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Sword Art Online II Episode 11 Review: Slow Pacing
So my predictions for the latest episode of Sword Art Online II proved to be half correct. Rather than hunting for Death Gun, Kirito and Sinon spend the majority of their time hiding in a cave talking and uncovering the dark secret behind Death Gun’s ability to kill people. At the very least they do finally come up with a fairly risky plan for dealing with Death Gun, so that’s some progress in that situation. Kirito’s employer comes into ALO to speak to Asuna and the others about what’s going on in GGO. That’s pretty much all that happened in this episode, as the pacing was rather slow.
One of the biggest moments in the episode is the reveal as to how Death Gun is killing people. The gun alone clearly wasn’t able to kill, so Death Gun would have to have another method used in the real world. The reveal of Death Gun having a partner was surprising, but it started to make sense as Kirito explained his theory. Of course, things get even more intense when it’s revealed that Sinon is in some deep trouble. Even now she has someone waiting to inject her with a drug that will kill her, and they are waiting for Death Gun to shoot her. Sinon’s freak out reaction was pretty realistic, so the writers did a great job there. Also, Kirito will likely be completely immune to Death Gun’s method of killing since he didn’t enter an address while registering for the Bullet of Bullets Tournament. I imagine that might help in terms of being Death Gun’s eventual undoing.
Over in ALO, Asuna and the other characters from the previous season watch the tournament. Asuna had apparently logged out to meet with Kirito’s employer, but it would appear that somewhere along the way he logged in to talk to her about the situation. Also, I wonder how Yui was able to get so much information about GGO and the Death Gun incident. Even with that World Seed that connects all virtual MMOs, I don’t see how an AI like Yui that is tied to ALO would be able to access information from other games. Also, if there was every any doubt about the harder edge of Asuna’s personality from early in the first season of Sword Art Online, this episode helped ease it. Asuna goes partial interrogator on Kirito’s employer in terms of information and Kirito’s whereabouts.
After one shot of Sinon’s posterior too many, and lots of dialogue, Kirito and Sinon finally come up with a plan for dealing with Death Gun. Of course this one has a much better chance of working this time since they know more about Death Gun as they carry out the plan. In short, Kirito is going to be live bait that draws Death Gun out. Meanwhlie, Sinon will get into position and shoot Death Gun when he makes his move. That is the one flaw in the problem in my opinion. Death Gun is capable of dodging a shot from a sniper rifle, so I doubt he could be easily defeated by being flanked.
The next episode will be called Phantom Bullet and will likely be about Death Gun and Kirito fighting it out. I can predict that Kirito will buy time by talking to Death Gun, and then Sinon will either be unable to fire or will miss. While all that is happening, Asuna will go to the hospital and will either throw a fit that an attractive nurse is watching over a half-naked Kirito, spend the next couple of episodes guarding Kirito, or somehow help deal with Death Gun’s partner in a future episode. Either way it seems like the story is coming to an end.
This raises a fairly important question as to the future of Sword Art Online II. Apparently it’s twenty four episodes, and this was the eleventh episode. So if this story ends in the next couple of episodes, what are they going to do for the rest of the season? Will they take some of the ALO short stories and use those as filler? Or will they jump into the next story arc of the light novels? It’s also possible that the remaining thirteen episodes will drag out what is left of the story so that they won’t have to rush the next story arc. I’m not sure which scenario I’d prefer, given that going from SAO to ALO was a very poor transition in the previous season, since the story was nowhere near as good. While this may not be the case for SAO II, I feel that a similar transition wouldn’t work well either.