Kirito and Asuna decide to work together in order to solve the mystery behind an unusual murder.
On March 6th, 2024, guilds and players meet on the 56th floor to devise a plan to defeat the next threatening boss. Asuna, who has become the vice commander of the Knights of Blood Oath guild, proposes a plan to lure the boss into a village and have it get distracted by the NPC’s. However, Kirito rejects the plan because of how realistic they are within the game, arguing that it would be inhuman. One month passes and Asuna catches Kirito sleeping on the job, while everybody else is hard at work inside the dungeons. Asuna criticizes him, but Kirito manages to convince her to relax and she ends up falling asleep, to his surprise. Later, Asuna decides to treat Kirito to lunch since he watched over her while she was asleep. We learn there are now player killers who will kill anyone sleeping inside towns, forcing them to duel by grabbing the player’s fingers until they accept the challenge. Kirito and Asuna suddenly hear a scream and come across a player named Kains, stabbed and hanged against the local church wall. The two decide to investigate the murder in order to figure out if the player died from a simple duel, or if somebody actually found a way to exploit the system in order to kill players. They soon stumble upon a women named Yoruko, who was friends with the victim. Yoruko tells them that she saw somebody behind him before he was killed.
Kirito and Asuna decide to take the murder weapon to Egil’s shop, where Egil tells the both of them that the murder weapon was custom made by a player named Grimrock. They take the information back to Yoruko, who reveals that she and Kains had a relation to Grimrock. Six months ago, they were part of a eight-man guild that went by the name of “The Golden Apple”. One day, the guild found a rare item and took a vote whether they should sell it or keep it for themselves. Only three members of the guild supported the idea of using it: Yoruko, Kains, and Schimit, who is now with the Holy Dragon Alliance. Their guild leader, Griselda, decided to go off and sell the item and was killed in the process. Yoruko believes that Grimrock could be the true killer because he was also Griselda’s husband, and he might be aiming to get revenge any of those who possibly murdered his wife – such as the players who rejected the idea of selling the rare item. After getting into contact with Schimit and explaining the current situation, Yoruko becomes scared and wonders if Griselda’s ghost is out to get revenge for what happened to her. Before Kirito and Asuna can properly comfort her, she is suddenly stabbed and killed by a mysterious dagger…
This week on Sword Art Online, we got a murder mystery story that turns out to hold a lot of promise. I admit, I thought Yoruko was the murderer because of her crazy reactions, but in truth they turned out to be out of pure and innocent fear. My current bet on the killer’s identity would be Griselda, simply because nobody would suspect the person who is supposed to be dead. It’s rather cool that this show explores the ideas of how players could actually harm each other, even when they are sleeping. These previous episodes have really nailed the theme of death, and this specific story decisively established the fact that this game world has become dangerous no matter where you are within it.
Besides the plot, I thought it was rather funny that Kirito and Asuna’s bond starts off not as a really great friendship, but a partnership between two people who don’t completely see eye to eye just yet. Meanwhile, the animation that has been delivered in these past five episodes have been gorgeous and makes every detail better than what you would expect. This mysterious murder seems to unfold itself next time; hopefully it will have a rather surprising twist that we won’t guess too easily.