Sword Art Online II Episode 2 Review: Spray and Pray
While the first episode helped set the scene for Kirito and future events in SAO II, Sinon was the star of the second episode. Sinon also provides a very good lesson that all viewers should take to heart: trust your instinct. While Sinon’s portion of the episode might have been a bit on the long side, it certainly helped to flesh out her character and give viewers a better understanding of so claimed ‘best sniper in GGO’.
This won’t be the first time I bring this up, but I absolutely love both the art style and the design of this anime. The environments look spectacular, the characters are all distinct from one another, and the UI for GGO is realistic. GGO looks like a game that could exist in both third and first person views, and it makes me wish it was a game that existed in real life. That and the wasteland environment depicted in this episode looks as if it is begging to be explored, promising players countless opportunity to fight and find all kinds of loot to use or sell.
This episode also served to give the viewer a better understanding of player activities in GGO. PvE and PvP content blends together all depending on how the players choose to approach GGO. Where one group will hunt monsters to earn money and loot, other groups will hunt players out in the wild. So in a sense, the world of GGO is filled with an ever present sense of danger. While this also might have been the case in SAO and ALO, GGO is able to stand out among the other virtual games and feel like it belongs in this anime. The same can’t be said for some of the more questionable decisions about the world that is ALO as it still felt out of place after the SAO story arc came to an end.
Looking at Sinon as a character, it is clear that she’s someone that players would want on their team. She might not have the greatest people skills in the world, but she is certainly more than capable of watching her teammates’ backs while pulling off some ludicrous stunts of her own. The entire fight scene against the Behemoth guy with the minigun was crazy, especially the part with Sinon jumping out of the tower and firing the kill shot while in free fall. Although I do wonder if there is fall damage in GGO, as that didn’t seem to be a problem for Sinon.
This episode also explains where Sinon got her signature sniper rifle, the PGM Ultima Ratio Hecate II. While there is, at present, no word on how rare this weapon is, it is clear that the weapon is very powerful and likely a dream weapon for snipers in GGO. Weapons in GGO don’t seem to be heavily decorated or made to look like guns you’d typically see in a fantasy based shooter game. Yet with the exception of the Death Pistol, this seems to work well for SAO II.
To be honest, I can’t help but find it both amusing and a bit unrealistic that Sinon’s teammates were surprised that the same group they ambushed earlier brought a bodyguard to protect them from ambushes. Did it never occur to them that something like that could happen? Also, Sinon has proven that listening to your instinct can prove to be helpful. Had her team listened to her warning about the cloaked guy (who ended up being the guy with the minigun), then perhaps they would have been able to have had fewer casualties when they attacked the hunting party.
While there are no previews for the next episode, I can make a fairly educated guess as to what will happen next. In the third episode, Kirito will tell Asuna and the others about the job he has to go into GGO and learn more about Death Gun. It is pretty likely that Asuna will especially be not particular pleased that Kirito is putting himself at risk like that. So the majority of the episode will be Kirito explaining the situation while also logging into GGO for the first time. I do look forward to seeing how Kirito will adapt to having to use more than just a sword in a virtual environment.