The Depths of Hell
(Naraku no Fuchi) (奈落の淵)
Kirito’s and Asuna’s times of peace are over; the 75th floor boss battle BEGINS in Sword Art Online Episode 13.
The 75th floor boss is upon the players and Kirito and Asuna are forced to return. However, this boss is different from the rest and the only floors similar are the 25th, and 50th floor. With many already dead how will they even begin to clear the rest of the upcoming floors or do they even have to?
Part of the fun in a video game usually lie in not only the combat but also in the more “social” aspect. Activities such as fishing, farming and other tasks often attribute to the depth of a game. Sword Art Online is no different and the people in Aincrad that are not engaged in fighting at the front-lines are busy living their “lives” in the game world doing many ordinary tasks.
As usual, it’s always nice to see more moments with Kirito and Asuna together talking with each other. And their bed scene is interesting. The fish part could be skipped but I guess it gives a basis for the explanations later on in the episode. There are clear psychological factors that are seeded since the beginning of Kirito and Asuna’s relationship to form anxiety and fear. Let’s break it down.
At first, Asuna looks to be a fairly stable but serious person both in game and in real life. But with this episode we realize that she is just like any other (with the exception of Kirito perhaps) and cries because of being trapped in this death game. After all, having your life suddenly cut off like that would be a shock for anyone. Even so, if not by much, we still must admire her for her conviction of clearing the game. Kirito, on the other hand, is a more carefree but also a “battle-crazed idiot” and enjoys his stay in Aincrad. As mentioned in the first episode, he feels more alive during his time in Aincrad than he does in real life. This important sentiment is eventually realized by Asuna and she adopts this notion as well. I guess you could say that their relationship really began there. With Kirito around Asuna is no longer having nightmares about the death game but instead takes the life in Aincrad to be the same as her life in the real world. With a game so advanced that it could simulate the senses why would it be so different from the real world anyways? Kirito is basically Asuna’s safe haven; it is the place that brought Asuna peace in the beginning and it will remain as such so that she can return to it when she feels the need to. This is why Asuna sought Kirito’s company and ultimately how she fell in love with him. After all Asuna said, “For the first time since I arrived here, I was happy. To me, Kirito-kun is the meaning of my two years here… And the proof that I’m alive. The reason I tried NerveGear that day was so that I could meet him.”.
Now the real game begins; the scout team is wiped out and the door also closes upon entering. There are also no teleportation crystals allowed so you are trapped until you can defeat the boss or vanish if you fail to do so. Still, the psychological notions are brought up once more when Kirito and Asuna talks before the battle. Kirito asks a totally unreasonable demand and asks Asuna to stay while he fights. Come on Kirito, she said you’re the meaning of her life and you tell her to stay in a safe place while you fight? Of course she’s going to say no; she even goes so far as to say that she will suicide if he dies and she isn’t there to help. Now, out of desperation Kirito says that he wants to run away with Asuna and live on the 22nd floor forever. However, Asuna, being the more logical of the two, deduces that their real life bodies cannot possibly be in a good shape. They must leave the game so that they can return to their bodies or their bodies in the real world will perish. Asuna then goes even further, breaks down and says how she wants to date and marry and grow old together with Kirito in real life. A fairly bold statement from an adolescent but I can understand how she feels and how she wants to do things “for real”.
With Heathcliff’s speech the high leveled front liners move on to fight the 75th floor boss, Skull Reaper. This boss is not like any other boss they have faced so far; it does clean 1 shot kills to the players. Usually, the players are high leveled enough to at least live one attack. In this case, the whole group is being decimated by the Skull Reaper until Heathcliff bravely steps up to block the attack. Kirito tries to but is unable to stop the scythe but Asuna comes in and assists in order to parry the blow. Together, Asuna and Kirito will be able to take one scythe while Heathcliff will defend against another. Even with the moral of the soldiers low Kirito’s bellow to attack the sides snaps everyone to their senses. Nonetheless, the tail that the Skull Reaper has takes many lives while the Kirito, Asuna and Heathcliff struggle to defend against its blows. With the epic music playing in the background Kirito and Asuna attack with a combo which leads to the end of this episode.
Although the fight scene had a bit too many still moments the fight was still very enjoyable. Things next episode will be definitely the most intense since many things will be cleared up and the viewers will hopefully be shocked by the revelation. Overall, a decent episode at first with a fairly interesting portrayal of the psychological states of the main characters and an intense fighting scene the next. Definitely a better episode of the first half of the anime but the next will undoubtedly be the BEST of this whole 2-cour anime.