Sword Art Online Episode 12 Review: Dungeons & Digital Children
Hoping that the characters would get back to the task at hand and go back to the front lines? Well I got bad news for you, that isn’t going to happen this episode. Nope, we have part two of the mysterious little girl that Kirito and Asuna basically adopt for lack of a better word. So here we go with the continuation of this small story arc.
A day after Yui’s freak out, the three of them are eating with the woman from the previous episode. She runs an orphanage filled with young children players who have chosen to stay on the first floor. I always did wonder where all the kid players were, that answers that question. Although I’m surprised that none of the kids ever tried to go beyond the starting town and try to level up or something. Realistically speaking some of them would have thought of trying that sooner or later.
They ask the woman if she has seen Yui before, but as it turns out she hasn’t. She even goes into the city everyday in search of more children who are alone and need help. There is a knock on the door and the second in command of the Army, Yulier, walks into the church asking for help. She thanks Kirito and Asuna for their help with the soldiers from earlier and talks to them about the origin of the Army. As it turns out, the guild was built with the best of intentions when it was formed by the Guild Master known as Thinker. Unfortunately it drew in a bunch of bad players who corrupted the guild, among them was Kibao from episode two. Yeah, that guy who came up with the dumb ‘beater’ concept.
As it turns out, Kibao was the one who sent that faction of the Army up to the front lines and is being blamed for the deaths that occurred. So Kibao apparently decided to try and get rid of the guild master in order to avoid getting kicked out of the guild. How? By tricking him into going into a hidden dungeon at the bottom of the starter town. You’d think that a dungeon on the first floor would be safe. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case as apparently content down there unlocks the further up players have progressed.
Yulier pleads for Kirito and Asuna to go down there and rescue Thinker, since he has been missing for several days now. The two of them agree, especially when Yui assures them that Yulier can be trusted. How does she know that? I don’t know, but I’m sure we will find out sooner or later. Yui also insists that she wants to go with Kirito and Asuna. Being the ‘good parents’ that they are, they agree to let her come with them.
So the group, consisting of Kirito, Asuna, Yulier, and Yui all go to the dungeon and start searching for Thinker. Along the way, Kirito slices up a bunch of mutant frog monsters. He gets a bunch of frog legs that could be cooked by Asuna, however Asuna forces him to discard all the items. Eventually they reach a safe zone where Thinker is located. Yulier runs toward him, but Kirito’s Ackbar sense notices an obvious trap. A giant monster known as the Fatal Scythe spawns. Yui and Yulier run into the safe zone, while Kirito and Asuna deal with the monster. Unfortunately the monster appears to be scaled to be the equivalent of a boss from Floor 90 or higher. Those familiar with MMORPGs will know that a situation like that will not end well for players that are not on that level of content nor possess gear from those floors.
In one swipe the monster is able to knock out half of Kirito and Asuna’s health, so it is clear that this isn’t going to end well. Suddenly Yui jumps into the fray. She pulls out a massive sword out of nowhere and kills the monster. Yeah, that happened. So Kirito, Asuna, and Yui go into the safe zone to recover from the battle. Yui reveals that SAO is run by a self automated system that balances the game, and that she was part of that program and was supposed to monitor players and help them out if they suddenly went nuts. Of course, Kayaba disabled that feature of SAO and so Yui was forced to watch people go insane and commit suicide or die and not be able to do anything.
She then saw Kirito and Asuna and wanted to meet them. So she set up the whole meeting with them in hopes of not being discovered by the system. Kirito and Asuna treat her like she is their child, and tell Yui that they will be together forever. Although this doesn’t seem to be the case as Yui starts getting deleted by the system, as she wasn’t supposed to use her powers to delete the monster from earlier. Kirito and Asuna watch helplessly until Yui is deleted. Of course, Kirito comes up with a solution and uses the GM console that Yui spawned in order to take her program and turn it into an item that will be saved onto the local memory of his Nerve Gear. Kirito and Asuna resolve to find a way to restore Yui so that they can “be a family again”, well so they don’t have their priorities in order yet it seems.
I was kind of hoping that Yui would remind Kirito and Asuna to get their focus back on getting out of SAO, but that wasn’t the case. Just her design made it seem like the writers wanted her to be adopted by Kirito and Asuna and act like a family even though Kirito and Asuna just started their relationship and are moving at an unrealistic pace. I just hope that sooner or later these two will remember that they should prioritize getting out of Sword Art Online alive. Maybe that will happen next episode.