Until now, the popular light novel Sword Art Online has been adapted into an anime over 2 seasons and 4 cours. In this Light Novel VS Anime edition, I will talk about Season 1 Episode 9 ‘The Blue-Eyed Demon’.
This article contains spoilers from the anime and light novel (the first volume of Sword Art Online and up to Episode 9 of the anime), so please proceed with caution.
This episode corresponds to the middle of the first volume of the light novel, and the focus of the story is the battle with the floor boss The Gleam Eyes on the 74th floor of Aincrad. Of course, there are many spoilers included so proceed with caution.
The character called Klein
Of all the male characters that appear in Sword Art Online, the one who appears the most after the main character Kirito is a character called Klein. He is usually the comedic relief but he is a chivalrous, straightforward person. He appears for most of the first half of this story and we get a peek at his kind heart. The depiction in the light novel was amazing but the anime depiction was even better. Because his strong personality was emphasized in the anime, I would like to introduce some aspects in which this was seen.
First up is the scene where he tries to go and make sure that none of the members who had made it to the back of the labyrinth have challenged the reckless boss. In both the novel and the anime, there is a scene where Klein lowers his head and says to Asuna ‘Please look after Kirito.’ In the light novel, before Kirito walks away and is still within earshot, Klein speaks to Asuna and then Kirito, who heard his statement, rushes to Klein and tries to play off his embarrassment by protesting. In the anime, Kirito has already walked away and is no longer in hearing range when Klein speaks to Asuna. Of course, Kirito is unaware that the two are talking. In both the novel and the anime, Klein is worried about Kirito and you can feel his kindness. However, in the light novel’s scene, Kirito’s protests provide a little comedy, whereas in the anime, Kirito doesn’t realize anything. It is a serious scene from beginning to end and further highlights Klein’s kindness.
The second scene is when Kirito defeats the 74th floor boss, The Gleam Eyes. Klein then changes with the exhausted Kirito to go with the others and activate the gates on the 75th floor. In both the anime and the light novel, there is a scene where Klein expresses that he is happy Kirito went to save the members of the group. In the light novel, Klein stopped in his tracks and turned in Kirito’s direction. After expressing his happiness, he gives a thumbs up. In the anime, Klein doesn’t turn in Kirito’s direction. He expresses that he is happy and makes an action as if he is wiping away tears. It was confirmed that sparkling tears have fallen, and then he waves at Kirito without turning. The background music was also wonderful and it was, in my opinion, the most moving scene.
Both changed are not that important. However, due to these small changes, the scened better highlight Klein’s thoughtfulness and deep humanity. Through the background music, scenes that were already amazing in the light novel are even more so in the anime adaptation.
The addition of flashbacks
In the middle of this story, there is a scene where Kirito, who chased after the troops, discovers that they are being trampled by The Gleam Eyes. He then gets involved in a battle to save them. There is a part here where the light novel and anime differ greatly. This is the addition of flashback scenes.
In the anime, the teleport ability cannot be used and Kirito sees the players, unable to attack the enemy, being trampled. In the back of his mind, he remembers when the members of the guild he was part of, Moonlit Black Cats, were in a similar situation and all of them, besides him, were wiped out.
This scene doesn’t exist in the light novel but that is because of the anime’s handling of the chronological order. In the light novel, the first volume depicts up until the clearing of SAO and the second volume is a collection of short stories which depicts Kirito’s activity in parts not included in the first volume. In other words, everything is not depicted in chronological order. After SAO has been cleared once, Volume 2 goes back in time and shows everything happening around Kirito until the game is cleared. In comparison, the anime includes all of these things as they happen in chronological order. Even with the annihilation of the Moonlit Black Cats, this was depicted chronologically in Episode 3. In the light novel, this was depicted at the end of Volume 2.
When you look at it again, the battle with The Gleam Eyes took place in Episode 9. In the light novel, it was in the middle of Volume 1. I’m sure you understand already but in the anime the annihilation of Moonlit Black Cats was already depicted but in the light novel, the readers had no way of knowing it had taken place. In the end, this flashback scene is an additional element unique to the anime that allows for all events to be depicted in chronological order.
In this battle, Kirito displays his dual sword skill (that he had kept hidden) in front of people. Even in the light novel, this was a somewhat conflicting decision but in the anime, through the flashback, the conflict is stronger. Also, it was more passionately developed than in the light novel in that the strong intention of never repeating the same mistake seemed to be the final push in overcoming this conflict. It was a splendid additional element that made full use of the advantages of the anime’s chronological order.
The addition of Lisbeth
At the end of this story, there is a scene where Kirito grumbles and complains after fleeing to the second floor of Agil’s store. In the light novel, only Kirito and Agil are present during this scene but in the anime Lisbeth is also added.
Just like in the previously-mentioned flashbacks, this is an additional element possible because of the anime’s chronological order. In Episode 7 of the anime, ‘The Temperature of the Heart’ , Lisbeth appears as the main character, but the story is actually told in the second volume of the light novel. In other words, Lisbeth had not yet been introduced at the time of this scene in the novel but we had already met her in the anime.
For viewers who like Lisbeth, this was probably a happy addition. I also like her so I was happy to see this addition.
Comparing the anime and the light novel a unique way of enjoying the work of SAO. You realize that the anime adaptation is not simply the light novel animated but that it has its own embellishments and ways to entertain us. On the flip side, you can watch and compare the novel with the anime and discover good parts about the light novel and the aims of the author. I want you to watch and compare the anime and light novel and enjoy yourself. I’m sure you will discover the strong points of both versions.