The Squad Jam comes to an end. Will LLENN be able to win against a full team all by herself. And what made M betray her to begin with? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.
1. It isn’t often that characters make such a complete 180 in terms of who they are versus who you’ve perceived them to be–not without turning out to be some sort of monstrous villain who kept their homicidal tendencies a secret until the story necessitated a twist. But, here we are. Last episode the show ended with M attempting to kill LLENN after reading a letter from their mutual friend, Pitohui. The letter claims Pitohui would kill him if he got far enough but didn’t win, and seemingly she has such control over M that he panicked and decided he’d rather kill LLENN and log out than risk having to deal with her wrath.
After explaining things to LLENN, he pleads desperately for her not to kill him, and she acquiesces before leaving him to handle things on her own, claiming if she dies he can simply log out. Now there are…two key questions. The first: If Pitohui knows M is this terrified of her, why threaten him in such a way? He just became a hindrance to LLENN. Second: If this thing is televised, wouldn’t Pitohui see the action and know what M did, so he’d get punished anyway? Was anyone thinking clearly when all this went down?
At least we got a good joke on SAO out of it.
2. LLENN rushes off on her own, and manages to take out one of the players on the remaining team by abusing her speed. But afterwards, she gets popped with multiple sniper shots which just barely miss being lethal. Nonetheless, LLENN fights her way through half the squad solo, with the voice of Pitohui to guide her…as well as P-chan.
Yes, that’s right. At one point in the episode, her gun literally starts talking to her, pushing her on to succeed against this final team. It’s weird, but it makes as much sense as anything–much of LLENN’s identity is in how she looks and the weapons she’s chosen in this game. Her even choosing the P90 submachine gun to begin with was meant to denote an important moment of character growth….so it makes sense she would see it cheering her on to win the Squad Jam. But man, couldn’t they at least have given the gun an actual look instead of just drawing eyes on the gun?
3. Just as things begin to look impossible for LLENN–after all, she’s up against an entire squadron on her own, M decides to help out, using his sniper rifle to blow up one of their opponents’ weapons. On one level, I’m kinda done with M as a character because they took the comedy to a point where it’s less funny and more embarrassing than anything else.
…But on the other, it’s a good thing he helps out, because otherwise LLENN would’ve gone from being terrified about the game entirely to solo’ing an entire team on her own and that would’ve been kind of absurd. M gets three useful kills, taking out half the team without ever being in danger. Hopefully Pitohui won’t real life murder him, whatever that means.
4. It’s hard to decide whether the final showdown is cool or stupid. To be sure, there are a lot of really stupid moments to it, as everything comes down to the leader of the group Eva, and our diminutive protagonist LLENN. Regardless of how I feel, it’s pretty awesome to have a final fight (for this arc at least) between two women that manages not to sexualize either character, especially when one of them is a dark-skinned, older woman, a rarity in anime. …But with that out of the way, there’s a lot of dumb with the awesome.
The last fight comes between Eva and LLENN going at it at point blank range. Their aims both turn to complete crap, with LLENN only scratching Eva while shooting with a freaking submachine gun. Meanwhile Eva manages to empty an entire clip in center of mass without realizing LLENN’s health hasn’t changed at all. The “Immortal Object” comes back into play once more, as Eva manages to shoot directly at LLENN’s communication device, which can’t actually be destroyed.
Then later, after Eva gets the most ridiculous last second reload courtesy of a friend (who dies after helping thanks to some well-placed sniper shots from M), she still can’t close the deal: she empties the clip AGAIN, shooting at LLENN but not checking her health. This time, LLENN blocked the bullets with her gun, which can coincidentally take an entire clip of handgun bullets before exploding.
If you can overlook all of that though, there’s a pretty sweet fight scene afterwards, where LLENN pulls the knife M gave her and uses it to go completely hand to hand. The two kick the crap out of each other, but LLENN’s instincts kick in at the last second, and she takes an open moment to go directly for Eva’s neck. Elsewhere, M wins a sniper battle with the remaining enemy, finally bringing the game to a close.
5. Having won the Squad Jam, Karen gets to return her day to day life. While out in public, she runs into the same group of kids she’s been seeing since episode one, and we learn a few things: for one, while Karen’s in college, these kids are just second years in high school. All this time I kept thinking they were the same age and Karen was just really tall, but turns out she’s got 3-4 years on them all.
Second, the group immediately recognizes Karen as LLENN. Possibly because of the pink P90 keychain she keeps on her purse. But of course, we learn this group of young girls are actually the team who came in second place online! This was an important twist, but it almost feels like they could’ve waited with it. The show’s nearly at its end, and Karen’s having this great conversation with a group of girls who apparently have thought she was beautiful, even going so far as to mistake her for a model because of her height. It’s a sweet moment, almost a reward of outward affirmation from society after she starts to have confidence and believe in herself. Then suddenly we shift into the two of them talking about meeting on the battlefield, even though Karen has only the tiniest of hints to work from when one of the girls is referred to as “boss”.
Still, I get it–six episodes in, we gotta get to the point. At any rate, this was a strong enough closer for the first arc. Now let’s see where the LLENN/Pitohui storyline goes next.
Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.