Sword Art Online - 4
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They do say never get too attached to your pets.
In any case, viewers may be raising a few eyebrows about why Kirito manages to party with so many cute girls. In this case, I would say it s fated by the nature of the genre itself, although Kirito is somewhat young and dashing (if moody) it s no surprise the girls want to party with him rather than generic-looking gamer no. 5.
At least, that seems the case for Silica, who quickly forms a cute sort of school-girl crush on Kirito. Despite the tentacle monsters and several shots of Silica in her underwear, the fanservice mostly comprised of Silica looking cute and doing cute loli things. Some fans accuse Silica of being nothing but a useless loli, but I think that s somewhat harsh. Her levels are far below Kirito s and, at the start, far below the level needed to get to the floor needed to revive Pina. It s only natural that she d have to rely on Kirito for most things. I did appreciate the little details during their journey like Kirito letting Silica take the killing blow so she d get the most EXP and level up quicker.
Again, Kirito is the knight in shining armor. He's pretty badass now with his regen abilities and his crazy levels. It is fun to watch Kirito completely overwhelm his enemies, but this is probably the third or fourth time he's saved the day. As fun as it is to watch, it would be nice to shake things up a little.
In any case, this episode raised some interesting questions about gamer demographics. I think most people will agree most MMORPG players are male (even if they play female characters). In real life, female players tend to be treated differently from male players. This is reflected in the treatment and the fame that Silica gets. She might not be a great player but a lot of people want her in their party (even if it s just as a cute mascot). In a life or death game, you d think that people would be extra picky about who they team up with, making sure that they re paired with the very best.
Perhaps the most interesting thing this episode was the introduction of character killers. I know a lot of people who prefer to play bad guys rather than the good guys. It s a refreshing change and the ability to screw the rules is somewhat fun. However, as Kirito mentions, Sword Art Online isn t a normal game. It s a battle of life and death. Being a character killer is no longer something you can do for kicks, because the people you kill here stay dead. These player killers are literally murderers. It makes one wonder if they will face any retribution or punishment for it if they get back to the real world.
The player guild, Titan s Hand, which Kirito is sent to track down are a bunch of generic villains, although they do make an interesting claim. They say that there s no guarantee that players they kill really die. True, the footage in episode one could be faked, but who wants to take that risk I notice that none of the player killers consider the option of killing themselves to get out of the game It seems they re just trying to justify their actions.
This episode really raised some interesting points to ponder on. Like Sachi in the previous episode, it was hard to build an attachment to Silica. She was there and then she was gone. Well, at least she s not dead. Yet. So far we ve had a few enjoyable side stories, but now it s about time to get the plot really rolling.