Last week, Sword Art Online took its time - setting up a big potential plan, getting to know Kirito, Sinon, and Asuna a little better, and preparing us for one of the most ridiculous and amazing episodes yet: Phantom Bullet. Kirito and Sinon's plan to trap Death Gun is finally being put into motion and...oh boy. Well, you should probably watch it, but we'll try to describe it to you (although it's really hard to convert squeals to text).
For now, let's talk about the 10 big moments of this week's episode, Phantom Bullet (which you can watch for free on Crunchyroll right now, if you haven't seen it yet):
Last week's episode found Kirito and Sinon hanging out in a cave for pretty much the whole runtime, yet remained pretty compelling. And as the episode begins, they're still hangin' out in the cave, trying to figure out what the heck is going on. Kirito tries to figure out exactly how many players have been taken out and who remains in the game - and the results aren't quite lining up.
One of the last players remaining is Dark Wind, nicknamed 'Run-Gun Demon' for his signature strategy (run real fast, shoot a bunch, keep running). The last time, Dark Wind came in 2nd place, although many argue he should have won, since he was the superior player.Now he's coming after Kirito - which should fit nicely with their current plan to use Kirito as bait for Death Gun. Now Kirito can be double bait!
It's pretty impressive how frequently the revelations are coming to Kirito and Sinon while they just hang out in a cave and await someone called "Death Gun" to come by and try to murder them. Anyways, Kirito realizes Death Gun killed Pale Rider about 30 minutes before trying to kill Sinon - and given Death Gun only attempts to truly kill someone when he has his accomplice prepared to kill them in the real world, that means there are two possibilities:
So, basically, everything is truly doomed if they blow it here.
After a season of build-up, we're finally getting to the big moment - Kirito and Sinon have a plan to take out Death Gun (and Dark Wind, since why not?). They fistbump, and get into position.Sinon - still haunted by dark memories of killing in self-defense, thinking of how both her and Kirito's lives depend upon her skills as a sniper in these short moments, and resolving to do what must be done.
Kirito - chillin' as bait, letting his glorious hair blow in the wind. Truly, his hair is incredible. Hopefully nothing will ever wreck it.
Just like that, all the cave-chatting is worth it - the build-up has brought us to this moment where everything hits the fan. Kirito uses his super-hearing to see Death Gun's bullet coming from a mile away and manages to dodge it at the last second...although it takes away a precious lock of his perfect hair!
Oh, also - IT KNOCKS DOWN A BUILDING.
Sinon's keeping her eyes on Dark Wind - going at top-speed, like a more-focused and much-more-murderous version of the Road runner - Sinon realizes the smartest tactic is to wait for Dark Wind to pause to take his shot, then take HER shot.
Sinon, why did you ever doubt yourself? She easily takes out Dark Wind, hiding behind a wall, by just blowing straight through the wall and removing Dark Wind from the game.
Then, she sees Death Gun, shooting away at Kirito. She carefully aims at him, hoping he won't notice the hilariously-enormous laser-sight hovering over his entire face, and...OH GOD. HE NOTICED. They both have each other in their sights. They both aim. THEY BOTH FIRE.
The bullets fly through the air, missing each other by MILLIMETERS, and...
OH MY GOD.
DEATH GUN'S BULLET BREAKS SINON'S RIFLE-SIGHT - BUT OTHERWISE SHE'S OKAY.
AND SINON'S BULLET HAS COMPLETELY DESTROYED DEATH GUN'S RIFLE!
THIS IS IT. DEATH GUN IS SCREWED! He can't use his handgun because that would expose his plot. He's done for! There's no way out! Kirito's charging with his sword and lunges and -
OH NO NO NO NO HOW DID THIS HAPPEN WHO LET THIS HAPPEN?!?!
In perfect timing, Asuna has reached Kazuto's location in the hospital RIGHT AS HE'S BEEN STABBED BY DEATH GUN. His heart rate is up, and that has Asuna a little nervous. But not as nervous as the next thing she notices - Death Gun's player name, Sterben. At first, she thinks it's just a misspelling of "Steven," but the nurse explains that "sterben" is a German medical term.......for "death." It's used when a patient dies at the hospital. So, ya know, just the most ominous foreshadowing ever, no biggie.
Death Gun tells Kirito the reason he's forgotten his name: because he never knew it. Back in SAO, Death Gun was about to tell Kirito who he was...but Kirito refused, saying it didn't matter, since they would never see each other again. They match swords again - but Kirito's sword is no match for Death Gun's hyper-strong starship blade, and he's stabbed in the gut.And cliffhanger. Because the world is a cruel and merciless place.
Don't forget - you can catch up with this episode and ALL of SAO I & II for free on Crunchyroll, and even watch simulcasts of SAO and tons of other anime.