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There s more than one way to survive the game.

So far, most people can be split into two groups; those who are on the front lines, pushing for game completion as fast as possible, and those who stay behind and make your own way at your own pace/skill level. (Admittedly, there is a third group of PK-ers, but right now it s hard to see how what they re doing really leads to their ultimate survival. Sure, they can get rare items and stuff that would be helpful, but that s as far as the advantages of PK-ing in terms of ultimate survival seem to go). Liz presents another way: Stay behind and offer support through craftsmanship. Like any good MMORPG, SAO has already proven to offer players a variety of learnable skills. Sometimes, it s important to remember just how important support is if the front lines want to keep on going.


So, we have another girl and another quest. The whole episode feels like something out of a mini-adventure or a side-quest to an actual game, this time with Kirito partying with Liz in order to find a rare metal and forge a sword. As cute as Liz is, it would be nice if Kirito wasn t always partnered with girls. I mean, what about all the guys


Kirito and Liz set out to floor 55, a real winter wonderland, to slay a dragon, reap its drop item, and make the sword that will pierce the heavens. On the way, Liz suffers from romantic-but-doomed-attachment to Kirito, which seems to afflict most of the female characters in SAO. It s hard to say just how genuine Liz s feelings are, or if it s just because Kirito saves her, because of the time span in which she falls in and then gives up on her love. At the end, though, I admit I did feel sorry for poor Liz. Maybe that s just because I m a sap. Liz s attachment to Kirito is used more to shine a light on Asuna s relationship than anything else. Asuna s growing affection for Kirito becomes evident. If the sandwich wasn t enough, putting extra effort into her appearance is a sure sign.


Anyway, this episode brings many things, including a deeper look into Kirito s thought process. His outlook has been decidedly gloomy for a while, preferring to die with someone rather than continue alone. Some could say it s the easy way out. He shows hints of survivor s guilt in his actions and decisions, throwing himself at the enemy alone, choosing to take the brunt of the damage from the fall, etc. One thing about the way people die in SAO is that it s so censored, so pretty even, sometimes it doesn t really hit you that people are actually dead until you see how it affects the people around them. At the end, however, he admits that he is moving on from those feelings. Is he sincere or will he just relapse again We ll see, Kirito, we ll see.