Kirito Sue the Magnificent is the biggest cheater on the face of the planet.
This was a bad episode. The writers skimped on everything here. Instead of doing something ambitious, like, say, crafting an epic duel between Kirito and Sinon over several episodes that might define the whole season, having them go back and forth and using the terrain, environments, etc. to play to their strengths and weaknesses, while diving into the themes and issues they brought up in this episode during the battle–something an anime made ten years ago would’ve done without the slightest bit of hesitation–they set up some stupid traumatic memory to get Kirito REALLY ANGRY, then have him win because reasons. We all knew this was going to happen, but the devil’s in the details, kids. Sinon misses like ten shots when she’s sitting completely still while Kirito is standing completely still and not making the slightest bit of effort to move. Not one of them hit him, too. Not even a graze. Given how probability works in these games, I’m pretty sure *one* of them should have damaged him. Furthermore, the sudden shift in Sinon’s behavior was just stupid. She’s already stared down some monsters while her teammates were getting massacred and handled everything perfectly. Why the fuck does she care if this random twerp she’s come across is throwing the match? If you want to set up Sinon as some stone-cold killer, you have to be consistent about it, not transform her into a weak-willed Japanese girl falling for Kirito’s nonexistent charms on the turn of a dime/bullet. Come on, writers: this is basic character development. Ugh.
I also didn’t buy Kirito’s whole PTSD thing. How many people did he kill in SAO? Why is he all of the sudden remembering this now? Like, haven’t we already gone through this character arc before? You’re not going to get me to believe Kirito is still wrapped up in that. One, it cheapens the real issues that people with PTSD go through, and two, it just feels way too forced and convenient here to be really convincing. Also, Sinon, why the fuck didn’t you just call for a reset on the duel, cool your jets, and kick the guy’s ass? Why settle for conditions where you know Kirito can pull some of his crazy shit you’ve been watching for hours already?