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Now this is what I call an SAO episode XD. This was definitely one of the best fights of the series (not the best in my book, but up there) and certainly the best Asuna focused episode we’ve had in a long while. She hasn’t been this impressive and developed since the early episodes in SAO. This was really something nice. Had a great duel and of course focused a bit on her somewhat typical, but still powerful mother.

Well I’m certainly in for this arc. It is hard to feel that bad for the rich, but this is getting to be one of those cases. As someone with a supportive family I can only imagine how agonizing it’d be to live in a home with a mother like that. Someone who clearly thinks she’s doing what’s best for her child, but not having a clue and just trying to have her child live her ideal life.

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Really, the mother is a classic example of one kind of a bad parent. On the surface her behavior to a degree is fine. Wanting the best for your child and wanting them to have the best life possible. There’s no doubt that school isn’t going to have great name value to it. Asuna on paper would be better off in another school and in college as fast as possible. That all works on a certain level.

The problem is that this isn’t some average situation. Asuna didn’t miss out on school for a couple years because she was sick or because she just didn’t care to go. She was in a life or death situation for years. She was fighting for her life and fighting to help free everyone from a death game. That’s going to affect a person. Asuna doesn’t seem to suffer from PTSD or anything, but she’s still impacted by that life and experience. What her mother might see as low-class friends are basically comrades of war. The bonds she’s made with people like Kirito and Lisbeth especially are life altering. To say those bonds don’t matter is basically insulting Asuna directly.

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Not to mention this is about the worst way to spring this on Asuna. Just basically drop the ultimatum on her. Heck it’s not even that, it’s just a demand and proclamation. Even if she can’t wrap her head around what living in an SAO-like environment for years would mean, she could at least use her imagination. If she wants what is best for Asuna she should have worked with her. Told her about her intentions and thoughts months ago. Going to a different school isn’t the worst case scenario since they can presumably meet up in real life at times and in the virtual world, but that’s something to work with a person to ease into. The right thing is wrong when you go about it the wrong way.

Not to mention the whole relationship thing was ridiculous. She basically signed Asuna up to marry that perverted psychopath and then just shrugs off responsibility for it. That’s just pathetic. Again she just ignores the serious relationship that exists here. I’d like to say that she should turn to her own feelings to comprehend how serious this is, but I can’t help but feel she’s probably just a gold digger. The way she could dump responsibility onto Asuna’s father completely doesn’t say much about the depth of their relationship. I think you can say Asuna’s mother had some positive points about the school, but went at it wrong. Here she was just 100% wrong and deserved that parting shot from Asuna.

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Anyways, past the annoying mother figure the rest of the episode was quite good. I’m not sure Asuna should be that shocked that Zekken was a girl. I mean she was a strong SAO player and of the same sex. Though of course this does give some impression as to why Kirito lost there. Although I do feel that the core reason was that he couldn’t find that next gear. He just can’t fight people completely seriously when the stakes are not real to him. And I’m sure it being a girl played a role as well. It’s not like he could bring himself to fight Sinon seriously at any point in the GGO arc.

The action was great though, I won’t say anything to deny that. It was great to see Asuna just cut loose there and push herself to the limit. She couldn’t beat Zekken, but she did come close and that one skill was about the only thing that stopped her. I’ll have to get used to calling Yuuki….well Yuuki XD. The fight between them was intense and you can kind of see why they were so close. For reasons that are clear Asuna is pulling herself deeper into the game. Trying to recapture her feelings as SAO’s Asuna. Because her real life is something so frustrating, uncomfortable, and a place she feels helpless. Here she can be herself and go all out. I’m curious to see just what is motivating Yuuki. She may be in a kind of similar position as Asuna in needing to be 100% into the game right now.

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This was a really good episode overall. SAO’s second season has had strong and ok moments, but this was definitely the former. The action with Asuna and Yuuki was intense and this is finally a chance for Asuna to grow and develop. For too long she’s been ‘the official wife’ of the harem, so this is definitely a chance for her to stand on her own. As much as Kirito is important to her life she needs to grow herself in order to stand for what she believes in. If she’s going to be with Kirito she needs to gain the confidence to stand on her own and face the threat her mother presents.
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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