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Old 2012-07-17, 06:03   Link #1301
novalysis
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Originally Posted by Clarste View Post
Absolutely nothing important happened in FD though. They woke up and went to school together, but that's just a "happy ending" that you could have easily inferred from the end of SAO volume 1. Kirito wakes up, and has his whole life ahead of him. It was a very optimistic ending.

Now, stuff did happen in ALO. But it wasn't important to Aincrad. Suguha suddenly existed, and had her own character arc. But her character arc was irrelevant and unless you're particular romantic frankly it's hard to care about her when you really just want to see Asuna finally wake up like you thought she should've 2 volumes ago. And then there's this bit about accepting VRMMOs as not inherently evil because they're fun to play. Which is... somewhat undermined by the fact that the owner of ALO was also an insane villain.

Frankly, I think you could even cut Fairy Dance out entirely, 100% don't even mention it, and the rest of the stories would still make sense. You might confused as to why they're playing a new MMO and why his sister plays too, but other than that it has no long term effects on any of the characters, other than solving the problems it itself introduced.

I'm not saying this would happen, because it definitely won't, but Fairy Dance simply doesn't fit in at all.
To me, Fairy dance is the Denouement of the Aincard arc. Indeed, I think if the Aincrad arc was told in full, Fairy Dance would have been a contentious, though in many circles, an adequate After-story. That besides, without Fairy Dance, the later volumes don't make as much sense.

Call me weird, but I loved the Fairy Dance Arc. Perhaps it's because I'm a fast reader, so I didn't feel it draggy, and it deliciously destroyed the Imouto-First Cousin romance angle, and it actually makes much more sense after noticing that quite alot of the Pre-Asuna stories are dedicated to Kirito's Imouto complex (and he has a huge, huge one to overcome, just read First Day)

The thing is, Sugaha existed in a "spiritual" sense of sorts, throughout much of the Aincard arc. Almost half of Kirito's time in SAO, for a period stretching from his joining of the Black Cats to probably shortly before Murder is a product of his strange relationship with his Sister-Cousin. She didn't come out of no-where- Sugaha is probably why Kirito had a Dulcinea effect filtered for younger Imouto like figures in distress. Ultimately though, we'd have to wait for Progressivi to see the full details of this.

The thing I didn't enjoy about the Aincard arc was it's fragmentary nature. That being said, the Aincard arc indeed is the longest arc, in terms of implied materials, and the most critical arc of all. Indeed, I think you can see the Aincard arc taking place in several phases. Pre-Aria, Pre-Black Cats, Black Cats, Red Nose Reindeer, Black Swordsman, Murder to Main plot, and the bulk of Volume 1 itself. Each have a rather different paradigm - I think that Kirito's troubled relations with his Sister took prominence in various phases - asserting that Sugaha is irrelevant only holds true if you look at SAO from the prism of the Volume 1 Arc, where Kirito's social needs were being fulfilled on a completely different paradigm via Asuna.

But the Kiri-Asu Paradigm was not the predominant one Kirito held until the last six months in Aincrad.

If you take the whole Aincard arc together though, then Fairy Dance makes quite alot more sense. Since Sugaha has always been with Kirito's consciousness in "spirit", it underlies his decision making processes, and character in the Black Cat, RNR and Black Swordsman Phase, and even Warmth of the Heart - Fairy Dance concluded that Imouto Complex bird for good, while developing the Asuna-factor of Kirito's psyche further in place of that Imouto Complex. So, I won't be that quick to dismiss Sugaha's relevance, especially after the Volume 8 Side stories.

GGO would have been seen as something utterly new, though still set in the SAO Universe. The whole feel is different from SAO - that's not to say it's worst than the Aincrad arc, it's just in a different genre altogether, with a different, not inherently worse premise.

Last edited by novalysis; 2012-07-17 at 06:53.
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Old 2012-07-17, 06:27   Link #1302
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Originally Posted by astray71 View Post
P.S. In the side story that's labeled Volume 1 Chapter 16.5, I feel like that part should be included into Chapter 16. Did they put it as a side story because of the M rated content or no?
Yeah, but that's the more important half of the reason; I believe 16.5 was written after volume 1 was published.

As for the whole FD debate, I'll just say that Nova said what I wanted to say, and leave at that.
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Old 2012-07-17, 08:37   Link #1303
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As has been said, Asuna character in SAO is mainly "the one that saves Kirito", and not in the sense that Kirito is a damsel in distress, but he needs her around him to fix his issues. So continuing to have Asuna around him after SAO all the time does not prove anything toward Kirito's character development. Him doing the right things things and not taking the easy way out in Asuna's absence proves how far he's come. So for the continuition we need Kirito back in an VRMMO risking his life (or something else that matters on the line), there needs to be a reason for Asuna's absence. Additionally, retroactively after Volumes 2 and 8 it becomes apparent that a lot of Kirito's problems stem from his relationship with his sister.

So to that extent Fairy Dance seems essentail enough to me. I agree that turning Asuna into the fair maiden the evil king trapped at the top of the tower is an outright parody of the damsel in distress and no matter how you look at it, it just doesn't allow for Asuna to do a whole lot for her own character. It certainly took the easy way out, hence Volume 7.
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Old 2012-07-17, 09:05   Link #1304
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Originally Posted by DurararaFTW View Post
As has been said, Asuna character in SAO is mainly "the one that saves Kirito", and not in the sense that Kirito is a damsel in distress, but he needs her around him to fix his issues. So continuing to have Asuna around him after SAO all the time does not prove anything toward Kirito's character development. Him doing the right things things and not taking the easy way out in Asuna's absence proves how far he's come. So for the continuition we need Kirito back in an VRMMO risking his life (or something else that matters on the line), there needs to be a reason for Asuna's absence. Additionally, retroactively after Volumes 2 and 8 it becomes apparent that a lot of Kirito's problems stem from his relationship with his sister.

So to that extent Fairy Dance seems essentail enough to me. I agree that turning Asuna into the fair maiden the evil king trapped at the top of the tower is an outright parody of the damsel in distress and no matter how you look at it, it just doesn't allow for Asuna to do a whole lot for her own character. It certainly took the easy way out, hence Volume 7.
In any case, I think one could argue that a good part of Kirito's issues started by choosing to go Solo.

It's interesting really, that contrary to the picture in Volume 1, Asuna did not merely represented a straight up romance, but a complete Mind-set shift and re-framing of the parameters of Kirito's on problems. I think when set against Kirito's Imouto issues dominating his state of mind across most of SAO, Asuna presented an "Outside Context" Intervention, in a good way - a female who was neither an Imouto Substitute, like Sachi or Silica. nor significantly older. It'll be interesting to see whether Progressive will explore how Kirito-Asuna intersects with that Imouto angle of Kirito's issues, or whether KiritoX Asuna broke that paradigm.

And of course, once that Paradigm was broken, Su-chan stood no chance.

I still wonder whether Asuna realized how big an Imouto-Complex Kirito was struggling through. The thing is, we don't really see much of how Kirito managed that part of him in between RNR, Black Swordsman and Murder, though certainly, his encounter with Silica probably helped quite a bit.

Though I think Mother's Rosario is one of the strongest volumes out there in the SAO canon. Really, Asuna is an awesome standalone heroine on her on, after Aincrad.
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Old 2012-07-17, 09:41   Link #1305
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Yeah, I dunno which one I like better, Volume 1 or Volume 7.
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Old 2012-07-17, 10:26   Link #1306
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About Asuna, how is her character before she meets Kirito? Is she some kind of bratty princess or a elegant princess type?
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Old 2012-07-17, 10:30   Link #1307
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Originally Posted by noobita View Post
About Asuna, how is her character before she meets Kirito? Is she some kind of bratty princess or a elegant princess type?
She's more of an elegant princess than she is a bratty princess, but I wouldn't consider her a princess at all; she's more of a quiet girl with a very cute deredere side to her.
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Old 2012-07-17, 10:38   Link #1308
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About Asuna, how is her character before she meets Kirito? Is she some kind of bratty princess or a elegant princess type?
Suicidal swordswoman that works alone.
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Old 2012-07-17, 10:42   Link #1309
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About Asuna, how is her character before she meets Kirito? Is she some kind of bratty princess or a elegant princess type?
I see her as a princess elegant, but acted according to the rules placed on his family and tried to the fullest to meet the expectations raised by his mother.

In other words an unhappy princess.
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Old 2012-07-17, 10:44   Link #1310
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About Asuna, how is her character before she meets Kirito? Is she some kind of bratty princess or a elegant princess type?
She is an honour student, who doesn't participate in useless (gaming) or extracurricular activities, a serious person through and through.

The description Durarara gave is also pretty accurate
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Old 2012-07-17, 10:50   Link #1311
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And she's also very suicidal after being trapped in Aincrad.

Spoiler for Asuna's first comments to Kirito, per Aria sidestory:


She's spoiled, yes, but spoiled sweet and had high expectations that she worked hard to live up to.

EDIT: Garh, ninja'ed! This goddamn flu is slowing me down -__-
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Old 2012-07-17, 10:52   Link #1312
novalysis
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Originally Posted by DurararaFTW View Post
Suicidal swordswoman that works alone.
That is in good part a reaction to the unique circumstances of SAO, as a result of her basic, original character. An obedient, polite daughter following the path her family, especially her mother laid down for her. Inside of course laid a warm and impressive woman of great internal fortitude will-power, command and presence, that was forged in Aincrad.

But the initial Asuna was suicidal in part because of that sudden over-turning of her entire prior world-view. Kirito gave her a reason to live, to bring her out of that suicidal state.

I think it's interesting to note that Aria, Rondo and Monochrome have a completely different vibe to them from RNR and Black Swordsman, and even Warmth of the Heart. Again, the concept of a relationship between equals- which is why I think Kirito's relationship with Asuna operated on a different paradigm than the Pesudo-Onii Chan Relationship he had with the far more dependent and less mature Sachi or Silica.

I guess that's why it's very difficult to see how the author plans from getting from Monochrome to the Black Cats.

I think the theme of Life Purpose also runs very strongly in SAO. Not only with Asuna and Kirito, but even other protagonists like Sinon, and even Alicization focuses heavily on that.
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Old 2012-07-17, 11:02   Link #1313
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Originally Posted by novalysis View Post
That is in good part a reaction to the unique circumstances of SAO, as a result of her basic, original character. An obedient, polite daughter following the path her family, especially her mother laid down for her. Inside of course laid a warm and impressive woman of great internal fortitude will-power, command and presence, that was forged in Aincrad.

But the initial Asuna was suicidal in part because of that sudden over-turning of her entire prior world-view. Kirito gave her a reason to live, to bring her out of that suicidal state.

I think it's interesting to note that Aria, Rondo and Monochrome have a completely different vibe to them from RNR and Black Swordsman, and even Warmth of the Heart. Again, the concept of a relationship between equals- which is why I think Kirito's relationship with Asuna operated on a different paradigm than the Pesudo-Onii Chan Relationship he had with the far more dependent and less mature Sachi or Silica.

I guess that's why it's very difficult to see how the author plans from getting from Monochrome to the Black Cats.

I think the theme of Life Purpose also runs very strongly in SAO. Not only with Asuna and Kirito, but even other protagonists like Sinon, and even Alicization focuses heavily on that.
Well yeah i know, but the guy specifically asked what she was like before Kirito. She initially hid in an inn and in for most of the first month and didn't know much about MMO and before that was a polite girl ruled over by her family, but she adapted to the situation and even if she had no hope, had already grown into a stronger person before Kirito came along. I'm just saying the ratio of how much Kirito helps Asuna to how much Asuna helps Kirito is pretty even.
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Old 2012-07-17, 11:09   Link #1314
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Originally Posted by DurararaFTW View Post
Well yeah i know, but the guy specifically asked what she was like before Kirito. She initially hid in an inn and in for most of the first month and didn't know much about MMO and before that was a polite girl ruled over by her family, but she adapted to the situation and even if she had no hope, had already grown into a stronger person before Kirito came along. I'm just saying the ratio of how much Kirito helps Asuna to how much Asuna helps Kirito is pretty even.
Hence, KiriX Asu is the relationship of True Equals- a very rare thing in SAO's medium.
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Old 2012-07-17, 11:10   Link #1315
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Putting the arguments aside, I have finished the Phantom Bullet arc. Actually I finished it last night at about 3:30 AM, so I went to bed rather than comment on it right away. Anyway. I found Sinon's story and situations to be very powerful. The author must be quite impressive to have this level of emotional impact carry across through translations. I could feel Sinon's fear when she thought Death Gun was actually going to kill her, when she had a relapse, when she realized there was probably someone standing in her room at that moment, ready to kill her body in real life as soon as she was shot in the game. I was afraid for her when I suddenly realized that the friend she had trusted was insane, and had come there to either rape her or kill her. I was touched at the end when the woman came to thank Sinon for saving her and her unborn daughter five years ago, and I teared up when the daughter gave Sinon the handmade card, thanking her for saving them both.

This is a separate story, and I agree the anime has no need to so far as to try adapting it, but it is still very good. It hits the right notes, introducing a new character and then really making me care about her. I liked this a lot.
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Old 2012-07-17, 11:26   Link #1316
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Thank you, everyone for the information. There is another thing I want to know. What and how Kirito gave her a reason to live? Love or...?
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Old 2012-07-17, 11:38   Link #1317
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Well, if you guys are still waiting for Vol 10, no translations out from me for at least a week. Don't worry, I feed off the tears of anguish of you guys.
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Old 2012-07-17, 11:46   Link #1318
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Well, if you guys are still waiting for Vol 10, no translations out from me for at least a week. Don't worry, I feed off the tears of anguish of you guys.
I tribute my tears of anguish in appreciation for the translations so far.
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Old 2012-07-17, 11:47   Link #1319
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Originally Posted by Teh_Ping View Post
Well, if you guys are still waiting for Vol 10, no translations out from me for at least a week. Don't worry, I feed off the tears of anguish of you guys.
Appropriate avatar is appropriate
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Old 2012-07-17, 11:49   Link #1320
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Originally Posted by noobita View Post
Thank you, everyone for the information. There is another thing I want to know. What and how Kirito gave her a reason to live? Love or...?
I'm not good with quoting word by word, but I'll summarize it.

1 - The interaction at the bread scene and then the bath scene rekindles Asuna's feeling of being alive. This contributes to point 3.
2 - Her awe at Kirito's strength in battle, inspiring her to become stronger to match a warrior like him, which contributes to point 3.
3 - Clearing the first boss battle. Makes her realize that there is still hope to survive the game.
4 - Finally, Kirito's encouragement of her skill and that she should join a guild.
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