Sword Art Online II: Episode 09

Death Gun – デス・ガン

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No. Way. I KNEW that it would end in a cliffhanger but still. Why? Why? Why?!

Following the intense cliffhanger of the previous episode, Sinon pulled her trigger on Death Gun at Kirito’s urging. But of course, our villain won’t die so easily, he easily dodged the bullet and proceeded to shoot at Pale Rider. For one moment, I thought that Death Gun didn’t kill Pale Rider because if you remember, back in episode 3, he was targeting Sinon next. After the paralysis effect wore off, Pale Rider was on his feet and ready to kill Death Gun. All would have gone well, if Pale Rider didn’t get disconnected suddenly, much to Kirito’s dismay. It goes without saying that the real player of Pale Rider has probably most likely died.

This inevitably brings this question which we’ve been pondering over since episode 1 – why is Death Gun killing these players? From what I can see, it would appear that he has been trying to get someone’s attention with the high profile killings. Pointing his gun at the camera and making sure that everyone knows what he and his gun is called after demonstrating his gun’s powers is a sure way to get your name out. Since we know about his past, he might be issuing that warning to all the members of the Lead Group in Aincrad, that he will find them and he will kill them for real. Although most players who survived harrowing experience of the death game might not want to put another machine like nervegear over their heads for the rest of their lives, the players of the Lead Group are mentally strong enough to enjoy a real game with their lives on the line so it won’t be too farfetched to surmise that a message on a high profile gaming platform would be noticed by them. Is Death Gun after revenge? We won’t know for now.

Our ALO gang has taken a day off from clearing monsters and were watching the BoB when they saw Death Gun. Both Asuna and Klein got a shock because they both recognise him as someone from Aincrad. While Asuna based it on nothing more than gut feel, Klein clearly remembers a line that Death Gun used as the Laughing Coffin Guild Leader’s catchphrase, “it’s show time”. We haven’t gotten any closer to discovering who Death Gun really is, because really, all we know now is that he was someone high-ranking in Laughing Coffin. Asuna logs out of the game in order to contact Kirito’s employer (probably Kikuoka) and sets Yui to research more on GGO. Does this mean that we’ll be seeing some light next episode? Although the ALO gang seems pretty excluded from the action in this season, they will probably play a key role in the investigation and apprehending of Death Gun; sometimes it is easier for an outsider to do the research. I couldn’t keep my eyes off Leafa-chan’s chest during the times she was shown on screen, is it just me or did they just upsized?

It was nice to see the relationship between Kirito and Sinon developing, from the first moment when Sinon mistook Kirito for a girl, to that of mistrust and to this episode where we see Sinon slowly trusting in Kirito’s decisions and words. Although she kept reminding Kirito (and herself) that they are enemies who are cooperating on a temporary basis, you sort of have this feeling that Sinon won’t be able to betray Kirito because she isn’t the kind who would triumph over an unfair win.

Although the duo couldn’t locate Death Gun via the satellite map, they speculated that he would head towards the Abandoned City because he is a sniper. Goodness, what if he isn’t a sniper? Don’t the villains always have something weird up their sleeves? If he already has a gun which can kill players in real life, what makes you so sure that his avatar would fit into the norm? Anyway, while heading towards the Abandoned City, the two got ambushed by another player who soon got killed by Kirito and Sinon’s swordsman-and-sniper combo. Again, it felt good seeing two solo players coming together to form an unbeatable party. This wasn’t the first time Sinon witnesses Kirito’s sword skills but she still got stunned at how he manages to deflect every single bullet without fail. I would too, because seriously, is that even possible?

Abandoned City is the area located in the center of the battle map and you can expect everyone to gather there during the final moments of this Tournament. As expected, there were quite a few players hiding out in the city, including Juushi X the prime suspect for Death Gun. Convinced that Juushi X was Death Gun (because Shi-Juu means Death Gun and X was like the cross he draws across his chest before he kills – farfetched but it made sense), Kirito and Sinon split up to take said suspect down. At the moment when we were least expecting it, Sinon got hit by a paralysis needle. I loved how we suddenly got into Sinon’s POV and the screen just blacked out when she got shot. When she came to (which was probably a split second later), we saw Death Gun materialise out of thin air. So he wasn’t Juushi X, and he wasn’t reflected on the Satellite Scan. What on earth is he?! Sinon was paralysed by the needle and with fear too, when the sight of Death Gun’s Type 54 pistol awakened her traumatic memories. Meanwhile,  Death Gun’s intention was to kill Sinon in order to check if Kirito was indeed that Kirito from SAO.

The episode ended with a gunshot, but from which gun? Did Sinon find the strength in her to fight back, did Death Gun make his shot, or did someone else shoot at the two of them? We can only be patient and wait for the answer. On hindsight, the plot didn’t progress much in this episode but I can’t say that the 20 minutes was spent in vain; it was an episode with a good balance between the tense and the not so tense. Just three more episodes for us to see this exciting arc to its end~

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