Regardless of having many fans, Sword Art Online has had more than its fair share of criticism since its release. There are plot points that feel like they don’t make sense or shouldn’t have even been possible, harem humor even whenever the protagonist is in a committed relationship, most female characters have at least one ultra-creepy scene, and so on.
Some of the biggest complaints are actually regarding how the main protagonist, Kirito, is written. Oftentimes, it can feel as if he’s an overloaded mary-sue type character with ridiculous amounts of plot armor. While this is true in some situations, Kirito isn’t devoid of weakness. A quick look at his overall character reveals that he’s actually more balanced than some may think.
10 Strength: Kirito Is Mentally Strong Enough To Shoulder Discrimination & Hatred From Other Players
After Kirito first temporarily teams up with Asuna and helps to clear one of the floor bosses, the other members of the party learn his old status as a beta tester. They grill into him mercilessly, claiming that he knew the boss mechanics and willingly allowed the leader to die so he could swoop in and steal the best rewards.
In actuality, the boss mechanics had been altered since the test and ended up having a completely new phase that no one could have accounted for. Despite this, Kirito allows them to slander him, and even leans into their hatred when he realizes it would likely take some of the negativity away from other beta testers.
9 Weakness: Before The Events Of SAO, Kirito Completely Ignores His Close Relationships
While Kirito is trapped in Aincrad, he gets a taste of what true close relationships are like through his in-game marriage to Asuna and his daughter-figure in Yui. However, before this, it’s almost like he doesn’t care at all for those who are close to him.
Kirito’s taken in by his aunt and uncle after the death of his parents and it’s shown that his cousin Suguha is quite fond of him and often tries to spend time with him. Despite this, it’s noted that before the events of sword art online, Kirito completely ignores her and is instead entirely enlarged in his newfound passion for gaming.
8 Strength: Kirito’ll Do Anything For Those He Loves Regardless Of How Impossible The Task Seems
One of Kirito’s greatest and most obvious strengths is that he’ll do absolutely anything for those he cares about. Whether it pushes him to his limits or even to the very edge of his own life, he does not care. He’d do anything for characters he grows close to — even when they’re initially shown to be bitter towards him.
A great example of Kirito’s caring nature is how tirelessly he devotes himself to getting to the top of the World Tree, where Asuna was being held prisoner. Even after reaching it the first time and being completely annihilated, I kept trying.
7 Weakness: He’s Not Good With Words & Can Be Needlessly Direct At Times
Kirito can be needlessly blunt and it’s noted by his first friend within Aincrad — Klein — that he’s not very good with words. This can often lead to others becoming quite upset with him, as seen with the likes of Sinon and Lisbeth.
Kirito doesn’t have many friends in real life and he doesn’t make an effort to connect with his remaining family, instead closing himself off and becoming so absorbed with computers that he can’t build proper communication skills.
6 Strength: Kirito’s Able To Realize His Past Mistakes & Work Towards Atoning For Them
Although Kirito is a weak communicator at the beginning of sword art online, he doesn’t allow it to be a weakness forever. Being trapped within Aincrad and not being able to interact with reality or his adoptive family begins to put things into perspective for him.
After Kirito gets out, he makes it a point to connect with Suguha and spend more genuine time with her. This is to make up for the way he previously ignores their relationship with her and it shows that he’s willing to understand and work on improving his weaknesses with her.
5 Weakness: It’s Too Easy For Kirito To Be Controlled By His Emotions
Kirito typically appears calm and collected and is able to remain calculating during combat without letting fear get to him. However, this is an entirely different story when someone he loves is endangered or used against him in any way.
Kirito will thoughtlessly leap into combat and while he does show he’s willing to protect others, it can do more harm than good if he does so without thinking first. Likewise, he’s heavily controlled by negative emotions after losing those close to him, as seen with how he closes himself off after Sachi’s death.
4 Strength: Kirito’s A Good-Natured Person Who Has No Problems Spending Hours Helping Others
Despite the fact that Kirito’s initially a shut-in who has a hard time properly communicating with others, he has a good heart. He wo n’t turn away others who need his help from him, as he’s seen accompanying other players and helping them with various tasks throughout his time in Aincrad.
The first time he’s seen doing so is with Klein right at the end of the peaceful period of Sword Art Online — just before the lockdown. Despite being a total stranger who approaches Kirito clueless about the game systems in general, he happily spends several hours teaching Klein how to fight and train with him.
3 Weakness: Kirito & Asuna Are Far Too Co-Dependent, Stating They Cannot Live If The Other Dies
It’s true that Kirito and Asuna help each other out of their darkest moments. After all, Asuna fights without any regard to her own life or her safety before meeting Kirito and he’s unable to get over the coldness left over after Sachi’s death from her without her.
Kirito and Asuna definitely help each other become stronger versions of themselves, but only in the presence of one another. They’ve both stated that they wouldn’t be able to go on living if the other were to die, with Asuna going as far as to say she’ll commit suicide if she loses Kirito. Kirito is also unable to go to school overseas without bringing her.
two Strength: Kirito’s Proactive Even In Seemingly Hopeless Situations & Takes Steps To Improve His Odds
After the cruel reality of being trapped within Sword Art Online is revealed, many players spend a great deal of time trapped in mental anguish. Characters like Asuna spend up to several weeks simply locking themselves away, unable to cope with or do anything about their situation.
This isn’t true for Kirito, however. He’s near-immediately able to accept the reality of his situation and starts doing everything he can to give himself an early power-boost and up his overall odds of survival in Sword Art Online.
one Weakness: Kirito Can Be Overconfident To A Fault
Anime protagonists are typically confident regarding themselves and their skills. It stops them from being frozen in fear and helps them take much-needed leaps into action.
However, Kirito is overconfident to a fault and often tries to handle seemingly impossible tasks all on his own — and will even re-attempt them after his first attempt proves absolutely futile. It makes even less sense when one considers just how many people he befriends throughout his time in Aincrad who would drop everything to help him if he would only ask for it.
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