Kirito falls in defeat against the leader of the Blood Alliance Knights and is forced to join their guild. While on a required training mission, he soon finds himself nearly facing death’s door and his true feelings about Asuna..
Kirito and Heathcliff, the leader of the Knights of Blood, decide to have a duel and make a deal: if Kirito can win then Asuna is free to leave the guild, but defeat means he has to join it. The two clash and Kirito is surprised to find himself losing, due to his rash attack style and Heathcliff’s mysterious strength. With the duel decided, Kirito puts his new uniform on and confesses to Asuna about the deaths of the Moonlit Cats and how they’d left him not wanting to join with other parties and guilds. Asuna finally feels like she can understand Kirito and pledges to him that she will be by his side always.
While spending more time with Asuna, Kirito is forced to be part of a Knights of Blood training session at the 55th floor with Godfrey and the ex-bodyguard, Kuradeel. Kuradeel personally apologizes to Kirito about all of the misfortune he brought upon him when it came to his duties of following around Asuna. However these words prove false, as he corners both Kirito and Godfrey by cleverly poisoning their food supply on the 55th floor. Godfrey is killed and Kirito soon uncovers the dark secret that Kuradeel is secretly a player killer, one that has belonged to Laughing Coffin the entire time. Fortunately, Asuna dashes into the area and goes on a complete and utter rampage against her ex body guard. The cowardly Kuradeel resists and tries to get away, but ultimately he meets a brutal death at the hands of Kirito. With this latest crisis over, Kirito and Asuna are so impacted by the incident that they confess their love for each other and decide to get engaged. The new happy couple decides to take a nice break from the front lines and start creating more happy memories with one another.
Crismon Killing Intent completely jumps over the wall of expectations and hits a new area of surprising development. We see Kirito lose his first battle, almost getting himself killed again and finally confessing his feelings to Asuna. For starters, I thought why Kirito lost his duel with Heathcliff made complete sense and that it was a good wake up call to the fact that brute strength isn’t always going to be the answer to win against more experienced players and monsters. It’s rather fitting now that Kirito is struggling slightly, as his fight with the Blood Eyed Demon proved that fighting without actual strategy is not going to work anymore.
Kuradeel has always had that antagonistic aura, and at last he showed his final true colors by executing his revenge against Kirito (he really couldn’t get a break in this episode). I wasn’t expecting much out of his scheme, though it turned out to be impressive considering how he actually came close to killing both main characters of this series. It’s safe to speculate that The Laughing Coffin guild really could be the main antagonists, given how crazy Kuradeel turned out to be.
Last but definitely not least, the ending to this episode has brought plenty of discussion for a variety of reasons. Kirito and Asuna not only confess their love but also go even go further by getting engaged. Originally I was disapproving of this entire moment, because we received so little romantic development between the two characters that it felt extremely cliche and incredibly unrealistic. But then I started to realize that this really does work in the environment that this entire story takes place in. It’s a world that composes itself with trapped players that, in order to feel safe and ease the loneliness that comes with their situation, need to cling to one another in some way – whether it’s groups, guilds, or even partnerships. Plus, I feel that writer Reki Kawahara is making this couple look so perfect in order to make us forget about the previous dramatic moments and slowly build up the impact of a possible future tragedy. We can’t forget that this the same series where plenty of Kirito’s close friends have either already died, or suffered greatly. I personally can’t help but remember back in episode 6, when Grimmrock coldly told Kirito “You will soon understand how it feels to lose the one you love.”