Kirito – most of us know this character. He’s the guy with the cool-looking dual swords from the 2012 anime "Sword Art Online." We’ve seen dozens of guys cosplay him at conventions, in all of his different forms and different story arcs. He’s a popular character from a popular series. But being popular or otherwise well-liked doesn’t always make a good character. For anyone who’s ever watched "Sword Art Online," let’s be honest – he sucks. He may be the best player in SAO (and ALO and GGO and every other virtual reality game ever), but when it comes to anime, he’s the worst. Here’s why.
He’s stupidly OP.
Seriously, he was at level 70 by the end of the third episode. And then, of course, he’s the only character who can dual wield in the game. There isn’t even a conflict when he eventually faces the main antagonist – he “dies” for dramatic effect, but within minutes, he comes right back and whoops the guy. You’d think that he’d have at least some kind of challenge in SAO II when he game jumps to Gun Gale Online, but nope – he’s still using an f’ing sword. Who cares about his stats – we all know that in a real fight, he'd be dead af.
He has no personality.
Clearly SAO writer Reki Kawahara spent way more time developing Kirito’s powers than his personality. There is nothing interesting about him whatsoever. NOTHING. I was more intrigued by some of the background characters than I was with the guy who’s supposed to be the main protagonist (shout out to that one kid who tried playing as a girl). He just fights enemies while being fawned over by girls, and that’s it. His only flaw was that he was too powerful – and the fact that he brought a sword to a gun fight – because basically, his sword skills define his character.
He’s a player… and I’m not talking about video games.
He can’t even stay focused on one girl! In addition to surviving virtual reality, "Sword Art Online" is supposed to be about the love story between Kirito and Asuna; so why does he need an entire harem? He spends the entire second half of SAO traveling and battling to rescue Asuna, and then in SAO II he’s in a cave all cozied up with Sinon during the Bullet of Bullets tournament (sucks that Asuna only calls him out on it in the light novel – come on girl, you can do way better). But yeah, someone has serious commitment issues here.
And that is why Kirito is the absolute worst. Here are a few things I think the writers could have done to improve his character:
Make him a noob: Obviously he doesn’t have to be a noob for the entire series, as characters are supposed to grow and progress throughout a story, but nobody should have maxed out stats after playing only a few levels. Show us the early stages when Kirito struggles to master basic skills and maybe even gets his butt handed to him a few times.
Make him a jerk: Something Witty Entertainment (SWE)'s "Sword Art Online Abridged" does this really well. Not only would he have a personality, but for the most part, he would have one unconventional trait for a typical hero. It was easy for them to make Kirito charming and affable, but he could have potentially been a really funny character with a sarcastic and obnoxious personality.
Make him a 40-year-old man: Holy major plot twist Batman! SAO could have possibly had the shocker of the century if Kirito had turned out to be anything other than a teen. That would of course throw the mirror effect out the window, but even losing that minor plot detail would have been worth it. Can you imagine the dynamic change between Kirito and Asuna?
Do you think that Kirito is the worst anime character? Or is he the wish fulfillment you always wanted to see? Answer in the comments!