Having chased the corrupt members of the Army off, Kirito and Asuna return to the chapel now used as an orphanage for underage players with the woman they had helped out, however even she doesn’t know anything about Yui. Before long though they’re met by a high up member of the Army, Yuriel requesting their assistance.
Been busy with both assignments and trying to solo Ornstein & Smough. Beating the latter first since he’s a dick (laughing at and killing the former the first chance he gets).
Yuriel then goes on to explain how their guild had originally been founded by a player known as Sinker with good intentions in mind but its popularity changed that and another player known as Kibaou rose to prominence, beginning to extort other players and even sending out the squad that were crushed by the GleamEyes. From there she explains that Sinker had attempted to negotiate with him peacefully, but his trusting nature led to Kibaou trapping him in a high leveled dungeon on the first floor, and as such she begs that they help her rescue him. Yui telling them that they can trust her.
As such they all head in together with Kirito taking the chance to sweep through a dungeon for the first time in a while, however Asuna isn’t as enthusiastic about the frog meat drops he picks up as he is, getting a smile from Yuriel. Advancing on they soon arrive on the lowest floor and spot Sinker in the difference, but before they can get to him the dungeon’s boss steps forth. Unable to read its data, Kirito insists that Asuna escape with Yui and the others, however Asuna refuses and even though they stand together they are easily knocked back. Before the boss can deliver a second blow however, Yui intervenes with an Immortal Object reading appearing just as it strikes, and by using her admin skills she swiftly vanquishes it with a single blow.
Following this Yui calmly explains the things that she had forgotten, revealing herself to be a counseling program of sorts for the system that maintains Sword Art Online and everything within it, Cardinal, and that Cardinal had prevented her from acting as she was originally planned to. But while the sight of players killing themselves almost broke her she spotted something else entirely between two other players, Kirito and Asuna, and sought to meet them. And while she now wishes to stay with them her going against Cardinal’s orders by deleting the boss has led to her now being regarded as a foreign entity on the verge of deletion. Just as she disappears though, Kirito hacks his way into the admin’s console in a desperate attempt to save her before it’s too late, managing to save Yui’s data to his personal NerveGear.
Another episode that I have mixed feelings about, Kirito and Asuna dungeon crawling is fun and the new characters aren’t that bad either, however I still can’t stand Yui. It’s one things to have Kirito and Asuna marry but giving them an AI daughter for the hell of it makes it feel like things are going a little too fast and also out of character for them.
Having said that though I liked the direction that they took her character in, by this point it was pretty much impossible to think of her as another player who somehow lost their memories so to find that she was a program within Sword Art Online focused on maintaining the mental states of the players wasn’t too bad. Let alone by her being a true AI and picking up on Kirito and Asuna’s love for one another as a unique factor it managed to work that nice idea of the virtual boundaries beginning to be crossed, even if some of the stuff seems poorly thought out when you think about it (like a lot of things in this series). What I didn’t like about it however was the forced drama and overreactions towards the end, and how Kirito could somehow successfully hack a system as complex as Sword Art Online, as both i) a seventeen year old and ii) with nothing really suggesting that he had the ability to do so in the first place. It’s a line he’s already crossed too many times but it makes me cringe each time.
Inbetween that seeing Kirito and Asuna going dungeon crawling again was pretty fun. The whole married thing that they have going is something that I kind of have mixed feelings about as well, I have nothing against them pairing up but for the shoddy execution and the marriage part ultimately coming across as some unnecessary detail to justify them becoming a couple without actually putting effort into it, but I’ll admit that it can be pretty fun at times. The whole shared inventory thing may have been glossed over by Asuna plucking the frog legs out of Kirito’s hands but the expectations I had for fun scenes like that and teaming up were higher than Yui and the forced drama she brings with her in this arc.
Prior to all of that it was also interesting to learn the reasoning for some events in the previous episodes and at the same time see the world that the show takes place in detailed a little bit more. Through the likes of Yuriel and Sinker we were able to see that the Army isn’t all entirely fat and corrupt, that while it does have some bad members there are still some good ones out there that are trying to restrain the extortionist policies of the other factions. Either way the characters introduced weren’t that bad and it was nice to see this other side to the Army, just like so many before them if only their use wasn’t limited to a single episode.