Sword Art Online, Episode 25: Oh, Mercy!

As Kirito Kazuto rushes to the hospital to meet Asuna, he faces one final challenge – the real Sugou, just as crazed as his video game self, but armed with a very real knife.  Of course, Kazuto, who surpasses Sugou in physical strength as well as game skills, wins the fight.  He holds the knife at Sugou’s throat, apparently ready to end the life of the one who had taken so much from him and had taken Asuna’s body and mind hostage.

Of course, Kazuto decides to be merciful, and lets Sugou go to face judgement in a court of law.

SAO characters

Art by Spark

I was reminded of the story of a man I work closely with.  As a teenager, he was the lone survivor of a horrific act of mass murder during the Rwandan Genocide.  Many years later, he returned to his country and came face to face with one of the perpetrators of the horrible act.  The man begged his forgiveness, even as my co-worker held a gun to his head, wanting to take his life.  In the end, my friend was merciful and let his enemy go.

We may never face a moment such as these, where there’s a real life and death struggle involved and where we have an opportunity to take or spare our enemy’s life.  But there are small moments in our day, involving people who are certainly not enemies, whom we have the opportunity to be merciful toward.

Right now, I struggle with being kind to my son.  I’m hard on him and easily lose my patience.  My frustration is birthed from lack of self-control rather than anything he’s done wrong.  Still, I struggle be merciful.

Mercy can be given for a variety of reasons, but it’s at its purest when it’s given by a righteous heart.  Kazuto has no love lost for Sugou, but he has kind heart and is a person full of character.  He makes the right decision, rather than the one he wants to make.

In our lives, we often face such opportunities to make the right decision rather than the selfish one.  Sometimes it means holding back our tongues or assisting someone we dislike rather than scoffing at him.  I’m intent on doing right by my son and being a better dad – but more than that, I want to do the same with others, whether family or people I barely know.

For all the blandness of Kazuto’s character, like Nagisa of Clannad, there’s something to admire in the character’s…character.  And perhaps after 25 episodes, this is the lesson to take away: we can and should be better, both to those we love and those we don’t.

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About TWWK

TWWK, known to outlaws and lawmen alike as Charles, lives deep in the heart of Texas, where he drives cattle and boot scoots (not really - though he does sport a pair of rattlesnake boots). Somehow in this frontier, he also finds time for his wife, children, and church. Oh, and anime, too.

Posted on 12.23.2012, in Anime and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Good thoughts! Was it just me, or did this last episode seem rather lackluster? Even the fight with Sugou seemed rather meaningless.

    I guess the whole second half has been sort of lame. I guess I’m just really disappointed because the first half was so good.

  2. Interesting run for SAO I guess. Lots of people on opposite sides of the spectrum. ALO is probably the worst. Oh well.

  3. Really liked the initial fight in this episode for how both Kazuto and Sugou were a dozen times weaker than in the virtual world, completely falling apart when it came to actually wounding or killing their opponent. There’s something raw about a duel in the flesh neither of them was really prepared for.

    • Good point – the right was certainly more brutal, and awkward. I think I would have had a problem with Kazuto’s whole “I can do this – it’s just like in games!” If he didn’t have that kendo background.

  4. I am still not sure what I think about this episode. I have a lot of mixed feelings and emotions for it. I really enjoy the first season of the series, and the second season I didn’t like. I am not entirely sure this last episode concluded the series well. Think it concluded the second season fine, but really left Kirito and Asuna’s fate in the air and didn’t create any sense of a final conclusion. I was some what disappointed by this.

    I did really apritate this post. I also think you are very right about mercy and forgiveness.

  5. Nice thoughts! I honestly think this episode was a lack luster, but it ended okay. Not good or bad. As for kirito’s er Kazuto’s actions I think the same as you do.

  6. The anime was good during the first two episodes, then went downhill at around episode 3, then it gets better once more after that particular arc (where some guild were fighting over a ring, or is it a ring? Don’t quite remember). SAO was awesome, then it starts going downhill again after ALO, lol, it’s kinda weird too, considering that the anime itself is named “SAO”, and yet, SAO was no more.

    I think I’m going to try out the light novels soon enough, the light novels seem to receive better recognition.

  7. Lets see if I can name all of the character’s ALO races in the image above off the top of my head. From clockwise around the circle from left to right– leprechaun, salamander, undine, spriggan, sylph, cait sith, gnome. How’d I do?

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