond me.

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So Kirito is about to stab his own hand with the spear to test something, when Asuna stops him (and stops our caring of this scene with her glorious ass). You can bet Egil is stealthily positioned behind the camera admiring her backside looking like Antonio Banderas in Assassins. Regardless, Asuna takes the weapon from Kirito and refuses to let him test out the properties.

Question: WHY? He is doing this to see if there are any hidden properties to the murder weapon. In a controlled environment surrounded by two people capable of throwing him a save in case shit goes south. Her denial is rooted in superstition and- whatever, she says no and gives the weapon to Egil and they leave. Gods sometimes Asuna does the stupidest fucking shit.

So the next day, the two question Yoruko again regarding Grimrock, the creator of the murder weapon. Yoruko recognizes the name, claiming he was a member of their guild. We also get a very long story about this guild, which is fluff to be honest so I’ll sum it up for you all:

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The guild came in possession of an Agility Ring (super cool Dragon Quest reference) and a fight broke out over what to do with it. After a vote, they choose to sell the ring (stupid idea, it’s a useful rare accessory and money is pointless) and the leader disappears with it. She ends up dead, and according to Yoruko Grimrock is supposedly after those who opposed selling the ring as they had motive for murder.

She all but lays the blame on Grimrock, painting herself an innocent! This is so obviously a feint but fear not! Our intrepid sleuths immediately fall for it! Thank god they aren’t as smart as the rest of us! They also agree to Yoruko’s amazing plan to let her speak with Schimdt, the third supposed innocent. While they’re at it they can also hand her a knife, lock the door and pretend they didn’t hear a murder go on inside the room.

Afterwards, Kirito and Asuna discuss how the murder could have been carried out while on route to find Schimdt. He claims three possibilities:

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Yeah, which involved Kains agreeing to put a noose around his neck and jumping off the balcony with a spear in his gut.

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Okay, what exploit? Care to explain them?

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SEE WHAT? I am the audience you have to tell me!

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Well fuck the second option, apparently. This one seems almost plausible except it would go against the very rules of the game itself so… yeah, not buying it. Thankfully, Kirito agrees it would be unfair so he rules it out.

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We cut back to Yoruko’s apartment, where she’s discussing what happened with Schimdt. The man looks shaken at the revelation, wondering why this happened so many months (six) after the death of their old guild leader. Yoruko seems eerily calm about everything, and even throws us this little nugget of idiocy:

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She’s seriously claiming the ghost of Griselda their guild leader is looking for revenge. A ghost. In a video game. I just… what? Is she stupid? Crazy? Both? It’s a game. Not a fantasy world in literature or film. People who die in this game die for good. They don’t continue to wander the digital world fucking with shit just because. Though admittedly that would make for a great subplot but sadly it never comes to pass.

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Yeah, clearly Yoruko is crazy. Throw her out there and let whoever killed Kains kill her, too. She’s gone off the deep end and we should be done away with her as soon as possible. She’s pretty much accepted that they have to die so fuck her.

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Thankfully, someone agrees and decides to throw a knife into her back. Despite it being a safe zone. She dies after falling out the window. Never mind that this is still a game and that one puny knife would have had to deplete ALL her HP to achieve that effect. But HEY let’s forget these facts and end the episode!

Sword Art Online, Episode 5 Rant

Sword Art Online, Episode 4 Rant

We open this episode on Floor 35 of Aincrad, and the date is February 23, 2024. This puts us two months after the last episode, where Kirito was last seen crying his eyes out over Sachi’s death. Well, we saw that in the novel; the anime dared not show what little human emotion Kirito is capable of lest they fail in their quest to make him the ultimate monster. Speaking of monsters, we meet a character named Silica, who apparently has a pet dragon who can use healing skills on her in combat. As such, the people she’s grouped with are trying to extort her for healing crystals, claiming she doesn’t need them.

Okay, the woman has a point. If you have a pet capable of keeping your health up, there’s nothing wrong with sharing a few of your items. Especially if you’re in a group with them. True, she’s going about it in a really snobbish way, but sharing one crystal isn’t going to kill you. However, Silica claims the woman doesn’t fight on the front line, so there’s no need for her to require the crystals in the first place. Equally fair point, though if she doesn’t fight on the front… what does she do? Throw knives for paltry damage? The anime has established there are no mage classes or ranged damage outside throwing knives which are known to be worthless.

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The woman in question seems to favor a spear. I knew she was an asshole from the start I just wanted to try and play devil’s advocate for the sake of it. I really hate Silica as you’ll come to see so anything to turn the tables on her. The woman claims Silica is a “child idol”, relating to the fact that she’s the ONLY player with a pet? I call bullshit on this like you have NO FUCKING CLUE. How did this girl with all the intelligence of a grade schooler stumble across a quest no one else has to get a pet dragon? And if so, why didn’t she share where she got it? You can bet your ass every person in Aincrad would be toting a pet capable of healing them if it meant easing the difficulty a bit.

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We’ll get back to that point, but Silica becomes fed up with the woman and the others who are just trying to keep the peace and leaves the group. Though the fact that Silica claims “many others want to be in her party” makes her come across as bratty and spoiled. Fuck off, you brat. I hope a monster comes along and rips your throat open.

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HEY for once the anime does something right! So after storming off like a dumb bitch, Silica is cornered by three large ape monsters, one of which looks like he’s getting hammered before raping Silica bloody. Her health is below half, so you know she’s in deep shit. However, rather than HIGH TAIL IT OUT OF THERE, Silica insists on continuing the fight. She’s outnumbered and on the defensive, and still she won’t run? She’s looking to get killed (or raped by the apes) and I have no sympathy for her whatsoever. The pet dragon is doing its part in casting healing breaths, but Silica is looking for more healing items instead of running away. Again, do I need to repeat myself? The logical option here is to RUN AWAY. If not by foot by emergency teleport crystal. This girl is that stupid, and she’s the only one in the game with a pet dragon?

So Silica gets fucked up some more for being stupid, drops her weapon, and then panics as she looks around for it. Instead of… say it with me now, RUNNING AWAY! The apes close in for the kill when that pet dragon of hers does something I’m sure wouldn’t be programmed into a pet AI:

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It takes the killing blow for her. I’m actually torn up about this. I liked that dragon more than I liked Silica. But sadly we’re supposed to feel moved by the dragon’s heroic sacrifice. Which is moot when the dragon died to protect a girl too stupid to wipe her own ass.

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Silica then proceeds to cry over the corpse of her dragon for no less than TWENTY FUCKING SECONDS. Let me remind you that the apes are literally right behind her, less than 3 feet away with clubs thick enough to shame a horse’s erect member. And they’re dead set on shoving it up Silica’s ass.

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And then the apes fuck her bloody and the episode is over.

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THE END! Wow, best episode ever! Not only did it end in 3 minutes it also offed the worst character of the series! Man I take it all back, SAO isn’t that bad a show after all. Catch you all next time!

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But no. Sadly, out of NO WHERE Kirito shows up to save Silica from the rape apes. And he downs all three in a single swipe of his sword, which he’s been using since the start of the anime. I’m pretty sure that’s technically impossible in the context of the game world but it could just be that the budget didn’t stretch far enough to design new weapons for him every time there was a time skip. I want to take a moment to point out that Reki Kawahara apologized to some extent for making Kirito the protagonist of these stories, as it was wildly self-indulgent. Never mind that by now the front is a dozen floors higher, if not more, but such a HUGE coincidence that Kirito was nearby to save her. In a game world that’s miles across on ever floor. Even if Reki hadn’t done it this way, you can be sure the anime staff would have just to keep Kirito in the spotlight.

Without even a word of gratitude, Silica ignores her savior and keeps crying over the remains of her pet dragon, now just a blue feather item. Naturally, we all know where this is going: a leftover item means there’s a way to revive it. After all, unlike people, pets are just a product of the game, so surely there must be a way to do this. A cool nod would be if they visited a church and made a donation for a resurrection spell.

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I like how Kirito just doesn’t appear to care as the girl is crying her eyes out over the dead pet. I wouldn’t care either, Kirito. I’m rarely on your side but this girl has attachment issues and it would be best to leave her alone in her misery. If we’re both lucky, she’ll stick around long enough for more rape apes to show and finish the job!

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So Kirito knows what Silica is. Meaning she’s not the only one with pets. Meaning there’s a quest out there that anyone and everyone can take to become a beast tamer and have their own healing dragon pet. Explain to me again why Kirito isn’t among them? The dude who seeks to be the best at everything and would trade his lover for a chance at glory? Wildly inconsistent, anime.

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YES. YES YOU WERE. AND I’M GLAD YOUR PET DIED TO TEACH YOU A LESSON YOU VAPID WHORE.

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Kirito inquires after the item, and of course points out that the dragon can be revived. Of course it can. And of course he knows this. And of course he knows exactly where to do it. Because he’s Kirito. He knows everything so long as it suits the plot. I just love how easily Kirito can know these things if it allows the plot to keep moving forward. I know it’s almost pointless of me to say it, but a simple scene where Kirito just ASKS around his network of contacts (short a list as it may be) and gets this information instead would be MUCH more believable to the audience. Then again, I am the only one with a brain watching this series so never mind me.

Naturally Silica is hesitant about going up to Floor 47, an area well out of her level range to accomplish this quest. And of course despite Kirito offering to take the quest for her, it can’t be done unless Silica is present anyway. Convenient. But then again, it does free Kirito from the responsibility; if she can’t make the trip, fuck her. Move on. Why the hell were you dicking around Floor 35 anyway? Off looking to find another guild of losers to join and then lead into a trap and watch them all die?

…too soon?

Anyway, Silica points out that she’ll go on her own once she levels up enough to survive the journey. Only for Kirito to tell her that reviving a pet is only viable within three days of the pet’s death.

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One: HOW THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW THIS? Are you a beast tamer? NO! Have you done the quest for beast tamers? NO! Have you ever lost a pet and had to take the quest to revive it? NO! Have you ever known anyone else with a pet who lost it and therefore learn about the 3 day time limit? NO! NO! NO!

And no, I won’t accept that this is all some kind of common knowledge spread by Argo the Rat because it is BULLSHIT. You can’t claim that Silica is some kind of celebrity because of her healing dragon and also open up what she’s supposedly famous for to everyone else. If everyone were capable of having pet healing dragons, EVERYONE WOULD HAVE ONE. There would be NO REASON for ANYONE to look at Silica any differently. This is radically inconsistent even for you, Reki.

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Kirito then decides on the spot to help Silica out in her little problem. He gives her a bunch of free gear and then offers to guide her to the point where she can revive her pet. WHY? Kirito has never given a flying fuck about anyone in the year and months he’s been a part of the game. In fact, the only person we have seen him care about at all was Sachi, and HE LET HER DIE SO HE COULD KEEP HIS LEVEL SECRET. Why should we believe right now, out of the blue, Kirito wants to help this stranger he just met? I mean, I would say he’s doing it because his teenage prick is itchin’ for some grade schooler cunt but THIS IS A GAME. I’m pretty damn sure you can’t have SEX in this game! Having Kirito help out goes against his established character (weak though it may be).

What’s more, why does Kirito still have all that gear? Wouldn’t he have sold it soon as he got back from his hunts? Is that his old gear from a few levels back? I don’t think so considering the idiot is still using his black cloak from the first floor boss.

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Because Reki goofed and wrote Kirito into this short story instead of a wholly new character. That’s why.

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First, that’s a filthy lie. Silica looks NOTHING like Suguha, a character we have yet to be introduced to and the sister in question. Second, that’s hardly a good reason to do anything. Even if it were, if Silica had half a brain she’d take it as the red flag it is and start running clear through the forest to get away from this creeper. But of course Silica finds it charming and agrees to it anyway. All Kirito needs to do is tell her to bend over and Silica would gladly do it, she’s already so enamored with Kirito.

Kirito also mentions that all this: saving her and then escorting her through Floor 47, isn’t completely out of his way. YOU MEAN TO TELL ME YOU CAME TO THIS FLOOR LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO SAVE AND THEN TAKE ON A QUEST? THAT IS BULLSHIT. We learn later why Kirito was messing around on a lower floor, but it’s just as much bullshit as everything else. Not to mention his reason for being there had NOTHING to do with saving Silica. The girl wasn’t even anywhere NEAR what he was after in the first place!

We cut back to town on Floor 35, where a couple people run up to Silica and ask her to join up with them. This is what the woman from the beginning of the episode meant when she was a “child idol”. Clearly it has little to do with anything other than creepy men wanting to fondle her underage pussy. Silica uses Kirito to get away, and mentions she got full of herself when they started calling her… they started calling her:

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Excuse me.

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She isn’t the only one with pets, she isn’t the only one with dragons, and by damn if she’s a tamer of anything. Girl couldn’t even figure to run away from a fight she couldn’t win.

Despite feeling sorry for herself, Kirito continues to be all kind and supportive of Silica. WHICH IS RADICALLY OUT OF CHARACTER. This asshole doesn’t give two shits about anyone but himself. Yet if you saw this episode alone you’d think he was this ray of sunshine come to save the populace from all their misery. Clearly Reki meant to write someone else into that role, but settled on Kirito just to make it easier on himself.

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They happen to run into these clowns again, and the woman goes and baits Silica over the fact that her dragon pet is dead. Not only that, EVEN THIS WOMAN KNOWS ABOUT THE QUEST TO REVIVE PETS! Do you not realize how utterly STUPID all this is? How EVERYONE but the girl with the pet herself seems to know all about them? Regardless, Kirito tells the woman to fuck off and they continue towards the inn.

At the inn, Kirito mentions how online, people’s personalities change. Role playing is what he’s describing, though I find that difficult to buy since this is reality for these people now. This isn’t so much role playing as it is people just being themselves now that they have the chance to get away with it. After all, laws in SAO are lax by comparison. As we’ll find out soon enough. Kirito also explains how criminal players are marked by an orange cursor, and murderers with a red cursor. Kirito does his usual drab “this isn’t a game” speech and we move on to the next scene.

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Should I even bother? We all know this is just for the sake of fanservice. We had to put the prepubescent girl in underwear. Never mind that as a game, equipment itself shouldn’t pose any kind of hindrance or weight on the body. So Silica in her full gear versus Silica in her white bra and panties should not be any different. But-

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Fuck it we just wanted more shots of this. You sick fucks.

Kirito begins to explain the plan for the quest the following day to Silica, when he stops abruptly to chase off an eavesdropper. I won’t bother with the whole game mechanics of listening in nonsense. But I will point out how pointless this scene was given that the persons that ultimately chase the two down already KNEW where Kirito and Silica were off to in the morning. Therefore, THIS SCENE SERVED NO PURPOSE.

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And just as quickly as it happened, we move on to February 24 on Floor 47. Silica immediately notices (and incorrectly assumes) this floor is all about couples! Which suddenly she perceives herself and Kirito to be? Since when? Since you met him less than 12 hours ago? And where did this idea that it was a floor for couples come from? Because it’s covered in flowers? This floor was once the frontier. NO ONE ELSE WAS THINKING THIS THEN. Explain to me how this bimbo has not been killed yet? Explain to me how someone this stupid was even allowed to put on a NerveGear in the first place? Who the hell bought her the game?

Kirito gives Silica a teleport crystal, telling her to use it to escape should anything go wrong. Gee, it’s a good thing you gave one to Silica and not the girl you liked so she could have escaped as soon as the trap room sprung around her friends all those months ago. One would almost think you’re trying to make up for that shit!

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Suddenly, a plant monster shows up and does this. And we get the most painful, pointless fight scene ever. Because you know, Silica cares so much about her precious modesty she panics instead of focusing on how to kill the otherwise easy monster. I don’t even want to spend anymore time on this. It’s not funny in any way here, and it certainly wasn’t funny in the novels, either.

We get a series of of still images of fights as Kirito shares some of his past regarding his sister, who turns out to actually be his cousin. This is done so when the time comes, even Kirito’s sister/cousin can be allowed to fall in love with him. Honestly, I don’t give a rat’s ass about what Kirito is saying because it in no way furthers the plot, develops him as a character and ultimately means nothing when Suguha is introduced later on. We also get another scene with another slimy plant monster rubbing up against Silica.

Silica gets her flower, all appears to be going well, when Kirito and Silica stumble across Rosalia, the woman from before. And get ready, because this is where shit caves in on itself. This whole episode is stupid like you have no idea.

 

Rosalia was trailing the two so she could get Silica to hand over the revival item they just got. Okay, first off: what was Rosalia’s guarantee that Silica wouldn’t have just used it on the spot? I’m actually wondering why she hasn’t revived her pet dragon yet. Regardless, there’s also the issue of them not simply teleporting out of the area once the quest is complete. Other than being cheap, what purpose does it serve to march all the way back out? A huge gamble on her part indeed.

What’s more, Kirito knows who she really is, and that she’s the leader of an “orange guild” known as Titan’s Hand. Basically, they’re they’re criminals. Though why Kirito didn’t just mention this before in town is anyone’s guess. Or why no one knew she was in a guild since we established in the previous episode that a person’s guild is featured PROMINENTLY over their HP bar.

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Oh look, no HP bar. I’m guessing now there’s a way to hide that, too. The consistency in this anime is so fucking bad it’s hardly worth bitching about anymore. Nevertheless, Kirito points out that Rosalia’s job is just to lead the prey into an ambush and others do the killing. Rosalia then spouts her nonsense about wanting to target Silica.

Okay, why? What the hell does Silica have that makes her such a valuable target? Assuming it was the pet dragon, it’s dead. If she wanted the revival item, why bother? She has no pet of her own. It can’t be worth all that much when these pet users are so rare people treat Silica as if she’s the only one. And assuming she’s still dumb enough to go through all this trouble, what’s to stop both Kirito and Silica from warping out of the area as soon as they show their faces? This plan of hers has more holes than a slice of swiss cheese.

Kirito then reveals that he was actually hunting Rosalia down, since her guild killed four people. So Kirito is a vigilante now? How about you turn yourself in for letting the Moonlit Black Cats die? If Kirito honestly thinks himself fit to dispense any kind of justice, he’s really as twisted and deluded as any criminal player in the game. Hell, he’s arguably worse.

But regardless of that fact, Kirito was on Floor 35 tracking down Rosalia. So he was in the forest tailing her, not Silica. How then did he decide to STOP tailing Rosalia to chase Silica on the off-chance she would be in trouble and he could save her? THIS MAKES NO SENSE! And if he already knew Rosalia was the target, why not just swoop in on Floor 35 for that reason? She stands no chance (as we’ll soon find out) and Kirito outright states the guild that she targeted before only wanted HER imprisoned. So again, Kirito had NO WAY OF KNOWING that he’d be able to save Silica and then use her as bait to draw out the rest of her guild to imprison them, too. IT DOESN’T ADD UP.

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IF THIS ISN’T THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK?! YOU ARE NO DIFFERENT FROM HER! YOU KILLED AN ENTIRE GUILD THROUGH YOUR OWN RECKLESS ABANDON AND FOR SELFISH REASONS TO BOOT! WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU TO JUDGE HER?

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Best part is? YOU CANNOT REFUTE THAT CLAIM. I’m sorry, but at this point in time not Kirito and not anyone else in the game can beyond the shadow of a doubt prove that death in the game means death in the real world. They have all taken it for truth when there is no proof. If you think about it, believing what Rosalia says would actually make someone like Kirito more willing to forget what he did with Moonlit Black Cats. Who’s to say he doesn’t live by the same code in secret?

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So finally her ambush group comes out of hiding. Silica immediately thinks they should run (better late than never… oh wait, the rape apes are long since dead), but Kirito just tells her to chill for a moment as he deals with them. The dudes around Rosalia know about Kirito, and immediately start pissing themselves from fear. Yeah, I don’t buy this reaction one bit. All the same, Rosalia orders her men to attack, and they do. And Kirito does nothing to stop them.

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They are cutting into him relentlessly, but he doesn’t fight back. And his HP doesn’t drop, either. When the mob tires out, Kirito drops the bombshell on them: they can’t beat him because their damage output cannot overtake the rate at which his HP regenerates.

Okay. Wow. Let’s take this from the top.

This is the ONLY instance of this claim in the entire anime. In the entire history of SAO. It is true that HP regenerates over time, but this is only seen OUT OF BATTLE. In fact, in both the novels and anime (outside this ONE EPISODE), the only way to heal in battle is through crystals or potions, the former being the better option. If this supposed regeneration also happened midfight, there wouldn’t be such fear on the front lines. A simple distancing from foes would allow a player’s HP to return shortly.

So what Kirito claims in this episode is absolute HORSE SHIT written to make him appear more badass than he actually is. Let’s go one step further:

The skill he claims? It makes an appearance in the video game as well. And guess what? It’s a skill that activates and then requires a long period of cooldown. Because if such a thing were consistent even in that game it would remove all sense of challenge from the player (us, not Kirito). So again, this whole scene is not only incorrect by the series’ own standards, it’s a blatant insult to everyone at the same time. The plot is literally pissing in your face that it can do whatever it wants and get away with it!

But just because I’m an asshole, I will bring this skill up EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Every single time that Kirito is in a battle from now on. EVERY SINGLE TIME. Just to show the inconsistency on top of the blatant lies he spouted in this episode. I’m sorry, Reki. This episode should NEVER have happened. This chapter should NEVER have been written.

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Technically it isn’t, but the plot demands Kirito win. I know, it sucks.

Kirito then pulls out a teleport crystal, claiming it will send them all to the prison on the first floor. And they all just… accept it? Why? I mean, knowing Kirito he’s liable to murder them all to have his way, but they don’t know that. And Kirito is one guy, he can’t possibly stop them all from escaping. But no, they all just appear to give up. And presumably they all go to prison. We don’t see if they actually do, because we cut to the next scene at the inn right away.

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Say that to the six people he’s let die already.

The episode ends with Silica using the flower that revives her pet dragon Pina. And honestly, anything to end that atrocious example of writing.

Sword Art Online, Episode 4 Rant

Myriad Colors Phantom World, Episode 2 Rant

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This is blatant lies considering these “illusions” are capable of wrecking people’s shit. Per the definition, an illusion is something that is likely to be wrongly perceived by the senses. There’s nothing wrongly perceived here; these things are wrecking shit and causing issues in the world of this anime.

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Are you fucking kidding me? An illusion cannot run amok in the school courtyard while trying to kill one of the students. Nor can it electrocute you when you fail at a game of limbo with it. Are we seriously trying to give credence to this idea? Just call them what they are: phantoms. Spirits. Ghosts. Any of those is more accurate than this tripe you continue to shovel about them being mere “illusions” caused by your weak ass brain virus.

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Yeah, fuck off. Take your attempt at philosophy and shove it up your ass, anime. There’s questioning reality and there’s complete idiocy as you try to sound smarter than you actually are.

We get Haruhiko then trying to explain what phantoms are. Which is pointless considering even he doesn’t know. The anime doesn’t know what to do with itself; it’s trying to give the concept of spirit hunting or monster killing a new twist but is failing at it in such spectacular fashion it’s almost painful to watch. The anime has deluded itself into thinking this approach is new or unique. How can a brain virus cause physical manifestations in the world? It honestly would have been so much easier if they simply went with the virus allowing the spiritual world to be perceived and interacted with. This idea that because of the virus the phantoms are given form by humans themselves is UTTER BULLSHIT.

It’s beyond stupid really when the anime even flip flops on the issue itself. You can’t say on one hand phantoms are a result of the human brain triggered by the virus and then claim they’ve always existed and explains shit like ALIENS. How fucking stupid must one be to accept this without question?

We finally open the episode with Haruhiko telling us how Reina joined the team after the utility pole incident. Yes, I didn’t want to remember it either but he had to bring it up. It’s only now that Harhiko explains how his power allows him to trap (and summon) phantoms by drawing them. Which we saw last episode. We don’t need you to point out what we’ve already seen, anime. Instead, Haruhiko claims that he should improve his summoning prowess to help out, and leave the sealing to Reina, who does so with all the joy of an overeager housewife who just learned a new trick in bed.

Question: why do we want Haruhiko summoning MORE of these things? I brought this up in the previous episode, too. If these things are truly a result of the same people tasked with sealing them, why is it allowed for people to summon them willingly in the first place? We’ve seen that characters like Mai are capable of combatting them just fine. Is it really necessary to take a step backward just to accomplish the goal? Haruhiko might not abuse his gift, but what’s to stop others from doing so? Honestly people like him should be killed on the spot. They have the greatest chances of causing MORE trouble.

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I don’t care what your fucking full name is, you waste of animation dollars. SHUT UP AND FUCKING DIE. Who seriously thought we needed a chatterbox pixie in the cast? She has contributed NOTHING so far and doubtful she ever will. At least Tinkerbell was mute. GAG HER.

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WHY IS SHE EVEN AROUND IF SHE’S A NUISANCE TO THE PROTAGONIST AND PLOT? She’s a phantom like all the others, right? HAVE REINA EAT HER AND BE DONE WITH IT.

We get a brief scene with Minase, the redhead who briefly appeared in Episode 1. Despite Haruhiko and Reina introducing themselves to her, she just walks off without saying a word. See, that’s just fucking rude. I hate people like her. Especially in a school setting where she has NO reason to be blatantly rude. We also learn via flashback that she’s especially proficient as a phantom exterminator or what have you. Figures, she’s good at what she does so she thinks herself better than everyone else.

I’ll try not to keep bringing up Ruru but she is in almost EVERY FUCKING SCENE spouting pointless shit in her squeaky voice it’s making this a lot harder to sit through as a result.

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I suppose if utility poles can become phantoms ANYTHING CAN. Why, though? At least with the poles there was an explanation, what with being made of wood and trees and all that horseshit. What possible reason could a robot, a creation of man formed from scrap metal have for animating as a phantom? It just doesn’t make any fucking sense. What else can become a phantom? The walls? The floor? GRASS?!

Their club leader and overall cutie pie professor informs them that Minase has already departed for their mission. Haruhiko points out the obvious issue: why should they bother if she’s apparently SO FUCKING GOOD? The teacher dodges the question entirely, going on about how Minase had her powers since forever and she doesn’t fit in but the teacher wants her to and I DON’T FUCKING CARE ANSWER THE QUESTION: why should the team care? She’s capable on her own! Just because the teacher wants her to become a member of the team doesn’t mean she will just because you force others to assist her. In fact, that will only cause her to resent you and make her want to join up LESS.

But of course, we all know in the end Minase won’t prove up to the task, and if only because the team was around to save her will she learn the error of her ways and join the team and friendship and love and BLAH BLAH BLAH. I will never understand the need to force people together if they don’t want to be! If you wanted her to be a part of the team, MAKE HER ONE. Don’t write her as opposed to the concept only to go back on her word. It’s a weak way to write a character and shitting plotting regardless.

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As expected, Minase opens strong with her crappy dialogue meant to resemble lyrics and starts fucking up robot phantoms. Of course the robots find a way to neutralize her only means of attack and she goes on the defensive until the team cut in to help. I said it, didn’t I? EXACTLY THE WAY I SAID IT WOULD HAPPEN.

We get a lengthy explanation as to why Minase’s only attack is ineffective. Then Mai takes it out, and Minase does her thing, and then Reina sucks them in with her whore mouth.

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Also, Mai rubs her boobs.

It’s all so anticlimactic I really don’t give a shit beyond this. Nor do I give a shit about what they’re talking about after the fact. This anime puts forth the bare minimum effort.

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We then cut to Reina in the shower because fanservice. I mean, she clearly couldn’t go home DIRTY so she decides to take a shower at a boy’s house instead? What leap in logic dictated that? Are her parents more accepting of clean girl fresh from a guy’s house? We needed the fanservice in early to make up for the shit plot, didn’t we? I’m starting to think the sooner you put in the obligatory shower/bath/beach scene, the more desperate you are to keep your show going.

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Also Mai uses it as well because WHY THE FUCK NOT?

We learn that Haruhiko apparently lives in a library, because his entire place is wall to wall, floor to ceiling bookshelves. No explanation, just is. We saw this in episode 1 but I didn’t care then and only now bring it up because the anime did and didn’t follow up on it. Yeah I know, this is boring but it’s the anime’s fault. Not mine. We also learn the stupid pixie stole something from the factory they were at. And of course Haruhiko keeps it instead of tossing it out? Nothing good will come of having it but our people are too stupid to realize this.

And just as easily as the girls came and showered, they left. What was the point, then? Fanservice.

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The next day we get more fanservice. I mean exposition. Don’t know which is worse when the exposition advances the plot about as much as the fanservice. We literally spend 2 minutes on this stupid shit WE DON’T CARE ABOUT. IT DOES NOTHING FOR THE PLOT OR WORLD BUILDING. And to prove it we cut it off abruptly and move on to the next scene. TIME IS BEING WASTED AND I CAN FEEL IT. YOU’RE FAILING ANIME.

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A UFO phantom… that peeps on girls changing. You know what? I give up.

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But of fucking course, Reina. And no sooner do they kick Haruhiko out that the phantom shows. And then he bursts through the door and-

Do I really have to say what happens here? Really? We all know it’s going to turn into this big mess of a fight because the girls try to cover up while working and it’s like FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST FORGET YOUR FUCKING MODESTY FOR ONE SECOND TO DO YOUR FUCKING JOB.

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Yeah I really give up.

Haruhiko then summons a demon phantom of his own which turns out to be… this:

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And somehow the stupid dog allows them to beat the phantom UFO which was snapping pictures endlessly and Reina eats it and then she does this:

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I’m done. This anime wins. There is nothing I can say at this point. It exists and just… fuck.

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There’s a trail of saliva for fuck’s sake.

Minase shows up, says like three words and then leaves. And I just… I give up. Honest I do. I can’t keep doing this.

Thank the stars the episode is over. I quit.

Myriad Colors Phantom World, Episode 2 Rant

Sword Art Online, Episode 3 Rant

Before we begin the episode’s rant proper, it dawned on me that I should explain something left out of the anime’s first and second episodes. If you’ve been paying attention thus far, you’ll know that since being trapped in SAO (something which is still ridiculous to comprehend but bear with me), it’s been quite some time. Anything over a few days is a lot, but here’s an important question: what are these people doing for nourishment? Their bodies in the real world cannot ingest food as their brains are plugged into the game.

The anime forgets this factoid, choosing instead to force the food nonsense on us IN the game. However, the novels shed a bit of light on this. And by that I mean open another glaring plot hole. After the start of SAO, it seems Kayaba (who as of yet in both anime and novel hasn’t been mentioned to be in custody or even any real update to be honest) arranged for the people in the game to be transported to hospitals. He did this by temporarily “powering down” the game to allow for safe transport of the people from their homes to hospitals across the country. I’m getting upset and we haven’t even begun the ranting for Episode 3.

There is no reason for these people to be trapped in the game. I made it abundantly clear how easy it would be for anyone to remove the helmet from persons playing SAO without much of a chance for those “deadly microwaves” to inflict any kind of harm. But even if you ignored that, we now have a clear chance to remove those helmets now that the persons trapped in SAO have been put on a minor suspension of brain activity to allow for safe transport. After all, they can’t hope to move these people while they’re connected to the game. So even if we were to disregard my point from two episodes ago (removing the helmet while plugged in would cause no issues), we now have a perfect opportunity to free everyone! Their minds aren’t directly plugged into SAO. A quick yank of the helmet and they’re free!

But no, somehow the Japanese government allows this mass allocation of soon-to-be vegetables from their homes to hospitals. Driving up country taxes and draining the country’s fund as they’re tended to day in, day out for an obscene amount of time. Just keep that in mind, okay? They had a chance to escape, and they didn’t take it. You would almost think the people outside SAO hated the gaming populace. Maybe that’s why Kayaba was allowed to get away with this nonsense in the first place?

Now, Episode 3 proper.

We open on the 11th Floor of Aincrad, dated April 8, 2023. This is roughly four months after the events of Episode 2, and we find ourselves amongst the Moonlit Black Cats, a guild that has foolishly decided to accept Kirito into their group.

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I find this very hard to believe but I suppose it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Kirito was off being a prick somewhere and just so happened to kill monsters that would otherwise have ended this guild. While the anime leaves out HOW Kirito saved them, in the novel it’s stated that he was off doing his own thing (told you) and happened across them as they were getting whipped by a horde of monsters. That conscience he doesn’t have? It got to him, so he saved their necks.

In any case, the Moonlit Black Cats are apparently treating him to drink and food as thanks. Never mind we established how pointless consuming food and drink are. Kirito being the asshole he is should extort them for every col (currency) they got. But on top of being a sociopath, Kirito is also dickless so he just embarrassingly accepts their hospitality. Never mind he looks like he doesn’t even want to be there in the first place.

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Sometimes I feel like the author has never actually played an MMO before in his life. I mean no disrespect to Reki Kawahara (honest, I think he’s a good writer all things considered), but some of the contrivances infused into SAO make it seem as such. Maybe MMORPGs in Japan are radically different, but the few I’ve seen from Japan proper don’t do things the way they’re portrayed in SAO. What Keita (leader of the guild Moonlit Black Cats) is referring to here in this caption is Kirito’s level. According to SAO, levels are kept hidden from other players. For no adequately explained reason other than to allow such contrivances in the plot. In fact, preventing others from seeing your level allows for some of the bullshit that plagues this series from start to finish.

Add to that this mentality that it is somehow rude to ask what a player’s level is. Why is it rude? About the only thing I can come up with is answering such a question would only leave you open to being targeted by people who wish to bully you for items or money, and by extension potentially killing you off. But as of yet such an issue hasn’t been brought up, so the anime lacks any real reason to explain this taboo on sharing player details such as levels. Or any reason for Kirito to lie and claim his level is about 20 when it is in fact much, much higher.

Not to mention the anime is grossly inconsistent when it comes to these little details. In the previous episode, exact information such as how many HP Kirito has, or his level aren’t shown. But now are when he looks at his own health bar. This also begs the question why party members aren’t allowed to see each others’ levels and exact HP numbers. It’s a detriment to working together, after all. But again, CONTRIVANCES! It allows the plot to go the way the author wants it to.

Naturally Keita is impressed Kirito is able to handle himself as well as he does. I mean, clearly it’s a testament to Kirito’s skill and not video game numbers that despite being the same level as them, he’s able to handle mobs that they as a guild of five cannot. I’m trying to paint Kirito the villain here but anyone else he encounters is so fucking stupid it’s no wonder Kirito gets away with everything he does. All the same, Keita offers Kirito a chance to join the guild.

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We’re introduced to Sachi, the Moonlit Black Cats’ sole female member and apparently their pet as well. Every time Keita pats her on the head like that she visibly recoils from pain. The guy’s an asshole; she’s a person, your friend and classmate (as we’ll later learn), and yet Keita treats her like a dog. What’s more, Keita speaks as though she has no will of her own, claiming that he wants to put her on the front line as a vanguard despite her protests. Guy is clearly leader material, doing what he wills with his friends’ lives and roles in the game.

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Despite this protest in front of strangers, none of her guildmates care or even respect her enough to take her seriously. I imagine Sachi only sticks around because she’d have no one else in SAO if she left. Actually, their brazen attitudes towards her are probably why Kirito was okay with joining in the first place. They’re all pricks of about equal caliber.

Never mind that Kirito joining a guild is crazily out of character. But there’s a reason to this madness. Can’t have people killed if you don’t participate, right? Oops… that might have been a spoiler.

We cut to May 9th, one month after Kirito joins the guild and on the 20th Floor. This means that in a single month amongst the guild, Kirito has pushed them from barely surviving Floor 11 to hunting game 9 floors ahead. I guess it works when you have someone of the same level who’s just inexplicably so much better than everyone else in your guild, huh? How have these people not realized Kirito is miles ahead of them in terms of level? They must really be the worst gamers in general. It shows when a month of training Sachi on the front line, she’s still finding it difficult to stand her ground. Why then do they insist she remain the vanguard?

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THE GAME LITERALLY ANNOUNCES WHEN SOMEONE LEVELS UP. THEY ANNOUNCE IT AND SHOW IT TO EVERYONE, AS SEEN HERE:

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How then has no one found out Kirito is double their level? How has no one questioned that in all the hunting Kirito has done with the guild, he’s never once leveled up in their presence? There’s coincidences and then there’s jumping the fucking shark to keep your plot on the rails. And the Moonlit Black Cats are the sort to pester Kirito constantly about his lack of leveling up, too. So there’s NO EXCUSE as to why he hasn’t been found out yet.

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This one is solely for my benefit, the newspaper that shares status updates on clearing the game is named after Argo the Rat, sadly absent from the anime.

Keita is amazed by the fact the front runners have cleared Floor 28, and asks Kirito what the difference between them and their own guild is. Kirito claims it’s that they hog the best means to grind EXP, which is honestly bullshit but Keita buys it anyway. The simple fact is if Kirito was honest with Keita and the rest of the guild, they’d allow him to lead and turn the guild into a force to be reckoned with. Kirito is among those assholes who hog the best EXP grinding spots, and could help the guild become uber strong. But Kirito is such an asshole that he prefers to see the guild sweat to barely keep up with everyone. That and he has to maintain his fake “I’m Lv20 or so” nonsense.

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Oh you poor, poor bastard. You’re too noble for this anime. Nobility gets you on Kirito’s hit list, you know.

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While Kirito does have a point that the presence of Keita on the frontlines would have a positive impact on the front runners, it will never come to pass. That’s not me spoiling what’s to come, that’s simple truth because of what Kirito is doing. Not two seconds later we see his level, which is now 48 while they’re still trying to get past mid-20s. This scene also shows how close the guild is as real world friends, and emphasizes just how much of an outsider Kirito is. Perhaps that contributed to his dishonesty amongst them?

We cut to the guild back at the inn, where Keita announces that they’ve saved up 200,000 col from all their hunting. He plans to buy guild lodgings with it, but honestly that’s a stupid fucking idea. Even when this game has become pseudo reality for them, wasting money on vanities like lodging proves how idiotic they all are. Someone then pipes up and says the money should go to better equipment for Sachi, since she’s clearly the weakest of the bunch. THIS IS A SMART IDEA. Which is immediately shot down by Sachi herself. The girl’s a fucking moron and honestly should just be left out of the guild entirely. Still Keita insists on Sachi being the front line, and Kirito doesn’t object so that he can continue to watch this guild spiral towards its inevitable doom.

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We move on to Floor 28 on May 16, where Kirito goes off hunting in the middle of the night. This explains why his level is as high as it is, even when he spends every waking moment with the guild. From afar he watches Klein’s guild take on some monsters, working together rather well. Klein notices Kirito, and immediately notices that Kirito has joined a guild. Because while you can’t see a person’s level, you can tell that they’re part of a guild. I just… I don’t even know.

Either way, Kirito leaves without so much as a “how do you do”, making me wonder why Klein even cares to consider Kirito a friend at all. Klein’s not the straightest arrow in the quiver, but he can certainly do better than hanging around the asshole that is Kirito.

Kirito returns to the floor where his guild is stationed and hears from Keita that Sachi has gone missing. Kirito uses a skill that allows him to track the girl through town, a skill which honestly has creepy enough implications of its own. All the same, he eventually finds her hiding out under a bridge like some troll. Kirito’s really only there to bring her back, when Sachi goes and says this:

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Kirito the dense idiot asks what she’s going on about, to which Sachi implies and then confirms she means a double suicide. Clearly Sachi is having a mental breakdown, and if Kirito were any kind of a decent human being would tell everyone so they help her out. Then again, she’s probably having this breakdown because of her asshole friends, all of which seem to want to use her as a meat shield on the battlefield. Honestly I don’t blame the girl for seeing suicide as the only way out. And sadly she’s sharing these feelings with the worst member of the Black Cats.

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She’s asking the hard questions. And it sucks that because the plot has holes you can drive a truck through she’s doomed to this fate. Even if she could make it out alive, she’d probably need intense counseling for months, years to follow.

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Saddest part is he’s right. Mark my words.

Sachi confesses that she’s afraid of dying, and honestly who wouldn’t be?

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What kills me is Kirito is so STUNNED by this revelation he has no words at first. This is proof that he has no conscience, no grasp of what is real and what isn’t anymore. Whether he was like this before SAO or now as a result of it, he’s become completely disconnected with the concept of mortality. To him, Sachi being scared of death is so mind-blowing he has her clarify what she means for fuck’s sake. The girl is losing sleep over this constant fear. And all Kirito can do is lie to her about it all.

He lied about her not going to die.

He lied about the guild being strong enough to survive.

He lied about being there for the guild.

He fucking lies about forcing her onto the front line, when they’ve been spending more than a month doing that very thing! HE’S LYING ABOUT SHIT THEY’RE DOING AT THAT VERY MOMENT AND STILL SHE BELIEVES HIM!

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AND SACHI BELIEVES HIM! This poor girl is so broken already she’ll cling to any kind of hope, no matter how weak or false. And to top it off Kirito again lies about her seeing the real world again some day.

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AND HE DOES IT WITH A SMILE.

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So taken in by his sweet lies that Sachi begins to bunk with Kirito THAT VERY NIGHT. This isn’t just wrong, it’s fucking corrupt. Whether intentionally or not, Kirito has taken advantage of a mentally unstable girl who would fear her own shadow if Kirito so much as pointed it out to her! And still he continues to lie to her about surviving.

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The biggest lie he’s ever told anyone, including himself. I want to believe SOME part of this sociopath actually thought he could come through on that promise. But in the end… well, you’ll see.

We cut to another day, where Keita leaves the group for the day to buy the guild lodging. In the end they went with vanity, but I suppose they’ll never make use of it anyway. Even if I didn’t know what was going to happen, it’s painfully obvious they’re all doomed anyway. It only gets more blatant when the guild decides to hunt in the dungeon that day, claiming it would be easier and faster earnings than taking on monsters in the fields. Kirito knows this is a bad idea, but keeps his mouth shut. THAT’S STRIKE ONE.

We cut to the dungeon on Floor 27, it is June 12. Mind you not two weeks ago they were having trouble with monsters on Floor 20. This is going to end bad and you know it. Despite claiming the hunt went well, they group stumbles across a hidden room in the dungeon, and spy a lone treasure chest inside it. Kirito immediately gets a bad feeling about it, but again doesn’t say anything to them. THAT’S STRIKE TWO!

The three guild mates rush in for the chest, leaving Kirito and Sachi at the door. One of them starts to pry it open, which triggers an alarm and causes the room to seal up and flood with monsters. Mind you by now both Kirito and Sachi have wandered into the room, a HUGE FUCKING MISTAKE. Kirito knew this would end badly. He knew it before they set foot in the room, and not only did he let them waltz in, he allowed Sachi to do the same. STRIKE THREE! YOU’RE OUT!

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NO SHIT SHERLOCK.

I wish I could say Kirito is the one who’s out, but he’s not. He had three chances minimum to prevent this catastrophe, and did nothing. He could have advised against the dungeon, and didn’t. He could have told them to avoid the chest because it was rigged, but didn’t. And he could have instructed Sachi to STAY PUT OUTSIDE THE ROOM, but didn’t. He lead them all into this trap, and because the Word of God is unjust, they are all doomed to die.

Well, except Kirito.

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The first to go is the idiot who set off the trap. He gets pickax’d to death by these monsters here. Kirito could have saved him by telling them about the trap thanks to his high level and prior experience. He didn’t.

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Another member dies as Kirito tries to kill more enemies than he can possibly manage alone. Had Kirito mentioned his time in the dungeon, they never would have set foot in there.

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A third member is killed because they got cocky thanks to Kirito’s involvement. They thought he’d protect them. He didn’t.

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I want to claim there’s a hint of concern in Kirito’s voice in this scene. I want to believe he cares enough about Sachi that her death means something to him. But he put her in this situation. She’s there, fighting to survive because he didn’t speak up.

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And so she dies, too.

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We get a cold cut to December 24, 2023. It’s been six months since that event. There’s a holiday event going on, as you can tell. People look to be in festive spirits. Guess a year into this game you kinda forget what it was like to be free.

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AND HEY LOOK ARGO DOES SHOW UP! Guess I was wrong. Anyway, she informs Kirito about a rumor going around involving a one time boss event. Kirito seems hard for this quest, but given the lack of information most people are going crazy searching for the right spot for this boss. Attached to the rumor is the boss drops an item that can revive a character.

Okay, stop. Stop right there. An item that revives someone? Do you realize how fucking stupid that sounds? You’ve been trapped in this game for a year now. You’ve seen people die. Assuming you believe this is true, that they are dead, what fucking hope does a revival item do you six months after the fact? Clearly he wants to use it for Sachi, but she’s been dead SIX MONTHS. Assuming she really did die in the real world (she did), she’s long since buried. Assuming she didn’t die, using such an item isn’t going to bring her back; such a thing would only wreck whatever fear people have of death in Kayaba’s scenario. Sitting down and thinking this through logically would show that. But logic and reason went out the window, it seems. Kirito is dead set on getting this magical item.

We cut to a scene from back in June, when Kirito told Keita about the fate of the rest of the guild. Not only did Keita get to hear that all four of his best friends were dead, he learned they were killed because Kirito refused to share critical information that would have saved their lives. Because Kirito’s privacy when it came to his level and experiences was more valuable to him than the lives of the guild. Than the life of Sachi, whom he had developed feelings for after blatantly lying to keep her from killing herself in the first place.

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So poor Keita throws himself from the castle to his death. Kirito’s desire to tell the truth cost Keita his life. The one time a lie would have been beneficial.

I don’t know if it’s a boon or not that he comes to realize and accept that it was HIS fault they all died. Actually, it isn’t. Kirito doesn’t learn anything. He’s working to revive just one of them in some selfish attempt to cleanse his guilt. He doesn’t get why he got them killed in the first place. He gets how, but not why. I don’t think Kirito’s capable of such a thing.

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On the way to the place where the boss spawns, Kirito runs into Klein. Sad to say Klein has the right idea here, but Kirito refuses to listen to reason tonight. His mind’s made up, and since Klein can’t convince him otherwise, he offers to guard Kirito’s rear from another guild looking to snatch the kill from him. It sucks that Kirito treats Klein like shit, and still the man just wants to help him out best he can. Kirito deserves NOTHING he gets in SAO.

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The boss ends up being a demon zombie Santa Claus. Cool, but sadly we don’t get a fight scene. Kirito wins, of course.

In the end, the rumor proved true. Kirito has his revival item, but it comes with a hilarious catch: it can only be used on someone who had died within the past TEN SECONDS. I mean, we all knew this would be the case, but the fact that Kirito looks absolutely DEAD inside is honestly worth it. He gives it away to Klein, which is a good thing. He’ll make better use of it than Kirito would.

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We cut to Kirito in his inn room, when he receives a delayed message from Sachi. I could bag on how a delayed voice message like that is bullshit, but I’ll let it slide for a reason I’ll list later. In it, Sachi informs Kirito that she sent this message in case she died before the date of December 24, and she did it with the intention of saying good-bye unless she was still alive. How disgustingly noble and defeatist of her. She tells him that she knew about his real level, but never said anything to anyone. She kept it to herself and relished in the fact that he’d protect her for it. It’s almost disgusting to see how much faith she put in Kirito because of this.

She insists he keep on living, even if she’s gone. And then sings Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to him to finish the message.

Now, I would bag on this whole scene. I would, but I want to give credit where credit’s due. The scene as written in the novel is amazing. Damn heartwarming. So while I can say it’s an easy way to assuage Kirito’s guilt over this event, the fact remains Kirito caused her death and the death of every other member of the guild. But at least Sachi’s farewell remains the highlight of the entire anime and series to date.

Kirito Death Count: 6 (Four guild mates dead, and he caused the fifth to commit suicide. All to keep his level a secret. Worth it…?)

Sword Art Online, Episode 3 Rant

Myriad Colors Phantom World, Episode 1 Rant

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When it comes to any supernaturally oriented anime, it’s always a difficult prospect to set up the world we’re about to see. Many anime have tried various approaches, but even when it’s done as well as they could hope it might still fall flat. Dumping a mountain of exposition on the viewer is hardly the best way to go about things. So in some ways I can almost applaud Myriad Colors Phantom World for trying their approach. Using several famous illusions to get the point across that the human mind is unreliable when it comes to what it can perceive. And from here MCPW makes the crazy leap that because our minds can be fooled by illusions designed to fool, altering minds can make fiction reality.

Which is utter bullshit.

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The anime wants us to buy into the premise that because of some event, the human mind is now open to phantasms that lurk about the world. So if they want to play with ghosts, spirits and the like, just roll with it. Come up with some kind of excuse as to why we have a cast of teenage seers and roll with it. I honestly find issue with using illusions from the real world to justify their leap in logic. We didn’t have to drag such fun little bits of trivia through the mud in the process. The fact that illusions can fool people has NOTHING to do with the fact that spirits exist. The two ideas are completely different and have no reason to be connected like this.

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Now I will say this, the visual idea to have everything look pixelated until our protagonist’s mind comes into focus is cool. But again it has nothing to do with the concept of ghosts and spirits being seen by people now. Not to mention this visual quirk is NEVER used again. At least not in the rest of the first episode.

As is usually the case, we have our lead rushing to get to school. Haruhiko is accompanied by a pixie-genie-fairy thing which has hardly said more than two lines but is already grating on my nerves. While he rushes off to school, we also get cut ins of the lead female fighting this large demon looking thing.

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The fact that she’s in red bloomers is solely for fanservice, mind you.

While she continues to fight this thing (which we have no idea what it is or why it’s there or why she’s even fighting it), Haruhiko does his best to sketch the monster from a distance. We hear from a few extras (and that blasted pixie girl just floating around) that the red demon thing is a phantom, one responsible for “interrupting gym class and wrecking flower gardens”. I get that we haven’t been properly introduced yet to all the concepts. I get that it’s only been 4 minutes and 20 seconds since the show started. But jumping right into a fight scene with almost no grounding in the world we’re in is hardly the way to go about things. I have no idea what’s going on, why it’s happening or if I should be worried for Haruhiko and his half-dressed friend. Why are a couple high school kids fighting this thing in plain view of the school? Why isn’t anyone else helping them? And why is this deemed normal?

I know. Give it time. They’ll explain. But when it’s something this outlandish an explanation before it happens would better serve we the viewer than one to follow. Diving headfirst into this nonsense doesn’t get me interested in the anime. It turns me off and makes me not want to watch it. Part of the reason being the blatant fanservice of the girl half-dressed. The anime can’t trust us to stay attentive lest they sexualize a girl in the process.

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You don’t know the half of it, purple haired girl.

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Our resolution to this first of trials I’m sure is that Haruhiko’s drawing somehow absorbs the phantom, thereby neutralizing it. Of course such a spectacular feat is dismissed by other students, leading us to believe these two aren’t as adept as they appeared at first. Typically rookie introductions; can’t have our protagonists appear totally badass from the start. It’s funny how once the phantom is taken care of even the group of grade schoolers wanders off like they just finished watching a commercial on a TV. That’s about as lackluster as this world’s phantoms are.

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Our female protagonist (Mai?) begins to assess the phantom in the picture. She states obvious nonsense like what you see in the caption, never mind she just fought this thing herself and witnesses its flaming mane as it nearly wrecked her. She then goes on to state that as a fire monster, it’s weakness is water. NO FUCKING WAY!! I’m glad you told us that, Mai. I never would have guessed WATER is how one beats a FIRE demon. THANK YOU! OUR LIVES ARE SAVED!

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I wish I could provide a GIF file in this case but take my word for it when I say watching Mai erotically massage her own sides as she conjures up magic isn’t as titillating as it sounds. Neither is the follow up shot of her breasts being rubbed by her arms.

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And yes we had to get this line from the pointless fairy character. She has NO PURPOSE IN THIS NARRATIVE.

After Mai’s magic show, we cut to a classroom where a teacher informs the two they won’t be getting paid for their efforts thanks to destroying “school infrastructure”.

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Honestly I think it’s an improvement; like an art piece, really. Regardless, why are they getting paid for killing these phantoms? They’re high schoolers and yet part of their job is to eradicate these things for monetary compensation? I know anime likes to play with idea that teenagers are entirely self-sufficient (because any kind of parent would NEVER allow this nonsense to fly), but this is ridiculous even for anime standards. Mai MUST have family SOMEWHERE that can help pay for her meals and housing.

Haruhiko tells us that this is actually a club, which is hilarious in its own way. How does this club get the funds to pay its members? How much does it pay? Why does it even exist?

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This is why parents exist, Mai. They pay for your rent, your food, your school supplies. Your job is to study and graduate. Unless that’s an American thing? Are Japanese high schoolers expected to work and earn their living as they study?

Haruhiko continues to exposit to us. Hosea Academy being a private school, what grades it covers, his hobbies, and just how much of a bookworm he is. Dropped in with all this otherwise pointless knowledge is a tidbit that’s almost dismissed just as quickly about talent like theirs being uncommon? At least that’s the impression I get. So students capable of fighting phantoms aren’t the norm. Which as of yet doesn’t explain why they aren’t lab rats instead of wandering freely, causing untold destruction to their surroundings and getting paid in the process.

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We move directly on to our next set piece, this time in the middle a cemetery where a bunch of paper thin monsters are dancing around a girl. Just as Haruhiko decides he has to help her, the girl does this:

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I will try my very best NOT to make constant oral jokes.

Haruhiko immediately recognizes what kind of power she has, which opens a million other questions. How many kinds of powers are there? Are they all named? How do people get these powers? How many people with powers exist? Did this girl with the power of a Hoover vacuum set on shag carpet learn how to suck from someone or did she practice on her own?

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Yeah that’s not sexualized at all. She ends up devouring the cemetery scenery as well.

Haruhiko immediately spazzes out and rushes the girl, blabbing on about Pliny the Elder and manticores for no other reason than to make the anime seem a lot smarter than it actually is.

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The manticore comment is probably because Haruhiko acknowledges just how deliciously she’d be able to enjoy ice cream through a straw.

Haruhiko’s goal is to get Reina (the girl) to join the phantom hunting club he’s a part of, but I’m sure his ultimate goal is to somehow direct her mouth towards his dick. Naturally Reina is fucking creeped out by Haruhiko’s pitch, and honestly who wouldn’t be? She darts past him when this happens:

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AND SOMEHOW!!!

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He is able to OUTRUN GRAVITY TO POSITION HIMSELF UNDER THE FALLING REINA!

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No, just because you point out it’s cliched, doesn’t make it any less cliched. Or stupid.

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And somehow this is how they end up at the bottom of the stairs. I don’t even want to try anymore.

The next day, Haruhiko asks Reina again, this time without as much creep factor as before. Why he couldn’t just do this from the start? Well I imagine he was entranced by her ability to suck faster and harder than an F5 tornado. Of course, Reina is still against the idea of joining, no doubt still weirded out by Haruhiko having violated her personal space the day before. This all means nothing as she’s going to join before the episode ends anyway. In the end Haruhiko wins her over by buying her tons of food and then telling her working for the club could earn her money to keep eating like a cow.

Haruhiko then goes on to describe what the phantoms are, ranging from ghosts to spirits to monsters and how they were once considered fictional. Here’s where we get our explanation for the spirits and ghosts: a research facility was bombed and a virus got out that infected the populace. Infected them so they could see spirits and ghosts. I’m pretty sure that’s just a colorful way of calling everyone STARK RAVING MAD. He goes on to say that children who were breastfed developed the ability to use special powers like Haruhiko’s drawing or Reina’s blowjobs. Of course, this makes ZERO FUCKING SENSE.

I’m not trying to be an asshole here. Or throw a wrench into this because “well of COURSE it’s not real”. I’m just saying if this explosion happened “a little over a decade” ago, how the flying fuck are kids like Haruhiko, Mai and Reina capable of using these powers? Breastfeeding usually stops around age one, so why not just specify when this incident occurred? Leaving it ambiguous just makes it sound creepy to think these fifteen-sixteen year old kids were still sucking at their mother’s teet after they started walking. And why the hell aren’t normal adults capable of these powers? Wouldn’t they have better odds of manifesting them, being directly exposed to the virus rather than passing it down through genetics? Hell, not even genetics since it was through BREASTFEEDING that this happened.

The blatant lie that “most phantoms are harmless” is also idiotic, since we’ve already seen two separate creatures that tried to kill students and lead them to an early grave? THEY SEEM PRETTY HOSTILE AND HARMFUL TO ME. What probably galls me most about this premise is that rather than have these children who have these powers used as soldiers of some kind, they’re allowed to take on these dangerous missions as some sort of club activity. It makes no fucking sense whatsoever. Not the set up and definitely not the government’s willingness to let hormonally driven teenagers run amok with superpowers.

Also for some reason despite being “phantoms” they can also eat, because we see the annoying Ruru (fairy girl) do that. And ghosts consume food why? Or how considering they have no actual corporeal body? You can’t say they exist as a result of human minds being altered to perceive them and then have these otherwise incorporeal beings have a physical presence in the world. IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY.

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Without much segue way, we meet out last bunch of “phantoms” for the episode. Utility pole phantoms. Now, there’s creativity, and then there’s utility pole phantoms. This shit would hardly fly in Earthbound. According to Mai, they exist because the poles are made of wood so its the trees they’re made of that have caused them to animate…? I don’t fucking know. It’s stupid as shit.

Reina points out that they’re not doing anything, just dicking around playing limbo. However because they’re causing “radio disturbances”, they have to go. Easy enough: have Haruhiko draw them since they’re not doing anything threatening and call it a day. What a lousy mission to be honest.

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Instead we get to see Mai fondle her own boobs as she does more magic. What was wrong with having Haruhiko take care of them without causing a fight? Either way, Mai’s violent approach backfires when the utility poles (sigh) snap back with electrified wires. Again, why not just have Haruhiko draw them?

Haruhiko explains the reason the ghosts are dancing is because it was a custom in times past, to honor trees cut down. To which someone asks “Why limbo?”

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FUCK OFF.

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FUCK. OFF.

So their plan is to dance the limbo with these pole ghosts to get them to bugger off. Because drawing them would be easier and therefore not fun.

The three proceed to dance the evening away, until one by one they start to fall. Or in Haruhiko’s case, he gets electrocuted because someone had to. Mai is the last one left when the poles lower the bar to a level that would be physically impossible for any human to limbo under. Much less Mai with her obscenely large rack. There’s just no way-

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No. Fuck off. NO WAY.

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Explaining it doesn’t make it any less disgusting and stupid.

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There’s really nothing I can say at this point.

It’s at this point where they FINALLY remember that Haruhiko can use his drawing skills to seal them. Why they had to bother playing limbo with the poles in the first place is beyond me. It’s true that Mai fought the red demon at the start of the anime but Reina did swallow all the paper ghosts without a fight. Regardless, Haruhiko doesn’t have a sketchbook to draw them, so that plan is out. I knew he didn’t have one, but I was hoping the anime would remember that before the stupid limbo scenes.

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So instead we get Reina to clean this mess up by sucking all three long, hard wooden poles down one after another.

After that, the group sees the poles they just sealed lying on the ground as lifeless things again. So… are these ghosts perceived because of the virus or are they actual ghosts that could always do this kind of shit? Again, the set up is inconsistent and pointless if all we have here is another plot involving ghosts causing mischief. What was the point of the brain altering virus nonsense?

Whatever. I don’t care.

We cut to a scene with a redhead talking to the club leader from earlier, who then leaves and walks by the main group as she does. Considering she’s featured prominently in the opening credits, she’ll either join at some point or be a rival. There’s no subtlety when it comes to these shows.

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So they’re born of humans? Is that why we needed the stupid virus thing in the first place? Here’s a thought then: KILL EVERYONE WHO’S INFECTED! Problem solved! If there’s no source there can’t be phantoms anymore, right? There is no reason other than humanitarian as to why the Japanese government hasn’t just nuked the entire area around that research facility. Do we really want to keep living in a world where the same people we have fighting these phantoms are causing them to spawn in the first place? It’s highly contradictory and serves no logical sense other than to keep this shaky plot afloat.

But apparently people eat this shit up.

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And I probably won’t stand to watch more because of it.

Myriad Colors Phantom World, Episode 1 Rant