Sword Art Online II Episode 20: Sleeping Knights
Every time I see Yuuki smile, it makes me smile too.
Mother’s Rosario as an arc is doing very well for itself. It’s moving along at a surprisingly brisk pacing, too – I actually thought there was more content to cover in between Asuna’s meeting with the Sleeping Knights and their first attempt at the floor boss fight, but that might just have been my extended discomfort from another scene with Kyouko. Her relationship with Asuna is as tense as ever – and I’d even say the onset of her arrival was a little scary, with how abrupt the scene transition was. Reminds me of that time when Sinon took a surprise bullet, which was also done really well. Anyway, I can’t imagine how unnerving it would be to suddenly have everything disconnect without warning – it’s can already be a bit of a jolt with games today, so I bet it’s not fun at all to have someone just cut the plug on you like that. If she wants to impose sanctions or threats, she should have done it after Asuna had finished, or tried to contact her by shaking her – forcibly disconnecting makes it feel like a punishment, almost like it was out of spite. If that had been done during the original SAO incident, it would have fried her brain. Actually, I’m surprised Asuna’s even allowed to play VRMMOs after all that’s happened, considering how conservative Kyouko is – both Asuna and I were ready to sit through another full-blown lecture there. These scenes in general are pretty painful to watch, especially when it just appears in the middle of some happy Yuuki scenes. Hang in there, Asuna!
So. The Sleeping Knights. A guild led by Yuuki, who are only able to adventure together until spring next year and thus want to leave their mark on New Aincrad by beating a floor boss and having their names engraved on the memorial. They’ve been pretty vague about how they met, and Yuuki herself has a deep secret – one that Kirito discovered upon fighting her. And because he knows too much, he’s automatically ruled out for helping them even if he’s crazy strong. The foreshadowing is everywhere! And so are the hidden feels! I’m liking how there’s a more subtle emphasis on the Sleeping Knights during their sections of the arc – as opposed to Asuna, that is. It’s a personal quest for their sake, in which they take leading roles as members of their guild. Asuna’s just a tag-along player in this, albeit a very important one later on. From this perspective, it’s probably good that they didn’t pick Kirito. He’d hog the spotlight.
The Sleeping Knights may not be revealing everything to Asuna, but they’re motives aren’t bad at all – they’re certainly more entitled to a spot on the memorial than the scumbag guilds who spy for intel and steal boss kills after sacrificing smaller guilds. We haven’t seen too much of this side of online gaming in SAO (they’ve sort of been focused on not dying or saving someone all this time) but this sort of thing exists, and it’s reared its ugly head at last. Asuna and Yuuki could have probably taken out a large enough chunk of the guild (enough to cripple their raid campaign) before dying, but it’d mean they wouldn’t get a shot at this floor’s boss at all. Let’s leave that to Kirito, who has in fact soloed one of these bosses everyone is assembling 49-man groups to kill.