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In this episode of Sword Art Online, we learn that effective communication saves lives.

Hi, this is ShonenBeat, covering for Racoons again. She's been working hard at her new internjob, so I'll be taking care of the episode 10 review here. We continue from last week's dramatic conclusion - Kirito is going to start duel with guild master Heathcliff for Asuna's freedom. If he loses, he'll have to join a guild, and end his solo quest against Aincrad.

So we open with the serious arena match between our two combatants. Thanks to the fantastic and completely unnecessary publicity team behind the Knights, pretty much everyone who ever existed in the game turns up to watch. Because there's no need to win SAO at all - who needs the real world, anyways The duel is a form of entertainment to everyone, minus Kirito. He has to overcome Heathcliff's ultimate technique that makes him invincible and get him into the yellow. To do so, Kirito takes everything he has learned and begins using Crazy Fu sword slashes with his newly acquired dual wielding technique. Everything goes well until the world freezes around him, becoming an angry red, and Heathcliff scores a winning point.

So now, Kirito is part of the Knights. Apart from the annoyance at losing - and the pretty lame outfit he gets - he's not that bothered by the change in status. He even admits to Asuna that he's come to the limits of what a solo player can achieve. Asuna picks this rare moment to ask him about his lack of interest in other people. Kirito trusts her with his trauma about the Moonlit Black Cats, and how he felt helpless to protect them in the dungeon trap. He claims that he doesn't want anyone to die on him. Asuna, being the gentle badass, tells him that she can't die on him - she's the one who is going to protect him. D'awwww.

See, good communication saves lives. Now it's time for some bad communication.

Higher-ups like Godfrey decide that Kirito needs to do some training. Okay, he's a badass, but Godfrey makes a good point: he needs to be tested in the field, and his ability to work in teams must be proven. For that purpose, they are going to train with 'one other person'...

Yeah, you people with good memories have worked out that it is time for the return of Kuradeel. Cheery Godfrey decides that they need to bury the hatchet over their 'misunderstanding'. (Communication Issue Number One. See Kuradeel's introductory episode. How does information about aggressive behaviour and reckless duels not make it to the commander ) And because being able to heal or escape in a life-or-death RPG apparently gets in the way of training (Issue Number Two), everyone hands over their antidote and teleport crystals.

Which leads me into Communication Issue Number Three: Godfrey fails to mention that lunch was solely provided by Kuradeel. Turns out, contrary to all evidence of aggressive behaviour and dislike for Kirito, he's actually a nice psychopath from the assassin's guild. Thanks to all the bad communication going on, Kirito gets paralysed by an evil lunch, and Godfrey gets himself murdered. Rest in peace, Godfrey. Your five minutes of fame were memorable.

Cue Kuradeel's five minutes of being memorable for a wholly different reason. He flaps around like one of those streamer men you see at carnivals, ranting about other people make his life suck. He plans to kill the party and blame it on bandits - something it'll be a little difficult to square when guild members notice the orange PK mark above his head. Then again, the Knights weren't able to suss him out before...

Just before Kirito is royally screwed, in flies Asuna. Joy! We get to see a whole lot of ass kicking, though Asuna is still prepared to be merciful towards Kuradeel. Quite predictably, Kuradeel tries for an incredibly cheap shot, and Kirito punches him into sparkly lights.

We get a wonderful echo of the scenes before - Kirito and Asuna affirm their desire to protect each other. Except this time, Kirito takes it a step further and plants a kiss on her. Following another little scene, where a whole different league of bad communication gets played through, Kirito decides to pop the question. We end the episode with Kirito and Asuna deciding to settle down in the digital countryside...

...so this is a good episode. There's a lot of intrigue for those who are looking for it - and especially those who know where a few names come from - and there's a lot of emotional development. It seems like Kirito is finally defeating his emotional issues, and he is going to have a shot at happiness with Asuna. I am wondering about the lack of impetus to win the deadly game, so Kirito can give Asuna the opportunity to do what she wanted to in the real world, but that's probably a question for another episode. For now, everything is as it should be in Aincrad, and everyone gets what they deserve.

Except for Godfrey.