Now that was a solid episode. For me it didn’t quite have the same emotional impact (mostly since I just don’t like Asuna’s mother), but it still had that. The fact that I was as touched by this episode despite not liking one of the main characters within the scenes says a lot about what they accomplished here.
There are just some things that need to be shown and Asuna managed to tackle this battle with her mother in the best possible way for her. I don’t think there was a great deal of emotional tactics at work, but in the end she managed to hit her mother in her weak points while taking advantage of that to get her point across. It was a beautiful move in that sense. I think this really was the only way for Asuna to get through to her mother without an ultimatum of her leaving the house or something. Really, this was a result that was better than I was willing to imagine.
All the props in the world to Yuuki, who was the reason this actually turned out well. She and Asuna are both good people, but ones that see the strengths in each other better than in themselves. Yuuki really had to work hard to keep up a positive attitude since it would only hurt the people around her if she expressed sadness. It’d only be natural to be frustrated and despair at her situation. It’s just cruel and unfair to have that kind of fate ahead of you from practically the moment of your birth. It’s not fair to anyone of course, but especially for Yuuki to grow up with that hanging overhead. I can’t even imagine being a kid and finding out that you have that kind of bleakness ahead of you.
The trip around the school was perfect. Kirito was a small, but necessary factor in this whole thing. He just helped Asuna and Yuuki out and let them carry the story. I really liked the teacher as well. It was quite the bold move to have Yuuki answer the first question, but it was smart as well. The fastest way to integrate the girl with the class is to have her participate. Though it didn’t seem like she’d have that much problem integrating with the class considering how everyone was pretty friendly from the start. Though considering that this school was filled with SAO survivors that makes sense. It’s a group with a shared history and probably more welcoming than most.
I couldn’t blame Asuna for tearing up a bit at Yuuki reading and participating. She really was one of them. Though I’m pretty certain how this is all going to end, I’m glad she got the chance to do this. Going around town, going to class, seeing her old house again, all things she’d never gotten to do otherwise. I’m sure for her Asuna was a life altering friend. I feel bad that this friendship won’t be able to be explored more. If Yuuki does end up passing next week….it probably will be the saddest moment in SAO since Sachi.
And now to the mother….I will say this episode did some good for her. At least you can say she wasn’t a gold digger. She did marry rich, but was up there in terms of business success. She was part of that upper echelon and got there through pure effort. Although at the same time I still don’t care for her. She’s fairly cold, doesn’t express how much she cares about people very well, and my gut just doesn’t like her. Now it makes sense why Asuna had a sub-character who looked so unlike her. They needed someone who looked like her mother XD. Not sure what that says about Asuna.
But anyways, the method Asuna used to get her mother to see her side was brilliant. First taking her into that world was a given. How could her mother understand her daughter who had been trapped in a virtual world for 2 years without ever going in once? The second brilliant move was using her mother’s one weak point. It was clear from the first clash that her parents was a point of weakness. Her mother worked extremely hard to get where she did, but that couldn’t come without a price. I’m sure at some level her mother felt distanced from her family. Asuna bringing up the fact that she was their treasure, they were protecting a place for her to come home to if she ever got tired, and that they just understood her distance was great.
That Asuna wanted to be someone like her grandparents was a good move as well. It was a kind of reminder that the route her mother took isn’t the only one in life. There is nothing wrong with working insanely hard, rising up, and just going as far as you can take yourself. But that’s not the only way to live. Asuna has her own wishes, desires, and things she wants to accomplish. She wants to be more like her grandparents, people who can be rocks for someone, someone who can bring smiles to those around herself. Asuna cares more than anything about Kirito and the friends she’s made. That she wants to be that kind of existence for people isn’t wrong.
In the end Asuna’s methods went perfectly well. It brought her mother down to an actually reasonable position. Asuna would need to work her rear off and get into University. That’s fine and correct. If Asuna wants to be a support for people in her life she needs to go further in education and be in a position to do that. There is nothing wrong with that point of view. It’s still a bit restrictive, but Asuna is the type of person who can live up to those expectations. At least she’s back on a similar page as her mother.
I may still not care much for Asuna’s mother, but this episode was still a good one. The antagonist for this arc was still a person at the end of hte day. Her mother wasn’t some lunatic who couldn’t be reasoned with. Asuna just had to find the courage to face her and hit her with her true feelings. When Asuna does that it’s something powerful. I might be too hard on Asuna’s mother, not everyone is a good communicator. But, I just didn’t like her trying to force her daughter to live the life she wanted without any consideration given. Now we can get the focus back on Yuuki. There’s just too many signs that she’s not going to make it past next week and it’s going to be an intense episode in that case. Whatever the future story-lines for this series are, I hope they just give 100% focus on getting this right.
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