The perfect way to open an episode! Another poor soul dying, and another point for the Kirito Death Count. I sure am loving my life right about now.
In either case, despite the poor start to the fight back in Episode 13, by the start of this episode the really cool looking boss has been brought down to like less than 1% of his HP. Seeing this, Heathcliff orders an all-out attack. We get a nice montage of ass-kicking which results in the death of the monster.
This is one death that doesn’t count towards Kirito, sadly. By the way, I like how it took so much effort to remove 1% of his HP. Just how long was this fight or was that last part just for show?
On a side note, this episode is also the last time we hear crossing field by LiSA as the opening to the anime, as it will be replaced starting next episode. Minor factoid.
With the battle won, everyone is dead tired. With good reason; anyone lacking a name so far was destined to die in one hit. We got to see 6 on screen deaths by the way, but because the anime does love me from time to time, they felt compelled to bring up the topic of how many were lost during the fight.
Thanks, Kirito. This means the Kirito Death Count goes up by 9 so far this episode! What I like about the follow up scene to this declaration is the shocked looks on everyone’s faces. How much more shocked would they be if they learned that could have all been avoided had Kirito simply hacked into the system two episodes ago and ended the game then and there?
As the people lament the dangers of the remaining 25 floors, Kirito looks on to see Heathcliff standing rather calmly among the raid party. Kirito has a flashback to his duel with the dude, and then takes note that Heathcliff’s HP is still above 50% (therefore in the “green” as they say).
Acting on a hunch from way back when, Kirito launches a surprise attack on Heathcliff. Caught off-guard, the man is unable to block the move, but his inability to defend it meant little regardless.
We find out (are you ready??) that Heathcliff is also an immortal object! Something existing outside the laws of the game itself!!
The above image is pretty much the reaction of everyone in the raid party.
After Kirito so blatantly reminds us of what it means that Heathcliff is an immortal object, we get the truth from the man himself. Heathcliff is in fact Akihiko Kayaba, the creator of Sword Art Online!
I’m getting real mileage out of this image.
Heathcliff asks Kirito how he was able to figure him out, to which Kirito responds it all went back to the duel. He noticed how Heathcliff moved too fast to be real, that he had cheated somehow to win the match. Heathcliff (rather, Kayaba from now on) admits he goofed on that one, but was forced to cheat in order to win. Basically, he’s stroking Kirito’s raging boner right now.
Aside from that, Kayaba outright admits he is also the game’s final boss, and would have been challenged at the end of Floor 100 had he not been found out this soon. Kayaba is also rather pleased with this, as if it’s the most original thing ever to have the strongest player become the final boss. Except even today in 2016 it’s been done to death in games, film and TV. But I suppose he is a loser nerd programmer so it makes sense he’s out of the loop on this one.
What’s more, Kayaba admits that he programmed the Dual Wield skill into the game so that it goes to a single player who would then act the part of the Hero to lead the charge against the final boss. He staged everything (for the most part), and would have gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for those meddlin’ kids! Oh wait… meddlin’ Kirito? Actually, if we think about it, giving a single player the ultimate skill to then thrust this role upon them was rather stupid.
He assumed the best player would also inspire a following and demonstrate leadership for the rest of the player base. Which Kirito does not. He’s in fact the polar opposite of the Hero Kayaba imagined. But then again, that’s the whole point of an MMORPG. Every player is the Hero in a sense, and having only one play this one role doesn’t jive with the very concept of MMORPGs. But again, Kayaba isn’t the brightest bulb, and it’s his first RPG. Maybe he’ll get it right with Sword Art Online 2? If ever such a thing happened…
As Kayaba exposits like mad, one of the dudes kinda goes berserk (with good reason, I hate these kinds of reveals) and tries to kill him in one stroke. Kayaba just uses his menu to inflict permanent paralysis on him. Which begs the question: why do this? I mean, he’s already got God Mode turned on, right? The guy could attack forever and never hurt Kayaba. But I guess it would be kinda annoying to try and talk with someone wailing away on you with their sword. What’s more, Kayaba goes ahead and inflicts this paralysis on everyone except Kirito.
No, Kirito. Kayaba prefers not to do his own dirty work. But I’m sure you can help him on that account.
Actually, Kayaba offers Kirito a chance to battle one on one. If Kirito loses, they have to ascend the last 25 floors like normal. If Kirito wins, the game ends right then and there. Not a bad choice, really.
Naturally, Kirito chooses not to fight, and continue to ascend the floors of Aincrad one by one until they reach Floor 100. After all, it’s only Episode 14! What else are we to do if the game ends here?
But no, of course Kirito chooses to accept his duel. Despite Asuna’s protests, he thinks he can do this on his own. To “avenge” the people he let die (like Sacchi, who was shown again for the millionth time dying). Either way, I’m just glad to see this over too.
Before the fight, Kirito says what may as well be his farewells to Agil (misspelled Egil here) and Klein, before demanding one condition from Kayaba (that Asuna not be allowed to commit suicide should he fall). I find this condition a bit condescending since he seriously thinks Asuna cannot live without him. Well, condescending and narcissistic. Chances are if he were to die, she’d just move on with her life and consider him a one-off boyfriend. With the added benefit that upon returning to the real world, she doesn’t have the physical proof he was her first!
So the battle rages on, Kirito doing his best but Kayaba really not putting much effort into anything besides blocking and the occasional swing. Kirito is at a bit of a disadvantage here since the man does know everything about the game being the lead designer. All the same he’s fighting, trying harder and harder to land a single blow against a shield that cannot be destroyed (Kayaba is now vulnerable to damage, but his shield is oddly enough still unable to be destroyed like any other piece of equipment in the game). This is proven when Kirito’s sword eventually breaks against the shield.
I think this is the point he realizes he was cheated all the same. Caught on recoil from this, Kirito can do nothing to defend himself when Kayaba counters with what would be a fatal blow.
And then this happens.
Let me explain this in detail.
In order to have their one on one match, Kayaba used his ability to control the very fabric of SAO to inflict a permanent paralysis effect on everyone else. This means they are unable to move unless the effect is cured. Which it can’t because one they need to be able to move to cure it, and two it’s imposed by the system and therefore cannot be removed unless Kayaba does so.
So how did Asuna break out of the paralysis effect to jump in the way and defend Kirito? We don’t know. It’s clearly illogical and virtually impossible given what I just said. Not to mention she does this at the perfect moment to take a fatal blow herself, rather than use her own sword to defend the blow and NOT die in the process.
Considering she was killed by another player, is it right to count her death towards Kirito? Ehh… we’ll consider it at the end of the episode.
What kills me about this whole scene (and honestly what makes it all worth watching in the end) is that Kayaba finds the plot hole amusing. There’s literally no other way to describe it; he has seen a plot hole with his own eyes and cannot actually explain it without breaking the fourth wall. Which I swear to god he should have done for extra measure.
In either case, Kirito tries pitifully to fight, but his swings have such a lack of force that Kayaba cannot stand to watch this for more than a few seconds. He disarms Kirito in one stroke before plunging his sword directly into his gut.
This is the end of Sword Art Online.
Kirito (Final) Death Count: 31 (I considered making it 32 by counting Asuna, but she was directly killed by Kayaba so I’ll let him have that one)
Thanks everyone for reading! I hope to keep writing these rants for other series in the future. It’s been fun, to say the least.