Been a while since I watched a murder mystery.
The players at the front lines gather to strategize for the next floor boss. Asuna, now in a high position in one of the top guilds, suggests luring the boss into a village and attacking it while its distracted. Kirito objects to her idea and the two get into an argument.
After the meeting, Kirito and Egil talk about how much Asuna has changed since they were last together.
Asuna catches Kirito sleeping in the fields and scolds him for slacking off. Kirito tells her to relax and enjoy the fine weather.
Initially reluctant to take Kirito’s advice, she ends up falling asleep when Kirito wakes up.
Kirito watches over Asuna as she sleeps. She wakes up as the sun sets and gets embarrassed in front of Kirito.
She thanks Kirito for guarding her by treating him to a meal.
She brings up Sleep PKs. In SAO, towns are usually safe zones where people cannot get PK’d. The only way someone could attack or get attacked is if he goes into a duel. Sleep PK take advantage of sleeping players by making them accept duels unconsciously and proceeding to killing them in their sleep.
Suddenly, they hear a scream. They rush out and discover a player hanged and stabbed.
Kirito looks for the player that initiated the duel fails to find the player.
Asuna tells Kirito that they’ll have to leave the front lines for a while and solve this mystery.
They ask the crowd for witnesses. One girl named Yoruko steps up.
She was a guild mate of the PKd player whose name was Kains. She was supposed to have met up with him in the town but found him dead when she arrived. Since there’s no appropriate pic to show this, have some questionable camera angle instead.
Kirito and Asuna ask Egil to inspect the murderer’s weapon. He tells them it was a player created weapon called Guilty Thorn. The creator was a player going by the name Grimrock.
They meet up with Yoruko again. They ask her if she knows Grimrock. Her expression changes into a look of horror as she details her past with the guild.
Yoruko, Kains and Grimrock were all part of the same guild. One day, their guild acquired a rare item. Through a show of hands, the guild decided to sell the rare item. Griselda, the guild master, went to town to sell the item. They never heard from her since except news of her death.
Grimrock was Griselda’s in-game husband. He believed that the one who killed Griselda was one of the three in the guild who voted against selling the item.
The three people who voted against selling the item were Kains, Yoruko and another player named Schmidt who left the guild after Griselda’s murder.
On their way to seeing Schmidt, Kirito and Asuna think for ways on how the murder could have happened. Kirito rules out the possibility of some item that lets players do that since, for all the crap SAO puts its players through, it had always been fair for everybody.
They find Schmidt and tell him about Kains’ murder and the possibility of Grimrock being the killer.
Fear consumes Yoruko and she starts to believe that Griselda’s ghost committed the murder.
Without warning, Yoruko gets stabbed from behind despite being in a safe zone.
I actually enjoyed this episode. It makes up for last episode’s loli shenanigans. This one was unique. It had zero action, something that’s usually bad for an action anime, but what made this episode good was the story telling. First off, I didn’t expect the show to take a murder mystery turn. I’d say it was a pleasant surprise. You’d think that someone with a sort attention span such as myself would hate watching mystery shows (I fell asleep while trying to watch Bones once), but somehow this episode kept me awake and paying attention. Good job writers! Now usually when a character plays Sherlock, he’d be coming up with different theories on how the crime was committed and well, Kirito was no different. His hypotheses were within the limits of the game. Speaking of limits of the game, it seems the show has a habit of only introducing certain aspects of Sword Art Online when it is convenient to the plot. PKs have different colored status crystals? Well what do you know? Kirito’s looking for a PK! Someone got murdered in town? Hey! I just learned that people could get PK’d on town if they accept duels! I don’t expect some sort of game manual on the different features of Sword Art Online but I can’t shake off the feeling that writers are just adding all these stuff as the story goes. Also, how they ended up taking on the murder case was just poorly done. Asuna pretty much just goes “We have to drop out of the front lines to solve this case. Screw getting out of this hell hole faster. Someone just got murdered!” To cap off this post, I’d like to point out that this episode ended with a cliffhanger. You know which other shows ended with a cliffhanger? Tari Tari and Binbougami Ga! Tari Tari ends with Wakana missing her cat and Binbougami Ga! ends with Keita falling off a cliff. It’s weird. These all happened at episode 5 of their respective anime. They’re progressing at the same pace somehow (o_O)
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