Annotated Anime: Sword Art Online II episode 5


Revol Crash: Version Kirito

At long last, Slow Art Online is ready for the moment that we've all been waiting for. It's finally time to see how A-1 handles the first fight that features you know who. In all seriousness, is this really the thing that we were looking forward to? Either way, if this battle contributes towards the show's progression, then our patience shall be rewarded.

Seeing that I haven’t demeaned SAO II for taking its sweet time, my new nickname for Sword Art Online II is meant to compliment the show’s current pacing.

Honestly, it’s no surprise that Kirito came out on top during his first match. I mean, the guy is the story’s main hero, so it’s only natural for him to triumph over every challenge. Of course, this sort of formula would result in a boring tale if the hero isn’t in peril. Luckily, Sword Art Online II handled Kazuto’s fight scene in a manner where he actually had to rethink his usual strategies.

When it comes to action scenes in many ongoing stories, it’s important for the writer to come up with different methods for the protagonists to take down their opponents. That being said, the main element that made Kazuto’s struggle entertaining was the fact that his risky decisions could’ve lead to his demise.

While Kirito’s still playing within his usual comfort zone, the concept of having him go up against opponents with long-ranged weapons (such as pistols, rocket launchers, sniper rifles, and energy guns) adds a new breath of fresh air to the series, since we get to see Kirito learn to use his environment to his advantage instead of rushing into battle with all of his might. Since the guy was written to not have any experience with shooters, this aspect alone was enough to change up SAO II's action segments in a positive manner.

Even though A-1 handled Kirito’s first fight well, having a still shot before the character’s about to deal the finishing blow on the opponent isn’t a smart animation decision, as it reduces the battle’s momentum. If SAO’s studio needed to cut corners on some parts, then they should’ve done it in a segment where the show’s viewers won’t lose anything (such as a standoff sequence). Thankfully, the way how A-1 animated the timing between Kirito’s planning to his counterattack went smoothly, which means that the entire scene wasn’t a big disaster. However, if the studio didn't hold that one animation frame, then the entire sequence could’ve went smoothly. On a different note, is it me, or does Kirito’s finishing move resemble Kamen Rider Black RX’s Revol Crash finisher?

Aside from the frame holding issue, it felt very odd for Kirito to detect his opponent through a grass rustle. Let’s face it, people; this technique has to be one of the most far-fetched actions to come out of this episode-- even the bullet deflecting scene is more believable. In order for a normal person to identify someone through this method, one would need to have their opponent be close to them. Judging by the distance between the two fighters, that option isn’t possible-- unless if there’s an unexplained ability that enhances one’s hearing skills. Sure, this problem wasn't enough to ruin the fight, but it would've been better for the team to think of a more clever way to have Kirito turn the tables on his opponents.

On a more positive note, the series deserves some props for the way how they executed Kirito and Sinon’s recent interaction. This shows that Kazuto isn’t the type of person who would deceive someone due to a random misunderstanding. While most viewers might criticize SAO for having Sinon react negatively towards Kirito when he told her the truth, the guy kind of deserved it for not being honest with her when they first met. Thanks to this situation, we can see both characters develop in a way that won’t turn into a mindless sequence where Kazuto pretends to be a woman; thus destroying any distractions that would prevent the show’s plot from moving forward.

At the end of the day, A-1 has proven to us that Sword Art Online II is in good hands. The show’s slow pacing felt more like a payoff than a chore, which helped spice up episode five’s ending. Even though many viewers already know Death Gun’s identity, the connection between it and Kirito was a surprise for me. Come to think of it, what if there’s more than one killer out there? If anything, SAO II has some juicy content to keep the show’s investigation case interesting, so let’s hope that the show doesn’t miss its mark.

[You can taste Sword Art Online II's blade at Crunchyroll and Daisuki, gif by Toku Sequence]

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Salvador G Rodiles
Salvador G RodilesSenior Editor   gamer profile

Salvador's an average bystander who took his first steps towards a life-changing goal. During his journey, he's devising a way to balance his time with anime, manga, video games, and tokusatsu in... more + disclosures



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