Kirito leapt into ALO to rescue Asuna before Sugou enacts his evil-plan in a week’s time, but from Kirito’s nonchalant attitude you might’ve thought that he’d entered the game for a sightseeing trip. There was no sense of urgency or pressure in this episode. None at all.
If we weren’t shown Asuna locked away in her birdcage in the second half of the episode we might’ve even forgotten that Kirito entered the game with a mission. Rescuing Asuna, no matter how awful it is as a story arc, is the forefront of this arc, so why does Kirito spend so much time idling about?
Where’s the sense of urgency? Where’s the sense of desperation? Where’s the Kirito spending every possible minute he has learning about the world, training, and gathering supplies in order to make an attempt at taking back Asuna?
Well, unfortunately, I think that was all thrown out last week when the show allowed him to transfer his stats over from SAO. Instead what we get is the Kirito who has the time to go on a date with this blonde girl he met in-game for the first time under the pretense of “information gathering” and time for sleeping alongside his digital daughter.
You trying to tell me Kirito is a hardcore gamer when he needs to sleep? Sleep is nothing for the gamer determined to complete a goal. I’ve seen gamers stay up through the night working towards their goals. I’ve done it before too. If Kirito really was in a hurry, if he really was desperate he wouldn’t be wasting time flying about and especially not sleeping.
I also have to question the role of PvP in ALO as it relates to the plot. Encouraged player-versus-player content is supposed to be a part of the game, but the way it was brushed aside leads me to believe it is of no real consequence. Death penalties and player-killing are hollow mechanics because nobody important is actually going to die in-game. Once again, this is something I think that was ruined by the “stats transfer” from the previous episode.
The threat of p’king should be looming over the main characters at every moment in this arc. The game encourages p’king and thus, it should be something that the characters are constantly on the lookout for. Quite frankly I’d like to see Kirito dying at least once every episode just to reinforce the fact that the game is difficult and that he must struggle in order to reach his goal.
Unfortunately, the fear of player-versus-player fighting was discarded after watching Kirito so effortlessly dispatch two opponents. To the show’s credit, I did like the dynamic introduced with the tension between the various races, but what’s it matter if those enemy races don’t pose any sort of threat?
Marow: This is what I would call “the art of ruining everything in one episode”. Ever since Sword Art Online entered its second arc it had managed to reach the territory of “mediocre” instead of the previous “laughable”. With this episode, however, it has regressed back to its previous state again. Well, it was to be expected, but in just one episode? Glorious.
There is no point in beating a dead horse, so I will just say that I agree with you how time does not seem to matter at the moment. Kirito needs to step up his game. Then again, he got a hot Imouto to fall for at the moment. A character which is much better than Asuna at the moment, who instead has simply lost everything resembling strength. This became awfully apparent as the first arc of Sword Art Online, SAO, went on, but she had at least a moment or two to shine even when she was just a housewife.
In Alfheim Online, on the other hand, she has not even tried to do anything to oppose the main villain, Sugou. While this may be the case of Sugou being the game admin, there has been no indication of that being the reason so far. She only comes off as having lost all her personality.
Suguha, or Lyfa if you prefer her player name, has instead inherited everything that was good about Asuna. Most of it, at least. She has a personality, a will, fight people when necessary, is knowledgeable and so much more. This is the new Asuna. The Asuna for this current arc, with the old one being trashed and locked away in a birdcage.
But Suguha has one big flaw, so big it might ruin the rest of the series: she does not realize that Kirito is her brother/cousin. That is right. She. Does. Not. Realize. Is she dumb? Kirito looks nearly identical to his player avatar. And did he somehow keep his player name in SAO a secret all this time? Is he not famous for saving everyone trapped in the game? I have no clue. The worst part is how Kirito keeps repeating how he “got a limited time” to reach the World Tree, something that makes Suguha depressed as if she realized she just met her brother.
But no! That is not the case! Because a few minutes later, she quits the game and says “He was a weird guy… Kirito-kun, huh?”. Are you kidding me?! She was probably only sad because her game crush did not want to play the game with her. Please, Suguha, do not be this dumb in the future. It would be painful to watch.
Speaking of dumb, Sugou is a joke. Words are not enough to explain how much of a fool he is. Reveal his evil plan? Check. Does not ban Kirito from the game? Check. Being extra evil by conducting human experiments on players? Check. Fondles Asuna to ensure rage from the viewers? Check. Wants Asuna to love him, which she will never do, instead of just altering her memories and emotions to get what he wants? Check.
For an arc that started somewhat interesting, Alfheim Online sure dropped quickly. At least one, somewhat surprising, positive aspect at the moment is the fact that it continues to build upon its world. It was even briefly mentioned how dying, something Myst and I have questioned the purpose of before, might affect your “magic skill” (whatever that is). Too bad it probably will not matter in the slightest at the end of all this, though.