To be honest, I have more issue with Asuna being the damsel in distress than I do with the bad guy being absolutely disgusting or Kirito's sister having the hots for him.
I HATE damsel characters. They are the lamest, weakest, most unoriginal female characters ever written. In fact, I don’t know why we even call them characters, since they have next to no personality and are only there to give the hero (as in male protagonist) a goal to reach.
Basically, if you can replace the girl in your story with an inanimate object and the plot STILL works—no changes necessary—you’ve got a damsel. And that’s all a damsel is; she’s not a person, she’s an object, a MacGuffin, a plot device. She's the Princess Peach in Bowser's evil clutches.
Asuna has effectively become the Key of the Twilight.
Just when I thought the writing on this show couldn't get any worse...at least in SIGN, Subaru and Mimiru DID stuff.
Eh, to be honest, except for the really awkward cleavage at the end, I didn't find that one all that bad.
So, Asuna's family is perfectly okay with letting some dude marry their daughter while she's comatose...yeah, I guess I can see why she'd take Kirito over them...
I thought that this was a pretty weak episode. Kirito being able to basically walk around and look perfectly fine just two months after getting out of the game seemed to be a bit of a stretch to me. He's been in a coma for two years, so being able to be walk around and ride a bike felt a bit odd to me, even with doing physical therapy every day. Maybe if it was six months later, I could believe it a bit more. Three hundred people still being stuck in a coma also kind of came off like a contrived way to make another season. The fact that they think it is a part of Kayaba's plan also felt strange when they knew that he didn't even remember what his motivation was in the first place. Why would he bother keeping hundreds of players online when he was destroying Sword Art Online right after he was defeated and he looked like he was just going to disappear afterwards? Since Kirito told them everything that happened, coming to that conclusion doesn't really make sense.
The hospital scene disturbed me for multiple levels. Asuna's father was perfectly fine with setting up this marriage while she's comatose and was apparently more worried about the slimy guy than Asuna in this decision based on how he said that he had his whole future ahead of him. That's just plain cold and I don't even like Asuna. It's more like the idea that a person could treat someone in their own family, let alone their own child, like that and not put their feelings into consideration. How would a person feel when they woke up and found out that they were married while they were in a coma? That does kind of shed more light as to why Asuna would choose Kirito over them, but that does continue to make me question why they didn't just stay in the game when they were happy just being together. Kirito's family at least seemed caring, but he clearly valued Asuna more and they were happy just being together, so I still question why they didn't just bother staying in video game together. Also, the slimy guy touching her face and smelling her hair was pretty creepy and disturbing.
Asuna basically becoming a damsel in distress was also pretty lame. I think that damsels in distress are generally weak and uninteresting characters to begin with since they often do just become goals for the main characters to reach, rather than characters. Granted, Asuna didn't really have much of a personality beforehand for me anyway, but this is not really the best choice to handle one of your main characters, especially when the cast is already pretty small and uninteresting. Having the plot for this arc basically coming down to Kirito trying to save Asuna being stuck in seemingly another video game world and preventing her from being married to this slimy guy is just weak. If that is the main plot of this season, which seems to be the case based on this episode, that would be a step down from the stakes in the last season and like I said before, a pretty contrived reason for a second season to begin with.
And there's the start of the incest subplot here too. That was pretty disturbing, but it didn't bother me too much possibly due to being aware of it well in advanced. It does make me wonder why the audience should care about his cousin's unspoken and unrequited love for him. She does clearly care about him and to the show's credit, actually showing bits of her in the hospital visiting Kirito and crying was an effective way of showing that, but she was just introduced in this episode, she was only mentioned once or twice in the first season and she doesn't really have much personality beyond her feelings for Kirito. Not to mention the obviousness of how incest is taboo and kind of creepy to begin with, even though Japan seems to have a thing for incest plots and shows for some odd reason. The random cleavage shot was random and awkward too. It wasn't as bad as some of their other fanservice moments, but I still could have done without it and it was still too blatant fanservice for my tastes.
Overall, I thought it was a pretty weak episode. The new plot feels forced, the new characters are uninteresting, making Asuna a damsel in distress is weak and the start of the incest subplot is not a good sign. I'll admit that I was glad that we got some focus in the real world though, but that's mainly because the fantasy world had become generic and downright boring that I wanted to see more about how the game impacted the real world more than anything the fantasy setting offered.
On the question of why they didn't just stay in the game, I think one reason that would've done wonders for their likability was sadly never explored; as two of the most powerful players in all of SAO, that made them the two most qualified to save everyone else. That could've actually been pretty interesting thematically; two people who are happier in the game than in real life having to sacrifice their personal happiness for the thousands stuck in that death trap.
For some reason, this is one of those weird cases where instead of throwing up my hands and giving up, I keep wanting to figure out how to adapt it into something serviceable.
That said, while a damsel in distress plot is annoying as hell, I do think lowering the stakes is actually an improvement. When ten thousand people are at stake, it's a lot harder to care about the troubles of a small main cast. At least this way, if nothing else, it doesn't have that problem hanging over it, even if the plot itself is worse.
That said...I thought that fanservice moment might have been one of the worst to me, mostly because the art style makes Sugu look around...ten or twelve.
As far as Kirito's cousin/sister having a crush on him, that's not that abnormal in Japan, right? Or is that just in anime? I'm guessing, if I'd watch the Japanese version, I'd hear "onii-chan" quite a bit.
Lowering the stakes in this case does at least make it more personal than simply everyone getting out of a death trap, which probably does work better for a small cast than throwing the fates of thousands of people into the mix. I'm not sure if I'd consider that an improvement, but I could see where you're coming from there and I agree that the plot itself is worse. I do wonder why they had three hundred people still stuck in a coma instead of just Asuna. Sugu did look pretty young with the art style, which does make it more creepy, and how blatant it was still kind of annoyed me.Originally Posted by TheGunheart
In my opinion, not really. They didn't sacrifice their happiness to save everyone else. They wanted to get out of the game for their own reasons, such as just wanting to do more things in the real world and actually get married, but the issue of needing to save everyone else over their personal happiness didn't really come up.Originally Posted by WickedChild
She did a little last in the last game, but she won't do much in her damsel role. Her purpose is to sit there and be distressed until her hero comes and saves her. She's been demoted.Asuna hasn't done anything?
I know that it IS legal in japan, but i don't know how prevalent it is. Frankly i think Ani-plex would have been wised to apply a little localization to the dub and take out the part about them being cousins and just make them unrelated. Cause really, the fact that they are cousins is NOT important; only the idea that it is "ok" (based on local opinion) for them to have a relationship therefore making her crush on her brother "ok". Cause that's the way anime logic works; having a crush on your sibling is "ok" as long as they are not related to you... though it is still kinda of creepy... Honestly, if you watch an anime and the characters make it a point to say they are not biologically realted, that is basically a translation for "we will ship these two". It just one of those things with anime.As far as Kirito's cousin/sister having a crush on him, that's not that abnormal in Japan, right? Or is that just in anime? I'm guessing, if I'd watch the Japanese version, I'd hear "onii-chan" quite a bit.
To be honest, the incest plot would only bother me if Kirito reciprocated, which as I understand it, he doesn't.
Even in the last game, she didn't really do a lot, but considering that she's one of the two main characters, demoting her down to damsel in distress is pretty weak.Originally Posted by Monte
I've heard that as well, but it's still kind of creepy that the audience is suppose to care that this incest romance will go unrequited and that I imagine we're suppose to feel bad for his cousin.Originally Posted by TheGunheart
Well, I would argue, as I did before, that she technically did more than Kirito last arc in the material adapted from the first novel (Kirito beat Gleam Eyes and Heathcliff...and that's pretty much it). Which just makes her demotion even worse.
I could see Sugu working if the show bothered to explore why she could be messed up enough for her brother to be the only person she sees as a romantic option, but I doubt that'll happen. Or for that matter, if she were younger, I could see it as a Precocious Crush, but after that creepy fanservice, it's clear that's not the case.
Honestly i sometimes do think that the author would be rather be writing a harem series with how many love interests that Kirito picks up.
That would explain why he got a couple of more love interests in the episodes based on the extra short stories.Originally Posted by Monte
She did help Kirito out and like I said, she wasn't inactive, but not really active either. The position in the guild doesn't really mean much when she didn't really exercise her power, especially when she had to stand behind Kirito in that one case, and that was really off-screen more than anything else. Still, saying that she was a step below partner, but a step above sidekick sounds about right to me. Her demotion is more stupid than sad for me, although maybe it helps that I never liked her anyway. Taking one of the two main characters and making them just a damsel in distress is incredibly weak. Even if this was a larger cast, it would be a poor choice, but considering how the show clearly doesn't care much about anyone who isn't Kirito or Asuna and even the supporting characters barely exist, making a move like this with a really small cast just makes it worse.Originally Posted by Monte
This episode was okay. The new villain is pretty creepy, I already know I won't like him. I feel bad for Asuna, though. Can't catch a break. As for the sibling/cousin plot....I'll wait until its fleshed out more.
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This new villain is hilarious in his awfulness. Presumably he's gotten to his current position by pulling the wool over the eyes of Asuna's father for years, but what does he do here? He advertises his nastiness out of the blue when his plan could have gone forward just fine without doing this. The bit on the marriage / partnership was clearly devastating enough on its own, but then the show has to unbelievably twist the knife just for the sake of doing it. Wow. The worst of it for me is that Kirito actually seems intimidated by this and likely isn't going to do anything about this in real life. Tell Asuna's dad his business partner is a sleaze? Nah, surely all problems can be best solved by playing video games!
One thing I wasn't thrown off by was Kirito's physical state. This episode established that he wasn't at 100%, and there was a time skip between this episode and when he woke up from SAO. There was opportunity for him to recover.
As for the not-really-my-sister drama...yeah, there isn't much to add that hasn't already been said. The fact is all indications are that they pretty much grew up together, hence their relationship is clearly not dissimilar to blood brother and sister, and so the technicalities don't make things less icky. The cover is superficial at best.
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They said that he wasn't at a hundred percent, but his actions in the episode didn't really back that up in my opinion. He could have a kendo match with his cousin, move around like he was using his sword from the game during the match, could ride a bike and walk around with no problem. They said that he was doing physical therapy by going to the gym every day, but my issue was that it had only been two months since he woke up from the game. I'm not sure if two months would be enough time for him to recover that much, even with doing physical therapy every day. Maybe if it was six months instead of two, I'd have an easier time believing that.Originally Posted by GWOtaku
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