Can a show get less exciting when you’re in a battle royale tournament? I didn’t think it was possible, I mean if your show is in a high stakes setting you can’t possibly make that boring, right? Well these past few episodes of Sword Art Online have definitely proved me wrong, because, despite this action filled setting, my interest hasn’t increased by an inch.
Yep, the Bullet of Bullets tournament has finally begun in Gun Gale Online, and with that Kirito must find out who out of all the participating players is Death Gun. It isn’t hard to find him, and soon Kirito and Sinon join forces to defeat him, after seeing him mercilessly kill a player. You’d think with this turn of events only intense action and fun would ensue right? I mean say what you want about SAO, but it definitely knows how to direct exciting tense action scenes; and this new development seemed like the perfect option to have a bunch of fun fight scenes. Well that doesn’t happen. Instead Sword Art Online II decides it would rather talk and strategize than wage battle.
So that’s what they do for a majority of these episodes. Sinon and Kirito talk, and talk, and talk, and talk, until I begin to question why I was enjoying the previous episodes in the first place. Say what you want about SAO II so far, and trust me I have said a lot about the show so far, even with the annoyingly slow pacing it was still intriguing (Except for episode 1). The previous episodes were ones with a purpose and content that was interesting to talk about, these past few have had nothing except reiteration about previously discussed things, and a few good action scenes.
I especially would like to say how annoying the strategizing is. I know that sometimes strategizing can be really interesting, but it’s usually at its greatest when it’s used as a shocking reveal that trips up the opposing side. Death Note and Attack on Titan did that quite a few times with its twists. Sword Art Online doesn’t do this though, it instead exposition dumps you on where they’re going, what they’re going to do, etc. It’s not particularly entertaining, and that combined with the typically lack luster dialogue of the show made these scenes a bore to watch.
That being said, when there were action scenes, they were very good! The amount of creativity and passion in the fight choreography is a lot of fun, and some moments were absolutely ridiculous in the best way possible. For example, in episode 10 Kirito and Sinon are trying to escape from Death Gun so they hitch a ride on a buggy car, but there being pursued by Death Gun who’s riding a mechanical horse. It’s kind of idiotic, but that’s what makes it great! Watching the mechanical horse trying to catch up to car is the kind of fun action cheese I want to see from Sword Art Online, and this scene ends with Kirito and Sinon flying into the air on the buggy, where Sinon accidently snipes an abandoned car which then explodes. Once again, this is stupid, but it’s the kind of over the top stupid that makes a really fun action scene for me.
This is then followed up on by a boring scene where Sinon talks about her post traumatic stress problems, and she and Kirito get to know each other better. Yawn! Yes, admittedly speaking Sinon’s problems are interesting, but after the blood pumping action scene this seems to be slowing down the pace a little too much. I get that you need to intersperse your tense action scenes with more quiet and introspective moments, but this, as I’ve said before, just feels too serious in contrast with the rest of the show. They just had an action scene with a mechanical horse in it, and you expect me to take you seriously now? That’s just not going to happen.
Still, those aren’t really my biggest problems with these past three episodes. No that special honor would have to go to the fact that nothing has really moved forward story wise. Besides the development of Sinon and Kirito’s friendship, they haven’t really down much but chase after Death Gun these past few episodes. This leaves room for, you guessed it, another pointless cameo scene from the harem members of Sword Art Online Season 1!
Ugh, I hate these scenes. These characters just feel so useless at this point, since they don’t do anything except sit and around and make observations about Kirito’s behavior. Asuna especially is annoying since they keep trying to integrate her into the plot, with pretty bad results. We’ve already seen her used as real world emotional support in Episode 7, but now she’s officially going to go to Kirito’s employer and ask him about Death Gun. This is pretty bad because it could mean two things for the plot: 1, it’s pointless, or 2, she’s going to get captured by someone and become a damsel in distress again. I’m really hoping for the former at this point!
In fact I’m hoping for a lot of different things for the upcoming episodes of Sword Art Online II. It’s becoming more clear as this series drags on that this was clearly not supposed to be a twenty four episode series, and that it was made that way for money making purposes rather than logical reasons. Things are moving at the pace of a snail, nothing is happening, and there is way too little action right now, especially since the show is in tournament setting. Basically, these episodes were kind of boring. I mean not Episode 1 levels of boring, don’t get me wrong, but it’s getting close to that. So yeah, I hope the next three episodes are a lot more entertaining than this crap.