Sword Art Online – Episodes 13-14 – “Escaping the Game Arc” – Kayaba’s Story and a Reason to Live

SAO_E13

   So we have now come to the end of the first arc of the series, and really the show could have ended here and it would be a favorite. I’m a little worried to see what they’ll do for the reset of the show as it could easily get bad as for what felt like the point of the series has past. We finally get to see what Kayaba’s agenda has been and who he has been in the game as well as bringing the arcs of our characters to a close in a pretty powerful ending. The series isn’t done though so I’m curious where they will go from here.

    The episodes are “Edge of Hell’s Abyss” and “The End of the World.”

    The story involves Heathcliff calling the Knights of the Blood to take on a powerful boss who took out folks from every guild. This lead to an all out assault and Kirito and Asuna being called back from their leave of absence from the Guild. From here they are reminded why beating the game is so important as all people in the game are in hospitals on life support and could die if not freed from the game. In this quest this leads to the reveal of who the final boss is and a showdown.

The Pros: Nishida – Nishida was in charge of the security company for Sword Art Online and failed big time. His way of dealing with being trapped in the game has been to fish and it is in fishing with Asuna and Kirito he finds a reason to live once more. He was a great character, it was nice seeing an older player in the game.

Klein – Klein is back and we see him and Agil doing a great job against the Skull Reaper and how much he cares about Kirito when Kirito is facing the final boss and apologizes for just leaving him when they were playing.

Agil – Agil is the character who helps all lower level players get stronger. He also does a great job against the Skull Reaper and is one of the few folks doing damage against it. Like Klein it was great seeing him again.

The Skull Reaper – This boss is awesome! It looks like a giant centipede made of skulls and bones. It is deadly too and kills most of the high level players in one it. It makes it’s defeat all the more rewarding and gives perspective to the despair the survivors feel afterword in regards to how far they have to go to beat the game. The Reaper was the boss on level 75.

Heathcliff / Kayaba – Heathcliff and Kayaba are one in the same and he sees himself as the Demon King helping level the players up so he has a worthy enemy to fight at the end. His pride and sense of justice get in the way though as he lets Kirito duel him which leads to Kirito just barely beating him, but Kayaba manages to kill Asuna in the process. Later he recounts in the game world as Sword Art Online crumbles that he’s been in the game so long he’s forgotten why he made it in the first place beyond it being something new and beautiful. He is a complex character but in no way a hero.

Asuna – Asuna risks her life for Kirito which makes it possible for Kirito to beat Heathcliff/Kayaba and free the players from the game. She dies happy though as she found a reason to live, found joy in each day in the game and in her relationship with Kirito. She also has time with him after and they swear to find each other again. It’s unclear what dying in the game means right now…but her story did feel done here, just like Kirito’s.

Kirito – Kirito defeats Kayaba! He does it just barely by willing? himself to live and make the final hit, which is alright. He also apologizes to all his friends and nearly says “I love you” to Asuna. He is a great protagonist though. He is the loner who doesn’t get people who has a great community in the game and in the end fights to free them. In the end we see him wake up after his last moments with Asuna as he says her name and leaves the hospital room.

Dying Dream – The dying dream is beautiful. Kayaba, Asuna and Kirito watch a sunset as the Sword Art Online crumbles and they have their last moments together and share how much they loved one another.

Waking Up – Kirito wakes up, his hair is long and we see that he was truly trapped in the game. Getting up he goes into the light saying the name of Asuna.

   This was a great story, though not as good as the Yui arc. At least now since the show isn’t done maybe there is a way to find Asuna and bring back Yui? I just hope things don’t end up too happy. This was such a great ending because we do lose people, people do die and you can’t save everyone. It also completed the arcs that were started at the beginning. I’ll keep watching but wonder how the story that has completed here can be beat by the story to come.

Final Score: 8.7 / 10

SAO 14

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