Oh no.
Oh no.
SAO II 13 Img045
Please no.
No. No no no NO NO NO NO NO NO
No. No no no NO NO NO NO NO NO
deep shivers
deep shivers
Get the fuck away from her.
Get the fuck away from her.
Get the fuck away from her.
…I hate to admit this, but he looks like a crazy Twelve.

SAO II 13 Img057

I want to hold her and tell her it'll all be okay.
I want to hold her and tell her it’ll all be okay.

Uh… well.

That was as creepy as fuck.

I’m still wondering how I managed to forget about this scene from the novels, even though I’ve read Phantom Bullet in the past. I mean, I knew it happened, just not that it was this bad. Why is it that all the villains in this show have to be such creeps? First it was Sugou, and now there’s this fucktwat. Thinking back, Heathcliff was a complete gentleman in comparison – after losing, he let Asuna live and held true to his promise. He even had that little talk with them in the sunset before dying. But now, it’s all rape this and rape that. In fact, I think this scene was more painful to sit through than the Sugou one, not least of all because it’s in real life and because Sinon is actually a really insecure person when she’s not… Sinon.

What really got me wasn’t so much Sinon’s terrified screaming or what Shinkawa was doing to her, although those were pretty bad too. Rather, it was the shit he was spouting, along with all those close-ups of his crazy, manic face. A classic yandere, except there was no dere. As in, I’m sure a lot of us realized that there was something off about this guy -I remember writing a couple weeks ago that his parents ran a hospital- especially as there would be very little reason to keep a character like him in prominence otherwise. But even if you thought he was Death Gun or someone related to him, I bet you didn’t think he’d be talking about dying and being reborn in some other world after Zexceed made him fuck up his stats – advocating AGI over STR and saying the exact opposite a year later, I think it was. I’m sure it’s not great for the real-life publicity of the gaming population at large, either – nor for any perceptions of people who like vidya. I won’t deny there exist individuals with tendencies not completely unlike Shinkawa, but this overkill is making me nope the hell out.

The person worst off is Sinon, by far. For her, this must be like r/Nosleep come true. I’ve said I don’t like Sinon x Kirito, but I’ll still take that any day over Sinon x Fucktwat. It must have been devastating to realize it was all someone so close to her whom she trusted – whom she relied on for protection against “Death Gun”. Just look how happy she initially was when she heard his voice on the other side of the door! And the kick in the nuts is that this bastard loves her exactly because she’s killed someone – and he goes on about her having the “strength” to do so when her trauma over it has been a focus of this arc. That must have been the Boku no Pico to her Glasslip. Actually, I’m a bit iffy about calling it love in the first place… as opposed to a possessive stalker-like obsession, that is. But seriously, those creepy expressions freak me out. It’s like all of Slaine’s pent-up suffering and anguish was given to this needy psycho.

In other news, Kirito beat Death Gun -real name Red-Eyed XaXa- with the help of Sinon’s prediction line, creating the titular “phantom” bullet. They really should have compressed that into the end of the previous episode, because while both were important scenes, I’m only really feeling the whole attempted rape thing at the moment.

I just hope that, when it’s all over, Kirito doesn’t decide to call her Asada-san.

This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. Eva

    I thought we were done with the whole sexual assaults with this series. Like really. Was it REALLY necessary? THE ANSWER IS NO! This is why I didn’t like the second arc, precisely because of this kind of BS. Here I was hoping the GGO Arc would be better, but then this shit happens! Come me on, be more creative and don’t rely on disgusting tactics to put the characters at stake! It’s so fucking stupid, I can’t even. If this is going to become a pattern for the SAO series, I’m out! D:<

    1. vergiltfs

      Kyouji is a loser who can only blame others for him being a failure, but he knows someone who is even more broken than him, and he will use all the advantages he can have to submit that person. For what I have watched/read in SAO, all the bad guys will try to use any advantage to get more power, and abuse the one they have now for that goal. Well maybe Akihiko can be a exception, even when he was forcing his dream world in other people lives.

      Sugou Nobuyuki and all the ‘Laughing Coffin’ members were/are just little bitches IRL (even with that director position like Nobuyuki), all of they were cowards trying to get more power, the easiest way possible, and one of the resources they used is harassment, that, like in real life is one of the most used forms of intimidation, many people will keep silent or will give up eventually and that will not only give power over them, will make them think they can do the same with everyone.

      Im not defending harassment as a literary tool for each arc, but I think that was one of the most ‘natural’ behaviours for someone who is trying to intimidate, the other one is phisycal violence.

      1. Eva

        Regardless of that, it still sounds like an excuse/looks like lazy writing to me, especially when this happens for the SECOND TIME in the series. If it were the first, then I would probably cut it some slack by understanding why it went that direction since it matches Kyouji’s fucked up character, but it’s not. Like the first time the molesting card was used, it was just- arg, just makes me angry thinking about it- it was a bullshit Damsel in Distress scenario where Kirito had to save Asuna under very disgusting circumstances.

        1. Vantage

          I agree it starts to get a bit edgy once you see pretty much the same thing happening a second time in a different arc, although if I had to pick I’d say it’s better suited here given the context. The Asuna one was very unnecessary, and it’s not like we needed to have more reasons to hate on Sugou.

          If it helps, the arc ends next week, and this should be the last attempted rape in the series. I think.

    2. Wanderer

      This particular attempted rape came off far more effectively than the one in Fairy Dance when I read the novels, because of the differences in the characters and the situations, and the fact that Sinon’s situation had already evoked a great deal of sympathy by the time I got to this point. In Fairy Dance the guy holding Asuna was just scummy and evil, and he tried to rape her because he was an evil bastard checking off points to add to his evil resume. In Phantom Bullet, Shinkawa really is insane. As disturbing as it is, there really have been people like that in the world (and probably still are).

      It’s not a pleasant scene, certainly, but I felt that it was effective in terms of the story. It helped that Sinon did her own part to save herself, and wasn’t just helplessly waiting to be rescued (although one of the most notable things she did in the process of keeping herself alive has been cut out of the anime, for some reason…)

      1. sidekick

        ‘I felt that it was more effective in terms of the story’???? I’m sorry, but what? Excuse me? Are you saying this is okay because it’s a storytelling device? That’s like saying rape is OK because it’s a way to pass down your genes. Fuck this show. Fuck its treatment of women. This is never okay. If you think it is justified for use within a story then I think you need to think long and hard about the effects media has on people and our mindsets, and you need to think about the people that have suffered because of this prevalent mindset that exists.

        Even if the source material did include Sinon’s attempts at self-defense it doesn’t justify a crap. I’m sure you don’t need me to explain why, since the end result is the same. Also, it’s not ‘natural behavior’ either under ANY circumstance (to whoever said this) – unless you’re an animal in heat during mating season.

        It’s not ‘effective writing’. It’s not even lazy writing. It’s not just a ‘creepy’ scene. This is clearly an extremely sexist work that tries to sell itself by objectifying women and is implying that sexual harassment is OK for whatever goddamned reason this show tries to come up with.

        I don’t want to attack anyone for liking this show, we’re free to enjoy whatever we please. But please don’t try to justify what it is doing.

        1. Wanderer

          …You seem to have a problem understanding something here. Just because a series makes use of a concept like rape, or perhaps murder, or war, or child-slavery, or numerous other examples of evil things, that does not mean that that story is saying that those things are GOOD, or acceptable, or in any way appropriate. It is saying that they are things that HAPPEN. THey are evil things that the world would be better off without, but they DO exist, no matter what we want. And because of that writers can and will makes use of them. Because stories aren’t all about the happy times, and fluffy bunnies and unicorns and everybody being friends. Sometimes really fucked up stuff can happen to people. Welcome to the world.

          Did you WATCH this episode? Did this episode “glorify” what Shinkawa was doing? It came off as disgusting, horrifying, and a terrible betrayal. What he did wasn’t “ok” or “right” but it is SOMETHING THAT CAN HAPPEN, and so the story portrayed that.

          1. sidekick

            The problem here, is that this entire setup is /unnecessary/. Why should it have EVER been part of the story? Hell, the series did this TWICE. It seems to have quite a penchant for making its female characters victims of such acts, don’t you think?

            Honestly, the fact that this has happened twice is glorification enough. But of course, since I’ve WATCHED this episode I can tell it’s clearly not just showing us these things happen. It’s fetishizing it. It’s turning this kind of behavior into some kind of sick fetish people can look forward to.

            Plus, having Kirito coming in to save the day (again) – what kind of message do you think it implies? That women can’t protect themselves, and that men are always going to power over women. Tell me that isn’t sexist. Or are you going to tell me this is the ‘truth’?

            There are much better ways to be /realistic/ or whatever the hell this show is trying to be. Being explicitly sexist/racist and sensationalizing things is just offensive. So no, I’m not misunderstanding anything.

        2. Vantage

          I won’t deny that SAO can be sexist, perhaps even that it objectifies women – I myself heavily dislike how independent characters like Asuna or Sinon fall apart once they come into prolonged contact with Kirito. I’m not even sure if sexist is the right word, given that all males apart from Kirito get the shit treatment too.

          But I think it’s a bit of a jump to say that sexual harassment is condoned or presented as a fetish just because it happened twice. In fact, deeply rooting these sorts of repeated occurrences within and as a result of gaming comes off more like a caveat, which might be strange for a show which otherwise promotes and fantasizes the future of online gaming to such a degree. The attempted rape was unnecessary with Asuna, but with Sinon she’s going through a betrayal beyond her worst nightmare as an extension of her existing trauma – though quite uncomfortably sending her into the arms of Kirito onii-sama. It may be unsettling that this is the second time, but it would be worrying if it was truly rape glorification given the worldwide popularity of the series.

          1. sidekick

            Saying that it comes off as a ‘caveat’ seems to be giving way too much credit to an author who doesn’t know how to treat women like human beings, IMO. Using the rape card not once, but twice? Kirito saving the day, not once, but twice? As a warning? A warning for what? That women are always in danger because there will always be men out to harass them (why?), and that they have to wait for another man to save them? Let’s not even talk about Asuna or all the male-gazey bits of SAO combined. This show represents the epitome of female objectification. Being bullied in the past; now being betrayed, I can accept that. But using rape as the ‘ultimate betrayal’ really just seems like an excuse for the author to get one more rape scene in. Just look at the rest of the series. There’s no way it could’ve been ANYTHING else but.

            My point is that attempted rape here is inexcusable, because it isn’t here to serve a purpose other than pander to the audience. Rape here proves that the series is ridiculously sexist; objectifies women…you get what I’m saying.

            Did I misunderstand your point here, Vantage? I’m not being sarcastic or anything, I do want to hear your thoughts about this. Do understand that I also acknowledge the fact that anime IS inherently sexist for the most part, I just hate it when people try to justify what happens during these plot points and defend it.

            I believe I should rephrase a previous point of mine. Rape CAN be used as a plot point ONLY if it plays into the central theme of a series, ONLY if it does that WITHOUT objectifying its victim, and ONLY if it CAN tackle the meat of the issue of sexual assault. SAO has tentacle rape, has Kirito being empowered (again), has a cartoonishly evil villain to a point where it seems like its mocking the issue, and its only there to make Kirito the hero and the women in the series are all supposed to worship him or something.

            1. Vantage

              By caveat, I meant it in regards to online gaming instead of women. The idea that gaming and the internet in general can have an unhealthy grip over people is not new, and throughout every arc in SAO this concept is taken to the extreme. It’s definitely something Japan in particular should be very familiar with. VRMMO is presented as new and exciting with Kirito and friends going on adventures and battles, and yet at the end of the day all of three of SAO, ALO and GGO have been exploited for creepy and horrible shit once the line between fantasy and reality starts to blur. The sexual harassment thus comes off as a portrayal of a possible danger – an extreme and unnecessary one perhaps, but not one that’s unheard of. This game has consumed his life; he’s doing all these terrible things and spouting delusional crap because his in-game avatar lost out. That’s why I mentioned in the post that this wouldn’t be great for social perceptions and existing stigma towards the majority of hardcore gamers. It’s just one of the wider implications I came up with.

              1. sidekick

                The /portrayal/ of this danger you speak of is a problem because it goes back to SAO being sexist. I do struggle to think about what the main themes of SAO are? Rape is a very, very heavy issue, and if we don’t understand the real life implications it has on its victims then using it is wrong. The message you are referring to isn’t really something central to the plot of the story either, it was unnecessary. It was fanservice, pandering the lowest denomination – and using this in itself is condoning rape culture, because it is saying that it /happens/ but we have Kirito to save the day so it is OK. It uses rape to empower males, and in the process, objectify the females.

                The whole thing about betrayal…well there wasn’t a need for this to happen right? Did THIS have to be the ultimate betrayal? Surely the author could have other methods going about this.

                It is ultimately unnecessary and downright offensive. I can’t understand why and how anyone would go about justifying it as part of a larger message/being mature or realistic/any other explanation when the entire series was built around stroking Kirito’s (and the audience that ‘related’ to them) ego.

                1. Vantage

                  Well, at the end of the day SAO is wish-fulfilment; this is something even I have to admit to as someone who actually likes the series. We will have to agree to disagree on the idea that it condones rape, even if only implicitly – for me, the lack of any sort of positivity is enough. There would be an outcry if this is how it’s seen by the general public.

                  While your opinions on how rape should be portrayed are admirable, I think it would be very hard to find or make a show in which those conditions are fulfilled – how many examples could you name? With the primary intention of many shows being entertainment, it’s more often than not that they would stick to the surface with whatever they do instead of being deep to the point of literary analysis – of course, the shows that manage to do this become enshrined and hallowed as works of art.

                  1. sidekick

                    Which is why series that will not be able to confidently deal with this issue should never use it in the first place.

                    Though off the top of my head I can think of a few anime series that do address rape/any kind of sexual assault/etc in a way I can accept and understand. Perfect Blue, Welcome to the NHK and Mawaru Penguindrum spring to mind.

                    It is quite unfortunate that this rape culture is so prevalent in media, especially in anime when we could use this medium to achieve so much more. It’s not just SAO really, just that it gets so much defense and attempts at justification for its sexism that I get really irritated.

                    1. Eva

                      ^ All of this.

                    2. Vantage

                      Welcome to the NHK is a wonderful show, I’d forgotten it had sexual assault as one of the many complicated themes it addressed in a mature and insightful way.

                      It’d be an uphill struggle to get to a stage where anime could be used as that sort of vehicle – something like Penguindrum is arguably a niche within a niche. Lots of people stick with the mainstreams as a tried and true source of entertainment. I don’t think I would be too far off in predicting that things like Shingeki and SAO would be the entry-level anime for the next generation of fans.

  2. magicflier

    It’s not Rape Art Online if it doesn’t have your everyday psychotic, rapey-looking character!

    1. Vantage

      In retrospect, this guy looked as dangerous as fuck right from Day 1 – in terms of his stalker-rapist tendencies instead of his Death Gun secret identity, that is. Not sure if that’s only because I’m a novel reader, but I tried my best to ignore him up until now.

  3. Moonlight

    …the funny thing is, I had seen only 2 episodes for this arc, hadn’t read any novel spoilers, and I had actually predicted that Sinon’s so-called “friend” was the real identity of the antagonist from the start. I dunno, I think it was a scene from the opening that made me predict it. I was going to watch the rest of the arc but…to be honest, hearing about this episode has really put me off (I’m still trying to get over the creepiness of the villain for the last arc too..). I may still watch the rest of the arc, but I really wish SAO had more villains like Kayaba.

    1. Vantage

      Damn OP spoilers!

      …Well, it’s not like SAO exactly has a forte in mystery-solving 😀 But yeah, Heathcliff was much less of a cunt than the other two, even though he didn’t exactly give a plausible reason for his actions either. Does it help if I say that Mother’s Rosario won’t have a villain, or even any Kirito at all? I feel like I’m always trying to promote the next arc with series like this or Mahouka.

      1. Wanderer

        I wouldn’t say it doesn’t have ANY Kirito, but he’s decidedly secondary, and the most important thing he does is pull aggro so Asuna and the story-specific characters can defeat a boss.

        However, the next arc will probably be Caliber, rather than Mother’s Rosario, just to keep the timeline intact. It shouldn’t take long, though. It’s really just a big dungeon crawl with Unexpected Dramatic Consequences™ if they don’t succeed.

        1. Vantage

          They’d have to do the Jotunheimr stuff they missed during Fairy Dance before Caliber happens. If all that takes two episodes, then we should have the remaining eight for Mother’s Rosario? Which sounds pretty good given that it’s a single volume long.

          1. Wanderer

            I admit that I faded out on the first season before that part of Fairy Dance. They skipped that part? Well, if they don’t need to bother with Kirito getting Exaclibur, then it doesn’t really matter if they cut out Caliber, I guess…

  4. Wanderer

    …They cut out one of the better parts of Sinon standing up for herself. Or better in my opinion, anyway. After she shook him off, he landed a hit on her, knocking her against her desk and knocking the drawers out. While trying to pull herself back up, Sinon’s hand landed on the model gun she’d gotten as a prize, and she picked it up and not only managed to keep herself from panicking when holding it, but managed to convince the delusional Shinkawa that she could really shoot him with it.

    It may not sound like much, but she wasn’t just passive, and she didn’t just try to run. She fought the fear that had held her prisoner for years in order to save herself.

    1. Vantage

      Ah yes, there was that. It would have been great if they put that in instead of the extra screaming, especially as it wouldn’t have looked like Kirito just suddenly stormed in to miraculously save the day. Although I do appreciate his presence for once.

  5. LarsMasters

    :rage: Korosu!

  6. Train

    I guess it was pretty obvious who Death Gun/ or the person related to him was, I mean, Shinkawa came from absolutely nowhere and had some screentime in the early episodes, the way he was introduced showed that he would probably have some role in the plot aside from being Sinon’s friend who likes her and plays GGO too. Considering the people introduced in this arc, Death Gun would be either Shinkawa/someone related to him or some random person who was not shown until that point.

    Anyway,what I DIDN’T expect was the creepiness behind his character bringing a Sugou like performance yet again. It was disgusting to see before and it is disgusting to see now. I dunno how the animators do this, but the creepiness in this and the Sugou scene in last arc were above the rates in every wrong sense( the guy was drooling at a certain point of the scene, like wtf?!). At least Heathcliff had an actual reason to do what he did and was definitely classy if compared with these two. I really hope they don’t try to pull off another scene like that in the final episode of this arc.

    Great thing the Excaliber and Mother’s Rosario arcs start after next week I guess.

    1. Vantage

      Thankfully, we won’t be getting much more of Shinkawa’s creepiness now that Kirito’s here to save the day.

      Hopefully, with the advent of Mother’s Rosario many of the various problems people had with SAO II will go away! Improvements are of course purely… coincidental with the fact that there doesn’t happen to be much Kirito 😀

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