Ep 14 – “The End of the World” / “Sekai no Shūen” (世界の終焉)
After a hard fought battle and many losses, the Knights of Blood Oath and other allies defeat the Skull Reaper, boss of the 75th floor. While resting, Kirito deduces that Heathcliff is, in fact, Akihiko Kayaba himself, by exposing him as an “Immortal Object”. Akihiko paralyzes everyone except Kirito, and reveals that he would have been the final floor’s boss. He offers Kirito the chance to face him in a one-on-one duel as a reward for finding out his true identity. If Kirito wins, Akihiko will consider the game cleared and log out all the remaining players. After giving his best wishes to the others, Kirito accepts the challenge. During the battle, Asuna sacrifices herself to save Kirito, despite the fact that she is paralyzed and so should be unable to move. After Asuna dies, Kirito is stricken by grief, and attacks Heathcliff with little will. Heathcliff easily kills Kirito, but Kirito overrides the Death system, recovering at zero health and killing Heathcliff. By doing this, Kirito clears the game. Suddenly, Kirito and Asuna find themselves on a mysterious platform high over Aincrad. Kayaba tells Kirito and Asuna that he just wanted to create a world that everyone imagined in their hearts. He then bids farewell to the couple, and congratulates them on clearing the game. Kirito and Asuna tell one another their real names, Kazuto Kirigaya and Asuna Yuuki, and embrace each other as the world falls apart. In the real world, Kazuto awakes in a hospital. Despite being physically weak, he sets off in search of the real Asuna.