Sword Art Online – Episode 5 Review: The Ring of Guild Breaking Part 1
Episode five opens up with a meeting on the front lines amongst various guilds, with the guild Knights of the Blood Oath in charge of the meeting. As it turns out, Asuna is now second in command of the entire guild. She has certainly come a long way since episode two. Asuna comes up with a plan on how to deal with the boss, which is to basically kite it to a local town. There the boss will kill all the villagers while the raid group fights and kills it.
Kirito opposes this plan, even though NPCs can simply respawn later. Asuna puts Kirito back in his place by reminding him that she’s in charge and that he has to follow her orders. So in short, Asuna has basically become the SAO equivalent of Commander Shepard with a full renegade meter. After the opening, and roughly a month or so after the meeting, we see Kirito taking a nap under a tree. Asuna approaches and criticizes him for slacking off instead of working on the front lines.
Kirito tells her that it is too nice a day to be working, and encourages Asuna to relax and lay on the grass for a little while. Kirito drifts off to sleep for awhile and as he wakes up he notices that Asuna has fallen asleep as well. Kirito decides to keep watch while Asuna sleeps. As the sun starts to set, Asuna wakes up. At first she is about to draw her sword but then offers to take Kirito out for dinner.
While at dinner, Kirito and Asuna discuss the concept of players being killed in their sleep by another player abusing the duel mechanic. Asuna thanks Kirito for watching over her, and as they eat dinner they are interrupted by a scream from outside of the restaurant. The two of them decide to investigate and see another player hung by his neck from the top of a tower. The player also appears to be impaled by a red sword.
Kirito stays on the ground level to help catch the player once Asuna cuts the rope. However Asuna doesn’t make it in time and the player dies. Kirito looks around for whoever might have initiated a duel with the deceased player, but cannot find anyone. As Kirito and Asuna try to get more information from the crowd, a young woman approaches them. Her name is Yolko and she knew Caynz, the player that was killed. She says that they were both in the same guild originally and that they were going to dinner but got separated, and when Yolko found him he was hanging from the tower.
Although the information is helpful, it doesn’t give Kirito or Asuna any leads on what to do next. So they head to the 50th floor to speak to Agil, who now owns a weapon shop there. Agil examines the weapon and uses his identify skill to determine the origin of the sword. He identifies the name of the sword’s creator, Grimlock. Kirito and Asuna ask Yolko if she knows anyone by that name. Yolko finally opens up and explains how her guild fell apart.
They had killed a monster and an insanely rare ring dropped. The guild then had a meeting to decide what to do with it. Some wanted to keep the ring, others wanted to sell it. They put it up for vote and the guild voted in favor of selling the ring. So Griselda, the leader of the guild and wife of Grimlock, left to sell the ring. However she never returned and it was eventually confirmed that she had been killed. Yolko theorizes that maybe it is Grimlock that is killing the other guild members. She also mentions Schmitt, another member of the guild. He now is a member of the Holy Dragon Alliance guild on the front lines, and is likely unaware of the murder.
Kirito and Asuna go to the front lines and bring Schmitt back with them. They then explain what happened with Caynz. Schmitt ponders on the possibility of Grimlock being the one who killed Griselda. Yolko theorizes that maybe Griselda’s ghost is killing people, a ludicrous notion given that this is a virtual reality MMORPG but whatever. Yolko then freaks out and starts raving about how everyone in the guild is responsible for what happened and that they should have just done whatever Griselda wanted to do. Yolko’s sanity returns and as she sits on the window sill she is suddenly stabbed in the back with a dagger. The episode ends with a cliff hanger as Yolko’s body falls out of the window and she dies.
Honestly, I’m not surprised that a rare item would end up destroying a guild in SAO. Happens all the time in various MMORPGs in real life, I’ve heard quite a few stories about guilds getting destroyed in World of Warcraft and other games over items that dropped. It is just a shame that this also happens in SAO, especially since several people have already died because that ring dropped.
My only issue with this episode was how in the flashback all the other characters excluding Yolko and Caynz were depicted as white silhouettes. It just seemed like an odd design choice, but at the very least they revealed Griselda and Grimlock as background story was revealed through the flashbacks.
I can’t really give an overall evaluation of this episode, given that is a two part storyline. But as an individual episode this was a good one. So stay tuned for the next review to see how everything wraps up in this mystery.