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Sword Art Online II – Episode 23 : The Dream Begins

With Kirito’s help, Asuna is able to help fulfill Yuuki’s wishes.

This was a pretty light episode, so summarizing what happened won’t take too long. Kirito is able to adapt the same technology he was using for Yui to allow Yuuki to visit school. Asuna wears a viewing device on her shoulder that allows Yuuki to see and interact with everyone at school. She even gets called on to participate in class by the teacher. Toward the end of the day, Yuuki asks Asuna to take her by her old family home. As the two talk, they get to the subject of mothers. Yuuki talks about how her mother would pray for her and, even though she didn’t want to hear the words of the bible, she realized it was more about her intentions and feelings. Asuna states that she hasn’t been able to really communicate with her mother in a long time.

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Yuuki encourages Asuna to go after her mother the same way that she came after Yuuki. Asuna takes the advice and convinces her mother to join her in the virtual world. Of course, her mother is still being her cold and prickly self, but she agrees. After a couple of more light hearted moments where she adjusts to the virtual world, Asuna tries her best to communicate why she wants to stay where she is. Asuna takes her mother to a spot where they can see a snow covered cabin in the woods that bears a strong resemblance to Asuna’s grandparents cabin. Using her grandfather’s view of his mother as an example, Asuna tells her that she wants to live to support those around her and make them happy. She believes that that’s where her happiness come from. Her mother can’t stifle her emotions in the game and begins to cry. The next day she tells Asuna that she can stay at her school if her grades improve so that she can get into a good college, because it will take strength to support the people (person) she cares about.

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This episode was a little bit more moe than what the show usually gives us. I knew there was a point to this story arc, this episode really showed how hidden in the background it had been behind everything else that’s gone on. The real point of the back half of the season was Asuna finding a way to stand up to her mother (and to become a stronger person). Her adventures with the Sleeping Knights was just the crucible she needed in order to gain that strength. Well, it was actually just what she needed to get a friend who would point her in the right direction. The whole thing feels a  little forced because the antagonism brought on by Asuna’s mother seemed to be completely arbitrary. That’s because we’ve not really heard much from Asuna’s parents but the first time we do, of course, it creates a problem.

Yuuki is a secondary addition as a character from this arc, but she was introduced as a terminally ill girl. That doesn’t give the impression  that she’s going to be around for the long haul. This episode was also the first time that we’ve heard anything significant about Yuuki’s mother. Up until this point I figured the arc title, “Mother’s Rosario” had to do with Asuna’s mom. Given what the episode revealed about Yuuki’s mother’s faith, it seems like it’s a reference to her mother and not Asuna’s. In this case, I’m guessing that Rosario is some kind of translation of “rosary”, which are used in prayer (primary by Catholics). My feeling is that we may see Yuuki pass on from the show (maybe not actually die) in the next episode. However, like most of the things in this story arc her time on screen may not have been enough to give her departure a lot of impact.

Episode Rating: C

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