Sword Art Online II: Episode 08

Bullet of Bullets – バレット・オブ・バレッツ

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After joining the rest of the shows in the mid-season lull last week, SAO II is back on its feet with this week’s tension-packed episode which ended in a cliffhanger. Bring me episode 9 already!

After his initial reluctance, Kirito seems to have gotten used to and is even starting to enjoy the male attention he’s getting with his feminine avatar “Kirito-chan”. I got a rare pink and sparkly screenshot of a happy Kirito, as you can see above. I don’t quite know what to make of that scene, because it felt rather uncalled for. Well, I guess we all need a break from all the angst and tension SAO II has been subjecting us to so far. Sinon’s kind personality shines through her curt demeanor, when she couldn’t not help Kirito when he asked for pointers on the Main Tournament. Since I’m the one who hates whiny and useless female protagonists, I’m totally in love with Sinon here. Isn’t she just too cool (though not as cool as Kirito)?

During the Main Tournament, the 30 finalists would be dropped onto a single huge map with various terrains for a battle royal where the winner would be the last man standing. Just like the preliminary rounds, every players’ starting positions would be random, but they would be at least 1km away from any other player. If you’re confused, just think Hunger Games, without the frantic start and complicated aid system. In order to help them locate other players on such a huge map, every player would receive a “Satellite Scan Terminal” every 15 minutes. Players’ access to that position scanner is limited to a short while so they won’t be able to check out everyone’s positions; they would have to use that time strategically before the item disappears. Sinon showed us just how important knowledge of your opponents is, you can tell that she is experienced at this. Kakkoii~

Within the first 15 minutes, 9 players were eliminated and Sinon decided to settle for either Dyne or Pale Rider as her next target. If you still remember, Dyne first appeared in episode 2 as the leader of a player-hunting squad with Sinon. Although he was rather cowardly beside brave Sinon, I’ve developed a sort of respect for him after that battle with Behemoth; that’s what you get for sacrificing your (in-game) life. Since this is an all out battle where everyone fights seriously against each other, Sinon had no qualms about eliminating her squad member. You can only have one winner for this tournament after all. However, before she could pull that trigger on Dyne, someone attacks her from behind, and it was none other than Kirito. There you go, Kirito, putting yourself in a compromising position with a girl other than Asuna again. Anyway, I might be over-sensitive abotu this, because no emphasis was placed on it at all (phew). Kirito begged Sinon not to pull that trigger, as he wanted to watch the fight between Pale Rider and Dyne without having any attention drawn to himself.

You must be wondering about how Sinon didn’t pick Kirito’s avatar position up when she checked the satellite scan. Seems like there was a loophole with the scanning system and if you were underwater during the scan, your position won’t be picked up. Lucky Kirito to have coincidentally avoided the scan.

もしその銃の弾が 現実世界のプレーやを 本当に殺すとしたら。
そして殺さなければ自分が、あるいは誰か大切な人が 殺されるとしたら。
その状況で、それでも君が引き金を引けるか?
If the bullets from that gun can kill a player in real life,
and if you don’t kill him, you or someone you love would get killed,
will you still be able to pull that trigger in that situation?

Before the tournament started, Kirito had asked for Sinon’s help to identify the “newcomers” for this round of BoB, which includes: Juushi X, Pale Rider, Sterben. She started wondering if Kirito had some ulterior motives to ask for such a strange favour. Even though Kirito didn’t tell her about what happened directly, she must have figured it out for herself, that Kirito once killed a player in SAO. I must have read something about Pale Rider somewhere, because his name just jumped out at me, screaming “I am suspicious!”. Well, ignoring the fact that Sinon placed quite some emphasis on Sterben, I was almost 100% sure that Pale Rider was our antagonist, until the turning point where the suspect himself got hit by some paralysis-inducing needle. Doesn’t that just remind you of how the Laughing Coffin guild kills other players? Sure enough, Death Gun showed up with the legendary sniping equipment “Silent Assassin” in hand. A sniping rifle with a silencer? I don’t know too much about guns but that sounds cool, anything with a silencer sounds cool. Death Gun steps towards Pale Rider and points a handgun at the paralysed player. At the same time, Kirito frantically tries to get Sinon to shoot at Death Gun, because he realises the implication of what would happen if the trigger is pulled on Pale Rider. And that, was the most frustrating moment for the ED to come on-screen. Argh.

Will Sinon pull the trigger on Death Gun? Will he get eliminated from the game and start coming after Kirito and Sinon during other events? Or will he notice the duo’s presence and start a battle with them? Why a cliffhanger!

You really can’t not credit the voice actors for raising the tension in the scenes of SAO II, in particular, Matsuoka was so riled up during the last scene (yes, our gentle and mild Matsuoka in Senaka Awase no Koi) that you could feel how frantic Kirito was, when he realised Pale Rider’s impending doom. Argh, one more week to the next episode… I can’t care less about Pale Rider, even though his fighting skills were amazing – almost like a gun-welding Kirito who moves in 3D, but honestly, I just want to see what happens between Death Gun, Kirito and Sinon after this.

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