Sword Art Online Volume 7 Discussion
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Posted 10/8/12
I put this thread in manga, because it has manga style artwork in the novel. By the way, you can read the entire SWO series translated, for free, online at http://www.baka-tsuki.org/project/index.php?title=Sword_Art_Online. The best part, it's legal. The author released the first volume online for free, because he didn't want to cut anything out in order to get published. It's now published in Japan, but the translation to english version stays free (so far).

Why volume 7? Why not volume 1-6?
Well first of all, volume 1+2 i covered in the anime, which is right here on crunchy roll. Volume 3 shouldn't be discussed quiet yet, because the anime will go through it in episodes 15-24. Volume 4-6 were somewhat generic, and you could see a bad pattern forming.

Volume 7, to refresh anyone's memory, is about the medical use of the nerve drive. A strange powerful swordsman (stronger than even Kirito!) appears in ALf. Asuna joins her 7-group guild in order to defeat the boss by themselves so they can have all 7 names on the honor-board in the starting city. After defeating the boss, Asuna finds out all 6 guild members have a terminal illness. They voluntary surrendered themselves to the online world, it's been over 3 years since they've entered (even longer than SWO players).

MediCuboid is the term they use for the ultra-powerful VR machine they use on the patiences. The doctors can even operate on them while they're still awake in the VR world and they won't feel a thing.

There's a few things that set this volume apart from the rest. I'm going to dabble in 1, but if you have any more feel free to add in.

Did anyone else find it strange that kirito conveniently had a mobile robot that could make people from the VR world have a POV in the real world? In previous volumes (I forget which one) he had a disconcerting dialogue expressing his desire to bring Yui to the real world, and show her everything. Start of the project right here?
kvi 
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Posted 10/9/12
Like you mentioned, I thought that was originally intended for Yui. Kirito had already experimented with placing cameras in the room for her to use
. This volume is almost primarily from Asuna's POV and it serves to paint a better picture of her circumstances after exiting the game. Even though Asuna is from a wealthy family she doesn't seem interested in doing anything else with her future other than being with Kirito. I do think that the end event from the volume is going to give her something to work towards in the future.

On a side note, don't you think the fight Kirito and the "swordsman" had was a bit weird. Even if Kirito really did lose, he would've been strong enough to have been invited before Asuna.

Last thoughts, I think this is the first chapter to mention that the automatic combos had been downgraded since the end of the game. A lot of skills get erased to make the game "fair". But Kirito's dual blade skill is still there. Kayaba had a special skill too. If I remember right there were supposed to be 10 specials in game skills so what happened to the other 8? I can't remember where the 10 skills were mentioned and i'll probably have to go back through to find the reference...
Tarya 
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Posted 10/9/12
I believe the mechatronic device Kirito was working on was intended for Yui - it was just fortunate he had been working on it before they met Yuuki and could use it for her.

Volume 7 is definitely to give more depth to Asuna's character so that the reader's can get to know her better and to give some incite into the decisions she makes. Prior to this chapter, I didn't really relate to or even have a great opinion of Asuna - I didn't know her well enough.
I feel like after this volume (and a box of tissues), you can see why Asuna would turn to gaming, why she would want an escape from reality, why she tries to perfect everything even when in the game, and that she is truly pushed very hard by her expectant parents. This volume also shows just how outgoing, friendly, courageous, and giving Asuna's character really is.
I also truly like this Volume because for once, you aren't comparing Asuna to Kirito and his character isn't overshadowing hers.

As far as Kirito losing to Yuuki, I don't think he did - it was more like he gave up during their battle because he realized something important as they were fighting. He mentions it to Asuna (quoted from Volume 7, Chapter 3) "I asked that person— You're completely a resident of this world, aren't you? Her response was a silent smile and a ferociously fast charge skill. That speed... broke the limit..."
Kirito mentions that Absolute Sword is special, even amongst those players that have had the most experience and play time in Full Dive (like SAO players).

To reference the combo skills in SAO - they do not exist in ALO. Only the basic sword skills still exist...anything specifically written for SAO disappeared once SAO was deleted. ALO was almost directly derived from SAO; however other games like GGO were derived using the NerveGear Seed Kayaba created that used SAO as a template. This is why in the continuing volumes you find that basic sword skills (like vertical square) still exist.
It is written that in ALO there was a patch introducing the ability to create a specialized combo sword skill that could then be "taught" or "given" to other players, but these are not to be confused with the original combo skills in SAO as these sword skills are created by the players themselves and are not part of the game mechanics.
Quote from Volume 3 where Kirito first enters ALO -
"Looking down at the skills again, I'm hit with a slight feeling of déjà vu. Looking at the proficiency values again, it felt like I'd seen them before. 1-H Swords: 1000, Unarmed skills: 991, Fishing: 643.
It hit me like an electric shock; I finally made the connection. I started breathing hard.
I'd seen these before. These were the skills that I had spent two years developing in SAO. Unfortunately, «Dual Blades» is not there— probably because the «Dual Blades» skill doesn't exist in ALO.
"

Anyways, I love the whole light novel, so picking one Volume above the others is almost impossible for me.
And I do believe you need to read from the beginning or Volume 7 won't really make complete sense...while some of these chapters can be stand alone, I think Volume 7 needs to be read in context with the complete storyline.
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Posted 10/10/12
I do think Kirito lost the duel, but although it was not an intentional lose, Kirito seems to find a way to win if it is life and death. The reason Yuuki didn't invite Kirito to the group is he guessed her secret.
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