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View Poll Results: Critique of Episode 14
10 out of 10: Near Perfect... 103 46.19%
9 out of 10 : Excellent... 57 25.56%
8 out of 10 : Very Good... 19 8.52%
7 out of 10 : Good... 16 7.17%
6 out of 10 : Average... 10 4.48%
5 out of 10 : Below Average... 1 0.45%
4 out of 10 : Poor... 5 2.24%
3 out of 10 : Bad... 3 1.35%
2 out of 10 : Very Bad... 1 0.45%
1 out of 10 : Tortuous... 8 3.59%
Voters: 223. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2012-10-13, 07:26   Link #461
erneiz_hyde
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Originally Posted by ronelm2000 View Post
And lastly, did Kayaba announce those players who logged out to the public?
Irrelevant though. Point was, even if all 6000 wasn't in the same hospital, it is still a tad bit too quiet. Kirito being the last to logout didn't make much sense either imo, since if it's that quiet, Kirito should be one of those who woke up first (because otherwise all the hospital staffs should be running about in the hallway, not to mention some other players who may wander about like Kirito).

But yeah, it's best you don't think too much about it.
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Old 2012-10-13, 08:16   Link #462
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Originally Posted by erneiz_hyde View Post
Irrelevant though. Point was, even if not all 6000 wasn't in the same hospital, it is still a tad bit too quiet. Kirito being the last to logout didn't make much sense either imo, since if it's that quiet, Kirito should be one of those who woke up first (because otherwise all the hospital staffs should be running about in the hallway, not to mention some other players who may wander about like Kirito).

But yeah, it's best you don't think too much about it.
I think we shouuld....take it to the RL Implications Thread. I mean that thread is being seriously underpowered and empty.
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Old 2012-10-13, 19:51   Link #463
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At this stage I could use someone to make site banners, and anyone who wants to learn Japanese with me is welcome to join me & share whatever resources we find.

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Old 2012-10-14, 01:58   Link #464
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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
Well, the other thing is that it's not like all 6000 players were in the same hospital either. Plus, he was apparently the last to logout.

(But the truth is probably more that they were trying to be sort of symbolic/metaphorical about Kirito's determination.)
i actually thought he was the 1st, someone should have been in the room than waiting for him.
but than again, it looks like their were going for some symbolic meaning of him being alone
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Old 2012-10-14, 14:34   Link #465
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i actually thought he was the 1st, someone should have been in the room than waiting for him.
but than again, it looks like their were going for some symbolic meaning of him being alone
He would have been the last to wake up, since Kayaba kept him around to talk to him after releasing everyone else.
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Old 2012-10-21, 23:13   Link #466
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It's not even the fact that the massive reveal just abruptly happens. The problem is the massive reveal just abruptly happens, and then the final battle and the conclusion of the Aincrad arc immediately follows it. When you're watching the end of episode 13 and the guild starts to fight the slightly more threatening than usual bone dragon boss on floor 70whatever, there's no build up whatsoever. There's no indication that you're watching the big penultimate episode. There's nothing to establish the story is in ****ing endgame territory. They can reveal who Heathcliff is on floor 70 something, but they should have had him make his crafty escape and keep going from there, at least until the main characters were closer to floor 100. All of this stuff just happens at once and your brain doesn't want to believe that that's it, that that's supposed to be the grand finale of the story arc.

The entire set up of "fufufu you've discovered my plans, now I challenge you to a duel!" wreaks of one of those fake-final-boss-that-you're-scripted-to-lose-so-you-can-come-back-when-you're-stronger-and-defeat-them-for-real plot twists JRPGs love to do. Tales of Symphonia does it well in that when you're about to take Colette to the first tower, they're really acting like the game is almost over, and then it ends up continuing when something even more huge happens. Tales of the Abyss takes it a step further because the first time you face Van, the game really treats it like its own separate final boss battle with its own battle music and endgame dungeon and ****. I get that SAO was trying to do that by having Kirito and Heathcliff spar in the guild first, and then fight FOR REALZ in episode 14, but it doesn't get you invested in it. There were no stakes or sense of urgency behind the first sparring match. When SAO goes for the big twist, when 1) the twist just kind of happens out of nowhere to begin with and 2) Kirito actually wins on what's essentially his first attempt against the fully-realized final boss, it doesn't leave you with the sense that you just watched the ending to a strong overarching story with years of character growth. It just leaves you going "...are you serious?"

And I kind of get how the whole point is the Kayaba/Heathcliff thing is intentionally not supposed to be the ending because the plot keeps going in the form of that elf game, but god that entire concept is so stupid. It just kills all suspension of disbelief and throws everything good about the survival plot out the window. I'm just going to ignore that part.

What the story desperately needed was more Kayaba-as-Heathcliff stuff.
How do you feel about this interpretation of Trainwreck Art Online, Animesuki forum?
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Old 2012-10-21, 23:58   Link #467
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How do you feel about this interpretation of Trainwreck Art Online, Animesuki forum?
Just another case of SAO not following someones expected cliche'. Yes, you can make the ending more obvious, have the boss escape so you have to hunt him down etc. But that has happened in quite a lot of stories already, so here we got a somewhat of an unexpected ending, even if there were clues around.

Heathcliff was clearly suspicious all along, but it was just when he as the only one that just looked serenly around observing how chocked everyone else were that it clicked who he were for Kirito. This isn't easy to spot and far from obvious, but then a mystery everyone can solve is hardly a challange.
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Old 2012-10-22, 03:09   Link #468
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Originally Posted by Hagoshod View Post
How do you feel about this interpretation of Trainwreck Art Online, Animesuki forum?
Kayaba=Heathcliff reveal and events that lead to the conclusion of the arc does feel a bit abrupt. This guy has a point of perhaps making Kayaba retreat to the higher level (maybe kill someone important to create some dramatic effect). At which point, they can probably add in a few drama episodes to explore the other players' reactions to Kayaba's betrayal and then lead to their renewed convictions to end the game. Maybe add in a boss mode avatar Heathcliff for more epic points.
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Old 2012-10-22, 03:52   Link #469
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I think the critique author has missed the forest for the trees in terms of what is actually going on in the SAO plot. SAO is not an action story with an RPG game premise. The whole potential plot about the boss being revealed, retreating, and people banding together to fight him -- that's a completely different story. SAO has never been telling that sort of story at all. The key question was: how can the story further develop Kirito and Asuna's relationship at that point, when they were already married, perfectly bonded, and back on the battlefield fighting side-by-side in perfect harmony? The answer is, of course, what we went on to see: you have to give them a brand new challenge. From a narrative perspective, SAO only exists because it allowed Kirito and Asuna to meet, fall in love, and get into a committed relationship. And the story only continues because there are more hurdles to their relationship. Everything else that goes on is just setting and mechanics (which, granted, I find quite fun and interesting).

So it's funny to call it "Trainwreck Art Online" -- the critic's understanding of what's really going on in the story was, in fact, completely off the rails, and thus their preferred plot direction is completely incongruent to the narrative. It wasn't possible to just append this to the plot we got and somehow it would "make more sense" or whatever. It wouldn't fit at all with the prior 13 episodes that were never really focused on clearing the game, except indirectly. That wasn't by accident or just because of "poor writing" or whatever -- it was telling a different story than the one the critic apparently thought it was telling (or wanted it to tell).
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Old 2012-10-22, 04:13   Link #470
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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I think the critique author has missed the forest for the trees in terms of what is actually going on in the SAO plot. SAO is not an action story with an RPG game premise. The whole potential plot about the boss being revealed, retreating, and people banding together to fight him -- that's a completely different story. SAO has never been telling that sort of story at all.
But adding those would not interfere at all with KiritoxAsuna development, methinks. It would add more depth than just simple love story with intricate settings. And a chance to explore the other characters more and create more dynamics. But, SAO didn't take that path because, apparently, this:

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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
From a narrative perspective, SAO only exists because it allowed Kirito and Asuna to meet, fall in love, and get into a committed relationship. And the story only continues because there are more hurdles to their relationship. Everything else that goes on is just setting and mechanics (which, granted, I find quite fun and interesting).
is True. I did kind of expected so, judging from the novel readers' reaction when the chapter 16.5 episode aired ("we novel readers only care about KiritoxAsuna and not much else lolol")
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Old 2012-10-22, 04:22   Link #471
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But adding those would not interfere at all with KiritoxAsuna development, methinks. It would add more depth than just simple love story with intricate settings. And a chance to explore the other characters more and create more dynamics.
Well, if they did that, I think they'd basically have to start over and re-build the story from scratch -- which, as I understand it, is apparently what the author is doing (though I don't know how much he'll change/expand the central premise to include things beyond that narrow scope). I don't think it's something they could just tack on to the end of the previous 13 episode arc, because it'd break the sense of momentum and focus. (But I suppose that the focus of the audience is part of the problem -- it's like some people were more interested in the scenery than what was happening on stage. I'm not necessarily blaming them for that either, at least not at first. But having seen the whole arc now (and where it goes next), I think people should be able to recognize what was the main plot thread and what was just a supporting plot thread. Whether they like/prefer that is another question.)
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Old 2012-10-22, 04:30   Link #472
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Well, if they did that, I think they'd basically have to start over and re-build the story from scratch
No, not really. It wouldn't be ideal, but I think it's still possible to do this without having to start over. Actually, if I remember right isn't this what the SAO PSP game is all about?
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Old 2012-10-22, 04:43   Link #473
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No, not really. It wouldn't be ideal, but I think it's still possible to do this without having to start over. Actually, if I remember right isn't this what the SAO PSP game is all about?
The PSP game is a separate work, so it doesn't have to worry about keeping the same focus as the anime or carrying on the momentum of the plot. It's only using that as its own basic plot premise and telling a separate story from there. It's also, obviously, non-canon, so is going to explore a lot of "if stories" that aren't possible if you follow the story as written.

The anime is trying to keep the story very personal for Kirito so you can follow clearly his motivation as it branches into the second arc. That's why it makes sense for it to happen so quickly after their relationship appears to settle. The whole "interrupted" nature of the ending is being played on multiple levels (as they keep saying, it's like SAO hasn't really ended yet).

So yeah, it may work for a spin-off, but would require a lot more build-up before it makes sense to be simply appended at the end. Plus, not to mention, the proposed plot is still pretty cliché, and I'm not sure what there really is to be gained by it. I think, again, it just takes the focus away off of what really matters to the story going forward, by shifting it temporarily onto the "World of SAO" -- but that's not what the story is about.
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Old 2012-10-22, 04:58   Link #474
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The PSP game is a separate work, so it doesn't have to worry about keeping the same focus as the anime or carrying on the momentum of the plot. It's only using that as its own basic plot premise and telling a separate story from there. It's also, obviously, non-canon, so is going to explore a lot of "if stories" that aren't possible if you follow the story as written.
Spoiler for future episode content, just in case:


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So yeah, it may work for a spin-off, but would require a lot more build-up before it makes sense to be simply appended at the end. Plus, not to mention, the proposed plot is still pretty cliché, and I'm not sure what there really is to be gained by it. I think, again, it just takes the focus away off of what really matters to the story going forward, by shifting it temporarily onto the "World of SAO" -- but that's not what the story is about.
I said it before, chance to explore other characters more, creating more dynamics, etc. Basically adding depth to characters other than Kirito and Asuna. Not necessarily adding more into the "World of SAO" there, but it's a welcome addition in my books. But you have made it clear that SAO is really only about KiritoxAsuna and not much else, so I guess I'll drop this issue now.
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Old 2012-10-22, 05:59   Link #475
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But you have made it clear that SAO is really only about KiritoxAsuna and not much else, so I guess I'll drop this issue now.
I'm not saying that it had to be all about that or that that's all it ever can be. It's not because that's what I want it to be about either. But, as it stands, if you map out all the plot elements on a chart and affinitize them, the relationship aspect of the story is the only thing that has a clear linear flow because it is the primary plot. If you want to "explore other characters, create more dynamics, etc." it's very difficult to just append them to the narrative we got because the primary plot reached a logical end point already. Now, if you restructured the story entirely, the sky's the limit.

The only way I can think of to tack on the proposed plot and fit into the existing narrative is basically to do the same thing as what the anime is doing now: split Asuna and Kirito up, and make one of them rescue the other. Because at the point where the story was, there's no where else for the couple to go in SAO -- as a team, they're basically invincible. So the timing was right for a twist that split them up.

Anyway, the only reason I wanted to try to explain myself one more time is because you kind of made it sound like I didn't want the other elements to be explored, and that isn't the case. The issue is just about the structure of the narrative and the development of the plot threads. As much as people say the show is poorly written for various reasons, the structure of it all -- including the timing and sequencing of events -- is very deliberate.
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Old 2012-10-22, 11:02   Link #476
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Just another case of SAO not following someones expected cliche'. Yes, you can make the ending more obvious, have the boss escape so you have to hunt him down etc. But that has happened in quite a lot of stories already, so here we got a somewhat of an unexpected ending, even if there were clues around.

Heathcliff was clearly suspicious all along, but it was just when he as the only one that just looked serenly around observing how chocked everyone else were that it clicked who he were for Kirito. This isn't easy to spot and far from obvious, but then a mystery everyone can solve is hardly a challange.
You're basically saying having decent pacing and comparable character growth is a cliche.

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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I think the critique author has missed the forest for the trees in terms of what is actually going on in the SAO plot. SAO is not an action story with an RPG game premise. The whole potential plot about the boss being revealed, retreating, and people banding together to fight him -- that's a completely different story. SAO has never been telling that sort of story at all. The key question was: how can the story further develop Kirito and Asuna's relationship at that point, when they were already married, perfectly bonded, and back on the battlefield fighting side-by-side in perfect harmony?
I would hardly call Kirito and Asuna's lives perfect at that point. At the end of the day, they're living in a false paradise where they're constantly being mindraped and they have to struggle to get out.

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The answer is, of course, what we went on to see: you have to give them a brand new challenge.
But simply throwing the fact that Heathcliff--the inspirational guild leader guy and their mentor--is the person making their lives a living hell in their faces already gives them new crap they have to deal with.

The way it's handled in SAO is basically the author going "Uhhh I'm bored writing about Aincrad. What convoluted sequence of events could I use to instantly resolve the current conflict and get them in this new gimmicky Matrix setting I have some ideas for?"


I think it's kind of funny you guys put so much importance on how SAO is allegedly avoiding cliches and subverting tropes with how it deals with the Heathcliff thing, when the entire justification for continuing the story after that is literally "Your princess is in another castle." You have absolutely no ground to stand on when you say having Kirito prevent the fakeout final boss was groundbreaking storytelling that took the plot in a clever new direction.

Last edited by Hagoshod; 2012-10-22 at 11:46.
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Old 2012-10-22, 11:53   Link #477
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You're basically saying having decent pacing and comparable character growth is a cliche.
No, he's saying that having a fake final boss battle and/or Healthcliff is revealed and runs away are cliches.
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Old 2012-10-22, 14:23   Link #478
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No, he's saying that having a fake final boss battle and/or Healthcliff is revealed and runs away are cliches.
A clicle is a cliche because it works. And keep in mind that avoiding cliches/tropes simply for the sake of avoiding them is not a sign of good story-telling either. Besides, SAO is already full of cliches anyway, it really depends on how well they're executed.
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Old 2012-10-22, 18:50   Link #479
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Originally Posted by erneiz_hyde View Post
I did kind of expected so, judging from the novel readers' reaction when the chapter 16.5 episode aired ("we novel readers only care about KiritoxAsuna and not much else lolol")
That was like half a joke, though.. Speaking strictly for myself, I love that aspect of SAO, but it doesn't mean I don't care about any others.
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Old 2012-10-22, 19:18   Link #480
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I would hardly call Kirito and Asuna's lives perfect at that point. At the end of the day, they're living in a false paradise where they're constantly being mindraped and they have to struggle to get out.
I didn't say their lives were perfect. I said they were perfectly-bonded as a couple. Again, put in context of the rest of the comment, I'm saying that the story of Aincrad is telling the story of Kirito and Asuna's growth as a couple. When the relationship reached its apex (signified by their mutual understanding in Episode 13, and their teamwork during that boss fight), it was time to perform the shift. That's the central reason for the timing of the plot development. The sudden nature of it helps emphasize the way Asuna was suddenly torn from Kirito, and how the game of SAO isn't really over for him. So, despite its "flaws", it also has its reasons.

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I think it's kind of funny you guys put so much importance on how SAO is allegedly avoiding cliches and subverting tropes with how it deals with the Heathcliff thing, when the entire justification for continuing the story after that is literally "Your princess is in another castle." You have absolutely no ground to stand on when you say having Kirito prevent the fakeout final boss was groundbreaking storytelling that took the plot in a clever new direction.
Did anyone even say this "avoiding cliches"/"groundbreaking storytelling" stuff at all? You just seem angry for no justifiable reason.

I do think the proposed plot is cliché as well, and is potentially taking the story on a tangent that doesn't really matter to what is shown to be central to the narrative. So I think the proposed change is really changing something much more broad about what the story of SAO is all about. That's why I don't think appending it as proposed is an improvement, because it eliminates the good aspect of the flow we did have in terms of the development of Kirito and Asuna's relationship. If you could spread the relationship out more, and embed this element in the middle of the story as part of the road to the climax, then maybe you can do both. But a more major rewrite is needed.

If you consider SAO just the first arc in an on-going story (as it is), then I think the need for total finality in Aincrad is lessened. Although Aincrad is important as a setup, in the long term it's not that important. This isn't a story of "fighting for freedom from a death game" -- that's only the starting point.
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Last edited by relentlessflame; 2012-10-22 at 20:03. Reason: fix typo
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