[Review] Sword Art Online episode 3; Oil and Water

This is a new idea to you, isn’t it?

If you read my episode 2 rant about how SAO wasn’t taking the darker side of its concept very seriously, you probably watched Sachi talk to Kirito about how scared she was in this episode and thought something like, “Finally, this’ll get that goth to stfu!” I gotta say, I am pretty happy that after the 20-so minutes of ridiculous last week, SAO has finally taken a step back and went “Hey, maybe people could actually be scared of dying.” But I’m not done ranting yet.

Last week we got an episode partly centered on some very idealistic action, and this week we get an entire episode addressing fears connected with being in a life-or-death situation. While I do approve that SAO addressed that, here’s the thing: SAO’s concept has action involved in it for sure, but also a darker side. I would rather get episodes that have both action and realistic concerns rather than one episode for this, then one episode for the other. You know, sometimes it’s best to find a middle ground rather than have this oil-and-water situation going on. Episode 1, which did have both, was pretty good, and I wish they’d go back to that.

 

I haven’t read the light novel, but I think the adaptation failed again, because Sachi’s potential as a character seemed squashed. Sachi was a sad character with a lot of emotion, yet I wasn’t able to feel very sad in this episode. Everything moved too fast. Seriously, shame on you, animation studio adapting SAO. You cannot, you just cannot, introduce a character to do a near-monologue that’s longer than her prior screentime, kill her before the audience has had enough time to be attached to her, and then expect the big tragic ending scene to be as sad as it was supposed to be. If Sachi’s character had been fleshed out for an episode more, I most likely would have cried during when she sang to Kirito from the grave, but with this rushed episode, I at most felt sympathy. I admire what they were aiming for, but that scene just didn’t quite reach it for me.

Still, I liked this episode a lot more than last week’s. Other thoughts… The video game artwork/monster designs were very cool in this episode – with the exception of Nicholas’s major derp face, which is one of those things that you either love or hate. It was nice to see Klein again, who’s gotten a much cooler outfit since the last time we saw him. He’ll definitely be back.

Episode rating: 6 / 10 ( “fine;” it was actually good overall, but I’m taking off a point for rushing Sachi’s character)

Also, these two look alike.

Left: the information broker from this episode.
Right: Smellerbee from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

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2 thoughts on “[Review] Sword Art Online episode 3; Oil and Water

  1. I agree that Sachi’s character was ridiculously rushed, and her relationship with Kirito was ambiguous. The adaptation made it seem that they were a couple, that they harbored romantic feelings for each other; that’s far from the truth.

    From the light novel, Kirito said
    “One thing I was certain of though was that Sachi and I didn’t have a romantic relationship. We never slept in the same bed together, never cuddled each other, talk about love or even look at each other. Our relationship was more likely stray cats that were licking each other’s wounds. Sachi would forget about her fear a bit because of my words, and I would rely on her to forget the guilt that I was a beater.”

    The adaptation screwed that up by making Kirito and Sachi share a bed. Her ending monologue was also skewed to make it appear that Kirito and Sachi were dating [in the light novel, she finds Kirito's presence reminiscent of a father figure; she never had one as a kid]. But, the ending scene was animated really well; there was just so much potential that could have been had.

    Better adaptation than Aria’s was; this episode should have served in characterizing Kirito [Sachi isn't as significant as this episode made her out to be]

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