I have to say this was an episode where honestly I was able to predict a lot of things. The moment Kirito joined that guild I had an “oh crap” popping into my head. Looking at that OP and just thinking about Kirito’s progression so far, it seemed like a very bad thing for him to get involved with others. Still, by the end I did feel that this was a good episode. Think they handled that last message really well and even had me feeling the moment and getting a little teary. If there’s anything I’ve learned from series like “Natsume Yujinchou” it’s that characters you’ve only met for an episode can still matter to you.

Of course I can only guess what they cut out of this in order to fit Kirito’s meeting with this group into a single episode. I’m sure the moment I check out a forum I’ll see quite the angry words. But still, from my perspective they did a good job with this story. You see another tale of just how hard things are for Kirito and yet how he can’t just throw himself into impossible fights almost searching for a place to die.

I feel bad for the Black Cats and frankly it just makes me think of how many people have died to this point. One careless move and you are just dead. Those members of the Black Cat guild were just careless and that got them killed. On a side note, I have to wonder what kind of people name themselves after an animal that has bad luck superstitions about it. It’s like these guys were living death flags. But anyways I really wonder where the blame goes for their deaths. They played it so safe for such a long time that they probably got careless. Things had been fairly easy because they took fewer risks and that allowed them to survive. But no risks might make some people unable to appreciate just how dangerous that world can be. Not even considering that a room with just a treasure chest in it would be a trap. Of course the biggest mistake was leaving without their leader. He would have been able to reign in these guys. At least I think so, he’d managed to keep them alive to that point so I’ll trust his risk management.

Of course when it comes to Sachi I really wonder about this intelligence. Anyone could see how frightened that girl was and putting her in the front seems reckless to say the least. Not everyone is going to be comfortable with monsters swinging bladed arms at them. I get he wanted a tank, but really he should have looked at personality when he made his decision about how everyone should play. It just never seemed like a good idea and I think converting just about anyone to taking on that front defender role instead of Sachi would have been smart. Can’t really blame the guy for committing suicide there. Just losing a tight group of friends in an instant, going from the highest of joys (getting a house) to utter despair.

In the end the only one I really felt bad to see die was Sachi. That girl really helped reflect those who were utterly terrified about this situation. Not everyone can say “ok our lives are on the line, let’s do what we have to do.” Death is always around us, but suddenly having it thrown in your face can paralyze people. She was pushed by her club-mates to leave town and then fight at the front. In the end have mixed feelings about her fate. If she’d followed her instincts and hid away in the first town she’d survive, but what kind of person would be leaving the game world? Just how would hiding in terror for all that time affect her and how would she interact with the real world after? Could she leave that terror behind in a world just as dangerous? Of course in the end she’d be alive. Dying not in terror, but grateful to Kirito. At least she died a stronger person than before this episode began. But dying is never a great thing.

I thought that final message though was pretty touching. A pretty sharp girl realizing that Kirito would blame himself for her death after telling her that she wouldn’t die that much. I’m sure she hoped that he was right and that she’d make it, but even she thought with her mindset she would certainly die eventually. Making sure to take responsibility for her own death and also giving Kirito a reason to keep on living. He has to find the answers as to why that lunatic created this situation and also the meaning of their meeting. That’s enough to keep someone thinking forever and certainly long enough to see Kirito survive this game. Will say I question her decision to sing “Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer” in last message. May be the only time I ever tear up a bit when hearing that song.

Like I said a lot of it was pretty predictable. From the team that got carried away to the girl who died after Kirito said several times that she wouldn’t. Kirito’s spiral into depression was pretty easy to see coming. He was willing to even throw away his life against a boss if it meant he’d have a chance to get her back and at least hear her final words. Kirito isn’t an idiot, he knows that the players die in real life and can’t be revived. But there might have been a mechanic that recorded her final thoughts. Even though a lot of it was predictable I still enjoyed the episode.

The revival item was interesting and hopefully Klein uses it well. The only way a revival item like that would work would be using it right before a player vanished. In those moments before the avatar was destroyed and the device fried the person’s brain. They’d probably pop right back to life and just narrowly escape death. Still, that item wasn’t what Kirito was hoping for and I can see how he’d rather leave it to Klein. He never expects to be in a situation where he’ll watch someone die, either because he expects to die himself or he won’t get involved with others again.

On that note nice to see Klein. Looks like he’s doing well with his friends. Built a guild that is pretty tough and can take care of itself. Klein seems to be the type that will make it through or at least keep his friends safe. He learned a lot from Kirito and is smart enough not to push himself. He also has a good understanding of Kirito’s personality. He was clearly still blaming himself for leaving Klein behind and going ahead alone at the start. Not to mention that instead of joining Klein he got involved with a different guild. You can just see how much Klein cares though. He was really worried at the end that Kirito was going to get himself killed out there. While not knowing any way to make Kirito listen and not go down a self-destructive path, he still wanted to show that he cared. I wish Klein the best in this crazy death game.

Ok, a cute girl suggests double suicide. Your response Kirito?

There wasn’t a ton of action, but I did enjoy seeing Kirito just snap on the monsters in that trap. You could just feel his desperation to destroy them all as fast as possible to save whoever he could. In the end was left to just massacre the entire room and be the only one to survive. Do wish we had enough time to see the battle against the boss since it would have been a pretty good fight to watch. But I respect that using two episodes just to pad things out a bit and show a boss fight might not be the best use of time. Have got to use the episodes the best way possible to tell the whole story. Still let’s hope the series gives us a ton of huge battles to just enjoy.

In the end I think this episode will just add further onto Kirito’s burdens. He may lose that almost suicidal attitude he had going after that boss alone, but he’s not unscathed from the Black Cat incident. He was clearly already someone who had isolated himself and was resistant to getting involved with guilds. After the first guild he joins ends up getting massacred I can’t believe he’ll be eager to reach out going forward. But if he’s going to get through this and help everyone clear the game he’s got to get involved with others at least a little.

I thought it was a pretty good episode. A little predictable and not a ton of action, but the end of the episode was well done. A lot is bound to happen, but will certainly remember Sachi as will Kirito I’m sure.
Score: A-

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An older member at 25, yet a new addition to Anime Evo. Recently graduating University and in the difficult point between school and a true career. Anime being a salvation and blogging a good way to put all those hours of writing essays to some use. Enjoys talking about series, yet not taking on so many that the quality dips. A Canadian who enjoys his anime and hearing what others think about the series he enjoys watching.

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