Tag Archives: Sword Art Online II

Review: Sword Art Online II, Episode 14: One Little Step


And with that this story is tied up. If you got used to the adrenaline pumping action of the past couple episodes, then prepare yourself to come down from that this time around. True, the duel between a certain set of male characters finishes up at the beginning of this episode, but beyond that it’s much more epilogue-ish. That’s not to say it’s a bad episode, it’s just to say that most of the episode is spent wrapping up plot points. Of particular interest is Sinon’s growth as a character: we see her finally stand up for herself, and she also receives closer on her traumatic childhood event. There is also closure given to the whole Death Gun situation, including it’s origin and the motivation of those involved.

The biggest criticism I can level at this episode is it’s use of convenience. A certain character is attacked with the syringe, only for it to be discovered that the syringe landed in just the right spot to encounter a barrier instead of flesh. This is an oft used ploy, but at least in some instances it’s set up. For example, we see a character put a Bible in his shirt pocket, then later he gets stabbed in the chest, only for the Bible to prevent the knife from touching him. This, at least, gives us a good set up. What we get in SAO is just random. Sure, it allows for some suspense because we are unaware of the existing barrier, but ultimately it’s just kind of unnecessary. I’d rather have seen the syringe scene not even happen when considering this point of criticism. Ah well. On the other hand, it is kind of nice to see Kirito in a situation where he’s not dominating the fight. While he may have gotten the element of surprise, the fact remains that this fight is an actual struggle, and not just Kirito being an over-powered tank.

On a more positive note, Sinon fans should be elated to see her finally overcome her phobia, no matter how shaky it may be. In reality, this portrayal is more realistic. I don’t know that anyone would just suddenly overcome a phobia, so it’s praiseworthy to see Sinon struggle at first and then to be clearly shaken after the fact. The road to recovery is long, but she takes the first steps. In addition, her seeming addition to Kirito’s group of friends should also please her fans. While I don’t know how much of a role she will play in subsequent material, it’s still fun to see her introduced to Asuna and Liz. If that’s not enough, Sinon also finally gets some closure on the robbery incident from her past. I don’t want to say too much and spoil it, but I felt myself begin to tear up at one point. In this writer’s opinion, the scene in question was very well done.

So there you have it: the Phantom Bullet arc is nicely wrapped up. I’m assuming, anyway, that we don’t have anything left to cover here. Having not read the novels (because I can’t read Japanese and don’t use scanlations), I can’t say until I see the next episode. It seems we aren’t done with Death Gun, though, as he leaves Kirito with an ominous warning.

A Christian Perspective:

There may be more appropriate verses for the lesson I’m about to give, but this is the one that came to mind.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. – Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)

This verse seems particularly relevant to the events at the end of the episode. Without spoiling the goings-on, Kirito (along with Liz and Asuna), does something that is, for all intents and purposes, stepping over a line. When Sinon finds out, she gets angry and stands up as if to leave. Kirito refuses to let her, though, and informs her that he wants her to get better (my paraphrase). In order to bring Sinon closure on her rough past, Kirito goes out of his way to find something his newfound friend needs. He could have left it alone. After all, he saved her life from Death Gun and put himself in harms way. Most people probably wouldn’t have concerned themselves with the emotional problems of the person once they saved that person’s life, but a friend loves at all times. If we truly love someone then we should do all we can to help that person. It may not always be fun. Our help may even be hurtful at times (imagine confronting somebody on a rampant sin in their life–you’re probably going to step on some toes and hurt some feelings), but if we truly love the person then we should have their best interests at heart and act out of regard for those interests, not out of what is going to make that person like us more. Kirito and company weren’t afraid to step on some toes, and as a result they brought some much needed closure to a bad situation.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “h*ll”, 2 “j**z”, 1 “cr*p”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Kirito’s shirt is pulled up to reveal his stomach and chest

Violence: Two male characters fight with each other–tackling, punches thrown, choking, etc.; a male character is injected with something; a character is hit over the head with a stereo; a character disarms another

Blood/Gore: A character has blood coming from his nose; bloody flashbacks to Sinon’s robber incident

Review: Sword Art Online, Episode 13: Phantom Bullet


Now THAT was an episode! We pick up where we last left off, with Kirito and Death Gun facing off in the wastelands. Unlike what we’re used to, though, Kirito is getting his behind handed to him. This was, quite frankly, a nice change of pace. While I’m all for the good guy winning, that seems to be all Kirito can really do. Up until now, it feels like he only lost when unfair advantages were played against him (minus the final battle with Kayaba, and then Kirito deus-ex-machina’ed his way out of that one). This time it was just legitimate skill. Okay, maybe Kirito was a bit distracted by trying to remember the guy’s name, but it certainly looked like Death Gun had a legitimate advantage.

The timing of everything really felt great in this episode—the fight doesn’t take the whole episode, but it doesn’t feel rushed, either. There’s enough tension to make it interesting. It’s also not drug on for so long that you just want it to end (I’m looking at you, Dragonball Z). The fact that Kirito could not have won (at least, most likely) without Sinon’s intervention was a nice touch, as well. It further solidified her role in this series, her growth as a character, and one of my points on the twelfth episode’s “Christian Perspective”. It’s nice that Sinon didn’t simply get relegated to a sub-plot who was useless once her quest was finished. The way the BBO ended was just simply amusing, too. Unfortunately, we do not get to see Asuna’s reaction to that (which would have also been amusing).

Despite the happy resolution near the episode’s middle, there’s still plenty left to go. As with the ending to the ALO arc, the true final battle takes place in real life. While some people apparently picked up on cues from the intro (kudos to you if you did), I was pretty surprised by the turn of events that transpired once Sinon exited Gun Gale Online. Granted, when you stop and think about it (or have it pointed out to you, like I did) you notice a definite similarity to the ALO villain’s actions and those of GGO’s. I definitely feel like this arc did it better, though, although I feel like the character could have been built up a little better. There was certainly jealousy from early on, so it wasn’t a complete “zero-to-crazy in sixty seconds” scenario, but it definitely could have been teased out more throughout the season.

Overall, this episode will certainly scratch whatever itch you may have for action. It was intense, and the plot still isn’t quite resolved yet, so make sure you tune in next week!

A Christian Perspective:

This isn’t really a “lesson”, but given the episode’s turn of events, this Scripture is relevant (not saying any more to avoid spoilers):

Psalm 55: 12 – 14

If an enemy were insulting me,
I could endure it;
if a foe were rising against me,
I could hide.

But it is you, a man like myself,
my companion, my close friend,
with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
at the house of God,
as we walked about
among the worshipers.

Those of you who have seen the episode will immediately make the connection. Those of you who haven’t should easily make the connection when you get to the right point. It’s truly interesting that I read this psalm right before eating lunch, where I watched the majority of this episode….

The lesson from Ecclesiastes that I included in Episode 12’s Christian Perspective is still applicable here, as well.

John 15: 13 (NIV): Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

This verse is really a theme for SAO as a whole. Kirito can certainly be called a man who would lay down his life for his friends. The very first story arc ended with him facing off against Kayaba in an attempt to end the SAO death game and set the players (and especially Asuna) free. While the ALO arc didn’t put him in as much danger (save for that hospital parking lot scene), he still put himself out there to save Asuna. Now, in GGO, he does it again by putting himself in real danger. Again, I won’t say much else so as to avoid spoilers, but just watch the end of this episode and you’ll make the connection.

Proverbs 17:17 (NIV): A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

This one I’ll apply to Asuna. It’s true that she hasn’t had much screen time in this season at all, and she certainly hasn’t played a prominent role. I think it’s fair to say that she realizes that there’s not much she can do, but rather than use that as an excuse to do nothing, she still does what she can. In one episode, we saw that she was willing to listen to Kirito. In this episode we see her by his bedside, holding his hand in an attempt to calm his nerves as he battles Death Gun within the game. It may not have been much, and who knows if it was even effective, but the point is that Asuna never stopped loving Kirito, and she never allowed her position of powerlessness become helplessness or hopelessness in the course of things. She tried her best to help Kirito when she could, and loved him enough to be by his side, doing whatever she could, no matter how small.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “jacka**”, 1 “d**n”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None
Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Kirito (Real life) is shown shirtless in the hospital bed; a character starts to reach his hand up a girl’s shirt (nothing is shown); a flashback shows Sinon’s usual buttcrack; the male character is again seen running his hand up a girl’s shirt, but the most you see is stomach
Violence: Kirito and Death Gun continue their duel; a character forces himself onto a girl, who then knocks him down; a girl fights off an assailant; a boy is kneed in the face
Blood/Gore: Kirito is shown with a bunch of those red marks on his body indicating hits; a character is sliced in half; Sinon has a brief flashback to the robber’s face with blood on it; a character is hit in the face, which produces blood

Review: Sword Art Online II, Episode 12: Bullet of a Phantom


If you were disappointed by the previous episode’s focus on sitting in a cave, repeatedly staring at Sinon’s buttocks, then I have good news for you! This episode has at least 50% less cave sitting and 70% less butt focus!* Okay, in all seriousness, this episode was actually enjoyable. It was a good mix of suspense between the in-game scenes and real world scenes, and action scenes as Sinon and Kirito moved to take out the final innocent combatant while drawing out Death Gun.

Asuna fans should be a little pleased with this episode—our favorite heroine gets some screen time. Not much, mind you—it’s basically her going to Kirito’s hospital room and watching him fight, but it’s more than she seems to get in most episodes this season. Really, it’s just an episode that, fundamentally, is done right. It starts out simply enough, builds up tension, provides breaks to let the tension hang, moves into conflict, and culminates in a climax (a cliff-hanger of sorts, at that). Also praiseworthy is finding out that Kirito’s biggest hang up in this whole investigation is actually his own doing. For a character who is more than deserving of the label “Mary Sue”, including something that Kirito messed up on his own is kind of a nice change of pace.

As I previously mentioned, the fight doesn’t end here, but the events of this episode set us up for an appropriate final battle in the next.

*Note that percentages are just numbers the author just threw out there, and do not reflect actual, measured statistical decreases in the occurrence of either.

A Christian Perspective:

James 1:19 (NIV): My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

I apply this verse to the fact that Kirito’s biggest hurdle throughout this entire series boils down to him speaking instead of listening. Whatever his motivations were, he could have saved himself a lot of trouble had he bothered to listen in the past, instead of allowing his emotions to get the better of him, and thus ultimately barring him from hearing the information he most desperately needed since his first encounter with Death Gun. I won’t say anymore so as to avoid spoilers, but you can probably figure it out if you think hard enough.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV): Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

I apply this verse in reflection of Kirito and Sinon’s cooperation. While it certainly applies to this episode, it can kind of be thematic of much of this season so far. At this point, though, Kirito has finally managed to support Sinon to the point that she seems to have gotten over her fears. While only the first sentence of this verse truly applies to my point, it is still worth exploring. Basically, if Sinon would have gone it on her own, she’d be dead. Not only because she wouldn’t have known about Death Gun without Kirito, but also because of the wounds she carried with her. She did not have the means to overcome her fears in and of herself, as seen when she froze up in the tenth episode. Without Kirito there to save her… well, she’d be dead, for one, but even if that wasn’t the case, it was only with Kirito’s words that she was able to regain her confidence.

On the other side of things (because Kirito doesn’t really need more praise), the whole plan for taking down Death Gun is dependent upon Kirito and Sinon working together. If it were just one of them, the whole thing would be at the very least more difficult, and at the most impossible. Quite literally, one may have been overpowered, but two can defend themselves: Sinon watched Kirito’s back so that he wasn’t attacked by the fourth combatant while Kirito sought to draw out Death Gun.

Content Guide:

Language: None

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Sinon cleavage and buttcrack

Violence: Typical flashbacks to Kirito killing LC members in SAO; flashback to Sinon shooting the robber; typical GGO style violence

Blood/Gore: The usual red marks for people being injured in-game; a flashback shows Kirito decapitate a SAO character; blood in the flashback where Sinon shoots the robber

Review: Sword Art Online II, Episode 11: What It Means To Be Strong


Welcome to We Sit In A Cave An—I mean, Sword Art Online II, Episode 11. Well, my original title wouldn’t have really been off the mark. The majority of this episode does involve Kirito and Sinon sitting in a cave discussing Death Gun. Of course, they are way too close for comfort, and moreso than what (my understanding of) typical Japanese social custom would deem comfortable. But hey, it’s just an anime, right?

Honestly, I feel like I should be able to call this episode boring, but I can’t bring myself to do it. There’s nothing really exciting going on here. Even the reveal of how Death Gun is killing people in real life wasn’t overly exciting, and yet I can’t honestly say I found myself bored. I did find myself going in with my guard up, though, because I read on my Twitter feed that there was lot of fanservice in the form of Sinon butt shots this time around. Perhaps I prepared for something worse, because there certainly were a few (see the Content Guide), but I didn’t feel like it was as bad as I had potentially prepared for. I mean yes, there are a number of shots of her butt (just read the Crunchyroll comments section… it dominates the subject matter), including her butt crack (seriously, pull up your pants, please), but as far as detail goes, I think they’ve done worse. So, either I over-prepared myself, or I’m becoming desensitized.

In any event, this really wasn’t an eventful episode, so there’s really not much to say. Kirito and Sinon sit in a cave and figure out how Death Gun is killing people in real life. They devise a plan to take Death Gun out. Elsewhere, Asuna and company meet with the agent who set Kirito up for the whole GGO thing (they meet within ALO), and Asuna decides to go to the hospital where Kirito is diving from. Other than telling you what the reveal is, that’s pretty much all you need to know to be prepared for the next episode. Like I said, I should be able to call this boring, but I’d be lying to claim boredom from this episode. Apathy, maybe? Well, at any rate, next week’s episode should be more intense (I hope), and hopefully less focused on Sinon’s butt.

Did I really just spend most of my review talking about their focus on Sinon’s butt? Great, I’m no better than the Crunchyroll comments section.

A Christian Perspective:

Men: if you don’t want to make your lady mad, then don’t cuddle up with another girl in a cave on a televised (virtually or otherwise) event. You may know that nothing naughty is going on, but that doesn’t mean your lady will. As of now, there’s no indication of whether or not Asuna saw the video footage, but if so then she will most likely be mad (and rightfully so). Or, since this is SAO and it is Kirito, he may very well get off the hook in a very easily yet realisitically unlikely way.

Also, to draw a more Scripture oriented lesson: But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. – Matthew 5:28 (NIV)

There was some discussion on the Crunchyroll comments as to where, exactly, Kirito was looking in one scene. Some stated that he was looking at Sinon’s butt, while others stated he had noticed the empty holster on her gun belt. While we may never know for sure, it’s still a good opportunity for a lesson on guarding one’s eyes. I’ll be honest, I don’t know at what point something counts as “looking lustfully”, and it has caused me a bit of grief. If you can avoid seeing what you shouldn’t see, then by all means do so. If you see something you shouldn’t see, look away as quickly as possible and don’t dwell on what you saw. That’s really my best advice. It’s really pulling from left field for a lesson from this episode, since there is little clarity as to what Kirito was actually looking at, but I think it’s a good lesson in general, especially in a day and age where “less is more” seems to be the motto with clothing, especially women’s clothing.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “cr*p”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: A close up of Sinon’s butt (with her crack sticking out of the top of her shorts) 5:06 – 5:08; another close up of Sinon’s butt 5:11 – 5:14; Sinon’s butt and crack 6:44 – 6:49, 7:56 – 8:08, 9:03 – 9:09; Leafa’s cleavage; another close up of Sinon’s butt 20:41 – 20:44

Violence: None
Blood/Gore: Characters are shown with blood running from their eyes and the usual red marks from in-game injuries

Other: Kirito and Sinon are recorded while sitting in the cave, and a conversation ensues about how people still think Kirito is a girl, to which Sinon replies that if people think she’s into that then maybe she’ll get bothered less

Review: Sword Art Online II, Episode 10: Death Chaser


Last week left us with Sinon’s life hanging in the balance. While the ultimate outcome may have been fairly predictable, the impact on her character may not have. While she makes it out of her situation, the scare of having her life on the line coupled with the fact that Death Gun’s handgun is the same kind of weapon the robber used seems to have robbed her of her previous confidence. As such, Kirito ends up with his hands quite full. I don’t think we can really blame Sinon, though—after all, she did just recently find out that her life could very well be lost by playing the game she was using to get over her phobia. Talk about having your parade rained on.

While the first portion of the episode is definitely action-oriented—there’s fighting, a high speed chase, and an explosion for you action addicts—the second portion is much more character focused. If two characters sitting in a cave and talking is not your idea of a good time, then you may find it to be a crawl. On the other hand, you may find it interesting since both actually open up to each other. Sinon and Kirito reveal bits about their individual pasts to each other, which I’m sure will help them both understand the other in the long run. Also, I suppose this is the start of the inevitable “Sinon falls for Kirito” trope.

The GGO arc certainly has been different from its predecessors. The setting is different, and outside of Kirito it is (mostly) devoid of the characters we have grown to love. Nevertheless, I think it’s a decent entry into the series, and I plan to continue watching until the end. Man my reviews feel dry…

A Christian Perspective:

There were a couple points I played with, none of which seemed particularly powerful. In the end, I think I’ll go with this:

As we know, Sinon’s whole purpose for playing GGO was to try and quell her fear of guns. This seemed to be working to some extent—at least within the game she was able to grow and become a powerful player. All of this shatters, of course, when she’s put in a vulnerable position. Whether it was being held at gunpoint, the fact that Death Gun had the same model of gun used in the robbery, or both that set her off, she lost all of her composure and was essentially rendered useless during a crucial moment. It’s easy to shake our heads and judge her for this, but don’t we sometimes do the same thing as Christians? Think about it. Have you (or someone you know) ever overcome a sin and found yourself walking with your head held high, feeling like you’re on top of the world? After all, you’ve just been freed from a bondage (and let’s not forget to mention that it’s only with God’s help), so why shouldn’t you feel great? So here you are, feeling like you’re doing Christianity right. Maybe you’ve even become a role model in another Christians eyes, and this has driven you to do more for Jesus. Then the unthinkable happens: you stumble into sin. Maybe it’s that same sin you previously overcame, or maybe it’s some other sin. The point is, you messed up. Now, how did you feel? Maybe broken or dejected? Perhaps you saw yourself as a failure? This mistake may have even crippled you to some point, as you lost your composure and your drive to do the good works you were previously doing.

At this point, I think you get the point I’m making. We all have times where we think we’re walking strong, and then something happens to knock us off our high horse. We find ourselves disoriented, wondering what went wrong, and scrambling to put the pieces back together. Perhaps that’s why Paul warned: So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! – 1 Corinthians 10:12 As Christians, the important thing to remember is that there is still forgiveness for us, and that one failure is not the end of the road. We can confess our sins, trust God to heal us from this, and hopefully use it as a lesson to grow from.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “d**n”, 1 “j**z”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: A shot shows Sinon from behind as she grabs her sidearem, providing a close up shot of her butt in her shorts and showing that the top of her butt is exposed; another close up shot from behind of Sinon’s butt (in her shorts, of course); Sinon’s top shows cleavage; another scene shows the top of Sinon’s butt sticking out of her shorts; a female character is shown wearing a bikini top as part of her outfit

Violence: A character is shot twice; explosions and such as you would expect from GGO; another flashback to the Laughing Coffin raid

Blood/Gore: More flashbacks to Sinon killing the robber, which show blood on the robber and Sinon; Sinon has a vision of the robber with blood on his face as she stares down the barrel of a gun; the usual red spots that appear on characters when they are hit in-game; a little girl is shown with blood on her hands

Review: Sword Art Online II, Episode 9: Death Gun


I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the action is kicked up a notch in this episode. After failing to prevent Death Gun from striking again, Kirito and Sinon set off to track him down. While the whole episode may not be action-focused from beginning to end (again, I’m being bad and writing this roughly a week late, so my memory is hazy), there is arguably more than there has been. At any rate, the episode maintains a decent pace, continuing with the primary conflict at hand, adding to the overall problem, and then showing our characters as they track down their prey. Essentially, it has all the elements of a proper story in place, complete with a nice cliff-hanger ending for those of us who just love those.

I can’t really remember if Sinon has bought into the fact that Death Gun can actually kill people by shooting them in the game, but she ultimately goes along with Kirito. This episode starts to set up a Sinon plot point that will continue into the next episode (one advantage to writing this late is that I have had time to watch some of the following episode). With little else on my mind, I’ll just say that the main plot of the Gun Gale Online arc continues strongly, marching our heroes progressively into more dangerous territory and, potentially, very steadily towards a conclusion. If you’ve enjoyed this season so far, then you will continue to enjoy. If not, well, I don’t know that this episode will change your mind.

A Christian Perspective:

I don’t really have anything “Christian” to draw from this episode. What does come to mind, though, is a brief thought about personal integrity. We already know that there is a rivalry going on between Kirito and Sinon (though, I think it’s definitely more heavy on Sinon’s side than Kirito’s). By pairing up with Sinon, Kirito has essentially put himself in a vulnerable position: Sinon could easily betray him, shoot him, and win their little spat, leaving Kirito back at square one for dealing with Death Gun. It’s a positive message, then, when Sinon does not go this route, but instead shows herself to be a trustworthy companion, even putting herself in harms way for the sake of helping Kirito. While I cannot say for certain if this is addressed in the episode, perhaps she truly wants a fair duel, not just to win. What we can learn from this is that our actions will speak to our character. Do we take what we want in the easiest manner for a cheap gain (which I would argue is the equivalent of Sinon shooting Kirito while his guard is down) or do we work hard and persevere to attain the greatest satisfaction from our goal (the result of potential victory from a fair duel)? Yes, Sinon could have taken the easy way out, but she doesn’t. She proves herself to be trustworthy. As Christians, we, too, should seek to prove ourselves as people who are honest and trustworthy, not as people who will betray the trust of others for selfish gain.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “d**n”, 1 “j**z”

Alcohol/Drug Use: Characters are shown holding glasses with some kind of liquid in them, but it’s unclear whether it’s alcoholic

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Leafa’s top shows cleavage; Sinon’s top shows cleavage; one scene shows Sinon trying to reach for her sidearm, which presents a close up of her butt in her shorts (and you can see the top of her butt sticking out from the shorts…. seriously, what is the obsession with this?)

Violence: Typical GGO violence

Blood/Gore: Sinon has a flashback to when she was a kid, covered in blood; the usual red marks that appear on players as they’re injured; one player is shown being blasted into two pieces; Sinon has another flashback to the bank incident, which shows several scenes of blood; Sinon sees the bank robber’s face with blood on it as she stares down the barrel of a gun

Review: Sword Art Online, Episode 8: Bullet of Bullets


Well, it’s finally time for the Bullet of Bullets. Remember how I kept commenting that this season was moving slower at the beginning? I guess it’s time to eat my words, ha! At any rate, though, things are at least civil between Kirito and Sinon again, with the two of them set on fighting each other on the battlefield as per their agreement. Granted, I suppose this doesn’t necessarily mean the GGO arc is wrapping up. We still have to actually see the two of them fight, and the whole issue of Death Gun has yet to be resolved. Our villain inevitably makes an appearance in this episode, although we’ll have to wait until the ninth episode in order to see how the whole situation resolves.

In reflection, though, this season of SAO isn’t really heavy on plot. The premise is basically Kirito checking on a rumor within GGO. That’s it. Then again, I guess SAO has never been as much about the plot as it is about the characters. I mean, sure, each season has had it’s general plot line, but in a way it’s kind of been about the journey moreso than the destination. Plus the show does a pretty decent job at being eye candy. So if you feel that the plot isn’t really engaging you, perhaps try looking at how the events have—and are—impacting the characters.

A Christian Perspective:

There’s a lesson to be learned here: do not trust someone based on external appearances. I didn’t mention it in my review, but Death Gun is shown preparing to kill an opponent. Before he does, though, I’m pretty sure he “crosses” himself, as seen within the Catholic church. By itself, this outward appearance of religiosity might lead some to believe that he holds Christian beliefs, but since we know the whole of his character, we can definitively say that’s not true. Not only is he going through GGO killing people in real life (in some as yet undisclosed manner), we also know that he is a member of Laughing Coffin. For those out of the loop, Laughing Coffin was a player killing guild in Sword Art Online. Remember that the premise of SAO was “die in the game, die in real life”, which effectively made the players in Laughing Coffin legitimate murderers. So here you have a man who grouped up with a bunch of murderers, and who is still killing people, yet he performs this symbol of religious ritual. Clearly it’s all external.

We can encounter people like this in real life, too. The scary part about it is that we don’t have access to all the details of their lives like we do Death Gun’s. Jesus warns us, ‘“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7: 15-20) I don’t think I need to expand upon this too much—it’s pretty straight forward. People will come forth claiming to be Christians (or prophets, from Jesus’ words), but we will be able to determine the truth of the matter from their fruit. Perhaps we cannot obtain that determination immediately—after all, who can take one look at a person and make an entire inventory of their character (outside of God)? The answer is none of us; however, if we get to know this person, and we see an absence of good fruit in their life, then we can begin to draw the conclusion that everything may not be as they say it is, and perhaps it would be wise to separate ourselves from such a person.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “h*ll”, 1 “p*ss”, 3 “d**n”, 1 “cr*p”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: The top of Sinon’s butt can be seen sticking out from her shorts–her top also shows some cleavage; a female announcer within GGO is shown wearing an outfit that shows her stomach; Kirito (in GGO) is shown swimming naked

Violence: Another SAO flashback to Kirito fighting other players; characters are shown shooting at each other and getting shot

Blood/Gore: Just the digital effects of a player being hit, as usual

Review: Sword Art Online II, Episode 7: Crimson Memories


After a few episodes of in-game action we now receive a breather of sorts as we see our main characters outside of the game. While there is very little in-game action (save for flashbacks and one current ALO scene), that doesn’t mean the episode isn’t tense. Kirito continues to struggle with his memories of killing members of the Laughing Coffin guild, with his guilt building up due to his memory of them being vague–and, in fact, completely gone until recently. Of course, we also see the support Kirito receives from those around him, and the ironic choice of who ends up being his ultimate comforter in this episode.

Elsewhere, Sinon and Spiegle spend time discussing the way things have been going, with Sinon visibly angered due to Kirito’s antics in the previous episode. Spiegle, of course, takes this opportunity to exercise poor male anime character timing, but thankfully (for him) it doesn’t have any seriously negative repurcussions. Basically, what this all boils down to is that this is more of a character development episode than a plot development episode, and that’s okay (unless you’re just in it for the action). It shows that, despite his Mary Sue-esque gaming skills, Kirito isn’t perfect. He suffers from his own shortcomings, and I think that is very well illustrated this time around. Don’t worry, though; if you didn’t like this week’s focus on the characters, then next week looks set to return us to the action of GGO. Stay tuned!

A Christian Perspective:

While this isn’t a perfect application of this Scripture, I still think we can apply it to this episode:

James 5:16 – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

We see something similar to this played out in this episode when Kirito confides in another character about what happened in SAO, and essentially how he feels about having forgotten about it up until this point. I won’t say which character he confides in, as it may come as a bit of a surprise. Nevertheless, it’s not until Kirito allows himself to be completely vulnerable with this character that he starts to find healing. As he pours his heart out to his confidant, he doesn’t find condemnation or revulsion, but rather acceptance, comfort, and—possibly—love. I don’t know if that’s exactly what James had in mind when he penned the above verse, but the key connection here is that, in both cases, the confessing to another person of what we’ve done plays a role in ultimately finding healing.

Another lesson we can take from this is the necessity of forgiving ourselves. While I don’t think the Bible specifically states anything about self-forgiveness, I think we can all agree that it’s a necessity. As we see with Kirito, refusing to forgive ourselves and instead living in this sense of shame and self-condemnation can be destructive. Left unchecked, it could possibly drive us mad (well, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic there). The point is: if we’re to love others as we love ourselves, then shouldn’t we first learn to love ourselves? I don’t mean in a hedonistic, selfish way, of course. Likewise, if we can’t forgive ourselves, then how can we truly expect to be capable of truly forgiving others?

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “j**z”, 1 “p***es”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Shirtless Kirito 16:23 – 16:44; Leafa’s top shows a bit of cleavage; Sinon’s top shows a bit of cleavage–in one shot it also looks like you an the see the top of her butt crack sticking out from her shorts (sorry for lacking a more sophisticated way of saying that…)

Violence: Flashbacks to a violent battle in SAO; Asada pushes another character away; characters in ALO are shown fighting a monster

Blood/Gore: Just little red fragments that are presumably meant to represent blood; deceased SAO characters are shown with blood running down their faces and from their eyes

Other: Asuna uses magic within ALO

Review: Sword Art Online II, Episode 6: Duel in the Wastelands


Well, it turns out Kirito isn’t unshakable after all. After his run-in with another SAO survivor from the previous episode, he seems to be quite disturbed. The reason may very well have to do with the raid he took part in during the days of SAO, which we get to see via flashback. As you already know (at least, you should if you’ve watched last week’s episode, and if you haven’t then why are you reading this review), Death Gun is part of the Laughing Coffin guild, which was the guild of murderers in SAO. Clearly, Death Gun has not left those days behind, as we have already seen in GGO.

This is one of those reviews where I find myself at a loss for words. Did I enjoy the episode? Sure. Did it leave much of an impact? Not really. If you like action, then you can expect to see plenty of it in this episode, and we are already treated to a Kirito versus Sinon scene, which I honestly didn’t expect to see so early in the series. Of course, with Kirito so shaken up, it doesn’t end up being much of a fight (though it may not go the way you’re thinking after that statement). Overall, if you feel like Kirito is an over-powered character, then this isn’t the episode to change your mind. If you’re simply a fan of SAO in general, then I don’t think there’s anything here to dislike.

A Christian Perspective:

Well, the best I was able to come up with centers on this verse:

Colossians 3:23 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

While Kirito certainly had some extenuating circumstances going on, the fact of the matter is that he ultimately offended Sinon with his flippant attitude about their fight. In his fear, he forgot the promise that he had made to her earlier, and essentially states that he’s only concerned with getting to the finals. While he ultimately makes it up to her, the point here is that he upset her because he didn’t go at it with all his heart. Now replace Sinon with God, and imagine how upset He would be (and is) if (when) we take a flippant attitude with the life and things He has given us. I know I’m guilty of it on a daily basis. I tell myself that I have a great witnessing opportunity because I work in a college, and deal with a lot of students. I tell myself that, with the right attitude, I can show the love of Christ. However, I get to work, and I simply start counting down the hours until I get off. I may start out with a cheery demeanor, but eventually I allow myself to get run down and just start going through the motions. Perhaps I make God feel kind of like how Sinon felt, aggravated that I failed to keep what I intended to keep.

Content Guide:

Language: None

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Just Sinon’s outfit

Violence: Flashback to a fight in SAO where players are killed–lots of sword play and whatnot; the usual GGO violence of gunfire, an explosion, and of course Kirito’s sword play

Blood/Gore: Just the red marks that appear on characters when they’re wounded

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


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