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Recap / Sword Art Online Ep 24 Gilded Hero

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Kirito finally makes his way to the top of the World Tree, and is reunited with Asuna. The City in the Sky described in the Grand Quest did not actually exist: its purpose was a complete lie. Nonetheless, he is glad to be reunited with Asuna and prepares to log out.

However, he, Yui, and Asuna are suddenly teleported to an area outside the game's confines that Yui cannot teleport or log out from due to powerful encryption requiring a GM's console. Kirito and Asuna are suddenly incapacitated by Sugou, playing as Oberon. He uses a gravity spell that was still in development and, at present, is overpowered. He reveals his true plan to Kirito: ALO was created as a means to develop technology that could control human thoughts and emotions, using the minds of the SAO survivors he managed to re-route as test subjects.

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Kirito and Asuna vow to stop Sugou, but Sugou proclaims himself the god of SAO, using chains to prop Asuna up, and begins to harass her, stating that female NPCs didn't compare to an actual woman. Kirito tries to stand up to Sugou, but he is run through. Sugou then starts to turn down Kirito's pain inhibitors, increasing the pain he suffered from the sword in his body and threatening to continue lowering it until it affected his body in the real world.

Oberon then began to strip and molest Asuna. While Asuna tries to put on a brave face, she becomes distressed when he states his intent to record his virtual assault of her, then play it back in her hospital room when he rapes her comatose body, then proceeds to lick her and do all sorts of nasty stuff while Kirito watches helplessly.

In his near-death experience, Kirito begins to give in to despair as he is left powerless to stop Sugou. However, he is approached by Akihiko Kayaba. Kirito laments that he is powerless to fight against the system, especially if Sugou is GM. Kayaba retorts that it would mean the duel they had in Aincrad was a lie, and that it was from Kirito that he learned that the power of the human spirit can overcome the system.

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With his resolve renewed, Kirito stands up and, with Kayaba's system ID, revokes Sugou's GM status. Kirito then grants Sugou the Excalibur sword, then lowers Sugou's pain inhibitor to zero. In the ensuing duel, Kirito easily overpowered Sugou, the pain from his virtual injuries intense. Kirito proceeds to cut Sugou in half and run him through his eye.

With Sugou defeated, Kirito frees Asuna. After embracing her, Kirito approaches Kayaba, and thanks him for his help. Kayaba rejects his gratitude: since they weren't friends, his aid came with a price. To that end, Kayaba grants Kirito an item to store in his Nervgear's internal memory, which he dubbed the "World Seed". The program was dormant at present, but its true nature would be revealed in time. Kayaba states that Kirito is free to do with it as he wishes, either delete it or watch what it grew into, before disappearing.

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With Asuna now logged out of the game and truly returned to the real world, Kirito logs out. After letting Suguha know he was okay (having been logged into the game for so long), he rushes off to the hospital to finally, really, meet Asuna.

Tropes present in the episode:

  • Asshole Victim: Nobody shed a tear for Oberon as he is killed by Kirito, as Oberon/Sugou did perform a lot of nasty acts prior.
  • Darkest Hour: Just as Kirito is about to save Asuna, Oberon spams his game master status, pins Kirito to the ground with gravity based magic, then impales him with Kirito's sword, and then proceeds to sexually assault Asuna with Kirito unable to stop him. In his near death experience, Kirito is about ready to face reality and give up.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Kayaba's spirit returns to grant Kirito his powers as a System administrator, which allows Kirito to bring Oberon down to level 1 and make him unable to do any system commands. Kirito's second wind is so absolute and powerful that, without breaking a sweat, he turns the tide of his duel to a Curbstomp Battle and a Humiliation Conga.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Oberon cuts Kirito and Asuna's reunion short and spams his Game Master status, pinning Kirito on the ground with gravity-based magic, then impales him with his own sword and then proceeds to tear parts of Asuna's garments off, and lick her while sexually assaulting her, and then threatens that once he's done that in the virtual world, he'll do the same thing to Asuna in the real world, while she is in a coma, in her hospital bed, with Kirito unable to stop him. Just as he's about to give up in his Near-Death Experience, Kayaba, the Affably Evil antagonist from the first half, gives Kirito his system administrator privileges and a Heroic Second Wind, allowing Kirito to have control of the system, reduce Oberon to Level 1, take away his control of the system, turn off his pain absorber, and defeat Oberon and save Asuna.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Kirito killing Oberon rather painfully would seem pretty evil, if it hadn't been for Oberon being an a-hole.
  • Shameful Strip: Oberon does this to Asuna before he licks her by ripping her top off.
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