Sword Art Online, Episode 09: Automatically Yours
What a satisfying episode.
We get to see Klein again. We get to see Asuna attend to Kirito like Shinji for Rei. We get to see Kirito show his awesomeness. And we get to see our characters make the most human choice over the most human desire.
As the Grand Whatever Army gets smashed by this level’s boss, Kirito remembers back to his own losses. He can’t decide what to do – will he possibly give his own life to save people he doesn’t know, but who will die a very real death without his aid? At this point, Kirito is feeling an immense love for his fallen comrades and for those he sees now. But he has to decide whether to put that love in action and literally cross a line.
The obvious translation to real life is the camaraderie between soldiers, who risk their own lives at times to save their comrades – though in this case, an example might be an American soldiers during World War II helping a British soldier. But there are lots of other examples also. For instance, standing up to a bully to defend a friend (or someone you don’t know) – that’s showing love by putting yourself out there.
This is a love that takes thought and decision. And because it requires sacrifice, it’s all the more significant.
But because of Asuna’s choice to jump into the fray, we also see a different kind of love. Kirito doesn’t think – he simply jumps right in when Asuna is in danger. This love has advanced past one of decision – it’s automatic.
Kirito doesn’t have to think about his own life when he fights to help Asuna. He’s long ago made the decision to love her (I’m not speaking of romantic love) and so when the times comes, he just does.
I think of my own fear of embarrassment. I think for me, my entire adolescence and young adulthood was about avoiding attention at all costs, so that I couldn’t possibly be put on the spot and embarrassed. Today, I lead meetings and other engagements, but that fear is still inside me. And yet, if one of my children is hurt or needs help, I’mgoing to do whatever they need, no matter how many eyes are on me. I’m a parent – it’s natural. It’s a love that knows no bounds and it’s a love that doesn’t require a choice anymore. I just do.
My example isn’t particularly special – parents everywhere love their children. But that kind of love seems to fight against the forces of the world. It’s common to our own personal circles, outside of which most of our other actions might indicate a love of self. In a world that is largely about self-preservation, love demonstrates otherwise. I think that’s why it’s special when we see it.
Klein thought it was special. He mentions to Kirito that he was happy his mentor decided to help. I think perhaps this is because it convinced him that in a world about all the wrong things, there’s still hope. There is still selflessness. There is still love. And Klein is happy because of that.
And we are, too.