SAO 22, Shinki 9 and an inevitable Wooser screenshot

Solid episode of Sword Art Online. Things get accomplished in the game and in the real world.

What he's fighting for.
What he’s fighting for.

No one expected Kirito to just fly up and meet Asuna, but I was delighted by how hard he tried. After that dallying with the peace treaty ambush I was wondering if he had lost his inspiration, but when he learned conclusively that she was up there (I didn’t like so much Asuna dropping that card out of her cage. If I was stuck in there I’d have thrown everything I could out already, if only to piss off the people underneath) off he went like a bull against a concrete wall. Concrete wall wins, but fair play to the bull. Leafa, unwittingly going against her own feelings, gets him to try the expected way, though that’s not going to work, either. She knows it’s pointless to argue, and she doesn’t want to go against his wishes, because, you know …

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The way up inside the tree gives us another good battle and some actual tension. You know he has to lose, but you also know he’s going to throw everything he has into it (with Asuna flashbacks whenever he falters giving him a chance to focus and give another shout), and because of that it looked for a minute like he might actually win … until the bowmen show up. It gets weird here after he dies. He “dies” and he sees a timer counting out when he can revive, but his little flame is just floating there. Are the enemies just going to skewer him the moment he does? Maybe because this is a special quest the rules are different and that’s why Leafa has to rescue him.

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Talking about hitting a wall! Sugu can’t turn anywhere without running into one. I thought at first her reaction was too extreme, but then I considered her getting her onii-san who’s not really one back, investing some interest in him, learning he has a girlfriend, turning to her online persona and falling in love there, and learning it’s the same guy she can’t have in real life AND he’s just down the hall from her. Even if she made an emotional mistake by confusing Kazuto’s kindness to her when he returned as a “chance,” it’s still going to hurt a lot. And for us it’s another detour; you know Kirito will want to settle things with Sugu before he unfurls his wings and goes at that tower again. It’s possible that Sugu will decide to fly up there with him, but it will take some series time before they’re ready for that.

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Busou Shinki 9 sets personal bests for its bizarre situation, and its plodding storytelling lives up to its usual low standard. On the way to bringing Master’s lunch to him the shinki wind up in an underground city of their own kind, where discarded Shinki are terrorized by a shinki named Claudi. We learn that unwanted shinki are seized by the manufacturer, meaning I guess that they’re like Amazon’s DRM’d Kindle books which you don’t really own. But some refuse and run away. I applaud the Shinki for refusing this fate. But they still have tragic attachments to their former masters, or like Claudi, they were tossed aside and hold a grudge. Anyone who mentions a master is made into a slave and must run treadmills and hamster wheels to generate power, which seems inefficient to me. The others live in poverty and look depressed, even though there’s a hole that will allow them to escape. There’s even a shinki religion that doesn’t pray to their masters but for the arrival of a shinki amidst golden snow and a red weenie (not really, but … well, watch the episode). Our heroines get caught up in the rebellion. We meet two shinki who would be lovers if they were human (and they both survive!), and, well, it’s ridiculous. I’d recommend the episode for the WTF moments but as I said the narrative is so inept that I can’t do that with a conscience.

And then there was this. I knew they’d give in sooner or later.

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