Sword Art Online, Episode 19: Here and There, Always the Same

The plot thickens!  I guess.

As Kirito and Leafa continue their march toward Asuna, a group of well-strategized players attempt to block their path.  Kirito turns into a giant creature (of course), and slices and eats them up (of course).

Afterward, Leafa does the logical thing and tells Kirito that he should join the baddies and kill her.

Sword Art Online Leafa
Art by うえはら

I’m being snarky here, but actually, what Leafa says makes some sense in terms of the game.  She gives Kirito a way out, and put in that same situation, perhaps many of us would make the choice to leave their short term alliance.  After all, it’s just a game, right?

But Kirito doesn’t see it that way.  Consistently throughout this game (and in Sword Art Online), Kirito has demonstrated that he is who he is.  He grows in the course of time, but he remains a person of high character throughout.

Games give us the opportunity to take on a role and be someone else.  We’re acting out parts, and so, the kindest of people could play a devilish character.  That’s part of the story.

But that’s not what Kirito is focusing on.  He says that he won’t abandon his values and steal from or hurt people while playing.  There’s a big difference in playing a mean role and unexpectedly betraying your digital friends.  Kirito would never do the latter – he is who he is, digitally or in the real world.

In my life, I see myself acting different in different situations.  I’m more outgoing and confident online than I am in most real life situations (I would guess this is also the case for many readers).  And I act differently in work than I do at home.  But all that feels somewhat related to the idea of roles I mentioned.  A vice I see in my life is that I’m a man of less character in some situations than in others.  For instance, I’m more selfish at work than at home.

And that just shouldn’t be.

When we come to realize what God has done for us in spite of what we’ve done to Him, our response is a life dedicated to worship.  And that life can’t be put into boxes which differ in level of allegiance, depending on situation and setting.  After all, we wouldn’t love our parents fully when they’re at our homes and then somewhat when we’re somewhere else.  Even if we imperfectly demonstrate love, we still love our parents wholeheartedly no matter the situation.

And God is just that – He is Father.  And as a son tries to be like his father, so should believers try to be like their Heavenly Father, who is the same at any time and in any place – real or digital.


6 thoughts on “Sword Art Online, Episode 19: Here and There, Always the Same

  1. It’s true that one should try to be virtuous at all time in real life. But, it’s different with games–unless one happens to be trapped in one, in which case it becomes reality. All games have a particular object, and one needs to do whatever it takes to win. One doesn’t win at chess by playing the moves that hurt the opponent least!

    1. True, although there’s a difference in a very social game like those depicted in SAO. Kirito kills all the attackers in episode 19, and then decides he won’t betray Leafa, and there’s no hypocrisy there. The killing of the players is related to his objective and the playing of the game; betraying Leafa has more to do with the real relationship he’s established with her.

  2. In SAO, I think it’s in the story of “a crime within the wall,” Kirito refused Asuna’s suggestion to attract the monster into the town because NPCs will be killed.

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