Text version and links (video version highly recommended though): Co-edited by The Davoo: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheDavoo Part One here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHhebk70xRo The style and title are in reference to one of my favorite youtube channels, YourMovieSucks! Watch his vids: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL83BA48D283767122 If you enjoy my videos, consider supporting me via patreon: http://www.patreon.com/digibrony Or through paypal: firstname.lastname@example.org Watch my analysis of the first season here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uON7ANNOi4 Text version of this post (go here to leave comments): SAO book burning video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYFCJMbfh0U&feature=youtu.be Check out my channel Digi Does Anime if you’re keeping up with current-season shows: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrNNYICtHM3OxLFOKsvGywA My Anime List: http://myanimelist.net/profile/Digibro My twitter: https://twitter.com/digibrah My tumblr: http://scarletmonochrome.tumblr.com/ — (How the hell did I miss this? (4)) — Episode five. — If you expected the last four episodes of setup and exposition to be the slow part of Gun Gale Online, and that the series would pick up now and get into the action, then you’ve seriously overestimated Sword Art Online. If anything, the show gets even slower at this point as it grinds through its distended midsection waiting for anything important to happen. Sword Art Online has always had big pacing issues, but in the first season a lot of those problems resorted from the way the series was adapted. The first book of the Aincrad arc told the entire story of everyone being trapped in the game, whereas the second book told a bunch of bonus stories about what Kirito was doing during certain major time skips. The TV series decided to adapt both at once chronologically, and while this made sense, it also killed the pacing by interjecting a bunch of random, pointless side stories into what had at first seemed like an urgent and heavy storyline. Alfheim Online had less of an excuse, as it was obvious that the random conflict in the first half of the arc only existed so that the first book of the light novels could have its own climax. Meanwhile, Gun Gale Online’s pacing fails in a totally new way. See, the thing about light novels is that they’re typically very short, hence, “light,” and most light novel adaptations tend to have one book equate to four or five episodes; sometimes even as little as three, and rarely as much as six. Yes, in some shows, certain arcs end up being rushed, and it can be nice to have a series take its time and flesh things out better, though I’d also argue that some shows trim the fat from the source material more than anything. Still, my point is that a light novel typically doesn’t equate to a lot of anime episodes, yet the two books of Gun Gale Online were adapted into fourteen; and if you think it fills all that extra time with juicy details that flesh out the world and characters, then you haven’t learned your lesson yet. Gun Gale Online is a long, boring slog. It had no reason to take up fourteen episodes; in fact, I’m not even sure it needed seven. Season one’s Aincrad arc had fourteen episodes, and while I do think that arc could’ve easily been tightened up, and a few episodes removed entirely, (especially five and six), it didn’t feel nearly so stretched out. Reki Kawahara did say that the reason he never submitted SAO to the competition that he was writing it for, was because the novel exceeded the word limit–so it’s probably safe to assume that Aincrad was a bit longer than the average light novel. The Alfheim arc was only eleven episodes long, and even that felt like an overlong bore, but Gun Gale Online takes it to a whole new level. I will admit that while watching episode five, something clicked in my mind and I suddenly fell in love with the show’s soundtrack. Maybe because I’d been blasting Yuki Kajiura concert footage all day leading up to watching it, or maybe because I was super shitfaced drunk and had the volume turned up really high, but either way, it happened. It’s funny because in spite of Yuki Kajiura being my favorite soundtrack composer, I didn’t care for a lot of the music in season one. This hadn’t surprised me, since Kajiura has done soundtracks that I didn’t like before, but I don’t even know if SAO 2 has a whole new soundtrack, or if it just finally grew on me. This revelation got me thinking about the Yuki Kajiura paradox. That is, the paradox wherein she is at once my favorite soundtrack composer, and also the composer to literally ALL of my least-favorite anime. Back in the early 2000s, Kajiura provided the soundtracks to a plethora of shows by studio Bee Train, including my favorite soundtrack ever, for .hack//SIGN. You know, that other famous but honestly not very good show about kids getting trapped inside of an MMORPG, which was conspicuously released just a few months before SAO first came out, but I’m sure Kawahara didn’t rip it off in any way shape or form. Bee Train is the worst anime studio in existence, and in fact I used to run an entire blog dedicated to hating the studio in a style very similar to these Sword Art Online videos. Writing for that website first taught me how fun it could be to rag on something which you really hate with the same passion that you’d write about something which you really love–and that same spirit of fun-loving aggression is what I’ve been putting into all my SAO content. Funny then, that most of the shows I’ve ragged on in this way have Yuki Kajiura soundtracks. If she hadn’t also done the soundtracks to a bunch of shows that I liked, I’d think it was some kind of curse. ANYWAYS, this episode starts off with Kirito and Shinon signing up for the BULLET OF BULLETS tournament, and then Shinon dumping some more exposition about the game. Apparently, Gun Gale Online is actually owned and designed by Americans, but its Japanese servers are run by Japanese, which kinda conflicts with Kirito’s earlier observation that GGO was the only JAPANESE game with professional players. The American servers for Tera Online are run by an American company called En Masse, but no one considers it an American game. Shinon also explains that because of the money transfer system, and the fact that it’s played across countries, it occupies a “legal grey zone,” which is why you can only manage your money transfers inside the game, and the actual website only lets you create your profile. In other words, the money transfer system is *totally illegal.* This explanation probably happened when either Kawahara or the show writers realized while writing this story that collecting taxes on the money transfer system would be really difficult to figure out, especially if an American company was paying Japanese players–so they hand-waved it as the game being a “legal grey zone,” whatever the hell that means. I’m not saying necessarily that the existence of a game like this is unrealistic, but it’s certainly a huge risk and only a matter of time before some kind of government crackdown or regulation starts happening. Like many things in this series, what makes this whole concept weird is that there was no reason for the game to be like this. If Kawahara or the show writers realized that their ideas were immersion-breaking and made no sense, they should’ve just removed them entirely instead of trying to half-heartedly make sense of them. Next, we see Shinon in her underwear, and something about this scene made me feel really old all of a sudden. Like, don’t get me wrong, I’m not offended or anything by underwear shots, and I’m a far cry from someone who doesn’t like fanservice, but I couldn’t get over the feeling that I’m watching a kids show, and that this kiddy fanservice was just not made for me. Like, yes, if I was fourteen, I bet Shinon would’ve been mai waifu and I’d be all googly-eyed over this, but as an adult I’m just like “jesus, put some clothes on.” Frankly, I’m more offended by how Kirito can’t keep his cool. This guy’s been getting laid in VMMOs for years, and he’s flustered over a little underwear? But I guess we needed a reason for Shinon to start hating him from now on. By the way, this scene wasn’t in the original web version of the novel, but was added to the published version, and I’ll talk more about that later. Once that’s over, they sit down in a cafe (5)–okay fairly, it’s a lounge, but it’s the same shit. Shinon explains the rules of the tournament, and then says some shady stuff that makes Kirito suspicious. Thirteen minutes in, Kirito finally jumps into the first preliminary round. His opponent is a dude hiding in the bushes in full camo gear, who stands up, making himself completely visible and alerting Kirito to his exact location, and then opens fire–and, of course, thanks to the prediction lines Kirito can easily dodge it. Shouldn’t the guy have waited for Kirito to turn around, since the only way to shoot someone without them seeing your prediction lines would be to hit them from behind, and since he wouldn’t have been seen if he’d just stayed crouched? Whatever, I guess the guy’s an idiot. Kirito gets hit twice in the leg, but it doesn’t affect his movement at all. Earlier, we saw Shinon get one of her legs shot off completely, but I guess if you don’t lose the limb then taking damage doesn’t matter. Sure would be nice if this game could decide on what level of realism it wants to convey. Kirito realizes that since the game tells you where the bullets are going to go, he can easily deflect all the bullets with his sword, and since he’s literally god he’ll be the first one who’s ever thought of it. He uses his psychic newtype powers to I guess hear the dude rustling in the bushes, and then charges him in what is probably the best-looking moment of animation in the show, followed by the most hilarious case of awesome badness in the show. (Screaming.) So after the match, Kirito is greeted by Death Gun, who they actually seriously gave a Darth Vader breathing apparatus sound effect. Well yeah I mean Kirito’s got a light saber, so obviously he’s gotta be fighting Darth Vader. Hey what made Darth Vader memorable again? Was it his menacing presence, the fact that he murdered his own subordinates, turned out to be Luke’s father, and actually had a meaningful character arc across the original trilogy? Naw, pretty sure it was the heavy breathing, let’s make our villain do the same thing to make him extra scary. I’m guessing this wasn’t in the original light novels, unless the sentence “he breathed through some mechanical apparatus in a manner similar to Darth Vader,” was in the book. Look, I don’t have a problem with references and reincorporation, in fact I often celebrate those things. But when you tack aspects of really memorable characters onto really unmemorable characters, it only draws attention to how weak those characters are in comparison. Death Gun is only threatening up to this point because he kills people and wears a spooky scary skeleton mask, and now he’s making Darth Vader sounds, as if thinking about how cool Darth Vader is will somehow help us like Death Gun more. What made Darth Vader’s breathing so off-putting to begin with was that it wasn’t how you’d expect a villain to sound. It was a unique idea that hadn’t really been done before, and that’s an effect you could only ever get once. Copying it just makes Death Gun feel cheap and unoriginal. If they wanted to copy Vader, they should’ve copied his character arc, not his gimmick. Kirito realizes through this exchange that Death Gun is a fellow SAO survivor (by the way if they made “SAO survivor” t-shirts I would be ON that shit), and also a member of the evil player-killer guild Laughing Coffin. Alright, I can dig it. No seriously, that’s not a bad angle–a spectre from Kirito’s past who went insane during the time they were trapped in SAO, that’s cool. Let’s see where they go with it. — Episode six — While this was also true of episode five with the exception of the big fight scene, episode six seems to be where the production values of this season took a big dip. We’ve already had tons of reused footage popping up, and half the scenes feature stationary characters anyways, but episode six opens with a wholesale replay of the last two minutes of episode five. Whether this was the result of the production falling behind schedule, or just a way to fill time in a series which shouldn’t have taken up fourteen episodes, is a matter of speculation, though I suspect the former. I’m sure A-1 Pictures has multiple sub-studios working on different shows at the same time, but they did launch this season alongside Persona 4 The Golden, Aldnoah.Zero, Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus, AND the still-running Fairy Tail sequel, not to mention releasing a Persona 3 movie and a Space Brothers movie around the same time. These guys are BUSY. Kirito starts off regaling us with the story of a big battle in which he teamed up with Asuna, Klein, and a bunch of other randies in a raid against the Laughing Coffin guild back in SAO. What follows is probably the worst-looking fight scene in the series so far, with lots of shots of character just standing still in the background with sparks flying out of them, this horrible looping CG shot, and all these still panning shots of people doing nothing. I mean sure, it could’ve been worse, and on the whole SAO isn’t a bad-looking show, but hearing Yuki Kajiura music blasted over panning shots started giving me acid flashbacks to the old Bee Train days. Likewise, Kirito starts having PTSD flashbacks, and that’s actually kinda cool. That’s characterization, maybe even the most this fucker’s gotten in the entire series up until now. He’s got something to be legitimately upset about; the fact that he knowingly murdered two other people and hasn’t really owned up to it yet, and is being haunted by someone who did the same and is continuing to do so even now. That’s a decent rivalry, and seeing Kirito so shaken that he actually wonders for a second if Death Gun might be one of the men he killed, before realizing how illogical that is, while kind of funny, was also not a bad touch. Shinon sees something in Kirito’s shaken expression that reminds her of herself, drawing a thematic link between them, and man, could this actually be going somewhere?! Kirito is put into his second preliminary match, and everything is ruined immediately. The enemy fires a flurry of bullets, and they all miss even though Kirito is just standing there. Great. This enemy has already proven himself so utterly incompetent that even if Kirito wasn’t the greatest warrior on planet Earth, he’d have nothing to be afraid of. Kirito gets super duper pissed off and gun-katas his way to victory in what is somewhat unclearly a montage of matches. Shinon also gets a random, pointless, easy match for no reason. Next, Kirito and Shinon have a match together, and I swear to god, this scene was designed specifically to piss people off. The idea here is that Kirito and Shinon have both already qualified for the final round, so this match is just a formality; but they don’t explain that before the match starts. Kirito decides that he doesn’t give a shit who wins or loses since he’s getting through anyways, and just stands there; and Shinon can’t bring herself to shoot him because she feels like he’s fucking with her. But they don’t explain that before the match starts! It just looks for a minute like Kirito psychically understands that Shinon won’t shoot him, and that Shinon is buckling under the pressure of whatever mental hangup she’s got going on. Maybe I’m being biased here, but both times I watched this scene I got really pissed off before they explained why Kirito wasn’t dodging the bullets, and I’m still pissed off now because I don’t understand why they even had this fight to begin with if it was totally unnecessary. Oh right, because this was the end of the first book and it needed to have its own climax, of course. Kirito and Shinon have a little heart to heart, then Kirito challenges her to a sort of quick draw contest. Once it starts, he chops Shinon’s last bullet in half, which in fairness I’ve seen done before with real swords on airsoft pellets, so that actually didn’t break my suspension of disbelief. However, I couldn’t help but think back to the last episode, wherein Kirito’s sword melted a bullet on impact, and now it’s somehow cleanly carving them in half. Yes, I notice this kind of shit. Kirito closes the gap between them and… are you fucking serious? Are you for real? This is your murdering pose? It looks like you’re about to sweep her up and take her on your fucking honeymoon. You can’t tell me this was done for anything other than some really weird fanservice. He looks like he’s going to make out with her rather than murder her. How can I be expected to take this shit seriously when it can’t even take itself seriously? They’re talking about the nature of true strength and relating their deep seated personal trauma while he’s holding her in a “bed me” stance. Hey did you expect Shinon to possibly be a strong female character? Cause not only does Kirito overpower her and borderline grope her, but condescends to her about how he doesn’t like killing girls while he’s at it. Why am I watching this?! — Episode seven — ((Onii-chan!)) UGH. In retrospect, maybe I was hard on episode five when I called it the start of the slow part of the show. Because this episode is the start of a new book, it decides to kick off with the tension down low again, and my god is it ever boring. It opens with Suguha, who I still give zero fucks about, revealing that she’s figured out that Kirito is playing GGO. I wasn’t aware that it was a secret, but apparently it is. We also get this exchange: (I could feel it) lolwut. Next there’s a cute little scene of Kirito face-timing Asuna since they can’t meet in ALO, because I guess he can’t just make a temporary lowbie alt account there for some reason. (Why are your books so spaced out across your shelves?) Asuna worries about whether anything’s happened to Kirito in this new game, and thus begins a trend throughout this part of the show in which every time Asuna is on-screen she says the only things that make any sense. I mean yeah, I’m biased because I clearly like Asuna, because she’s an oasis in the shitstorm that is this series, but it slowly becomes comical as the arc goes. In this case, she’s offering to talk to Kirito or even join him in GGO, but he brushes her off with a hand-wave and goes back to obnoxiously flirting with his sister. Next we get a scene wherein Shinkawa starts to show his creeper side as he admits to being in love with his twisted vision of who Carne Asada is. She turns him down, although she does so in a way that suggests that she’ll consider having feelings for him after she’s sorted out her life issues, which is a dangerous way to tell someone like this off, but not an unrealistic one, and could foster some decent drama once we realize how crazy this kid is. Kirito continues having PTSD flashbacks on his way to the nurses office, and once he gets there, he and the nurse have a long heart-to-heart about whether or not Kirito should feel guilty about all of the people he’s killed. By the end, the nurse has basically absolved him of all worries and buried his whole character arc before it even had time to take flight. To me, this scene represents the first big missed opportunity in creating what could’ve been a legitimately great sequel to Sword Art Online. Imagine if we restructured this entire arc to be about Kirito and Asuna jumping into this game together, or even Kirito jumping in first with Asuna joining later, and took out Carne Asada’s whole sub-plot entirely. Instead of Asada tangentially relating to Kirito through her own past trauma, or this nurse character tangentially relating to him through the deaths she’s witnessed as a surgeon, Kirito could’ve shared all of this emotional weight with someone who actually played Sword Art Online with him and experienced a lot of the same things–and also happens to be, you know, HIS LOVER. There could’ve been a dynamic between how each of them reacts to Death Gun, or how each of them feels about their time in SAO, and they could’ve helped one-another cope and deepened their bond even further. A couple who continues to face new hardship and find new strength in one-another. This would’ve been especially effective if we were following the story of the original web novels. As I’ve been releasing these videos, helpful commenters have been telling me all the reasons I’m wrong by pointing to the original novels, and while a lot of the explanations for things that make no sense in the anime are still pretty stupid, there’s been a few major changes that really upset me. Most of them aren’t even the result of the anime, but of converting the original web novel into the eventual published versions. I have no idea if these changes were Reki Kawahara’s idea, or if he was forced by publishers to make them, but the biggest, most aggravating change is that in the original novel, apparently Asuna actually does kill Kuradeel, instead of Kirito stealing her thunder and doing it himself. Were it not for this change, not only would that scene have been far less frustrating, but we’d know that Asuna also has blood on her hands, regardless of whether she did or didn’t kill anyone during the Laughing Coffin raid. This would put Asuna in the same boat as Kirito, giving them even more reason to share this arc together. I mean for fuck’s sake, the nurse literally utters the sentences, “I can’t take away your burden or carry it with you. I didn’t play Sword Art Online.” It’s like they’re tacitly admitting that she was the wrong character for this scene. Nothing else important happens for the rest of the episode. — Episode eight — After some boring recap, Kirito approaches Shinon and literally BEGS her to give him yet another exposition dump. So, after agreeing, she invites leads him to… you guessed it (6). This time, EVERYONE’s having a big cafe exposition scene! That guy you forgot about from episode one, that guy you forgot from episode two, and even that guy you forgot about from episode four! (Kirito being moe) (me throwing up) Kirito asks Shinon a bunch of questions about the tournament, which she says were explained in the email that Kirito would’ve received from the admins. Kirito says that he did read it, but that he wanted to confirm by having her explain it again. He may as well have said, “yeah, but the audience doesn’t know yet, so let’s do some exposition!” Bullet of Bullets apparently takes place on a ten kilometer battleground with tons of different terrains, which sounds like it’d make for a long, epic battle of stakeouts and tactics. Except it has a satellite that broadcasts your position every fifteen minutes, so there’s no camping. So everyone has to be moving around constantly, and you can’t really find a place to hide and stay there, so there’s no real reason for the battlefield to be enormous. If this got down to two people, I feel like one of them could just run around this giant map endlessly and never get caught because both players keep learning each-other’s location. Once again, this reeks of taking a bunch of ideas that sounded cool and throwing them in without consideration for balance. Shinon tries to escape this boring exposition, but Kirito drags her back, just like the one guy did in the first episode. He asks if there’s any names which Shinon doesn’t recognize in this tournament, and immediately concludes that one of them must be Death Gun. This scene leads to some instant hilarity for anyone who can read English letters. One of the minor twists in this arc is that Kirito and Shinon think that the three names are “Gunner X,” “Pale Rider,” and “Steven.” We can clearly see that the third name is Sterben, which is German for “to die,” but Kirito and Shinon don’t realize their mispronunciation until much later. Had they realized that the name was German, they might’ve connected it to Shinon’s friend, who plays under the name Spiegel, meaning “mirror.” This is another one of those things that’d probably seemed less idiotic in the novels, since they wouldn’t have to show us the name written in English letters, but even then I find it funny that these kids can read English well enough to know that it almost says Steven, yet totally read it wrong. I also can’t wait to hear how they handle this in the dub. Kirito then tells Shinon about his past in SAO and how a player killer is in this game, and we get to see a lot of recap footage again. This cafe scene lasts a grand total of eight minutes, before Kirito and Shinon step into this elevator and… what. Is that the shot from Evangelion? The one with Rei and Asuka, one of many iconic shots from that series? It’s framed a little differently (read: worse), but it’s definitely the same shot. What a strange, meaningless callback. Thirteen minutes deep, the Bullet of Bullets FINALLY begins, and we get a several-minute montage of pre-established characters murdering hapless randies. Shinon’s about to put moustache out of his misery yet again, when Kirito gets her into another sex pose cause why not, fuck it. Mustache gets wasted all over again by Pale Rider in another legitimately good-looking action scene, before Pale Rider gets stunlocked by Death Gun. Kirito explains that he’d been underwater when the satellite scan happened, so apparently the scan hadn’t detected him, which Death Gun is also using as a tactic. That would be kind of cool, if it didn’t instantly negate the whole purpose of the satellite scan, which was to make camping impossible. As long as you time it so you’re always underwater when the satellite goes by, you can stay hidden all day, and for Death Gun to already know this trick, it means that past participants know this trick, which means that everyone should know this trick. The episode ends with Kirito begging Shinon to hurry and shoot Death Gun, although it might’ve made more sense to shoot Pale Rider who was incapacitated, thus removing him from the game and, ostensibly, harm’s way. Whatever. — Episode nine — Back in Alfheim Online, the Spurned Women’s Club are all watching a livestream of Bullet of Bullets in, wouldn’t you know it, a cafe (7). All of them are splooging their fucking panties over how great Kirito is, including Klein who I’m pretty sure is just as in love with him as any of the others. He did say Kirito was cute back in the first episode of season one. Good thing they found an excuse to show more recap footage. And now, my friends, we come to the scene that finally broke this entire arc for me. I mean, other than the nine-thousand other things I’ve already talked about, but this is the first really big one! Something so immersion-breaking and stupid that it put a crack in my skull just trying to wrap my head around it. Death Gun murders a man. On. Fucking. Camera. So okay, let’s take a step back for a moment. Kirito was sent on a mission into Gun Gale Online in order to confirm the existence of Death Gun and find out if it’s possible that Death Gun is really killing people. That’s it, that’s his mission. It’s not to fight Death Gun, it’s not to win the Bullet of Bullets, it’s a quest for information given to him by a government agent. Kirito already has reason to suspect that the character with this avatar is Death Gun, and that he’s a former player killer from Sword Art Online. Hell, he’s even convinced that Death Gun really does have the power to kill people by the time he’s about to pull the trigger on Pale Rider. So Death Gun murders a man. It’s obvious that’s what happens, because when he shoots him it only takes out a speck of life, yet the man starts convulsing in possibly the most hilarious death scene ever. (roll scene) I guess they didn’t wanna hire a voice actor just to make death noises. Pale Rider is marked as disconnected, and then Death Gun brags to the cameras that if he runs into you, he will bring you true death with his gun. What. The fuck. Even if we don’t immediately assume that Pale Rider has just died in the real world, it’s pretty obvious that some kind of foul play is going on. Why did Pale Rider freak out like that? Death Gun seemed to know it was going to happen. Is he cheating? Did he use a hack? Even if we assume it was staged, it still seems like cheating. More importantly, Kirito not only has reason to suspect that Pale Rider was just killed, but he should have some kind of direct line of communication to a government worker who suspects that Death Gun might be killing people. Can Kirito not contact the world outside his headset? Cause if not, ew, creepy, once again I can’t imagine ever playing one of these games, but even if he can’t, he doesn’t have a reason to be here anymore. He could just disconnect, tell the nurse “that’s the guy,” and have the government agent contact the authorities to check out Pale Rider’s house, and contact the game administrators to have the tournament postponed so they can investigate, and maybe have Death Gun’s character suspended. But no. None of that happens. Death Gun just murders a guy on-air, and no one does a damn thing. Even after Klein realizes that Death Gun’s slogan, “it’s show time,” was the slogan of the old Laughing Coffin guild leader and tells the girls, no one does anything. They keep bringing up how Kirito and Shinon can’t figure out what Death Gun’s name is because he’s always off the radar when the satellite goes by, but are the names not displayed on the live stream? Why can you not see a player’s name just by looking at them in this game, anyways? That seems like a really asinine plot convenience. Everything about this entire setup seems like a really asinine plot convenience. How much shit does this show expect me to try and buy into just to keep following along with its ridiculous plot? How many rules which serve no logical purpose other than to push the plot along am I going to have to accept to keep any suspension of disbelief? See that’s the problem, there is no anchor with this series, no ground on which to gain your bearings. The entire world, the whole setup of Gun Gale Online as a game, is built around the narrative that Kawahara wanted to construct, without ever attempting to work as a setting on its own. I can’t imagine any reason why names would be hidden in an MMORPG except that it makes for a convenient plot device. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to sense or communicate with the outside world in any way, no reason there should be a satellite to prevent camping which you can easily avoid, no reason that Death Gun can just kill a motherfucker on camera and get away with it, except that it makes for a convenient plot device. This is the fundamental flaw at the heart of Sword Art Online, and it’s why the show fails on such a basic level. It’s why I can’t get invested in the setting or characters, because nothing in the series feels organic. Everything is forced, broken, and a huge insult to my intelligence. AND IF I WASN’T MAD ENOUGH, right in the middle of the episode, out of NOWHERE there’s this fucking atrocious action scene, wherein some ugly randy pops up and opens fire on Shinon and Kirito only to get completely fucking destroyed with zero effort. Hey I guess this really is just like Star Wars… Episode Two. With Kirito whipping that fucking lightsaber around like nothing fucking matters. Fourteen minutes in, once again Asuna says the only thing that makes any sense, and decides to log out and go contact Kirito’s employer for answers. We’ll come back to this though in another episode. After Kirito acts like a condescending dick for a few minutes, he and Shinon rush to the incorrect conclusion that Gunner X must be Death Gun because, I dunno, they’re stupid. Death Gun then gets the drop on Shinon because apparently he’s got an invisibility cloak. Well okay. I guess the water thing was just a misdirect, which might’ve been cool, except now the question is, why doesn’t everyone have an invisibility cloak? I guess it could be an ultra super rare item, but unless Death Gun is literally the only one who has and/or knows about it, you’d think everyone would be after one of those, since it’s game-breakingly powerful. I mean this isn’t like Halo where you can see the invisible person if they’re moving and invisibility only lasts a few seconds, Death Gun was totally undetectable and could conceivably just hunt everyone down and completely destroy them. Apparently, as Death Gun explains in a monologue seemingly directed at Kirito, who isn’t here, Death Gun wants to kill Shinon in order to send Kirito into a blind rage, to prove once and for all that he’s the real Kirito from SAO. Even though earlier in the series we saw that Death Gun was deliberately targeting Shinon already. Shinon recognizes the gun as the same model which she used to kill the bank robber in episode three, and the episode ends with a fake-out fade to black as a gunshot signifies Shinon’s possible death. This brings us to one of the worst scenes in the entirety of Gun Gale Online… but we’ll get to that in the next one.