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View Poll Results: Critique of Episode 18
10 out of 10: Near Perfect... 16 14.68%
9 out of 10 : Excellent... 30 27.52%
8 out of 10 : Very Good... 29 26.61%
7 out of 10 : Good... 20 18.35%
6 out of 10 : Average... 5 4.59%
5 out of 10 : Below Average... 2 1.83%
4 out of 10 : Poor... 1 0.92%
3 out of 10 : Bad... 0 0%
2 out of 10 : Very Bad... 3 2.75%
1 out of 10 : Torturous... 3 2.75%
Voters: 109. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2012-11-06, 22:57   Link #221
Vmem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erneiz_hyde View Post
That's silly. Asuna, Sachi, Silica, Liz, and Suguha aren't just some random babe........are they?
While true, I too, strongly agree with Relentlessflame's point. The fact that characters such as Suguha (main heroine), or Sachi/Liz are mini-arc heroines only make this show more of a gamer fantasy. SAO has its realistic elements, but ultimately, it reflects a game world that most gamers want it to be (with some twists such as Kayaba).

I've said this before and I'll say it again, the way SAO and ALO are represented, even with their twisted (very different ways) creators, make these MMOs very enticing. Even given the "death-game" scenario, I can only see it as a gamer's challenge, and a part of me would want to dive in and try it
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Old 2012-11-06, 23:09   Link #222
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Originally Posted by Oroboro View Post
Yknow, Relentlessflame's earlier comparison of SAO to episodic Sci-Fi/Adventure shows like Star Trek really kind of sums up my thoughts about the "Harem" thing. Kirk shacked up with some random babe every other week, but trying to call Star Trek a "harem show" will get you laughed out of the internet. SAO doesn't differ too much from that.
Well... just to be clear, I made the reference mostly in the context of the structure of the episodic plot that was shown particularly in the first arc. It wasn't really about the "harem" aspect (or "babe of the week"...). The original Star Trek was a fair bit worse in its treatment of female characters than SAO is, I would say, but it was also from a different era and was seen as progressive in some other ways at the time.

The whole "harem" thing in general has come to mean a lot of things to a lot of people. I think in this case, it's the fact that there are a number of attractive female characters who have shown interest in the protagonist, so you could imagine a scenario where they might all be pitched as legitimate romantic interests if the story had turned out differently. If anything, I guess I'd say it's a sort of "shout out" to that element, but it's not really the main (or arguably a significant) subject of this story so far. As I've said before, it's sort of obvious that the characters of the story will be defined by the connection to the protagonist, because in the first arc that's basically the only perspective we were shown. If they weren't somehow connected to Kirito, we never met them. (That's, again, the specific sense I was making my Star Trek analogy; all these different worlds/people that presumably have their own stories going on in the background, but the story only focuses on them for the pivotal moment that they interact with the main characters, and then moves on. Some of them may come back again later, of course.)
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Old 2012-11-06, 23:27   Link #223
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Narrative Causality and all that, yeah.I get that you were talking more about a different narrative aspect from Star Trek, I was just using it as a comparison to raise a similar point about the harem thing, which has always bugged me a bit in discussions of SAO.

Basically the idea that a "Girl of the Week" is a far cry of difference than a "Harem anime"

On a different note, I feel like there's a disconnect between discussions about SAO that revolves around Watsionian Vs Doylist philosophies. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...nVersusDoylist

For instance, on the issue of Asuna's captivity, one side is seeing it as and saying "Her situation is understandable, it makes sense for her to be reacting how she is, anyone else would have the same problems in the same situation, etc", while the other side is saying "It was written that way, and I don't like that". The difference between "Why did character do X?" and "Why did the author make character do X?"

Perhaps it has to do with how willing one is to immerse themselves in a story and not see it as just a created work? I dunno. But there's not a lot of middle ground to be had between those two ideas.
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Old 2012-11-07, 02:13   Link #224
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But how do you explain episode 10 then? There we have Kirito as the damsel-in-distress that also has a moment of weakness and only starts to fight for his life again at the thought of Asuna. I guess the narrative doesn't alow for a strong male character then either? I guess it's also sexism that had the male character lying helpless, being toyed with by the bad guy while waiting to be rescued by the female hero?

I also have to wonder what Asuna being a captive has to do with her character in the first place. It's not like she is captive because she was weak or made some kind of mistake. She had quite litterally nothing to do with that nor could Kirito have avoided the same fate if he had been in her shoes. Asuna was quite litterally beaten by a DEM.

But the bottom line is for it to be some kind of sexism involved so should there be some kind of inequality. If we have both male and female lead being captured and then resqued by the other one then I can't really understand how anyone can see it as sexism when it's the female's turn as captive. If it was she that had to be rescued all the time, then I would understand it, but this isn't the case here.
Hi,

I probably didn't explain myself very well. First: It's as Oroboro says, at least in my case: It's about author choice, rather than character choice. Any situation, whether you're trapped and relying on someone else's help or whether you get by on your own wits and strength, lends itself to characterisation. My point, in a nutshell, is this: from the point of view of the narrative, Asuna's imprisonment doesn't really give us any insight into Asuna. The most salient characterisation point to come from this is, once again, for Kirito: in the real world he's a nobody, and there's nothing he can do.

We do learn things about Asuna, as well: her family situation, wealthy father in the industry, arranged marriage, etc. This has a lot of potential for characterisation, but by introducing Sugou the narrative distracts from all that, in favour of a cartoony villain. This means that the narrative centre is now Kirito's courage. About Asuna we learn that she dislikes Sugou, and doesn't like being touched by him. (Surprised?)

So: to episode 10. When Asuna comes to rescue Kirito, what does that tell us about her? She loves him a lot and doesn't want to lose him. It's very compatible with the gamer fantasy that I'm seeing in this work. Yeah, Asuna's supposed be that awesome gamer girl; she's so awesome that Kirito can rely on her in a life death situation. Does that empower Asuna? What, for example, if she had killed that guy then and there with a serves-you-right expression that scares Kirito? Things like that can't happen, because that would destroy the fantasy that's being built up. The kill belongs to Kirito, and it's a traumatic experience. Traumatic experiences of that magnitude belong to the guy.

I'm not saying that any of this implausible. I'm saying that all of this is still compatible with the gamer fantasy the show is setting up. It's very consistent that way. But part of the side-effect is that the girls come across as fantasy objects. It's not the characters themselves (take them and put them into their own stories, if you can), it's the way the narrative treats them.
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Old 2012-11-07, 02:16   Link #225
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@Oroboro

Regarding the Watsionian Vs Doylist philosophies. I think the former would LOVE VRMMOs, while the latter is more likely to write fanfic and yes, you're right, there's not a lot of middle ground, and both groups are needed on this forum
---
As for the Harem thing in general, I think the main issue people have with it is that every developed female character ends up falling for Kirito/Kazuto one way or another. And I have to admit that this both creates some weird character dynamics that are just unrealistic, and also makes parts of the story (thus far at least) too predictable: hmm, hot female, oo, she has a personality and is in more than 1 episode... wait for it... BAM, there it is, she's getting red staring at Kirito and his awesome skills and mysterious black character!

Personally, while I deeply enjoy both the LN and the anime, I don't take this series very seriously and read/watch it for sheer enjoyment of the story and the characters. but I can easily see anyone taking it more seriously would want a bit more variation in romantic developments of the series
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Old 2012-11-07, 02:37   Link #226
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Question, if a renegade fairy ends up reaching the top of the world tree. Does his/her faction still get the unlimited flying ability? I kinda see Kirito ending up party out of Renegade fairy from each faction.
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Old 2012-11-07, 02:50   Link #227
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Question, if a renegade fairy ends up reaching the top of the world tree. Does his/her faction still get the unlimited flying ability? I kinda see Kirito ending up party out of Renegade fairy from each faction.
the term "renegade" is a slang used by players to refer to a specific type of players, it's not an actual in-game factional classification.
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Old 2012-11-07, 03:36   Link #228
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We do learn things about Asuna, as well: her family situation, wealthy father in the industry, arranged marriage, etc. This has a lot of potential for characterisation, but by introducing Sugou the narrative distracts from all that, in favour of a cartoony villain. This means that the narrative centre is now Kirito's courage. About Asuna we learn that she dislikes Sugou, and doesn't like being touched by him. (Surprised?)
I don't think "Kirito's courage" is really the narrative centre, because what "courage" does he have? Determination, perhaps, to see if the Asuna in the picture is really her, but is that courage? What is he really risking? What else was he going to do given the circumstance?

I guess I'm not necessarily going to disagree that the story doesn't give Asuna a lot of opportunity to grapple directly with her family situation, but I don't think it has traded this for characterization of Kirito. Rather, I think both Kirito and Asuna in this arc are being led around by the plot. The only things being developed, as it were, are the world and backstory of ALO, a little bit of Asuna's backstory, and Suguha to a certain extent.


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Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
So: to episode 10. When Asuna comes to rescue Kirito, what does that tell us about her? She loves him a lot and doesn't want to lose him. It's very compatible with the gamer fantasy that I'm seeing in this work. Yeah, Asuna's supposed be that awesome gamer girl; she's so awesome that Kirito can rely on her in a life death situation. Does that empower Asuna? What, for example, if she had killed that guy then and there with a serves-you-right expression that scares Kirito? Things like that can't happen, because that would destroy the fantasy that's being built up. The kill belongs to Kirito, and it's a traumatic experience. Traumatic experiences of that magnitude belong to the guy.
I don't think having Asuna be the one to kill him would have destroyed any fantasy, but the theme of the scene (and of their romance) was that they protect each other. She protected him, and he protected her. This ties directly into the confession and the denouement. So your proposed plot development might provide for some unexpected edge to Asuna's character, but isn't really compatible with the main point of the scene and where the story was heading from that point forward. The resulting development was Kirito realizing that he nearly died, that she saved his live, and that he wanted to dedicate himself to her from that point forward because he loved her. Perhaps that isn't "incompatible with the gamer fantasy" (because he confessed to this "perfect girl" who was already obviously in love with him), but it's the direction the story was heading. They could indeed have made an entirely different point through that scene, but it could have completely changed the story direction at that juncture. Characterization is very important, but this is still a plot-driven narrative.


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Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
I'm not saying that any of this implausible. I'm saying that all of this is still compatible with the gamer fantasy the show is setting up. It's very consistent that way. But part of the side-effect is that the girls come across as fantasy objects. It's not the characters themselves (take them and put them into their own stories, if you can), it's the way the narrative treats them.
Who doesn't come across as "fantasy objects" in this story, though? Is Kirito really given a deep and compelling characterization that the female characters are not? What about any of the other male characters? Are the female characters not getting a compelling characterization because they're female, or just because all the characters are treated as plot objects?

I guess this is the key point that I still struggle with a bit here. It may very well be that many of the female characters are not fully developed. But I'm just not convinced that this has so much to do with their gender. There are characters like the leader of the PK guild in Silica's story, like the leader of the orphanage in Yui's story, and like Griselda (despite her fate) that show women don't have all fit into a male subservient fantasy. So I don't think there was any intention to imply anything sexist by the way the characters were treated, but I think everything was made subservient to the plot. Indeed perhaps this is the way the narrative treats its characters, and perhaps that's a flaw, but I really don't think the intention is simple gender-based discrimination.


(As an aside, I probably will move this conversation thread somewhere at some point, since it really doesn't relate to Episode 18, but I have to figure out first where it should be moved. Will think about it.)
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Old 2012-11-07, 04:45   Link #229
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SAO writer's potential and growth become apparent with each consecutive arc he wrote, though I can't say ALO is one of the good ones yet. Still, it's worth watching just to see the Alfeihm's world.
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Old 2012-11-07, 07:19   Link #230
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I don't think "Kirito's courage" is really the narrative centre, because what "courage" does he have? Determination, perhaps, to see if the Asuna in the picture is really her, but is that courage? What is he really risking? What else was he going to do given the circumstance?

I guess I'm not necessarily going to disagree that the story doesn't give Asuna a lot of opportunity to grapple directly with her family situation, but I don't think it has traded this for characterization of Kirito. Rather, I think both Kirito and Asuna in this arc are being led around by the plot. The only things being developed, as it were, are the world and backstory of ALO, a little bit of Asuna's backstory, and Suguha to a certain extent.
Well, "narrative centre" may have overshot the mark (though I'm not sure). My main point is that - at least so far - the main effect of bringing up Asuna's background so far seems to have been an intimidation effect on Kirito (however vague and brief that may have been). Not sure how well executed this is, but it's been brought up by the narrative: shaking in the hospital and Suguha's following encouragment, which then gets reffered to again by Sugou. It's certainly a motif.

For what it's worth, I think the creator of SOA is still, to some extent, in charge (even if he's only dormant), or at least influental enough to interfere. I'm guessing this from Sugou's insult, since you can pretty much assume that the opposite of what that guy thinks is true. So, yeah, if I'm correct there, they're led around by the plot. And that guy's turned on by the romantic sentiment of achievement. Part of that is Kirito's attitude; part of it is Kirito and Asuna's bond. That's inconclusive speculation, though.

I am simplifying.

Quote:
I don't think having Asuna be the one to kill him would have destroyed any fantasy, but the theme of the scene (and of their romance) was that they protect each other. She protected him, and he protected her. This ties directly into the confession and the denouement. So your proposed plot development might provide for some unexpected edge to Asuna's character, but isn't really compatible with the main point of the scene and where the story was heading from that point forward. The resulting development was Kirito realizing that he nearly died, that she saved his live, and that he wanted to dedicate himself to her from that point forward because he loved her.
Yes, I agree. I didn't bring it up as an alternate suggestion. I brought it up as something that couldn't happen. I frame it within the gamer fantasy (which I think rules the plot rather than the other way round); you're going straight to the plot, which more specific and thus less likely false, but not incompatible with my point.

Quote:
Perhaps that isn't "incompatible with the gamer fantasy" (because he confessed to this "perfect girl" who was already obviously in love with him), but it's the direction the story was heading.
If you meant exactly what you said, I'm not sure I understand the point. "Perhaps...but" sounds like a concession, but then I'd expect, "isn't compatible" or "is incompatible". Mistake or am I missing something?

Quote:
They could indeed have made an entirely different point through that scene, but it could have completely changed the story direction at that juncture. Characterization is very important, but this is still a plot-driven narrative.
Yup.

Quote:
Who doesn't come across as "fantasy objects" in this story, though? Is Kirito really given a deep and compelling characterization that the female characters are not? What about any of the other male characters? Are the female characters not getting a compelling characterization because they're female, or just because all the characters are treated as plot objects?

I guess this is the key point that I still struggle with a bit here. It may very well be that many of the female characters are not fully developed. But I'm just not convinced that this has so much to do with their gender. There are characters like the leader of the PK guild in Silica's story, like the leader of the orphanage in Yui's story, and like Griselda (despite her fate) that show women don't have all fit into a male subservient fantasy. So I don't think there was any intention to imply anything sexist by the way the characters were treated, but I think everything was made subservient to the plot. Indeed perhaps this is the way the narrative treats its characters, and perhaps that's a flaw, but I really don't think the intention is simple gender-based discrimination.
I don't think the intention is simple gender-based discrimination at all. Not what I'm saying. My thesis here is:

1. This is a male gamer's fantasy.

2. This guides what the plot will pay attention to.
Example: The episodes about the guild who die. This would have worked out without a girl admiring him. The entire guild is wiped out. He goes to find that object for Sacchi, which is only possible because she's included as a stand-out individual. Do you think her gender is random, and it could have been a guy? What if he had had a best friend, and the surviving suicide had been female? Nothing in the plot necessitates any gender fixation. My thesis is that Sacchi's included as a prominent figure because that's more effective in the context of a male fantasy. Cute girl is cute. Protector instinct rises. This is one instance where a decision is negligible from a plot point, but important to keep up what I call the "male gamer's fantasy".
3. Being framed within a male gamer's fantasy has different implications to boys and girls, with the effect being stronger (for both genders) the closer you are to the centre of the narrative.

4. Thus calling Asuna a "strong female character" risks perpetuating sexist social structures (say, strengthening the expectation that women cook for men). This risk is a lot lower if you realise that a lot of those traits stem from a fantasy.

I'm in this thread, because I'm reacting to the negative reaction to the negative reactions to SAO's treatment of women. They have a point.

Quote:
(As an aside, I probably will move this conversation thread somewhere at some point, since it really doesn't relate to Episode 18, but I have to figure out first where it should be moved. Will think about it.)
Thanks. It's a relief to read this. I always feel guilty when I'm clearly off topic.
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Old 2012-11-07, 07:40   Link #231
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It's aslo rather pointless to have a serious discusion about the authors intent in any thread that excludes novel content as the anime does not incorporate every intention of the author and the story has progressed a lot further in the novels.
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Old 2012-11-07, 09:49   Link #232
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Finally watch this episode after my internet was fixed.

Love the interactions in this episode. Suguha/Lyfa is such a Tsun. lol

Looks like Kirito, Lyfa and Yui are about to face some players.
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Old 2012-11-07, 10:56   Link #233
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It's aslo rather pointless to have a serious discusion about the authors intent in any thread that excludes novel content as the anime does not incorporate every intention of the author and the story has progressed a lot further in the novels.
Agreed, there are quite a bit of rebuttal material we can't use, as we'd just get relentless'd
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Old 2012-11-07, 14:35   Link #234
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the term "renegade" is a slang used by players to refer to a specific type of players, it's not an actual in-game factional classification.
ahh okie thanks for clearing it up for me
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Old 2012-11-07, 16:40   Link #235
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At least two of them are exactly that, Silica and Liz.
I just think we can count Sachi, Silica and Liz out from this "harem". Only one episode focus on them and forever forgotten after that. Sachis is dead, Silica was no really a serious thing in the first place and Liz moved on since long ago. Currently there are only Suguha who has not a snowball's chance in hell and Asuna who is the only real love interest. I don't see much Harem going on here.
Thank You! Finally another person who can see why this whole harem debate is just plain stupid!
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Old 2012-11-07, 21:53   Link #236
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It is the girls' attraction to him that is the "harem" part, not the established relationships (To Love Ru has not a single established relationship, for example). Basically almost every single relevant female character is attracted to Kirito, and that's what giving off the "harem" vibe, even if somewhat justified by Kirito being awesome and not the typical loser of a harem protagonist.

Which is not a problem for me, since I actually like this trope. But denying its existence is absurd, since the fact is, girls do fall heads over heels for Kirito.
Yet in the entire series there are only two girls who are in love with Kirito. One is his actual girlfriend, one was introduced only recently.


And before people start mentioning every single girl in the story ever, don't bother. They weren't in love with Kirito. Attraction does not mean love. They are two related but completely different things. Well, Sachi may be debatable but she spent like a month with him? Also, Sachi is now dead so the point is moot to begin with.
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Old 2012-11-07, 22:10   Link #237
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And before people start mentioning every single girl in the story ever, don't bother. They weren't in love with Kirito. Attraction does not mean love. They are two related but completely different things. Well, Sachi may be debatable but she spent like a month with him? Also, Sachi is now dead so the point is moot to begin with.
Liz was about to confess...
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Old 2012-11-08, 04:18   Link #238
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...That she liked him. Again, not the same thing thing.

If that's what constitutes a harem, then millions of other dudes have a harem. Also almost every single female in the world.

Last edited by Dengar; 2012-11-08 at 06:10.
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Old 2012-11-08, 04:39   Link #239
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...That she liked him. Again, not the same thing thing.
I don't get it, why is it not the same thing? Why is her like different from Asuna's like ?

You said only two girls who are in love with Kirito, shouldn't she count as the third?
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Old 2012-11-08, 06:09   Link #240
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It's the same difference as the difference between being attracted to someone and being in love with them.

Liz can't possibly have been in love with Kirito seeing how they only spent a day together.
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