Sword Art Online #16 – Imouto Flavoured Adventures

Myst: A problem with any story arc such as the Alfheim Online arc is that its definite ending leaves little doubt that the protagonist will succeed. This is pretty much the same with any kind of adventure story or any story involving a battle between “good and evil”. The ending to these stories are very often predictable, but what makes them interesting is watching how the characters overcome the challenges in front of them.

Sword Art Online’s latest arc is one such story with what we can consider to be an inevitable ending. We know that Kirito is going to make his way to the top of the World Tree and rescue Asuna from the cage she is trapped in. There is no doubt that it will happen eventually. However, what could be interesting is seeing Kirito overcome a number of difficulties in a world fraught with perils and pkers to rescue Asuna before the time limit elapsed.

Meet Gary “Overpowered” Stu.

It could’ve been anyway. Unfortunately, Sword Art Online refuses to ever challenge its protagonist in a meaningful way and opts for keeping Kirito at Gary-Stu level. Starting a new MMO? Doesn’t matter as all of his stats transfer over from his time in SAO. It doesn’t matter how powerful anyone in this new game is, not one of them is going to be able to compete with someone that has two years worth of experience and levels.

Watching Kirito effortlessly toss aside the token baddies at the end of the episode only makes me wonder “what’s the point of this?” Why bother making a world where player-killing is encouraged if there’s no actual danger of the protagonist being killed?

The story really missed an opportunity to make something meaningful out of this arc. Instead of letting Kirito’s old parameters transfer over, having him start at level one while everyone else in the game has already had a head start in the game would’ve been a really interesting challenge. He would have to use his brain for once and maybe even have to rely on help from others.  Combine that with the one week time limit before supervillain Sugou enacts his evil plan and you have an extremely difficult situation for Kirito to overcome.

Kirito and Asuna’s virtual daughter, Yui, also appeared.

Marow: I have to admit that while I was mildly positive last episode, and to some degree still am, the fact that Sword Art Online once again misses home is really starting to annoy me to the degree that I wonder if not the original author of the story is toying with us.

There is no way he could miss the chance to, just as you said, let Kirito start from scratch and therefore being forced to rely on others. But what if, at the same time, people would recognize him as the guy who completed SAO and maybe attack him so they could brag about “beating the beater” (or the opposite: people helping him)? Potential!

If we assume for one moment that the author is not dumb, a possible reason as to why he chose to go this route is to appeal to the readers. Considering the previous arcs and its often clichéd moments, it is not that far-fetched.

This, however, leads us to the question of what the story will be about in the remaining nine episodes. We do know that Asuna is the goal with Sugou being the final boss. But what about everything in-between? With Kirito keeping the same stats he had in SAO, everything else will become like a walk in the park. Because of this I wonder if not the story will be about something else rather than beating bad guys.

One possible scenario would be that finding the entrance to the World Tree, where Asuna is trapped, is some kind of puzzle. Since the game’s release, no player has been able to get up there, not even reaching the lowest branch. The closest was when five people, with the use of teamwork, managed to fly high enough to take a few photos, one of them (conveniently) including Asuna.

With this tree being the goal of Alfheim Online, there must be a more practical way to climb it. So as a result, Kirito is forced to socialize with other players and gather clues, maybe even having to leave the game itself and search the real world.

Or… I am putting too much faith in this series again. If we are realistic, it is a much bigger chance there will be romance between Kirito and the “new” girl Lyfa (Leafa? Rifa?), something which will result in drama when Asuna is saved. Because, you know, cliché rocks. Especially when flavoured with Imouto love.

Not really that similar.

Myst: I think that hoping for any kind of puzzle involved with rescuing Asuna is being too optimistic. The author has shown time and time again that the only route he is willing to take is the most obvious and clichéd one.

That said, you bring up an interesting point. What is the author going to do with the remaining nine episodes? The “main plot” of the first arc was incredibly short and I have doubts that the author will be able to come up with anything complex enough to last all nine episodes. There is also no chance that another plot will emerge before the show is over. But with the way Kirito has started off in Alfheim Online the “rescue Asuna” plotline could be wrapped up in a single episode.

I think the key to all of this is the Imouto. You make a good point about love drama because that is exactly what I expect is going to happen. But you know what? This might actually be a benefit for Sword Art Online. It isn’t great, but I’d prefer trashy love triangle melodrama over the awful sappy melodrama that was the first season. Besides, Suguha is already a much more appealing character than Asuna ever was. As you say, a little Imouto flavor is just what I think this stale piece of wish-fulfillment needs.

Marow: You know, is it not a bit sad that we believe Imouto, a newly introduced character whose sole purpose is to lust after her cousin’s body, currently is the best thing with Sword Art Online? While this certainly could be interesting if the cards are played right, it still is yet another typical cliché in an already cliché-ridden story.

The only difference is that Kirito and Suguha does not recognize each other due to having character avatars. Or, at least, Kirito does not recognize Suguha, since her appearance is completely different from her real one along with calling herself Lyfa. Kirito, on the other hand, looks like he does in real life and has the very same name as in SAO, creating no doubts about who he is unless Suguha is dumb. And seriously, nine episodes of Imouto love? It is too hard for me to believe.

Oh, what the heck, I give up. This actually makes me excited as it might result in Imouto trying to take advantage of the situation. Although it is a shame it has to be an Imouto instead of someone not family-related. Damn it, why could not Lizbeth have been brought back?!

Best girl never wins.

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12 thoughts on “Sword Art Online #16 – Imouto Flavoured Adventures

  1. Vincent says:

    There is no level system in ALO. Your stats are supposed to be based on your real world physique, but due to the NerveGear having Kirito’s parameters saved, he has strength and other stats that are far above anything possible for a regular ALO player. It is like having somebody at level 96 in a game where people are around level 1-5. Kirito is just incredibly overpowered in this game even without Dual Wield.

    • Myst says:

      Well that just makes the whole situation even sillier.

    • Marina2 says:

      Eh……You are miissunderstanding.

      To clarify about ALO system.

      1. Kirito power is still in the limit of ALO, It is posiible that someone in ALO will have equal or more power than him. LV is not exist here.

      2. Let me just quote of novel to explain how thing work in ALO (These details are missing in Anime version)

      “Looking carefully at my status bar, I can tell this world doesn’t equate numbers and strength. SAO’s agility and strength parameters simply don’t exist here, not to mention HP and MP increases are small. Also, as weapon skills increase, the only thing that changes is the number of weapons you can equip, there is no change in attack power. And, of course, SAO’s signature Sword Skills, do not exist.

      In other words, ALO focuses on the player’s natural athletic ability and judgment. In SAO, attacks by lower-leveled opponents won’t do too much to lower HP. But this doesn’t seem to be the case here.”

      (This mean while Kirito can kill other players quickly, other players can also kill him easily if they maange to hit Kirito. He cannot stand and tanking lower lv player like in SAO)

      3. From #2 Kirito 1000 in One-handed sword doesn’t increase any damage to One-handed sword like in SAO. The higher number only make Kirito equip more weapon. So, how can he one shoted that guy while he only use starter weapon?? Well, in ALO, attack calculation work like this

      [Attack power of weapon + your attack speed +(-) body part you attack – opponent armor = damage]

      After playing SAO for two years, his reflex become very great.He can move (in game) with very fast speed. Attack Speed. That is where his attack power came from. (Still, this is HAX…)

      • Myst says:

        Alright, so there’s no levels in the game, but it still doesn’t change the fact that Kirito transferring his parameters over gives him an advantage. He has tons of experience and accumulated numbers from the years spent in SAO. These are numbers that NOBODY in ALO should have without cheating because ALO simply hasn’t been out as long as SAO. This is my problem. I don’t like the idea that he has any kind of advantage at all coming into the new game.

        I won’t touch on the idea of Kirito’s “reflexes” just yet… maybe in a later post.

  2. elior1 says:

    i dont think lyfia is shogua if she was shogua she was need to a shocking look on her face

    • Myst says:

      I disagree. Unlike SAO, avatars in ALO aren’t tied to an individual’s real world appearance. Kirito’s looks haven’t changed too much (for obvious reasons), but there is no reason why either one of them should immediately recognize each other in game. Also, it’s fairly obvious that Lyfa is Suguha.

  3. elior1 says:

    the hate for the main villlain of alo will begin in the next episode for sure

  4. […] For our thoughts on the latest episode of Sword Art Online, please visit this post. […]

  5. Yerocha says:

    I love how nobody seems to bother with remembering Imouto’s name. I have enough trouble remembering names as is, so this works out well.

    • Marow says:

      It’s hard to remember anime names. I often call them by some sort of character attribute. “Muscles”, “Green hair”, “Protag” etc.

    • Myst says:

      I actually remember Suguha’s name, but in the case of SAO, calling her the “imouto” just seems so much more appropriate. After all, “imouto” doesn’t just mean little sister, it also refers to the character who is in love with her older brother and who may or may not even be a little sister.

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