Holy fuck the rage.
Upon hearing that Aria was being adapted in one fucking episode, I was worried. Aria should have been two episodes at the minimum, I would say three. I expected the enjoyable, slice of life scenes to be cut out; not the integral components of the novel. What this episode was was a slaughtered, half-assed, generic, incoherent, unflowing, mediocre, piece of shit adaptation.
Why the fuck did this episode suck? Well let’s start at the fucking basics. Sword Art Online’s romance develops relatively fast; why did the romance work out so well? Was it because Kirito was a childhood friend? Was it because Asuna and Kirito were close friends prior to SAO? Why the fuck would their romance be developed so fast, and effectively? Aria should have answered that. Kirito gave Asuna hope in this world; this world to her, was a game of postponing her inevitable death. Not fighting to win or clear, nor to survive; just to die in an alternate way. Kirito swayed her from those thoughts, which caused Asuna to fall for Kirito [Keep in mind that they were not in love, nor in a relationship at the end of Aria; but their meeting should have been the first domino in a series of events].
Now, how the fuck did they meet? Kirito met Asuna while Asuna was camped out in the middle of a battle zone, farming shit to level up. Rather than take it slow, she was fully decked out. She didn’t sleep in hotel rooms [where it was much more comfortable], she slept on the floor, in the safe zones. Why the fuck did she do this? Because it was closer to the battlefield, nothing more. She trained viciously, and ceaselessly; weapons take damage to durability, she had six identical weapons, ready to use. Kirito found her, and he was amazed by her «Linear» [her rapier ability; most abilities in the adaptation aren't named; nevertheless, Kirito was awed by it]. This cause shit to occur. Asuna began to actually “enjoy” her existence on SAO, not as a inevitable pawn waiting to die, but rather as a player. Her enjoying the bread was meant to be a symbolic scene, not a “Eat this, shit’s delicious.”
Let’s also not forget that they cut an entire fucking character out. Who the fuck made the manuals? The answer is Argo; Argo the Rat. She’s an information dealer, a presumed “beater” like Kirito. Her entire existence was overlooked, and along with that, her integral fucking purpose. In Aria, somebody wanted to buy Kirito’s sword. Who wanted to buy Kirito’s sword, and why? Diabel did. Kirito’s sword is regarded as a “good sword” for the level; but, Diabel was offering a ridiculously high amount of money for it [Diabel could have made his own sword, with similar stats for less]. Why exactly? Because Diabel wanted to weaken Kirito’s chance at the last hit on the first boss; Diabel was a beater, and he played with Kirito. He recognized Kirito’s static name from the beta, and wanted to prevent him from ultimately getting the last hit [this means that Diabel's entire characterization was fucking incorrect; he wasn't a hero who gave a damn about anyone; he used everyone to get his fucking last hit, and he died for it]. He essentially encouraged Kibaou to incite a hatred against Beaters [even though he was one, albeit Kiabou didn't know that]. Hell, the most badass scene was omitted from this episode because they didn’t adapt the shit faithfully. Nevertheless, Kirito wasn’t characterized enough; his inner struggle in being a “Beater”, shit of that nature. But even more so, Argo’s character was so ridiculously great; she was a complex character. You can’t exactly say that for any other minor character; she would have been a ridiculously great addition to the storyline; hell, her character’s integral to Kirito’s memorable, ending monologue [which of course, wasn't in the adaptation].
EDIT: It should be noted that Diabel wanted the last hit on the boss to attain better gear, that would have resulted in him being “respected” more by the players. However, his buying of the sword was for the sole reason of weakening Kirito’s chance of attaining the last hit [Kirito was renowned for always getting the last hit during the beta; he always timed things correctly. The quote below is significant because after Diabel's death, Kibaou denounced Kirito's status of being a beta tester, and asked him if he was going to run away [Kibaou assumed that Kirito was after the last hit because he "let" Diabel die]. Kirito begins with a simple “No…” but he quickly changes his tone and ends with the phrase below. Now, this phrase not only set up an arrogant persona, but it was also considerably badass. Kirito was being accused of something ridiculous, so he replied according to such. Even more, this quote’s feigned persona could be compared with his later denunciation of the “weak” beta testers. But in Diabel’s characterization; he’s not a monochromatic character. The adaptation portrayed him as such. There’s goods and positives; the adaptation only showed an exaggerated good [Keep in mind that them defeating the boss was essential; if they failed, or if numerous people died, another raid group would have ridiculously nonsensical to form, no one would volunteer]
“”Of course I…will get the LA on the boss!”
Let’s also not fucking forget the attenuated connotation of what a “Beater” fucking is. The term was significant, and it played integral roles in later portions, yet, it was completely delineated from its meaning. Remember how Kirito called out the Kobold boss’s change in weaponry? He realized that early on in the fight, far before that moment occurred. He had an inner battle as to whether he should tell everyone or not [mind you, he realized this in combat, not prior to it]. If he told everyone, they would know of his beta tester status; if he didn’t, people could die. In the light novel, he hesitated for a while, but he ultimately decided to give in to his fear; nevertheless, his efforts were met with failure because he announced it, after the attack was used. In the adaptation, I liked the scene at the end, where it was actually faithful; but that scene meant little to those who didn’t read the novel because of how much the term “Beater” wasn’t emphasized or noted. The episode made “Beater” seem like a derogatory insult analogous to being a pest, not one privy of being a fucking murderer, a cheater, a cold-hearted, apathetic killer. Kirito basically pulled the charade at the end because he is a Beater, a beta tester; but he wanted to create a dichotomy of sorts; he didn’t want “Beta tester” and “Beater” to be analogous. Remember the instruction manual? That was written by Argo; he was worried for her safety [Her writing the manual for free is also important for her characterization; she's the type of person to nickle and dime someone for everything; but hey, screw good characters, battle scenes #1]. He was also worried about the other beta testers [Asuna isn't one for those who did not read the novel]; he wanted to create distinction between “Beta tester” and “Beater”; so he assumed the role of the “Beater”; a heartless, cruel and elitist player [Thus Argo and the rest of the "Beaters" would not be attacked; in the light novel, "Beaters" were alluded to as being analogous to "Witches" in a way; they were hunted down and killed].
Let’s also shift the fuck back to Asuna’s characterization [just fucking kidding, there was none in the episode]. She’s portrayed as a linear, and redundant character. There’s nothing else about it; nothing was attributed to her in this episode. Very little was, nothing concrete, or tangible was given to her. It completely screwed up her characterization. Since there wasn’t an explanation as to why she’s going to be so madly in love with Kirito, shit’s going to be seem forced and “fake.” Hell, this episode didn’t even show her enjoying life anymore than she did [besides the bread]. After she ate the bread, Kirito offered to show her how to efficiently complete the quest; rather than expand on it, which would have led to characterization, the scene shifted to the march to the boss. The march to the boss was significant too, Asuna found it reminiscent of her old school trips, people chattering in a “good” mood, shit of that nature; what happened in the adaptation? Ten seconds of pointless fucking walking to show that they actually walked towards the boss. But for fuck’s sake, how the fuck did they omit the origin of how Kirito and Asuna met? Shit’s pretty fucking important. Asuna will always be Asuna to the people who have read the light novel; we know her complexity as a character. To people who have not, she seems reminiscent of just another cliche heroine.
On-going Thoughts: Concluding Thoughts
I apologize for this rant. It is “insightful” but it wasn’t the way I wanted it to be. I wanted to delve into the mechanics of the game, not the rage of how shitty the adaptation was. SAO is a series driven by character interactions, not its fight scenes. I am extremely irritated that Asuna’s and Kirito’s meeting was not dealt with faithfully, but I’m more irritated as to how this acts the first domino in a contingent series of events following it [Since the origin as to why their romance works is not established, it's going to make the later developments seem silly.] I’ll edit this with the mechanics of “Potion Switching” and “Drop Rules” later,
after I cool down in a later episodic entry [entry's already long].
*Keep in mind that episode is meant to be around ~145 pages; it’s not meant to be adapted in twenty fucking minutes. But please, if you really want to amplify your enjoyment for the series, read the light novel.