This was one of those episodes that leaves you a bit dumbstruck afterwards. A lot of shocking revelations, one after another just leaves you a bit lost for words. I can honestly say I did not see any of this coming. The only thing I could have predicted was that the boss battle was going to be cut rather short at the end. It had to be done or this would have needed a strange cliffhanger. This episode had an accurate title since it was literally the end of a world. Sword Art Online the game was completely and utterly destroyed at the end here. All the data was erased so there’s no going back, though of course who would actually go back? Still, I’m going to miss it. At this point I can’t actually see any legitimate action occurring from this point onwards.

But wow, this was really the end of an arc to say the least. I really did not think we would actually see the real world for anything more than a couple seconds at the very end of the series. Instead we’re going back and still have over 10 episodes left. If there is anything I did not see coming for this episode it was this. I now have no idea what they are going to do. At the very least it’s going to demand a rather sharp genre change. While it was inside a game, we were experiencing a fantasy adventure kind of series. Now they are back in the real world and probably just going to be struggling to adapt and come back after an insane experience. Now of course they could keep the action element if they all wake up into the middle of a zombie apocalypse, but what are the odds of that XD? I really can’t wait for next week, because I have no clue what’s going to happen or at least no idea how they are going to keep things compelling. The series always had it’s share of drama, but now that is going to have to carry the day.

Well I didn’t see that coming

Now as to the episode, it was full of shocking events. The sudden announcement of Heathcliff as Kayaba was surprising. I hadn’t actually considered that as a possibility. I thought the guy was a hacker or something. Even when the immortal object came up I thought he was an AI or something. But it makes sense when you think about it. A normal hacker would be punished by the system for cheating and if they could cheat the system, they’d probably use that to get out, not run a guild. It all made sense since the best place to observe people is right in the middle of the action. Kirito had it right when he said watching people play an RPG is boring. I remember playing games at a friend’s house and taking turns playing RPGs. It was a bit boring to watch someone, unless of course, it was a game that let you split up control of the battle party. I remember games like Final Fantasy VI, where we decided who’d control what and shared the responsibility. It made the game a lot more fun and thus makes sense that Kayaba would want to participate. He could get cut up a bit until he got near 50% and then quickly turn himself into an immortal object.

I still can’t believe that the final boss was revealed right now. I know they had 25 floors to go, but I just expected a time skip or something. Instead they jumped into the final boss battle in a hurry. It went from wondering who got the last hit drop to, is Kirito going to survive this? I completely understand why Kirito decided to fight this battle. How many people were going to die before they reached him again? Fourteen people died in this fight, though even that seems like a low number considering how that boss was taking out people in one shot. Kirito had to take the fight to Kayaba right then and there. To prevent more deaths and to avenge people like Sachi who were innocent and still killed by this game. Of course it couldn’t be easy since a nut job like that would know all about the twin blade abilities. Kirito had no choice, but to try and beat him without using a skill since he’d be exposed otherwise. Sadly he couldn’t avoid it the whole fight and thus his life was on the line and in a hurry.

When Asuna jumped in front of Kirito I just couldn’t believe it. “They aren’t going to do this are they,” was all I could think about. They did seem to enjoy torturing Kirito, but still having Asuna die would literally break him and it did. He couldn’t attack with anything substantial, until he was stabbed and thus had to take one last strike at the very end. He couldn’t just let this guy kill Asuna and get away with it. He couldn’t let Kayaba keep his stupid script, where he’d sit at the top waiting for the players to come for him. He did the best he could and saved all those people. So many died, but at the very least the majority of the players made it out of that world with their lives.

In the end we got nothing substantial out of Kayaba. The man was a fruitcake or at the very least a sociopath without any moral conscience. He trapped 10,000 people in a world for pretty much no reason. He had this stupid dream and desire, but to make it real he dragged in so many innocent people and thousands died. No remorse, no apologies, just standing there at the end with regret that his game was over. The man was a monster and unfortunately Kirito couldn’t be the viewer’s analogue and express our rage. Kirito was emotionally drained from all that happened. He’d finally gotten everyone out, but believed that he and Asuna were just moments away from dying. What would be the point in picking a fight with this guy now? He’d never understand their anger anyways. The only positive was that Kayaba was so attached to his rules that he actually did free everyone. So at the very least this death game wasn’t a complete slaughter.

It was a roller coaster for Asuna and Kirito. Both thinking the other was going to die and that they couldn’t avoid it. Kirito tried to keep Asuna from sacrificing herself if he died and Asuna just went ahead and did it before Kayaba could stop her. Both in a sense overcame the game’s limits because their emotions were strong enough to pull that off. They got to know each others true names and spend a quiet moment before ‘the end.’ No big deal with ages since Asuna was just a year older. Though after going through this traumatic experience, what is a year really? Now they have a starting point to go find the other. Though really with the age they are living in should have something like Facebook that will make it easy to find the other XD. I’m glad they both made it out of this alive. A tragic loss where they both died wouldn’t have sat well with me. I never doubted of course that they’d survive. Maybe it’s just being spoiled by series over the years, but I didn’t think they would die like this.

The condition of Kirito was rather fitting. As expected he looked like crap, though frankly it’s rather impressive he’s in good enough condition to be walking. I figured he’d be completely immobile at this point. Though of course being desperate to see Asuna again can do a lot of things. Still, he should take better care of his daughter. If his plan worked Yui is sitting inside of his Nerv Gear, while he’s off on that stroll. Should take better care of his kid I say XD. Plus no guarantee he’s going to find Asuna in a hurry. There were 10,000 people scattered all over the country in that game. She could be on the other side of Japan waking up in a hospital right now. But again, logic doesn’t apply when you want to see someone in a hurry. Is a bit surprising how empty the hallway was, but don’t think it’s that important.

This kind of brings me to my question though. What’s going to happen? Can we make a lot of episodes focusing on rehab, be emotionally compelling? Now I know rehab is pretty emotional for the people going through it, because it is a grueling thing. But still, I think for viewers it won’t be that exciting. Really what is left to tell? The police manhunt for Kayaba? Kirito meeting up with his friends from the game again? I just don’t know what we are going to get. I’m really left curious, but won’t know anything until next week.

I’m still kind of shocked by this episodes. Just hit you with a lot of “oh my god” moments. Now get a moment to relax and think about the implications. The badass battles are presumably over now. Just an issue of seeing these people having to adapt to real life again. Going from fighting a war to coming back to the old world. I still bring the comparison to people who’ve gone to war. Wouldn’t be surprised to see cases of post-traumatic stress coming up and people having issues adapting. Maybe even the player killers being unable to stop killing. May see legal actions being taken by those who killed in the game. Just so many possibilities that I’m left unsure of anything.

So yeah, I’ll say this episode was full of surprises. It was shocking, exciting, and emotional. I could see some seeing this episode as having too many moments of suspension of disbelief. But, in the end I liked this episode. I’m a bit sad to see the game of SAO go since it was action packed and emotional. I just hope the series can continue forward and transition in a good way.
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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