Category Archives: Sword Art Online II

Review: Sword Art Online II, Episode 5: Gun and Sword

Review:

It’s finally time to see GGO Kirito in action! Well, eventually. You still have to get through most of the episode before that happens. Thankfully, the writers continue to weave an interesting enough story that it doesn’t feel bogged down or weary as we inch towards the episode’s battle. We continue to learn more about GGO, including its legal gray zone status in both America and Japan, as well as the details of how the Bullet of Bullets (BoB) will go down. Oh, yeah, and Sinon finally finds out that Kirito is a guy.

Truthfully, this is the one gripe Christians should have about this episode. There were plenty of ways to have this happen. The writers (and, probably, the original author) decided to have it happen in the changing room, after Sinon (in-game) removes her clothing and is only in her underwear. You can check the content guide for the periods of time where we actually see her standing around in her underwear. Granted, I could try to put a positive spin on this whole situation and say that at least they portrayed Kirito well and made him fess up once he realized that Sinon was that comfortable around him, but why should I? The fact is, there were other ways they could have gone about bringing up this plot point without the fanservice, no matter how mild it may be. Yes, this does ultimately lead to Sinon having a change in feelings towards Kirito, which sparks what I’m going to call a rivalry, but again there were certainly more tasteful ways it could have been done. How about Sinon finding out who Kirito really is and thus being spurred on by competition? Wouldn’t that have worked? But, then again, we’ve seen most (if not all) of the female characters in their underwear throughout this show, so they had to keep up with the par, right?

Okay, I’ve spent too long ranting about something that honestly didn’t rub me as raw as it probably sounds. This stuff doesn’t need to be in the show, to be sure, but I’ve certainly seen worse in terms of how graphic the fanservice is. Beyond that point, we finally get to see Kirito enter into his first battle, and while he probably performs better than any newbie realistically would, he certainly doesn’t blow the competition away. Kirito certainly takes a few hits before he figures out a strategy, and his extensive experience with online games thankfully gives us a realistic explanation for why he can adapt so quickly (better than dealing with a Mary Sue type character, at least). We also get to see Kirito make contact with Death Gun in this episode, and the information that’s revealed may or may not be surprising.

Overall, Gun and Sword continues the strong start that SAO II has had, albeit with a bit of a hiccup that we Christian viewers can agree could have been left out.

A Christian Perspective:

Let Kirito’s predicament be a lesson to us all. By allowing Sinon to continue believing he was a girl, he ultimately put himself in an uncomfortable position that forced him to reveal his gender, which in turn caused Sinon to be quite angry at him. What started out as a potential friendship has now been wrecked, simply because Kirito wasn’t honest. As Christians, we’re expected to be honest, and to further drive home the point let’s look at what will happen to liars:

Revelation 21:8 – But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
So we see straight from the Bible that lying is a sin—why else would all liars be destined for the fiery lake of burning sulfur? Let’s face it: lying destroys trust. It destroys relationships. I can honestly say that it very well could have destroyed my relationship with my (then) fiancee, (now) wife. Even though Christ saving me ultimately saved my relationship, there was still a damage to the trust my fiancee had in me when she found out everything that I had been doing. Kirito has lost the friendship of someone he barely knew, but who was nice to him nonetheless, and who knows what kind of repercussions this may have on him in the future. At least in his case, at least he could leave the game and never have to deal with Sinon again. We don’t have that luxury. Is saving yourself a bit of discomfort by telling a convenient lie really worth damaging your relationship with another person? And, more importantly, is it really worth sinning against God?

Content Guide:

Language: None

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Sinon is shown in blue (maybe like a digital format?) and apparently naked–it’s about as detailed as a Barbie doll (4:57 – 5:01); Sinon (in game) removes her outfit and is shown in her bra and underwear (6:37 – 6:46; 6:51 – 7:06; 7:08 – 7:13; 7:17 – 7:29; 7:35 – 7:39)

Violence: A character is slapped in the face (although we don’t see the actual slap); typical GGO violence–people being shot and shot at, plus a character is stabbed (in game)

Blood/Gore: Just the red marks that appear when a character is shot

Review: Sword Art Online II, Episode 4: GGO

Review:

Four episodes in, and Kirito has finally entered the world of Gun Gale Online. Don’t expect the bullets to start flying yet, though—the boy has to figure out how this game works first, and that’s kind of what we see happening this time around. First off, as you may have gathered from the intro, the character with long black hair is indeed Kirito, and no, he is not a girl in this game. Apparently, he has gained a rare avatar. I’m not quite sure what, exactly, makes it rare, but right off the bat another player tries to offer Kirito what I assume to be a large sum of money for his character. Also, if you mistook Kirito for a girl, don’t feel bad… most of the players in GGO seem to make that mistake up to and including Sinon, whom Kirito befriends and ultimately relies on to get a solid footing in the game.

Now, one criticism that could be made is that, yet again, the writer makes it all too easy for Kirito to get off the ground. While the stats carrying over from character conversion make sense, Kirito is given a quick out for his lack of income within the game. Instead of actually having to work to get started (for a change), Kirito is introduced to a mini-game where, if he reaches the gunman, he will earn all of the money people have spent trying to beat it. This comes out to more than 300,000 credits. After a small explanation from Sinon and watching a single failed attempt, Kirito figures the game out, beats it, and gets the money he needs to buy equipment. Honestly, if any arc could have pulled off making Kirito work for his cash, it would have been this one, since we’ve been moving slowly from the get go. Of course, while watching the episode this criticism didn’t hit me. I was all for Kirito getting in there and owning that game, but in retrospect it does kind of keep coming back to Kirito overcoming the system in some way. At the end of it all, though, he still has a long way to go in learning to shoot a gun, so he doesn’t exactly have it made within the world of GGO.

I guess what we do have to consider, too, is the character’s motivation. Kirito is pretty much trying to get in, figure out the whole Death Gun thing, and get out, so of course he would be searching for the quickest method to achieve his goal. Whether such an outcome is realistic or not, I don’t know (since we don’t exactly have full dive technology to test it out), but at least that thinking pulls the idea together. All-in-all, it wasn’t a very eventful episode, but it was fun and, as usual, it went by fast. At least now Kirito and Sinon have met, so perhaps we’ll see more of our main hero. It will also be interesting to see what happens when Sinon finally figures out that Kirito isn’t a girl…

A Christian Perspective:

Let’s all just take a lesson from Sinon here. Kirito was quite clearly a newb in GGO, converted account or not. It would have been very easy for Sinon to just let him go on his way, but instead she went out of her way to help him get started. From advising him on what type of weaponry to use, to showing him how to earn money, and even to helping him get some practice in, she pretty much provided as much help as she possibly could—and, in the end, it was to her own detriment, as she realized that she only had ten minutes left to register for the BoB. Much like Sinon did for Kirito, we should do for others. As Christians, we are supposed to help others. Just consider the following two Scriptures:

Matthew 25: 35 – 36: For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Hebrews 13: 2: Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it

From the words of Scripture, we should be willing to help those in need and to show hospitality to strangers. Whether it be a brief pause to give someone directions, giving food to a hungry person, inviting a stranded person into your home, or any other example of being hospitable that you can think of, we should do it.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “h*ll”, 1 “cr*p”, 1 “d**n”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Shirtless Kirito in the pre-intro flashback; in-game girls are shown modeling guns

Violence: A game character is shot by an NPC; mainly just the NPC character that shoots at players

Blood/Gore: None, unless you count the red circles that appear on players who get shot

Review: Sword Art Online II, Episode 3: Memories of Blood

Review:

Well, if you haven’t taken a shine to Sinon yet, I hope you do soon, as she certainly doesn’t seem to be going anywhere (although the opening and ending credits should probably have given that away). Even this episode was mostly focused on her, although we did get a little Kirito action this time around. This time around, we get to find out some of Sinon’s back story, and it’s pretty intense. Honestly, though, if we pull out of the suspension of disbelief, it is kind of a hard-to-believe situation, but then again we are watching a show about games that allow you to fully immerse yourself in them, so I guess we can give Sinon’s backstory a pass. I won’t give away details, since I try to avoid spoilers as much as possible. What I will say, though, is that if graphically violent scenes disturb you, then you may want to read a synopsis of Sinon’s backstory, or ask a friend who knows about it…

I previously stated that this season felt like it would be much slower in pacing compared to the previous one, and this episode seems to reinforce that notion all the more. As of the end of this episode, Kirito has just entered GGO, without even a glance at what he looks like inside the game (although it’s pretty easy to figure out if you sit through the opening credits). So, how will these two characters come together—and let’s be real here, we know Kirito and Sinon will be involved with each other? Well, we get at least some idea of that this time around with a non-descriptive shot of Death Gun, but we’ll have to wait for any more information.

A Christian Perspective:

Who among us hasn’t done something that we regret, something that may have just impacted us for a moment or that may continue to carry negative ramifications as we go about our lives? While it may not be fair to say that Sinon regrets what happened in her past (I don’t see any indication of that), she is certainly suffering ongoing ramifications for her actions. As Christians, we also face the same things. When we came to Christ, we were ultimately broken, lost in sin, and spiritually dirty. We know that we are forgiven of our past sins but our enemy, Satan, will still try to hold us down. Have you ever been assaulted by a mistake your made in the past? What about feeling as if you were defined by a mistake? Remember that you have been forgiven, and that your past no longer defines you or has any hold on you!

If you have never come to know Jesus, then you should know that there is forgiveness waiting. Do you think you cannot be forgiven? Do you feel like you’ve just messed up too much to be saved? You should know that such thoughts are lies from hell! Mark 3: 28-29 reads: Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” As you can see, there is forgiveness and salvation awaiting you in Jesus. The alternative is to live with the sins of your past hovering over you, which will ultimately lead to eternal suffering in hell.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “j**z”, 1 “c**p”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Sinon (in real life) is shown removing her skirt–however, you see nothing more than her bare legs (8:47 – 8:50); there is another brief shot of Sinon’s legs; Sinon’s legs again 12:48 – 12:50; Okay, they show images of Sinon just wearing her white shirt quite a bit (basically, you see her bare legs a lot); a nurse touches Kirito’s butt; there is a brief shot of the nurse’s cleavage as she reaches into her pocket for a piece of paper; shirtless Kirito starting around 18:19; Sinon (real life) is shown naked from the waist up, but her arms are covering her chest so you don’t see anything overly explicit (20:04 – 20:16)

Violence: A game character is shown being shot in the chest; a flashback shows a man robbing a bank(?)–he throws a woman to the ground and eventually shoots a man, a scuffle breaks out between him and a child (the child bites his hand, and ultimately gets his gun, shooting him three times during the struggle)

Blood/Gore: A scene is shown where a girl has blood on her legs and a man has blood on his head; during the struggle between the child and burglar, blood can be seen coming from the man’s gunshot wounds and there is also some on the child; blood is also shown pooling on the ground; Sinon sees an image of a man with blood on his head

Other: The nurse in the hospital tells Kirito to take off his clothes, and she comments that she saw everything anyway, which prompts Kirito to cover/grab at his groin

Review: Sword Art Online II: Episodes 1 and 2

Review:

Okay, I know I usually do my reviews episode-by-episode, but at this point I’ve neglected to write my review of episodes one and two, and we are just a couple of days from episode three. To save the hassle of having two somewhat underwhelming reviews (especially in regards to episode one), I’m just going to combine the first two reviews into one.

The first thing you’re going to notice about this season is that it has a much slower pacing than the original. By the end of the first episode in the original series, we had the premise of the series laid out and the plot off to a running start. This time around, we have a much slower build. Sure, we have some semblance of an idea about what’s happening: players are being attacked within another game called Gun Gale Online (GGO) and are dying in real life. Kirito is asked to go into GGO and investigate. That’s kind of the premise, although besides setting this up via a meeting between Kirito and Kikuoka Seijiro, we don’t see much of it. Instead, we get a lot of Kirito and Asuna screen time, as well as some in-game scenes from GGO itself. Don’t misunderstand, though: there is enough information given for us to understand what type of game GGO is; in fact, the second episode all but takes place entirely inside the game.

Here may be where viewers first take issue with this season: Kirito, who we would assume to continue as the main character, actually takes a backseat in the second episode. Instead, this one focuses on a character named Sinon, a sniper within GGO. With the exception of a scene within Alfheim Online (ALO) near the end of the episode, the entire episode is about Sinon. I think it’s safe to say that she will have a major role to play within this season. If you’re willing to entertain some character introduction without Kirito’s involvement, though, I think you’ll find yourself enjoying the second outing from this season. There is plenty of action to be had as bullets fly between contending parties.

Whether season two will best season one or not is obviously yet to be seen. We can’t really make that kind of determination from two episodes. Season two is certainly off to a strong start, and it seems to be taking its time building its plot this time around. Granted, the suddenness of season one’s plot certainly worked for it–the reveal of the characters’ situation was just as stunning for the viewer as it was for the players! It may also help that at this point in the story the original novel writer had a few light novels under his belt, and was therefore maturing in his approach. If nothing else, season two seems to hold more hope for itself than the second half of season one, which seems to be where most people find their complaints (I say this, of course, solely based upon my own observations). I suspect that we will be facing a darker plot this time around, but only time will tell.

A Christian Perspective:

Well, I don’t really have any spiritual lessons that I’ve drawn from these episodes. Content wise, just know that there is violence. Of course, there was violence in the first series, so if you were okay with that then this shouldn’t be much different. There are more guns than swords right now, but the severity of the gore is the same, which is to say that it’s pretty much non-existent. If you play games like Call of Duty without any problem then you shouldn’t be bothered by the violence in GGO.

Content Guide:
Episode 1:

Language: 1 “h*ll” (although in context, I believe it was “No way in h*ll”)

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: The camera pans up from behind a female character dressed in short-shorts, which leads to a shot of her crotch (is there a nicer way of saying this?) and butt 21:11 – 21:16; Leafa is shown in the credits (her top shows cleavage)

Violence: Within a game, we see a character shoot a TV screen, and the character on the screen starts to hold his chest and gag before disappearing into fragments; a character in a game is shot; end credits show game characters being shot with guns and sliced with a sword

Blood/Gore: Characters are shown dissolving in fragments

Episode 2:

Language: 3 “d**n”, 1 “j**z”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Sinon’s top shows cleavage; a male character is checking out Sinon, and the camera zooms in to reflect this, focusing on her thighs and her cleavage (5:53 – 5:59); the camera zooms up on Sinon as she is lying down in her sniper pose, panning up her (clothed) backside, with a shot of her crotch (again) and butt (9:14 – 9:20); Leafa’s top shows cleavage

Violence: A character is shown shooting at a monster–the monster fires back at one point, and destroys a pillar, but is eventually destroyed and it turns into fragments; a character is shot in the head and disappears; a character opens fire on another character; characters are shown shooting at each other and being shot; when characters are shot, red spots appear on their bodies (presumably to represent blood) and the characters disappear when they die; gun fights and explosions continue on; a character has her leg blown off-in game (no blood or gore shown, just the usual red coloring); a character is shot in the head; characters are shown fighting a giant plant monster

Blood/Gore: See Violence