GGO, Fan Letter, and Death Game
The second and third episodes of GGO Alternative are essentially character development and world building, so let’s start by taking a close look at Llenn. If you haven’t yet started watching GGO Alternative, watch the first episode and then click here for my first GGO Alternative article. In real life, Llenn is a college age woman named Karen Kohiruimaki, Kohi for short. She is originally from Hokkaido, Japan. She’s extremely tall… if the show clarified exactly how tall, I didn’t catch it, however I’ve read from outside sources that she is 5’11. In Japan, this is EXTREMELY tall for a woman, and we see that in this episode as Karen doesn’t have many friends and people stare as she walks by. She moved to Tokyo to attend an all women’s college and find change, at first finding none. Although, she has at least one friend in Tokyo named Miyu who is an adept VRMMO player.
The VRMMO Spark
Of course, what else could spark her interest in VRMMO’s other than seeing the news about Sword Art Online… It’s a nice little throwback to the original show and we get a glimpse of Aincrad on the TV screen. Karen is completely unconcerned with any possible danger; she is enamored by the idea of becoming a different person and living in a different reality than the harsh one she faces each day.
Karen tries 37 different VR games, having bad experiences with each, before she falls into GGO and gets the avatar that is exactly to her liking. A tiny Loli girl. A perfect match for a game about gun violence, obviously.
Now this has nothing to do with Llenn, but after watching this episode, I’m ready to go back to boot camp. There is one condition, however. All of my drill instructors have to be exactly like this one. They can call me a dung beetle and a maggot all day. In fact, I’ll probably shoot terrible on purpose just so we can hang out longer. Alright… moving on.
The Pink Devil
The entire reason Llenn wants to play GGO is to “become a cute girl”. Everything about what she does, at least for now, is based entirely on that premise. This is how she comes to change her colors to all pink, despite that being completely not ideal for a shooting game. Come to find out, it doesn’t matter right now that she’s pink anyway, because she somehow has a cloaking ability. Maybe we’ll get some explanation on that later? It’s also mentioned twice in this episode that her favorite singer is Elsa Kanzaki. I have a theory about why this is important, but I’ll get to it when we talk more about Pitohui.
Thus, the Pink Devil is born. As Llenn learns how to play the game, and as she learns more about herself inside GGO, she transitions into a Player Killer. She prefers rolling solo and wears a disguise when she isn’t in the desert hunting other players. My gut tells me she’s doing this because it helps to release her resentment and hard feelings toward everyone in the real world who treats her differently. After all, who doesn’t get some stress relief from mindlessly shooting things in a video game? This is starting to sound fun. Maybe I’ll be a cute, pink little girl in a shooting game one day when we have VRMMO’s… who’s with me?
Pitohui and P-chan
… Now, enter Pitohui, who immediately befriends Llenn. She’s mysterious, wears all black, and has face tattoos. According to her, the face tattoos are to ward off all of the sleazy men since there is a shortage of women in GGO. I find this absolutely hilarious because tattoos are extremely taboo in Japan, so it makes perfect sense from that point of view . On the other hand, I love tattoos and have many myself, so I find it to be more attractive. Pito is a GGO veteran and doesn’t like music, but for now not much about her is revealed; so let’s stick with Llenn for the time being. Pito helps Llenn pick out her new weapon… a P-90 sub machine gun which she so originally names “P-chan”. The scene after Llenn gets her new gun is fantastic. Pito casually tells Llenn that she has to feed P-chan plenty of enemy blood. To a calming backdrop of piano music, Llenn has this to say.
Llenn makes it sound ridiculously adorable, and extremely natural, so I guess we’ll go with it. I can dig it.
I’m going right into the third episode, “Fan Letter”, here, because it is more of the same. We glean a little more info on Pito as she explains what the Squad Jam is to Llenn… Pito was a part of the Bullet of Bullets tournament that our very own Kirito and Sinon were a part of… the one with Death Gun. Fascinating. She all but mentions them by name. Pito really wants Llenn to fight in the Squad Jam tournament… claiming she has a wedding to attend that Sunday and that she can’t. Hmm, interesting. What else is interesting is the little comment about dying in real life. It’s meant to be taken lightly, but considering what show we are watching, I find it difficult to take it lightly. I think we just saw some foreshadowing. Death in real life might be tied to this Squad Jam in some way…
Pitohui is attuned to Llenn’s predicament in the real world, which she admits is because she has the same predicament in her life. She uses GGO as an outlet to blow off steam.
“I’m saying whatever we can’t do in reality, let’s take them to the extreme here!”
But who is she? What is her name in real life, and what is she running from? The next few minutes of the episode zone in on the fact that Elsa Kanzaki’s concert is the same day as the Squad Jam. Maybe I’m looking into it too much, but I think they are connected.
Is it possible that Pitohui is Elsa Kanzaki in real life? Does she play GGO to escape into a world where no one knows who she is?
This is my current theory about Pito… whether right or wrong, something about her doesn’t add up. Everything just doesn’t quite make sense. Elsa Kanzaki has to have a bigger role in GGO than what we can see right now. The episode is called “Fan Letter”, with the title being dedicated to the last 3 minutes or so of the episode, where Karen sends a fan letter to Elsa Kanzaki. Is Pito going to receive this letter in real life? Maybe Pito is really attending a wedding on the day of the Squad Jam, but I’m just not buying it. I think Pito can’t compete in Squad Jam because she has a concert she has to perform at. Either way, Pito’s true identity is an intriguing aspect of the show to me right now. What do you think? Is it possible that Pito is Elsa Kanzaki in real life? Let me know in the comments below.
M, Llenn, and Squad Jam
Enter M, the weapons expert from the first episode who we still don’t know much about. He is to be Llenn’s partner in the Squad Jam, and takes it upon himself to train her for it.
This takes us into the fourth episode, called “Death Game”. I find M to be a relatively uninteresting and annoying character, as the show currently stands. However, he provides the main theatrical element of this episode at the very end. This entire episode, while being entertaining, doesn’t hold much content worthy to be spoken about. It’s a continuation of the Squad Jam from where we left off in the first episode, picking up where Llenn cleans out the combat pros with her “I just jumped out of a suitcase” ambush. By the way, it’s just as awesome watching it in this episode as it was seeing it the first time. “Death Game” is also complete with sufficiently more gunfights and more “Look at me, I’m M and I know things about guns.”
There are only a few takeaways for this episode, overall and also in terms of character development. M is a trained sniper, able to shoot without the game assist. Not much of a surprise considering his knowledge of weapons. His ability to shoot of his own skill, withholding from pulling the trigger until he is ready to fire, allows him to shoot his enemies without a bullet line. This advantage is what allows them to wipe out the boat crew. We also can’t forget how Llenn finishes off the last guy with like 4 magazines. I was still unsure whether or not he was dead when she was finished. I thought he could have used a few more rounds point blank.
Turning the Tables
The crowning moment of the episode, and its real motive for existence, is when M pulls his weapon on Llenn. His intent is to kill her. From what we know so far, this makes literally no sense. But there are things we don’t know. And if you didn’t know, there is a scene at the end of the ending song for this episode. Keep watching, and you’ll find out that Llenn dodges M’s shot with her lightning agility and turns the tables on him. With P-chan at the ready, she demands an explanation.
Among the things I don’t understand are how M, this big emotionless brute, bursts into pathetic tears begging for his life. This is the evidence I present to say that what I said earlier may hold true. There is more to this game that we are currently being told. Death in real life may somehow be a result of this, and M is not prepared to die.
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