This episode felt like a season ending, and it pretty much was the resolution of the Alfheim arc. I feel like this second arc felt a bit rushed compared to the one in Sword Art Online; we never were able to create a real connection with the world of Alfheim online. Then again, I guess that was never the intention to begin with, after all the torture of having a loved one raped and abused in front of you and to have your step-sister hitting on you at the same time was way enough action to keep ourselves from thinking too much about the world of Alfheim online. It is also harder to take a game seriously when you don’t actually die for real in the game.
This episode was really brutal. It really pained me to see Asuna abused so much right in front of Kirito; the pain from the sword must have been nothing compared to the one endured by the scene in front of him. I would have cut my legs and arms to escape the gravity well if that’s what was needed to save my girlfriend from something like that. I felt like punching the screen when I saw Sugou do his thing and I’m rarely violent. It is simply proof of my absolute hate for his actions.
Back to the other part of the episode, I was certainly not expecting Heathcliff to show up in this episode and save the day, but I’m not hateful that he showed up when he did. On the contrary I quite loved how an image of his persona stayed in the game and engine he made and how he managed to stay the living soul and god of Sword Art Online. I’m just kind of curious why Heathcliff didn’t get rid of Sugou himself since he is the all-mighty being of his creation. Why he had to use Kirito to achieve his goal is beyond me. Did he really let everything happen only because he wanted someone to take care of the World Seed for him? That would be one messed up way to do things, but it would be the Heathcliff way. Then again, maybe Heathcliff only has the power to be an omnipotent program with no way of direct intervention, but for some reason I think the guy would be the kind of person to try and keep power even when he would be dead.
The only thing missing for me to declare this episode a real final is to see Asuna’s face in the real world once again, to verify that she is really free and doesn’t end up stuck in another world. After all, Sword Art Online is cheesy enough for something like that to occur. It seems like next episode will be a more solid conclusion to this arc and it will most likely begin the third arc of Sword Art Online, even though it won’t be made into an anime version. This most certainly will stir up fans of the anime to start reading the light novels. Who knows, maybe we’ll be able to get a second anime in a few years too!
ZeroGhj signing off