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Kirito is an Asshole

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Kirito is a really overpowered guy who attracts all the ladies by not doing very much in particular. I think he’s an asshole. But I kind of like him.

There’s just something about this guy. I never really self-inserted into his character since I don’t identify as a hardcore gamer and he doesn’t really have much of a personality to speak of, unless you count being a passive-aggressive dick to others as a personality. His brooding anti-hero persona just struck me as childish and ridiculous more than anything. So I can’t say that Sword Art Online had quite the same appeal to me as it has with others.

In fact, I went through this period in 2012 where I absolutely hated SAO because I seriously didn’t give a single crap about all the loving Kirito was getting. The problems with SAO and with Kirito’s role as a character are better expressed better by other bloggers, but suffice it to say that the story’s fixation on Kirito’s awesomeness made the other characters, the plot and the entire setting feel very unnatural, to say the least.

I’ve since loosened up with my opinions, so basically this is a post about how I learned to stop worrying and love the Gary Stu (despite him being an asshole). Maybe I was just jealous of him all along…!

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I actually quite often like polarising, widely-hated characters. I end up feeling sorry for the way the fans trash talk about them, which makes me look more closely for human qualities in them. That kind of explains why I like Suzaku from Code Geass so much. Suzaku is a slight major asshole too, so observing the ways in which Kirito is not the nicest person on the block endears me to his character.

The fact that the author of the story does not seem capable of seeing Kirito’s flaws makes it all the better, in fact! He’s made out to be so perfect that all of his weird, morally reprehensible things are rewarded too, like torturing Sugou. In that sense, reading Kirito’s character is like reading Kawahara Reki too – the storytelling is so indulgent you just can’t help but see the author’s own personality intruding, and it’s hard not to judge him for it.

Of course, there is the disturbing subtext that anti-social behaviour is okay and can get you the ladies, but instead of being fixated by the horrible messages, I prefer to make jokes about it, just like this tongue-in-cheek guide on How to Pick Up Chicks in Sword Art Online does.

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Basically, you shouldn’t be seeing Kirito as a hero. Nor should you be seeing him as an evil person, per se. In my eyes, he is a self-absorbed teenager with a passive-aggressive streak. Not quite the anguished hero the story likes to portray him as, huh?

For example, Kirito gender discriminates so blatantly it’s hilarious. With the exceptions of Klein and Agil, Kirito treats every male he meets with varying degrees of hostility while rushing to the rescue of every female he comes across. All the females in this show are drawn to be cute and attractive, while pretty much all the males besides Kirito are not as good-looking as he is or wears raepfaces.

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Even when Kirito is supposedly friendly with another guy, you can actually see him mentally comparing the size of his dick to the other guy. Kirito doesn’t actually say it, but he can’t stand the idea that anyone could be better than him. After he supposedly gets over his lone wolf attitude in the Aincrad arc, he actually still remains a lone wolf, only everyone loves him for it. He just has a certain swagger about him now.

In the first episode of the second season, there’s this ten minute long scene of him in a coffee shop with this other guy, and I actually found it way more entertaining than any of Kirito’s interactions with his harem, because Kirito does pretty much everything he can to piss off the other guy while looking all cute and innocent. He deliberately orders the most expensive stuff on the menu just because the other guy is paying for him, and the only reason why he even stays to listen at all is because he is getting cake. Very romantic.

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Even with Kirito’s interactions with his waifu, you get the sense that he is subtly trolling her at times. What’s this about them being equals? He doesn’t even tell her what he’s doing.

This aspect of his character is more strongly emphasised in the light novels, but you can still see it come through in the anime somewhat, especially in ALO and GGO. In fact, my interpretation of the ALO arc is that he was deliberately doing everything he could to piss off the audience. I wouldn’t put it past that bastard.

I might sound like I hate Kirito’s character, but I actually find him strangely cute, in an annoying little brother sort of way. Well, actually, as a person he reminds me of my older brother. In fact, Kirito looks uncannily like how my brother did when he was that age. (By extension, I happen to look a little like Kirito myself…) My brother has this baby-faced, effeminate look about him, which leads people – especially females – to endear themselves to him almost immediately, but he’s got this nasty streak to him once you get to know him, and holy shit is he one of the most annoying people you could ever live with. He does jack shit around the house and I bet Kirito is the same. The only difference between my brother and Kirito is that my brother knows he is an idiot, whereas Kirito does not. Oh, and my brother isn’t Gamer Jesus.

Just look at that face!

Does this look like the face of a troll to you?

So yeah, at first, I got pissed off at the idea that I was supposed to root for such an unlikable person in this show, but thinking about it more, I don’t think I hate Kirito as a person, despite being extremely negative on his role as a character. I mean, he does that same thing my brother does, which is deliberately play with swords in games where everyone else uses guns. And he pretends he’s weaker whenever he plays multiplayer games, only to pwn his opponents as soon as they let their guards down. And he likes making his characters wear black. I can’t bring myself to hate anyone who is such a stupid dork, even if he is an asshole.

Or maybe I decided I liked Kirito’s character because his GGO avatar is really hot.

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tldr; I’m enjoying the latest season of Sword Art Online and I AM NOT ASHAMED.

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Posted on July 9, 2014, in Funny Anime Stuff and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 54 Comments.

  1. Never take LN anything more than face-value, am I correct?

    (Two exception are Utsuro no Hako and Kino no Tabi. Plus some standalone books.)

    On a side note, do you watch Mobile Suit Gundam-san and Aldnoah.Zero? I’d like to hear your opinion.

    • Never take LN anything more than face-value, am I correct?

      Not sure how you got that message from this post, but if you’re saying that Sword Art Online is pretty dumb, then yeah, I would be inclined to agree. (It’s still fun, though!)

      As for the Gundam franchise, I’ve only finished Seed and 00, and I don’t have much interest in Aldnoah.Zero for now. But if you’re asking me for my opinion on the war drama mecha genre, I’d say that I do enjoy it, but those types of series are best marathoned. It’s very difficult to keep track of the characters in those sorts of series. Hence why I’m holding off on Aldnoah.Zero for now.

  2. Come on Froggy, main character = author is a horrible idea for analysis. Kawahara wrote AW, too, and the main character there is the polar opposite of Kirito, yet his approach ends up saving the day often enough (he believes himself to be worthless and everybody else to be superhuman, and often enough those others feel positively motivated to get their stuff together and answer his expectations, thus overcoming whatever trouble they are in).

    More justified is the case with the laws of the universe swinging a certain way. Ideas which could potentially be seen as sexist (I’m being kind here, am I not?) are repeated in both SAO and AW. I remember Niko in AW actually explaining to the main character why all the ladies are falling for him, and her explanation begins with “since girls are naturally weaker than boys, except when in-game…” xD.

    My favorite scene of SAO is when Kirito and Sugou fight IRL. Now, in the game both of them are gung-ho about it, with whoever has the advantage at the time pissing all over the opponent in a show of supreme maturity. But when they meet again in the real world, it takes a whole five seconds for both of them to start falling apart at the realization that doing the stabbity-stab on a flesh and blood opponent isn’t exactly quite as fun.

    That immaturity (quite natural, if you ask me) is shown consistently throughout the plot, with the coffee shop scene being yet another example. As such, Kirito is not supposed to be regarded as a pure and perfect hero. Which is exactly the point you put in bold, so I suppose we ultimately agree on the issue.

    • main character = author is a horrible idea for analysis

      Oops. I definitely don’t think Kirito = Kawahara Reki in terms of their personalities or anything, just that Kawahara’s ideas about people seem to slip into his portrayal of his characters, which is a fair assumption to make about any author. I did read somewhere that he thought his portrayal of Haruyuki was far superior to Kirito, which leads me to think that he sees Kirito as more of a product of his earlier, less self-aware writing. Unfortunately, I didn’t get far enough into Accel World to make a proper comparison or anything.

      It’s debatable whether the immaturity in SAO is a conscious decision of the author’s to simplify the storytelling for a younger audience or if it’s a product of his own immaturity. (I can’t help but lean towards the latter, personally.) Regardless, I’m glad you and I both agree that Kirito is not exactly a shining role model in his own community. lol.

      • You will always see me giving the optimistic interpretation a chance ;). A jaded approach is like a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you ask me,

      • I actually think Reki Kawahara’s stand-in, or how he sees himself, and the role of an author, is Kayaba Akihiko. After all, he too traps people in a world of his devising and then kills them ;-)

        More seriously, he too tries to recreate a world of his dreams, and invites others along.

        • Seeing as most characters ultimately adopt an at least somewhat understanding view of the man despite him being a homicidal maniac, that might well be true.

  3. I personally think the problem with Kirito is the same problem I have Katniss (Hunger Games), they’re SUPPOSED to be heroes who we root for but due to the poor first person writing, they have to vilify and insult anyone who’s not as cool or Sue as them.

    I think both Kawahara and Collins TRIED to make them these loner types who have SO MUCH BURDENS ON THEM!1 but fail to do so because of inadequate writing.

    But while Kirito is like an asshole teen who thinks he’s cool, Katniss comes off as a total bitch who could come off as a budding psychopath. She compares other Hunger Games participants as animals, she’s highly hypocritical and there’s an abundance of stupid shit she does because the author could not be bothered to do basic research on simple things like animal habits or plants.

    Praise God, the anime and film adaptation can’t do monologue because if they did, the audience would be asking for both of them to die horribly. Especially Katniss, fuck, what a bitch. Thankfully Jennifer Lawrence made her better.

    Is there some sort of demonic contract that states YA novels and LNs must be written in first person? Do people not know how utterly difficult it is to write in first person correctly? This is why first person should be only be used by veterans, not newbie writers. I honestly wonder how the stories and characters would change had they be written from multiple POVs and in third person.

    During my stay at the SAO site of FF (because I have nothing better to do), I notice that literally 99% CANNOT write Kirito because how do you write someone like him? You can’t because the guy’s so shallow. I once had an intense discussion with another writer on how to write Kirito and here’s what we got:

    1. Introverted.
    2. Trolls his friends.
    3. Will keep his own problems to himself.
    4. Thinks before acting,I say his emotions take control when his loved ones are in danger.
    5. Some sort of inferiority complex because he found he was adopted.
    6. Somewhat lacking in understanding people, can be blunt and insensitive.

    That’s the summary. And don’t get me started on the gaming stuff. “I always play solo on MMORPGs because people bother me.”

    THEN WHY THE FUCK DON’T YOU PLAY SINGLE PLAYER RPGS YOU TURD?!

    And don’t get me STARTED on the BS sword fighting. I don’t even practice HEMA but even I know longswords aren’t one handed weapons Kawahara you fuck of a writer abhjvsfjvnfv

    Sorry, angry rant over.

    Kirito has to measure his dick against everyone else because he’s Kawahara self insert. That is it, that’s the problem. Kawahara is writing Kirito as his personal self insert. No one can be better than Kirito because that means someone is better than Kawahara and we can’t have that now can we?

    Personally I’m gonna ignore what a real ass he is to his waifu and ‘friends’ and follow my headcanon. My headcanon is more of : “he’s a trolling ass who thinks he’s better than most and is arrogant about but he’s still a nice person.”

    “But isn’t that what canon!Kirito is?”

    Yes, but the difference is he KNOWS he can be an ass. In my fantasy world, Kirito’s a competently written character that knows games, that knows weapons and SAO is not a horribly designed game. And despite him being arrogant, he’s a genuinely nice guy.

    Thank God for fanfiction.

    Now excuse me, I’ll have to do my schoolwork and write more of chapter 5 because I haven’t updated in months.

    PS: Despite knowing how GGO is gonna turn out, I do enjoy it. The OP is probably my fav of the three so far. Please don’t have them screw up Sinonon. Btw, can we expect a post about Sinon being best girl?

    PSS: Trap!Kirito: “Don’t you wish your boyfriend was a trap like me?” Kirito’s avatar is totally hot is what I’m saying.

    PSS: Rule of Three

    • Why am I having a bad feeling about your fanfic…

      Think Kirito is hard? Try Ichika Orimura. He is basically a blank paper.

    • Actually, SAO is written in third-person, not first-person, and Kirito’s snarky attitude is much more subdued than the average LN protagonist.

      I feel you on Kirito being hard to write, since he is essentially a blank slate. When I was in the SAO fandom, I wrote a document full of headcanon just so I could write him properly, and besides what you’ve listed and what I’ve written about in this post, I came up with the following:

      1) Knows a lot about gaming/technology, terrible at general knowledge
      2) An elitist. The reason he plays MMOs solo is because he likes comparing himself to others. Single player RPGs don’t do it for him.
      3) His social awkwardness is both a cause and a symptom of his gaming habits. He uses his hardcore gaming as a way of compensating for the fact that he doesn’t look or feel very masculine.

      Asuna is even more of a cipher, but according to my headcanon she is a perfectionist, unsure of herself, has a tendency to latch onto others instead of relying on herself, but also wants to play at being independent. This is reflected in her uneasy relationship with her parents and also with her tendency to think of Kirito as the entire centre of her universe.

      Fireminer is completely right about Ichika, by the way. The most I got out of his character is that he’s a masochist, a siscon and feels deeply inadequate about his own masculinity. I personally like Kirito better than Ichika.

      Also, I have plans to write about Sinon when we see less of her arse and more of her personality.

      Cheers!

      • I must have mixed SAO with another series then.

        Well your SAO fics are great, so I totally approve.

        I like that idea 2 and 3, gives me a few ideas. And Asuna’s focus on Kirito is disturbing, it has terrible implications.

        At least there’s always Sinon.

    • arbitrary_greay

      We were supposed to root for Katniss?
      I got the impression that Collins intentionally wrote her as unlikable to show how damaged the whole setting is. Peeta is the one we’re supposed to root for. Katniss’s behavior shows how her world makes people into near-sociopaths just to survive, and her main motivations, besides survival, revolve around protecting the people she perceives to have remained human despite the inhuman conditions they’re growing up in: Primrose, Rue, and Peeta.
      Katniss is broken. Even she acknowledges that. Unlike with Kirito, who is always in control of the situation, and everyone loves him for it, and his flaws are treated as advantages and traits to be desired, Katniss is contantly in the power of others. Even in the rebellion, she’s just a figurehead while the adults do the real work, and the love others have for her is always framed as tragic, unhealthy, or bittersweet at most, never romantic. (With the Katniss/Peeta ending being all three at the same time! You’re never going to see that for SAO’s harem-building.)

      Hunger Games isn’t perfect by any means. I didn’t like Katniss that much, either. But its writing quality is so far ahead of SAO that any comparison, especially that of Katniss and Kirito, is laughable.

      • Oh yes, Hunger Games is leagues above SAO for sure. That being said, it really shows how writers can write ‘heroes’ that are really unlikable. I still think that wasn’t Collins’ attention to view Katniss that way while Kirito is just a Sue.

        Would recommend this blogger named Dragon Quill. Covers a variety of stuff chapter to chapter, Hunger Games especially.

  4. So, personally, I’ve had a big crush on Kirito for a looooong time. Still respect your opinion, but…agree to disagree, nya?

    Makino-chan <3

    • Don’t worry, I understand you. I might call Kirito an asshole, but I say it in the most affectionate way possible if that makes sense. I find him ridiculously endearing.

      • Oh, yes! I totally get it! As I said, I respect your opinion and though he may be pretty idiotic at points, we can’t help but love him even if it’s only a little bit, right?

        Maki-chan <3

  5. Not a masochist. He got better by Vol.9, knows which button not to push.

    (However, trying to live with being tied to a balloon with your IS nullified is still hard. At least Izuru admitted his flaws.)

    On the topic, if Kirito is the immature of the author, could Tatsuya be the same? I don’t think so, but what about you?

    Personally, every protagonist is a projection of the author’s ideals (even the most twisted ones.) Being too nice to them is an act of slacking off to yourself. Put them in trials, or better yet, break them and then kill them. Only throught pain could ideals be truly materialized, like fire tempering steel.

    For example, the only fanfic idea I have got for SAO is that everyone is death, Gun Gale is where everyone kill each other, and the best part? Kirito is in Purartory without knowing, litterary.

    • Ah, I didn’t read the IS novels, so I’m just going by how Ichika comes off in the anime. Seems like the kind of guy who willingly accepts beatings from his harem, because they’re girls, but would stand up for them if they were ever in danger.

      Tatsuya… I actually suspect the author went well out of his way to write a character who isn’t like him. (Nobody can be like Tatsuya!) Tatsuya is a projection of all the ideals a normal person could not possibly achieve, but also tinged with darkness to make him edgier and more interesting – to the author, at least.

      I’m not sure I’d agree that being too nice to one’s protagonists is inherently self-indulgence on the part of the author’s, but I agree that characters need conflict, whether it’s inner or outer conflict. Otherwise, they’re not people, seeing as conflict is what makes us so human.

      On the other hand, torturing one’s characters and making them all suffer for their ideals is also self-indulgence on the author’s part, albeit in a more sadistic fashion.

  6. arbitrary_greay

    I read this hilarious one-shot the other day of Lightning, Cloud, and Squall from Final Fantasy being elitist hipsters in college snarking at each other in the local coffee shop.

    Now I want to see something similar for Kirito and Tatsuya. They both too “chivalrous” to do a “bitches, man,” but there would definitely be “imoutos, man,” and then they could argue about the merits of corporations and government, before agreeing on pulling yourself up by your own badass bootstraps. Bonus points if they snark on each other’s fashion.

    The two really are much more entertaining when they’re not protagonists, but That Unfairly Favored Asshole character that Seth Rogen comedies have popularized.

    • Please, PLEASE link me to this oneshot.

      About Kirito and Tatsuya, yeah, they are way more entertaining in scenes when they’re being snarky and the plot isn’t overtly favouring them at the time. But for what it’s worth, Kirito > Tatsuya, because while they’re both passive-aggressive dicks, Kirito is at heart an awkward, well-meaning boy, while Tatsuya is so… idek. Also, as it turns out, it’s more entertaining to watch someone do awesome things rather than watch people talk about someone doing awesome things.

      Tatsuya would most likely pwn Kirito in a verbal duel because he’s so much more composed, though. They’re not on the same level at all.

      • arbitrary_greay

        Here you go. Enjoy!

        The differences are what would make such a conversation interesting! Both are ideal power fantasies, but in different ways. Tatsuya is perfect in a way that really should make him not the main character, but the legendary figure that the actual MC examines, (Something like The Unlimited Hyobu Kyosuke. My own thought was Gwydion from The Prydain Chronicles.) while Kirito is more of a character for audience self-insertion. And while both ultimately find meritocracy to be true, Kirito has a dim view of those who thrive in such a system, including himself, and wants to believe in egalitarian characters like Diabel, Keita, and Yulier, even while they are unsuccessful and need his help. In contrast, although Tatsuya does not reject helping others, he does not have a similar sympathy for other systems. Likely, Kirito would argue that the system is fair, but inhuman, and so hope for a better one, and Tatsuya would argue that its practicality is better than inevitably corrupted executions of the other more sentimental systems.

        Both are the type to be more likely to make Abridged parodies of something, than to create original media.

  7. Although others may gripe at the lack of action in the first episode of the new season, I actually kind of dug it because we got a little bit more insight into Kirito, who’s out of his element in the real world. He comes off as confident and insanely strong in the RPG world but in the real world, he’s really just a sassy brat, just like every other teenager out there.

    I did find myself raising eyebrows at the notion of calling Kirito an “expert” on virtual reality physics. I mean, the guy’s just really good at video games.

  8. My engagement with the SAO franchise is limited to having watched the TV series once, but I never really had a strongly negative reaction to Kirito as a person. His mode of being generally strikes me less as self-absorbed alpha-male status jockeying and more as a comprehensible response to the world he’s presented with. Granted, that world is narratively rigged to reward him for being a cipher for reactionary geek empowerment, but I don’t hold that against the guy himself. Like you, I’m not crazy about his thematic role, but I don’t dislike him as a person.

    Of course, you could say that the temptation to accept him as only responding to the world that he’s given is just a sign of Kawahara’s ingenious success at subverting critical responses to his thematic framework. I.e., even if some viewers reject the story’s ideological commitments on a conceptual level, they’ll still end up with some kind of affective investment in them by means of sympathetic engagement with the characters.

    I’ll acknowledge that there’s probably some of that going on in my case, but, at least on a conscious level, I don’t think my sympathy for Kirito has too much to do with his status as geek Ubermensch. Rather, I think it’s mostly a response to his backstory, especially his experience with Suguha and their grandfather. Dude had a fairly rough time of it in his 10th year of life: he failed humiliatingly at kendo, and thereby violently lost one of his few remaining ties to his biological parents–unless I’m mistaken in remembering gramps as being on his mother’s side?–only to be rescued by the sister who turned out not to be his biological sister after all. After that, I’d probably be a bit of a secretive, manipulative jerk too.

    In any case, as of yesterday I was on the fence about whether to watch GGO or not. Reading your post and thinking about this stuff has gotten me excited for it after all–cheers. :)

    • Personally, I never really sympathised with Kirito’s tragic backstory and thought it was rather tacked on. I thought that a lot of his personality traits make sense even if (especially if) he never experienced any severe hardship in life before Aincrad. His loneliness isn’t necessarily caused by the world not accepting him but by him not accepting the world. We’ve all been there, so I thought that including a sob story about him losing his parents misses the finer point about why so many people retreat into gaming in the first place. But I do sympathise with his troubles with his grandfather, which go a long way to explaining his feelings of emasculation and why he wants to protect girls.

      And yeah, glad I got you hyped for GGO! The first episode is uneventful, but it’s already a lot stronger than the ALO arc and there should be some good action scenes ahead.

      • Yeah, it’s not that I would describe him as having experienced an exceptionally high level of blunt trauma; it’s just that, as you say, his particular experience of emasculation makes his drive to reassert his status in the patriarchal order comprehensible. I agree that a lack of serious engagement with other persons as persons is also a factor, but his experience with gramps and Suguha is pretty compelling to me as a partial explanation of his orientation towards the world. He reminds me a bit of Kanba Takakura in that respect: the guardedness, the tendency to keep his cards close to his chest more than is perhaps instrumentally rational, the practical and genealogical sense of alienation from his family, the feeling of being fated to bear the thankless responsibility of taking care of those less capable than himself, especially girls, especially girls in the family, etc.

        That said, sure, if we’re talking about the aesthetic subtlety and power with which these things are expressed, SAO is no Penguindrum. ;)

  9. Not torture. Have you read “How Steel was Tempered” and “The Gadfly”? These are two prime example of how to make common men become hero – without any bullshit that make them less human.

    I suppose that LN is the equivalence of Pulp Fiction in the West, especially Men’s Adventure stories. Cynism, exaggeratism being printed. Why not return to the simplicity of Osamu Tezuka and Hayao Myazaki, developing complex but real characters instead of complex, even ridiculous plot? Why not treat LN as an Art?

    • nosohryuforyou

      Complex, real characters can make even a simple plot into something fascinating, while uninteresting, unbelievable characters can make even a fascinating plot seem tedious.

      Sadly, I think that many authors are better at creating plots than characters because observing and understanding human nature is actually pretty damn difficult. And it’s a skill mostly unrelated to the other skills you need to construct a story. Much easier to show your audience how a character behaves than to explain why they behave that way. Harder still to deliver that explanation in an organic way rather than an exposition dump.

      There’s a reason Hayao Miyazaki and Osamu Tezuka are hailed as masters of their art.

  10. I think the best Kirito is the one from Swort Art Online Abridged, where he just fully embraces the fact he’s a lovable sociopathic asshole. That makes the whole thing so much better. If this show had enough self awareness to play that card it would have been one hundred times more entertaining. In other words, Kirito should have been more like a gamer version of Hachiman (watching Oregairu right now thanks to your post of a few days ago and definitely liking it more than SAO! …also I must say that the LN I read is written quite well. Or maybe that’s just your translation being good).

    • I’m with you on Sword Art Online Abridged being more entertaining than the actual anime. Now if only they made more episodes…

      Sudden thought, though: if Hachiman were stuck in Sword Art Online, he probably would have waited on the first floor the whole time. The entire anime would just be him walking around and complaining about all the other people who are too scared to leave the first town. …I’d watch that.

      (Thanks for the compliments about my translations, by the way! That made my day.)

      • If only SAO and Oregairu were made by the same studio, that incredible collaboration might’ve happened :'( I kinda understand how Kirito could be endearing, but I’m hoping that he’ll show more of his effeminate side in this series. I don’t mind him at the moment, but with his super hot avatar I can only guess there’ll be some role reversal with regards to the usual gender cliches. Kirito being the damsel in distress would just be adorable. As much as I disliked the second half of SAO, I’m really enjoying the current series. I just wish they’d shut up about Yui…

        On a side note, OREGAIRU SEASON 2 HYPE!!! I just hope they don’t ruin it by making the romance too prominent.

      • Well, but what if he had already good skills and knowledge at the game? Wouldn’t he have jumped on the lonely “let’s make everyone else look like a n00b” bandwagon?

        Not that I know him well enough yet – I’m just at episode 2. Which cracked me up with how it took the piss off its own genre. “Here this girl strips for absolutely no reason” X’D. Anyway yeah, that would have made for a more interesting anime anyway – in the end, it’s all about characters having flaws, something, whatever, making them relatable. It’s that simple. No Game No Life was a silly power fantasy with a gamer being transported in a world where his skills make him overpowered, with siscon undertones and a poorly thought out plot. Why was it infinitely more endearing than SAO? Because Sora is an asshole half of the time and a cowardly hikikomori the other half, and he doesn’t even try to hide it (or is very bad at doing so). Kirito is much more boring by comparison. It’s hilarious that he says it himself… “there nothing more boring that watching other people play an RPG”. True story, bro.

        By the way, what’s with Oregairu and alliterating names? Is that a thing?

        • Truth be told, I really hated Sora because of how outwardly smug he was. Kirito seems a lot more, well, innocent in comparison, and 8man flat out knows he’s wrong. But I agree that No Game No Life has a lot more energy to it than SAO and is a much more competently constructed show in general. I’m just very ambivalent about it.

          The alliterating names in Oregairu seems kind of a light novel thing. The other LN I was translating, Hentai Ouji, did exactly the same thing with the naming scheme. I suppose it’s a way to bring attention to the fact that it’s very much a “meta” narrative.

          • Or maybe it’s just a way to make for more easily remembered names. I remember hearing that’s the reason why Stan Lee used to do it a lot back in the day (check out the Marvel Universe: Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Matt Murdock, Reed Richards, Susan Storm… the list goes on).

      • Hachiman staying on the first floor complaining about people too scared to leave?

        Yeah that would be awesome. I can easily imagine him pointing out and criticizing himself for the being a hypocritic at the same time.

      • Froggy, need a fanfic of Hachiman inside SAO’s world, like nao :D

  11. The only thing I can identify with Kirito is his lone wolf gamer attitude because that’s pretty much how I roll as well in MMO games. Otherwise, he’s a rather forgettable character.

  12. Hasn’t Kirito always had been an asshole? He’s an elitist, arrogant and seems to possess an extreme level of sexism xD

    I can’t say I really identify with Kirito, even including how he acts inside the game. I’m personally an introvert person, and while I have little problems conversing IRL despite my introversion; it’s the internet where I can feel more at ease and converse more open-mindedly. And with that being said, I see no point in keeping a lone wolf altitude even in MMORPG. In fact, I identify myself more with Shiroe of Log Horizon. Especially in a MMORPG where I know I will stick around for a long time, I value friends, guilds and parties more than anything, and I often choose jobs where I know will be more party-focused like clerics or mages.

  13. To be fair, Kirito IS a mid-era teenager and therefore not prone to thinking ahead, or making good decisions, or reflecting fairly, and the story is written in such a way that it channels him…
    Gotta give Kawahara bonus points for being able to capture the YA mentality well =P

    I’m finding it bit amusing that, after countless hours spent editing/proofreading the volume 1 translation for SAO… I can’t remember WHY Kirito and Asuna likes each other.
    …So as a romantic literary medium, something clearly failed =P

    • To be fair it’s not really a romance. It’s an action story that has romance in it.

      • A lot of action/adventure series have beautiful and memorable romances in it… and if I had to give SAO three genre tags, Romance is one of them (given the prominence of Kirito/Asuna). So… yeah. ^^”

        • At this point, the “Twilight for boys” description comes to mind :P

          • Asuna watches Kirito in his sleep… wait she already does that!

            Asuna needs to disable Kirito’s NERVgear to prevent him from interacting with other girls! Oh wait that wouldn’t work since he’s such a charmer… (though I do know girls who are big Kirito fans ^^”).

  14. I’ve always kind of felt sorry for Sword Art Online. It”s like a lot of anime watchers see it as this giant punching bag or something. I’ve heard tales of Kiritio’s conquests, and it sounds disturbing. But I think if I was to watch the series I’d end up liking him out of pity for how widely hated he is. He does sound like kind of an asshole though. Congrats on enjoying SAO!

    • Yep, SAO is like a puppy that keeps getting kicked down. The hate is just really overblown. I know the anime is pretty silly overall, but I do genuinely enjoy parts of it. You should probably give SAO a shot sometime. Who knows? You might even like it!

      • I actually watched the first episode about a year or so ago and thought it was really good! I was so oblivious to the anime community back then that I had no idea it was very well known. I Intended to, but I never went back to it (anime burnout). I’m sort of afraid to watch it now, since I know about most of its problems. I don’t want to watch it if I’m just looking for things to criticise, that doesn’t sound fun at all. It actually sounds mean-spirited towards people who do enjoy it. Maybe some day further down the line..

  15. Is there space for a second rant?
    Really, SAO being the first anime I ever watched gives me a bias, but I’ve heard it was the same for others. SAO is the gateway to anime for some people. But when I read all the hate, and see all the flaws, it makes me unable to watch it. I think I enjoyed the series, but now I can’t bear to look at it. I love it because without it I couldn’t find the other animes I watch today, so that kinda tears me apart.
    Done.

    I do see Kirito as sort of an OP brat, but that’s the way he’s written. It’s funny in a lot of scenes though.

  16. SAO is an anime u either love or hate. One thing I have noticed is some people’s hate for kirito. I got sick of it an had to put in an opinion. One problem is that people say he’s boring. Ok seriously he has spent the last 4 years after he found out he was adopted playing video games. He’s not social because he hasn’t had much practice. Plus most guys are guarded it’s just how they r. Still he makes jokes an has fun just like any character. He’s also not obsessed with games. Gaming was his way of escaping the realization that the first 10 years of his life his family had lied to him. That’s natural for people to find a way to cope. People also say he’s self centered also false. Kirito is more selfless then self centered. He was willing to die to end SAO an he always trying to help people. He knows when he makes mistakes as shown after Sachi’s death an him ditching Klien. He never forgave himself. And yes does he flirt yes what guy won’t. Most of the time he doesn’t even realize he’s doing it. If u watch SAO closely you’ll realize with most of the girls who fell for him, he didn’t really do anything flirty instead he was just caring. Any girl is attracted to a guy that cares. Anyway that’s my input. If you still hate kirito that’s your problem. We all have our opinions.

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