Sword Art Online II – 3

SRS.GUN-BARRELWell, this episode entertained me much more than I expected. We’re only three episodes into the season and I find myself enjoying this one far more than the previous iteration of SAO. In fact, I had to eat some of my own words on character development. This week the writers took a break from all online vidya game action and plunged headlong into the mind of Sinon, our new heroine, an surprising and successful attempt, I might add. Although the pace of that character development was too quick for my tastes–they could have drawn it out into the rest of her character arc had they played their cards right–it was nice to see Sinon possess depth to her character, as opposed to just being a token member of Kirito’s Harem. This girl is playing this game for a very good reason that resonates with her psychology and experiences as a human being? Lies! Someone must have gotten drunk in the writer’s room one night.

Now, to be fair, I don’t expect this glimpse of maturity in the series to sustain itself for very long, since next week’s episode is entitled “GGO.” Kirito Sue the Magnificent doth rise as the sun. Nevertheless, SAO2 has passed my scrutiny: I’ll keep watching the series for the whole season. I think it’s unlikely the writers won’t give us a decent payoff on this character on some level or another. Even if Sinon eventually succumbs to fawning over Kirito in the end for Literally No Reason, I’ll be at least pleased to see a character arc played out in a proper manner. If only that could be said for everyone else in this anime, but you have to count your blessings. My only gripe here is that Asuna is being sidelined faster than you can say “Count Dooku,” a crying shame. The author of this series can’t stick with one strong female character and invest in her: he/she has to keep tacking on new ones. Meh. Still, that’s been happening for a whole season now, so it’s hardly news. Hooray for casual Japanese misogyny.

Besides that, Episode 3 gets a thumbs up from me. Not much else to say without spoilers. Well played, SAO2. Let’s see what else you can do.

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