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Recap / Sword Art Online Ep 4 The Black Swordsman

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February 23, 2024: Silica, a young beast-tamer player, gets into an argument with her party's leader, Rosalia. She defiantly decides to leave the party and return to town by herself. Unfortunately, she soon finds herself lost in a forest and accosted by high-level monsters with no healing items to save herself. Her tamed dragon, Pina, takes a deadly blow for Silica and dies, leaving Silica broken-hearted and at the monsters' mercy.

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Thankfully, she is rescued by a player cloaked in black: Kirito. Kirito explains to the distraught Silica that it's possible to revive Pina: tamed beasts become items in a player's inventory upon dying, and if a Pneuma Flower is used on that item, it will bring the beast back to life. Unfortunately, the floor where the Flower was located had powerful monsters, and there is a three-day time limit on revival. Kirito would retrieve it for her himself, but the Pneuma Flower only spawns for beast tamers wishing to revive their beasts. Kirito ultimately offers to accompany Silica as she retrieves the Flower, admitting that he helped her earlier because she reminded him of his younger sister, to Silica's amusement.

That night, Kirito and Silica return to town to discuss their plan for retrieving the Pneuma Flower, encountering a mean-spirited Rosalia along the way. While discussing their plan in an inn's room, however, Kirito realizes that he is being eavesdropped upon.

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The following morning, Kirito and Silica make way for the 47th floor to retrieve the Pneuma Flower. Along the way, Kirito mentions how he used to practice kendo, but gave up on it after he started playing video games. His grandfather, who also taught him, treated him harshly until his sister agreed to start practicing in his stead. Kirito feels guilty over the fact that he thinks he forced his sister into kendo, but Silica reassures him that his sister must have taken it up because she cares for him and likes kendo.

After retrieving the Pneuma Flower, Kirito and Silica are ambushed by players with orange indicators over their head, which signifies that they attack other players. They are members of a notorious guild called Titan's Hand, lead by Rosalia, who orders her followers to attack others and steal their loot while never getting her own hands dirty, allowing her indicator to remain green and thus appear in good standing.

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Rosalia orders her men to attack Kirito, but Kirito is unmoving: his HP regen negates any damage inflicted to him. As it turns out, Kirito had been looking for Rosalia: the leader of a guild her men attacked gave him a teleport crystal that would send her to an in-game jail. Rosalia tries to threaten Kirito with the fact that attacking her would turn his indicator orange, but Kirito claims it's a risk he's willing to take, and she ultimately surrenders.

Afterwards, Kirito apologizes to Silica: his helping her was a means to the end of capturing Rosalia, and that asking for her help directly would result in her declining him; but Silica assures him that's not the case, and that he's a good person. With that, Silica uses the Pneuma Flower to resurrect Pina, vowing to tell it all about her adventure and the day she got her own "big brother".


Tropes in this episode include:

  • Adaptational Wimp: While Silica is among one of the higher level players who is capable of going solo in a dungeon in the original light novel, this episode makes it look like her only ability is Pina and that she is helpless without the dragon.
  • Back from the Dead: Pina, courtesy of the Pneuma Flower.
  • Broken Aesop: Silica tries to cheer up Kirito and have him accept and move on from the death of Sachi and the Black cats comes hollow as she successfully ressurects Pina who stays alive throughout the rest of the game.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Silica crosses one when Pina sacrifices herself to save her from the monsters.
  • Evil Redhead: Rosalia, the leader of Titan's Hand, has red hair.
  • Heroic BSoD: Silica goes through a brief one when Pina is killed.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Pina sacrifices itself to rescue Silica from danger and transforms into a small feather after it dies.
  • Rescue Romance: Kirito rescues Silica after Pina performs a Heroic Sacrifice, helps her get the resurrection item and protects her from Titan's Hand. These events prompt her attraction to Kirito.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Silica leaves her party at the beginning of the episode after an argument with Rosalia.
  • Taking the Bullet: Pina takes a lethal hit from one of the monsters to cover for Silica. It gets better.
  • Title Drop: Kirito has been known as the Black Swordsman.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Rosalia's men slash at Kirito but the latter is quick to tell them about how badass he really is.
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