An incredibly faithful adaptation that centered primarily around Kirito and Asuna. These are the most enjoyable episodes; every episode from here on out will be focused entirely on Kirito and Asuna. You’ll see their relationship proliferate at a ridiculous pace, but keep in mind, it is “justified” [They’ve been in the game for 2 years, and in being so, they’ve interacted a lot “off camera”; there’s also the unique “symbiosis” between the two [See Aria and subsequent entries for explanations]. This adaptation took around ~44 pages; this would be the “ideal” length for an adaptation. They did make a slight “change” towards the end of the episode, but I’m not sure how they’ll handle that, so I’ll hold off on explaining the change until the next entry.
Crystals: There are three types of primary crystals in Sword Art Online. Pink crystals, which recovers HP, blue crystals which provide instant teleportation, and green crystals, which heals a status ailment. Crystals are typically expensive, so the cheaper, but slower acting (HoTs) potions are consumed.
Trade: There are two primary ways of selling your items. The first way would be to sell it directly to an NPC; this way is “safer”, since it prevents you from getting scammed or “ripped off”; however, the prices are fixed, and items are bought from the NPC below market price to prevent inflation. The second way would be to sell it directly to a player; if you bargain well, you could possibly sell it for a high price; but, you would need to find a buyer, and arguments after the trade weren’t uncommon. Given the disadvantages of the latter, “merchants”, or players specialized in trading, appeared. Merchants can’t quite live on trade alone, so they’re typically out in the field too; however, half of their skill slots are filled with noncombat skills, which makes battle difficult for them. Kirito respects these type of players, since they essentially chose a disadvantaged role that’s more altruistic than profiting.
Knights of the Blood: Abbreviated as KoB, the Knights of the Blood are one of the elite guilds, albeit they’re a bit small at ~30 members. However, these members are all high-leveled; Asuna is the sub-leader of the guild, while Heathcliff, who’s renowned as the “strongest” player in the game, is the guild leader. Asuna’s popularity is due in part to her skill, but also due to her appearance and sex [females were rare, and attractive females were rarer; that paired with her skill level makes her, “the ideal female”]. She gained the nickname the «Flash» due to her sword skills. Asuna has numerous fans, she also has numerous stalkers, and along with that, haters. Given this, she typically has an entourage of bodyguards [the entourage is more so a way of flexing power than it is “actual” protection; she could easily outclass her body guards, and virtually anyone that tries to attack her].
Mastering Skills: Mastering a skill, as Kirito puts it, is extremely boring and time consuming. You “master” a skill after leveling it up a thousand times. Levels didn’t quite parallel with “skill” per se, mostly just experience points [like a real MMORPG]. As you leveled up, you gain HP, Strength, Dexterity, and «Skill Slots» [which determined how many skills you could learn]. (The light novel translation did a shit job explaining this concept; they used “skill” interchangeably as both a mechanic of the game, and as “player skill”; it’s a bit confusing, so parts of this may be inaccurate). Kirito mastered his one-handed straight sword skill, Scan for Enemy skill, and Weapon Guard skill [Asuna mastered cooking; she basically put in just as much effort in maxing a “noncombat” or “useless” skill.]
Beater: As mentioned in an earlier post, Beater is a word that’s unique to SAO, it’s an amalgamation of “cheater” and “beta tester”. Although Kirito is used to being called this, he’s still hurt by it, given his past [his former guild leader called him a “Beater” prior to committing suicide].
Wardrobe: Changing your clothes in SAO is done via the stats window; in between changing clothes, your undergarments are visible as one outfits shifts to the next. Given this, members of the opposite sex do not change in front of others [especially females]. Their bodies are essentially data rendered into 3D, but they live the world as if it’s their “real world”, so it’d be a bit silly to assume otherwise [They’ve been in the game for around two years now].
«Taste Reproduction Engine»: Or quite simply, the system that allows players in SAO to taste food. Food is regarded as one of the only pleasures in Sword Art Online [Why rare foods are so expensive];
Eating in SAO didn’t calculate and simulate the feeling of biting into the food. Instead it used a «Taste Reproduction Engine» that Argas and an affiliated environment programming designer had made together. This sent preprogrammed sensations of «eating» various foods and could make the user feel as if they were actually eating something in real life. It was originally designed for people who were on diets or needed to restrict the amount of food they ate, so it sent fake signals to the parts of the brain registering heat, taste, and smell to trick it. In other words, our real bodies weren’t actually eating anything right now, and all that’s happening was that the program was wildly stimulating our brains.
Algorithms: When Asuna mentioned the “odd” algorithms, it meant that the monsters were becoming “more difficult”. They’ve began to see patterns in attack, and they’ve began to cope against it. View it as the mobs learning from player behavior, and becoming more intelligent.
Cradil’s Weapon: Asuna has fans, haters, and stalkers. Cradil would be placed in the stalker category; he’s obsessed with Asuna, but even more, he has a holier-than-thou attitude [he’s a relatively high-level player, and he’s in one of the top guilds]. His weapon was meant to reflect his sentiments, it was highly decorated; this resulted in an expensive weapon with shitty durability. Shitty durability going against a high-powered attack results in a broken, shitty weapon. Kirito actually expected the weapon to break.
“Another result of two weapons colliding was «Weapon Break». It only had a chance of happening when a weapon received a heavy blow to a weak part of its structure. But I was certain that it would break. Weapons with too much decoration had low durability.As expected—with an ear-wrenching sound—Cradil’s two-handed blade broke. There was an effect like an explosion.”
General: I’m surprised that the adaptation didn’t enunciate or go in-depth on this topic. The players in Sword Art Online have been in the game for around ~2 years now; the “real world” so to speak, seems like a distant dream to them now [they don’t think often of the “real world”, and they don’t speak of it (taboo)]. When Kirito was eating with Asuna, he was contemplating on whether his surroundings were “real”; he realized that Asuna’s physique was a result of generated pixels, but he still wasn’t quite phased by it. He’s grown “used” to this world as being his “real” world; it would be a difficult transition to move back. The players in Sword Art Online aren’t quite concerned with clearing the game now; although it does remain a “priority”, they’re not as gung-ho about it as before.
“I simply stared at Asuna’s beautiful face, with the light from the orange lamp reflecting on it. That face, it was definitely not a human’s. With smooth skin and the shiny hair, it was too beautiful to belong to a life form. But to me, the face didn’t look like it was made from a bunch of polygons anymore. I could accept that it was what it was. If I returned to the real world now
A faithful, and nonrushed adaptation. It was a really enjoyable episode; they covered it well, albeit they skipped the mechanics [but that’s unavoidable]. The “fan service” in this episode wasn’t as brusque and forced as it may have seemed to light novel readers; it happened in the light novel, so by all means, it’s a “faithful” adaptation. The ass shots from the previous episode on the other hand, was unique to the anime [not complainin’].