Sword Art Online II Episode 21 Review: That Just Happened

8.5

In the twenty first episode of Sword Art Online II, Asuna and the Sleeping Knights pull off the impossible after going through one of the most intense open world PvP skirmish ever seen in all of ALO. Yet victory feels short lived and the moment of triumph is soured as darker undertones make it clear that things are about to get much worse.

Even though things seemed grim for Asuna and the Sleeping Knights, Kirito shows up to save the day by holding off half of the opposing raid team nearly single handed. It was amusing how even in ALO most players seem to immediately recognize Kirito, many even fear him when they see him pull out the legendary Excalibur. I didn’t expect Klein to make an appearance in this episode, but it was great for a small amusing moment in the episode of Klein jumping around trying to talk to Kirito while fighting other players.

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The Sleeping Knights prove to be highly competent in PVP as they are able to take out the other half of the raid group once Asuna kills the healers. Sword Art Online as a series seldom focuses on PVP combat, so this certainly is one of the bloodiest battles that the main characters have ever been in if you exclude the Laughing Coffin flashback from earlier in the series. In spite of how tired they might be after the fight against the other players, Asuna and the Sleeping Knights take on the boss.

I used to do a lot of raiding in WoW awhile back, and I have to call BS on this particular part of the story. There is absolutely no way that just seven people would be able to take on a raid boss intended for forty nine people and pull it off successfully. Even if there is some amount of skill involved with dodging and parrying attacks, there is still an issue of numbers even in ALO. Yet in spite of the fact that it should be impossible for seven people to defeat this boss, that is exactly what Asuna and the Sleeping Knights do. They actually kill the boss without having a single casualty. Of course, I feel that this is all thanks to the weak point on the boss that Asuna discovered. Weak points are not exactly something that are common in MMOs, especially hotkey MMOs, but it would be a nice feature to see more often.

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So the Sleeping Knights have beaten a boss and they have their names forever immortalized on the Swordsman’s Memorial. In a way, it almost feels like the story is coming to an end. Yet that may not be the case after all. The Sleeping Knights will be disbanding in the spring apparently, and it seems like Yuuki is hiding something. This leads to a confusing, yet dark moment where Yuuki freaks out when she realizes that she has been calling Asuna “Sis”. She even goes so far as to suddenly log out, so there is something going on there.

My current theory is that Yuuki has or had a sister, as this seems to be implied in the opening sequence of each episode. More often than not there is a great deal of symbolism and prediction of events in the opening sequence of an anime. Either way it is likely that answers will be coming, and I imagine that very soon Yuuki’s secret will be revealed in one way or another. The next episode will be called “Journey’s End”, which has an ominous tone to it based on the context of what has happened recently.