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Sword Art Online II – “Memories of Blood” Review

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Spoilers Ahead!

Back in the real world, Sinon goes through her normal life as somewhat well adjusted schoolgirl. After being rescued by her friend from a group of bullies, Sinon begins to reflect on her life and why she plays GGO so adamantly. Meanwhile, Kirito has begun preparations to enter GGO himself to track down the elusive “Death Gun”.

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Last episode focused on how badass Sinon is in GGO, so in turn this episode focuses on her life in the real world. Sinon (like many if not all online players) is different than her online persona, but not by much. In GGO she’s quiet because she only thinks of becoming strong and views interaction with others as just a option, in the real world it’s a bit more realistic.

Sinon (real name Shino Asada) is a regular, if a bit quiet, high school girl. When she is happened upon early in the episode by a group of bullies it is here where we learn her biggest weakness: Shino is afraid of guns. Although not in the general way most people are afraid of guns due to media; I mean as in a traumatic event caused her to be this way. This is shocking in the way its portrayed. Her flashbacks to the event are shown in very muted and diluted colors, while one of her present day panic attacks is shown via red filter and shaky camera.

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This is a pretty dark imagery for SAO. While SAO wasn’t a happy show to begin with, but the violence in the real world will always hit harder than anything in a virtual one. Sinon uses GGO as a form of immersion therapy to get over her condition. Seeing as how she isn’t afraid of guns in GGO, she believes conquering the game will make her stronger in the real world which is relatable in a sense as most people have always felt better in a game than they do in real life.

This episode is a rather rare feat in SAO, as the focus is on someone other than Kirito and his friends. What is even more surpsing is that the episode focuses on someone totally unrelated to Kirito (for the time being at least). Sinon’s flaws and phobia make her a much more compelling character than Kirito so it’s easier to latch on to her because of her human element rather than how beast she is online.

Kirito and the others show up in the middle of the episode, but nothing really happens. It’s mostly Kirito talking to Asuna about his mission and him logging on to GGO, although we won’t actually see him in the game until next episode.

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¬†We also get a shadowed glimpse of “Death Gun” in real life, and he seems to have chosen Sinon as his next target.

“Memories of Blood” is nice departure from the standard SAO episode, which is a feeling the whole season seems to have. Despite a few pacing issues, Sinon’s back story is explained well enough and things are staring to get set in motion for Kirito’s entry into GGO.

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OUR RATING
7.5
  • + Sinon's back story
  • + Focuses on someone other than Kirito
  • - Pacing can be a bit off
  • - Drags in places

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