SAO II 3 Img006After seeing Sinon at her best last week, we’re now seeing her at her most vulnerable – and while both events have involved guns, the disparity is impressive. Despite being the same person, Sinon and Asada Shino couldn’t have been more different – beyond the latter’s irrational fear of guns, you’d never expect the “Ice Sniper” to be such a mild and soft-spoken, although equally cute girl in the real world. Of course, this is the first time something like this has really been explored in the series – in the Aincrad arc, your in-game avatar was essentially all that mattered, while in Fairy Dance it was only really significant in that Kirito had no idea he’d been travelling across the world with Sugu. With Sinon, it’s all just two sides of the same coin in many ways. Her strength and desire for more strength in GGO is borne out of her weaknesses in real life, with the latter being something she believes she’ll be able to overcome should she manage to rise to the very top. It’s a sort of therapy, as she mentioned herself – although if her trauma has lasted this long and still has such intensity, I doubt winning the Bullet of Bullets will drastically change anything in terms of her mindset. Also, there’s Kirito’s presence to contend for too, and when has Kirito ever lost?

SAO II 3 Img024It was probably never healthy for a little girl to have a front-seat view of a bank robbery, but it was definitely the shooting that caused Sinon the most damage, both physically -the recoil wrecked her arms- and mentally. Her mother’s horrified face wasn’t a good idea either. Even though Sinon shot quite a few times, that sort of reaction was pretty much uncalled for, especially as she initially acted to save her mother in the first place. And I think it was the robber’s aggressive movements even after being shot that caused her to keep firing out of instinct. I don’t know how realistic that sort of trauma is, but within fiction minor adherence to realism is not something I find to be too necessary – rather, what I was more surprised about was Sinon’s belief that she could handle a model gun (which, incidentally, she got off GGO) when she froze even when a finger gun was pointed at her. Those cries made me feel a bit queasy, by the way… Sawashiro Miyuki really can do it all, although I’m a bit uneasy about praising her for something like that. Also, it was pretty low of those bullies to take advantage of Sinon using her fear of guns – her badassery is unfortunately limited to the virtual world, so it might have gotten nasty if Shinkawa hadn’t turned up. As one of her few friends, he ostensibly emulates the wimpy friend role Recon did for Sugu back in Fairy Dance; his family also runs a hospital.

SAO II 3 Img045Unfortunately, our streak of Sinon-packed goodness is rapidly coming to an end – it would be great if she were the main protagonist, but we’re quickly shifting gears again. Kikuoka and the government are being very cautious about Kirito’s stint in GGO, with the nurse’s presence being more important than her perverted actions imply – Kirito’s logging in from a public hospital instead of the private comfort of his own home, for one. And should he really be injured in the real world from a virtual attack, there’s equipment and medical staff ready to treat him. They’re definitely taking this rumour quite seriously, for all of Kikuoka’s claims. Although Death Gun won’t be setting his sights on Kirito, but Sinon instead…