For the first time in my very short anime life I’ve been able to watch a show as it is released (in dub that is, I know, I know, sorry). That show is the second season of Sword Art Online. This week I watched episode 4, GGO (Gun Gale Online). So, I’m going to try and give a quick overview of the episode, my thoughts and, on this occasion, the lessons we should try to take from it (all tongue in cheek, of course).
So far in show, we’ve been introduced to one this season’s new female leads, Sinon (or Shino in the real world), one of Gun Gale Online’s best snipers who also happens to be afraid of guns (!). Kirito has been asked by the government to go into GGO and investigate rumours of a player killing players in the real world through the game. Episode 3 ends as he is about to enter the game for the first time.
Episode 4 is all about Kirito beginning to understand GGO. That said it doesn’t stop him showing off how much better he is than everyone else on more than one occasion.
Once entering GGO, Kirito makes the somewhat shocking discovery that his avatar (which would seem to be randomly allocated- because that’s a thing) is female. As far as anime girls go, Kirito’s GGO avatar is about as down key and dare I say, as manly, as they come. The appreciation he gets from male players then as he is walking through the opening city suggests that there aren’t many female players in the game.
All matters seemingly improve (and drastically worsen as well, I’m guessing), when he bumps into the aforementioned Sinon. This is obviously very good short term for Kirito: meeting a female player gives him a guide as to how start playing the game. Long term problems arise when he makes the conscious decision not to tell Sinon that he’s a guy. I feel there could be lessons to be learned here, ladies and gents. Well anyway, no doubt something at least vaguely awkward will come of that later down the line.
Anyway. After Kirito and Sinon become acquainted, Sinon takes Kirito to a market to buy a weapon before they sign up for the big competition, BoB (Bullet of bullets). Kirito doesn’t have all that much money so they go to an arcade game of sorts- after watching another player fail miserably, somewhat predictably, Kirito manages to complete the task, winning himself enough money for basically anything he wants.
When choosing a weapon, Kirito opts for a light sword, type, thing… um, yeah. I can’t help but think this is a little bit of a kop out here on the writers part. Yes, I know it’s SWORD Art Online, but actually he’s playing a gun game. A GUN GAME. No matter how fast you are (that is emphasised hugely), having a sword against a gun is hardly the way forward. Hey ho, who am I, he has got an image to maintain after all.
Thankfully, Kirito isn’t great at everything. Sinon insists that he buys a hand gun as a back up weapon, which he basically fails with. Maybe it was best he got that sword.
The episode wraps up with the pair being late for the sign up, and Kirito finding a buggy to drive (which apparently, most people don’t have the ability to do) to the governor’s office.
By no means was it a bad episode of SAO. In fact I really quite enjoyed it: the artwork of the city was fantastic and the online gaming themes that really make the show are portrayed really well. That said if you’re not a fan of SAO, then this isn’t an episode to change your mind: Kirito is annoying as a girl and the voice acting (at least in dub), for him as a girl is cringeworthy. And somehow, despite our hero being female, they still managed to get yet another female character to like him.
As I said though, I enjoyed the episode and think the story is set up well for the rest of the season.
But remember boys and girls, when you play games online as the other gender, think it through before you decide you’re not going to tell others in game.