What They Say:
“Crimson Killing Intent”
Kirito has agreed to a duel with the head of the Blood Alliance Knights. If Kirito wins, Asuna is free to leave the Knights and if he loses…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Oct. 20, 2024, Floor 75 Collinia, we have a large arena. Obviously, the match between Kirito and Heathcliff is a major event, with tickets being sold. Asuna is none too happy about this duel, since Heathcliff is not some mere pushover, but an extremely talented fighter with a special power of his own, an attack/defense power up that is nearly impregnable.
So, Kirito’s dual-wielding will be pitted against Heathcliff’s nearly impenetrable defense. At a vital moment, when Kirito thinks he has a chance to get Heathcliff, something strange happens: time almost seems to stand still, and Kirito’s attack misses, leaving himself open to Heathcliff getting in a solid strike, one which wins the duel.
Is that it? Kirito has to join the Blood Knights now?
Two days later, Kirito is now forced to wear Blood Knight livery. He doesn’t like how flashy it is, but he notes that he had been reaching the limits of what a solo player could do, so this might be a good opportunity. Asuna assures him that his outfit is one of the less flashy ones. She does ask him, however, why he avoids guilds. We already know the answer, but he now tells her about Sachi and the Moonlit Black Cats. Asuna, in a nice development from last episode’s doormat, instead of breaking down or crying or anything like that, instead hugs Kirito and tells him that he need not fear her being killed. In fact, she will be the one to protect him. (Flag raised).
As part of his induction into the guild, Kirito must be tested by Godfrey, the forward commander. So, Kirito, Godfrey, and one other, who turns out to be Kuradeel, the man he got into a duel with once before (flag raised), will go to the dungeon and kill some monsters. Kirito and Kuradeel are both not all that keen on the idea. Once out there, when taking a break, both Godfrey and Kirito are poisoned by Kuradeel, who has put a paralysis poison in both of their food rations. Kuradeel had all of this planned in advance and attacks Godfrey first, planning to kill them both and then claim the party was attacked by outlaws, whom he then killed. After killing Godfrey, he moves on to Kirito, but not before doing the usual, and cliched, gloating of a villain (flag for eventual failure raised), even revealing to Kirito that he has joined the Laughing Coffin, one of the outlaw guilds of murderers and assassins. He then starts attacking Kirito, who is still poisoned.
It looks pretty bad for Kirito. But then, just when it looks like the end has come for our hero, Asuna saves him at the last moment. But Kuradeel is a deceitful liar who pretends to surrender, only to knock away Asuna’s weapon. Before he can land a killing blow, however, Kirito rushes in and sacrifices his own hand, delivering a death blow to Kuradeel with his other hand. Asuna then turns into a crying wreck (*sigh*, not this again), but Kirito does not blame her at all for the lost hand. In fact, he reaffirms that they will be together forever. So, it looks like love. (The hand grows back too, presumably with the right healing magic).
After that, they go back to her place for a romantic dinner and Asuna thinks that Kirito wants more…but Kirito just wanted to be in the same room with her that night. As they talk later that night, unfortunately, we get one of those potentially bad red flags thrown in our faces, as Asuna asks Kirito if they can stay off the front lines for a while, since she has a feeling that something bad is going to happen. I don’t like it when the show does this, because it often follows through on such promises. Putting that feeling aside, the two of them continue to talk and Kirito proposes marriage, which Asuna accepts. That certainly will change the dynamic of things in Aincrad in future episodes.
This was an okay episode, with some action, some drama, and some mush. It’s been a long time coming, the relationship between Kirito and Asuna, nothing at all surprising there. Also, it was suspicious immediately when Kuradeel showed up to join Godfrey’s little expedition. It appears that Kuradeel was right that Godfrey’s brain was entirely made up of muscle. Too bad he didn’t have any grey cells to help him. It was also just too predictable that when Kirito mentioned criminal guilds that Kuradeel would be a secret member of one. And then Asuna comes to save the day, but also turn into a crying mess. So, again, this show suffers from too much predictability.
Kirito loses the fight and is forced to join the Blood Oath Knights. One of his first tasks as a member of the guild, however, nearly ends in disaster because of a past score that needed to be settled permanently. Afterward, it appears that Asuna and Kirito’s bond has become stronger, and the two decide to play house again, this time on a more permanent basis.
Streamed by: Crunchyroll
Apple iMac with 4GB RAM, Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard