Sword Art Online: Alicization - 1.09 Nobleman's Responsibilities

Nobleman's Responsibilities continues the story of Kirito and Eugeo as they train at Swordcraft Academy, now as Elite Disciples. Unlike previous episodes set in the Underworld, this story focuses more on Eugeo and his conflict with Humbert and Raios, two aristocratic students who have been tormenting our heroes for quite some time. It's refreshing to see an episode that isn't centered on Kirito (even though he is the main character, it is rather tiring when the story is all about him).

This episode started off like earlier episodes, in that Eugeo gets the upper hand in a fight with Humbert (much like Kirito in his duel with Levantein), but it quickly goes in a very dark direction. It comes out over the course of the episode that Humbert is making his page Frenica (the younger student he is supposed to be mentoring) do...inappropriate... things (in an attempt to get a rise out of Eugeo that might get him thrown out of the academy).

Given how they were talking around what had actually happened, I thought it was going to come out that Frenica had been sexually assaulted (it wouldn't be the first time, as it nearly happened to Asuna in season one of Sword Art Online). That turned out to not be the case, but it still surprised me how we quickly went from regular training to a serious situation like this. Given that Humbert and Raios have been thorns in the side of Kirito and Eugeo for several episodes now, I wouldn't be surprised to see them get their comeuppance before long.

There's also a great moment in this episode when Kirito lays out his feelings on the responsibilities that come with being a nobleman (or anyone in power for that matter, hence the title of the episode). Basically, those in power have an obligation to help those with no power, regardless of whether or not it violates the Taboo Index.

I found it very interesting that Kirito mentioned not exactly following the Taboo Index, as that happens to be one of the goals the real world developers of the Underworld want to see happen. Perhaps Kirito is going to unwittingly help fulfill this goal? Given the high regard in which everyone holds the Taboo Index, I could see this kind of talk getting Kirito in trouble before long.

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