Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Fixing Alfheim - the WORST Part of SAO

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I've given Reki Kawahara a LOT of shit over the two years I've been running this channel,

and I'm going to keep doing so

because they keep making movies and TV shows based on his

terrible, terrible books.

Although, just as an aside-

I am genuinely looking forward to

SAO Alternative Gun Gale Online

Because Keiji Sigsawa is one of the best writers in the light novel industry

And I think he can actually make something decent out of Kawahara's leavings.

With that said, I see one comment pop up over and over again

every time I dump on SAO and Kawahara's writing:

"I'd like to see YOU make a better anime!".

This is a common response to criticism of anything.

'What you're saying isn't valid,

Because you couldn't make something better yourself,'

And I hope I don't have to point out why

it's bullshit.

Criticizing art requires a

TOTALLY different skill set from making it.

I can't play a single note on most musical instruments,

and the only thing I can really sing well is show tunes,

but that doesn't make it any less valid when I say that

that the blend of elevator music

and fetish pandering in

Nekomimi Mode is

absolutely insufferable.

But the thing is;

While it's not relevant at all to my ability to critique the series,

I do, also think that I can write a better story than Kawahara did.

I mean,

my cat rolling around on my keyboard could write a better story,

but still.

Today, I'm going to put my money where my mouth is

by fixing the part of SAO that is almost universally regarded as

The Absolute WORST;

Even by the fans.

The Fairy Dance Arc.

Speaking of money,

obviously I would need a LOT of it to make any level of anime production,

let alone one as visually polished as SAO,

So obviously I'm not going to be creating a whole new show from scratch for this.

Instead I'm going to be working with the same basic premise and major story beats as the original -

Except towards the end.

I won't be creating

any new characters to fill gaps in the plot;

partly to make things easier on my editor,

and partly to prove that I can write circles around ol' Reki,

while still working with all of the same building blocks.

And yes, before anyone leaves this comment,

I know that this is basically what SAO Abridged does

and they do it really well.

However, my goal isn't to create a well plotted comedy,

it's to transform SAO from a bad drama into a good one.

So I think the solutions that I arrive at will be a little -

Well actually a lot different from theirs.

Especially looking at what they've already done with the first episode of this arc.

Speaking of that episode,

I don't think I'd actually change that much about it.

Yeah -

It's melodramatic and Sugo is cartoonishly evil,

but it sets up the plot of the arc decently enough and

having a full episode set outside the virtual world is a nice change of pace for the show.

I would extend the timeline of events a bit since two months is an

absurdly short rehabilitation period for someone

who's spent two years wasting away in bed,

and for - other reasons I'll get into later though.

The 'meatier' changes start once Kirito actually enters the Game.

Fundamentally, there are three huge problems with the Fairy Dance Arc.

The "Elephants in the room", if you will.

But before we talk about those,

I'd like to address a smaller problem. A much smaller problem, but one that's just as bad:

Yui.

[Yui: No, daddy, that's annoying!]

I've already made my thoughts about Yui VERY clear when I talked about the moment that ruined SAO forever.

But as dumb, dumb, DUMB, as the way they kill her off is, the way they bring her back is even dumber.

Kirito creates his character for Alfheim,

logs in,

glitches outside the starting area,

and then he just opens his inventory,

finds Yui's crystal,

and then taps it once and suddenly she's alive again.

No hacking, no coding -

he hasn't even made any attempts to extract her data from his NerveGear in the months that he's been awake;

He just logs into the game, remember she exists and then -

*tap*

*poof*

Girl.

Then she turns into a pixie because ... reasons.

Not only is this hand-waving nonsense

INFURIATING

on a logical level,

it's also a clear signifier that

Yui has no actual purpose in this plot aside from being cute and spouting exposition.

Even though you'd THINK having a System Admin AI from SAO would be pretty useful in a game cloned from its engine,

they don't really run with that.

So, let's run with it.

In our new version of the story, once Kirito touches down in Alfheim,

he has an anxiety attack brought on by the confusion from the glitch -

[PLUS, a bit of PTSD from going back into VR after being stuck in it for two years.]

Sensing this distress, Alfheim's version of the Cardinal system sends an Emotional Support AI to help him.

A pixie skinned clone of Yui.

Detecting abnormalities in his character profile,

this support AI then scans Kirito inventory reading and deleting his unknown items one by one,

until she scans the item containing Yui's data.

Because this isn't actually an item but rather a disguised AI backup file the AI loads it as a supported file format

and her personality and memories are overwritten with Yui's.

This isn't just a change for the sake of making the story make a bit more sense.

It also serves as an early indicator of the fact that ALO is a sloppy reskin of

SAO, which will come into play later in our version of the story

AND gives Yui a greater narrative purpose than just

Moe and Exposition.

Although I'm sure some of you will argue that there's no greater purpose than moe -

And, eh, well you're not wrong.

With that solved,

let's move on to tackling the three major problems with Alfheim

In order from least to most important.

Starting with:

Part 1

[INCEST]

A LOT has been made of the character of Suguha

AKA Leafa and her relationship with her adopted brother and cousin Kirito.

Hardcore Otaku are pretty desensitized to brother-sister

or cousin-cousin incest as a story element,

since it comes up an AWFUL lot in anime,

but for most Normies and people in general,

the idea of any kind of romantic relationship between

The Black Swordsman George Michael and Sylph Warrior, maybe is, well-

it's a bit off-putting, to put it mildly.

[Suguha; I betrayed the feelings I had!]

[I betrayed the love I felt!]

('Gonna Get Together' starts playing)

(the title is ironically inapproriate)

Now here's the thing.

I'm not just throwing an Arrested Development reference in here for kicks.

SAO doesn't play the incest thing for laughs,

but it IS aware of how creepy it is.

Unlike, well, basically every other anime that does this

the actual text of this story

isn't really Pro-Incest.

It doesn't present a 'SuguTo' ship

(or whatever the hell you degenerates call it)

as anything desirable.

Sugu is acutely aware that her feelings are wrong and will always be one-sided.

And her character arc in this season is mostly about moving past them.

This is,

LITERALLY,

the ONLY meaningful character growth that ANYONE undergoes in this entire 11 episode arc.

It's the only thing that comes even remotely close to working.

And it's- about a sister who wants to bang her brother,

so that should really say something.

Now I don't think that it's inherently bad to have a story that deals with

uncomfortable subject matter or emotions.

Actually, I'd argue that it can be a good thing

and conceptually, the idea that Kirito changed so much in SAO that his sister saw him as a different person

is an interesting way to mark his growth as a character.

Mark his growth as a character

So I'd keep Sugu's crush on her brother in the story,

- creepy though it may be -

But there are still two problems that need to be solved with it.

The BIG issue is that the show objectifies the HELL out of Suguha.

EVERY other moment that she's on screen

- whether it's IRL or in the game -

The camera and animators conspire to highlight how 'cute' and 'sexy' she is.

Which is almost the default practice for presenting ANY woman in anime.

But let's not crack open that industrial barrel of worms today.

Whether or not you think an emphasis on fanservice is a bad thing in general or just good dirty fun,

here It is ABSOLUTELY a problem,

Because Kirito,

- our audience surrogate character -

is supposed to have ZERO physical attraction to his sister.

Yet we,

- the audience -

are essentially FORCED to see her as desirable

by the way the camera guides our eyes.

It's a contradiction between direction and writing

that undermines the story that's trying to be told.

If you ABSOLUTELY need to, you could arguably keep the Leafa fanservice since,

Kirito doesn't know she's his sister until late in the story

- and that could make that a more uncomfortable revelation for him -

but I'd prefer to focus on writing over direction here,

so, let's leave this at that.

From a WRITING perspective, the important thing that needs to change here is how the story

follows through on Leafa's character arc.

In the story as Reki Kawahara wrote it,

she never actually gets over her feelings for Kirito.

She just accepts that he loves Asuna and joins Lisbeth and Silica in the awkward:

"Technically not a Harem that stalks the two of them everywhere

expressing constant jealousy over their relationship"

While it would hit many of the same beats in this arc,

from their kendo match at the start,

to the Final Duel before going save Asuna,

my version of this story would end with Suguha and Kirito

properly reconciling as a family

and Sugu definitively moving on.

If I had to spit-ball a symbolic way of showing this,

maybe after they do that weird waltz in the sky thing in the last episode,

Sugu hands Kirito off to Asuna for another dance, smiles,

and then goes to dance with Recon,

that green haired embodiment of:

"Why don't girls like nice guys" posts whose real name I can't remember or be bothered to look up.

OR she could just be happy being single and independent.

Call it:

"Sword Art Online: ACTUALLY Progressive"

Either way, as long as we strip any-wish fulfillment elements out of this plotline,

And actually END it, I think it works.

Now we just need to fix everything else.

Part two:

[Everything Else.]

The second big issue with the Fairy Dance Arc is that,

well, not a lot really happens in it.

Not enough to justify its length, anyway.

If you boil it down to just the essential story beats,

the plot of the Arc goes like this:

Kirito discovers Asuna is trapped in the World Tree in Alfheim online so he goes to save her.

In the game he meets a fairy girl named Leafa and together they travel to the tree to rescue her.

Along the way, they discover that they're actually brother and sister and have a fight.

After reconciling, they fight their way to the top of the tree,

Kirito saves Asuna from Sugo, and they live Happily Ever After

until the most convoluted murder plot in human history begins a few months later .

Simple enough, right?

Give each beat about one episode and you've got a tight little six-part arc.

Except that whole 'they meet and travel to the Tree' thing takes six episodes in the anime,

and involves a pointless diversion where Kirito goes to save the leaders of two in-game factions

from General Eugene, the "Best Player in the Game",

who is basically never relevant to the story ever again.

All because the story had to be split across two light novel volumes for maximum profit,

and volume one needed to have an action climax.

The whole story of Leafa & Kirito travelling across the land being chased by salamanders,

isn't necessary.

At all.

The only impact that it has on the plot

is that the two factions show up to help Kirito later

which could be justified in a million different ways.

And spending multiple episodes,

slowly meandering through the world

kind of steals all of the urgency away from Kirito's quest to save Asuna within a week.

You could cut this whole plot entirely and lose nothing overall,

But giving Leafa & Kirito more time to bond is good for her character arc

and, I like the challenge of trying to repurpose

a crappy story into something more meaningful, so here's what we're gonna do:

We're gonna change the order of events.

In our new version, Leafa & Kirito head straight for the world tree after leaving Sylph Territory.

Maybe they get into a scuffle with a few salamanders along the way,

[The fight on the bridge while pointless is a pretty fun battle]

but within one or two episodes

they've reached the World Tree.

There things play out mostly the same.

Yui detects Asuna up in the Tree,

they fly up to get her, but can't get through the barrier.

Then Kirito rushes into the raid dungeon and gets his ass handed to him by the Guardians because, you know,

it's a RAID.

Of course one person couldn't beat it on their own.

That would be stupid.

Now, here's where things start to diverge:

Kirito doesn't just try going into the fight again with just Leafa and Salad Bowlcut here by his side.

Because it's a RAID dungeon, and he'd have to be a TOTAL

G O D D A M N M O R O N

to think that three people could do any better against it than just one.

Instead, when they ask Recon for help,

he tells them about how the Sylphs and Cait Sith,

will be meeting in a few days to plan a raid on the World Tree for themselves.

Kirito and Leafa go to the meeting location to ask for the Raid groups help,

but see Eugene on the way to attack it,

and intercept his army.

With everyone together,

instead of lying about being part of a secret Spriggan-Undine Alliance for no reason,

Kirito just straight-up tells everyone there the truth:

He's the same Kirito who saved everyone in Sword Art Online;

He suspects that the 300 players who haven't woken up yet are trapped in ALO;

and he needs everyone else's help to beat the World Tree and save them.

This is when Suguha realizes he's her brother, so she starts freaking out.

The leaders of the two peaceful factions believe Kirito and agreed to help right away,

but Eugene isn't convinced.

He challenges Kirito to a duel to prove his identity,

under the pretense that the real hero of SAO would be able to beat him.

Because, that makes a lot more sense than just-

fighting one guy and then deciding to send your whole army home because you lost to him.

He also has an ulterior motive;

As the strongest player in Alfheim,

he craves a challenge and thinks that maybe the legendary Kirito can give it to him.

But, this poses a bit of an issue because of one more key change that I haven't mentioned yet:

In our version of this story,

Kirito isn't very good at ALO.

Part 2.5

[Jesus-Kun.]

The Fairy Dance Arc marks the point where Kirito completes his transformation into Jesus-kun.

Going from being an actual character with a little bit of depth,

to a living meme that rules over all virtual worlds.

Until this Arc, Kirito was more or less just another guy.

Yes, he had unrealistic hacker skills, and he was stupidly good at SAO,

but he was ONLY good at SAO.

And it was justified by how much time he had to practice.

And even at his peak,

he wasn't necessarily the game's best player.

Heathcliff posed a serious challenge to him;

Asuna was stated to be his equal in combat, and even Klein was almost on his level.

But then, he enters Alfheim Online,

figures out how to fly within MINUTES of starting the game,

and gets to a point where he can school the BEST player in the entire game

after less than two weeks of playing,

despite the game having two systems, magic and flight, that totally changed the dynamics of combat,

and that seem to take a lot of time for most people to master.

That, to quote a certain science-obsessed Youtuber I know:

In our REVISED version of this story,

Kirito just can't figure out how to fly without the controller, like,

not at all.

He's actually WORSE at it than most noobs.

Leafa tries to teach him but after two years controlling a human body in SAO,

imagining extra bones on his back

just goes against all of his ingrained VR instincts.

So he ends up battling with a major handicap;

Having to fight with his controller, instead of being able to dual-wield or wield a big sword.

He's also pretty slow at reciting magic spells at first,

but he picks that up much more quickly with Leafa's help.

In our version of this story,

Kirito only manages to win the fight on the Underground Bridge

BECAUSE it happens in a no flight zone,

and thus he can use his full SAO ground combat skill set against opponents less used to fighting that way.

And while he has a few moments of desperation while fighting the Guardians,

where he uses his wings on their own instead of the controller,

it's not enough.

So going into a fight with the best player in the game;

Kirito has no guarantee of success.

He's actually at a significant DISadvantage.

You know, like he would be in ANY version of this story that doesn't use moon logic.

Just like in the anime, as the duel begins, our Kirito is losing pretty badly.

But it's not just because of Eugene's totally broken Special Sword;

He's still flying using the handheld controller, basically using training wheels

and he can only use one Sword as a result.

Plus, his flight is slower than it should be.

The turning point of the fight is similar,

in that Kirito turns the tide by equipping Leafa's sword after using shadow magic,

but in OUR version it's a bit more momentous.

Because in order to grab the sword on top of using illusion magic,

Kirito has to toss aside the flight controller,

let go of his lingering hang-ups from SAO,

and finally wrap his head around the mechanics of Alfheim Online.

This turns what was just another moment of Kirito being a badass and kicking some guy's butt

into a genuine triumphant moment of growth.

It gives the fight a purpose, beyond just letting the plot move forward.

And there's one more wrinkle, by dual-wielding, Kirito manages to avoid losing the fight,

but he doesn't exactly win it.

Instead, he and Eugene, both giving it their all,

take out the last sliver of each other's health at the same time.

The fight is a draw,

but Kirito fought well enough to prove his identity,

so Eugene and the rest of the people there all agree to help him raid the World Tree.

Having Eugene help with the raid makes him feel less pointless, and on top of that

there's a key point of uncertainty in our plot now.

If Kirito couldn't even beat Eugene,

can he actually win against whatever's at the top of the Tree?

After this Kirito would have to deal with the fallout of realizing Leafa was his sister,

which would play out the same as it does in the anime.

And the next day everyone meets up,

they fight their way through the Guardians,

and Kirito finally gets to where Asuna is being held;

Which brings us neatly to our final and most important fix:

Part 3:

[Asuna, What the Hell Did They Do to You?]

Asuna was arguably the best character in the first half of Sword Art Online.

That's really not saying much, her only competition was Klein, but she was definitely cool.

Independent, driven and genuinely skilled at the Game,

to the point that even Kirito admits:

[Kirito: I can never match her speed in battle.]

[Or her accuracy with the sword.]

It's rare even in REALLY good anime to have a lead female character with this much agency,

and it was one of the most refreshing things about the first half of SAO.

So, of course, because the Fairy Dance Arc is the WORST-

It takes this

wonderful, powerful character and turns her into

a bog-standard damsel in distress.

Each episode of Fairy Dance does have one brief scene where Asuna talks to Sugo,

but she has almost zero impact on the plot in these scenes.

The SOLE extent of her contribution to the story is sneaking out of her birdcage exactly once

and stealing a key card for Kirito to open a door,

that he also had to fight to get to;

And that absolutely didn't have to be locked for ANY reason except to give her something to do.

The PROTOTYPICAL Damsel,

Princess-freaking-Peach is more helpful than that in the Paper Mario games.

And that is a LOW bar to clear.

- And THEN, there are the scenes where -

[Okay, I'm going to slap a quick *Content Warning* on this part of the video.]

[I'm about to talk, albeit briefly, about two GRAPHIC scenes of sexual violence.]

[So if that's something that you're not okay with, skip to the timestamp on-screen.]

[Also, never watch this part of SAO. It's ACTUALLY disgusting.]

There are two profoundly awful scenes in Fairy Dance where Asuna is sexually assaulted.

And a few slightly less severe ones where Sugo just borderline molests her.

Having him sniff her hair cements him as a creeper psycho,

so THAT seems an acceptable moment of villain characterization.

But the scene where she's groped by tentacle monsters is TOTALLY unnecessary.

She could just as easily have been apprehended by regular, NON-RAPEY guards.

And the final battle where Sugou tears her clothes off and almost rapes her ON-CAMERA

is BEYOND excessive.

And not only are these scenes just repugnant in CONCEPT,

In practice they also focus on Asuna's body to the point where they're clearly going for fanservice.

Which is MUCH worse even than when they objectify Suguha.

The audience is supposed to be HORRIFIED that this is happening.

But the camera is trying to titillate the viewer.

It's AWFUL

borderline PORNOGRAPHY

And that is really just the TIP of the iceberg when it comes to problems with these scenes

BUT, I don't even want to talk about them anymore,

Fortunately, there IS a pretty simple solution to this problem:

The ONLY purpose of these scenes is shock value.

So as long as Sugou does something equally evil but

maybe a bit more meaningful plot-wise, we can leave them out entirely.

Fortunately we're saved from having to invent an entirely new plot point to replace those

by an unexpected ally:

It's Reki Kawahara's own terrible, thoughtless prose to the rescue!

Kawahara's writing has a LOT of issues,

but his biggest problem by far is his inability to grasp basic principles of good storytelling.

Case in point: Chekhov's gun;

The idea that every element in a story should be necessary to the plot

and irrelevant elements should be removed.

[If you hang a gun on the wall in Chapter one of your book then by Chapter three, someone needs to get shot.]

[If that gun isn't fired, then it doesn't need to be there.]

There are two key points in SAO where Kawahara UTTERLY fails to follow this rule.

The first is perfectly encapsulated by that line that I, just quoted:

[Kirito: I can never match her speed in battle.]

[Or her accuracy with the sword.]

We repeatedly hear that Asuna is Kirito's equal in battle,

maybe even his superior.

Yet in the whole 25 episode run of this show,

we never actually see them fight each other,

which is a MASSIVE disappointment, narrativley speaking.

The closest we get is when she smacks him after he accidentally gropes her in episode 8,

which shouldn't even be possible with the game's moral code system that prevents -

OH MY GOD.

WHY DO I KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT THESE SHITTY FAKE VIDEO GAMES?

Reki's second failure lies in Sugo's evil plan.

The WHOLE reason that he captured three hundred people from SAO in the first place

was to use them as guinea pigs in experiments to control people's minds with full dive technology.

Yet he never actually uses this weapon that he spent so much time, and broke so many laws to create.

Uses this weapon that he spent so much time and broke so many laws to create

It's just another bad thing that Kirito has to stop in the process of beating the Bad Guy,

because he's the Good Guy.

You're probably seeing what I'm getting at here already,

so let's take a step back and set this up.

Like I said, throughout this arc we see cutaways to Asuna talking to Sugo in her birdcage.

In these cutaways he taunts her about marrying her in the real world

and explains his evil mind-control plot to her.

[But actually mostly to the audience.]

Eventually, she breaks out,

gets caught in the mind-control laboratory

and sent back to her cage to wait until Kirito comes to rescue her.

In OUR version of Fairy Dance, these scenes play out almost the same way

with a few key differences near the end.

Asuna still figures out the code to the door by looking in the mirror,

escapes, and steals the console key card before being put back in her cage.

BUT, instead of that happening when Kirito and Yui reached the tree the first time,

the scene where she hears Yui calling to her happens

AFTER Kirito gets past the Guardians, and starts climbling to her cage.

As for how Yui gets through the impassable door without the key card,

- Let's just say that her being a Support Program gives her access to it -

and she takes her Dad through.

There is NO need for a McGuffin to unlock of the door.

Once they beat the Guardians, we cut between Yui and Kirito calling for Asuna as they run up the tree

and her calling back to them from her cage.

Asuna peers hopelessly down the trail for Kirito,

only to see Sugo appear instead.

And this is when it's revealed that she was only hearing Yui calling to her from down below

the first time they were there. And when Yui and Kirito reached the top,

they find the cage empty. They're too late.

Cutting back to Asuna,

we see her scramble to hide two things for Kirito in the cage; The console keycard and a note explaining

Sugo's plan so that they can stop him.

Sugou then comes into the cage and,

frustrated with her defiance and escape attempt, decides to take her away

and turn her into a brainwashing test subject.

After finding the note in the present, Kirito is warped to his final confrontation with Sugo.

But instead of just disappearing,

Yui is sent off to free the other test subjects using the console, while Kirito keeps the villain busy.

in Oberon's throne room, Kirito finds himself confronting not just Sugo, but a brainwashed Asuna

who's had all of her positive memories of Kirito replaced with ones of Sugo,

and who now calls herself Titania.

Instead of fighting Kirito himself, Sugou just sits back,

laughs maniacally and lets his 'Queen' fight for him. This works on a few different levels;

Firstly, obviously, it makes good on the threat posed by Sugo's research,

- as well as the promise of an epic sword fight between the show's two best fighters -

that has basically been teased for the whole series.

Everything else in the show is really about Asuna and Kirito when you boil it down,

so the final conflict should reflect that.

It's also arguably even more of a violation on Sugo's part; Taking away, not just Asuna's dignity,

but her free will and identity makes him a villain on par with Jessica Jones - Killgrave.

But it doesn't trivialize real-world trauma the same way that what he does in the anime does.

In this fight, Kirito and Titania are evenly matched at first,

engaging in what would hopefully be one of the best sword fights in the series.

But then, Sugo turns down the game's pain inhibitor. Since Kirito doesn't want to hurt Asuna,

he's forced to play defense, getting more and more cut up as she whittles his health bar down slowly.

He tries to reason with her, but it doesn't work.

Enjoying his position of power,

Sugo orders Titania to toy with Kirito and kill him slowly, turning the pain down by increments.

But this gives Yui time to come back and save the day.

After freeing the other victims using the console, Yui returns to Kirito and when Asuna sees her,

THAT begins breaking down Sugo's control of her.

See, Sugo didn't bother to change Asuna's memories of Yui, because he didn't anticipate her coming back.

He just placed himself in the memories of Kirito to make her love him and swapped Kirito with

Heathcliff, or one of the Laughing Coffin members or something like that, to make her hate him.

So when Asuna sees Yui helping Kirito instead of Sugou,

the inconsistency with what she remembers causes her to reject her implanted memories

and return to her old self.

I mean, it's not a perfect explanation,

but it's a damn sight better than Kayaba ex-machina

showing up to talk to Kirito out of nowhere, and giving him system-access for no good reason.

Plus, it resonates with the central theme of the story;

That the connections people form online,

- even with A I -

are AS important to who they are as the ones they form in the real world.

Having such a connection save Asuna, would be fitting for the plot.

It also gives Yui an actual narrative purpose,

so that's nice.

On that note, instead of the dumb,

terrible scene with Akihiko,

in our version Yui just says that she found Kayaba's Admin Profile in the system

and gives Kirito the access codes for it.

Aaand, things would play out roughly the same as the anime from that point on.

Kirito kicks Sugo's ass with his new Admin Powers,

then talks to a recovered Asuna and logs her out.

Maybe then the cyber ghost of Akihiko shows up

[called by someone using his account or something]

and he gives Kirito the World Seed.

Or, maybe Yui just says that she found it in the console along with a note ,or something;

Doesn't really matter.

Kirito logs out, runs to see Asuna and gets ambushed IRL by Sugo with a knife;

Which is actually a really phenomenal scene and I wouldn't change a thing about it,

except for when Kirito drops the knife at the end like an idiot.

'Anime's 72nd Hottest Power Couple' is finally united and the epilogue plays out the same too

- minus the implication that Sugou's still wants Kirito's Elucidator -

and they all live Happily Ever After.

Until I fix Gun Gale too, maybe.

We'll see.

Look, I haven't exactly turned Fairy Dance into a masterpiece here,

it is still a trashy action romp at heart.

All I've done is tweak a few things to turn it into a trashy action romp

that makes logical sense and contains some semblance of a coherent theme and character development.

Which, to be fair, is a lot easier to do

when you can look at a story retrospectively

than it is to do when you're in the middle of writing it.

But, what I did here isn't really all that difficult, still, it just required making good on all of the promises

set up earlier in the plot and asking some basic questions;

"What is this story about?"

"Why do things happen the way they do?"

"Do the characters actions make sense with their personalities?"

"Is there a way to increase the tension or decrease the predictability of what's about to happen?"

"Is this conflict essential to the plot, or does it just fill time?"

The tight release schedule and segmented structure of light novels,

unfortunately doesn't leave a lot of time to ask these questions after a story is written.

That's a problem for everyone working in the medium,

not just Kawahara,

but it's not impossible to write well under those circumstances.

Just, look at

Spice and Wolf;

Baccano and

Re: Zero.

Good planning and smart editing can go a long way.

It's also entirely possible to overthink things in writing, but that can be a good time in its own right.

And if you enjoy listening to me overthink Sword Art Online,

Then you're going to love the newest episode of Film Theory,

which I helped to research and write, where MatPat breaks down

exactly how much it would cost to create SAO as we see it in the anime.

Spoiler Alert;

It's a lot more than what I estimated in my video about the game.

If you're not familiar with Game Theory and Film Theory already:

Hi, welcome to YouTube you must be new here.

And you should know that their videos are a ton of fun.

Sometimes they dive deep into the lore of games, films and anime,

sometimes they explore the scientific economic and historic concepts behind media instead.

Either way,

they manage to tell an entertaining story with pretty much every video they make,

and I frequently come away from their stuff feeling like I've really learned something.

Click the link in the dooblydoo to check out the Film Theory on SAO, or

you can find that here and for my previous SAO videos, click here.

Don't forget to Subscribe

to me and Matt Pat if you haven't done so already and tell me what you thought of my story revision in the comments below.

Lastly, I want to give a quick Thank you to my Patrons before saying:

I'm Jeff Thew; Professional Shitbag,

signing out from my Mother's Basement.

The Description of Fixing Alfheim - the WORST Part of SAO