Around three months after the events of the previous episode Asuna meets with her friend and usual blacksmith, Lisbeth who notices something different about her and suspects that she might be trying to impress a guy she’s recently met.
Some time after this a customer shows up at her shop looking for a new sword, Kirito, who regardless of the cost insists on seeing and testing her finest sword only to snap it across his usual blade. And so with her finest work now reduced to polygons, Lisbeth is pissed and from Kirito’s apathetic response insists that she could make a sword better than his if she had the right materials. To this Kirito playfully encourages her and it eventually ends with the two of them teaming up for a quest to retrieve these materials.
Making their way up the mountain Lisbeth also finds the 55th floor to be colder than what she was expecting, a completely unaffected Kirito giving her a spare cloak and ensuring that she has the right items just in case things go bad, refusing to let her have a part in fighting the ice dragon. However as Kirito exchanges blow after blow with the dragon, victory just within sight, Lisbeth steps out from her cover and is blasted into a nearby pit, Kirito dropping everything to save her. Unfortunately the pit turns out to be an anti-crystal area, and furthermore with no visible exits in sight Kirito’s attempts to run up the wall fail, forcing them to camp at the bottom. During which time Lisbeth asks him why he saved her, Kirito telling her that he didn’t want to see anyone die, and they fall asleep hand in hand. In the morning Kirito finds the materials they were looking for and deduces that the pit must be the dragon’s nest, the dragon soon returning and presenting Kirito with their way out.
Allowing them to escape by using the dragon’s systematic movements to fling them into the air, in the middle of which Lisbeth confesses that she likes him. Following this they head back to her shop where Lisbeth forges the blade for him, resolving to properly confess to him once it’s done. However just as she’s about to do this, presenting him with the sword that she put her heart into and being content with being his usual blacksmith, Asuna arrives, worried at where she had been for the past few days, and from her reaction to seeing Kirito, Lisbeth realises that the guy that Asuna has taken a liking to was Kirito. So refusing to get in her friend’s way she puts her feelings aside and steps out for a bit, cheering Asuna on, and later being found in tears by Kirito who thanks her for reaffirming his will to go on. Lisbeth noting the warmth she felt when she held his hand, and entrusting him with beating Sword Art Online as she hides her tears.
And we finally enter the main story.
A nice episode, as tragic as her character is I really liked Lisbeth and even though her going from hating to loving a guy she just met in the course of two days was rushed, the story to it was pretty nice. If anything it just needed more time to work with and elaborate on it, time that it just doesn’t have.
As when this story was published it was as a side story in a set of lately revealed short stories that after being in the second volume when Sword Art Online is concluded in the first, seem more like an after thought than anything else. Some weak attempts by Kawahara to throw in some extra characters after cramming the story into one volume instead of gradually introducing them. That said what really stands against it is that because of this the characters we’re meeting now will effectively disappear for a few episodes after being introduced beforehand, I like Lisbeth but these thoughts are what are really going through my mind after this episode. She made a great entrance and was voiced by Ayahi Takagaki, but she doesn’t exactly have a role in the story to come.
Unlike Silica however, as Asuna’s friend she does have a route back, so I’m really hoping that she’ll be brought back in some anime original scenes through this. The main problem with this series is that the story needs to be revisited and reestablished without the constraints Kawahara had when he first wrote it. Lisbeth’s story despite the constraints was still pretty nice though. A little rushed in how she suddenly met Kirito, found out that he wasn’t really a bad guy, and fell in love with him in a single day for the anime, but it was one of a somewhat distant girl growing to like a guy after seeing who he really was, and finding seemingly real warmth within a digital world. Furthermore she and Kirito had a nice sort of competitive relationship, neither refusing to back down.
Then came the part where she realised that it was the guy who her closest friend was already chasing after, it was simple yet absolutely depressing to see her realise this and cast her own feelings aside. She’ll effectively go through the rest of the series unseen, knowing that her and Kirito just aren’t to be, cheering Asuna on while hiding her tears. Overall it was a nice story but I thought that it needed more time, time for Lisbeth’s character to be brought in earlier and use her character later. Presenting the effects of it upon her better instead bringing her in for a single episode and effectively casting her character aside. Once more however, I’m hoping that the anime will bring her back, even if it’s only for a few scenes.