Previously on Sword Art Online:
Kirito helped a young girl named Silica revive her pet dragon, but it was a front in order to capture a group of player killers and put them in jail. After parting ways with Silica, Kirito returns to the front lines in order to make it out of the game. Spoilers Ahead.
March 6th, 2024. Kirito is attending a meeting between the top players in the game (including both the Knights of The Blood Oath & The Holy Dragon Alliance) about how to defeat the boss on the 56th floor. The plan, which consists of luring the boss into a nearby village and ambush it while its killing NPCs (Non Player Characters), is spearheaded by none other than Asuna, who has become Vice Commander of the Knights of the Blood Oath. After an argument between her and Kirito over the tactics we fast forward one month to floor 59 where Kirito is taking a nap in the grass. After being scolded by Asuna, her persuades her to relax as well; watching her as she sleeps. They then go into town so Asuna can thank him for watching over her. However, after witnessing a player killed in town, the town launch an investigation to find the culprit which has to do with a disbanded guild named “Golden Apple” and their deceased leader.
We get a re-introduction to Asuna this episode and it is nice to see how strong she has gotten in the 2 years since Kirito saw her last. She went from not knowing how to switch in battle to being second in command in the strongest guild in the game. While it is not exactly her and Kirito formed such an antagonistic relationship, but it is good to see them interacting again. Asuna has gone from anervous girl to a very capable commanding officer and has also become a legend in SAO known as “Lightning Flash”. Her & Kirito’s dialogue is entertaining as he doesn’t really know how to address her now since she has become so famous.
We get an introduction into the games “Duel System” which is stated as the only way players can be harmed inside of a town, and even then the duel ends when a players health reaches a certain point as to prevent killing, this adds to the overall mystery of the case. There is also a small into to “Sleep PK” which a player can duel someone by forcing them to accept while they are sleeping (which is why Kirito watched Asuna sleep, so he could prevent that).
We are introduced to Golden Apple, the disbanded guild in which the case centers around and the guild the deceased player (named Kains) was apart of. They disbanded after their leader was killed trying to sell a rare item and two fo the members (Yuruko & Schmit) believe her husband Grimrock is out for revenge.
Another good episode of SAO which expands the game more, introduces an intriguing mystery, and re-introduces a character from earlier in the series. Kirito & Asuna continue to search for the killer, with clues becoming more and more scarce as they move forward.