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…
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.
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.
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.
Shut the fuck up, Asuna. Kirito again repeats that it couldn’t be a ghost and we move on to-
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.
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.
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:
A rabbit. If it had been a white rabbit I would have called it a Monty Python reference.
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.
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!
The above image shows what a destroyed object or person effect looks like in SAO.
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!
“Incredibly similar” you say?
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.
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.
Yeah, SUCK MY DICK ANIME. This entire scene was not only contrived but fucking stupid as well.
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.
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.
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:
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.