Sword Art Online - "The Black Swordsman" Episode 4 Recap
Kirito puts it upon himself to help a beast tamer named Silicia revive her pet dragon by going to an area called the Hill of Memories.
On February 23rd, 2024, a beast tamer by the name of Silicia decides to quit a party after arguing with their nasty leader, Rosalia. Silicia decides to explore the forest she is in by herself, but as she does her dragon Pina gets killed trying to protect her. When hope seems lost though, Kirito arrives to save her and mentions that there is an item at the Hill of Memories on the 47th floor that can revive familiars (monsters that beast tamers possess) within three days after its death. Silicia reminds Kirito of his younger sister, so he decides to accompany her to the spot and tells her about player killers, who are marked by orange and red tags. The two proceed to the Hill of Memories and get past the monsters blocking the way, but once Silica retrieves the item she needs they are attacked by Rosalia, who turns out to be a member of the orange player killer guild “Titan’s Hand”. Rosalia’s team members appear and try to kill Kirito, but they soon realize he is really the Beater player called “The Black Swordsman”, who outranks them all in levels and skill. After defeating Rosalia and her group, Kirito prepares to return to the front lines and makes a promise with Solica that he will meet her again someday in the real world.
“The Black Swordsman” doesn’t hit the same quality as the previous three episodes for numerous reasons. For one thing, there was a huge transition from Kirito being on the lower floors previously to now being above floor 50. While it’s great that the story is going rather fast, I can’t help but to think that the series is shooting itself in the foot for not using all of those floors for possible stories or new characters to introduce. The primary thing we learn here is that Kirito is now more famous as The Black Swordsman and that he fights on the front lines in the much higher floors. I find it rather disappointing that this episode didn’t revolve around how he got so much stronger. It’s not that I don’t like the plot idea with Silicia, but it was too cliché compared to how deep the previous stories have been. The writing gives this infamous “brother and sister relationship” with Kirito and Silicia, surprisingly going so far with it that I almost lost a little respect for this show because of that. It was rather touching, but it wasted time rather than being anything that led to great development. This wasn’t all bad though, as I thought the presence of player killers was an interesting plot point that could make things much more complex later on; I can’t help but to think of possible antagonists who might actually fight for the idea of staying trapped inside the game for the purpose of staying away from reality.