Zekken

Synopsis

Asuna agrees to meet up with everyone an hour before going to fight Zekken and logs out. She then joins his mum for dinner, late. Her mum then tells her to stop playing around as Asuna is two years behind in terms of education. She’s going to hire a private tutor so she can take entrance exams for a ‘proper’ school so that she can start college sooner. She accuses Asuna’s current school of being a prison where the government monitors those who spent 2 years in a game killing each other.

Asuna talks back saying that her mother doesn’t care about her and brings up Sugou. Her mother doesn’t want to hear that name but reassures her that her next suitor, Yuuya, is going to be much better. However Asuna makes it clear that she will choose her spouse. Her mum surprisingly agrees but then completely rejects the idea of her going out with Kirito. That prompts Asuna to storm out.

Before the time of Zekken’s match, Kirito does tell Asuna what he said to Zekken. He asked if Zekken was living in the virtual world. Zekken only answered with a smile. He felt that Zekken was a product of the ‘full dive environment’.

So they head over to the meeting place and after Asuna gets over the initial shock of Zekken being a girl, their duel begins. She agrees to a ground duel with Zekken, or rather, Yuuki.

The duel starts with a small cut on Asuna which forces her back giving her time to focus before the real fight begins. She forces Yuuki to use her 11 hit combo move but before Yuuki lands the final hit she stops. Instead she shakes Asuna’s hand and ‘picks’ her after having found someone who is ‘just right’. She then asks for Asuna’s help.

Thoughts

Right, well quite contrasting two halves but both excellently done. And whilst I have more to say about Asuna’s mum’s ludicrous reasoning, due to having strong feelings about the upbringing of a child, I do want to first comment on how great the fight was.

Whilst I really liked Kirito vs Zaza, I felt that that fight was done well partially due to the seriousness and tension built up due to the situation. Here however, there is nothing of that sort, yet Asuna’s determination to pull out a win on the back of the discussion with her mother and feeling that her only freedom is in this virtual world, gave it a good sense of urgency.

The opening exchange was quick and the body language showed distinctly different approaches. But of course as Asuna’s seriousness showed the fight truly began and that was brought out well with the focus, the shock and the pain conveyed through the excellent use of both fighter’s eye movement. Excellent fluid choreography coupled with sweeping styled music made it feel that much smoother.

I don’t think I can really say more apart from it was probably one of the best fight scenes I’ve seen in SAO.

Now I wish we were able to see Kirito’s fight. He must’ve come close as well. I wonder what Asuna had that he didn’t? What did she see in their exchange? Or is it purely because of what Kirito said that put Yuuki off? She may have taken it the wrong way, could be taken as someone’s calling you ‘sad’, though I’ve never considered that a bad thing. But I’d say not wanting to answer could be a sign of taking it the wrong way. I still wonder what it would’ve been like if Kirito had gone all out, i.e. if someone’s life was in danger. He’s always a different person when that happens and would probably win.

Now be warned, the majority of the notes I typed up for this episode relate to Asuna’s mum’s comments and attitude, so there is a rant incoming, feel free to skip it, but I have tried to keep it much shorter than my notes and cut a lot out. That may just tell you how much I really had to say…

From the instant her mum mentioned leaving something on her desk, it suggested a very formal, business like relationship. Like between a manager and a normal employee. Whilst it does sorta help Asuna prepare for the working life, it really distances them too much.

So what if Asuna’s missed two years? It’s not that big of deal. I’ve learnt something over the years, the education years should and can stretch for as long as they need to. Some people enter the working life later than others and some earlier. A year or two means nothing when you reach adulthood. Her mum’s too constrained by the norm and by extreme expectations to even think of how many years behind because there should be no limit.

Yes Asuna has talent, and yes making the best use of them should be the way to go. However talent is still talent and it won’t disappear. Someone’s potential stays with them, the only difference is if and when they reach that potential. This goes back to my two years argument, a year or two late of reaching that level of potential you want, isn’t anything. The years really do fly by after education.

On the topic of pushing for education, I do get it as I was in a similar situation. Y’know the typical Asian parents. And don’t get me wrong, I am very happy now. But I have come to a realization of how much of a sheltered life I led and how much of my childhood I missed. Being raised in an environment where failure isn’t an option is very detrimental for a child. The world has moved on a lot and it is much more forgiving, especially during childhood. You risk breaking a child by instilling them with such a harsh mentality. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone will fail somewhere, that needs to be taught to them as well. Otherwise it creates a lot of unneeded stress and anxiety. Is this talking from experience? Maybe, maybe not, I guess it’s more that my situation wasn’t as dire and I suppose you do learn to handle the pressure after a while.

Whilst I agree that marrying someone poor isn’t the most economically efficient choice. That doesn’t mean that you’ll regret it. I completely disagree with this ‘love will solve all problems’ or ‘love will find a way’ idealistic approach. I believe that your spouse should be a fit for you in many ways for it to work, and you need more than love. Though just because someone’s poor doesn’t mean that they will not be able to manage. And hey, you may very well enjoy and get used to that kind of life, it’s all about perspective, if you’ve lived a poor life then that’s all you know and that is the norm.

Leading on from that, that’s the reason I’m not against arranged marriages. Let me be clear first, I only say arranged marriage, not forced marriages. If you want to back out you should have the choice to. Arranged marriages may work like dating people, but I’m inclined to say they have a higher chance of success due to the parties making the arrangement having considered how you would fit with the other person. E.g. similar backgrounds, economic situation, personality and character traits to you. I will again make myself clear that I’m not saying you have to be the same for things to work out, I’m just saying that it has a better chance due to both of you being similar and hence less disagreements or things you may have to ‘put up with’.

Also just a quick random note, here in England, I’d call 15 degrees very warm.

Right, apologies for that rant, and I thought I kept it short. Well, it’s shorter than what it was…

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