Sword Art Online: Murder Mystery and Oversimplification

Another mediocre adaptation.

Once more, SAO’s adaptation offers an overly-simplified adaptation of the source. I’ll go over the two primary problems with the adaptation.


Most people consider the Murder Mystery to be a really important chapter; I consider it to be a good mystery, and a good side story. There’s not a lot of in-depth character development in this volume, it’s moreso playful interaction between Kirito and Asuna [most of which was cut out, or done mediocrely] and mechanics [most of which were skipped as well].The centerpiece of this mystery would be the devious execution of the crimes themselves; the anime showed this, but it wasn’t quite as epiphanous as shown. Let’s start at the beginning; in my last entry, I skipped over this detail, because I expected Kirito to have a detective flashback [where he explains everything, his deductions etc. ; this didn’t happen]. After “Kains”‘s supposed death, Asuna and Kirito traveled to the Starting City to confirm his death at the «Monument of Life» [the stone with the crossed out names, showing who died]. They arrive, and they do confirm that “Kains” died on the 22nd of Sakura, at 18:27. The time and the month/date match; his cause of death was «Continuous Pierce Damage». Now, this would be relatively confusing — “Kains” died, the stone confirmed it; how exactly did he survive? One of the largest reveals was that Yoruko gave them “Kains”‘s name, or more specifically, how “Caynz” was incorrectly spelled [she did this on purpose to deceive them]. Now, if we look back at the month/date, we would realize that there isn’t a year listed; this is because “Kains” died in the previous year; Yoruko and “Caynz” simply emulated “Kains” death with a perceived «Continuous Pierce Damage». Kirito realized this mistake whilst staking out Grimlok’s favored restaurant; he was nomming on Asuna’s sandwich, complimented it, shit happened, and he happened to slip. Now, he slipped in the anime too, except in the anime, he was blessed with the power of godlike epiphanies. In the light novel, Kirito asked an executive of the Divine Dragons Alliance, Schmitt [after the “murder” of Yoruko; he was panicky, so he didn’t hesitate to surrender names] for the names of all the associated members of the «Golden Apple» guild [in order to find Grimlok, make connections, etc]; he drops this piece of paper during that moment, which results in him realizing the culprit.

Their motives for faking their deaths weren’t quite enunciated on in the anime. They didn’t do it out of malice, they simply wanted a confession from him. We know that Grimlok killed Yoruko, but he didn’t quite break down in the light novel [he actually rebutted her accusations with logic]. His theory was that he wouldn’t have gotten the items if Yoruko was wearing the rings [if the rings were in her inventory, they would have been transferred to Grimlok on her death; but if she was wearing it, they would materialize as items, which were not interactable]. Yoruko defends her beloved guild leader when this happens; she posits that Yoruko was already wearing two rings: her guild-leader ring, and her Marriage Ring [would be awfully shitty customization in a real MMORPG]. However, words are words; she needed to prove them; to do this, she dug at her grave. Items have durability, they degrade over time; more tangible items last longer, while foods last shorter. While Kirito was eating the sandwich, he made the comment of food deteriorating far too fast; this resulted in the mechanic of a box being brought up. The box would essentially act as a time capsule; items inside it would not take durability damage. This “time capsule” of sorts was essentially “useless”; it was expensive, and it could only fit two nuts [they were referring to food expiring]. Yoruko digs at the grave, and uncovers the box, with both rings inside it. One ring accentuating her love for her husband, and the other for her love of the guild. The End. They lived happily ever after. Except Grimlok. And the guild leader kinda died.


Character Interactions


Like I said, SAO is an anime revolving around character interactions, not flashy action. I’m irritated that Kirito and Asuna’s relationship is developed halfassedly, but in this episode, I’m more irritated that the side characters were painted as useless, linear, and dull [Yoruko didn’t get her time to shine, and Schmitt was seldom developed]. As we know, people cope with falling into SAO differently; some choose to stay in the Starting City, Sachi preferred to hide behind her friends, while others like Asuna fight in order to cheat death. Schmitt is similar in this regard; he had the logical paranoia that the Starting City would inevitably be attacked by wild monsters; there isn’t a guarantee that it wouldn’t be, so it was more logical for him to fight. His role as a tank, and as an executive of a high-ranking guild heavily reflect his convictions; he’s a tank, therefore he’s much less likely to die; he’s also an executive, it means he’s in a position of power. As we saw, Schmitt was scared shitless of death; he developed supernatural paranoias [ghosts, which did “exist” at the end]. He never intended for the guild leader to be killed, he was simply told to put a teleportation crystal in her room [bandits cannot enter cities].

Inevitably, Kirito and Asuna are not being given the appropriate development. It’s a bit repetitive to preach, but their relationship is literally going to propel at ridiculous speeds [unless the adaptation’s different, in which case, fuck this adaptation]. SAO’s cool because the romance is fast, it’s logical, and it’s extremely enjoyable to watch; many series fail to develop a romance until the finale; this results in more development, but it’s not quite the satisfying ending that one would hope for. Anyways, there was one significant quote that was omitted; there wasn’t a logical reason to do this, unless they’re trying to attentuate their romance, in which case, fuck this adaptation.

The «Storage Link» is actually a rather pragmatic system, but I feel it’s rather romantic.”
That tone of hers really has a sense of longing. I couldn’t help but blink a few times.Then I don’t know why I even got excited all of a sudden as I said in an excited voice without thinking much, “Is, is that so. I see. The, then, if I party with you next time, Asuna, I definitely won’t hide any drops I get.”GATAN! With that sound, Asuna immediately fell back together with the chair.


Concluding Thoughts

Rushed, objective, but understandable. SAO isn’t being given a lot of time to actually develop its characters, but it’s understandable given the facts [two arcs in 24 episodes]. I don’t love this adaptation, at times, it’s almost irritating to write about, since it’s less intelligent thoughts, but more blatant summary. I don’t mind summaries, but it’s a bit unfair to those who read this; if they wanted to read a great summary, they’d read the novel. But Murder Mystery isn’t quite the most “important” chapter for development, it’s negligible in comparison to other ones; next week’s episode should be the final side-character story, then the main storyline should commence.

EDIT: Oh right, forgot; Grimlok arranged for the Laughing Coffin members to ambush the group. Transporting the Laughing Coffin members was extremely expensive, considered their murderer statuses; they had to go through a difficult arrangement of teleportations. Grimlok hired them to bury the past, and the Laughing Coffin members wanted a chance to kill the executive of a prestigious guild while he was alone.

EDIT: My grammar blows. Feel free to correct me on blatant bastardations of the English language, like their’s instead of there’s. I do these reviews ASAP, usually within 45 minutes of watching the episode. The content should be fairly accurate, and the wording should be decent for the most part; but the grammar, it’s atrocious at times.

Prior Entries

Murder Mystery Part 1
[Sleeping, Duels, Solo Players/Guilds, Inns, Guilty Thorn, Ring, Names; Kirito-Asuna Interaction, Egil, Heathcliff]
The Black Swordsman
[Beast Tamers, Floors of Residence, Real Life, «Tracing», «Anti-Criminal Code Effective Area», Level Disparity, «Flower Garden», «The Aincrad Liberation Force»; Scilica, Scilica-Fina Interaction, Kirito-Side Character interaction]
Red-Nosed Reindeer
[Kirito’s «Tracing», Inventory System, Gameplay, Switching, «Anti-Teleportation Zones», Level Psychology, Time Skip, Boss Fight ; Kirito-Guild interaction, Kirito-Sachi interaction]
Aria and its Shitty Adaptation
First Impressions

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7 Responses to Sword Art Online: Murder Mystery and Oversimplification

  1. Edlar says:

    Really the production staff are just phoning it in. Look at their execution for how the Laughing Coffin retreated or the resolution for the mystery: absolutely no dramatic tension, the characters were very static with very minimal movement or body language.

    The arrangement of events for the ending was also pretty terrible: Asuna and Kirito talking about returning to the frontlines, a break with the appearance of Griselda’s ghost and then the two MCs resuming their conversation as if they hadn’t even seen her ghost. It’s like the guy who wrote the script didn’t even bother with a second draft or wrote everything in a hurry.

    • mdz says:

      The Laughing Coffin members had names in the adaptation, it gave them a bit more life [kinda how in MMOs, certain names become notorious]; in the adaptation, they really just went in and out with minimal words. It was similar to that in light novel, but the power of narration helped. Was a bit silly how Grimlok, the mastermind of the plan, instantly surrendered and lost his mind.

      The script’s a bit ridiculous at the moment, they pull off certain parts well, but they miss simple lines that would have clarified the interpretations for the ambiguous parts [Sachi’s missing lines and Kirito’s witty line in this episode; they’re usually bickering in the light novel, there’s not a lot of that in the anime adaptation. I understand that they do need to remain objective to cover the material, but it’s a bit pointless to focus a show revolving around the characters on the blatant storyline.

  2. Bastille says:

    Schmitt wasn’t the guild leader of the HDA, just a very high ranking member of it.

  3. Pingback: Sword Art Online: A Perfect Adaptation; Lizbeth and Reveals | MDZ's Anime Blog

  4. Pingback: Sword Art Online: Level Disparity and “Faithful” Adaptations | MDZ's Anime Blog

  5. Pingback: First Impressions: Sword Art Online | MDZ's Anime Blog

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