Episode 2, “Beater” does a good job of establishing just how dangerous the game is…both in how dangerous the npcs and the players are since there are no extra lives and do overs. We also see how the world is politicizing from the desperation of the players and see how Kirito ends up defining himself.
The story begins a month after the first episode and we see Diavel attempting to unite the players to take on the Boss so that all of them can move on from the 1st level. When he says they will form parties to take them on Kirito joins another loner Asuna as the angry Kibaou attacks the Beta testers, blaming them for the deaths they could have prevented in the game.
The Pros: The Politics – I like that there are those who are angry because they are powerless to leave the game. Kibaou felt believable if misguided and I like how Agil defends the Beta testers and points out how they helped. Diavel is great as the face of the players too and the loners like Asuna and Kirito are a great touch as well.
Illfang the Kobold Lord – This boss is awesome and actually manages to kill Diavel! He has a secret move that isn’t in the Handbook and goes through a lot forms and kills countless players. I liked the design too as Illfang looked like a Demonic Dog.
Diavel – Diavel is the revolutionary out to unite the players and he does a good job too as he is the spark that makes Kirito think beyond himself. He wants to protect the players from their worse natures and free as many as he can. For these reasons his death means something.
Kibaou – Kibaou is the one looking to start a fight as he feels powerless in the game. To this end he targets the Beta Testers and nearly succeeds on a few occasions, the first time he is talked down by Agil and the second time Kirito lets him be the focus of all the player’s anger. He is a good antagonist for this reason as he reasons make sense.
Agil – I really like Agil. He is a large and calm guy who can see the bigger picture. He is also the only person of color we have seen in the game so far. He is really talented too and has an awesome weapon!
Asuna – Asuna is the loner who has trouble connecting to others like Kirito. She is also one of the best in the game and it is her and Kirito who save the day. She holds onto her humanity and reminds herself of what matters. To her the game has a danger of pulling her in and she wants to stop it.
Kirito – Kirito’s arc continues as we see him fear for his life when Kibaou wants to punish the Beta Testers and later see him see the bigger pictures when Diavel dies for the players. It is that helps him see beyond himself and beating the game and he becomes the face that the angry players can hate while he resolves to help the noobs. I really liked his arc in this.
This was a powerful and fun episode. It was better than the Pilot and did more with more characters. It also introduced a lot of characters I think we will see later. This really showed how dangerous the game really is and that it changes people for better and for worse.
Final Score: 9.5 / 10