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The mystery concludes but pacing problems continue.

So Kirito figures out how these murders take place by watching a sandwich disappear. The answer There never were any murders in the first place. The people who they thought were dead simply teleported out of the area in time with their armour breaking, creating the illusion of SAO-style death. I admit, that s kind of clever.


It was pretty obvious that there was no ghost committing murder (although what the heck was that at the end, Sword Art Online ) Kirito was quick to put down that theory, but the episode itself seemed to want to drag on the idea of ghosts. It was a tad forced and I don t think anyone bought into the suspense.


As I mentioned, pacing continued to be an issue with SAO. Characterisation also takes a blow this episode. In particular the Assassin s Guild who, like the PK-ers from episode 4, turns out to be a bunch of generic villains with common-sense-deficiency-syndrome, which villains often suffer from. Don t stand around talking among yourselves when you ve got a job to do! Don t gloat over your victim, giving time for back up to arrive! For assassins, they turned out to be strangely incompetent, and they gave up far too easily.


The pacing problems continued as Grimlock made his appearance. Although his motives were...interesting, he broke way too easily and then was just left in the hands of his ex-guild without much ado. It was just a little...anti-climatic the way he was carried off and that was it.


So far, the most interesting part of SAO, for me, has been the world building. While part two of the murder mystery was a bit lacklustre, I still found many interesting things discussed within the episode. For example, the idea of in-game marriage, and sharing item storage space. I admit, I laughed when Asuna said she found the idea of item sharing romantic. Yeah, like sharing a cupboard or a locker. But then again in SAO sharing your storage space is like sharing a house. It s a huge act of trust. You have to believe that your partner won t try to kill you and take all your items (here s looking at you, Grimlock), you have to trust that they won t use a valuable item without your permission and that, in a sense, is sort of romantic, I guess.


The item drop system Asuna and her guild have set up is pretty good at preventing fights from breaking out. It s interesting the little social rules that players have imposed to preserve order. Also, the theme of PK-ing continues with the appearance of the Assassin s Guild. Grimlock mentioned that in the world of SAO PK-ing is not going to be punished (other than maybe being sent to jail as Kirito did to the gang from episode 4) but I wonder if that s really the case. When this is all over, and people finally manage to get back to the real world, I wonder how authorities will react to PK-ers.


In other news, Asuna continues to be adorably tsundere. I actually have little patience for the tsundere archtype, having seen it so often, but for some reason Asuna flies through my 'OK' zone.