Sword Art Online - "Land of the Fairies" Episode 16 Recap
Kirigaya receives an email with stunning information from Egil about a figure that looks just like Asuna, who is trapped within a cage inside another game called “Alf Heim Online”. With a strong desire to the save the one he loves, Kirigaya adopts the name “Kirito” yet again and heads back into the depths of the virtual world before his one week of time is up.
Kirigaya visits Egil (who is a bartender in reality) and is given information about how a figure that looks just like Asuna was seen in a bird cage on another game called Alfheim Online. Egil explains that the main goal of the game is for players to use their various magical skills and flight abilities to reach the very top of what is called “The World Tree”. Players have tried attempting to climb the tree in various ways through flying, but so far they’ve only soared far enough to take a quick picture of a figure inside the cage that rests on the top branch. What greatly sets this apart from Sword Art Online is that player killing is completely open and endorsed. With this gathered info, Kirigaya takes it upon himself to take a copy of the game from Egil and put his nerve gear on for the first time since the Sword Art Online incident.
Kirigaya chooses his name to be “Kirito” again and decides to pick the “Spriggan” species since it is the most similar to his previous online avatar. As Kirito falls from the sky to the first town, he is suddenly engulfed by a worm hole and lands in a completely different area than originally planned. He is then shocked to discover that his exact skills, levels, weapons and even his material remains of Yuni are somehow resting inside his character. Yuni is able to revive herself and turn into Kirito’s “navigation pixie”, after which she explains that this is possible because Alfheim Online holds a similar type of server that Sword Art Online had. While Kirito is luckily able to keep his stats, his equipment is incompatible and Yuni forces him to delete every item that he’s holding before the game’s system detects them both.
Elsewhere in the sky, two players by the user names of “Leafa” and “Recon” are attacked by a swarm of players. The battle spirals downward until Leafa becomes cornered inside a local forest, whear she is luckily saved by a grinning Kirito.
Land of The Fairies brings Kirito into the world of “Alf Heim Online”, where he hopes to find evidence of Asuna’s whereabouts and a way to get her to wake up in reality before his one week of time runs out. This new online game storyline is definitely intriguing, as there are now a variety of species and the power of flight could bring about interesting battles and more complex showdowns than simple swordplay. From what this episode shows at the end, it definitely seems as though the animation and fighting will be improved from before.
We are given a few surprises with Kirito regaining all of his skills mysteriously and Yui happily bouncing back into the storyline with a kind of Tinkerbell role. One could definitely argue that Kirito regaining the majority of his strength is a lazy writing tactic to make him instantly strong again, but I feel that it works for the best since it helps the plot go along faster. Kirito still has to learn about the game itself, and flying definitely does not seem to be his strong point.
Moving along, the idea of “The World Tree” reminds me of the tale of Yggdrasil, a giant tree in Norse mythology that would extend high into the heavens. I got a real good chuckle when the writing went far enough to even detail how a group of players latched onto each other in order to attempt to cheat their way to the top of the tree. Disappointingly, the tree concept does come off as reusing the idea of the tower with one hundred floors from the previous storyline. Hopefully it’s really something much different, but I suppose we will find out soon enough.