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Sword Art Online II Episode 8 Review: Let the Games Begin

The Bullet of Bullets has begun for real in the latest episode of Sword Art Online II. In this episode, quite a few contestants drop like flies, while all the main characters make it through with no problem at all. Sinon becomes suspicious about Kirito’s past, and Death Gun shows up to cause some trouble.

Unlike the first round of the tournament, the official Bullet of Bullets does not use a 1v1 game mode on small maps. Rather, it uses a thirty player free for all mode on a map that is significantly larger. I can imagine this would make the tournament much harder since a player could be attacked from any possible angle and be dead within seconds. Fortunately there is a satellite system that helps provide an estimate for where other players are located, so contestants don’t have to waste hours searching for one another. The UI for the satellite system is really impressive as well, they’ve done it again with astounding visuals in SAO II.

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I’m beginning to wonder if Kirito is having too much fun pretending to be a girl, albeit the change to his avatar was not exactly something that he chose to have happen. After carving up his opponents like a turkey on Thanksgiving, many players apparently fear Kirito. Yet all he has to do is put on some fake “womanly charm” while striking a pose, and suddenly he has a devoted fan base. Personally, I think he should stick to being feared instead of loved.

Kirito somehow manages to find ways to get Sinon to talk to him and tell him more information about the tournament, and I’m surprised that his efforts are fruitful given that Sinon doesn’t have a high opinion of him. Yet, she is willing to confirm information about the tournament and help point out any player names that she did not recognize. Of course, in exchange for the information Kirito does provide Sinon some information about the player he is looking for. Although based on some of Sinon’s lines, it sounds like she might have figured out that Kirito was in SAO, but that could be a misinterpretation.

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Among the three new players, the first one that Kirito searches for and finds is Pale Rider. Pale Rider is not exactly an average opponent, given that he is capable of seemingly impossible acrobatic feats. An impressive player, no doubt about that. Unfortunately, Pale Rider may not be around for much longer since he seems to have attracted the attention of Death Gun. I do wonder how Death Gun is able to just suddenly show up the way he does.

I had thought it would be awhile before Kirito and Sinon met face to face during the Tournament, yet once again they seem to find one another on the battlefield. I’m not entirely sure as to how Kirito was able to talk Sinon out of killing him, but he did so that they could watch the match between Pale Rider and his opponent. Not to mention they are also there to see Death Gun show up. Kirito tells Sinon to kill Death Gun, but will she be able to pull the trigger and fire before Death Gun claims another victim?

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It isn’t too hard to figure out what the next episode will be about, given that the title is Death Gun. Odds are, Death Gun will get quite a bit of screen time as he either kills someone or is prevented from doing so. That said, will this be the first time that Kirito and Sinon go head to head against Death Gun? Or will they be too late and not be able to fight him just yet? The answer to those questions will be revealed next week in the ninth episode.

There are apparently twenty four episodes in SAO II, so there is still two thirds of the series to go. It would seem very likely that SAO II will focus entirely on the events of the two Phantom Bullet light novels rather than splicing four volumes together like the original series did. This is a good thing, since the transition from SAO to ALO was not exactly a smooth one in terms of plot during the first SAO series. I hope that sort of rough transition is avoided in SAO II.




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