It has been 15 months since the game of Sword Art Online officially launched. The 10,000 players who logged into the game all got trapped inside, with no way to log out. The only way for the players to escape the game is to defeat the boss on the 100th floor of Aincrad castle. The players who initially heard the Game Master announce these rules were in disbelief, however, since they game’s launch, countless players have perished to the game’s mechanics.
After one month of the game’s launch, 2,000 players had died. A boy named Diabel led a group of players in fighting the first floor boss. The players succeeded in defeating the boss, but Diabel was slain by the boss’s attack. A guild known as the Moonlit Black Cats went exploring a dungeon floor. They found a room with a treasure chest, but the treasure turned out to be a trap. All the members of the guild were slaughtered by a hoard of monsters.
Now, we come to a girl named Silica and her pet dragon Pina. Silica and Pina are viciously fighting off a hoard of baboons. Will she be the next one to perish in the game of SAO?
Silica is a half-pint heroine who has a heart of gold. Her attractive aura makes her highly desired by many guilds. Her role in SAO is a beast tamer, and has successfully tamed her own pet dragon named Pina. She is a fierce fighter, but most guilds only want her to be the mascot of the group. Silica left her most recent guild after an unfriendly player demanded she hand over all of her healing items. Her justification is that Silica’s pet dragon can heal her, so there is no reason for her to have healing items. Silica did so and disbanded from the group, but shortly after, she ran into some more unfriendly creatures in the forest.
Silica enters the forest and runs into a hoard of baboons. The girl and her pet dragon begin fighting them off. Silica reaches for a healing item, but remembers she doesn’t have any. A baboon is about to make the finishing blow on Silica, but before the blow lands, Pina swoops in and takes the hit. Pina falls to the ground, and with no healing items, Silica can only watch as Pina’s HP depletes. Silica holds her pet dragon in her arms before it disintegrates into a plethora of polygons. With tears in her eyes, the girl turns her head as she watches the baboon prepare for another attack. Suddenly, all three baboons disintegrate. There, standing behind the baboons, is a boy. A boy clad in black. A boy clad in black, with a sword in his hand. It’s Kirito!
Silica picks up a flower off the ground where her dear pet dragon used to be.
“What’s that feather?” asks Kirito.
“It’s Pina,” responds Silica.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t able to save your friend. Does that feather happen to have a name?”
Silica checks. The item’s name is “Pina’s Heart.”
“If Pina’s heart is still here, there’s a chance you can revive it. On the south side of Floor 47, there’s a field dungeon called the Hill of Memories. I’ve heard that the flower that blooms at the top is an item for reviving familiars.”
Silica is concerned that her level isn’t high enough to fight the monsters on Floor 47.
“If you cover my expenses, I’d be glad to go for you, but the familiar’s master has to be there or the flower won’t bloom.”
“I’m very grateful to have the information! If I work hard to raise my level, then someday…”
“Pina can only be resurrected up to three days after its death,” breaks Kirio.
Silica is distraught, but Kirito has a plan. He filters through his inventory and finds some equipment that can boost Silica’s level.
“This equipment should be good for a boost of five or six levels,” says Kirito, “If I go with you, I think it should all work out.”
“Why would you do all this for me?” asks Silica.
“If you promise not to laugh, I’ll tell you.”
“I won’t laugh.”
“It’s because you look like my little sister.”
“I’m sorry,” she says.
Another Chance at Reviving the Dead
Kirito and Silica enter a nearby town to stay for the night. Before they enter the inn, they run into the same unfriendly guild member who took Silica’s healing items. She notices that Silica’s pet dragon is missing.
“Pina died,” explains Silica, “But I’m bringing it back to life, no matter what.”
“Meaning that you’re planning to go to the Hill of Memories,” says the unfriendly guild member, whose name is Rosalia, “but at your level, will you be able to clear it?”
“Sure she will,” defends Kirito.
Rosalia turns to Kirito and says, “You’re another one who’s been seduced by this girl? You don’t look particularly strong to me.”
“Let’s go!” Kirito says to Silica, and the two walk away from Rosalia.
Kirito and Silica set themselves down in the diner and order some cheesecake.
“Why would she say such mean things?” Silica asks Kirito.
Kirito explains that in online games, personalities often change in a player. Some players may prefer to play as a villain. After all, in a world where there are no real penalties, what are the consequences?
“Our player cursors are green, right?” explains Kirito, “But if you commit a crime in SAO, your cursor will turn orange. Among them are player killers. Those who’ve committed so-called murders are known as red players. In a conventional game, they could’ve had fun while role-playing as the bad guy. But Sword Art Online is different.”
Later that night, at the inn, Kirito and Silica go over their plan to retrieve the flower. Kirito points to a map and says, “Here’s floor 47’s town area. And over here we have the Hill of Memories. So we’ll be following this route…”
Kirito pauses. He darts out the door and shouts, “Who’s there?”
Kirito looks to his right and sees a dark figure running down the stairs.
“Someone was eavesdropping on us,” explains Kirito.
The Field of Memories
Silica and Kirito teleport to a courtyard that is covered in Flowers. Kirito hands Silica a teleport crystal and says, “If anything unexpected happens, and I tell you to warp out, use this crystal to jump to any town.”
The two heroes cross a bridge and begin battling their way through man-eating plants.
“Kirito, could I ask you about your sister?” Silica asks.
“Why now, all of a sudden?” says Kirito.
“You said I look like her, remember? I know it’s impolite to ask about the real world. Do you mind?”
“I called her my little sister, but she’s actually my cousin. We grew up together since she was born, so I’m sure she doesn’t know. Maybe that’s why I’ve been distancing myself from her. Our grandfather’s really strict. When I was eight, he made us attend a local Kendo dojo. I stopped after two years. My grandfather sure beat me up for that.”
“My sister defended me by saying that she’d put in enough effort for both of us,” continues Kirito, “After that, she really trained hard, and made it to the nationals.”
“But I always felt bad about it. She may resent me because she had to give up what she really wanted to do. So it’s possible that I’m helping you because it feels like a way to make amends to my sister. I’m sorry.”
“I don’t think your sister hated you,” ensures Silica, “No one could work that hard for something they don’t even like. She must really love Kendo!”
“Maybe you’re right. I hope so.”
Retrieving the Flower
The two eventually come to the pedestal where the flower to revive the dead is supposed to appear. The item reads “Pneuma Flower.” Silica retrieves it and carries it back to the courtyard, but before they cross the bridge, Kirito senses something.
“Whoever’s lying in wait there, show yourself!” Kirito commands.
Rosalia appears from behind a tree.
“If you can see through my hiding skill, your detection skill must be quite high swordsman,” says the unfriendly guild leader, “It appears that your attempts to acquired the Pneuma Flower were successful…Now hand it over!”
“That’s not going to happen, Rosalia,” confronts Kirito, “Or should I say leader of the orange guild, Titan’s Hand.”
“But Rosalia is green,” notices Silica.
“It’s a simple trick,” explains Kirito to Silica, “The green members find targets, and lure them to where the orange players are lying wait.”
Then Rosalia turns to Kirito and says, “You knew all that and went with her anyway? Are you an idiot, or did she really seduce you?”
“No, neither of those apply,” responds Kirito, “I’ve also been searching for you Rosalia. Ten days ago, you attacked a guild called Silver Flags. Four people, all but the leader were killed. Their leader was at the warp-point on the front lines from morning till night, tearfully seeking someone to avenge his party. But he didn’t want you killed. He asked that you be sent to prison. Do you have any idea how he felt?”
“No, not at all,” responds Rosalia, “There’s no proof that killing someone here means they die in real life. Anyway, shouldn’t you be more concerned for yourselves.”
Rosalia snaps her fingers, and her entire guild of orange players emerge from the trees.
Kirito tells Silica to stay back and keep her crystal ready. Then he draws his sword and approaches Rosalia’s “thorns”.
“Kirito!” cries Silica.
“Kirito?” responds one of the goons, “Dressed in all black…a one-handed, no shield style. Don’t tell me that’s the Black Swordsman.”
The guild members warn their leader that this is the beater who solos on the front lines.
“Why would someone from the Assault Team be all the way down here?” questions Rosalia, “Come on! Just take him out already! And take everything he owns!”
All of the guild members begin engaging Kirito. The soldier clad in black stands there as he allows the guild members to slash their swords at him. Silica watches from the sidelines. She is about to step in and fight, but then, she notices that Kirito’s HP bar is replenishing as quickly as it is falling.
“About 400, in around 10 seconds,” analyzes Kirito, “That’s the total damage you seven can inflict on me. I’m level 78. I have 14,500 HP. My battle-healing skill auto-regenerates 600 points every 40 seconds. We could stand here all day, and you’d never beat me.”
Kirito holds up a warp crystal.
“My client spent his entire fortune to buy this warp crystal. It’s set to send you to the prison area. I’m sending everyone of you there!”
“I’m green,” shouts Rosalia, “so if you hurt me, you’ll go orange…”
Kirito dashes to Rosalia and holds his sword next at her neck.
“Just so we’re clear, I’m a solo player,” says Kirito, “One or two days of playing while orange means nothing to me.”
Rosalia drops her lance.
Later, back at the inn, Kirito explains to Silica.
“Sorry, Silica, I ended up using you as bait, more or less. I thought you’d be scared if I told you the truth.”
Silica shakes her head and says, “You’re a good person, so I would never be scared.”
“Okay, let’s revive Pina,” says Kirito.
Silica pulls out Pina’s heart and the Pneuma flower from her inventory. As she brings the Pneuma flower in contact with Pina’s heart, Silica thinks, “Pina, I’ll talk to you lot and lots, okay? About my amazing adventure today. And about the one day in my life that I had a big brother.”
Thoughts: Is Kirito a Mary Sue?
One criticism I have seen of Sword Art Online is that Kirito is a Mary Sue.
In this episode, Kirito stands there as seven guys slash their swords at him, and he isn’t even phased. Usually, a character who is this overpowered becomes dull and unrelatable simply because they never experience any true conflict.
According to Wikipedia, a character is a Mary Sue if they are, “inexplicably competent across all domains, gifted with unique talents or powers, liked or respected by most other characters, unrealistically free of weakness, extremely attractive, innately virtuous, and/or generally lacking meaningful character flaws.”
Notice the “and/or” at the end of that definition, that means if Kirito exhibits one or more of these character traits, then he is a Mary Sue. Let’s take a look at each of these qualifications one by one.
“Inexplicably gifted across all domains”
Kirito is definitely highly gifted when it comes to videogames. The main explanation for his gift is that since he doesn’t socialize with others, he spends most of his time focusing on developing his videogame skills. However, is Kirito really that much more powerful than everyone else in SAO? Certainly, there would be a few other anti-social gamers who would become as stupidly overpowered as Kirito, maybe even more. Given how overpowered Kirtio is compared to everyone else, it is reasonable to conclude that he would have difficulties finding conflict when it comes to virtual sword fighting. Before we grant Kirito this qualification, let’s look at the second part of that statement: “across all domains”. Kirito is definitely not competent when it comes to socializing. This becomes his main source of conflict throughout the series. He tries to build relationships, but they usually end in disaster. With that said, I do not think that Kirito is a Mary Sue because he still manages to find conflict in his life. Let’s take a look at the next qualification.
“Gifted with unique talents or powers”
Kirito definitely possesses extraordinary powers. In the future, Kirito will receive a unique skill that no one else in the game will be able to acquire. However, it is explained that the skill could potentially be obtained by anyone, but only one person is allowed to have it. (You’ll see what I mean in future reviews.) This might be the most convincing piece of evidence, yet still, I do not believe that Kirito’s power is completely unobtainable by everyone in the game. Next qualification!
“Liked or respected by most other characters”
Kirito is definitely not liked or respected by pretty much anyone in the game, only by a select few individuals. Most of the players in SAO think Kirito is a beater – someone who cheated during the beta test. Even though this isn’t true, Kirito made up this story so the players would stop hating on beta testers and redirect their despise towards him.
Well, Asuna might think so, but Kirito doesn’t seem to be known for his good looks.
While Kirito definitely displays acts of chivalry, he does have a tendency to mess with girls and use questionable means to achieve his accomplishments.
“Generally lacking meaningful character flaws”
Kirito’s unsocial nature is his biggest character flaw.
So, in conclusion, I agree that there are many good reasons to support the claim that Kirito is a Mary Sue, but I do not believe there is enough evidence to prove that he is.
Anyways, those are my thoughts, but let me know what yours are in the comments down below. And, be sure to join us next time when a familiar face returns to the story.