So here we are, the final episode of Sword Art Online II. We are initially shown a scene where the Sleeping Knights are introduced to Asuna’s usual crew of friends, followed by a montage of images that you would expect to close the episode, not necessarily open it. One thing you can be sure of is this: if you were expecting another episode of new and fun experiences for Yuuki, then you would be wrong. This episode is quite sad, and I don’t think I need to tell you why. If you’ve been keeping up with this story arc then you should already have a good idea of where this is going. If you are a crier, then prepare to cry.
Unlike the first season, which sort of went out with a bang, this season ends on a somewhat more sombre and sober note. There are certain joyful outcomes to be celebrated, to be sure, but where the first season had an ending that was pretty much victorious all around, this season ends with something that can’t be reversed. The events of the episode are the kind that force us to grow up, whether we like them or not. When I say “us,” I use the term in general, of course—I don’t expect this episode to grow us as people, but when we experience these events in our own lives, we inevitably grow. If you cry over Yuuki’s situation, then be sure to rejoice over another character’s that is revealed later on. Also, make sure you stick around after the credits.
In closing, let me just say that there are some powerful themes here if you take the time to reflect on them. Most predominately is the impact that a single life can have. With this being a Christian review site, I think it should be clear that the most impactful life ever was that of Jesus, but other people have also left an impact long after their deaths. We see this in the large crowd that gathers to see Yuuki within ALO, we see it in the fact that she contributed so much to the Medicuboid research, and we see it in her contributions to Kirito’s research. Love and friendship can also be seen in the relationship between Asuna and Yuuki, particularly in how Asuna rushes to Yuuki’s side when she gets a particular phone call. Did you pick out any other themes? Discuss them in the comments below!
A Christian Perspective:
Yuuki mentions that she used to question whether or not she had the right to exist, and then explains that she eventually realized that it is okay for her to live. While I don’t remember the exact statements she makes, I know she basically came to the conclusion that she had the right to live, which is good, because as human beings all of our lives have value. Granted, I don’t have a particular verse for this, but I’m fairly certain it’s a common theme in Christian circles. If nothing else, we were all created by God, and therefore were created for a reason. If that doesn’t give us worth, than what does?
Furthermore, we cannot neglect the contributions that Yuuki’s life provided. While I already discussed these in the review itself, her contributions were to the Medicuboid research and to Kirito’s project to blend the lines between reality and virtual reality. I think we sometimes fail to see the impact our lives are having on those around us—or, perhaps, the impact of our lives does not come until our lives are over. The fact is, it is easy to get discouraged about the value and meaning of our lives when we see the people around us doing great and amazing things. As Christians, how easy is it for us to get discouraged when we see someone like Billy Graham preaching to thousands of people while we are afraid to even approach one man on the street?
The fact is, though, that we all have an impact. Maybe we won’t preach to thousands, but maybe we will make a difference in a single person’s life. I once told my wife (while we were still engaged) that if I made a difference in even one person’s life, then my life would be worth it. Maybe those weren’t the exact words I used, but you get the essence of what I meant. The point is that we may not see something as having much significance from our own perspective, but we can never measure the impact it has on the person whom we’ve helped. Only they know how much we’ve actually done for them. The best we can do, then, is to emulate Jesus in our lives as best we can, helping those who need it and sharing the news of our Savior with them. Even if we don’t contribute to some life-altering discovery, our lives are still worth it if people meet Jesus because of us. After all, that’s the impact that has an eternal effect.
Alcohol/Drug Use: None
Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Leafa cleavage; there is one point where Yuuki is looking up and sees a blurry image of what might be a naked woman
Violence: A collection of scenes showing in-game monsters destroyed
Other: Yuuki mentions dying in the arms of the one she loves, referring to Asuna—not sure if homosexual or not