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Sword Art Online

 Sword Art Online
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 Sword Art Online
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Sword Art Online
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All spoilers regarding the Aincrad, Fairy Dance, Phantom Bullet and Mother's Rosario arcs are unmarked. Examples pertaining to the Alicization, Moon Cradle, and Unital Ring arcs can be spoiler tagged if deemed necessary.Advertisement:propertag.cmd.push(function() { proper_display('tvtropes_mobile_ad_1'); })Imagine that gaming has advanced to the point where you no longer watch from the other side of the television screen but are right there in the world, experiencing full immersion of all your senses and controlling your character as easily as your own body.The first game to utilize this technology is Sword Art Online, a fantasy MMORPG created by Akihiko Kayaba, the inventor of the very device used to play it. However, a sinister trap awaits the first ten-thousand players who log into the system: they discover that they cannot log out, effectively trapping them within the game.Kayaba issues an ultimatum: beat the Final Boss on the 100th floor, and everyone will be allowed to log out. If, however, a player's HP should ever be reduced to zero, then the headset used to play the game will unleash a pulse of microwave radiation to fry their brain, killing them in the real world. The same fate awaits them if anyone in the real world attempts to remove them from the game by force.Advertisement:propertag.cmd.push(function() { proper_display('tvtropes_mobile_ad_2'); })A swordsman player named Kirito is one of the fated ten-thousand. He holds the advantage of having beta-tested the game before becoming trapped, giving him prior knowledge of the game layout and its combat systems, but he struggles to make attachments and prefers being a solo player. Now, he and every other player in Sword Art Online must fight to survive in a virtual world that has become all too real to them, facing not only the various monsters and traps lurking inside the game, but also the player killers that are the worst that Sword Art Online has to offer.As of this writingnote Spring 2019 there are eight main arcs:
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Look Behind You
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Look Behind You: In Intermission: Reason for the Whiskersnote previously known as Continuation: Aria in the Starless Night, Kirito says this to Kotarou and Isuke from the Fūmaningun guild who cornered both Argo and himself. They don't believe him at first, thinking it's a trick, but it isn't because a Trembling Ox just spawned behind them.
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Supernatural Gold Eyes
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Supernatural Gold Eyes: Happens a few times to Kirito in the anime, usually as a means to showcase how absolutely committed he is to a task (coming Back from the Dead to kill Heathcliff, or trying to reach the top of the World Tree amidst the Guardians' attacks). Yui gains one when using her ability as a Navi Pixie in her Human form after getting through the door in The World Tree.
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Anyone Can Die
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Anyone Can Die: Due to the GM making that the new rule, this is in effect, and they're also killed in the real world if their character's HP reaches 0. Even characters that you think are going to be mains because they appear in the opening wind up biting it.
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Gatling Good
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In Episode 2 of Season 2, Sinon and her pug crew shit themselves when they realise the unknown target they'd dismissed is the well known mercenary player Behemoth, who's packing a minigun. Even better, Sinon herself wanted to snipe him first over the guy packing a light machine gun (FN Minimi) specifically due to the fact that he was an unknown.
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Super Reflexes
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Super Reflexes: Kirito has the best reflexes in SAO, which Kayaba explains is why he received the Dual Blades skill. This carries on into other games using The Seed (SAO's engine): in GGO, for example, he can dodge bullets. Zekken Yuuki has even faster reflexes than Kirito; he suspects that if she'd been in SAO, she would have gotten the Dual Blades skill instead of him.
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Bloodless Carnage
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Bloodless Carnage: It's a game; of course it's bloodless. Averted when it comes to real-world fights like the one outside the hospital. Also averted in the VR environment, Underworld. The anime manages to get away with gore under a technicality because of this trope. The Phantom Bullet adaptation for one gets away with digital amputation, digital shotguns fired point blank into a player's face, and even a player's model getting realistically torn in half from a .50 caliber round and letting us see his 'legs fly into the distance! But hey, there's no blood and it's only a game, so it's okay!
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Heal It with Water
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Heal It with Water: The Undines are water-based fairies who specialize in healing magic.
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Heroic BSoD
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Alicization Part 6: Quinella kills Eugeo and the GDS' attack on Ocean Turtle puts Kirito in a Heroic BSoD and Angst Coma.
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Trailers Always Spoil
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Trailers Always Spoil: A variant. The opening shows Kirito and Asuna beating the monster they're shown fleeing in terror from in Episode 9.
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Darker and Edgier
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Darker and Edgier: How do you make a series about a Virtual Reality MMORPG playing Your Mind Makes It Real to its logical conclusion (i.e., The Most Dangerous Video Game) darker after that? How about making the next villain an insane sociopath who intends to rape the hero's girlfriend/in-game wife, who is also the former's real-life fiancée, after he's done with her mind. Then right after that having a protagonist who shot a bank robber to death as a child and was ostracized as a result?
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Warp Whistle
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Warp Whistle: Crystals in SAO, which allow you to instantly return to the level's town area. Unfortunately, certain dungeons have anti-crystal fields.
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Tempting Fate
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Tempting Fate: Episode 3 is filled to the brim with this. When talking to Sachi, Kirito keeps saying, "you'll survive," "you won't die," "you'll get out," and even when they're in the dungeon, one party member mentions how this will be a piece of cake. Cue Total Party Kill. After Kirito joins the Knights of the Blood Oath, Godfree takes him an Kuradeel on an assessment for the beater's "reaction to danger". Kuradeel turns out to be Laughing Coffin, and paralyzes them so they can't react to danger — namely, the danger of being hacked to death by a "red player".
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Badass Adorable
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Badass Adorable: Asuna, Sinon, and Silica all have their moments. They are very good players who usually will show their adorable sides when they are with Kirito or their friends.
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Relationship Upgrade
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In-universe. Kirito and Asuna's Relationship Upgrade. Asuna prepares to go all the way... and Kirito explains that he meant they should stick together to watch out for assassins. It's a while before he can placate an embarrassed, raging Asuna, and the romantic mood is completely destroyed. Not that they let that stop them...
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Apple of Discord
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Apple of Discord: A particular guild (called, appropriately enough, Golden Apple) found a rare item that granted a substantial stat boost to its wearer. Some guild members wanted to sell it for money, while others believed it would be better to keep it for themselves. The decision was put to vote, and the majority agreed it should be sold. The guild leader went off personally to sell it but died mysteriously. Because of suspicions that the murderer was a fellow guild member, the guild fell apart. In a subversion, it was later discovered that the person behind the guild leader's death had a completely unrelated motive and took advantage of the rare item dispute to avoid suspicion.
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Coitus Ensues
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Coitus Ensues: It is implied Kirito and Asuna cyber it up after a near-death experience in SAO (with some misunderstandings along the way). This is Chapter "16.5", an "extra" story the author wrote on his web site when SAO was still a web novel. It's a lemon, but it's not terrible; you can skip it without missing too much. Funnily enough, when it was originally on the author's site it was confined to a "hidden" part of his site, alongside other erotica based on his series submitted by readers, including various drawings done by Kawahara depicting some of these fan-fics. Amusingly, Kirito only thought they shouldn't be apart in case of another assassination attemptnote in SAO, a player can be killed inside a safe zone if someone starts a Duel to the Death with them and reduces their HP to 0 while they are sleeping, but Asuna thought he meant something else. Even if you discount Chapter "16.5", in the original web novels, from which the officially published novels are based, it's made very clear that they have sex, even without outright saying it. There's even a bit of discussion about how potentially addictive "it" is, since you only get the simulated pleasure with none of the potential drawbacks. These are edited out of the official novels, so YMMV whether it's canon or not.
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Dull Eyes of Unhappiness
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Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Kirito displays some in Episode 3 after he manages to retrieve the rumored revival item. Unfortunately it's of no use to him, and he gives it to Klein. Said item has to be used within 10 seconds of a player's death, and Sachi has been dead for months by this point.
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Genre Savvy
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Even better, Sinon herself wanted to snipe him first over the guy packing a light machine gun (FN Minimi) specifically due to the fact that he was an unknown.
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All There in the Manual
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Some in the anime, loads in the manga. Want to know how Kirito and Asuna met? Or who those people he keeps flashing back to are? Or where the term "beater" originated? Read the novels or watch the anime.
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Title Drop
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Title Drop The series is named after the first VRMMORPG featured in the series. Phantom Bullet: Kirito describes the prediction line from Sinon's rifle, used to distract Death Gun and give Kirito the advantage needed to defeat him, as a "phantom bullet". Calibur: At the end of the arc when the gang are discussing the Excalibur sword, Sinon remembers reading about the mythology of the sword where it was named "Calibur". Mother's Rosario: Yuuki names her Signature Move "Mother's Rosario" before passing it on to Asuna. Memory Defrag: The conclusion of the "Eternal Bond: The Story of the Stars" quest campaign involving Alice and Eugeo in ALO, finally reveals the origin of the phrase. After a long campaign of collecting the Divine Objects under instructions from Urdr, the Gods of Alfheim took the Divine Objects and merged with them. Now empowered to unbeatable levels, they proceeded to rampage across Alfheim seeking to kill every player, in an attempt for Cardinal to perform a "memory defrag" that resulted from Alice and Eugeo's foreign presence in the system.
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Graceful Loser
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Graceful Loser: Kayaba/Heathcliff. Not only does he honor his word that everyone will be able to log out once the game is cleared, but he even smiles as he watches Kirito overcome his own in-game death to run him through. Also General Eugene, who does not hold a tiniest bit of grudge after Kirito defeats him.
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Defeat Means Friendship
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Defeat Means Friendship: After Kirito defeats General Eugene in a duel, he wins his respect and Eugene decides to call off the attack on the Sylph/Cait-Sith treaty signing. He leaves saying that he would like to cross blades with Kirito again the future.
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Alternate Timeline
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Of course, in an Alternate Timeline, Yuuki Konno does begin to come back from the brink...
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Always Someone Better
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Always Someone Better: Possibly invoked by Yuuki, the Zekken, who even beats Kirito, at least in single-wielding mode. Justified because Yuuki is the Guild Leader of the "Sleeping Knights", a group of terminally ill people, and specifically is the first user of the MediCuboid, which lets them play for an absurd number of hours, even longer than the SAO players who were trapped for over two years straight inside of a game and are otherwise the most experienced players on the planet. Akihiko Kayaba was the someone better to Sugou, the Big Bad of the Fairy Dance arc, which prompts him to create ALfheim Online and launch his plan.
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Lord British Postulate
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Lord British Postulate: There are a number of areas in ALO that are locked simply by placing enough powerful enemies that no one should be able to pass. The quest to enter the World Tree is this. The enemies themselves are on the low-end of the power scale, but they spawn infinitely. And if you do manage to get past them, the door will not open for anyone but a GM.
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Underestimating Badassery
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Underestimating Badassery: This happens to Kirito a lot in Volumes 2–7, though it's justified as Volume 2 involves interactions with people who haven't heard of him, and in ALO and GGO, he doesn't have the same rep he had in SAO and is an unknown quantity. Ironically, the top-level players in ALO know who he is, but the middle to lower players have never heard of him.
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Little Bit Beastly
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Little Bit Beastly: The Cait-Sith, one of the nine playable races in ALO, are basically an entire nation of cat-people.
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Fridge Horror
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Some Fridge Horror comes into play when you realize the amount of children that were playing the game that got trapped inside. Sure, most of them were rescued by sympathetic players, but there had to be quite a few that didn't make it. Kirito and Asuna also experience this when they witness Yui's temporary Heroic Sacrifice.
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The Cameo
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The Cameo: Kureha and Zeliska from Fatal Bullet appear briefly in the first episode of Alicization playing pool in the main GGO lounge.
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The Heavy
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In the Phantom Bullet arc, the main threat is Death Gun who is actually composed of three individuals: former Laughing Coffin members, XaXa and Johnny Black, along with XaXa's brother Kyouji Shinkawa.
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Unwinnable by Design
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Unwinnable by Design: In ALO (while it was still under control of RECTO), the lore says that the first race to reach the top of the World Tree and go to the city in the sky will become Alfs (Alves?). The boss monsters that the players would have to pass/defeat have a ridiculous spawn rate and the door won't open for anyone without Admin privileges. This is because Nobuyuki Sugou and his team are using the tree to hold and experiment on the 300 minds they captured from SAO.
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Society Marches On
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Society Marches On: In Volume 10, Kikuoka mentions that Japan is prohibited from exporting weapons abroad. The story arc takes place in July 2026, and the volume was originally published in 2012. However, in April 2014, the Abe administration removed the laws prohibiting weapons exports, and the JSDF has moved to become a major arms exporter as of 2015. When the Alicization anime came out in 2018, this entire conversation was Adapted Out.
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The GM Is a Cheating Bastard
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comment
The GM Is a Cheating Bastard: Heathcliff, a.k.a. Akihiko Kayaba abuses his admin powers in order to progress through the game disguised as a regular player.
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Bishōnen
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Bishōnen: Kirito provides an example much more so in Volume 6 where his character kinda looks like Yuri from Tales of Vesperia.
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Those Two Guys
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Those Two Guys: The "couple" that wound up being a pair of guys (one of whom was cross-playing and the other having lied about his age) are subsequently seen in a number of background shots in the anime, including being among the 300 players whose brains had been hijacked for Sugou's experiment.
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Villain Ball
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Villain Ball: The villain of the second arc, from his first appearance. You just looked straight at a guy who spent two years saving six thousand people and outright told him that you convinced his girlfriend's parents to exploit a legal loophole and force her to marry you while she's helpless and comatose. And you don't think this is going to blow up in your face?
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Playing with Fire
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comment
Salamanders, fire-class fairies, who excel in fighting.
 Sword Art Online / int_1cc9f5e5
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Reality Ensues
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comment
Reality Ensues: Enough to have its own page.
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Senseless Sacrifice
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Senseless Sacrifice: Recon does one in Episode 23. He casts a self-destruct spell which opens up a considerable gap between the guardians in an attempt to allow Kirito to break through. Unfortunately, the gap closes itself within moments, although to be fair they had no way of knowing that.
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I Surrender, Suckers
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I Surrender, Suckers: Kuradeel tries this when Asuna beats him to within an inch of his life bar. He feigns asking for mercy/forgiveness, but then immediately tries to kill Asuna with a cheap shot before being taken down by a recovered Kirito. He even lampshades the fact that she fell for it!
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Mutual Kill
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Mutual Kill: Kayaba deals Kirito a mortal blow, but he lasts long enough to return the favor. How Shino and Kirito end up as co-winners of the BoB tournament.
 Sword Art Online / int_1df37537
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Plug 'n' Play Technology
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Plug 'n' Play Technology: Character data in VRMMOs powered by "The Seed" is transferable between games. Kirito takes advantage of this when he transfers his play data from ALO to GGO: while items are non-transferable, his stats are, giving him an edge.
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Ominous Latin Chanting
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In the first episode of the anime, Ominous Latin Chanting accompanies Kirito's departure from the Starting City, his mind in turmoil and anguish... and then the hopeful determination of the OP kicks in.
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Marry Them All
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Marry Them All: In the Noncanon Gaiden X2, which takes place at the end of the Underworld arc, basically all of Kirito's somewhat Unwanted Harem decide to just marry him in-game, and both Kirito & Asuna agree, making the Battle Harem "official", at least for around 5 years of accelerated time. Non-canonical, since Word of God confirms it, and Ronye wasn't part of the harem (though Alice was).
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Wrong Genre Savvy
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Wrong Genre Savvy: In the "Caliber" sidestory in Volume 8, thanks to his experience as a gamer, Kirito fully expects NPC Freya, who's conveniently locked in a cell while looking for her treasure in the Frost Giant castle, to double-cross them. Except that the quest is based on Norse Mythology, specifically a legend in which Thor infiltrates the Frost Giant stronghold disguised as Freya, to retrieve the stolen Mjolnir; NPC Freya becomes party ally NPC Thor when they fight the final boss. Well, in a way he was right. Freya certainly was a trap.
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Hidden Heart of Gold
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Hidden Heart of Gold: Kirito at the start doesn't interact with other players due to past trauma. Agil gives off the impression of being a stingy merchant, but it turns out much of the in-game currency he earns goes to support the lower-leveled players.
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Not the Intended Use
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A number of players, especially Kirito and Asuna, have managed to exceed normal limitations of the system. These "Outside System Skills" are often plausible, typically using game skills in ways the devs didn't mean for them to be used, such as Kirito using Sword Arts to target an enemy's weapons or spells to destroy them, or timing their use so that he can activate multiple Sword Arts in a row with two swords, switching between them, so that while one's cooldown is in effect, he can swing with the other. Others are using their own human abilities and skills, such as concentrating intensely to listen for someone moving through some bushes while ignoring the normal natural sounds of the wind, or using a sword to block bullets by using a prediction line to know where to hold the sword. There are other Outside System Skills, though, that go beyond the bounds of both using loopholes in game rules and even human ability, completely overriding them. Kirito has developed an ability known as "Hypersense" that can detect a player's "killing intent" before he's even seen or heard them, allowing him to react to ambushes. Asuna has been able to break games' Movement Speed caps, going faster than theoretically possible through any logical means, even managing to break out of supposedly unbreakable Paralysis status effects to take a fatal blow for Kirito in-game. How these are possible is not yet understood. The series introduces the theory of a Quantum Field, known as Fluctuating Lights (Fluctlight for short), specifically a person's consciousness or soul. If it's strong enough, the NERVgear or Amusphere headset reads it as an unusually strong mental command input, causing the game to temporarily override normal gameplay limits to comply with said input.
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All Crimes Are Equal
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All Crimes Are Equal: Downplayed by SAO's player cursors; any player who commits a crime gets their cursor turned orange instead of the usual green, regardless if that crime is Player Killing or just transporting a green player to the prison area (including if that green player is just sitting as bait for a guild of orange players). Possibly because of this, SAO players give the nickname "red players" to murderers (it may also originate from the 1997 MMO Ultima Online, where lawful players have a blue tag and minor lawbreaking bestows a grey tag, but serial murderers are identified by their red tag).
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A House Divided
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A House Divided: The party that Diabel attempted to put together in Episode 2 nearly falls apart due to his friend Kibaou being very mistrustful of beta testers. After they defeat the first floor boss, the hard-earned celebration is cut short by Kibaou, who accuses Kirito of indirectly causing Diabel's death and again calls for a witch hunt of beta testers. Realizing the rift that Kibaou was causing, Kirito attempts to have them channel their hatred towards him instead and acts as the Token Evil Teammate so as to not have the players start fighting amongst themselves.
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Chekhov's Gag
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This also doubles as a Chekhov's Gag, as the first instance seen in the anime is when Kirito is sent tumbling into a pillar by Asuna after a trip to Marshmallow Hell.
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Chekhov's Gun
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Chekhov's Gun: Subverted with the Divine Stone of the Returning Soul. After finding out that it will only work if used within ten seconds of the player's death, Kirito gives it to Klein and tells him to use it on the next person he sees die. He must have used it somewhere along the line, because it's never seen or even mentioned again, even when a powerful boss one-shots several raid members in a raid containing both Kirito and Klein. Hitting a programmed set-piece displays the message Immortal Object. Logically, this extends to an AI, and it definitely extends to the GM. This also doubles as a Chekhov's Gag, as the first instance seen in the anime is when Kirito is sent tumbling into a pillar by Asuna after a trip to Marshmallow Hell. In Illusionary Avenger (Season 1 Episode 6), Kirito learns that couples married in-game have a shared inventory, and that if one partner dies the other inherits everything. In the light novel, this was the final piece of evidence used to prove that Grimlock had his wife Griselda killed; since she was wearing her guild seal and wedding ring, Grimlock got the rare ring in her inventory. When Asuna dies Taking the Bullet for Kirito during his duel with Kayaba, her rapier becomes available to him, allowing him to use it to defeat Kayaba. The Phantom Bullet arc has a literal gun, Kirito's FN Five seveN. While he generally relies on his photon sword rather than his pistol, he uses it to stop Death Gun from using his Invisibility Cloak at the end of their battle. Related to this, one of the properties of the AmuSphere is that it does not fully cut you off from your real body's sensory signals. During the duel with Death Gun, Asuna grabs Kirito's hand, and the warm feeling reminds him that he has the gun. Due to the anime placing the stories in chronological order, Kirito's mechatronics project becomes this. Kirito intended it to be a way for Yui to interact with the real world, and he shows off a prototype at the finale of the Caliber arc. It's used again in the Mother's Rosario arc to give Yuuki a chance to go to school and see the real world again before she dies. In the Mother's Rosario arc, it's briefly mentioned that Asuna has another account, a Sylph character named Erika, she can use to challenge Yuuki, but she decides against it. She later convinces her mother to use Erika to log in to ALO and see the house that Asuna bought near the start of the arc (another Chekhov's gun), which is reminiscent of Asuna's maternal grandparents' home.
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Dead Man Writing
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Dead Man Writing: Sachi recorded a letter via crystal to Kirito to be delivered on Christmas, months after she died. A major Tear Jerker moment, especially when she starts humming a portion of "Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer".
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Your Mind Makes It Real
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Your Mind Makes It Real: In-game pain inhibitors prevent players from feeling anything but an uncomfortable tingling sensation when their avatar is injured. If the pain inhibitor is turned down too low, or disabled, it can lead to real-world effects on the player's body. Sugou finds this out the hard way when Kirito disables his pain inhibitor and cuts him asunder, causing him to suffer from severe pain and blindness in one eye.
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Adaptation Expansion
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Adaptation Expansion: Near the end of Mother's Rosary, a montage of Yuuki's time with Asuna between when Asuna reconciles with her mother and Yuuki's death is shown. Some bonus features of the Mother's Rosary manga expand on various scenes, from Liz, Leafa and Kirito challenging Yuuki to the other girls trying (emphasis on trying) to make a meal for Asuna and the Sleeping Knights During the light novels for the Alicization arc, we learn exactly what PoH was doing in SAOnote Hired by a crime syndicate to assassinate someone that they couldn't touch in reality, by killing off the target's avatar in-game and thus making said target look like yet another casualty of Kayaba's Death Game., but not how he got into the game in the first place, especially considering the circumstances in which he became a SAO player.note Said syndicate only found out about their target having dived into SAO AFTER the death game had already kicked off. So even though he was provided with the necessary NervGear and copy of SAO by a third-party, considering when he logged in, how was it even possible? We get an answer in the Sisters' Prayer side-story, covering the story of the Konno twins and one of the Sleeping Knights, Merida. It's here that we find out how PoH managed to log into SAO even when it shouldn't have been possible for him. This is the main purpose of the Progressive light novels. Even in the original LNs, Aincrad was a massively skimmed-over footnote that trimmed out most of the 75 floors to focus on the short stories involving notable events and characters, so Progressive was made to try to go through the entire process and actually explore Aincrad and the involved cast more thoroughly. While it does enact Retroactive Continuity on some details like how Kirito and Asuna really met, the later main series books would go on to reference Progressive where need be, to the point that with Argo's return at the beginning of Unital Ring, you likely wouldn't even remember who the character was without reading up on Progressive or seeing them in the video games.
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Ironic Echo
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Ironic Echo: Kirito starts chanting "hayaku"note faster whenever he's caught up in an intense fight, two of which has been against Heathcliff. Nearly every time he's done so it hasn't ended well for him. "Sorry, this area is currently off-limits." Said by Kirito to a Jerkass guild member, echoing another guild member's words to the Sleeping Knights. Also in Episode 24 of Season 1, "Hurts, doesn't it?" Also said by Kirito to Sugou/Oberon when he slices his cheek after turning the situation in his favor, echoing Oberon's words when he was in control of the situation when he lowered the pain absorber on Kirito.
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UltimateGamer386
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UltimateGamer386: Common for each of the story arcs, as they all take place in a virtual world. Most notable in SAO, where both Heathcliff and Kirito become this.
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Disappears into Light
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Several people are killed in a town, without anyone seeing the duel victory symbol appearing, so everyone is confused as to how it's being done. Some of the victims think it's a ghost of vengeance, but Kirito and Asuna assume it's just a system exploit. It turns out to be neither. The "victims" were faking their deaths to terrorize the man who murdered their guild leader. They took advantage of the fact that players can't be harmed in cities, but items (including armor) can, and a destroyed item Disappears into Light in the same way a dead player does. So they just stabbed themselves, faked being in pain, and when their armor was destroyed, teleported away.
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Post-Victory Collapse
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Post-Victory Collapse: Happens to Kirito after he defeats a floor boss in episode 9.
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Anachronism Stew
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Anachronism Stew: Played with a bit in Gun Gale Online. The game is a Cyberpunk style game set on a Post Apocalyptic Earth, (hinted at a theoretical World War III) where humanity has left the desolated planet behind in giant spaceships. The Hub City is formed from one such Star Battle Cruiser Glocken, and still called SBC Glocken, which for reasons not explained returned to Earth. Players even use Energy weapons regular used for hunting regular NPC mobs. But for Player Versus Player, they often use regular bullet shooting guns, all of which are based on weapons in Real Life guns that at the very least reached "working" prototype stages. And even then the stew thickens some more since the real world guns vary wildly. One player, Lion King Richie, uses a Vickers machine gun which in the real world, has long since stopped being made since the 1960s, after about 50-some years of production. Justified though, as being an FPSMMORPG video game, using real world weapons gives a readily available catalog of weapons to make available to players.
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Suggestive Collision
 Sword Art Online / int_25a7dcb9
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Suggestive Collision: In episode 8, Asuna falls on top of Kirito after teleporting into his zone, quickly resulting in a Thanks for the Mammary moment.
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Sexy Cat Person
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Sexy Cat Person: The Alfheim Online game features a race of feline humanoids called the Cait Sith. The only two major characters of this race are both sexy girls.
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Mythology Gag
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Mythology Gag: In one of the side stories, Kirito is called to test a new 4th Generation Full Dive Unit, and finds himself stuck in another virtual world battling Silver Crow.
 Sword Art Online / int_26ac510e
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Spiritual Successor
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Spiritual Successor: Fatal Bullet has been described, gameplay-wise, as Freedom Wars but with more emphasis on guns and RPG Elements.
 Sword Art Online / int_27a42ebc
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Bag of Spilling
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Bag of Spilling: After Kirito converts his SAO character to ALO, he discovers that his SAO equipment isn't compatible and has to discard all of them. It's almost a moot point since he retains his absurdly high stats, and with ALO being a level-less game, he can still defeat most players with just his starter/store-bought equipment. He also gets to keep all the money he made in SAO, which becomes a plot point later on.
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Oblivious to Love
 Sword Art Online / int_2848e7d2
comment
Oblivious to Love: Sorta Justified for Kirito since he already has a girlfriend so he doesn't really pay attention to other girls. It initially appeared that he was quite oblivious to Asuna's feelings for him, despite Furinkazan's knowing smiles, but quickly wises up after Kuradeel tries to kill them.
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Defrosting Ice Queen
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Defrosting Ice Queen: Asuna is this, initially wanting to beat the game by any means necessary and get back to her life as it was. Being around Kirito, and his by-comparison lackadaisical attitude, helps her take in a lot of the beauty of Aincrad.
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Bilingual Bonus
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Bilingual Bonus: Invoked in-universe. In the Phantom Bullet arc, Kirito, in searching for Death Gun, has narrowed the list of competitors in the Bullet of Bullets tournament to three possibilities, based on Sinon not recognizing their character names. Eventually, two are eliminated as suspects. The remaining one's character name is "Sterben," a German medical term for "death." This tips off Kirito that Kyouji, whom Sinon has mentioned is a doctor's kid, is suspicious.
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Non-Indicative Name
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comment
Non-Indicative Name: SAO players who commit crimes have their player cursors go from green (civilian) to orange (criminal). The term "red player" is used to describe murderers, but their cursors are still only orange; red cursors highlight monsters.
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Break the Haughty
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comment
Break the Haughty: Silica goes through this prior to her first meeting with Kirito. After leaving her party in a fit of pique, she gets lost, uses up all her healing items, and then her familiar Pina dies saving her. Pina gets better with some help from Kirito. Raios and Humbert are two nobles who look down on virtually everyone else, especially Eugeo and Kirito. When they push their luck too far and try to rape Ronie and Teise, this results in Eugeo cutting off one of Raios' arms and Kirito cutting off both of Raios' hands. Raios is reduced to a gibbering wreck who, caught between preserving his own life and not harming Humbert's, dies from his Fluctlight collapsing, while Humbert flees.
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Limit Break
 Sword Art Online / int_2afb1a9
comment
Yuuki logs into ALO as she's dying, giving Asuna her Limit Break and saying one last farewell to her friends. The last image is of her and Asuna standing together, smiling.
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Bland-Name Product
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comment
Bland-Name Product: The 9-Up advertisement in Agil's bar for 7-Up. The first episode of Season 2 has an "iGlass" presentation given by someone who looks halfway between Steve Jobs and Larry Brin. Ordinal Scale features a WcDonalds.
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Artifact Title
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Artifact Title: The eponymous game and the struggle to clear it are merely the first story arc of the series. Justified because it was originally written as a one-shot series, being continued later. It's also subverted, as every bad thing that happens afterwards can be blamed on the game's existence, thus making it more of an outright Antagonist Title on kin to a Greater-Scope Villain.
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Switch-Out Move
 Sword Art Online / int_2c4950a6
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Switch: A player switches with their partner after attacking the enemy, offsetting it, and the partner does a follow-up attack so the former can recuperate.
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Unsettling Gender Reveal
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Unsettling Gender Reveal: Played for Laughs in the first episode of the anime — see Those Two Guys for details. "Freya," to Klein. Unsettles everyone else present as well. Kirito to Sinon in episode 5 of season 2. The latter assumed he was a girl due to his very feminine appearance, until he shows her his stat info. She doesn't take it too well, as she's stripped down to underwear at the time.
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Ax-Crazy
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Asuna is known as "The Lightning Flash," due to being one of the fastest players. In one case, she covers a distance in five minutes that took Kirito's party one hour to travel to save Kirito from an Ax-Crazy guildmate no less. She's less keen on her ALO nickname, the "Berserk Healer."
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Light/Darkness Juxtaposition
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Light/Darkness Juxtaposition: Kirito gains this dynamic with the first two Big Bads, Heathcliff/Kayaba and Oberon/Sugou, with Kirito being Dark Is Not Evil while the villains being Light Is Not Good. Kirito is The Hero who always dresses in black, earning him the name the "Black Swordsman" and has swords named after dark themes like "Dark Repulsor" and "Night Sky Sword". Heathcliff is a paladin with his attacks including the "Holy Sword" and "Spiritual Light". Meanwhile Sugou made himself into the King of the Fairies and the God of Alfheim Online, giving himself a divine appearance with blonde hair and ornamented with gold.
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Face Plant
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Face Plant: Happens to Kirito to the point of becoming a Running Gag in the early episodes of the ALO arc, including a rather spectacular one where he falls from several hundred feet in the air and impacts the ground so hard that his head is stuck for several moments.
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Gratuitous English
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Gratuitous English: English seems to be the official language of Sword Art Online, given that all the game messages are in English. Episode 15 also has Kirito receiving an email from Agil written in Japanese, with the subject "Look at this!!" written in English. In spoken dialogue, "Beta tester" and "Sword Art Online" are always said in English; the former seems to be a loanword and the latter is probably because the game's official language is English. For a straighter example, after beating the first floor's boss, Kirito says "Good job" to Asuna and Agil says "Congratulations" to Kirito, both in English. Kirito and the girls will sometimes drop English words during conversation such as "Switch", "Okay", "Stop", or "Good job". The robotic cowboy in the shooting game Kirito plays in Episode 4 of Season 2 is chock full of these lines, though it does speak Surprisingly Good English with an appropriate accent (it's dressed as a cowboy and talks in a Southern drawl). Justified, since GGO, the VRMMO that Kirito is playing at the time, was made in America. In Episode 19 of S2 during Asuna and Yuuki's duel, Lisbeth's Japanese voice actress says "What!?" in English.
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Older Than They Look
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Older Than They Look: Perhaps not the case for Kirito, as he was a beta player for SAO, but Asuna initially assumes this is the case due to Kirito's experience in the game, only to be shocked that she is actually a year older than him.
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Theme Music Power-Up
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Theme Music Power-Up: Invoked any time "Swordland" or any of its remixes play. Asuna has her own theme in the form of "Luminous Sword", which noticeably returns (albeit remixed) in her battle against Yuuki. Sword Art Online: Extra Edition uses Season one's second opening theme, "INNOCENCE", as this for the Big Damn Heroes moment during Kirito's second attack on the World Tree.
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Distaff Counterpart
 Sword Art Online / int_2fc21a19
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Yuuki, who is Kirito's Distaff Counterpart. To date, she's the only player able to best him in a fair fight. Yuuki's VR talents are unparalleled as she practically lives and breathes the virtual world. She arrives in Alfheim Online and immediately wins 77 consecutive duels. She also created her own 11-hit Original Sword Skill which is stated to be a very difficult task.
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Hero Academy
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Hero Academy: Kirito ends up in one along with his partner, Eugeo, during the Alicization arc.
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Censor Steam
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Suguha is a favorite target of the camera here. Boob shot while she's sleeping? In the first episode she appears. Panty shot? Check. Shot of her undressing to underwear? Check. Shots of her bathing, with Censor Steam? Check. It's no surprise that her avatar gets the same treatment, either.
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A Darker Me
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A Darker Me: There's a group of players that go around killing other players and stealing their items. Lampshaded when Kirito remarks that online players act very different from how they would in real life.
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Inverted Portrait
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Inverted Portrait: Asuna in the Closing Credits of the Aincrad arc. Shino in the Closing Credits, and her in-game alter ego Sinon (along with Death Gun) in the Title Sequence, of the Phantom Bullet arc. Twice over in the former, in fact: once as her present self, then again as her 11-year­-old self, when she shot and killed a would-be bank robber. Leafa in the Caliber arc's Closing Credits.
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Closing Credits
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Leafa in the Caliber arc's Closing Credits.
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Kick the Son of a Bitch
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Kick the Son of a Bitch: Kayaba gives Kirito the means to defeat Sugou, a man who's even more despicable than the SAO creator (you know, the one that caused thousands of deaths for a childish dream). And then there's what Kirito did to PoH in the Alicization arc.
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Evolving Credits
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Evolving Credits: In the opening for the Fairy Dance arc, there is a part where Sugou steps away from a window. After his identity in ALO is revealed you can see Oberon in his reflection at this point. Happens again in the opening credits to season 2. After Death Gun is revealed to have been a former member of Laughing Coffin in SAO the credits change from seeing the gun in his hand dissolving to the just-barely visible Laughing Coffin tattoo hidden under the bandages on his arm. The trend continues when the Caliber arc gives way to the Mother's Rosario (which is noted in the credits), where the second opening slightly changes to include a few shots of Yuuki and the rest of the Sleeping Knights. However, the next episode after that, the credits change again, to feature only Yuuki, Asuna and the rest of the Sleeping Knights in place of Kirito's group during the Excalibur quest, with Yuuki taking Kirito's place in all of the opening scenes that had featured him. "Resister" by ASCA in the Alicization arc cycles through three versions, gradually making changes as Kirito & Eugeo make their way up the Central Cathedral of the Axiom Church. The first version shows them fighting the three major Integrity Knights in the tower: Deusolbert, Fanatio, and Alice, then the second version changes these scenes to show Eugeo fighting Bercouli. The third version of the opening features the most significant changes, including Kirito & Alice fighting the Sword Golem, as well as Kirito fighting Quinella, while also adding more scenes of Alice and a number of major visual effects improvements in general. "Resolution" by Haruka Tomatsu for War of Underworld also cycles through several versions, though only one has significant changes. The first two are very similar to each other with the only difference being that the subtitle changes from Alicization Invading to Alicization Exploding once it reaches that point in the story. The third version has the major changes, as it swaps out the scenes of Eldrie, Deusolbert, and Fanatio fighting with Renly, Sheyta, and Bercouli, and also changes the scene of Bercouli vs. Shasta with a scene of Alice & Asuna fighting Vector together (which never happens in the story). The fourth and final version changes the subtitle to Alicization Awakening.
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Out of Focus
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Out of Focus: Asuna is built up as Kirito's partner and Love Interest in the first arc, but then reduced to a Distressed Damsel for the second arc and all but Put on a Bus for the third, both of which bring in new girls to fill her place (not romantically, though). Then inverted in the fifth arc where she's the protagonist.
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Compilation Movie
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At the very end of Extra Edition, Kazuto's phone gets a call from Kikuoka, most likely concerning the Phantom Bullet case.
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Adapted Out
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Adapted Out: The anime adaptation places most Flash Back stories from later volumes back into chronological order, but First Day from volume 8 (and by extension the character of Coper) is skipped entirely. In the light novels, there's an unnamed fourth member of the party consisting of Kirito, Godfrey and Kuradeel. He's killed off even more unceremoniously than Godfrey when Kuradel puts his murder plot into action.
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Never Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight
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Never Bring A Bow To A Sword Fight: Subverted. Sinon's first appearance has her cherry tapping a boss using a sniper rifle, and she catches a sword at twice the listed range of her weapon, so it's more a case, when facing her of...
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Good-Guy Bar
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Good-Guy Bar: In the real world, Dicey Cafe, owned by Agil, which ends up becoming a hangout for the main cast. Agil also runs a cafe and item shop in ALO, which serves the same function.
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Bonus Dungeon
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Bonus Dungeon: Two have been featured in the anime. In Aincrad, one appears beneath the Black Iron Castle on the 1st floor after some of the higher floors are cleared. It features its very own Bonus Boss, the Fatal Scythe, which is far stronger than anything else seen in the game to that point, estimated by Kirito to have the abilities of a boss monster from the ninetieth level, a full fifteen levels above where they actually end up reaching before the game is cleared. Fortunately enough, Kirito and Asuna end up skipping it due to Yui's intervention. Another one appears in Extra Edition in an underwater temple located within the southern Sylph area. Kirito and company don't know it is one until they meet an old NPC who gives them a quest to retrieve an item within the dungeon. Fittingly enough, as soon as they obtain it, the dungeon's Bonus Boss the old man NPC, Nerakk, a.k.a. Kraken the Abyss Lord appears to take it. Though he does give the party a serious beatdown, he is interrupted by yet another Bonus Boss, Leviathan the Sea King.
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The Fellowship Has Ended
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The Fellowship Has Ended: The Sleeping Knights plan on disbanding the guild in March 2026, and want to defeat a floor boss in Aincrad as just a party so that all their names will be inscribed on the Monument of Swordsmen as proof of their existence. The real reason is because the members are all terminally ill patients, with two of their members not expected to survive past March. After they successfully defeat a floor boss and Yuuki passes away, the group disbands and its members part ways.
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Lethal Chef
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Some bonus features of the Mother's Rosary manga expand on various scenes, from Liz, Leafa and Kirito challenging Yuuki to the other girls trying (emphasis on trying) to make a meal for Asuna and the Sleeping Knights
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The Mirror Shows Your True Self
 Sword Art Online / int_35e2fb78
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The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Kayaba gives every player of SAO an item called "hand mirror", which forces the player avatars into the players' real-world appearance.
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Official Couple
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Official Couple: Asuna Yuuki and Kazuto Kirigaya (despite his growing list of fangirls).
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Anguished Declaration of Love
 Sword Art Online / int_361a1d26
comment
Anguished Declaration of Love: The English dub of Episode 22 has Suguha saying "I love you" towards Kirito (real name: Kazuto Kirigaya, and her brother/cousin, hence: Kirito) before telling him to leave her alone due to not taking well of the revelation that he and Kirito are one and the same person.
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Catharsis Factor
 Sword Art Online / int_36400864
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ALO: Nobuyuki Sugou/Oberon uses his admin powers to use an over powered Gravity spell that was still in beta testing to prevent Asuna and Kirito from moving, then uses it to generate Excalibur, the strongest sword in the entire game and decreases the safety levels on the pain inhibitors. Kayaba's uploaded consciousness doesn't take kindly to such tactics, though, and gives Kirito his top-level Administrator access to turn the tables on Sugou. This allows Kirito to enjoy a Catharsis Factor moment by showing just how weak Sugou really is without his false power to help before starting a Curb-Stomp Battle with their own actual skill levels at fighting, and the pain limiter set to Zero.
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Tragic AIDS Story
 Sword Art Online / int_36a2827b
comment
Tragic AIDS Story: The "Mother's Rosario" arc is about Yuuki Konno, a girl who was born with AIDs due to an infected blood transfusion given to her mother before she was born. Her whole family contracted HIV and had passed away, leaving her as the only one left alive (which included losing her twin sister). She goes on to form a guild called the Sleeping Knights with several other kids who are also terminally ill, where they go on to play lots of VRMMOs together with their numbers dwindling as they succumb to their illnesses. When Yuuki debuts in the story, she and her friends decide to join the most fantastical game they can find (ALFheim Online) and permanently leave their mark. While there Yuuki made gained fame as the World's Best Warrior and recruited Asuna to help them defeat a Boss for a highscore. Upon succeeding, Asuna finally manages to discover the truth behind Yuuki and finds her in the clean room of a hospital using a medicuboid VR device 24/7. No longer able to keep it a secret, Yuuki confesses her last wish is to attend a normal school, which Asuna arranges via a portable probe that allows her to see the real world without having to leave the hospital. Eventually Asuna is informed that Yuuki's condition has deteriorated and log into ALO one last time. Yuuki passes on her Original-Sword-Skill as a parting gift before collapsing into Asuna's arms, as thousands of players come to visit her and honor her last moments.
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make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Ikea Erotica
 Sword Art Online / int_377ed3d2
comment
Ikea Erotica: The infamous chapter 16.5, available for your perusal in all its glory. (Warning: Supposed to be NSFW, though barely counts as such).
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The Last of These Is Not Like the Others
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comment
Some guilds have acronyms they also go by: KoBnote Knights of Blood; DDAnote Divine Dragon Alliance; ALFnote Aincrad Liberation Force; WWFMnote Furinkazan. It derives from first letters of its translation, "Wind, Woods, Fire, Mountain", although no one really calls them by their acronym..
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Title In
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Title In: Literally every episode (and this goes double for the opening of arcs) of the Anime contains an example of this, usually to establish the series as properly 20 Minutes into the Future. Used explicitly with an Establishing Shot.
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Death Is Cheap
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Death Is Cheap: Played with. Death in-game is death in real life in SAO. In the other SAO-inspired MMOs, while it's not Final Death, it is implied to be Continuing Is Painful.
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Five-Second Foreshadowing
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Five-Second Foreshadowing: When Kirito, Godfrey and Kuradeel stop to take a break and eat, Kirito notices that Kuradeel isn't drinking his water seconds before the paralytic poison kicks in, immobilizing Kirito and Godfrey.
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make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Psychopathic Man Child
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Psychopathic Man Child: In his final conversation with Kirito and Asuna, Kayaba reveals that his main motivation for everything he did was to make the play world that he had always imagined as real as possible. He seems for the most part to be largely blind to the moral or ethical implications of what he has done. The same could be said for Oberon/Sugou, a physically weak and morally spineless coward who puts up a respectable front but really just wants to slobber all over Asuna, both in-game and over her comatose body in real life, and throws temper tantrums when he doesn't get his way. The difference between Kayaba and Sugou is the former doesn't seem to see the inherent problems in his actions, and the latter knows and revels in the knowledge that he can do all the things in ALO that would see him ostracized in real life.
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Actor Allusion
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Actor Allusion: In Lost Song, Strea's avatar gets taken over by Black Lotus. Both of them are voiced by Sachika Misawa. In Hollow Realization, Kirito finds a baby dragon as part of a quest campaign and wants to name it Shiro which means white in Japanese, however Alice immediately shoots it down for being too simple of a name. Alice's voice actress played two characters with the word "Shiro" in their name, Mashiro Shiina from The Pet Girl of Sakurasou and Shiro from No Game No Life, with both girls being closely affiliated with a character voiced by Kirito's voice actor. In the Project Alicization arc, Sakura Tange voices Cardinal, who, like Nero Claudius (voiced by the same person), communicates in Antiquated Linguistics, and uses "umu" as a Verbal Tic. In Accel World VS Sword Art Online: Another one for Sachika Misawa, where Strea is able to perfectly imitate Kuroyukihime's voice. Haruyuki had commented how Niko and Silica have similar sounding voices. In fact they do have the same voice, with both of them being voiced by Rina Hidaka. The two of them consider the possibility that they're related, but end up dismissing this and settle for being 'voice related' instead.
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You Shall Not Pass
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You Shall Not Pass!: These incidents happen from time to time, and are usually awesome.
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Crapsaccharine World
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Crapsaccharine World: The world looks relatively pleasant and bright on the outlook, but at the same time there are very shady executives and scientists who are more than willing to use extremely shady methods to achieve their goals, as well as serial killers who use the VRMMOs to target and kill people in real life, and that's before factoring in the SAO Incident, which led more than 10,000 people trapped in the game for years.
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Foregone Conclusion
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Foregone Conclusion: Sister's Prayer, a story about Yuuki and her sister meeting Merida for the first time. The three found the Sleeping Knights together, but Ran, Merida and eventually Yuuki, all succumb to their illnesses.
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Noodle Incident
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Noodle Incident: Kirito's last black longcoat was custom-made by Ashley, the renowned #1 tailor of SAO and who is very beautiful. Lisbeth suspiciously notes that Ashley will only take requests on custom-made items that interest her. Kirito nervously dodges the question, and we never do find out exactly how Kirito got Ashley to create his longcoat. How Kirito and Argo met and learned that each other was a beta tester.
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Curb-Stomp Battle
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Curb-Stomp Battle: In Volume 2, Kirito vs orange guild Titan's Hand. He doesn't even bother to attack them, because he regenerates health faster than they can harm him. Also in Volume 2, Asuna against a group of thugs from the Army. Kirito versus Sugou after the latter has been stripped of GM powers. Combined with Eye Scream and Tranquil Fury. Kirito easily defeats his first opponent in the Bullet of Bullets tournament qualifier round in Episode 5 of Season 2. Unfortunately this also draws the attention of Death Gun, who then asks him if he's the real deal after witnessing the fight, and seeing a "Kirito" using a sword to win the battle.
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Online Alias
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Kirito averts this, rarely ever using honorifics and addressing his peers simply by their gamer name or their first name if he knows it. He only appears to use honorifics when the situation requires him to be respectful such as when addressing his elders. Asuna once calls him out on how rude he was being before she gives him permission to only call her by name. Amusingly, Kirito will only ever call her "Asuna-san" whenever he knows he's in trouble with her. Surprisingly enough, he uses "-san" on Quinella.
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Make It Look Like an Accident
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During the light novels for the Alicization arc, we learn exactly what PoH was doing in SAOnote Hired by a crime syndicate to assassinate someone that they couldn't touch in reality, by killing off the target's avatar in-game and thus making said target look like yet another casualty of Kayaba's Death Game., but not how he got into the game in the first place, especially considering the circumstances in which he became a SAO player.note Said syndicate only found out about their target having dived into SAO AFTER the death game had already kicked off. So even though he was provided with the necessary NervGear and copy of SAO by a third-party, considering when he logged in, how was it even possible? We get an answer in the Sisters' Prayer side-story, covering the story of the Konno twins and one of the Sleeping Knights, Merida. It's here that we find out how PoH managed to log into SAO even when it shouldn't have been possible for him.
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Cold Sniper
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Cold Sniper: Sinon at first. She defrosts somewhat into a Friendly Sniper later on.
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Secret Test of Character
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Secret Test of Character: In ALO, while exploring the most dangerous region in the game where flying is impossible and raid-boss-level monsters abound, it's possible to encounter two raid-bosses fighting one another, with one boss clearly winning. Normal player behavior would be to watch and then either flee or attack and kill the bosses while they're preoccupied for their drops. However, should the player(s) choose to help the losing monster, it is revealed that it's actually a secret event and will carry the player(s) to another location, where it will drop them off and stop moving. Should the player(s) actually choose to defend it against other players hunting it, it will carry them and start flying above a tower, revealing the location of legendary sword Excaliber, the most powerful sword in the game. The second part of the quest line also has several events that tests the party's character: They discover a beautiful NPC woman locked in a cage begging for help. Savvy players will note that the NPC has an HP bar, and thus there is a high chance that the NPC will turn hostile and betray the party. The NPC really is an ally and is necessary to successfully complete said quest. Even after securing Ex caliber, it isn't added to the player's inventory, and is incredibly heavy. When the dungeon starts collapsing, the player finds that they cannot make the final jump to safety because Excaliber is too heavy, and is testing the player's greed and obsession about whether or not they're on this quest for the legendary sword or to save Alfheim.
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Deus ex Machina
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Deus ex Machina: In the Extra Edition, where Kirito retells what occurred during the first and second arc, the person he is telling the story to suspects that it was the will of Kayaba that had Asuna and Kirito not die. Meaning, he might've interfered with the game's coding so as to not send a signal that they died so the NerveGear wouldn't fry their brains. Although, there is a possible alternate explanation: We know from the revival item that there's a 10 second delay between a player's death and the the deletion of his/her avatar (and subsequent real world death). It may have been the author's intent that Kirito defeated Heathcliff within 10 seconds of Asuna's "death", while the system's "game cleared" flag had priority over the "avatar deletion" flag, thereby saving them on a technicality. The second arc has a modernized classical example. Kayaba grants Kirito Super-Admin access through the Heathcliff username. Given the setting, it's similar to a god granting a hero divine power.
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Guest-Star Party Member
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Guest-Star Party Member: In Caliber, Freyja is actually Thor in disguise. What happens when Kirito's party chooses not to free Freyja is covered in Caliber SS.
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Blatant Lies
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Blatant Lies: Endou has an almost hilariously flimsy pretext for asking for money from Shino, saying that they did karaoke for too long (20 minutes after school let out), and don't have enough money for the train (they have cards), so they need 10,000 yen (Roughly $100). Shino sees through it, but it doesn't do her much good.
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Bittersweet Ending
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Bittersweet Ending: The Aincrad arc, considering the heavy losses sustained in the course of clearing the game. It's doubtful any of the survivors didn't lose any friends. Red-Nosed Reindeer initially seems like a straight up Downer Ending after the deaths of the Black Cats, but on closer examination, it's this. While Kirito is nearly broken by the loss of everyone in the guild, the light novel indicates that listening to Sachi's recorded message prevented him from becoming a Death Seeker. The Mother's Rosary arc. Yuuki dies, but after succeeding in her goal of getting her and her friends' names on the Monument of Swordsmen (twice, in fact) and leaving a permanent impression on ALO. Her friends in the Sleeping Knights are doing relatively well, with Siunenote Two people were expected to die that spring. Yuuki is the first and Siune is implied to be the other being able to recover and leave the hospital. Asuna reconciles with her mother, and manages to stay at the SAO Survivors' School.
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Brainwashed
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Alicization Part 5: The Synthesis Ritual is actually a form of brainwashing or giving amnesia on the Integrity Knights. To make things worse, Eugeo is forcefully Synthesized into an Integrity Knight by Quinella by the time Kirito and Alice met him again.
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Zerg Rush
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Zerg Rush: The guardians of the World Tree employ this tactic. Yui later mentions after Kirito's first encounter with them that although individually they're rather weak, the sheer amount of them means they're as tough as an elite boss.
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A.I. Is a Crapshoot
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A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Inverted in the Alicization arc. Scientists create a virtual world in which to grow military AIs but discover that they've developed into a utopian society where the concept of harming another is unthinkable.
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Cold-Blooded Torture
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Cold-Blooded Torture: Inflicted by Kirito to Sugou: he sets the pain absorber to 0, and proceeds to cut his hand off, then cut his whole body in half, before finally impaling him in the head.
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Downplayed Trope
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The game itself downplays this — taking too much damage may cause a player to lose a part of their body, but it's just a status effect and it's automatically healed after few minutes.
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Crosshair Aware
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Crosshair Aware: A major mechanic of Gun Gale Online is that players can see where an opponent is aiming a split-second before the bullet actually fires, allowing players to Dodge the Bullet and, in Kirito's case, Parrying Bullets.
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Heroes Prefer Swords
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Heroes Prefer Swords: It's noted that most SAO players who migrated to ALO tend to dump all their points into sword skills and ignore magic, because they believe their weapons are proof of their existence. This actually leads to two different classifications among players in ALO: "Fairies," who use magic, and "Swordsmen," who only use weapons.
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Loose Canon
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Loose Canon: The Girls Ops manga spinoff. Given that it isn't written by Reki Kawahara, it's never really acknowledged in the main storyline but for the most does nothing to contradict it either. Though issues of Unital Ring have created continuity errors with Argo being revealed to have never played Alfheim Online like she's shown doing in the spinoff. Though it's still up in the air if Girls Ops is outright non-canon or not.
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Attractive Bent-Gender
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Attractive Bent-Gender: Kirito's GGO avatar, colloquially known as Kiriko, who numerous males have shown attraction towards, including Klein. Thor disguised as Freya.
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Tranquil Fury
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Tranquil Fury: Kirito, once he gains administrator privileges in ALfheim Online, proceeds to off on Sugou with application, remaining perfectly calm, until the very last blow.
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Found the Killer, Lost the Murderer
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Found the Killer, Lost the Murderer: Inverted in "A Murder Case In The Area." Kirito uncovers who hired Laughing Coffin to murder Griselda, but the Laughing Coffin members withdraw from their confrontation with Kirito.
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Honor Before Reason
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Honor Before Reason: Though the protagonists avoid this for the most part, this pops up from time to time: In Volume 2, Thinker walks into an obvious ambush unarmed, because his treacherous 2nd-in-command said he wanted to talk privately without weapons. Yuriel and Asuna lampshade this. In Volume 8, Klein frees an imprisoned NPC that he and everyone agree is probably a trap and will likely turn on them, because that's his warrior code. The party can't decide if he's being an idiot or being cool. Amusingly, the NPC is a trap... just not the expected kind. See Attractive Bent-Gender above. A unit of players from The Army are met by Kirito, Asuna, and Klein's guild, and their leader asks for the map for the level. Kirito agrees to it but tells him they should avoid fighting the boss, as they don't have enough players, and his troops look rather worn out. He decides to go straight towards the boss, and promptly gets killed for it, forcing Asuna and Kirito to attack the boss in order to save the surviving players.
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Alternate Continuity
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Alternate Continuity: The video games are this, diverging from the main story line with its own events. See this page for more details. Memory Defrag, the mobile phone game, seems to be a hybrid of these. Though the main campaign follows the original SAO anime, up through the GGO arc, the extra stories seem to follow the other games, with Strea, Philia, Rain, Seven, and Yuuki being common characters, and Ordinal Scale also featuring. Both story lines are treated as canon, leading to unusual scenes like Rain and Seven being involved in Ordinal Scale. Special events and character stories also give completely original story lines exclusive to the mobile game, along with occasional original characters. Notably, Yui is a playable character with one event that changed her avatar to being combat capable. There's also an ongoing quest campaign involving Eugeo and Alice being brought into ALO, meeting the SAO gang early, and questing to retrieve the Divine Objects. Integral Factor, an MMORPG mobile game, follows the Aincrad arc, but with one key difference. The story focuses on a customized Player Character rather than Kirito. The event mostly follows the canon plot (with stories adapted from Progressive), but with the Player Character and their friend Koharu being present, leading to some notable differences and the plot diverging at times. There's much more greater detail explored in SAO as a whole, with Time Skips being averted. Over time it further diverges from canon and seems to take after the game continuity with the introductions of Leafa, Yuuki, and Sinon into SAO, but much earlier so that it is its own standalone continuity.
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What Could Have Been
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What Could Have Been: Invoked by Akihiko Kayaba aka Heathcliff when Kirito exposes his identity. Apparently the plan was to continue leading the players until about 10 floors before the final floor and betray them rather publicly, revealing himself to be the final boss to await the rest of the players at the final floor. Needless to say, this doesn't happen. Supplemental material shows that Silica's dragon Pina would have become his mount and a sub-boss.
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Single-Stroke Battle
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Single-Stroke Battle: Kirito does this to a wolf at the end of the first episode when he rushes off to the next village shortly after Kayaba tells the players they're stuck in the game. He also does this consecutively to two Salamanders right after he first arrives in ALfheim Online.
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Worthy Opponent
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Worthy Opponent: Many of Kirito's opponents, such as General Eugene, become this. Kirito usually doesn't hold any grudges, either.
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Adult Fear
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Adult Fear: Some Fridge Horror comes into play when you realize the amount of children that were playing the game that got trapped inside. Sure, most of them were rescued by sympathetic players, but there had to be quite a few that didn't make it. Kirito and Asuna also experience this when they witness Yui's temporary Heroic Sacrifice. Anyone who has ever played any other massive online multiplayer game knows that some of the most infuriatingly good players are children. In a video game world, you'd expect that kids wouldn't ordinarily need the help. And it's likely that, statistically speaking, they have the same potential strength as the adults. However, in a game where dying really kills you and there's no way to leave, the context is totally different. Having the kids join the battles would essentially be making them into actual child soldiers. Through the Fairy Dance arc, Kirito and Asuna experience more adult fear: Kirito is constantly stressed and worried over Asuna's condition throughout the story, and nearly breaks when Sugou threatens to steal Asuna from him, while poor Asuna finds herself trapped and at the mercy of a vile man who pretends to be nice in front of her father.
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Badass in Distress
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comment
Thinker, leader of ALF, who was the Badass in Distress in Volume 2, appears at the end of Volume 4, along with his assistant/wife Yuriel.
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Million Mook March
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comment
Million Mook March: When they first reach the inside of the World Tree, it doesn't seem to be very well-guarded. However, once Kirito attempts to break through, they start showing up en masse. After Leafa and Recon try to help, the numbers grow even bigger, to the point that all you can see up there is a wall of guardians.
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Four Is Death
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Four Is Death: After a familiar dies, there is a chance it will leave behind an item that will allow the player to resurrect it. However, if the player cannot meet the requirements within four days, the item will change and the pet will be dead for good.
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The Stinger
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The Stinger: After the credits roll in the first episode, a list of names is shown. Some are them are gradually crossed out, while a text reads that two thousand players died in the first month alone, and floor 1 had yet to be cleared. The name under Kirito's is then crossed out. At the very end of Extra Edition, Kazuto's phone gets a call from Kikuoka, most likely concerning the Phantom Bullet case. The credits for Ordinal Scale have still images that recap the movie, but there are also a few more images. Also, there is a scene at the end of the credits.
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Original Video Animation
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comment
Another one appears in Extra Edition in an underwater temple located within the southern Sylph area. Kirito and company don't know it is one until they meet an old NPC who gives them a quest to retrieve an item within the dungeon. Fittingly enough, as soon as they obtain it, the dungeon's Bonus Boss the old man NPC, Nerakk, a.k.a. Kraken the Abyss Lord appears to take it. Though he does give the party a serious beatdown, he is interrupted by yet another Bonus Boss, Leviathan the Sea King.
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Escapism
 Sword Art Online / int_495c9e84
comment
Kirito is the perfect example, being depicted as a virtual reality MMORPG prodigy, who spent a large portion of his life gaming as a form of escapism. Upon being trapped in Sword Art Online, he quickly ascended the ranks to become the World's Best Warrior and the destined hero to take on the Big Bad. This also applies to any game he tries, where even if he's a complete newbie, he'll be a top player within days and known by everyone there.
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Scenery Porn
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comment
Scenery Porn: OH YES! Several places of the game are deemed as such.
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Virtual Ghost
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The Virtual Ghosts AI called "Fluctlights" will not kill no matter what. The project staff which created them try to induce famines and diseases in an attempt to stimulate violence and are baffled when the AIs are such Perfect Pacifist People that they would rather let entire populations die off than sacrifice some to save others.
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Barefoot Captives
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Barefoot Captives: When Asuna is held captive by Sugou in a cage, he dresses her in a very provocative outfit which includes no footwear.
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make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Relation Ship Ceiling
 Sword Art Online / int_4b433960
comment
Relationship Ceiling: Despite all the female characters that seem to flock towards Kirito, the story still makes clear that Asuna is the only girl for him, meaning any new addition to his Supporting Harem will never go beyond Ship Tease. In a different way, the same applies to Kirito and Asuna in the Progressive mini-series. Although the reboot is partly meant to flesh out their relationship (unlike in the original, they're essentially partners from when they clear the first floor), they're still intended to officially get together in the events narrated in the first novel.
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You Are Too Late
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You Are Too Late: In the (non-canon) bonus side story Caliber SS (Failure Side), the characters follow the events of Caliber and miss an important Event Flag, which results in their being unable to stop Alfheim from being attacked by the Frost Giants. It does, however, imply they will go on to battle the Big Bad before he can bring any more destruction and hopefully restore the world in the process. Also played tragically straight in "Red-nosed Reindeer", when Kirito tries to find a rare mob that drops an item that can revive a dead player around Christmas time. He does, and manages to get it, but finds out that the item can only be used within 10 seconds of the player's death, about 6 months too late to save Sachi, who died back in June. He gives it to Klein in the hopes that he can save someone in the future. On that note, the death of Sachi and the other Black Cats of the Full Moon. Kirito is fighting through the hoard of monsters with all his might, striking them down as fast as he can, but one by one, his comrades are killed in front of him, with Kirito just out of reach to save them.
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Heroic Fantasy
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Heroic Fantasy: Though the narrative is driven by technology and is set in Next Sunday A.D., at its heart Sword Art Online is still fundamentally a fantasy of heroic warriors (and later, wizards) crusading across mythical lands, fighting for justice, honor and making the world a better place with swords and spells in their hands, courage and love in their hearts.
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Downer Ending
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Downer Ending: The second volume of the light novels focuses on side stories that happen during Aincrad (correlating with episodes 3-4, 7, and 11-12 of the anime). The last two stories are Morning Dew Girlnote The story of the AI Yui, ending in her being erased from the system. and Red Nosed Reindeernote The story of the Black Cats of the Full Moon and their untimely demise.
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Love Confession
 Sword Art Online / int_4e4f42be
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Love Confession: Recon gives an awkward one to Leafa in episode 23. She seems to reject it with a Megaton Punch, but it also seems to snap her out of her funk.
 Sword Art Online / int_4e4f42be
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Wham Line
 Sword Art Online / int_4e7c4536
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Wham Line: From Episode 23, Kirito fights his way past the hordes of enemies to the door to the top of the World Tree. Once there, Yui gives him this news: From Season 2, Episode 18, the group discusses whether Zekken, someone strong enough to defeat Kirito, is a fellow SAO survivor- Kirito had asked whether Zekken was a "full-time resident" of virtual reality, but didn't get an answer: Season 2, Episode 22- Dr. Kurahashi reveals why Yuuki's in the Medicuboid. From the very first episode: Chapter 10 of Volume 7 ends with "That was when Dr. Kurahashi sent Asuna a message saying that Yuuki's condition had taken a turn for the worse." In Episode 24 of Season 2, you see the message itself, which says, "Yuuki-san, Konno-san's condition has deteriorated. Can you come immediately?" In Volume 10, while Asuna's talking with Kikuoka and Rinko Kojiro about their research, she suddenly announces that she's realized its true purpose, to create an AI that can kill enemy soldiers in a war. In Volume 11, the Integrity Knight sent to arrest Kirito and Eugeo for violating the Taboo Index reveals her name- she's Alice, the Childhood Friend Eugeo has wanted to find for years. From Volume 21:
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Wham Shot
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comment
Wham Shot: Season 2, Episode 4 has one when Kirito sees the Laughing Coffin brand peeking out from Death Gun's arm-wrapping. Season 2, Episode 22: When Asuna finally meets Yuuki in the real world, she sees her in a sterile clean room, her body ravaged by AIDS and hooked up to a VR device that she has been using continuously for years. The new girl Asuna met in Volume 21: Shikimi Kamuranote The surname of Kuroyukihime's mother in Accel World. Also from the same volume, not only Argo survived SAO, but also transferred to Kirito's school.
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Author Tract
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Author Tract: The proper epilogue of the Alicization arc is one for atheism, pro-AI movement, and Creating Life Is Awesome.
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Duel Boss
 Sword Art Online / int_4f37c96a
comment
Duel Boss: The Final Boss of SAO, Heathcliff (AKA Akihiko Kayaba), is fought by Kirito and Kirito alone.
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Three Strike Combo
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Three Strike Combo: The One-Handed Sword Skill "Savage Fulcrum", whose strikes resemble tracing the number "4"note a left horizontal slash, upper right slash, and a short-ranged high-powered downward slash.
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A God I Am Not
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A God I Am Not: Alicization — Unlike that certain character (Gabriel) above, when Asuna, Sinon, and Leafa sign on using their superuser accounts as the remaining 3 gods of the Underworld (with all their attributes and powers), they're very quick to point out they're not actually gods, just people. Not everyone believes them.
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Crazy Jealous Guy
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Kirito does one in the real world in episode 13 of season 2 after a crazed man Kyouji, with a mix of Crazy Jealous Guy and If I Can't Have You... attacks Sinon in her apartment.
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Dual Wielding
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Dual Wielding: Only Kirito gets this skill in SAO. He later recreates his style from sheer effort and virtual muscle memory in ALO.
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Crazy-Prepared
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Crazy-Prepared: Not only did Kayaba anticipate nearly everything in creating SAO. But this also extends to ensuring that not even the authorities in real life could do anything to intervene.
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Book-Ends
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Book-Ends: Second episode of the anime, Kirito gives Asuna some cream to eat on the plain roll. She can't stop herself from gobbling it down. At the end of the fourth Light Novel (or first anime season/second anime arc) when they finally make it back to the real world, Asuna specializes in making food... that tastes nostalgically like Aincrad-food. At the end of the first anime season, Kirito uses the World Seed to rebuild Aincrad and add it to ALO. He and both his SAO and ALO friends then resolve to finish what they started and clear all 100 floors. He even resets his stats so he can level them up all over again.
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Action Survivor
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Action Survivor: Klein and Furinkazan are this. For the most part, they are largely Overshadowed by Awesome. However, not only are they all badasses in their own right, but every member of the guild is a SAO Survivor, despite both frontlining boss fights such as the Skull Reaper and contending with the Laughing Coffin murder guild.
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Flashback
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The anime adaptation places most Flash Back stories from later volumes back into chronological order, but First Day from volume 8 (and by extension the character of Coper) is skipped entirely.
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Flash Step
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Flash Step: Too many times to count, usually by Kirito. Actually, the sword skill Sonic Leap may actually be invoking this trope. Asuna uses this to travel an impossible distance in five minutes, Kirito leaves behind a sonic boom from his first attack in ALO...
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Villain Respect
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Villain Respect: Akihiko Kayaba is genuinely impressed that Kirito and Asuna were able to actually defy the physics of his game through sheer force of will. In his mind, this essentially proves the tenacity of humans — which was what he was trying to study all along. Comes up in ALO where Kirito, defeated by Sugou's GM powers, is visited by Kayaba's ghost, who is confused by how Kirito has seemingly given in to Sugou's power. He then gives Kirito his admin access to level the playing field.
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Level Grinding
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Level Grinding: In SAO, Kirito does a lot of this off-screen. In fact, in SAO it's not considered safe to explore a floor until you are at least 10+ levels higher. Kirito himself does a massive power leveling after Sachi dies, in order to solo an event boss monster to obtain a rumored One-Time Revival item to bring her back to life.
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This Is Unforgivable!
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This Is Unforgivable!: Kirito says this when he discovers that the quest in ALO for granting unlimited flight is a lie and Leafa/Suguha's dream would not come true.
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Lighthearted Rematch
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Lighthearted Rematch: The SAO survivors who migrated to ALO treat the return of Aincrad as this, intending to clear all hundred levels for fun, instead of a matter of life or death.
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Redshirt Army
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Redshirt Army: The (Liberation) Army. A massive guild comprised of mostly low- to mid-level players with the intent of assisting the thousands of SAO players not on the front lines. They were influential to the game until they lost a staggering amount of their best players in the 25th floor boss battle. By the end of SAO the Army is 1/6th of the remaining players but is regarded as mostly ineffectual and often corrupt.
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Luminescent Blush
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Luminescent Blush: Kirito has a tendency to provoke these unintentionally.
 Sword Art Online / int_5586a766
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Badass Family
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Badass Family: Being three of the nicest kids you'd ever meet, it's very easy to forget that the Kirigaya Family's Mommy and Daddy, Asuna and Kirito, are respectively the greatest warriors of Alfheim and Aincrad; and that their adorable little daughter Yui can hack the laws of the universe itself to destroy any foe in one blow with a giant flaming sword.
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Let's Get Dangerous!
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Kirito's first meeting with Leafa and first ALO PvP encounter keeps jumping between "Laugh out Loud" and "Let's Get Dangerous!."
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Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole
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Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: In War of Underworld, Sinon apparently knows about the Ocean Turtle and that it's under attack.
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Bat Deduction
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Bat Deduction: When hiding out in the cave with Sinon during the BOB tournament, Kirito uses the time to logically break down Death Gun's methods and what that means for the players in the tournament. Kirito spends about ten minutes jumping to conclusions before invalidating the whole discussion by pointing out how many assumptions he has made.
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Super Speed
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Super Speed: Kirito can move very fast, as his enemies find out. Asuna can even exceed that, as she isn't called "Lightning Flash" for nothing. Yamikaze in GGO is known as the "Run 'n Gun Devil" because of how fast he can run. Alice can snap from one spot to another so quickly it looks like a Flash Step.
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Fantastic Racism
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Fantastic Racism: A surprisingly large number of cases, considering it's a series about online gaming. In SAO, there were heavy levels of discrimination against Beta-Testers, largely due to the belief that they abandoned new players to die while they hogged all the good farming sports. However while this is true to an extent, this didn't apply to every Beta-Tester, with Argo and possibly a few others working together to create a guidebook to help all the new players survive, and in spite of that many players died anyway. While the revelation of who wrote the book causes it to die down somewhat, the circumstances of Diavel's death reignites the flames when Lindnote  Kibaou in the anime accuses Kirito of being a Beta-Tester who withheld information about the boss and was practically threatening to ignite a Beta-Tester Witch Hunt, forcing Kirito to act like a worse Beta-Tester, a "Beater"note  End up forming from the shouts of Beta-Tester and Cheater getting muddled together, in order to shoulder all the hatred and prevent Beta-Testers from being hunted and persecuted, at the expense of suffering a great deal of distrust throughout SAO's early floors. Even late in SAO where it's implied that a lot of this hatred has died down, there are certain players who will often use the "Beater" excuse to be be an ass to other players, such as Kuradeel in regards to Kirito. Due to the multiracial nature and the fact that PvP is encouraged this is sadly very prevalent in Alfheim Online, with even the nicest player you’d meet likely to be at least casually racist towards another race. This often goes both ways with Salamanders, especially between them and the Slyphs who they are at war with in Fairy Dance, partially due to their territories being right next to each other and causing resource wars. In general, this is largely due to a majority of the Salamanders lording the fact that they’re considered the “strongest race” and taunting everyone else for not having that honor, with other races understandably viewing them as Jerkasses who like to flaunt their power. The fact that some of the ones shown on-screen act as bandits, attack others with little provocation, make a hobby of killing female players for some kind of sexual thrill, and the biggest obstacle Liz faces when trying to recruit help to save the Underworld is a Salamander Commander doesn’t exactly help paint them in a good light. Spriggans seem to be looked down upon by pretty much every other race due to the game’s combat heavy nature, with many viewing their illusion magic as useless in a fight. Even when people party with a Spriggan, they seem to have no problems with insulting the race and their illusion magic despite them standing right there. Leprechauns aren’t innocent of this either. Girls' Ops Volume 6 reveal that due to being the Blacksmith Race, they are are the only race capable of making rare and powerful equipment and generally look down on other race’s blacksmiths since they are incapable of doing so. As shown by Adie, a Cait Sith member of the Elves and Shoemakers Leprechaun guild, non-Leprechaun players can find themselves getting picked on by Leprechaun members and are generally given less privileges than members who are actually Leprechauns. In the Underworld, Demi-humans get this a lot. Despite making up half of the Council of Ten and likely making up the majority of their army, the black iums(humans) of the Dark Territory look down on them for varying reasons and, when the war actually breaks out, they act as the first line of offense because they're seen as more disposable, something that the leader of Mountain Goblins suspects and is proven right when 300 Orcs are heartlessly sacrificed by the Dark Mage guild to power a spell under Vecta's orders. While not largely touched upon, the briefly mentioned Kobolds appear to have this the worst, not having a tribe of their own and being regulated to manual labor such as cleaning. This is made all the more tragic when you consider that fact that, technically, they are all essentially humans who have just been put in different bodies as opposed to actually being seperate races. While many MMO players and gamers seem to face IRL discrimination, being seen as societal freeloaders and some people believing that military conscription should be brought back to force them into work, SAO Players have it particularly bad. Due to the unknown affect their two years may have had on them, the government treats pretty much all of them as potential criminals, placing all the school age ones in a special school to monitor them, subjecting them to constant therapy even if it proves unnecessary, and even forcing them to take therapeutic drugs even if they're not needed and could have negative affects on them, on top of everything mentioned for regular MMO players. They also have it bad in-game, where basically most other players view them as arrogant stuck-ups due to having more VR experience than them and usually sticking into closely-knit groups with other survivors, clearing having No Sympathy for the fact that they were forced to fight for their lives for up to two years and that their real lives were severely compromised as a result. Artificial Fluctlights seem to be shaping up to be victims of this. When RATH introduces Alice to the world a lot of reporters make some insensitive comments towards her, such as one asking her to prove she's an AI by opening her head. When the discussion moves onto the rights of Artificial Fluctlights, which Rinko wants to establish to prevent past issues that propped due to discrimination such as slavery or wars, one reporter is vocal about them not getting any out of paranoia that they'll eventually try and kill other humans unless they're put on a leash and claiming that, since they were made by humans, humans have a right to use them as servants. When Alice disappears from the Rath building, Kirito worries that if she's found she could be targeted by people who don't see her as human or extremists who disagree with the creation of AIs in general.
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Police are Useless
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comment
Police are Useless: The (Liberation) Army by the end of SAO is seen as ineffectual, inept and corrupt. Subverted however with the real life authorities. Although unable to do much in response to what happened with SAO, the government nonetheless steps in and guarantees the safety (and sanity) of the survivors. Not to mention assist Kirito whenever possible afterwards.
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Zero-Approval Gambit
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Zero-Approval Gambit: Kirito protects the other beta testers from being ostracized by taking all the hatred on himself. A fragmented playerbase wasn't going to kill any bosses.
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Five Races
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Five Races/Massive Race Selection: There are nine playable fairy tribes in ALO. Four of them are based on the Alchemic Elementals: Sylphs, wind-class fairies, who excel in flight and have acute hearing. Salamanders, fire-class fairies, who excel in fighting. Undines, water-class fairies, who excel in healing and underwater tactics. Gnomes, earth-class fairies, who excel in defense and mining. Cait-Siths, cat-class fairies, who excel in beast taming, agility, and intelligence. Spriggans, shadow-class fairies, who excel in treasure hunting and illusions. Pucas, musical-class fairies, who excel in playing musical instruments and singing. Leprechauns, blacksmith-class fairies, who excel in weapons manufacturing and crafting. Imps, dark-class fairies, who excel in night flight and night vision.
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Opportunistic Bastard
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comment
Commoners on the other hand, due to being less privileged, often turn into self-centered Opportunistic Bastards obsessed with money. Orick, Eugeo's father, mainly saw his children, including Eugeo, as potential labor workers for his farm and was incredibly disappointed when Eugeo's Calling ended up being as the Gigas Cedar cutter, which by law prevents him from helping with the farm. Orick responds to this by showing Parental Favouritism to his older sons and taking all the money Eugeo earns from his calling for himself, which not only leaves Eugeo with sub-par food for lunch but also gives Jink, Eugeo's childhood bully who gets to keep all the money he earns, more fuel to pick on him with, despite the whole thing being out of Eugeo's control. This borderline unfair and abusive parenting is likely what led to Eugeo's very skewed definition of love. Come the War of Underworld Arc, and Rulid Village shows themselves at their worst; Alice's father denies her entry into the village and orders Selka to not interact with her, various farms around the village use Alice for cheap labor, and some grown men steal the Blue Rose Sword from Kirito, who at the time is essentially a paraplegic who can't even speak properly, not caring that they knocked him over in the process and mockingly claiming that he said they could borrow it. It's so bad that Alice wonders if there was any real point to protecting these people.
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Adaptation Distillation
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Adaptation Distillation: The anime has moments of this, simplifying the scenes of the light novel. For example, stripping "Aria in the Starless Night" down to the boss fight.
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Bad Santa
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Bad Santa: "Nicholas the Renegade" is a special event boss monster.
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Forced to Watch
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Forced to Watch: During the climax of the Fairy Dance arc, Sugou rips the clothes off Asuna's avatar, pins Kirito down by impaling him with a sword, and forces him to witness poor Asuna being sexually harassed in the Virtual World. He then threatens to repeat the "performance" with her real (comatose) body later and comes very close to successfully raping her in-game before Kirito manages to free himself.
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Bribing Your Way to Victory
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Bribing Your Way to Victory: How Death Gun managed to get his L115A3 suppressed sniper rifle, as opposed to Sinon, who was really lucky. Also at the Alicization Arc, Kirito's opponent bribed the guard in charge of weapons to give him a better sword. Not that it helped.
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Romantic Two-Girl Friendship
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Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Asuna and Yuuki.
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Pragmatic Villainy
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Pragmatic Villainy: When Endo (trying to solicit money from Shino) is forced to exploit her PTSD with a finger gun, she lowers her demands from "Pay our train fare" to "Give us what you've got" due to Shino being about to vomit.
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Central Theme
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Central Theme: The entire franchise has the unifying theme of exploring the relationship between the real world and virtual reality. Particularly how people modify their behavior depending on which one they're in, and how they either integrate or compartmentalize their identity between the two.
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New Life in Another World Bonus
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New Life in Another World Bonus: Kirito's hugely boosted stats in the VR game are explained by his having been a beta-tester for the game, in effect getting a head start compared to other players. The GGO arc also has Kirito discovering that the developers used the same engine as Sword Art Online for their game and his avatar's insane power level carries with him as an unexpected Old Save Bonus. His real cheat is the ability to rapidly pick up new games in absurdly short times at the highest level. This is best demonstrated in his ability to defeat the previous The Ace in a game he just logged into.
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Super Prototype
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Super Prototype: Nerve Gear is noted by former SAO players to be able to create a much more realistic virtual world than AmuSphere. This is due to the numerous safety precautions that were added to AmuSphere's design.
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Declaration of Protection
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Declaration of Protection: Kirito promises this to the new guild he joins, the Black Cats, and especially to Sachi. Unfortunately when they're ambushed by a very large group of monsters, he's only able to save himself, despite his efforts to protect them. This trope kicks in again in Episode 9 after Asuna does a Leeroy Jenkins to save some players from the floor 74 boss. Kirito starts to remember his previous failure, and does everything he can to keep anyone else from dying pointlessly again. The boss is wiping out members of the Army and he, Asuna, and Klein aren't enough to defeat it. Wanting to prevent another Black Cats-like incident from ever happening again, he's forced to utilize his secret skill, dual wielding, and goes toe-to-toe with the boss, defeating it with only a sliver of HP left. Asuna cries on his shoulder for a long time at the thought of having almost lost him.
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Single-Target Sexuality
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Despite all the female characters that seem to flock towards Kirito, the story still makes clear that Asuna is the only girl for him, meaning any new addition to his Supporting Harem will never go beyond Ship Tease.
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Only Friend
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Sinon seems to be a mix of this. She respectfully calls her Only Friend in real life (at the time) Kyoji as "Shinkawa-kun", but all of her in-game friends generally get addressed without an honorific.
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Fantastic Measurement System
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Fantastic Measurement System: The Underworld society uses "millicels," "cels" and "mels" in place of millimeters, centimeters, and meters.
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Time Skip
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Time Skip: Between different arcs.
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Combat Medic
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Combat Medic: Asuna's ALO build, playing as an Undine Healer, but also specializing for rapier sword skills, complementing her experience from SAO. There's a reason she's nicknamed "Berserk Healer."
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Bloody Hilarious
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Bloody Hilarious: How this show portrays the dismemberment of rapists; Sugou, Humbert and Raios all fall into pieces the second Kirito (and Eugeo) removes their filthy arms, crying and screeching like little girls as their macho-facade disintegrates in a hysterical crimson fountain. Made even more hilarious in Raios' case as having lost both his arms, he leaps like a spastic-frog to Humbert to beg for the same life-force he refused to give him earlier. Hop to, Stumpy! Shake a leg!
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Something Only They Would Say
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Something Only They Would Say: Leafa/Suguha figures out Kirito is Kazuto when he finally mentions the person he's trying to save is Asuna.
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Scope Snipe
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Scope Snipe: A sniper duel between Death Gun and Sinon results in the latter receiving this, while the former gets his rifle smashed. Luckily, Sinon moved her head to check the result of her shot, and narrowly missed Death Gun's bullet destroying her scope and where her head would have been. So did Death Gun.
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Artificial Intelligence
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Artificial Intelligence: Yui looks like a cute little kid, but she's actually an AI created to watch over and take care of the mental health of the players of Sword Art Online called an MHCP...at least, that was her function until the death game started up, upon which her functions were suspended and she could only watch and listen to the players' despair and nearly be driven mad. Thankfully, Kirito and Asuna help her get better.
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Names to Run Away from Really Fast
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Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Player-Killer guild "Laughing Coffin", though they're not that powerfulnote an alliance of all the top guilds managed to defeat them, and Kirito only had to kill two or three of them to prevent the good guys' defeat; how powerful can they be?. Any AI opponent whose name starts with "The" is a boss. Not something you want to try fighting alone, or even with your six best friends well, unless you're Kirito. "The Skull Reaper" does double-time for fearsomeness, and more than lives up to that name in combat. "The Fatal Scythe" does triple-time until killed by Yui.
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News Travels Fast
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News Travels Fast: After Kirito defeats the 74th floor's boss with Dual Blades, which until then had been a secret, word quickly gets out, and he's eventually known as the player who possesses this rare skill. Kirito lampshades this when Argo sends him an apologetic congratulatory message, after the 1st level boss is defeated.
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The Protagonist
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The first person Kirito decides to ask for help in GGO just happens to be Sinon, female protagonist of the arc, the top sniper in GGO, and one of Death Gun's targets with the villain being who Kirito is hunting.
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Inventional Wisdom
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Inventional Wisdom: Spontaneously activated self-destruct capability for ALO.
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Nintendo Hard
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Nintendo Hard: The beta testers for SAO only made it to the tenth floor over a one-month period, and it took players two months after the official launch just to clear the first floor's boss.
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Never Sleep Again
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Never Sleep Again: It turns out some player killers challenge people to duels and attack them while they're asleep.
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Sequel Hook
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Sequel Hook: The first season ends with Aincrad being restored in ALO and everyone from both SAO and ALO that appeared in the series flying towards it in order to try and conquer it. This scene seems all but designed to have even those who have not read the Light Novels begging for a second season. Ordinal Scale ends with Shigemura being taken away by Seijiro Kikuoka to work for Rath, teasing at Alicization.
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Freeze-Frame Bonus
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Freeze-Frame Bonus: Multiple times in the "Sleeping Knights" arc. Whenever the Monument of Swordsmen is given a close-up view, you can see the names of familiar characters having cleared previous floors. Kirito, Asuna, Leafa, Klein...
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Plot Hole
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Plot Hole: Minor one. Shino strikes Kyouji with a portable stereo. Not ten seconds later, it's back on the table where she grabbed it from. Considering a minor focus was made on the stereo when she went for it, you'd think they'd have paid a little more attention to its magical return to the table.
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New Game+
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New Game+: What Kirito finds out about his avatar after he logs into ALO for the very first time. Because ALO uses a slightly earlier version of the same system as SAO, all of his skills that are common to both games and his money from SAO transfer over to his freshly-made character, though his HP, Items, and Equipment do not. When he later transfers from the revived SAO to GGO, he does much the same thing, though he arranges to store his items and equipment with Agil's shop so they won't have to be deleted. Because of the Seed forming the basis of all the new generation games, characters are increasingly capable of transferring from game to game, though incompatible items and such are still deleted.
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Image Song
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Image Song: Several for several of the major cast members.
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Heroic Sacrifice
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Heroic Sacrifice: Yui invokes her GM powers to save Kirito and Asuna from a high-level boss. Unfortunately, since she disobeyed her programming, this results in her getting flagged for deletion. Thankfully, Kirito manages to preserve her heart before she's fully deleted. In Episode 14, Asuna overcomes complete paralysis with The Power of Love to get up and take a killing blow for Kirito, dropping her own health bar to zero to save him. During Kirito's second run on ALfheim Online's Grand Quest, Recon performs an extremely powerful dark magic spell that instantly kills him while clearing a massive hole in the Guardian swarms. A downplayed case, though, since death in ALO won't kill you in the real world like in SAO. However, Leafa does note that the Death Penalty for Self-Destruct is rather steep.
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Manly Tears
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Manly Tears: Happen from time to time, usually from Klein.
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Critical Existence Failure
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Critical Existence Failure: Happens when a character dies in any of the games. The game itself downplays this — taking too much damage may cause a player to lose a part of their body, but it's just a status effect and it's automatically healed after few minutes.
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Cannot Spit It Out
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Cannot Spit It Out: Lizbeth to Kirito. She was about to spit it out... and then realized that he's with Asuna.
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Backup Bluff
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Backup Bluff: Kirito does one of these in Episode 20 towards the commander of the Salamander army, stating that he's a Spriggan-Undine ambassador, and that attacking him and the Cait-Sith and Sylph meeting would cause four races to declare war on the Salamanders. The commander doesn't buy it but challenges Kirito to a duel anyway. After Kirito defeats him, one of his men tells the commander that he saw Kirito the other day with an Undine. Said man was the guy Kirito spared after he saved Leafa during their first encounter in Episode 17. The Salamander army then leave peacefully.
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Invisibility Cloak
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Invisibility Cloak: Death Gun uses one. It helps him sneak around on the battlefield and is also used to spy on people when they enter their real-life details, including home addresses, in order to register for tournaments in GGO.
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Signature Move
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Mother's Rosario: Yuuki names her Signature Move "Mother's Rosario" before passing it on to Asuna.
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Gun Porn
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Gun Porn: Somebody working on the anime must be doing their research on the loads of guns available in GGO. There are several full screens of many guns and, at one point, an entire selection of at least twenty individual handguns, scrolling across the marketplace all accurately designed and labeled. Even Sinon goes into long bouts of her favorite guns, one of them being the famous FN Five-seveN.
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Mook Horror Show
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Mook Horror Show: Episode 19 has Kirito transforming into an appearance very similar to The Gleam Eyes and summarily wiping out a group of Salamanders pursuing him and Leafa. One gets impaled on his fingernails, one gets eaten by Kirito, one gets eaten by underwater high-level monsters when attempting to escape...
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Big Brother Instinct
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Big Brother Instinct: It's mostly what drove Kirito to help Silica, who reminds him of his sister, and Leafa, who IS his sister... well, cousin, but raised as brother and sister.
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Improbable Weapon User
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Improbable Weapon User: Not an issue in SAO and ALO where swords are commonplace, but come Volume 5 of the light novel Kirito becomes the only character to wield a sword in a gun fight in a game that's all about shooting.
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Modesty Bedsheet
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Modesty Bedsheet: Asuna uses one after the Relationship Upgrade.
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The Power of Love
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In Episode 14, Asuna overcomes complete paralysis with The Power of Love to get up and take a killing blow for Kirito, dropping her own health bar to zero to save him.
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And Your Reward Is Clothes
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And Your Reward Is Clothes: Possible drops from monsters. The Coat of Midnightnote from Episode 2, adapted from Aria in the Starless Night was awarded after the first floor boss was defeated.
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The Reveal
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Episode 14: Heathcliff is Kayaba.
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Unstoppable Rage
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Unstoppable Rage: Silica enters this momentarily after Pina's Heroic Sacrifice, in the light novels. Subverted in that it turns out to be quite stoppable.
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Supreme Chef
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Supreme Chef: Asuna in SAO. She tries to replicate real world tastes in-game, since the in-game food is mostly horrible. And succeeds in taking weird ingredients and putting them together to create delicious food. In Episode 9, she mentions combining abilba seed, sagleaves, and oola fishbone to create something that tastes exactly like soy sauce. Ratsel Feinschmeker would approve.
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Meaningful Name
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Meaningful Name: "Unital Ring" also refer to how the game is basically all the Seed-based VRMMO forcibly united into one single game by an unknown force.
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Recognition Failure
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Recognition Failure: The SAO incident would have been the largest human-caused loss of Japanese life since WWII and the most people killed by a lone actor ever. By all logic, Kirito should be an A-list celebrity in Japan, and a GOD to its gaming community, but no one seems to recognize him, despite the re-use of his SAO avatar's name and appearance.
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Driven to Suicide
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Driven to Suicide: Happens to a few people: The leader of the Black Cats of the Full Moon, after the guild members are annihilated and Kirito reveals he was a beta tester. Kirito, himself, contemplates this for a bit after the guild's destruction. Yuuki's mother nearly falls to this, after she's diagnosed with AIDS from contaminated blood.
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Casting Gag
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Casting Gag: Kirito is one to Bryce Papenbrook: he was once a virtual reality gamer named Shugo Kunisaki of .hack//Legend of the Twilight who happens to have the same probliem with the video game system as Kirito. Kirito's Spriggan avatar also looks like Rin Okumura of Blue Exorcist, another character voiced by Bryce Papenbrook. This is not the first time Cherami Leigh voiced an ultra-badass Action Girl who mainly fights with a sword. Stephanie Sheh also voiced another adorable Yui. Michelle Ruff has voiced a sharpshooter before.... This also isn't the first time she's had a hang-up regarding guns (albeit a very very different sort of hang-up). Miyuki Sawashiro has been another blue-haired badass Action Girl, along with another blue-haired animal person in a game world. Aoi Yuuki voices Yuuki in the Japanese version, and the character's personality is similar to another one of Aoi's more well-known roles as Hibiki. Both are energetic genki girls who are always ready for anything and both are inflicted with a condition that will soon kill them. Unfortunately, while Hibiki is eventually cured of her condition, Yuuki isn't so lucky... Of course, in an Alternate Timeline, Yuuki Konno does begin to come back from the brink... Yoshitsugu Matsuoka ended up voicing another elite gamer who gets trapped in a game world, though he's a lot happier with the outcome than here. It's revealed that Akira Ishida was the main inspiration for Yoshitsugu becoming a voice actor in the first place, so now he's voicing the penultimate antagonist (of at least what was the web novel series) Hiroki Yasumoto is known for voicing The Big Guy. Guess who voices the giant shopkeeper-axeman-bartender? Rina Hidaka is another Token Mini-Moe in a virtual reality setting. In fact this was alluded to in Accel World VS Sword Art Online. This is also the second time Ayacchi plays a little sister who has a strained relationship with her brother. Johnny Yong Bosch has played a nice guy who turns out to be a despicable person. Sugou wasn't the first time Todd Haberkorn voiced somebody that sexually harassed Cherami Leigh's character (though in that case, it was played for comedy). Ai Kayano played another badass blonde knight in an RPG-Mechanics Verse series. And prior to that, she was a badass blonde knight in an actual RPG. Tetsuhiro Shigemura also played another grief-stricken bespectacled father in a movie based on an anime. In the Latin American Spanish dub of the Ordinal Scale movie, Idol Singer Yuna is voiced by Melissa Gedeón, who is also a professional singer as well in her native Mexico.
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Guide Dang It!
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Guide Dang It!: Deconstructed and Played for Drama. A large number of the players end up dying, not just from inexperience, but from a lack of information about things that aren't even mentioned in the game and would be known from an outside source (such as other players). For example, The Black Cats of the Full Moon (sans Kirito) get killed because they didn't know side areas in dungeons tend to block off teleportation and make the players suffer waves of monsters that usually surpass their levels.
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Here We Go Again!
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Here We Go Again!: In episode 13 of season 3, Cardinal tells Kirito and Eugeo that the Administrator's room is on the 100th floor of the tower. Kirito's response; "ugh".
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Making a Splash
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Undines, water-class fairies, who excel in healing and underwater tactics.
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"Shut Up" Kiss: Kirito does this to Asuna after his near-death experience with Kuradeel. She was in the middle of explaining why she needed to stay away from him for his sake, and this proves to be an effective counterargument.
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Behemoth Battle
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Behemoth Battle: The climax of the Caliber arc has the NPC Freyja reclaim Mjolnir and reveal herself to be the Norse god Thor in disguise and promptly engage Thrym, the humanoid giant boss Kirito's party was fighting. Both the NPC and the boss are about fifteen meters tall, and Thor gets to land the killing blow on Thrym. Jotunheim's world-scattered elephantic-jellyfish-versus-humanoid demon fights qualify too, seeing as players hardly come up to the latter's ankles.
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Cool Code of Source
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Cool Code of Source/Matrix Raining Code: The anime intro scene to the Aincrad arc starts with something between these two. It's really a pretty cool effect.
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Win to Exit
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Win to Exit: Unless the final boss of SAO is defeated, players will remain trapped in the virtual world until they die one way or another.
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Excuse Plot
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Excuse Plot: An in-universe example: according to the author's own live commentary, the backstory for GGO is that humanity settled other planets and eventually descended into an apocalyptic war, resulting in all the ruined cities. The monsters in-game are a product of genetic manipulation.
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The Grim Reaper
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The Grim Reaper: The Fatal Scythe boss is basically this. It lives up to its name, too, until Yui takes it down.
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And the Adventure Continues
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And the Adventure Continues: Alicization's epilogue has Kirito, Asuna, and Alice getting a call from Rath, logging into UW (which Kirito turned into a futuristic two-planet colony during his 200-year rule), and slaying an overpowered legendary monster with little effort. Oh, and they also met two spaceship pilots, who turned out to be Ronye and Tiese's descendants.
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Calling Your Attacks
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Calling Your Attacks: Done rarely in the anime, but in the video games characters constantly shout the names of attacks they perform, most notably Kirito's "Starburst Stream!"
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Zettai Ryouiki
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Zettai Ryouiki: Asuna's SAO outfit. Silica also has this. Leafa's ALO outfit also sports these.
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Not Disabled In VR
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Not Disabled In VR: The Sleeping Knights is a Guild entirely composed of terminally ill players. Exaggerating it even further, their leader is Konno Yuuki, who is dying of AIDS and has been voluntarily living in a virtual environment 24 hours a day for three years — a whole year longer than the victims of the SAO incident were trapped in the game. It's pointed out that the Medicuboid, the device that Yuuki is testing, is meant to dull the feelings of pain in real life, serving as a tool for palliative care, although in Yuuki's final moments, she barely has the strength to speak, even online.
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Idiot Ball
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Idiot Ball: Sugou, running highly unethical human experiments on a public server — no matter how ostensibly secretive those involved are — which is still debugging from the transition from a previous incarnation, in which several characters get an Old Save Bonus when they transfer, was not your brightest move.
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Big-Bad Ensemble
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comment
Big-Bad Ensemble: In the Aincrad arc, aside from Kayaba who was the Big Bad, the Laughing Coffin provided the most trouble in the arc due to their Player Killing. It eventually got to the point where their kill count climbed into the triple digits, which led the Knights of the Blood Oath and other Assault Team members to set aside floor clearing and deal with them. In the Fairy Dance arc, Sugou is the Arc Villain but for the most he's an Orcus on His Throne who doesn't act until Kirito is at his front door. For the majority of the arc it's the Salamanders who stir up trouble for Kirito and Leafa where the two are forced to battle them on several occasions. Especially General Eugene who led an ambush on the Sylphs and Cait-Sith alliance, forcing Kirito to take a detour in rescuing Asuna and deal with them first. In the Phantom Bullet arc, the main threat is Death Gun who is actually composed of three individuals: former Laughing Coffin members, XaXa and Johnny Black, along with XaXa's brother Kyouji Shinkawa.
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ColorCodedForYourConvenience
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Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Aincrad: Green markers denote players, while yellow markers denote NPCs. When players commit crimes, such as attacking other players outside of duels, the markers over their heads go from green to orange. One guild uses members with green markers to lure in victims. Hollow Realization, set in Ainground, adds blue markers in-story, which occur when players attack NPCs. The races in Alfheim Online each have a trademark color. This usually matched their clothes, hair and eye color.
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Spared by the Adaptation
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comment
Spared by the Adaptation: In the Lost Song video game, at the end of Asuna's quest, we find out Yuuki's condition is starting to improve and instead of dying in a few months, she'll be in her own words "around for quite a while to come" and she'll be attending school regularly thanks to the interface on Asuna's shoulder. This carries on to the sequels, where Yuuki is a party member, and her health is no longer a concern.
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Morality Kitchen Sink
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comment
Morality Kitchen Sink: The Alicization arc. Once again, Kirito and his friends are the heroes, starting out trying to make sense of the situation, and eventually fighting to defend Alice and the Underworld. Kikuoka is morally gray, with him running an experiment to create AIs that can fight in wars, while the U.S., with cooperation from the JSDF, wants to stop him in order to maintain the East Asian power balance. The Integrity Knights start off as antagonists while fighting for the Pontifex, but are ultimately trying to defend the human realms against the forces of darkness. The inhabitants of the Dark Territory avert Always Chaotic Evil, since they're composed of several different factions, some evil and others not so much. The human players who fight for them are Unwitting Pawns who got tricked by the main villains. The main antagonists of the arc- Quinella, PoH, and Gabriel Miller, as well as lesser antagonists Raios, Humbert and Chudelkin, are all truly despicable and have no redeeming characteristics.
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Played for Laughs
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Played for Laughs in the first episode of the anime — see Those Two Guys for details.
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Casting a Shadow
 Sword Art Online / int_7836c43
comment
Imps, dark-class fairies, who excel in night flight and night vision.
 Sword Art Online / int_7836c43
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The War Sequence
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The War Sequence: The Grand Quest in ALfheim Online can be considered this; a motley crew of players (or maybe even a solo player) fighting their way through hoards of Guardian enemies. Kirito fails the quest on his first attempt, but succeeds later with help from Leafa, Recon, and the Sylph/Cait-Sith alliance as backup.
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Idol Singer
 Sword Art Online / int_78c61d79
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In the Latin American Spanish dub of the Ordinal Scale movie, Idol Singer Yuna is voiced by Melissa Gedeón, who is also a professional singer as well in her native Mexico.
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 Sword Art Online / int_78c895c8
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Amusing Injuries
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comment
Amusing Injuries: Kirito is often on the receiving end of these: He receives an Armor-Piercing Slap from Leafa in Season 1 Episode 19, when he teasingly chomps on her hand during a conversation on what it was like for him to transformed into a monster using his Illusion spell, and having chomped on several Salamander players attacking them, and Leafa dared to ask what they tasted likenote "Like yakiniku/grilled steak right before it gets burnt". Given the slap appears in the same way recently taken damage does, it was apparently strong enough for Kirito to have taken some HP damage. Kirito receives yet another Armor-Piercing Slap similar to above from Sinon after he reveals his true gender to her in Episode 5 of Season 2. After said slap, the next scene shows a bright red handprint on his cheek as the two walk around the room with the other BoB contestants, although it quickly vanishes afterward.
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Duel to the Death
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comment
Amusingly, Kirito only thought they shouldn't be apart in case of another assassination attemptnote in SAO, a player can be killed inside a safe zone if someone starts a Duel to the Death with them and reduces their HP to 0 while they are sleeping, but Asuna thought he meant something else.
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Player Killing
 Sword Art Online / int_79468fde
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Player Killing: Though very rare, it does happen. There's an entire guild dedicated to it. Some of these incidents are due to the perpetrators not believing that killing another player would also kill them in real life, though it's noted that during the first year, despite there being around 1000 players choosing to become bandits in SAO, there was never a single incident of player killing. In later games, when players are no longer Killed Off for Real, PK becomes a core mechanic. In some, like ALO, PKing is the main point of the game.
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 Sword Art Online / int_794f3589
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Adaptation Explanation Extrication
 Sword Art Online / int_794f3589
comment
Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Some in the anime, loads in the manga. Want to know how Kirito and Asuna met? Or who those people he keeps flashing back to are? Or where the term "beater" originated? Read the novels or watch the anime. In the anime, the eponymous Sword Arts are this. The book goes into detail on how they're activated, their names, and their role in gameplay. The anime just has the characters mention Sword Arts on occasion and never elaborates. The anime adaptation removes a bit of backstory from the Phantom Bullet arc. Apparently, Endou and her lackeys were previously "friends" of Shino's, having taken advantage of her in order to crash at her apartment. When Shino gets fed up and puts her foot down, Endou retaliates by digging up the incident in which Shino shot the man who threatened her mother, informing the school about it, and using Shino's trauma to extort money from her. It also explains a significant part of Sinon's character- she does want friends, but after having her trust abused, she's hesitant to get close to others.
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For Want of a Nail
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For Want of a Nail: Caliber Failure Side explores one such outcome to the Caliber sidestory. Kirito convinces the party to abandon Freya (without knowing she's actually a disguised Thor). As a result, they're unable to defeat the Big Bad before time runs out. Not only do they fail the quest, Kirito loses his chance to get Excaliber, and the Big Bad succeeds in deploying an army massive enough to destroy Alfheim and Aincrad.
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Pocket Protector
 Sword Art Online / int_79ba6777
comment
Pocket Protector: In season 2, episode 14, Kirito narrowly avoids being poisoned by Kyouji because he hastily disconnected himself from the monitors at his Dive station and neglected to disconnect one of the electrode pads. Kyouji proceeds to inject him right on top of the pad, and although the needle has enough force to go through two layers of clothing it doesn't have enough force to go through two layers of clothing plus an electrode pad.
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Shell-Shocked Veteran
 Sword Art Online / int_7a143509
comment
Shell-Shocked Veteran: Kirito, despite being good at hiding it. Not only does he still blame himself for the deaths of the Black Cats of the Full Moon, but he also harbors quite a bit of guilt over killing three Laughing Coffin members in self-defense.
 Sword Art Online / int_7a143509
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Armor-Piercing Question
 Sword Art Online / int_7b6e47a5
comment
Armor-Piercing Question: When Asuna's mother gets on her case about spending time with her friends and going to the SAO rehab school rather than putting all of her efforts into studying to get into a prestigious school: When Sinon asks Kirito how he became strong:
 Sword Art Online / int_7b6e47a5
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Godlike Gamer
 Sword Art Online / int_7d0316d2
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Godlike Gamer: Kirito is the perfect example, being depicted as a virtual reality MMORPG prodigy, who spent a large portion of his life gaming as a form of escapism. Upon being trapped in Sword Art Online, he quickly ascended the ranks to become the World's Best Warrior and the destined hero to take on the Big Bad. This also applies to any game he tries, where even if he's a complete newbie, he'll be a top player within days and known by everyone there. Yuuki, who is Kirito's Distaff Counterpart. To date, she's the only player able to best him in a fair fight. Yuuki's VR talents are unparalleled as she practically lives and breathes the virtual world. She arrives in Alfheim Online and immediately wins 77 consecutive duels. She also created her own 11-hit Original Sword Skill which is stated to be a very difficult task. Asuna is deemed to have The Gift when it comes to VR gaming, possessing impossibly high speed even back when she was a complete newbie, with Kirito feeling she was a natural despite the fact she lacked the most fundamental knowledge about the game interface. When she actually set her mind to it, she easily became the second strongest player in all of SAO after Kirito.
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Too Awesome to Use
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Too Awesome to Use: In the manga and light novel, everyone is shocked when Heathcliff casually uses a Corridor Crystal to open a portal to the 75th floor boss. A Corridor Crystal is an incredibly rare item that can only be found in dungeon chests or a monster drop; it's not something to be wasted. This is one of the clues that Heathcliff is actually Kayaba, since as the GMPC, he can call forth any item and thus cannot understand the true value of the item he just wasted.
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Animation Bump
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Animation Bump: There's a noticeable step up in animation during episode 13 of the second season during the climax of Kirito and Death Gun's duel, especially right before Kirito slices Death Gun in half.
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Most Gamers Are Male
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comment
Most Gamers Are Male: Demonstrated a few times in group shots, particularly in the opening and during raids, but it's most obvious when Akihara scrolls down a list of players and only one of around 15 is female. Particularly interesting because this trope is averted in Japan.
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An Offer You Can't Refuse
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An Offer You Can't Refuse: Kirito attempts to refuse Kikuoka's offer to help him investigate the deaths of certain high-ranking GGO players in Episode 1 of Season 2, stating he doesn't want to risk getting killed after hearing about the unusual circumstances surrounding said deaths. However, Kikuoka says that if they can't get to the bottom of this and solve the mystery, the government may start to restrict access to online games, which goes against what Kayaba was hoping to promote when he gave Kirito "the seed" from season 1. Kirito reluctantly agrees to help him out by playing GGO.
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Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!
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Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Kirito believes he did this when the Black Cats of the Full Moon was mostly wiped out.
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Arranged Marriage
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Asuna has a small moment when, after refusing an Arranged Marriage from her mother, learns that her mother is fine with it, as long as it's not someone from her school, and she's horrified that her mother knows about Kirito.
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Breather Episode
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comment
Breather Episode: In Episode 10, Kirito is lured into a trap, tortured, and nearly murdered by a guild mate, but Asuna shows up to save him at the last moment. They're both very shaken up, finally admit the extent of their feelings for each other, spend the night together and decide to get married. In Episode 11, after a near-death experience, Kirito and Asuna take a break from frontline fighting and go on a vacation to the lower levels. The second season's three-episode take on the Caliber arc is this; taking place after the Death Gun case is resolved, it's just about Kirito and his friends going on a quest in ALO for a powerful sword during the holidays. No murders, mysteries, or any real danger to be had save that if they fail, it kickstarts Ragnarok for the game, but even then, no one will be in any actual danger. Even the opening for the arc plays up the 'game' aspects of the game world to show that time, they're playing it as a game.
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An Ass-Kicking Christmas
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comment
An Ass-Kicking Christmas: The Christmas event boss, Nicholas the Renegade, promises copious amounts of treasure, including an item that can revive the dead, to whomever can defeat him. This leads to Kirito taking down Nicholas single-handedly while Fuurinkazan holds off the Divine Dragon Alliance. It's in vain. The fight against the 21st Floor Boss of New Aincrad occurs on Christmas Eve. Kirito and Asuna make sure to take part in it so they can buy their old house on the 22nd Floor before anyone else gets the chance.
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BFS
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BFS: Occurs only briefly, but when Yui decides to fight, she summons a flaming sword more than twice as long as she is tall. Kirito's has one in ALO as the first sword he purchased. It's pretty shoddy gear, but in Kirito's hands it is able to take on Legendary Weapons like Eugene's Demon Gram Sword or Sugou's Excalibur.
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Logical Weakness
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comment
Logical Weakness: Kirito's fighting style in Gun Gale Online, in particular using his lightsaber to deflect incoming fire, relies entirely on being able to see bullet lines, and even predict when they'll appear, in order to figure out where to have the blade and when to block gunfire. This of course means it can be countered, for example, by players firing sniper rifles from concealment at range, as they don't generate a bullet line for their first shot. But what about for weapons that don't get a free first shot from concealment, or for snipers who've already fired and are either still waiting on the 60-second timer to expire before they can get the free shot again, or are forced to continue engaging the enemy and unable to break contact? Head over to the Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online page for more details on a method for those types of scenarios.
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I Know Mortal Kombat
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I Know Mortal Kombat: Shino is able to load and fire a Colt M1911 (well, an airsoft copy) thanks to her experience in GGO. Kirito manages to match his sister in a kendo sparring match with his SAO skills (it should be noted that she's a national level competitor), dodging a blow that reportedly had never been successfully blocked by either her coaches or tournament opponents, and later beats a knife-wielding madman barehanded, though the latter is justified as the madman was currently suffering from phantom injures dealt by Kirito inside ALO, particularly a bad case of depth perception. It's all but stated that Kirito would have lost had his opponent been in tip-top shape. Another thing about the kendo match: despite it being a month after his escape from SAO, we still need to remember that it's ONLY a month, so his body is still both severely physically weakened from muscle atrophy and from malnutrition. They both pretty much come to the conclusion that had he been healthy at the time he would have won (the only real reason he lost is because his arms had atrophied so much that when he tried to block one of her strikes she just blew straight through and hit him. That, and he tried to use a Sword Skill with predictable results.)
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Plucky Girl
 Sword Art Online / int_85debad9
comment
Plucky Girl: Silica.
 Sword Art Online / int_85debad9
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Hopeless Suitor
 Sword Art Online / int_863c780a
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Leafa/Suguha, unlike her brother, is quite adamant about addressing others respectfully with honorifics- "-san," in most cases, since said individuals are older than her. The one exception is Shinichi/Recon, which is attributed to her being annoyed by him, and she's the one who keeps insisting he refer to her as "Kirigaya-san" and not as "Leafa-chan" or "Suguha-chan".
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Badass Boast
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Badass Boast: Sinon delivers a small one in the Episode 1 of SAO II: "1500 meters? That's like tossing a wad of paper in a wastebasket." That range is within the top ten longest confirmed sniper kills.
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Stating the Simple Solution
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Stating the Simple Solution: In the prologue of the Alicization arc, a kid being trained for the task of spending his entire life trying to cut down an enormous tree asks the elders why their ancestors bothered founding a village in a place where an enormous tree that they had every reason to believe would take centuries to cut down was blocking expansion and casting shade over most of the places they could grow crops. Rather than thinking about moving the village to someplace where the tree wouldn't be a problem, they reprimand the kid and continue the way they always have.
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Show, Don't Tell
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comment
Show, Don't Tell: The treasure room that the Black Cats guild finds themselves in during Episode 3 of Season 1. They all find out that their teleportation crystals don't work in the room. This has implications later for when Kirito, Asuna, and Klein's guild find the Army trying to fight the level 74 boss in a room that they also can't escape from. Asuna then rushes into the room in a vain effort to try and save the surviving members, which draws Kirito and Klein into the room as well. The cowboy game played in Episode 4 of Season 2. Though Sinon explains the basics to Kirito, another player happens to try it out at the time, so he's able to watch said game in action. With Sinon's explanation and watching the game, Kirito is able to win it. In episode 9 of season 2, Pale Rider, one of the contestants in the BoB tournament, is seen getting hit with paralyzer dart by Death Gun, then suffering a hit from the latter's signature gun. The shot takes about a quarter of his health off, then he gets back up and points his shotgun at Death Gun. However, he then drops the gun and grasps his chest as if suffering a heart attack, then is disconnected from the game. Sinon then also suffers from this same attack at the end of the episode, and a gunshot is heard as the episode ends with Death Gun using her as a sacrificial lamb to find out if the Kirito in this game is the same as the Kirito from SAO by seeing if her death will launch him into an Unstoppable Rage.
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Eldritch Abomination
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Eldritch Abomination: Aincrad's 75th floor boss, The Skull Reaper. A terrifying skeletal centipede thing that's the size of a building, moves very fast, hits very hard, and has four red eyes.
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Murder-Suicide
 Sword Art Online / int_87a38662
comment
Kyouji tries to rape Shino after the Bullet of Bullets tournament. He did genuinely love her before the Death Gun mess went down, and Shino was even willing to reciprocate once she got over her trauma, but the combination of failing his college entrance exams and being rendered irrelevant in GGO drove him insane, prompting him to form the Death Gun conspiracy. When he comes to congratulate her on winning the Bullet of Bullets Tournament, he expects Shino to make good on her promise, but she's freaked out by his now obvious insanity, so he opts for Plan B: rape Shino and then kill her and himself. Shino manages to escape by struggling and Kirito showing up.
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Old Save Bonus
 Sword Art Online / int_87ce64a0
comment
Old Save Bonus: When he starts playing ALO, Kirito discovers that the game is a slightly earlier version of SAO, so all of his previous skills and stats that are in both games are converted over (his equipment, however, is corrupted and has to be discarded). Since he was one of the highest level players in SAO, and having nearly maxed many of his skills, he's automatically one of the strongest players in ALO and can defeat most players with just starter/NPC equipment. Becomes an official ability for any player, with the launch of "The World Seed". As all games run on the same software, players can transfer, and convert their characters between games, with the games calculating the equivalent stats, but have no access to any items or currency from the other game.
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Two Girls and a Guy
 Sword Art Online / int_87e2b631
comment
Two Girls and a Guy: Kirito, Asuna, and Suguha.
 Sword Art Online / int_87e2b631
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Badass Crew
 Sword Art Online / int_8879db82
comment
Klein starts the game as a helpless noob who can't kill the weakest in-game enemy, but over time turns into the leader of a Badass Crew.
 Sword Art Online / int_8879db82
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Go Out with a Smile
 Sword Art Online / int_88f16cee
comment
Season 2, Episode 22: Asuna learns more about why Yuuki and the other Sleeping Knights suddenly tried distancing themselves from her when she attempted to join their guild. The guild is made up of terminally ill people, and the reason it's disbanding is because Yuuki is dying of her terminal illness. Which is AIDS. Despite finding out the truth, Asuna still wants to spend what little time Yuuki has left to help her Go Out with a Smile.
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Protagonist-Centered Morality
 Sword Art Online / int_89434320
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Protagonist-Centered Morality: This is seen more in comparison of Kirito's feelings towards Kayaba and those towards Sugou. Kayaba trapped 10,000 people in Aincrad so he could live out his Blue-and-Orange Morality dream of being the Big Bad and fighting the top player, which is a very nebulous and abstract goal, but one Kirito has a grudging respect for, given how everyone reacts upon Aincrad's reinstatement in ALO without its death game commitments. Kayaba's actions affected everyone trapped, but it wasn't personal towards anyone. Sugou is tarred with a much blacker brush, as he is engaged to Asuna in real life, thinks nothing of conducting mind control experiments on Asuna and 300 other SAO survivors trapped in ALO, and clearly has an obsession with breaking her spirit at the end of the "Fairy Dance" arc, coming very close to raping her in front of Kirito. Sugou is nothing but personal to Asuna and Kirito, so the audience hates him more completely than they do Kayaba, despite Sugou's crimes being much smaller in scale than Kayaba's.
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Back from the Dead
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Happens a few times to Kirito in the anime, usually as a means to showcase how absolutely committed he is to a task (coming Back from the Dead to kill Heathcliff, or trying to reach the top of the World Tree amidst the Guardians' attacks).
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Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil
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Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Those who victimize helpless children in the world of Sword Art Online are also cackling lunatics and animals with no respect for human life and dignity, just like the cast of Game of Thrones... but thankfully, rapists in the world of Kawahara Reiki always gets what's coming to them... painfully, bloodily and messily.
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There Is No Kill Like Overkill
 Sword Art Online / int_8b606a51
comment
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Kirito shrugs off his wounds during his first assault on the World Tree until he gets a greatsword thrown through his chest. And then four more.
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Stalker with a Crush
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Stalker with a Crush: Asuna attracts a lot of these, all of whom are very dangerous. Shino has Kyouji.
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Anachronic Order
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comment
Anachronic Order: Volume 1 proceeds more or less chronologically, while Volume 2 consists of sidestories that take place during the 2 years in SAO. Volumes 3 to 7 proceed chronologically, but Volume 8 adds more sidestories that take place in SAO and a week before Volume 7. Volume 22 "Kiss and Fly," despite coming out one volume after the Unital Ring arc began, is a collection of 4 side stories set long before that arc that had previously been released (The Day Before, The Day After, Rainbow Bridge, Sister's Prayer). This is the first time in the franchise's publication history that an arc in progress was interrupted. Averted by the anime, which seems to be doing its best to proceed in a chronological order by animating the SAO sidestories in Volume 2 and Volume 8 before the rest of Volume 1.
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Air Jousting
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Air Jousting: A large portion of battles in Alfheim Online involves aerial fights where players take to the skies with their fairy wings and clash with blades or magic. Kirito has a particularly dramatic one against General Eugene.
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Useless Useful Non-Combat Abilities
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comment
Useless Useful Non-Combat Abilities: Many of the skills in SAO are utterly unrelated to dungeon crawling. Some of them are indirectly useful (such as creating/maintaining equipment), and others aren't. When they first meet, Kirito wonders why Asuna would waste the time needed to grind the Cooking skill to the maximum level, although he changes his tune pretty quickly after tasting her food. After they marry, he gives up the two-handed sword skill (which he probably didn't use much anyway after picking up dual-wielding) to learn the Fishing skill.
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Deep-Immersion Gaming
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Deep-Immersion Gaming: The devices used allow this. Unfortunately the immersion is too deep in SAO: You die in real life once your avatar dies. Kirito strongly suspects that various militaries are interested in VRMMO gaming because it provides a substitute to real world training due to the immersion factor.
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Wham Episode
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Wham Episode: Sigh... Even an MMORPG anime can have it! Episode 1: At first this was like your typical MMORPG until the rules unexpectedly changed. No logging out until you clear the entire game, which will take ''years'' even for the best player. Also, if you die in the game, you die in real life. Episode 14: Heathcliff is Kayaba. Episode 17: Sugou is playing ALO as Oberon the Fairy King. Sugou is the one keeping Asuna and the other 299 players prisoner. ALO is nothing more than a front for Sugou's experiment in using the Full Dive technology for mind control. Season 2, Episode 5:Kirito comes face-to-face with Death Gun, and not only is he another SAO survivor, he was part of Laughing Coffin, and he has a grudge against Kirito. Season 2, Episode 11: The reason Death Gun can kill is because he has an accomplice in the real world, and said accomplice has broken into Shino's apartment, ready to kill her. Season 2, Episode 13: Kyouji is Death Gun's "other hand", and he's completely snapped and wants to go ahead with killing Shino anyways. Season 2, Episode 22: Asuna learns more about why Yuuki and the other Sleeping Knights suddenly tried distancing themselves from her when she attempted to join their guild. The guild is made up of terminally ill people, and the reason it's disbanding is because Yuuki is dying of her terminal illness. Which is AIDS. Despite finding out the truth, Asuna still wants to spend what little time Yuuki has left to help her Go Out with a Smile. Alicization Part 1: Kirito is attacked in the real world, injected with poison, resulting in him nearly dying, suffering brain damage and ending up in the Underworld. Alicization Part 3: Kirito accidentally kills Raios by chopping his arms off, which ends with him and Eugeo being kicked out from the Academy and handed over to the Integrity Knights. And Alice is later revealed to be working for Quinella. Alicization Part 5: The Synthesis Ritual is actually a form of brainwashing or giving amnesia on the Integrity Knights. To make things worse, Eugeo is forcefully Synthesized into an Integrity Knight by Quinella by the time Kirito and Alice met him again. Alicization Part 6: Quinella kills Eugeo and the GDS' attack on Ocean Turtle puts Kirito in a Heroic BSoD and Angst Coma. Alicization Part 7: Alice is revealed to be the MacGuffin Girl Gabriel and the GDS are looking for. Alicization Part 9: Gabriel's Army is almost winning and PoH, who manipulated the foreign players into attacking the Human Empire Army earlier, beats up a still paralyzed Kirito in front of the heroes. Alicization Part 10: Alice's departure from UW is successful, but at the expense of the World End Altar being rendered unavailable. Kirito and Asuna are now stuck in UW for the next 200 years as a result, forcing Alice to adapt into the RW on her own. Unital Ring Part 1: New Aincrad is crumbling apart due to ALO being merged with the other VRMMOs built by The Seed into the titular game. But that's not the only problem: Kirito, Asuna, and Alice found out that the ALO’s box menu system have been replaced with a new one, their Friends List and messages are gone, they can't contact Yui (who is nowhere to be seen, but is later revealed to be with Silica and Lisbeth), and all of the players' stats have been reset back to Level 1, including theirs. The only saving graces are they can still logout from the game and the OSS Yuuki gave to Asuna back at the end of Mother's Rosario remains intact. In the real world, Asuna had an encounter with Shikimi for the first time, while Kirito had an unexpected reunion with Argo.
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Kissing Discretion Shot
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Kissing Discretion Shot: Sometimes when Kirito and Asuna kiss.
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Tournament Arc
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Tournament Arc: Volumes 6 and 7, the Phantom Bullet arc, is one giant tournament arc where Kirito enters the Bullet of Bullets.
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Black Swords Are Better
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comment
Black Swords Are Better: One of Kirito's swords in SAO, Elucidator, is pitch black. His main sword in ALO is also black. He also receives a black sword in Underworld, which took a full year to craft by a master swordsmith and its "priority" rating (read: weapon strength) is actually one higher than Eugeo's Blue Rose sword.
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Corrupted Data
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Corrupted Data: Depending on how you look at it, how Kirito lost nearly all of his Aincrad items or how he kept his stats and one particularly important item when he started ALO. Also, Yui theorizes this might be why he landed where he did when starting ALO instead of in his race's hometown.
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Cry Cute
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Suguha/Leafa in Episode 22, when she hears Kirito mention trying to reach Asuna, and realizes that Kirito is her brother/cousin (to whom she was already a hopeless suitor, knowing that the rest of her family wouldn't approve of her being in love with him and that he had a girlfriend, making her this trope twice over). Like Liz, she doesn't take this information very well.
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Kissing Cousins
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comment
Kissing Cousins: One-sided on Suguha's part. She slowly falls in love with her cousin Kirito (who was raised as her brother); however, since he already has Asuna and Kirito isn't really into that stuff, he doesn't reciprocate. Suguha also knows her parents would never approve and tries to get over her feelings.
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The Informant
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The Informant: Kirito come Volume 5, and he's now the informant for Public Safety.
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Cliffhanger
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comment
Cliffhanger: Episode 9 of season 2 ends on one, with Sinon paralyzed by Death Gun, who also fires a shot at her in order to find out if the Kirito in GGO is the same one as in SAO. Episode 13 of season 2, after Shino is attacked in her apartment, and Kirito storms in to knock the attacker off of her.
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Recycled IN SPACE!
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comment
Recycled In Space: It's like .hack in its initial premise. Interestingly, both were written more or less around the same time. The Aincrad arc is basically a Sci-Fi Western in virtual reality instead of space. 10,000 people find themselves in a frontier with no means of communication to the outside world, and they must struggle to survive amid a world full of hostile beasts and outlaws. The hero is the sheriff who brings order to this frontier, relying on his strength and a small posse.
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Justified Trope
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Conceivably, one could make the argument that since we are following 90% of the time either the perspective of the person being subjected to this trope or Kirito himself, who never looks anyway, the amount of attention paid is usually justified metaphysically to get the audience close to the level of disgust said person has for the action about to take place or taking place at the time. For example, when Silica is ambushed by the giant Venus Flytrap in "The Black Swordsman" episode, we don't see her underwear while she is suspended. The camera stays above her skirtline the whole time. A better example is when Sugou is drooling over Asuna's topless form while Kirito is impaled by his own sword and thus pinned down. By this point, it's quite clear how insane Sugou is, and while we can see parts of her bare breasts or the shape of her ass, much more attention is paid to how much Sugou is enjoying himself, and how much discomfort Asuna is in. The bastard licks her armpit, for Christ's sake. That's just fucking creepy, and makes it that much better when Kirito owns his ass at the end.
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Art Shift
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Art Shift: The Light Novels have a more subtle art style compared to the manga, which is Darker and Edgier. The Big Damn Movie, Ordinal Scale, features a much more detailed and solid art style. This style carries over for the Alicization arc.
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Apocalypse Wow
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Even the Caliber side-story is rather serious since Cardinal has drawn on Norse mythology for this quest, and failure results in freaking Ragnarok happening to the world of Alfheim Online. note  The system could roll back player data, but not field data, so it would permanently change the world map if they failed
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The Bus Came Back
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Also from the same volume, not only Argo survived SAO, but also transferred to Kirito's school.
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Rewrite
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Rewrite: The light novel version of SAO is actually a polished paperback remake of the original web novels.
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Absurdly High-Stakes Game
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Absurdly High-Stakes Game: In every arc in which he is the main character, Kirito ends up playing for more than fun one way or another: All SAO players are trapped there and can only escape by A) Someone beating the final boss or B) Dying (for real). ALO is just fun for everyone except the 300 players from the previous game trapped there, including Asuna, and a desperate Kirito trying to rescue her. In GGO, Kirito's mission is to discover how people playing a supposedly designed-to-be-safe game are being Killed Off for Real. UW is another game that starts harmless at first until Kirito is trapped there and starts fighting for his sanity. Even the Caliber side-story is rather serious since Cardinal has drawn on Norse mythology for this quest, and failure results in freaking Ragnarok happening to the world of Alfheim Online. note  The system could roll back player data, but not field data, so it would permanently change the world map if they failed
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Dynamic Entry
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Dynamic Entry: Kirito's crash landing when he first meets Leafa, which causes the pursuing Salamanders to halt their attempt to kill Leafa and re-target to him. Asuna does this in her big damn heroes moment. Kirito describes her arrival as a red and white wind. Kirito does one in the real world in episode 13 of season 2 after a crazed man Kyouji, with a mix of Crazy Jealous Guy and If I Can't Have You... attacks Sinon in her apartment.
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Leeroy Jenkins
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This trope kicks in again in Episode 9 after Asuna does a Leeroy Jenkins to save some players from the floor 74 boss. Kirito starts to remember his previous failure, and does everything he can to keep anyone else from dying pointlessly again. The boss is wiping out members of the Army and he, Asuna, and Klein aren't enough to defeat it. Wanting to prevent another Black Cats-like incident from ever happening again, he's forced to utilize his secret skill, dual wielding, and goes toe-to-toe with the boss, defeating it with only a sliver of HP left. Asuna cries on his shoulder for a long time at the thought of having almost lost him.
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Heel Realization
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Heel Realization: Seems to happen to Grimlock when Asuna tells him that he didn't really love his wife Griselda, and killed her because he wanted to control her rather than let her be a strong, independent woman. As she tells him this, he seems to suffer from both My God, What Have I Done? and a Villainous Breakdown.
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Guns Do Not Work That Way
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Guns Do Not Work That Way: when Death Gun prepares to shoot Sinon, he pulls back the slide and keeps his hand on it as it moves forward. Automatic pistols are designed around the tension of the spring, and this could cause it to jam. Though it did add to the drama.
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Damn You, Muscle Memory!
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Another thing about the kendo match: despite it being a month after his escape from SAO, we still need to remember that it's ONLY a month, so his body is still both severely physically weakened from muscle atrophy and from malnutrition. They both pretty much come to the conclusion that had he been healthy at the time he would have won (the only real reason he lost is because his arms had atrophied so much that when he tried to block one of her strikes she just blew straight through and hit him. That, and he tried to use a Sword Skill with predictable results.)
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Small Girl, Big Gun
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Small Girl, Big Gun: Sinon is described as having a doll-like avatar. She wields a Hecate II.
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There Are No Therapists
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There Are No Therapists: Played with. The AI that controls Aincrad created a program to monitor and repair the players' psychological states. However, said program was then forbidden from interacting with the players in any way. On launch day, when the creator announced that they were all trapped, and anyone who died died for real, the conflict between the program's core programming to help the players and the orders to not interfere created errors. She eventually appeared in the game as a little girl named Yui, in order to become the daughter of two of the only happy players in the entire game: Asuna and Kirito.
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Big Bad
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Heathcliff, Leader of the Knights of The Blood Oath, has light-based skills and turns out to be the Big Bad Kayaba.
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Sleep Cute
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Sleep Cute: Volume 7 opens with Yui sleeping on top of Pina, who is curled up and sleeping on top of Kirito's chest, while he's sleeping in his rocking chair. The scene is so d'aww, Asuna and every other girl in the room feels sleepy and thinks of joining them. Also, Asuna sleeping next to Kirito in "A Murder Case in the Area".
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Chick Magnet
 Sword Art Online / int_9858c391
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Really applies to any girl not named Asuna who falls in love with Kirito. Goes doubly for the additional girls in the games based on the anime, including Strea and Premiere.
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Master of Illusion
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Spriggans seem to be looked down upon by pretty much every other race due to the game’s combat heavy nature, with many viewing their illusion magic as useless in a fight. Even when people party with a Spriggan, they seem to have no problems with insulting the race and their illusion magic despite them standing right there.
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Androids Are People, Too
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Androids Are People, Too: Or at least, the AI characters that exist within the various games, to the point Kirito was unwilling to go with a plan to use a town's NPCs as bait to distract a boss. And a good portion of Alicization's supporting cast consists of AI beings.
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Combos
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Skill Connect: In ALO, Kirito discovers he can chain One-Handed Sword Skills in order to compensate for not having the Dual Blades skill in the game. He uses One-Handed Sword Skills and controls his left and right arms separately. He has to be sure the timing of the next move is precise or it fails.
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Saintly Church
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Saintly Church: Which takes care of the younger players in SAO.
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Event Flag
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In the (non-canon) bonus side story Caliber SS (Failure Side), the characters follow the events of Caliber and miss an important Event Flag, which results in their being unable to stop Alfheim from being attacked by the Frost Giants. It does, however, imply they will go on to battle the Big Bad before he can bring any more destruction and hopefully restore the world in the process.
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Crippling Overspecialization
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Crippling Overspecialization: Kirito's group of friends in ALO is nearly completely devoid of magic, outside a few support spells from Asuna, Leafa and Silica. This leads to problems against physical damage-resistant/immune enemies, where they must rely on Sword Skills' elemental effects, all of which have recovery lag times. They're aware of the problem, but after going through SAO, can't conceive of fighting without their weapons.
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Death by Irony
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Death by Irony: During SAO's first day in the Light Novel, Kirito unexpectedly parties with another Beta Tester named Cooper for a luck-based quest. But once Kirito gets the quest item, Cooper aggro's the monsters (Nepent) then goes into hiding. Kirito silently praises him for the MPK tactic, but finds a flaw in the plan. Some monsters also use senses other than sight, enabling the Nepents to find Cooper's hiding spot, killing him.
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Took a Level in Badass
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Took a Level in Badass: Well, it is an RPG, and everyone's basically fighting for their lives. Asuna goes from being a scared girl who hides in an inn to the second-in-command of the strongest guild in Aincrad. Klein starts the game as a helpless noob who can't kill the weakest in-game enemy, but over time turns into the leader of a Badass Crew.
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What Measure Is a Non-Human?
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What Measure Is a Non-Human??: On the 56th floor, Asuna, Kirito, the Knights of Blood, and various other players were debating on the strategy they would use to fight the floor boss. Asuna proposed to use the nearby NPC villagers as a distraction while the players attacked the boss. Kirito refused to help, saying that the NPCs are alive and that they should choose another way. Everyone in the KoB laughed at him, but in the end, Asuna believed that he was right. This forms the core theme in the Alicization arc. Kirito deems the AIs that were created in the Underworld to not be programs, but souls without bodies. They can even be given physical bodies in the real world which allows them to enter.
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A Day in the Limelight
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A Day in the Limelight: Mother's Rosario focuses on Asuna, her personal issues, and her budding friendship with Yuuki. Ronye gets her own spotlight in Moon Cradle despite Kirito playing a more active role than in Mother's Rosario. Tiese is later involved in the second half.
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Taking the Bullet
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Same fight: Asuna gets a really big moment when she takes a fatal blow from Heathcliff to save Kirito, overcoming her paralyzed status to do so. Heathcliff comments that it shouldn't be possible for her to have broken out of the paralysis and even lampshades it.
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Foreshadowing
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Foreshadowing: As Kirito himself put it in his battle with Heathcliff, he was fighting at his maximum ability, making it impossible for anyone to counter him at that particular moment, yet Heathcliff defeated him rather soundly. It's because he's Akihiko Kayaba himself, and he designed the very settings of the battle and player movements. The opening credits for season two at one point show Kirito trying to reach Death Gun while surrounded by a purple triangular void with three laughing silhouettes growing out of each of the three points which foreshadows that "Death Gun" is actually three people, one whom controls the "Sterben" avatar in GGO itself and sets up the murders by shooting other avatars with a handgun and two others who operate in the real world, using a heart attack-inducing drug to actually kill people.
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Continuity Nod
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Continuity Nod: Lisbeth, Yui, and Silica, who all appear in Volume 2 during the 2-year span of the SAO incident, make their comeback in Volume 3 and Volume 4, still retaining their jobs: Silica is still a beast tamer, Lisbeth is still a blacksmith, and Yui is still an AI. Thinker, leader of ALF, who was the Badass in Distress in Volume 2, appears at the end of Volume 4, along with his assistant/wife Yuriel.
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Flight
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Flight: A main feature in ALO. Under the control of RECTO, there is is a limit for flight such as: height limit, cool down time to charge with sun or moonlight, and inability to fly in dungeons with the exception of Imps. The main quest at the time has the races trying to reach the top of the world tree to have an audience with Oberon to be reborn as a higher-order fairy, the Alf. After Recto sells its rights to it, all races have no time limit in flight.
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One-Man Army
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One-Man Army: All the integrity knights in Alicization. 50 of them can basically intimidate the entire dark kingdom, at least before Vector shows up. Especially the higher order knights and their ultimate weapon skills, which can range from a laser in the form of concentrated sunlight to a storm of sword particles. Of course, Kirito and Eugeo in Alicization, whose own weapon skills are ridiculous AoE attacks. How strong are they? When [[spoiler Kirito finally dual wields after his recovery, he deep freezes a 30,000 strong army in an instant!]] Special note to Asuna and Leafa in Alicization, both of whom fend off thousands of mooks to save their respective allies.
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Three-Point Landing
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Three-Point Landing: Kirito as a Spriggan fairy in ALO, complete with Badass Longcoat, pulls one off as he assaults the World Tree for the first time as shown in the anime adaptation.
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Competitive Balance
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Competitive Balance: In one episode Kirito mentions that while SAO is horrible, it is essentially fair to all the players and gives everyone a chance to succeed.
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Override Command
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Override Command: Occurs throughout the series: In the SAO arc, Akihiko Kayaba, playing as the character "Heathcliff", uses his Administrator rights to be treated as an Immortal Object once he hits 50% HP. To further protect the illusion, an Auto Block trait activates, meaning no matter what, he will automatically move to position his shield perfectly to block any attack for no damage received. When his identity is revealed, Kayaba turns both off but inflicts the paralysis status on everyone else but Kirito for a final duel. ALO: Nobuyuki Sugou/Oberon uses his admin powers to use an over powered Gravity spell that was still in beta testing to prevent Asuna and Kirito from moving, then uses it to generate Excalibur, the strongest sword in the entire game and decreases the safety levels on the pain inhibitors. Kayaba's uploaded consciousness doesn't take kindly to such tactics, though, and gives Kirito his top-level Administrator access to turn the tables on Sugou. This allows Kirito to enjoy a Catharsis Factor moment by showing just how weak Sugou really is without his false power to help before starting a Curb-Stomp Battle with their own actual skill levels at fighting, and the pain limiter set to Zero. Yui, being a high level A.I. of the Cardinal system, likewise has unique powers at her command. As all full versions of the Cardinal systems were designed to be self-sufficient, with minimum input needed from a human game master, including fixing bugs and glitches, automatically adding quests and updates, Yui likewise has access to a number of features her self. She can override parts of the system when needed, or provide information to Kirito, Asuna, and the others as needed as to how the game is behaving. A number of players, especially Kirito and Asuna, have managed to exceed normal limitations of the system. These "Outside System Skills" are often plausible, typically using game skills in ways the devs didn't mean for them to be used, such as Kirito using Sword Arts to target an enemy's weapons or spells to destroy them, or timing their use so that he can activate multiple Sword Arts in a row with two swords, switching between them, so that while one's cooldown is in effect, he can swing with the other. Others are using their own human abilities and skills, such as concentrating intensely to listen for someone moving through some bushes while ignoring the normal natural sounds of the wind, or using a sword to block bullets by using a prediction line to know where to hold the sword. There are other Outside System Skills, though, that go beyond the bounds of both using loopholes in game rules and even human ability, completely overriding them. Kirito has developed an ability known as "Hypersense" that can detect a player's "killing intent" before he's even seen or heard them, allowing him to react to ambushes. Asuna has been able to break games' Movement Speed caps, going faster than theoretically possible through any logical means, even managing to break out of supposedly unbreakable Paralysis status effects to take a fatal blow for Kirito in-game. How these are possible is not yet understood. The series introduces the theory of a Quantum Field, known as Fluctuating Lights (Fluctlight for short), specifically a person's consciousness or soul. If it's strong enough, the NERVgear or Amusphere headset reads it as an unusually strong mental command input, causing the game to temporarily override normal gameplay limits to comply with said input.
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Bare-Fisted Monk
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Bare-Fisted Monk: The American GGO player who won the game's first BoB tournament goes on to win the fourth tournament using this as his build; his main tactic is to use CQC to beat-down opposing players, steal their guns and use them against other players. Kirito suspects he may be an actual Special Forces soldier in real life. Although it's rarely shown in action, Kirito's Unarmed skill is almost completely maxed out.
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Bait-and-Switch Gunshot
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Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: SAO II episode 9 ends with a Smash to Black and a gunshot. Episode 10 reveals what happened.
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Anatomy of the Soul
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Anatomy of the Soul: The Alicization arc goes very deeply into defining what a soul is. Based on SAO's "Quantum Brain Dynamics" theory, there are light particles that act as a quantum unit of mind called "Evanescent Photons", which exist within the microtubules of a nerve cell. These light particles exist in a state of indeterminism and fluctuate according to the probability theory. A collection of these particles form a Quantum Field, which have been dubbed "Fluctuating Lights" (or "Fluctlight" for short) which is what makes up the human consciousness, or in other words, the human soul.
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Nerves of Steel
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Nerves of Steel: Kirito has his moments of angst but usually when it hits the fan, he's the one least visibly freaked out.
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Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight
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Never Bring A Knife To A Gunfight: Defied by Kirito. In GGO, a gun-based MMO, Kirito chooses a light saber as his primary weapon despite it being viewed as useless by practically every other player because of its poor range. He makes it work. Although her ALfheim Online character is an Undine Healer, Asuna still carries her rapier, and she's only gotten better since her Sword Art Online days.
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Eye Scream
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Kirito versus Sugou after the latter has been stripped of GM powers. Combined with Eye Scream and Tranquil Fury.
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Sexy Discretion Shot
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Sexy Discretion Shot: Kirito and Asuna are about to have sex in chapter 16* .5 and at the end of Episode 10. The scene is cut off by a Fade to Black in both the officially published novels and the anime. However, there is an infamous chapter detailing the scene in graphic detail... and questionable quality. They make love again in Chapter 16.6, the difference this time being that the author opts not to describe the scene.
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One-Hit Kill
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One-Hit Kill: What makes the Skull Reaper truly terrifying is its ability to do this.
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Mood Whiplash
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Mood Whiplash: In-universe. Kirito and Asuna's Relationship Upgrade. Asuna prepares to go all the way... and Kirito explains that he meant they should stick together to watch out for assassins. It's a while before he can placate an embarrassed, raging Asuna, and the romantic mood is completely destroyed. Not that they let that stop them... Kirito's first meeting with Leafa and first ALO PvP encounter keeps jumping between "Laugh out Loud" and "Let's Get Dangerous!." Episode 21 of the anime has Asuna sneaking around the top of the World Tree interspersed with scenes of Kazuto and Suguha... well, being brother and sister, which itself alternates between funny and heartwarming. In the first episode of the anime, Ominous Latin Chanting accompanies Kirito's departure from the Starting City, his mind in turmoil and anguish... and then the hopeful determination of the OP kicks in.
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Infinity +1 Sword
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In the climax of Volume 4, Kirito faces Oberon and gets thoroughly beaten, thanks to the latter's abuse of GM powers to give himself an Infinity +1 Sword and invulnerability. Then, Kayaba's ghost speaks to Kirito and inspires him to find a way to give himself greater GM powers and turn the tables on Oberon.
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Year Inside, Hour Outside
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Year Inside, Hour Outside: In Volume 9, beginning the Alicization arc, Kirito has a part-time job as a beta tester for a new VRMMO that uses time acceleration: several weeks in-game are a weekend in the real world... at least at first. In the non-canon sidestory after Alicization ends, Kirito and his harem spend fifty thousand hours (5 years 8 months) on an in-game honeymoon, while five hours pass in the real world. However even those 5 years pale in comparison to the Two Hundred years Asuna and Kirito spend in the Underworld at the conclusion of Alicization, with an FLA of 5 million.
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Karma Houdini
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Karma Houdini: Although they were all placed in a separate building from other SAO survivors for rehab/observation purposes, none of the players who committed murder in SAO are publicly revealed nor receive justice for their actions, as all blame is placed on Akihiko Kayaba. This leads to repercussions in future arcs.
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Meaningless Villain Victory
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Meaningless Villain Victory: During the aftermath of Fairy Dance, it is discovered that even if Sugou had managed to perfect his Mind Control research, it would have only worked with the (now-defunct) first-generation NERVgears.
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Code Name
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Code Name: Almost everyone uses one, which protects their real life identity. Averted by Asuna, who, being an MMORPG noob, used her real name as her screen name. Surviving SAO players tend to refer to each other by their SAO screen names.
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Bloodier and Gorier
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Bloodierand Gorier: Unlike previous VR environments, Alicization's Underworld averts Bloodless Carnage and the lack of pain meaning losing health and getting injured becomes a more dangerous affair as Kirito learns in a fight with Goblins in Volume 9 when he is injured resulting in a bleeding gouge causing him tremendous physical pain.
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And I Must Scream
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And I Must Scream: After Kirito cleared SAO, a few hundred players, including Asuna, remained comatose, thanks to the devs behind ALfheim Online intercepting their minds and experimenting on them in order to research mind control. Thankfully, by the time it ended, those who received this treatment, except Asuna, did not remember the incident at all. Yui was created to monitor players' psychological parameters and offer them comfort. After the game began, she was not allowed to interact with the players, so for two whole years, she was forced to just watch as some of them went insane and commited suicide. Vassago Casals/PoH is turned into a tree by Kirito and spends 30 years as such in the accelerated underworld before his brain dies in the real world.
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Preexisting Encounters
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Preexisting Encounters: In all VRMMOs, although some enemies have some ways to conceal their presence in order to ambush players.
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Secret Level
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Secret Level: In-Universe: There is a dungeon below the first floor of Aincrad that houses incredibly powerful monsters that don't typically appear until the 90th floor. The leader of the Aincrad Liberation Front, Thinker, gets trapped in this dungeon because of a power-play by Kibaou, who used the dungeon to grind levels in secret.
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Spell My Name with a
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Spell My Name with a "The": In SAO, Boss monsters have "The" in their name.
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Red Baron
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Red Baron: Kirito gets titled as "The Black Swordsman," and is pretty well-known in SAO. Asuna is known as "The Lightning Flash," due to being one of the fastest players. In one case, she covers a distance in five minutes that took Kirito's party one hour to travel to save Kirito from an Ax-Crazy guildmate no less. She's less keen on her ALO nickname, the "Berserk Healer." Sinon is also known as "Hecate" in GGO, both after her anti-material rifle and for the Greek goddess associated with the underworld. Other characters get similar titles mentioned, though they're not often brought up. Kirito mentions to Sinon that Lisbeth is known as the "Swindlin' Blacksmith", and professional GGO player Yamikaze is infamous as the "Run-Gun Demon".
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The Most Dangerous Video Game
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comment
The Most Dangerous Video Game: This is the entire premise of the Aincrad arc and, for 300 people, the Fairy Dance arc.
 Sword Art Online / int_ab3b6852
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Asskicking Equals Authority
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Asskicking Equals Authority: Played straight in that great warriors are the ones making up the front-line guilds, and leaders are often picked for their fighting talent. This and Authority Equals Asskicking are mixed to create some VERY powerful front-line leaders. For example, Heathcliff is the leader of the game's most powerful guild and is arguably the game's most powerful swordsman, thanks to his incredible reflexes, his impossible speed, his truly invulnerable shield, and his incredible sword. Of course, he turns out to be Akihiko Kayaba in disguise, so that explains a lot. Averted in that Kirito, a solo player, is also arguably the eponymous game's most powerful swordsman and is not the leader of any group outside his own... until he became the "Star King" of UW following PoH and Gabriel's deaths.
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Near-Villain Victory
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Alicization Part 9: Gabriel's Army is almost winning and PoH, who manipulated the foreign players into attacking the Human Empire Army earlier, beats up a still paralyzed Kirito in front of the heroes.
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Chekhov's Skill
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Chekhov's Skill: When Kirito transfers his SAO data to ALO, his stats show One-Handed Swords 1000, Unarmed 996, and Fishing 641. The Unarmed skill comes in handy during the denouement of the Fairy Dance arc. After scouting the boss, Kirito mentions that to fight the level 74 boss, they'd need a couple of Stone Wall characters using shields. Asuna asks him about that, and wonders why he never uses a shield despite only using a 1-handed sword. She mentions that she doesn't use one because it slows her rapier attacks down. It turns out that Kirito doesn't use a shield because he learned how to dual wield, and is forced to utilize it in order to defeat the level 74 boss, which surprises all of the characters around him after he barely defeats it. When Klein asks about how he learned it, even Kirito says he's not sure how he managed to acquire the skill, mentioning it showed up in his skill set about 6 months earlier. Guns in GGO leave a bullet prediction line before they fire so that they can be dodged. Sinon uses her gun to make a bullet prediction line to throw off Death Gun and give Kirito an opening he desperately needed.
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Oh, Crap!
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Oh, Crap!: Quite a few happen throughout the series: Kirito in Volume 1, upon realizing that he's in a Crash-Into Hello situation with Asuna, and his hand has been automatically groping her, and he can't remember any of the placating statements he prepared in case he ever got into this situation. Kirito and Lizbeth, upon realizing that the cave they took shelter in is the nest of a high-level dragon boss... and it's coming home for breakfast (i.e. them). A Titan's Head player, upon realizing that the swordsman escorting the low-level Dragon Tamer they're targeting is none other than the Black Swordsman. It's compounded when the guild realizes, to their terror, that not only does Kirito outlevel them by a significant degree, his healing factor counteracts all damage they do to him. Kirito again, when Sugou attempts to knife him in the real world. And consequently, Sugou when he realizes Kirito could do the same to him not a minute later. Level Bosses also tend to cause this reaction — prominent examples are Kirito & Asuna's reaction to seeing the Level 74 boss, and when the Level 75 boss casually oneshots several clearers. In Episode 2 of Season 2, Sinon and her pug crew shit themselves when they realise the unknown target they'd dismissed is the well known mercenary player Behemoth, who's packing a minigun. Even better, Sinon herself wanted to snipe him first over the guy packing a light machine gun (FN Minimi) specifically due to the fact that he was an unknown. Kirito once again has this look in Episode 5 of Season 2 after he wins his first match, and is approached by Death Gun. The latter, aside from looking very frightening and being way too close for comfort to Kirito, also asks some unusually specific questions to him, such as his name and use of a sword in his match. Kirito surmises that Death Gun is someone he knew in SAO, a fellow survivor, but isn't sure who it is. Death Gun's Laughing Coffin tattoo narrows it down a little for him, but he's still not sure who that guy is. Kirito has another moment of this when he realizes one of the three Death Gun suspects in the Bullet of Bullet tournament, a guy named Pale Rider, isn't Death Gun [[spoiler because he's about to be killed by the real Death Gun instead]]. He immediately starts yelling at Sinon to shoot before Pale Rider is killed. Asuna has a small moment when, after refusing an Arranged Marriage from her mother, learns that her mother is fine with it, as long as it's not someone from her school, and she's horrified that her mother knows about Kirito.
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Leprechaun
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Leprechauns, blacksmith-class fairies, who excel in weapons manufacturing and crafting.
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Arc Villain
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In the Fairy Dance arc, Sugou is the Arc Villain but for the most he's an Orcus on His Throne who doesn't act until Kirito is at his front door. For the majority of the arc it's the Salamanders who stir up trouble for Kirito and Leafa where the two are forced to battle them on several occasions. Especially General Eugene who led an ambush on the Sylphs and Cait-Sith alliance, forcing Kirito to take a detour in rescuing Asuna and deal with them first.
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For the Evulz
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For the Evulz: Kayaba entrapped the people playing SAO until they can finish the game by defeating the ultimate boss, but in truth he wants to see a society in a different light and he's the ultimate boss.
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Face–Heel Turn
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Face–Heel Turn: Kayaba a.k.a. Heathcliff had planned to do this on the 100th floor, but did not get the chance, thanks to Kirito's Sequence Breaking.
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Breakable Weapons
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Breakable Weapons: Explained in Volume 2. When Kirito finds a blacksmith girl named Lizbeth and needs a new sword to practice on, he is given one, but when he tests it out, it breaks easily, so they go on a quest to slay a snow dragon to get the metal needed to forge a new weapon. This doubles as a Funny Moment because of the look on Lisbeth's face when Kirito effortlessly shatters what she considered her finest work at the time. All weapons in SAO, ALO, and GGO require regular maintenance. Lizbeth has a deal with Kirito and Asuna where she'll maintain their weapons for free in exchange for them endorsing and using her gear, which rivals ultra-rare quest items.
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What You Are in the Dark
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What You Are in the Dark: In ALO, Leafa learns that the Salamanders are preparing to ambush the leaders of the Sylph and Cait-Sith races at their conference place. Leafa tells Kirito that it's in his best interest to cut her down and join the Salamanders, because if they successfully kill both leaders they'll obtain so much money that they should be able to successfully start challenging the World Tree. She even tells him that she understands and won't hold any grudge against him, but thinks to herself that she will likely never play ALO again if that happens.
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Inside a Computer System
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Inside a Computer System: The "partially attached" variety. VRMMOs use the "Full Dive" system to completely immerse the player in a virtual world, controlling all five senses.
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Cool Helmet
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Cool Helmet: A few GGO players sport these, like Death Gun and Pale Rider.
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Loners Are Freaks
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Loners Are Freaks: Kirito and the few other solo players are seen as unusual for not joining guilds and going out to battle alone, something that is likely to get them killed. On the other hand, it's the reason Kirito is so skilled, and presumably the other solo players as well. In Progressive, the leaders of the rival factions ALS and DKB spend a great deal of time trying to pressure Kirito and Asuna into joining their guilds (one for each, as a compromise of sorts).
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Fate Worse than Death
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And then there's what Kirito did to PoH in the Alicization arc.
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Royal Rapier
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Conceivably, Asuna counts as this, too. Comes from money, doesn't act "prissy" to any real degree but is even less considered a tomboy, uses a rapier, a weapon most often used by royalty or those close to it in stories like this.
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Loophole Abuse
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Loophole Abuse: Towns are safe zones, where players cannot be killed except in a duel. PKers discover that if you challenge someone to a duel while they're asleep, you can manually move their hand to accept, and then kill them without retaliation. Several people are killed in a town, without anyone seeing the duel victory symbol appearing, so everyone is confused as to how it's being done. Some of the victims think it's a ghost of vengeance, but Kirito and Asuna assume it's just a system exploit. It turns out to be neither. The "victims" were faking their deaths to terrorize the man who murdered their guild leader. They took advantage of the fact that players can't be harmed in cities, but items (including armor) can, and a destroyed item Disappears into Light in the same way a dead player does. So they just stabbed themselves, faked being in pain, and when their armor was destroyed, teleported away.
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Real Is Brown
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Real Is Brown: The trope is played in a subtle way: the environments of the battlefields in GGO are all a drab brownish color. Contrast with the much more vibrant and bright colors of SAO and ALO. It's certainly an accurate reflection of the usual color schemes FPS games use in Real Life vs. RPGs.
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Bladder of Steel
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Bladder of Steel: In "Unital Ring" logging out will make the player stay in one place before logging in back.
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Dungeon Bypass
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Dungeon Bypass: When Kirito and Asuna are looking for a house on Floor 22 to buy, they stumble onto Argo and a Wizard of Oz-inspired Quest. Since their levels are miles above that floor's, the three of them use shortcuts like jumping on balconies that they aren't supposed to be able to reach.
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Gilded Cage
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Gilded Cage: "Titania's" (Asuna's) prison in ALO. Quite literally.
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Trapped in Another World
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Trapped in Another World: While this series isn't technically an Isekai, most pieces of media that run on the trope nowadays take cues from how this series handled something akin to it. To that end, this series can be considered the Trope Codifier, and this series' success is largely considered to be one of the biggest factors to the popularity of the Isekai genre. Though the scenarios of the Aincrad and Alicization arcs do resemble this trope quite a bit, as Kirito is stuck in SAO/Underworld respectively.
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Too Dumb to Live
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Too Dumb to Live: Korbatz. He decides to take on a boss with his exhausted army, despite being warned against it. Even while being beaten by it, he refuses to retreat. He predictably dies from his stubbornness. The Virtual Ghosts AI called "Fluctlights" will not kill no matter what. The project staff which created them try to induce famines and diseases in an attempt to stimulate violence and are baffled when the AIs are such Perfect Pacifist People that they would rather let entire populations die off than sacrifice some to save others.
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The Ace
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His real cheat is the ability to rapidly pick up new games in absurdly short times at the highest level. This is best demonstrated in his ability to defeat the previous The Ace in a game he just logged into.
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Battle Royale Game
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Battle Royale Game: "Unital Ring" is this, combined with Survival Sandbox.
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Creepy Cool Crosses
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Creepy Cool Crosses: Not physically, but Death Gun crosses himself before he shoots his victims with his handgun to kill them in both GGO and the real world. Kirito later theorizes that this gesture masks the fact that Death Gun is actually checking his wristwatch so he can sync up shooting the player's avatar with one of his two real-world cohorts injecting the player with a drug that stops their heart and kills them.
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Dungeon Crawling
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Dungeon Crawling: A prerequisite for clearing each level of Aincrad. Each level's stairway-dungeon has 20 floors, and the final floor has the boss that must be defeated to clear the level.
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Mass Monster Slaughter Sidequest
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Mass Monster Slaughter Sidequest: In ALO Archduke Þjazi gives one to kill beast-type Evil Gods in order for players to receive Excaliber but in actuality the prize is Caliburn and for Jötunheimr to spread to Alfheim.
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Blood Knight
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Blood Knight: Kayaba must have figured some of the players were, because there's no other reason for a bonus dungeon to exist in a death game.
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Moral Dissonance
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Moral Dissonance: Kirito has a sort of (begrudging) respect for Magnificent Bastard Akihiko Kayaba as a game creator and because of his passion for the VRMMORPG genre, even though he trapped 10,000 people in the game, causing thousands to die, lying to everyone as Heathcliff, and planning to betray the top player. Both Kirito and the story itself treat Sugou (AKA Oberon, The Fairy King) much worse, despite having not killed thousands of people, because he's just a Corrupt Corporate Executive, who gets right into Kirito's space by flaunting his engagement with Asuna in reality and his position as her jailer in ALO, without the excuse of Kayaba's Blue-and-Orange Morality. Yes, both of them are villains, and Kirito says he'll never be able to forgive Kayaba for what he's done, but he sympathizes with Kayaba's goal while hating Sugou for threatening to take Asuna away after they spent two years trying to survive Kayaba's death game and almost dying several times in the process.
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Color Motif
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Color Motif: Almost all of the core SAO gang have a color associated with them. Kirito (Black), Asuna (White and Red), Leafa (Leaf Green), Sinon (Cyan and Olive Green), Lisbeth (Pink), Klein (Red), Agil (Emerald Green), and Yuuki (Purple), Alice (Gold), and Eugeo (Blue). The only exception is Silica who has variably been given Red, Blue, and Yellow, without any specific fixed color.
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Promoted to Playable
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Memory Defrag, the mobile phone game, seems to be a hybrid of these. Though the main campaign follows the original SAO anime, up through the GGO arc, the extra stories seem to follow the other games, with Strea, Philia, Rain, Seven, and Yuuki being common characters, and Ordinal Scale also featuring. Both story lines are treated as canon, leading to unusual scenes like Rain and Seven being involved in Ordinal Scale. Special events and character stories also give completely original story lines exclusive to the mobile game, along with occasional original characters. Notably, Yui is a playable character with one event that changed her avatar to being combat capable. There's also an ongoing quest campaign involving Eugeo and Alice being brought into ALO, meeting the SAO gang early, and questing to retrieve the Divine Objects.
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First Girl Wins
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First Girl Wins: Asuna is the first girl introduced to readers of the light novels and viewers of the anime (though the situations are slightly different), and the first love interest Kirito meets.
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What If?
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What If?: The side story Caliber SSnote SS stands for Sukoshi Shippai, which translates to Slight Failure retells the events of Caliber but with the twist of Klein not freeing Freya. It shows how different the events unfold from their slight slip-up. The Big Bad wins, but there's a bit of hope: the system generates a Defense of the Realm event, calling all players to defend ALO from the Frost Giants.
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Berserk Button
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Berserk Button: Kirito gets seriously pissed off when ANYONE tries to keep him from Asuna. He gets upset when high-level players abuse their experience to troll lower-level players, but he gets downright murderous when people mess with his girl, a great example being the look on his face and the way he acts inside the World Tree. If the guardians could feel fear, they'd be shitting themselves. Similarly, Asuna doesn't take kindly to people abusing their power and position in Aincrad, whether it's Kuradeel creeping outside her house early in the morning, or the Army in the Town of Beginnings. And the look she gives one character, Kuradeel, after his attempted murder of another, Kirito, is enough to shatter ice.
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Improbable Aiming Skills
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Improbable Aiming Skills: Shino scores a headshot on The Behemoth after jumping from a skyscraper while dodging a minigun in midair.
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Slasher Smile
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Slasher Smile: Kuradeel has one in Episode 10 as he hacks away at Godfrey and then slowly stabs Kirito in his arms and legs to prolong the suffering.
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Impossible Task
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Impossible Task: The "Grand Quest" of ALO.
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Compressed Adaptation
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Compressed Adaptation: Some parts of the light novel are trimmed when adapting to the anime. In the "Murder Case In The Area", arc, the confrontation between Kirito and the top three Laughng Coffin officers is shortened, and the references to chronologically later events are removed. The final confrontation with the killer, Grimlock, has said individual give up immediately, removing the part in which Yoruko proves the person in question's guilt. The scene with Shino and Kyouji in the former's apartment omits some of his exposition about why he was broken to the point of becoming Death Gun, what he plans on doing with her and the part in which she threatens him with a model gun.
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You Gotta Have Blue Hair
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You Gotta Have Blue Hair: It's mostly averted in SAO; because the NerveGear scans the player's face and body, which is loaded as the avatar, most players — who are Japanese — don't have the complexions to match exotic hair colors. Only a few players have exotic hair colors, and changing color requires getting dye items from a monster drop. Played straight in ALO and GGO, which function closer to conventional MMORPGs. Hair color is completely customizable — Asuna and Shino have blue hair in ALO.
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Anti-Hero
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Anti-Hero: Kirito starts off as this, choosing to protect only himself while attempting to complete the game. He changes later.
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Happily Married
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Happily Married: Kirito and Asuna in SAO, after their Relationship Upgrade. This is also their real-world goal. Thinker and Yuriel, both in SAO and the real world. Agil and his wife; when he was trapped in SAO, she singlehandedly kept his cafe running and in the black while waiting for him to come back.
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Fictional Currency
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Fictional Currency: Cor in SAO.note Which is an acronym for "Coin of Radius" Yrd in ALO. Credits in GGO.note One can actually exchange in-game credits for real world money and vice versa. In Japan, the exchange rate is 100 credits = 1 yen. A player can pay their monthly fee by earning credits in-game. Shia in Underworld.
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Recap Episode
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Recap Episode: The OVA, Sword Art Online EXTRA EDITION is a 1h 40 min. feature film. Roughly 75% of it is the characters remembering the events from the first season. In the second season, the fifteenth episode (though it's officially called episode 14.5), "Debriefing," is a more traditional recap episode where a voice-over from Sinon summarizes the Phantom Bullet arc over clips of recycled footage. However, it has a different opening and closing from the rest of the arc.
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Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy
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This often goes both ways with Salamanders, especially between them and the Slyphs who they are at war with in Fairy Dance, partially due to their territories being right next to each other and causing resource wars. In general, this is largely due to a majority of the Salamanders lording the fact that they’re considered the “strongest race” and taunting everyone else for not having that honor, with other races understandably viewing them as Jerkasses who like to flaunt their power. The fact that some of the ones shown on-screen act as bandits, attack others with little provocation, make a hobby of killing female players for some kind of sexual thrill, and the biggest obstacle Liz faces when trying to recruit help to save the Underworld is a Salamander Commander doesn’t exactly help paint them in a good light.
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Hold the Line
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Special note to Asuna and Leafa in Alicization, both of whom fend off thousands of mooks to save their respective allies.
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Character Level
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Character Level: It IS supposed to be an MMORPG... Kirito is explicitly referred to as one of the highest-leveled characters in SAO, though he later resets his stats in ALO.
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Ill Girl
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Ill Girl/Guy: All the members of the Sleeping Knights. They're hospice care patients hooked up to modified NERVgears in an attempt to give them a better quality of life.
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Big
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Big "NO!": The robot cowboy in Episode 4 of Season 2 does one after Kirito manages to make it to the end and win the jackpot.
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True Companions
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True Companions: Kirito and his friends became this after the SAO arc. The Sleeping Knights all met in the Serene Garden, which is a VR hospice for terminally ill patients, and partied together from VR game to game afterwards.
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Cue the Falling Object
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Cue the Falling Object: SAO has a unique spin on this when Kirito shatters Lisbeth's finest blade on his Elucidator. The fallen object doesn't prompt anything; it's after the sword tip shatters and fades out that Lisbeth screams, realizing what happened.
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Boom, Headshot!
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Boom, Headshot!: In season 2 episode 9, Dyne gets a wall of buckshot to the face courtesy of Pale Rider during the BoB tournament.
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Scrub
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Scrub: In-Universe. Any players with an attitude against Beta testers mentioned they saw them as unpunished cheaters who have an unfair advantage in terms of knowledge and getting a head-start can give off this vibe.
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Hope Spot
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Hope Spot: After Sachi dies, Kirito learns of an ultra-rare item that can resurrect a dead player. It doesn't quite work out, since the item has to be used within ten seconds of the player's death, but by the time Kirito gets it Sachi has already been dead for six months. He gives the item to Klein instead, hoping that it'll be of some use to him.
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Squee!
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Squee!: Kirito's reaction to getting Excaliber, first when Shino manages to trickshot it into her hands, and then when he officially gets it as a quest reward.
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There Is Only One Bed
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There Is Only One Bed: Kirito has to sleep on the floor while Silica gets the bed. Strangely played straight AND subverted in Episode 3 with Sachi. Both of them get in the same bed, but absolutely nothing happens. However, Kirito didn't know anything could happen. This was over a year before he found out about the option to turn the Ethics Code off.
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Continuing Is Painful
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Continuing Is Painful: ALO (and presumably post-ALO games made using the Seed) lacks a level system, instead improving stats with use. When a player dies, they suffer a 'death penalty', which reduces their stats; penalties are worse for self-destructing magic than for simply getting killed. Of course, to SAO survivors, a game where you can die is too easy.
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Wuxia
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Wuxia: From Fairy Dance onwards, and in particularly the Mother's Rosario and "Alicization Arcs, Sword Art Online steadily begins to adopt elements from the Wuxia Genre. These include Dedicated Schools of Martial Arts, Inter-Sword-School Rivalries, Young Prodigies seeking challenges in a Worthy Opponent, Striving To Leave A Legacy of Hope, Rivals Bound By Honor fighting side by side as Brothers in Arms, Ancient Techniques passed down as legacies of friendships, the Training Montage, Close and Loving Friendships Between Sworn Brothers and Sisters, not to mention elegant and balletic sword-battles reminiscent of those choreographed by Kung Fu Film Luminary Yuen Woo-Ping. "Phantom Bullet" is more of a tribute to the post-apocalyptic cyberpunk genre and Star Wars, the latter of which is itself a Wuxia saga Recycled In Space.
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Gamer Chick
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Gamer Chicks: Most of the girls Kirito knows. They are trapped in a video game, after all. Notably not Asuna, though, until after they escape SAO. Her brother was supposed to get trapped in SAO instead of her, and SAO is actually the first game she's ever played.
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For Doom the Bell Tolls
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For Doom the Bell Tolls: The town bell of the Starting City of the 1st floor rings when the players of SAO are forcibly teleported to its central plaza.
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Digital Avatar
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Digital Avatar: Nearly everyone who uses the Full Dive technology, especially VRMMO players.
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Nice Hat
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Nice Hat: Dyne sports a pretty awesome cowboy hat.
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Offscreen Moment of Awesome
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Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Two are used in Episode 3 of the first season: The first is when Klein and his guildmates hold off some members of the Holy Dragon Alliance to buy Kirito some time so he can find a seasonal event boss. Kirito later returns to find them exhausted but victorious despite having been outnumbered. The second occurs shortly after the first one, when Kirito rushes towards Nicholas the Renegade. He later returns to Klein, and gives him the item he received for defeating the boss monster. What makes it fit the trope is the fact that this boss was supposed to take a group to defeat, and Kirito manages to solo it. A later example occurs during the Phantom Bullet arc's Bullet of Bullets tournament. After agreeing to work together to track down Death Gun, Kirito and Sinon split up to track down one of the two remaining Death Gun suspects, "Gunner X". However, shortly after splitting up, Sinon is paralyzed by the real Death Gun who is about to kill her. Well, fortunately, in the two or three minutes in which all of this occurs, Kirito finds "Gunner X," who is actually a female player named "Musketeer X," duels her and defeats her, and then proceeds to use her gun and smoke grenades to drive Death Gun off, saving Sinon. We're only ever treated to a shot of what Musketeer X looked like, as well as her avatar's corpse, and not the actual fight itself. In the Mother's Rosario arc, Yuuki straight-up beats Kirito in a fair duel, which largely happens offscreen in the light novel version. In the manga, however, there's an extra chapter showing Yuuki's first duel with Kirito, and in the anime, the last part of their second duel is briefly shown.
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Big Damn Movie
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The Big Damn Movie, Ordinal Scale, features a much more detailed and solid art style. This style carries over for the Alicization arc.
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Final Boss Preview
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Final Boss Preview: Technically, Kirito's duel with Heathcliff in the arena is this due to the latter being Akihiko Kayaba himself.
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Establishing Shot
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Establishing Shot: A pretty one from episode one, of the Tokyo skyline. It's also used quite often afterwards — this series loves its scenery porn quite a bit.
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I Believe I Can Fly
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I Believe I Can Fly: Alfheim Online's most famous feature is allowing players to fly through the air as a fairy race.
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Heroic Willpower
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There are other Outside System Skills, though, that go beyond the bounds of both using loopholes in game rules and even human ability, completely overriding them. Kirito has developed an ability known as "Hypersense" that can detect a player's "killing intent" before he's even seen or heard them, allowing him to react to ambushes. Asuna has been able to break games' Movement Speed caps, going faster than theoretically possible through any logical means, even managing to break out of supposedly unbreakable Paralysis status effects to take a fatal blow for Kirito in-game. How these are possible is not yet understood. The series introduces the theory of a Quantum Field, known as Fluctuating Lights (Fluctlight for short), specifically a person's consciousness or soul. If it's strong enough, the NERVgear or Amusphere headset reads it as an unusually strong mental command input, causing the game to temporarily override normal gameplay limits to comply with said input.
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MacGuffin Girl
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Alicization Part 7: Alice is revealed to be the MacGuffin Girl Gabriel and the GDS are looking for.
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Difficulty Spike
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In SAO, there is a massive Difficulty Spike for the Floor Bosses from the 74th Floor and onwards. Not only are they a lot stronger than previous Floor Bosses, but their rooms are sealed from the outside and are Crystal Traps. This means that crystals like healing and teleportation are useless, making it impossible to escape and thus obtain intel and making each fight a battle to the death. On the 75th Floor Boss, they lose so many people that Kirito takes a massive risk on testing his suspicions about Heathcliff, because there is a high chance they won't be able to make it to the 100th floor.
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Cross Player
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Cross Player: VRMMORPGs using the NerveGear and Amusphere avert this, as the player's body is scanned into the system to form the avatar (degree of customization varies with each game). SAO's pre-alpha testing found that full immersion and genderswapping didn't really mix comfortably, and that after a significant amount of time logged in, male players began to experience anxiety over the lack of... essential equipment. That said, as Episode 1 and a line in the light novel show, it's still possible. It just doesn't have good longterm effects, hence why Kayaba disabled this option when kicking off the death game. Played with in the Gun Gale Online arc: a glitch causes Kirito's avatar to appear as an incredibly rare avatar that is mistaken for female by most players. It's actually a male avatar, but Kirito nonetheless learns to play the confusion over his gender in-game to his advantage.
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FromACertainPointOfView
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It's also hilarious in hindsight when the reader recalls that Asuna's ALO race is Undine (although at the time he said it, she wasn't). From a Certain Point of View, Kirito is representing a Spriggan-Undine Alliance... all two members of it.
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Unspoken Plan Guarantee
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Unspoken Plan Guarantee: After getting a glimpse of the Floor 74 boss, The Gleam Eyes, Kirito and Asuna start thinking strategy; tanks in the front row, keep switching, and at least 10 shield users. Then the Liberation Army captain tries to take it on with a single exhausted party; Kirito, Asuna, and Furinkazan barely manage to survive, but take the boss out.
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The Nicknamer
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Argo is an odd example given she loves to nickname everyone. She does use honorifics, but very unorthodox ones that seem to make her peers seem younger, such as Kirito as "Kii-bou" or Asuna as "A-chan".
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Metal Slime
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Metal Slime: The Ragout Rabbit in SAO. They are very hard to find, and though it doesn't offer high EXP, their meat can be sold for a somewhat high mount and they make for some of the best meals for anyone with a high enough Cooking skill to prepare it.
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Magic Music
 Sword Art Online / int_c928d01d
comment
Pucas, musical-class fairies, who excel in playing musical instruments and singing.
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Impaled with Extreme Prejudice
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comment
Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: One of the Salamanders ambushing Kirito and Leafa in the cave gets impaled on monster!Kirito's fingernails and hangs there in the air until he dies. In Episode 22 of Season 1, this happens to Kirito in a scene very, very reminiscent of Asuka's death in The End of Evangelion.note He gets run through near-simultaneously by several greatswords being shot as arrows from multiple directions. Two episodes later Kirito kills Sugou's Oberon avatar by tossing him up and letting him fall onto Kirito's sword in a pose strikingly familiar to the iconic Last Shooting scene in Gundam. Moments before that, Sugou impales Kirito with his own sword, just after altering the pain absorber to make the experience even worse for him. Kirito does this to the first opponent he fights in the Bullet of Bullets tournament in Episode 5 of Season 2 once he manages to get close enough to use his energy sword.
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Magic Skirt
 Sword Art Online / int_c978ad0b
comment
Magic Skirt: Averted, thanks to the physics engine which simulates gravity. Silica learns this the hard way.
 Sword Art Online / int_c978ad0b
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Video Game Caring Potential
 Sword Art Online / int_c9861848
comment
Video Game Caring Potential/Video Game Cruelty Potential: Kirito, especially after his first year or so in Aincrad, deliberately invokes the former and avoids the latter. Before they become friends, he even fights a duel with Asuna to protect NPCs from being used as distractions to the Boss in the upcoming Boss Fight. He discusses the latter trope with Silica in Episode 4 and with Leafa in Episode 19.
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Dude Looks Like a Lady
 Sword Art Online / int_ca4e037
comment
The opening for Sword Art Online II reveals Kirito's GGO avatar and his use of a beam saber and foreshadows Death Gun's true identity (one of them at least).
 Sword Art Online / int_ca4e037
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Rain of Arrows
 Sword Art Online / int_cab5085a
comment
Rain of Arrows: Sinon does this in ALO, in addition to acting like a Cat Girl Legolas.
 Sword Art Online / int_cab5085a
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Taking You with Me
 Sword Art Online / int_caf89e54
comment
Taking You with Me: How Shino ends the BoB tournament in episode 13 of season 2. She hands Kirito a live grenade, then hugs him so it will blow them both up. They die simultaneously and so both end up being the winners of said tournament.
 Sword Art Online / int_caf89e54
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The Man Makes the Weapon
 Sword Art Online / int_cb12c416
comment
Kirito's has one in ALO as the first sword he purchased. It's pretty shoddy gear, but in Kirito's hands it is able to take on Legendary Weapons like Eugene's Demon Gram Sword or Sugou's Excalibur.
 Sword Art Online / int_cb12c416
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Corrupt Corporate Executive
 Sword Art Online / int_cbe687ab
comment
How about making the next villain an insane sociopath who intends to rape the hero's girlfriend/in-game wife, who is also the former's real-life fiancée, after he's done with her mind.
 Sword Art Online / int_cbe687ab
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Agitated Item Stomping
 Sword Art Online / int_cbf0028c
comment
Agitated Item Stomping: When Kirito initially discovers that the Holy Stone of Returning Souls only works within ten seconds, this is his reaction.
 Sword Art Online / int_cbf0028c
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Hard Work Hardly Works
 Sword Art Online / int_cc427069
comment
Hard Work Hardly Works: Averted. Kirito is able to more or less recreate his Dual Wielding skills through sheer hard work, and he's only able to chain one-handed sword skills after a lot of effort and failures. As a whole, there are no shortcuts in SAO; players who want to level up will need to put in the effort. Played straight during the Fairy Dance arc when Kirito first enters ALO and outside getting used to the controls, he himself knows he is a cheater in this case. ALO also puts less emphasis on stats and gear than player skill.
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Spoiler Opening
 Sword Art Online / int_cd83fa5b
comment
Spoiler Opening: Lots and lots of info is revealed in the anime's opening, like Kirito's Dark Repulser and his eventual relationship with Asuna. The opening for Sword Art Online II reveals Kirito's GGO avatar and his use of a beam saber and foreshadows Death Gun's true identity (one of them at least). The opening for the Mother's Rosario arc hints at the fact that Yuuki had a twin sister.
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No Sense of Personal Space
 Sword Art Online / int_cdb45c07
comment
Kirito once again has this look in Episode 5 of Season 2 after he wins his first match, and is approached by Death Gun. The latter, aside from looking very frightening and being way too close for comfort to Kirito, also asks some unusually specific questions to him, such as his name and use of a sword in his match. Kirito surmises that Death Gun is someone he knew in SAO, a fellow survivor, but isn't sure who it is. Death Gun's Laughing Coffin tattoo narrows it down a little for him, but he's still not sure who that guy is.
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Nothing Is Scarier
 Sword Art Online / int_cdfe12c3
comment
While many MMO players and gamers seem to face IRL discrimination, being seen as societal freeloaders and some people believing that military conscription should be brought back to force them into work, SAO Players have it particularly bad. Due to the unknown affect their two years may have had on them, the government treats pretty much all of them as potential criminals, placing all the school age ones in a special school to monitor them, subjecting them to constant therapy even if it proves unnecessary, and even forcing them to take therapeutic drugs even if they're not needed and could have negative affects on them, on top of everything mentioned for regular MMO players. They also have it bad in-game, where basically most other players view them as arrogant stuck-ups due to having more VR experience than them and usually sticking into closely-knit groups with other survivors, clearing having No Sympathy for the fact that they were forced to fight for their lives for up to two years and that their real lives were severely compromised as a result.
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Serial Escalation
 Sword Art Online / int_ce104b8e
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Serial Escalation: Each arc becomes manlier, gorier and darker than the last, with the exception of the side story arcs and Mother's Rosario, and introduces more villains who are really nasty, each worse than the last. To wit, the Big Bad of Aincrad is what amounts to a Psychopathic Manchild who traps several thousands of people to test out his game, Fairy Dance's Big Bad is a hedonist who wants to rape the protagonist's love interest, Phantom Bullet's Big Bad is a Serial Killer who has several accomplices to carry out his killings, and Alicization's Big Bads consist of a narcissistic caligula and a batshit insane sociopath with an obsession with souls who comes dangerously close to succeeding.
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Heroic Resolve
 Sword Art Online / int_ce60aef3
comment
Heroic Resolve: Asuna and Kirito both break the ''laws of reality'' at least once, in order to rescue the other. Comes in as a Moment of Awesome every single time.
 Sword Art Online / int_ce60aef3
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Lighter and Softer
 Sword Art Online / int_ce6555f0
comment
Lighter and Softer: The Calibur Arc serves as a bit of a Breather Arc, following up on the previous arcs which all involved very high stakes such as death. This arc is more of a Slice of Life away from immediate danger, with Kirito and friends having a lot of fooling around.
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Roaring Rampage of Revenge
 Sword Art Online / int_ceec4df5
comment
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Subverted in Episode 14. After Asuna's Heroic Sacrifice to save Kirito from a killing blow, she falls in Kirito's arms as her health bar hits zero and she disappears. After some despair, he slowly picks up Asuna's sword to use as his new off-hand sword, and stands up to renew his fight with Heathcliff as if he's going to get his revenge, but instead he's fallen into a Heroic Blue Screen of Death. His swing falls weakly, slowly, and with no technique. Kirito has no fight left in him. He is completely broken. Played mostly straight in the second arc. Although not exactly roaring, Kirito has no qualms about savagely killing Sugou's avatar Oberon when he sexually molests Asuna and gloats about his intent to rape her, both in-game and in the real world. Kirito cuts off one of his arms, then slashes him in half, and then throws his upper half in the air and lets him fall, impaling him through the eye onto his sword—all of this with the pain absorber set to 0, which means that not only can Sugou feel all of this but also his real body is affected.
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Spoiled Brat
 Sword Art Online / int_cfc52d52
comment
On the Noble's side, the privileges the Taboo Index gives them turn them into Spoiled Brats and Upper-Class Twits who look down on commoners and take advantage of their status, as well as some Loophole Abuse, to do whatever they want with no consequence. Stand out examples being Raios and Humbert, 3rd-Rank Nobles who frequently bully Kirito and Eugeo for no other reason than the fact that they're commoners and do whatever they can to make their lives hell as well as sexually harassing Humbert's page Freninca so that Ronye and Tiese would step up to her defense, which they then paint as the two of them, 6th-Rank Nobles, insulting them and decide to punish them by raping them and having Kirito and Eugeo live with guilt and horror, even waiting for the latter to show up to their room so they can force him to watch and do nothing since he would be arrested if he tried stopping them. And when Eugeo does retaliate, cutting off Humbert's arm, Raios more or less tells him to suck it up and takes sadistic glee in the fact that he now has free reign to murder Eugeo since breaking the Taboo Index labels him as a criminal, one of the few exceptions to the rule dictating you can't attack or kill others.
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Badass Longcoat
 Sword Art Online / int_d01cffbc
comment
Badass Longcoat: Kirito loves wearing longcoats ever since the first one he received as a boss drop. They all reach down to his feet and are always black in color.
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Armor-Piercing Slap
 Sword Art Online / int_d043ab87
comment
Armor-Piercing Slap: Twice does Kirito find himself on the receiving end of an open palm strong enough to inflict HP damage: After Kirito turns into a monster to save himself and Leafa in Episode 19 of the anime, she asks him what players taste like. He claims it's like yakiniku before it's burnt, then jokingly bites her hand. She delivers one of these to him as a result, and in the next scene he has a very visible and red hand-print on his cheek. Yui tells him he totally deserved that one. Played for Laughs in episode 5 of season 2 after Sinon discovers Kirito's true gender. Not helped by the fact that Sinon was changing into her battle outfit and was just in her underwear when Kirito decided to reveal it.
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Sword Art Online / int_d043ab87
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Schmuck Bait
 Sword Art Online / int_d2c0e2ed
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Schmuck Bait: A hidden door in a dungeon leading to an empty room with a single treasure chest at the end. Sweet, free loot! Lets just ahead and open it because nothing bad could possibly happen, right?
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Yamato Nadeshiko
 Sword Art Online / int_d3427b48
comment
Yamato Nadeshiko: In A Murder Case in the Area we learn the story of Griselda, a sweet House Wife who was caught in the game alongside her husband Grimlock, then rose to the challenge of becoming a guildmaster. Bad thing? Grimlock has a Freak Out due to both the stress and seeing that she was more successful and independent than he thought she was, so he killed her.
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Refuge in Audacity
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comment
Refuge in Audacity: How does Kirito prevent the leader of the Salamander army from assassinating the leaders of the Cait-Sith and Sylph factions? He shows up, declares himself ambassador of the Spriggan-Undine Alliance, and warns the Salamander general that if he attacks, he'll be at war with four races, not just two. It's also hilarious in hindsight when the reader recalls that Asuna's ALO race is Undine (although at the time he said it, she wasn't). From a Certain Point of View, Kirito is representing a Spriggan-Undine Alliance... all two members of it. From the Material Editions, in SAO, while trying to defend Argo from two "ninja players" from the Fūmaningun guild, Kirito claims that he is a secret agent of the government. Another hilarious in hindsight due to him working with the government to investigate the "Death Gun" rumors in GGO years later. The entire concept of Death Gun.
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Does Not Like Shoes
 Sword Art Online / int_d507ecfc
comment
Does Not Like Shoes: Yui is always barefoot, both in human form and pixie form.
 Sword Art Online / int_d507ecfc
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Hypocrite
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Hypocrite: Kuradeel, who has the gall to call Kirito a murderer after Kirito kills him when he is a member of Laughing Coffin.
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Surprisingly Good English
 Sword Art Online / int_d547fb
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The robotic cowboy in the shooting game Kirito plays in Episode 4 of Season 2 is chock full of these lines, though it does speak Surprisingly Good English with an appropriate accent (it's dressed as a cowboy and talks in a Southern drawl). Justified, since GGO, the VRMMO that Kirito is playing at the time, was made in America.
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Noisy Guns
 Sword Art Online / int_d5a66b3c
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Noisy Guns: This trope is actually lampshaded by Reki Kawahara in his live commentary of SAO II. The Type 54 pistol Death Gun uses, in reality, is a very tightly-fitted gun that would not be making random clicking noises when he brandishes it. Kawahara himself apologizes on behalf of any irritated viewers, as this is an Omnipresent Trope in visual media.
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Guest Fighter
 Sword Art Online / int_d687ba2a
comment
Guest Fighter: The game Lost Song features Kuroyukihime from Accel World.
 Sword Art Online / int_d687ba2a
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Driven to Madness
 Sword Art Online / int_d6b5863
comment
Yui was created to monitor players' psychological parameters and offer them comfort. After the game began, she was not allowed to interact with the players, so for two whole years, she was forced to just watch as some of them went insane and commited suicide.
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Bulletproof Human Shield
 Sword Art Online / int_d7e68c39
comment
Bulletproof Human Shield: In the Bullet of Bullets and Squad Jam modes of Gun Gale Online, corpses of dead players remain on the field for 10 minutes after deathnote This is the amount of time that the "dead" player sequestered in a special waiting area before dumped back into the lobby., during which time their bodies are tagged as immortal objects. This of course has led to rather creative uses of indestructible corpses.
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RPG-Mechanics Verse
 Sword Art Online / int_d813c00a
comment
RPG-Mechanics Verse: Plenty of MMORPG terms are used, which makes sense since the cast are MMORPG gamers, after all. For instance, whenever characters fail at a strong effort of will, Kirito describes it as failing a saving throw.
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Depending on the Artist
 Sword Art Online / int_d83f3588
comment
Depending on the Artist: The physical appearance of Cat Pina varies between the manga and Hollow Fragment. The Norse Gods look very different in Lost Song compared to Memory Defrag.
 Sword Art Online / int_d83f3588
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Area of Effect
 Sword Art Online / int_d89e305a
comment
Of course, Kirito and Eugeo in Alicization, whose own weapon skills are ridiculous AoE attacks. How strong are they? When [[spoiler Kirito finally dual wields after his recovery, he deep freezes a 30,000 strong army in an instant!]]
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Meditation Powerup
 Sword Art Online / int_d8b643dd
comment
Meditation Powerup: In SAO, Meditation is a mental concentration skill that increases the rate of HP recovery and reduces the remaining time of negative statuses. However, due to its low efficiency and lame pose, not many players use it.
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The Cavalry
 Sword Art Online / int_d9e9ad7e
comment
The Cavalry: In Episode 23, the Cait-Sith and Sylph forces show up to help Kirito to break through the guardians of the world tree. In SAO II Episode 21 and 22, Kirito and Klein pull a Big Damn Heroes to Hold the Line, buying time for Asuna and the Sleeping Knights to defeat the boss.
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Spin-Off
 Sword Art Online / int_d9eee868
comment
Spinoff: Sword Art Online — Girls Ops, which takes place during the Phantom Bullet arc. While Kirito and Asuna are busy dealing with GGO, the events of this story focuses on the adventures of Lisbeth, Silica, Leafa, and a new character called Lux. Sword Art Online Alternative — Gun Gale Online, which takes place in GGO, but with completely different characters that are unrelated and unaffiliated with Kirito at all.
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Writers Cannot Do Math
 Sword Art Online / int_da1c8191
comment
Writers Cannot Do Math: GGO has an in-game currency, which can be exchanged for real-world money at 100 credits/yen. So that huge 300,000-credit jackpot that Kirito wins, and uses to buy his lightsaber and pistol... is worth about US$30.
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Animesque
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Animesque: Usually averted in the main anime, though they do come up in the Sword Art Offline shorts which are a great deal more Denser and Wackier.
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World Tree
 Sword Art Online / int_db126a0b
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World Tree: The setting of Volume 3 has one, which holds the goal of the game, called Yggdrasil. Unsurprising, since its setting heavily relies on Nordic terminology.
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Battle Couple
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comment
Battle Couple: Whenever Kirito and Asuna take to the field together, this is the result. Also, in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, Thinker and Yuriel in ALO.
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Lightning Bruiser
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comment
Lightning Bruiser: Kirito is this no matter what game he is in due to having Super Reflexes. Asuna is this in SAO, doing less raw damage but attacking and moving more quickly. More than once she's taken down opponents who've given Kirito trouble.
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Thanatos Gambit
 Sword Art Online / int_db71d717
comment
Thanatos Gambit: Kayaba expected everything in the game and also that he would be defeated by the player Dual Sword Skill user, but never imagined that Kirito would catch up to his Heathcliff disguise quite so early on.
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Red Herring
 Sword Art Online / int_dbca2c99
comment
Red Herring: The series leads you to believe that "Phantom Bullet" refers to Death Gun's bullet, but it actually refers to Sinon's sniping ability.
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Everyone Can See It
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comment
Everyone Can See It: When Klein first meets Asuna, he catches on very quickly that she has feelings for Kirito, and asks Kirito if they're lovers. Kirito's fervent denial is greeted with knowing smiles from all of Furinkazan and Asuna.
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A God Am I
 Sword Art Online / int_dc1761bd
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A God Am I: The reason why Akihiko Kayaba created Sword Art Online, with all of its "unique" features, in the first place was so that he could have his own little world where he could play God — a game that just is not the same without power over life and death. This even extended to him blocking the program that was responsible for keeping people sane; many of the suicides, murders, and descents into insanity that could have been prevented with Yui happened because she wasn't able to comfort those people as she was designed to. Alicization: A certain character (Quinella) becomes this when she basically learns all the admin commands for the Underworld in the backstory. In quick order, she assumes supreme control of all of the Human Realms and sets up a bunch of Commandments for all to follow. Alicization: Gabriel's end goal is to take over the Underworld and turn it into his tailor-made lab where he kidnaps people from the real world and physically separates their souls from their bodies so he can manipulate them to how he sees fit.
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 Sword Art Online / int_dc579c91
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Contrived Coincidence
 Sword Art Online / int_dc579c91
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Contrived Coincidence: Out of all the countless people he could have met, Kirito just happens to Crash-Into Hello his sister the very first time he logs into the MMORPG ALfheim Online. Not that either of them know it at the time... which turns out not to be coincidence: the server registered the two different logins from the same location and thought they were the same person, so it moved Kirito to Leafa. Of all the handguns Death Gun could possibly have been wielding, he has the exact same model of gun that traumatized Sinon. As with the above example, this is not a coincidence — Kyouji, who's involved in the scheme, has a twisted obsession with the incident, so he chose that weapon to be Death Gun's weapon of choice. The first person Kirito decides to ask for help in GGO just happens to be Sinon, female protagonist of the arc, the top sniper in GGO, and one of Death Gun's targets with the villain being who Kirito is hunting. Played straight with the climax for the Phantom Bullet arc; Kyouji just happens to aim his syringe at a still-connected electrode from his heart monitor.
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 Sword Art Online / int_dcaa8b35
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Locked Room Mystery
 Sword Art Online / int_dcaa8b35
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Locked Room Mystery: The short story "Murder Case in the Area" is about figuring out how someone was killed in a town — a safe zone, in which players are normally immune to damage.
 Sword Art Online / int_dcaa8b35
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Chekhov's Gunman
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Chekhov's Gunman: In a sense, the Gleam Eyes when Kirito uses his illusion magic to turn into him.
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A Million Is a Statistic
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A Million Is a Statistic: Downplayed. Two thousand SAO players die in the first month of the game before the front-line fighters cleared the first floor, mostly due to inexperience not only with the game's mechanics but with the concept of actually dying, as three hundred of them were experienced beta testers. Just to rub it in, there's a plinth where the resurrection point in the first town should be, bearing not only the names of the dead but the manner in which they died. By the time the game is cleared, only 6,147 players out of originally 10,000 are left alive. Survivor Guilt is pretty much universal.
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Survival Sandbox
 Sword Art Online / int_dd1d5124
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Survival Sandbox: "Unital Ring" is this, combined with Battle Royale Game.
 Sword Art Online / int_dd1d5124
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Despair Event Horizon
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Despair Event Horizon: The leader of the guild that Kirito joins commits suicide by falling off a balcony over a very high cliff upon hearing that all of his friends were killed in an ambush. Though Kirito doesn't kill himself, the loss of the people he promised to help protect weighs heavily on him.
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 Sword Art Online / int_ddcc22c3
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Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age
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comment
Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: As the Phantom Bullet arc is set within an MMOFPS, guns are the primary weapons, with melee limited to general Knife Nut options. There's a Laser Blade Joke Item, but it's so expensive that no-one used it until Kirito waltzed into the Minigame Zone and won a shitload of money from a game where the computer blatantly cheats, combined it with his SAO-honed Implausible Fencing Powers and realized the game mechanics permitted him to turn it into a Lethal Joke Weapon by slicing bullets in half. Afterwards, the Kagemitsu explodes in popularity as players try (with limited success) to replicate his feats. Death Gun also carries an actual physical sword concealed in his sniper rifle, an estoc forged from the armor plating of a battleship, which he uses to engage Kirito in a Sword Fight.
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Our Gnomes Are Weirder
 Sword Art Online / int_dee04580
comment
Gnomes, earth-class fairies, who excel in defense and mining.
 Sword Art Online / int_dee04580
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Continuity Snarl
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comment
Continuity Snarl: The video games have a whole bunch of these. See the entry on this page for more details.
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Male Gaze
 Sword Art Online / int_dfb71617
comment
Male Gaze: Extremely frequent and made very, very squicky by its application to female characters who do not appear to have started puberty yet (Silica) or are in its beginning stages (Suguha), not to mention the unnerving focus given to Asuna's molestation and close call with tentacle rape. Small wonder people object to its being classified as a "gateway series." Conceivably, one could make the argument that since we are following 90% of the time either the perspective of the person being subjected to this trope or Kirito himself, who never looks anyway, the amount of attention paid is usually justified metaphysically to get the audience close to the level of disgust said person has for the action about to take place or taking place at the time. For example, when Silica is ambushed by the giant Venus Flytrap in "The Black Swordsman" episode, we don't see her underwear while she is suspended. The camera stays above her skirtline the whole time. A better example is when Sugou is drooling over Asuna's topless form while Kirito is impaled by his own sword and thus pinned down. By this point, it's quite clear how insane Sugou is, and while we can see parts of her bare breasts or the shape of her ass, much more attention is paid to how much Sugou is enjoying himself, and how much discomfort Asuna is in. The bastard licks her armpit, for Christ's sake. That's just fucking creepy, and makes it that much better when Kirito owns his ass at the end. Episode 2 of Season 2 has one of the male players ogling Sinon's avatar, staring at her legs and chest.
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Sex for Solace
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comment
Sex for Solace: Happens twice throughout the saga; the first time is played heartwarmingly straight after Kirito and Asuna survive being murdered by a Laughing Coffin agent who has infiltrated the Knights of Blood, and the two warriors' emotional bond is cemented that night as husband and wife... a decidedly darker variation of this occurs in Alicization, wherein Quinella seduces Eugeo in his Moment of Weakness, stripping naked and offering tender unconditional love and kindness, allowing her to coldly brainwash him into an Integrity Knight as they made "love."
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 Sword Art Online / int_e17ca895
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The Cake Is a Lie
 Sword Art Online / int_e17ca895
comment
The Cake Is a Lie: Supposedly, in ALfheim Online, the first player to reach the city on top of The World Tree will unlock unlimited flight for their entire race. The city does not exist, and the entrance gate to the top of the tree requires admin rights to open. See Unwinnable by Design below.
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Standard Female Grab Area
 Sword Art Online / int_e192c0a7
comment
Standard Female Grab Area: Asuna is unfortunately subjected to this by the hands of Kuradeel. She is tougher than him, and likely could have broken free without help; Kirito simply intervened before this happened.
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Descended Creator
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comment
Descended Creator: In-universe example: Akihiko Kayaba played SAO as Heathcliff.
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World of Jerkass
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comment
World of Jerkass: While there are certainly good and heroic individuals in it and even those that aren't can be good people deep down, the combination of the Taboo Index and one of the humans to raise the first group of Artifical Fluctlights spreading self-serving ideals among them has largely turned the Underworld into this, namely between the nobility and commoners. On the Noble's side, the privileges the Taboo Index gives them turn them into Spoiled Brats and Upper-Class Twits who look down on commoners and take advantage of their status, as well as some Loophole Abuse, to do whatever they want with no consequence. Stand out examples being Raios and Humbert, 3rd-Rank Nobles who frequently bully Kirito and Eugeo for no other reason than the fact that they're commoners and do whatever they can to make their lives hell as well as sexually harassing Humbert's page Freninca so that Ronye and Tiese would step up to her defense, which they then paint as the two of them, 6th-Rank Nobles, insulting them and decide to punish them by raping them and having Kirito and Eugeo live with guilt and horror, even waiting for the latter to show up to their room so they can force him to watch and do nothing since he would be arrested if he tried stopping them. And when Eugeo does retaliate, cutting off Humbert's arm, Raios more or less tells him to suck it up and takes sadistic glee in the fact that he now has free reign to murder Eugeo since breaking the Taboo Index labels him as a criminal, one of the few exceptions to the rule dictating you can't attack or kill others. Commoners on the other hand, due to being less privileged, often turn into self-centered Opportunistic Bastards obsessed with money. Orick, Eugeo's father, mainly saw his children, including Eugeo, as potential labor workers for his farm and was incredibly disappointed when Eugeo's Calling ended up being as the Gigas Cedar cutter, which by law prevents him from helping with the farm. Orick responds to this by showing Parental Favouritism to his older sons and taking all the money Eugeo earns from his calling for himself, which not only leaves Eugeo with sub-par food for lunch but also gives Jink, Eugeo's childhood bully who gets to keep all the money he earns, more fuel to pick on him with, despite the whole thing being out of Eugeo's control. This borderline unfair and abusive parenting is likely what led to Eugeo's very skewed definition of love. Come the War of Underworld Arc, and Rulid Village shows themselves at their worst; Alice's father denies her entry into the village and orders Selka to not interact with her, various farms around the village use Alice for cheap labor, and some grown men steal the Blue Rose Sword from Kirito, who at the time is essentially a paraplegic who can't even speak properly, not caring that they knocked him over in the process and mockingly claiming that he said they could borrow it. It's so bad that Alice wonders if there was any real point to protecting these people.
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Authority Equals Asskicking
 Sword Art Online / int_e34ada78
comment
Authority Equals Asskicking: The leaders of guilds (especially front-line guilds) have the best equipment, which tends to make them more powerful (see Asskicking Equals Authority above). Also, the game's boss monsters seem to play this fairly straight, if you can consider them to have "Authority." This takes a whole new level in Alicization, since "Authority" is how the strength and power of the AIs living in Underworld are measured.
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The Rule of First Adopters
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comment
The Rule of First Adopters: It appears the SAO developers expected this, given that avatars are anatomically correct, and VR sex is actually possible, and practiced in-game. Note Coitus Ensues in the YMMV tab.
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Call-Forward
 Sword Art Online / int_e3c36782
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In the "Murder Case In The Area", arc, the confrontation between Kirito and the top three Laughng Coffin officers is shortened, and the references to chronologically later events are removed. The final confrontation with the killer, Grimlock, has said individual give up immediately, removing the part in which Yoruko proves the person in question's guilt.
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Supporting Harem
 Sword Art Online / int_e4013a89
comment
Supporting Harem: Thanks to Kirito and Asuna being the Official Couple from the first volume/first half season 1, all of the feelings of Kirito's other admirers remain unrequited.
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The Gift
 Sword Art Online / int_e42fbc
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Asuna is deemed to have The Gift when it comes to VR gaming, possessing impossibly high speed even back when she was a complete newbie, with Kirito feeling she was a natural despite the fact she lacked the most fundamental knowledge about the game interface. When she actually set her mind to it, she easily became the second strongest player in all of SAO after Kirito.
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Composite Character
 Sword Art Online / int_e4965307
comment
In SAO, there were heavy levels of discrimination against Beta-Testers, largely due to the belief that they abandoned new players to die while they hogged all the good farming sports. However while this is true to an extent, this didn't apply to every Beta-Tester, with Argo and possibly a few others working together to create a guidebook to help all the new players survive, and in spite of that many players died anyway. While the revelation of who wrote the book causes it to die down somewhat, the circumstances of Diavel's death reignites the flames when Lindnote  Kibaou in the anime accuses Kirito of being a Beta-Tester who withheld information about the boss and was practically threatening to ignite a Beta-Tester Witch Hunt, forcing Kirito to act like a worse Beta-Tester, a "Beater"note  End up forming from the shouts of Beta-Tester and Cheater getting muddled together, in order to shoulder all the hatred and prevent Beta-Testers from being hunted and persecuted, at the expense of suffering a great deal of distrust throughout SAO's early floors. Even late in SAO where it's implied that a lot of this hatred has died down, there are certain players who will often use the "Beater" excuse to be be an ass to other players, such as Kuradeel in regards to Kirito.
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Normally, I Would Be Dead Now
 Sword Art Online / int_e50818aa
comment
Normally, I Would Be Dead Now/Last Breath Bullet: Kirito's health is reduced to zero during his fight with Kayaba, and the game gives him the "You are dead," message, but he uses the lag between his health hitting zero and him vanishing into light to deliver a blow to wipe out Kayaba's HP.
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G.I.R.L.
 Sword Art Online / int_e54245e1
comment
G.I.R.L.: With the exception of a one-off gag at the beginning of the anime, this trope is averted due to everyone's SAO avatars reverting to each player's true appearance. In later post-Aincrad volumes of the Light Novel, the author discusses and deconstructs parts of this trope, mentioning that wearing a VRMMO avatar of the opposite gender for extended periods of time could become very uncomfortable and psychologically distressing, as sensory input mappings for the opposite gender would be different. On the other hand, as the AMUsphere and NERVgear read your brainwaves to calibrate for gender, sometimes a person's thought patterns could be "close enough" to the opposite gender, such that they receive a "surprise" when they enter the VRMMO. Kirito's avatar in GGO appears female. Naturally, guys hit on him in the game, and Sinon also assumes he's a girl at first. He plays along with the latter since he is lost at the time and needs directions in the game.]
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Light Is Not Good
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Light Is Not Good: Kuradeel of the holy-based guild Knights of The Blood Oath turns out to be working for Laughing Coffin. Heathcliff, Leader of the Knights of The Blood Oath, has light-based skills and turns out to be the Big Bad Kayaba. The Guardian Knights that guard Oberon's Fortress are all clad in white and have white wings, and they're preventing Kirito from reaching Asuna.
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Ojou
 Sword Art Online / int_e5466866
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Ojou: Asuna happens to be the daughter of the CEO of RECTO, which later on becomes the only producer of the improved version of NERVgear called Amusphere.
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Truce Zone
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comment
Truce Zone: You can’t hurt anyone fatally in towns in SAO. This generally serves to prevent player kills, though it's still possible to knock people out if specific circumstances are met. The only exception is if both players agree to a Duel to the Death. Asuna's wooden house on level 22 of the revived Aincrad is unofficially this for ALO players. Which causes some awkwardness when the leaders of opposing factions drop in for dinner...
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Mechanical Hor