The End of the World
Whew, what an anti-climax! That evil boss is dead before the OP rolls.
Anyway, this confirms what I knew about Heathcliff. The Yui episode was just a ridiculously huge hint; but Heathcliff, the guy who can never die, is an immortal object underneath the shield…and also the final boss, the person who would be waiting at Floor 100. Who does this make him? None other than Kayaba Akihiko, the creater of Sword Art Online and the mastermind behind this. With Kirito indentifying him as the mastermind when the skull boss has been killed, he gets offered a chance, the unique opportunity to fight the final boss 1 on 1 before the end. With all props to the story, this scene was handled really well, without making Heathcliff a dues ex machina whilst explaining why Kirito has duel wield without pulling the “strongest guy in the game” cliche.
The fight between the two of them was also really well co-ordinated, since it’s the rule of RPG’s that a swordsman can’t beat a tank. However…the moment Asuna died was when I started to get a little annoyed. After throwing all those death flags last week, it was obvious from the start from Asuna was going to die somehow. Admittedly taking the final bosses sword slash wasn’t what everyone expected to happen to her, but the fact is that she died. I understand WHY she died, but I don’t like the fact that she did. On top of that, I hate the Dues Ex Machina where Kirito was able to come back after dying. That aside, I loved the scene where the world actually fell apart, and seeing everyone and that amazing fantasy landscape one last time.
What with Kirito, Asuna and Heathcliff being dead, however, they have a different set of circumstances to those who simply got logged out. As they stand above the world of Sword Art Online, watching it fall apart into nothingness, they get to reunite and talk to Kayaba, as the reward for the two who beat the final boss. A tearful goodbye as the two tell each other their real names, hug and spend some final time together later, and they disappear, along with the world of Sword Art Online. Kirito wakes up logged out in the hospital, with memories of Asuna inside his head.I…did NOT see that happening. Sword Art Online ends at Episode 14. What are they planning for the 11 episodes left..?
I know I joked about Kirito and Asuna not dying, but that can be one of two things. It can be some whim of Heathcliff’s, or it can be the more obvious fact that the game didn’t register their deaths before the final boss died. Yes, it had two very horrible dues ex machina’s involved, but you know what? Who gives a crap about cliched settings and things done time and time again? All that matters is that they worked, and damnit, this episode worked.