Sword Art Online II Episode 19: Zekken


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SAO II 19 Img002This was a strong episode. I’d like to say it was because of Yuuki and how freaking adorable she was, but it was the first half that really rustled my jimmies. In a bad way, maybe, but we learnt so much about Asuna in the space of half an episode – and I did say this was primarily going to be an Asuna arc. All the stuff about buying the log house on F22 of New Aincrad and making it a real home was pretty much the precursor to this, and it’s here where the contrast really shines through – Asuna wakes up in her room in real life, and it’s plain, cold and ominous. She could have been shivering purely because it was cold and nothing else, but I don’t think that was it. A warm and happy home life is clearly not something she’s boasting – she was friendliest and happiest when talking to her domestic helper, of all the people in her mansion. Oh wait, the only alternative is her mother. Yeah, that sort of explains it.

SAO II 19 Img014I had a feeling that these interactions would make me a bit unsettled, and they did. You could tell it wasn’t going to be a fun dinner scene when her mother Kyouko greeted her in the way she did. I think Asuna sort of knew as well. Her mother is pretty much the epitome of strict Asian mothers, who are overly concerned and controlling and harbour lots of negative preconceptions. Some of them I don’t blame her for (being against VRMMOs) and others sound like the media tore it to pieces (“I’m one of those children who spent two years killing each other!”) and some I can actually agree with (the suspicion that the school for SAO survivors has a hidden agenda of monitoring them). But the whole college and money magically turning into success thing isn’t something she should be pushing onto Asuna – sure, I myself think that money’s quite important, but that’s something you should decide for yourself, along with whether you want to go to college. Oh, and get married. I bet Yuuya-kun is a dick. Not only did she specify he runs a bank, she even took into account the type of bank! Clearly this is the exact path Kyouko herself has taken, and she’s married into a rich family and done well for herself and stuff. So she wants Asuna to do the exact same thing, and that doesn’t include marrying scruffy little beaters named Kirito. The entire scene just left a sour taste, especially when it became clear that Kyouko wasn’t listening to Asuna at all – apart from that last jab Asuna made, that was great. Even though it probably won’t do her any favours in the long run.

SAO II 19 Img035Okay, onto happier events – although ironically, this time the OP nearly made me cry. I found myself thinking I wanted to see Yuuki halfway through the dinner scene, so when Yuuki finally happened it was wonderful. Yuuki Aoi really worked out for Yuuki though, she was as bubbly as I imagined her to be. Based Zekken! I’m glad Asuna could hold her own even though she’s had so much to deal with – also, I couldn’t help but notice that even though it’s supposed to be ALO, the fight very much remained a sword fight! There’s so much more I want to say, but I should really keep my mouth shut for now – all I’ll mention is that they’re really dropping hints everywhere, right from the start. The plot thickens!

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  1. Mark says:

    All aboard the feel train.
    Seriously, to LN reader, new OP visuals just hit where it hurts.
    The 2-year wait was worth it. Now I can truly believe that they will do this arc justice.

    • Vantage says:

      I’m so glad they properly changed the OP sequence instead of leaving it at Caliber with a slight hint of Yuuki. I suppose they didn’t want to put some overt spoilers in before she even appeared, but it really wouldn’t have changed too much. They haven’t spoiled nothing.


  2. Wanderer says:

    I can’t see Yuuki without… without…

    And the ED: it looks like it’s set… after…

    This whole storyarc is just going to hit an LN reading right in the feels over and over. 🙁

    • Vantage says:

      Neither can I… TT_TT

      ED looks like it’s set during and after, which is probably why it’s prompting feels. So many scenes I’m looking forward to and dreading at the same time.

  3. Anonymous says:

    After seeing this episode, I kind of want to say some things. I like how detailed the first half was, especially how it highlighted the coldness of the Yuuki household and how the forest home provided a nice contrast to it. The LN mentioned how lively it was when Asuna went over to Kirito’s house for dinner, and how it differed from her own home, and I would’ve liked to see it even if it would be a little awkward to just put it in the episode. The second half had a great match between Asuna and Yuuki, though it was more louder and flamboyant than I expected from the LN.

    That being said, I suppose my one gripe about this entire arc is kind of how Asuna is feeling. I understand that this is supposed to be her developing arc, how she’ll change, but I kind of feel that it’d be really good if Asuna and Kirito just talked openly about their feelings and such. I know that it would throw off the whole Asuna development as a character thing, but it feels to me that Asuna and Kirito never really talked about real world issues. I kind of feel that they should (isn’t it a rule or something that couples should be open with one another?), so Asuna will understand that Kirito will always be there to support her despite her thinking she’s weak. Am I wrong here?

    • Vantage says:

      They’ve spoken before about how they want to live their lives and what they want to do in the future – or at least, Kirito has. As for Asuna’s real world issues, perhaps it’s not really that she isn’t being open with him, but rather the fact that he can’t do anything about it regardless. Asuna’s relationship with her mother is something she has to sort out for herself – Kirito swooping in and punching her suitors or trying to convince Kyouko won’t really solve what needs to be solved.

      I think Asuna already understands that Kirito will be there to support her (she thought about calling him in the aftermath of another frosty scene with her mother in Episode 20) but again, it’s not really anything to do with him. Also, maybe the fact they met in a game (and still regularly meet in a game) has hindered how open they are with real world issues. She still calls him Kirito after all.

      Sorry this reply is late!

  4. Train says:

    The opening changes were SOOO good. Really loved the changes and how it fits the song. Poor Asuna, had to go through a lot because of family issues, when I watched the first scenes I couldn’t help but feel a little sad because of the contrast between her in-game and in real life. The discussion with her mother was a little painful to watch at times too, all the things about the arranged marriage,practically forcing her to change schools and deciding her life for her just felt wrong in its entirety.
    The fight was really flashy to say the least, with tons of explosions and whatnot. I expected them to actually show Yuuki’s OS( the 11 hits skill) instead of the big explosions but maybe that’s just my opinion. Asuna did pretty well, I remember reading that both had their hp in the red area before Yuuki won, though.
    Finally, Yuuki appeared(Yay!, she seems really fun and spontaneous, btw) and I really think she will one of the most(if not the most) enjoyable and deep characters of the show.

    • Vantage says:

      Yuuki used it near the end I think – it was just covered up in a huge cloud of smoke. They won’t be revealing it this soon! She’s a bundle of energy, it’s a such a huge contrast to Kyouko, the other character whom Asuna has key interactions with in this arc.

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