ANIME MONDAY: Sword Art Online – “Edge of Hell’s Abyss” Review

Previously on Sword Art Online:

After letting go of their “daughter”, Yui, Kirito & Asuna return to the 22nd floor and try to enjoy themselves. Spoilers Ahead.

After resettling back into their cabin, Kirito meets a man named Nishidawhile fishing one day. After he catches a fish, Kirito invites Nishida to his house so Asuna can cook it for them. While at the two’s home he tells them of a huge fish tha supposedly lives in the lake on that floor and asks Kirito to help him catch it. After taking care of the huge fish, Asuna & Kirito are suddenly called back to the front lines by Heathcliff. He tells them that he needs their help defeating the boss on Floor 75, however as the time for battle draws nearer Kirito & Asuna both begin to fear that the other may not return from this fight.

We get a glimpse into another game feature as the 1st half of the episode focuses on fishing. Nishida was a network programmer who helped design the network security for SAO (bang up job by the way) and ever since he was trapped he fished. The scene where they are going to catch the big fish is both humurous and proveds some nice action when Asuna takes out the huge fish in one blow. The real world is also referenced when Asuna reminds Kirito of a couple years ago when a majority of players went offline for a few hours, mostly due to the fact that their bodies were being moved to hospitals. This adds to the haste to complete the game more as they don’t know how long their bodies will be alive in the real world.

The highlight of the episode is definitely on Kirito & Asuna’s relationship and we get a glimpse of how they see one another. Asuna’s love for Kirito is real and this leads to a few heart warming as well as heart wrenching scenes for the two in this episode as they tak to one another. She tells Nishida (who had given up on going back home) before they leave that she used to feel the same way, and begin to resign herself to fighting only to win, until she saw Kirito sleeping under a tree (way back in Episode 5 ). She then tells him that Kirito became her reason for living the two years they have been trapped in the game.

Kirito, Asuna, & Nishida

This point is brought back up when Kirito asks her to stay behind before the boss fight, she refuses (of course) and tells Kirito that if he went and didn’t come back, she would kill herself (dark).  Kirito also gets a gleam of more development when he slowly starts to panic before the fight, he has become so accustomed to being with Asuna that he doesn’t even want to fight anymore, but Asuna states that she wants to go home so everything that happened in SAO can happen in real life (them dating and evetually getting married). He also tells Heathcliff that Asuna is his main priority in battle and if shes in danger he will guard her before everyone else.

Not to say that the episode is light on action, in fact the latter half is quite action packed when they take on the 75th Floor boss, the Skull Reaper. it is absurdly powerful and can kill with just on strike which makes the battle all the more dire for everyone involved. Klein & Agil return to help, and even with Heathcliff assisting the battle promise to be a long and difficult one.

Heathcliff Vs. The Skull Reaper

“Edge of Hell’s Abyss” is an episode with heart warming as well and heart breaking scenes. The stuff with Kirito & Asuna is definitely the selling point here and the other moments and battles are good as well, exploring the world as well as more characters in it. The fight to survive continues next week…where it’s GAME OVER.