Out of order?!
Disclaimer: After giving only cursory pans of the raw, it appears that this episode is either going to be anachronistic, or they’re skipping Tonkii. I apologize if some of the information I cover is uncovered in the anime, or if I miss out on some. I have to go out today, so I’m setting this to auto post approximately 30 minutes after HorribleSubs releases. When I’m back, I’ll actually watch the episode [cannot understand Japanese at a proficient level via raws] and edit accordingly. The proceeding chunk of text has some useful insight, but there may be minor spoilers to some other works.
This’ll be a relatively unique episode. What happens to Asuna will only gradually exacerbate. Kawahara’s a dick at times. There’s not a lot of mechanics this episode, primarily character interaction. The light novel was a little worse in terms of the tentacle interaction; it’ll be interesting to see how SAO adapts the future scenes. SAO typically has two forms: the web novel, and the light novel. The latter, the light novel, is published; light novel content is genuinely much more age appropriate. For example, Chapter 16.5 was exclusively released in the web novel, it was not existent in the published versions of the light novel. We saw that A1-Pictures simply insinuated the sex scene, rather than carry out a full-blown, lurid depiction of teenage dependence. In the web novel, Lizbet slept [literally, the action of sleeping] in much less with Kirito when they were stranded in the dragon’s nest. In the adaptation, they adapted the light novels’ depiction of what she wore. In Sword Art Online’s published light novel, the scenes revolving around the tentacles were a little more descriptive [but not by much]. The final Asuna-Sugou interaction was relatively lurid [think the Shiki-Lio interaction during KnK's final movie, but a little more graphic]. It won’t be completely awful, just irritating to watch.
Argus: The developers for Sword Art Online. In the aftermath of the SAO incident, they went bankrupt; RECTO [The FullDive Research Division of a major electronics distributor], was commissioned to perform maintenance on the SAO server. Sugou, an important individual on the team [and colleague of Kayaba], used his power to imprison around 300 players after the incident ended. His purpose was to manipulate the brains of these players, achieved primarily by utilizing the FullDive’s system. Sugou trapped Asuna with the ulterior motive of marrying her, which would grant him both a trophy wife, and the seat of successor to RECTO.
Those were in-depth mechanics. Really just a reiteration of what you already know. I wrote ~4 entries relating to Tonkii, considering I expected for this episode to revolve around him. I’ll save them for next week, given that ALO’s adaptation is simply anachronistic, and not unfaithful.
Kirito-Lyfa Interaction: It may appear for Kirito and Suguha to be participating in somewhat of a pseudo-romance. Kazuto, Suguha’s brother is clearly focused on saving Asuna; Suguha, aware of this, still cannot help but fall for Kazuto. In order to amend this, she meets this really cool guy named Kirito on ALO; she falls for him too because he’s so similar to Kazuto, her brother; unfortunately, he is her brother.
Some may view this as an essential “sucks to be you”, inevitable ending for Suguha. But we do have to take into consideration the structure and the interaction. Kirito and Lyfa are not so much romantically playing together as much as they are friends on an adventure. Prior to Kirito finding out about his adoption, Suguha and him were incredibly close, as close as Lyfa and Kirito are at the current moment. These current interactions serve as lessons to Kirito — just because he’s adopted, it doesn’t mean that Lyfa would like him less. It’s a bit of a common-sense conclusion for Kirito, but it truly does help for him to actually experience it [hanging out with Suguha as a stranger, without any preconceived conceptions].
There’s also the matter of Recon. He’s already been set up as Suguha’s
bitch secondary romance.
Kazuto-Suguha Interaction: The novel goes into quite a bit of depth when talking about Suguha’s relationship with Kirito. From the point of her mother, Midori, telling her the truth about her relationship to Kazuto [as cousins, not siblings], she incessantly questioned her own feelings. It was difficult for her to disambiguate between romantic interest, and sisterly love; from a young age, Suguha always longer to be together with Kazuto. From a brother-sister view, we would view this as a young sister being overly-attached to her brother; but since this proclivity transfers over even after the years and statuses have passed [they're now teenagers, and she's Kazuto's cousin], the question of “How does she really feel?” arises. She felt that by seeing Asuna, the central focus of her brother’s love, she would be able to ascertain her true feelings.
A scathing pain pierced deep into her chest. What kind of eyes were those, she thought. They were the eyes of a traveler that sought his eternally fated partner… No matter how long it took, in this life or the next, no matter how many times he was reincarnated. Eyes filled with such a gentle, calm light, containing within them a crazed feeling of love. Even their color seemed different than usual. At that moment, Suguha knew what her heart truly wanted, and at the same time, she understood that she would never be able to reach it.
-Narration from when Suguha looks into Kazuto’s eyes
Kayaba-Sugou Relationship: Although both are technically “insane”, one’s a little bit more quixotic and noble than the other. Kayaba Akihiko wasn’t misanthropic. He didn’t want power, he didn’t care for it — he simply wanted to live in his envisioned world, his envisioned world was something along the lines of Sword Art Online. To live in a world such as Sword Art Online, a sense of verisimilitude had to been blatant; to do this, he paralleled it to the real world — if you died in the game, you died in real life. This would result in people taking the game much more seriously, and in a sense, like real life. Sugou on the other hand, is driven by money and power. He’s not only a flat, predictable character with an overly-zealous, holier-than-thou attitude, he’s obnoxious.
“He would visit every possible humiliation upon her before using her as a subject in his experiments. Just the thought of that made Asuna shudder”
-Quote above detailing Sugou’s relationship to Asuna.
Kirito: His recovery after SAO is similar to a veteran returning home from war. For the first two months, he felt uneasy not having his weapons of choice on him at all times. He accepted reality, but at the same time, he was still stuck in SAO. He needs to retrieve Asuna, the last vestige of his past, to fully recover from his seemingly perpetual state of being trapped in SAO.
ALO’s getting a bit of a rushed adaptation. But, it’s not as heavily content-heavy in terms of character interaction as there was in Sword Art Online itself. We’ll see how this progresses; hopefully Tonkii doesn’t get the Argo treatment.