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I might have underestimated Sword Art Online a lot more than I'd care to admit to.
Teamwork is central to our every day lives whether it's participating in team sports, doing a group project at school and work or simply playing the wingman for your best bro on a night out. So why shouldn't it apply to games Especially an MMORPG which many play for the element of teamwork that exists. I was impressed at how much importance was placed on teamwork and how the issue of trust within a team was brought up by someone looking to place the blame on any individual. The perspective from which teamwork is displayed is no different from that of a group fighting for survival in the real world or in fact just in a team who have been brought together by chance, something that only adds to the gravity of the atmosphere set in another successful attempt for Sword Art Online to try to emphasise that death in the virtual world will become death in the real world. Then we were shown the need for the beta testers to be blamed, we are convinced that this isn't just your typical virtual world setting but rather it resembles the desperation of a group of people struggling for their lives and who need to blame someone who isn't the creator of the game (the one truly responsible) for their possible impending deaths.
It wasn't that surprising that Kirito was left out of the team selections and hence forced to pair up with one of the few attractive girls in the entire virtual world where he is stuck (it's a shonen series, what do you expect ) and as it was pointed out to me in a comment, his fear of responsibility for other people's deaths has been eating away at him and is the main cause for his reluctance to form any bonds which came back to bite him in the ass in this episode. With a character who is still to young to know enough to get into university, Kirito kept blaming himself for not looking after the newbs is understandable to say the least seeing as how it's a little unfair not to teach others when it's life-or-death but it's his suffering and strong sense of morality that allow for a fantastic redemption to occur. Although he was feeling somewhat responsible as a beta tester and was still afraid to die like the rest of the people stuck in this world, his sacrifice came at the time when people needed to blame someone again and thus the issue of beta testers came up, at which time Kirito bit the bullet and singled himself out as the villain.
His sacrifice shouldn't be taken lightly, even it may seem to be insignificant. Kirito understood much like the leader of this "raid" Diabel that should anyone other than himself acquire the rare item after defeating the boss, there would be chaos and conflict within the group about the item. It may be because he understood it and/or he still felt responsible as a beta tester that he went ahead and made himself the villain whom the other players can actually identify but he also understood that without a guild he would be dead in a little while; he advised Asuna to join a guild since there is only so much one can do alone and if you remember back to the previous episode, he said he only got up to Level 8 out of 100 as a beta tester. In that respect, I've realised that MMRPG's are useful in teaching the basics of teamwork to many people who might otherwise never consider its importance and roots in human society.
With Level 1 finally cleared and a nice episode of character development for Kirito completed, we'll now proceed further on in the SAO world and have more opportunities for Kirito to run into Asuna and inevitably become a more sociable and dependable team player. As generic as that may sound, I think I'm going to like how this anime turns out.