The light novel series Sword Art Online reached a circulation of 20 million copies worldwide in April 2017. The anime adaptation of this hugely popular novel was aired over two seasons, totaling 49 episodes. In this article, I’m going to examine the differences between the novel and anime regarding ‘The Temperature of the Heart’ (Kokoro no Ondo), Episode 7 of the first season.
This episode depicts the adventure after Kirito’s encounter with Lisbeth. Chronologically speaking, the episode takes place before the game ‘Sword Art Online’ (SAO) is finally over, and the anime follows this chronology. However, the novel is not published in chronological order, and this particular story was published in Volume 2 but chronologically takes place during the events of Volume 1.
This article contains spoilers from Volume 2 and Episode 7 of Sword Art Online
Skipping the Explanations
At the beginning of the episode, Kirito broke Lisbeth’s best sword which was her pride and joy. She became enraged, and after an argument, the two ended up venturing to the 55th Floor together to obtain material to forge an even better sword. There are many minor differences in this scene. However, I’d like to focus on how the material, Crystallite ingot, for the new sword was explained.
In the novel, the material and quest system was explained during the scene. There also was a scene which depicted Kirito and Lisbeth listening to a Non-Player-Character (NPC) on the 55th Floor in order to initiate the quest to obtain the material. However, in the anime, the explanation regarding the quest system as well as the scene of them talking to the NPC were skipped.
The novel gave more insight into the game of SAO itself with the explanation of the quest system. If I had to choose, I think there was no need to explain the quest system in this episode. As I said earlier, this episode is about Kirito’s encounter with Lisbeth and their little adventure, and depicts the change in her feelings towards him. Although I like the depiction of the quest system in the novel, I believe it’s not a bad change to skip the explanation which is not directly related to the episode, in order to fit the episode into the 20-odd minute time frame.
The Changes in the Vocal Tone and Facial Expressions
This episode is condensed and missing many parts from the novel, most significantly the narratives, which depict Lisbeth’s inner thoughts in detail. Readers appreciate how her feelings for him gradually change while they stay together from ‘the most annoying man who destroyed her best sword’ to her love interest.
Conversely, in the anime, most of the narratives are skipped. However, viewers are still able to detect the change in Lisbeth’s feelings for Kirito from her vocal tone and facial expressions. The anime effectively utilizes sound and visuals, which is the most expressive power in anime, to skilfully express how her negative feelings for him change to positive ones. This change is more effective because Lisbeth is a person who is rich in emotions and has a very expressive face. The episode even manages to bring out her charms even further. I’m impressed how the production staff created this episode which depicts the important development, the change in Lisbeth’s feelings for Kirito, while cutting out many parts due to the time limitation.
(Next Page: The Changes at the Beginning and the Final Stage)