History LightNovel / SwordArtOnline

24th Sep '17 2:04:20 PM Xavon
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** ''Memory Defrag'' an action RPG mobile phone game that mix and matches the original story and the previous SAO games.


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** Though that story is also used in the Ordinal Scale related Extra Stories in ''Memory Defrag''.


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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, Rain, Seven, and Yuuki being common characters, and Ordinal Scale also featuring. But Kizmel has not appeared (as of 07/2017), despite appearing in ''Hollow Realization''.
23rd Sep '17 7:38:10 PM Prometheus117
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** ''Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization'', released for the PS Vita and Playstation 4 in October 2016 in Japan and November 2016 everywhere else. A sequel to ''Lost Song'', it takes place in a new VRMMO called "Sword Art: Origin" which appears to be eerily similar to Aincrad.

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** ''Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization'', released for the PS Vita and Playstation 4 in on October 2016 in Japan and November 2016 everywhere else. A sequel to ''Lost Song'', it takes place in a new VRMMO called "Sword Art: Origin" which appears to be eerily similar to Aincrad.



** ''Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet'' a [[GenreShift third-person shooter role-playing game]] for Playstation 4,X-Box One,and PC in 2018. A sequel to ''Hollow Realization'', it takes place in Gun Gale Online and uniquely has not Kirito as the main character, but a [[CharacterCustomization player-created avatar]] filling the role.

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** ''Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet'' Bullet'', a [[GenreShift third-person shooter role-playing game]] to be released in Feburary 2018 in Japan for Playstation 4,X-Box 4, X-Box One,and PC in 2018.PC. A sequel to ''Hollow Realization'', it takes place in Gun Gale Online and uniquely has not Kirito as the main character, but a [[CharacterCustomization player-created avatar]] filling the role.
23rd Sep '17 6:39:31 PM Prometheus117
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** ''Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization'', released for the PS Vita and Playstation 4 in October 2016 in Japan and November 2016 everywhere else. The latest game in the series, it takes place in a new VRMMO called "Sword Art: Origin" which appears to be eerily similar to Aincrad.
** ''Accel World VS Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight'' a video game crossover with LightNovel/AccelWorld based in ALO for the PS Vita and Playstation 4 released in Japan during March 2017 and in the west in July 2017.
** ''Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet'' a third-person shooter role-playing game based in Gun Gale Online for Playstation 4,X-Box One,and PC in 2018.

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** ''Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization'', released for the PS Vita and Playstation 4 in October 2016 in Japan and November 2016 everywhere else. The latest game in the series, A sequel to ''Lost Song'', it takes place in a new VRMMO called "Sword Art: Origin" which appears to be eerily similar to Aincrad.
** ''Accel World VS Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight'' Twilight'', a video game crossover with LightNovel/AccelWorld based in ALO for the PS Vita and Playstation 4 released in Japan during March 2017 and in the west in July 2017.
** ''Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet'' a [[GenreShift third-person shooter role-playing game based in Gun Gale Online game]] for Playstation 4,X-Box One,and PC in 2018.2018. A sequel to ''Hollow Realization'', it takes place in Gun Gale Online and uniquely has not Kirito as the main character, but a [[CharacterCustomization player-created avatar]] filling the role.
23rd Sep '17 4:13:31 PM Prometheus117
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** ''Lost Song'': [[spoiler:The most powerful event boss is literally named "Lost Song", and defeating it unlocks [[BigBad Seven]] as a playable character]].

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** ''Lost Song'': [[spoiler:The most powerful event boss is literally named "Lost Song", and defeating it unlocks [[BigBad Seven]] Seven]], who so happens to also be [[IdolSinger a singer]], as a playable character]].
23rd Sep '17 1:36:42 AM AbsoluteSword
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* HeroicFantasy: Though the narrative is driven by technology and is set TwentyMinuteIntoTheFuture, 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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* HeroicFantasy: Though the narrative is driven by technology and is set TwentyMinuteIntoTheFuture, in NextSundayAD, 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.
23rd Sep '17 1:35:51 AM AbsoluteSword
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* HeroicFantasy: Though the narrative is driven by technology and is set TwentyMinuteIntoTheFuture, 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.
10th Sep '17 7:11:54 PM ImperialMajestyXO
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** Played mostly straight in the second arc. Although not exactly ''roaring'', [[spoiler:Kirito has no qualms about savagely killing Sugou's avatar Oberon when he sexually molests Asuna and gloats about his [[AttemptedRape 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, ''[[EyeScream 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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** Played mostly straight in the second arc. Although not exactly ''roaring'', [[spoiler:Kirito has no qualms about savagely killing Sugou's avatar Oberon when he sexually molests Asuna and gloats about his [[AttemptedRape intent to rape her]], both in-game and in the real world. Kirito [[AnArmAndALeg cuts off one of his arms, arms]], then [[HalfTheManHeUsedToBe slashes him in half, half]], and then throws his upper half in the air and lets him fall, ''[[EyeScream 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.]]
20th Aug '17 7:08:43 AM Gouken20xx
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** For the games, Sinon gets her own spotlight in the advertising for ''Fatal Bullet'' for one good reason... She's always been known as the girl from Gun Gale Online, and ''Fatal Bullet'' IS Gun Gale Online.
18th Aug '17 11:25:34 AM Raikoh
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* HeroAcademy: Kirito ends up in one along with his partner, Eugeo, d

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* HeroAcademy: Kirito ends up in one along with his partner, Eugeo, dduring the Alicization arc.
* HeroesPreferSwords: 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.
* HeroicBSOD:
** Kirito suffers one when [[spoiler: Asuna performs a HeroicSacrifice.]] It debilitates him so badly that he can't bring himself to do more than slowly and feebly swing his swords at [[spoiler:Heathcliff]] for a few seconds.
** Kirito has another one when he encounters [[spoiler: Death Gun and realizes that not only is he a survivor of SAO, but also a member of Laughing Coffin. All of Kirito's repressed memories of the purge against that guild return and leave him in such a wrecked state that Sinon is worried by his nonresponsiveness.]]
** Sinon suffers one during the [=BoB=] tournament when she is confronted by Death Gun [[spoiler: who tries to kill her using the same model of gun that Sinon used in the real world five years ago to kill the robber, an event which caused her to become severely traumatized.]] After Kirito rescues her, and they are fleeing Death Gun on a buggy, Sinon suddenly finds she can't bring herself to pull the trigger on her rifle, even though Death Gun is baring down on them on a robot horse. [[spoiler: It takes Kirito offering to pull the trigger with her that allows her to fire and escape Death Gun, but even then, Sinon is still extremely shaken up by what she's gone through.]]
* HeroicResolve: Asuna and Kirito ''both'' [[RealityWarper break the ''laws of reality'']] at least once, in order [[ThePowerOfLove to rescue the other]]. Comes in as a CrowningMomentOfAwesome every single time.
* HeroicSacrifice:
** [[spoiler: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, [[spoiler:Asuna overcomes complete paralysis with ThePowerOfLove 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, [[spoiler:Recon performs an extremely powerful dark magic spell that [[SuicideAttack instantly kills him while clearing a massive hole in the Guardian swarms]]. A [[DownplayedTrope downplayed]] case, though, since death in ALO won't kill you in the real world like in SAO. However, Leafa does note that [[ContinuingIsPainful the Death Penalty for Self-Destruct is rather steep]].]]
* HollywoodLaw: No, Sugou, you cannot marry a girl in a coma, even with her parent's permission. It doesn't matter if you have parental consent, until Asuna wakes up, it's impossible to receive ''her'' consent, which is mandatory for the wedding to be legal.
* HonorBeforeReason: 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 [[TheStarscream 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. [[spoiler: Amusingly, the NPC ''is'' a trap... [[IncrediblyLamePun just not the expected kind]]. See AttractiveBentGender 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, [[spoiler: and promptly gets killed for it, forcing Asuna and Kirito to attack the boss in order to save the surviving players.]]
* HopelessSuitor: Liz, after having joined a party with Kirito to find a rare material to forge a sword with, is seemingly ready to declare her love for him since he risked his life to save hers and was a NiceGuy as well. [[spoiler: Then Asuna drops by, and Liz begins to read between the lines. You can almost see her heart get torn in two as she realizes this trope is being applied to her. She tries to brush it off with her usual GenkiGirl face, but wanders off to secretly cry.]]
** [[spoiler: Suguha/Leafa in Episode 22, when she hears Kirito mention trying to reach Asuna, and realizes that Kirito is her brother/cousin. Like Liz, she [[CryCute doesn't take this information very well]].]]
** Really applies to any girl not named Asuna who falls in love with [[ChickMagnet Kirito]].
* HopeSpot: After [[spoiler: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 [[spoiler: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.
* {{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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* IdiotBall: Suguo, 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 OldSaveBonus when they transfer, was not your brightest move.
* IkeaErotica: The infamous chapter 16.5, [[https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BwyW7ZpWYsQBaThmR0Foa2ZfOG8/edit available for your perusal]] [[SchmuckBait in all its glory.]] (Warning: Supposed to be NSFW, though barely counts as such.)
* IKnowMortalKombat:
** 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, [[EyeScream 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 [[DamnYouMuscleMemory Sword Skill with predictable results]].)
* [[IllGirl Ill Girl/Guy]]: [[spoiler: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.]]
* ImageSong: Several for several of the major cast members.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice:
** 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 ''[[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion The End of Evangelion]]''.[[note]]He gets run through near-simultaneously by several greatswords being shot as arrows from multiple directions.[[/note]]
** Two episodes later Kirito [[spoiler: 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 ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundam Gundam]]''.
** Moments before that, [[spoiler: 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.
* ImplausibleFencingPowers: The entire skill system in SAO is based on swordsmanship. Not a single spell to be found. HandWaved as an attempt to raise immersion.
** Kirito can cut bullets in midair easily in Gun Gale Online. When he gets back to [=ALfheim Online=], he uses the same skill to cut ''magical spells''. Nobody, not even Asuna, Leafa, or Klein, who're the closest players to his skill level, can do that. (And also comments that even the fastest spell is slower than a particular kind of rifle, implying that those spells he cut apart were ''slow''.)
* ImpossibleTask: [[spoiler:The "Grand Quest" of ALO.]]
* ImprobableWeaponUser: 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.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: Shino scores a headshot on The Behemoth after jumping from a skyscraper while dodging a minigun ''in midair.''
* TheInformant: [[spoiler:Kirito come Volume 5, and he's now the informant for Public Safety.]]
* InventionalWisdom: [[spoiler:Spontaneously activated self-destruct capability for ALO.]]
* InsideAComputerSystem: The "partially attached" variety. [=VRMMOs=] use the "Full Dive" system to completely immerse the player in a virtual world, controlling all five senses.
* InvertedPortrait
** Asuna in the ClosingCredits of the Aincrad arc.
** Shino in the ClosingCredits, and her in-game alter ego Sinon (along with Death Gun) in the TitleSequence, 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 [[spoiler:shot and killed a would-be bank robber]].
** Leafa in the Caliber arc's ClosingCredits.
* InvisibilityCloak: 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.
* IronicEcho: "[[YouShallNotPass 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.
* ISurrenderSuckers: [[spoiler: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 [[spoiler:being taken down by a recovered Kirito.]] He even [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] the fact that she fell for it!
* UsefulNotes/JapaneseChristian: Yuuki's family, and Yuuki herself because why else would she name her original sword skill "Mother's Rosario"?
* {{Jerkass}}: At least one in every arc.
** The ''Fairy Dance'' arc has Sugou as the primary jerkass, with practically no redeeming qualities, [[spoiler: unlike Kayaba from the first arc]].
** To a lesser degree, there's Sigurd. He bosses Leafa around in spite of the fact that her agreement with him gives her flexibility as far as partying with him goes, and when Kirito sticks up for her, Sigurd tries to kill him, since Kirito's in an enemy race's capital and can't fight back. [[spoiler:He ultimately sells out his faction in hopes of rerolling as a race that he heard was going to be at an advantage in a later patch]].
** Endou from Phantom Bullet. She's a bully who exploits Shino's trauma to extort money from her, and it's revealed that Endou and her sidekicks were taking advantage of Shino the entire time they were "friends."
** In Mother's Rosario, a guild uses a spell to spy on Asuna and the Sleeping Knights' first attempt on the boss. When Asuna and her friends come back for another try, they find the other guild sitting in front of the door, not yet ready to face the boss but refusing to let anyone through.
* JerkassFacade: 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.
* JokeWeapon: The Lightsaber is considered this in Gun Gale Online, which makes a certain kind of sense as it's an MMOFPS.
* KarmaHoudini: 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. [[spoiler:This leads to repercussions in future arcs.]]
* KickTheSonOfABitch: [[spoiler: 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).]]
** [[spoiler:And then there's [[FateWorseThanDeath what Kirito did to [=PoH=]]] in the Alicization arc.]]
* KissingCousins: One-sided on Suguha's part. She slowly falls in love with her cousin Kirito ([[NotBloodSiblings who was raised as her brother]]); however, since he already has Asuna and Kirito isn't really into that stuff, he doesn't reciprocate.
* KissingDiscretionShot: Sometimes when Kirito and Asuna kiss.
* LadyOfWar: Sakuya, guild leader of the Sylphs, who wears a katana.
** 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, [[RoyalRapier a weapon most often used by royalty or those close to it in stories like this]].
* LampshadeHanging: In the Light Novels, at least, Kirito thinks that he looks like a typical manga protagonist. [[spoiler: Also, in the Light Novels, when Asuna [[HeroicWillpower breaks free from an unbreakable paralysis to save Kirito]], Akihiko Kayaba points out that "This is really surprising. Isn't it just like a standalone console RPG scenario? It should have been impossible for her to recover from the paralysis... So things like this really do happen..."]]
* LaserSight: In GGO, the Ballistic Prediction Line (Bullet Line) is an inverse example, as it appears only to opposing players, though sniper rifles don't project a line until they've fired a shot (and in which case the line disappears after a minute). Normally, this gives opposing players a chance to dodge incoming gunfire, but Kirito takes it up a notch by using these lines to deflect gunfire with his light saber.
* LaserSword: GGO has "Photon Saber" weapons. Their damage output is incredibly high, but their short range and limited battery life relegates them to JokeWeapon status...until Kirito starts playing.
* LethalJokeWeapon: Said Lightsaber becomes this in Kirito's hands. [[spoiler:After he becomes the co-winner of the third GGO in-game tournament, more players begin trying to emulate him.]]
* LevelGrinding: 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 [[spoiler:Sachi dies, in order to solo an event boss monster to obtain a rumored One-Time Revival item to bring her back to life.]]
* LighterAndSofter: The Fairy Dance arc in the anime is noticeably more lighthearted than the preceding Aincrad arc. Alfheim Online is less gritty than Sword Art Online due to the inclusion of fairies and magic, and it treads more along the lines of a traditional fantasy RPG. Also, players are no longer in danger of dying in real life, and if they are killed in battle, they could be revived (and unlike SAO, the game does indeed have a log off feature). Kirito even lampshades this when he checks first thing to make sure this is actually the case. He is also considerably less angsty and more laidback in this arc. Regardless, it still has its dark moments, such as [[spoiler: the drama between Kazuto and Suguha]] and [[VileVillainSaccharineShow Nobuyuki Suguo's]] strong sexual attraction to Asuna (not to mention his AxCrazy personality and AGodAmI complex).
** ''Hollow Realization'' also does this, making the game safe so that you don't have to worry about being killed. {{Averted}} for the [=NPCs=], however, who are all unique beings with their own personalities [[spoiler:on account of being low-level AI]].
* LightheartedRematch: The SAO survivors who migrated to ALO treat [[spoiler: the return of Aincrad as this, intending to clear all hundred levels for fun, instead of a matter of life or death.]]
* LightIsNotGood:
** [[spoiler:Kuradeel of the holy-based guild Knights of The Blood Oath turns out to be working for Laughing Coffin.]]
** [[spoiler:Heathcliff, Leader of the Knights of The Blood Oath, has light-based skills and turns out to be the BigBad 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.
* LightningBruiser:
** Kirito is this no matter what game he is in due to having SuperReflexes.
** 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.
* LittleBitBeastly: The Cait-Sith, one of the nine playable races in ALO, are basically an entire nation of cat-people.
* LockAndLoadMontage: There's a short one in ''Caliber'', just before the heroes set out to challenge the quest and grab Excaliber.
* LockedRoomMystery: 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.
* LonersAreFreaks: 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).
* LookBehindYou: In ''Intermission: Reason for the Whiskers''[[note]]previously known as ''Continuation: Aria in the Starless Night''[[/note]], 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.
* LoopholeAbuse:
** 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. [[spoiler: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 DisappearsIntoLight 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.]]
* LootDrama: InUniverse example, played seriously. One early episode revolves around a younger character being bullied by a crooked guild trying to rob her of a rare item [[spoiler:that could revive her familiar]], and later in the season, several PlayerKilling incidents revolve around a guild that crumbled after a disagreement over how to use a rare ring that dropped from a mob.
* LordBritishPostulate: 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. [[spoiler: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.]]
* LoveConfession: Recon gives an awkward one to Leafa in episode 23. She seems to reject it with a MegatonPunch, but it also seems to snap her out of her funk.
* LoveMakesYouEvil: [[spoiler: Kyouji became part of Death Gun because of his crush on Sinon.]]
* LuminescentBlush: Kirito has a tendency to provoke these unintentionally.
* MagicSkirt: Averted, thanks to the physics engine which simulates gravity. Silica learns this the hard way.
* MaleGaze: 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 [[JustifiedTrope 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.
*** [[spoiler: 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.
* ManlyTears: Happen from time to time, usually from [[HotBlooded Klein]].
* MarryThemAll: In the Noncanon Gaiden X2, which takes place at the end of the Underworld arc, basically all of Kirito's somewhat UnwantedHarem decide to just marry him in-game, and both [[OfficialCouple Kirito & Asuna]] agree, making the BattleHarem "official", at least for around 5 years of accelerated time. Non-canonical, since WordOfGod confirms it, and [[spoiler: Ronye wasn't part of the harem (though Alice was)]].
* MassMonsterSlaughterSidequest: In ALO [[spoiler: 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.]]
* MeaninglessVillainVictory: [[spoiler:During the aftermath of ''Fairy Dance'', it is discovered that even if Sugou had managed to perfect his MindControl research, it would have only worked with the (now-defunct) first-generation [=NERVgears=].]]
* MechanicalHorse: One of the modes of transportation in GGO.
* MeditationPowerup: 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.
* MetalSlime: 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.
* MillionMookMarch: 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.
* TheMirrorShowsYourTrueSelf: Kayaba gives every player of SAO an item called "hand mirror", which forces the player avatars into the players' real-world appearance.
* ModestyBedsheet: [[spoiler: Asuna uses one after the RelationshipUpgrade.]]
* MoodWhiplash:
** In-universe. [[spoiler: Kirito and Asuna's RelationshipUpgrade. Asuna prepares to go all the way... and Kirito explains that he meant they should [[BackToBackBadasses 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. [[CoitusEnsues 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 "LetsGetDangerous."
** Episode 21 of the anime has [[spoiler: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, OminousLatinChanting accompanies Kirito's departure from the Starting City, his mind in turmoil and anguish... and then the [[EarnYourHappyEnding hopeful determination]] of the OP kicks in.
* MookHorrorShow: Episode 19 has Kirito transforming into an appearance very similar to [[CallBack 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...
* MoralDissonance: Kirito has a sort of (begrudging) respect for MagnificentBastard [[DiscOneFinalBoss 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 of people to die, [[spoiler:lying to everyone as Heathcliff, and planning to betray the top player]]. Both he and the story itself treat [[AttemptedRape Sugou]] (AKA Oberon, The Fairy King) like he's much, much worse, despite having not killed hundreds of people, because he's just a CorruptCorporateExecutive without the excuse of Kayaba's BlueAndOrangeMorality. 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.
* TheMostDangerousVideoGame: This is the entire premise of the Aincrad arc [[spoiler:and, for 300 people, the Fairy Dance arc.]]
* MsFanservice: Keizel gets two bath scenes in Hollow Realization, both of which are rather extensive. She's also willing to bathe with Kirito though [[ChasteHero both Kirito and Asuna]] spend their time washing her back instead of anything else.
* MundaneUtility: Some players use [=VRMMO=]s to do homework, as it can display a lot more screen data than would be possible at home and allows for players to gather despite real world distances.
* MutualKill:
** [[spoiler: Kayaba deals Kirito a mortal blow, but he lasts long enough to return the favor.]]
** [[spoiler: How Shino and Kirito end up as co-winners of the [=BoB=] tournament.]]
* MythologyGag: 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 [[LightNovel/AccelWorld Silver Crow]].
[[/folder]]
[[folder:N -- R]]
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: The Player-Killer guild "Laughing Coffin", though they're not ''that'' powerful[[note]]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?[[/note]]. 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 [[spoiler: well, unless you're Kirito]]. "The Skull Reaper" does double-time for fearsomeness, and [[ThatOneBoss more than lives up to that name in combat]]. "The Fatal Scythe" does ''[[SerialEscalation triple]]''-time [[spoiler:[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome until]] [[CurbStompBattle killed]] [[BigDamnHeroes by]] [[Characters/SwordArtOnline Yui]]]].
* NervesOfSteel: Kirito has his moments of angst but usually when it hits the fan, he's the one least visibly freaked out.
* [[NeverBringAGunToAKnifeFight 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...
* NeverBringAKnifeToAGunfight: {{Defied|Trope}} 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. [[SuperReflexes 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.
* NeverSleepAgain: It turns out some player killers [[spoiler: challenge people to duels and attack them while they're asleep]].
* NewGamePlus:
** 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.
* NewsTravelsFast: [[spoiler: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.
* NiceHat: Minor Phantom Bullet character Dyne sports a pretty awesome cowboy hat.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Kirito believes he did this when the Black Cats of the Full Moon was mostly wiped out.
* NintendoHard: 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.
* NoisyGuns: This trope is actually [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] by [[http://pastebin.com/tYmCvK58 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 [[OmnipresentTropes Omnipresent Trope]] in visual media.
* NonIndicativeName: 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.
* NoodleIncident: 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.
* NormallyIWouldBeDeadNow[=/=]LastBreathBullet: [[spoiler: 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.]]
* NotDisabledInVR: The [[spoiler:Sleeping Knights]] is a Guild entirely composed of terminally ill players. {{Exaggerat|edTrope}}ing it even further, their leader is [[spoiler: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 [[spoiler:Yuuki]] is testing, is meant to dull the feelings of pain in real life, serving as a tool for palliative care, although [[spoiler:in Yuuki's final moments, she barely has the strength to speak, even online]].
* NotTheIntendedUse: Outside System Skills, skills and abilities players use that are not programmed in the game. Notable ones are:
** [[SwitchOutMove 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.
** [[{{Combos}} 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.
** Arms Blast: Kirito attacks the weakpoint of the opponent's weapon to destroy it.
** Spell Blast: In ALO, where Sword Skills also have magic attributes imbued, Kirito can cut magic spells. His inspiration comes from his slicing bullets in GGO.
* ObliviousToLove: Sorta {{Justified|Trope}} 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, [[EveryoneCanSeeIt despite Furinkazan's knowing smiles]], but quickly wises up [[spoiler: after Kuradeel tries to kill them]].
* AnOfferYouCantRefuse: 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.
* OfficialCouple: Yuuki Asuna and Kirigaya Kazuto (despite his [[UnwantedHarem growing list of fangirls]]).
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome: 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 [[OneManArmy 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.
* OhCrap: Quite a few happen throughout the series:
** Kirito in Volume 1, upon realizing that he's in a CrashIntoHello 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 [[spoiler: Sugou attempts to knife him in the real world]].
*** And consequently, [[spoiler: 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 ''[[GatlingGood 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 [[GenreSavvy 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 [[NoSenseOfPersonalSpace 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. [[spoiler: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 [[spoiler: is killed]].
** Asuna has a small moment when, after refusing an ArrangedMarriage 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.
* {{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.
* OldSaveBonus: 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.
* OlderThanTheyLook: 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.
* OneHitKill: What makes the Skull Reaper ''truly'' terrifying is its ability to do this.
* OneManArmy: All the integrity knights in Aliciazation. 50 of them can basically intimidate the entire dark kingdom, at least before [[spoiler: Vector shows up.]] Especially the higher order knights and their ultimate weapon skills, which can range from a [[spoiler: [[BeamSpam laser in the form of concentrated sunlight]] to a [[StormOfBlades storm of sword particles]]]].
** Of course, [[spoiler: Kirito and Eugeo]] in Aliciazation, whose own weapon skills are ridiculous [[AreaOfEffect AoE]] attacks. How strong are they? When [[spoiler: Kirito finally dual wields after his recovery, he [[CurbStompBattle deep freezes a 30,000 strong army in an instant!]]]]
** Special note to [[spoiler: Asuna and Leafa in Aliciazation]], both of whom [[HoldTheLine fend off thousands]] of {{mooks}} to save their respective allies.
* OverrideCommand: Occurs throughout the series:
** In the SAO arc, [[spoiler: 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: [[spoiler: 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 decreasing the safety levels on the pain inhibitors. Kayaba's uploaded consciousness, however, doesn't take kindly to such tactics, and gives Kirito his top level Administrator access to turn the table on Sugou. This allows Kirito to enjoy having a CatharsisFactor 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 via using game skills [[NotTheIntendedUse in ways the devs didn't mean 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 sword, 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 completely go beyond the bounds of both using loopholes in game rules, and even human ability, and completely override 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 Speed movement caps, moving faster than should be possible through any logical means, and [[spoiler: has even managed to break out of supposedly unbreakable Paralysis status effects to take a fatal blow for Kirito in game]]. How these are possible, is not quite yet fully understood, [[spoiler: though, the series introduces the theory of a Quantum Field, known as Fluctuating lights (Fluctlight for short), or more directly put, a person's consciousness or soul, if strong enough, is possibly being read by a player's [=NERVgear=] or Amusphere headset as an unusually strong mental command input, causing the game to temporarily override normal gameplay limits to comply with said input.]]
* PlayerKilling: Though very rare, it does happen. [[spoiler: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 KilledOffForReal, PK becomes a core mechanic. In some, like ALO, [=PKing=] is the main point of the game.
* PlotHole: Minor one. Shino [[spoiler: 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.
* PluckyGirl: Silica.
* PlugNPlayTechnology: 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.
* PocketProtector:
** [[spoiler: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.]]
** During the first Squad Jam, [=LLENN=] is saved from certain death when she went up against the leader of the final remaining team. When said leader, ''Boss'', opens up on [=LLENN=] with her Arsenal Strike One pistol, the killing shot struck the Satellite Scan Terminal that [=LLENN=] was carrying in one of the pockets on her chest rig. As the device was considered an "Immortal Object", it effectively no-selled the kill-shot. [=LLENN=]'s teammate M also owes his life to sacrificing his equipment to take shots for him.
* PoliceAreUseless:
** 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.
* PostVictoryCollapse: Happens to Kirito after he defeats a floor boss in episode 9
* PowerOfLove:
** Asuna's explanation for how she was able to pull her BigDamnHeroes moment, covering in five minutes a distance that took a full hour for Kirito's party. Granted, they weren't exactly sprinting, but still.
** Can also be considered during Kirito's [[spoiler:final fight with Heathcliff; his HP had already been reduced to zero, his body was disintegrating, and he still pulled out Asuna's sword and stabbed Heathcliff in the chest.]] Similarly during Kirito's fight against [[spoiler:Oberon, where he recovered from feeling the pain of swords rammed through his body without the usual pain-reducing technology and got up, gained GM privileges, proceeding to kick the ever-living daylight out of Oberon.]]
*** Same fight: [[spoiler: Asuna gets a really big moment when she [[TakingTheBullet takes a]] [[HeroicSacrifice fatal blow]] from Heathcliff to save Kirito, [[BeyondTheImpossible 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.
---> '''Heathcliff''': So, things like this really do happen.
* PragmaticVillainy: 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.
* PreexistingEncounters: In all [=VRMMOs=], although some enemies have some ways to conceal their presence in order to ambush players.
* ProductPlacement: [[spoiler:''[[TheMovie Ordinal Scale]]'' has a lot of these, with Sony, Tokyu Hands, Lawson and Tower Records logos seen in many parts of the film.]]
* PsychopathicManChild: [[spoiler: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.]]
* RainOfArrows: Sinon does this in ALO, in addition to acting like a CatGirl [[Film/LordOfTheRings Legolas]].
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: The characters who attempt it are murderers at the best.
* RealAfterAll: Episodes 5 and 6 deal with an apparently impossible murder, and players are led to believe that it was done by Griselda's ghost. Kirito and Asuna discover how it was really done, but afterwards they catch a glimpse of Griselda at her grave.
* RealIsBrown: 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 RealLife vs. [=RPGs=].
* RealityEnsues: It's a key theme in the ''Fairy Dance'' arc (Vol. 3 & 4) that the [[IKnowMortalKombat strength that Kirito gained in SAO]] doesn't really translate to the real world, because it's just a game.
** The other main theme is that virtual reality is just as real as 'real' reality. The relevant corollary is that you can't use game logic or meta-logic to get by in a [=VRMMO=]. Problems are solved by negotiation, planning, foresight, and flexibility, not hitting things until they submit.
** Kikuoka implies that had the authorities not intervened, the SAO incident would have blown up into an even more massive scandal and that the survivors would be constantly hounded by the media. Which would plausibly happen if something like the show happened in real life.
* RecapEpisode: 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.
* RecognitionFailure: 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.
* RecycledInSpace: It's like ''Franchise/DotHack'' in its initial premise. Interestingly, both were written more or less around the same time, though it's only in recent years that Sword Art Online has been published.
** 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.
* RedBaron:
** 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 [[spoiler: to save Kirito from an AxCrazy guildmate no less]]. She's less keen on her ALO nickname, the "Berserk Healer."
** Shino 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. Kazuto mentions to Shino that Liz is known as the "Swindlin' Blacksmith", and professional GGO player Yamikaze is infamous as the "Run-Gun Demon".
* RedHerring: The series leads you to believe that "Phantom Bullet" refers to Death Gun's bullet, but [[spoiler:it actually refers to Sinon's sniping ability.]]
* RedshirtArmy: 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 [[PoliceAreUseless ineffectual]] and often [[DirtyCop corrupt]].
* RefugeInAudacity:
** How does Kirito prevent the leader of the [[spoiler:Salamander army]] from assassinating the leaders of the [[spoiler:Cait-Sith and Sylph factions]]? He shows up, declares himself [[spoiler: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 [[spoiler:Asuna's ALO race ''is'' Undine (although at the time he said it, she wasn't). FromACertainPointOfView, Kirito ''is'' representing a Spriggan-Undine Alliance... [[BattleCouple 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. [[spoiler: 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.
* RelationshipCeiling:
** Despite all the female characters that seem to flock towards Kirito, the story still makes clear that [[SingleTargetSexuality Asuna is the only girl for him]], meaning any new addition to his SupportingHarem will never go beyond ShipTease.
** 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.
* {{Retcon}}: In episode 15 of the anime, [[spoiler:Kazuto logs out of SAO to an empty hospital room, pulls the electrodes from his heart monitor off, and stumbles out of his room with the support of an IV stand, deliriously murmuring Asuna's name]]. In episode 23, this is quietly retconned into [[spoiler:his family being there when he wakes up, with Suguha crying her eyes out in his lap]]. In episode 1 of ''Sword Art Online II'', this is retconned ''again'' to show [[spoiler:Kikuoka being his first visitor, after he has come to and been in the room for a while]].
* {{Rewrite}}: The light novel version of SAO is actually a polished paperback remake of the original web novels.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: ''[[TearJerker Subverted]]'' in Episode 14. [[spoiler:After Asuna's HeroicSacrifice 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 HeroicBlueScreenOfDeath. 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'', [[spoiler:Kirito has no qualms about savagely killing Sugou's avatar Oberon when he sexually molests Asuna and gloats about his [[AttemptedRape 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, ''[[EyeScream 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.]]
* RomanticTwoGirlFriendship: Asuna and Yuuki.
* RPGMechanicsVerse: 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.
* TheRuleOfFirstAdopters: It appears the SAO developers expected this, given that avatars are anatomically correct, and VR sex is actually possible, and practiced in-game. [[spoiler: Note CoitusEnsues in the YMMV tab.]]
* RunningGag: Kirito's general approach towards awkward male-female interpersonal relationships is to run away. [[spoiler: This includes to making his escape when Asuna invites him to stay overnight at her house... and meet her parents.]]
[[/folder]]
[[folder:S -- T]]
* SaintlyChurch: Which takes care of the younger players in SAO.
* SatiatingSandwich: Asuna's sandwiches are this for Kirito. In episode 25, he '''begs''' Asuna for a sandwich after she teases him with one. Just [[http://fuckyeahanimefood.tumblr.com/post/30520997154/asuna-makes-kirito-a-sandwich-sword-art-online look at them!]]
* SceneryPorn: OH YES! Several places of the game are deemed as such.
* SchmuckBait: [[spoiler: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?]]
* ScopeSnipe: A sniper duel between [[spoiler:Death Gun]] and Sinon results in the latter receiving this, while the former gets his rifle smashed. [[spoiler: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.]]
* {{Scrub}}: InUniverse. 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.
* SecretLevel
** InUniverse: 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.
** Also InUniverse, the Hollow Area of the video game spin-off ''Hollow Fragment'' is a secret world hidden in SAO where secret research and development is conducted. [[spoiler:The Hollow Area is also home to AI duplicates of SAO players, including [=PoH=] and Sachi.]]
* SecretTestOfCharacter:
** 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, [[spoiler: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. [[spoiler:The NPC really is an ally and is necessary to successfully complete said quest.]]
*** Even after securing Excaliber, it isn't added to the player's inventory, and is incredibly heavy. [[spoiler: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.]]
* SenselessSacrifice: [[spoiler: 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.]]
* SerialEscalation: 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 BigBad of Aincrad is what amounts to a PsychopathicManchild who traps several thousands of people to test out his game, Fairy Dance's BigBad is a {{hedonist}} who wants to rape the protagonist's love interest, Phantom Bullet's BigBad is a SerialKiller who has several accomplices to carry out his killings, and Alicization's {{Big Bad}}s consist of a {{narcissist}}ic {{caligula}} and a [[AxCrazy batshit insane]] {{sociopath}} with [[YourSoulIsMine an obsession with souls]] who comes dangerously close to succeeding.
* SequelHook: The first season ends [[spoiler: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.]]
* SequenceBreaking: After the battle to defeat the 75th level boss, [[spoiler:Kirito confirms his suspicion that Heathcliff, leader of the Knights of Blood, [[TheReveal is really Akihiko Kayaba]]. Kayaba notes that he eventually intended to reveal himself as the level 100 boss and decides that since the secret is out, he'll just head to the top now, but oh hey, he'll give Kirito the chance to fight him now, for all the marbles. Kirito wins, breaking the sequence, and the remaining 25 floors are never explored... until ALO!]]
* SexyDiscretionShot: Kirito and Asuna are about to have sex in chapter 16[[labelnote:*]].5[[/labelnote]] and at the end of Episode 10. The scene is cut off by a FadeToBlack in both the officially publised novels and the anime. However, there ''is'' an infamous chapter detailing the scene in graphic detail... [[IkeaErotica and with questionable quality.]]
** They make love again in [[http://www.taptaptaptaptap.net/sao-16-6/ Chapter 16.6]], the difference this time being that the author opts not to describe the scene.
* ShaggyDogStory: After [[spoiler:Sachi]] dies, Kirito learns of a resurrection item and goes through a lot of trouble to get it, with Furinkazan's help... and finds that the item has to be used within ten seconds of death. [[spoiler:Sachi]] died ''six months ago''. He ends up giving it to Klein, and resolving to never join a guild again.
* ShellShockedVeteran: 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.
* ShowDontTell:
** 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 UnstoppableRage.
* ShutUpKiss: [[spoiler: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.]]
* SignatureMove: In ALO, sometime after Sword Skills are implemented, Original Sword Skills are introduced where a player makes their own Sword Skill. The most notable [=OSSs=] are Salamander General Eugene's 8-hit "Volcanic Blazer," Asuna's 5-hit "Starry Tear," and Yuuki's 11-hit "Mother's Rosario", which she teaches Asuna. ''VideoGame/DengekiBunkoFightingClimax'' sees the move done by both Asuna and Yuuki, reflecting the latter being the move's creator.
* SingleStrokeBattle: 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.
* SlasherSmile: [[spoiler: 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.]]
* SleepCute: 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".
* SmallGirlBigGun: Sinon is described as having a doll-like avatar. She wields a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hecate_II Hecate II]].
* SnowMeansLove: It's snowing during Kirito and Asuna's first meeting in the real world.
* SocietyMarchesOn: 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 [[UsefulNotes/KaijuDefenseForce JSDF]] has moved to become a major arms exporter as of 2015.
* SolidGoldPoop: A particular in-game dragon dropping is a rare ore used to make very good weapons.
* SomethingOnlyTheyWouldSay: Leafa/Suguha figures out Kirito is Kazuto when he finally mentions the person he's trying to save is Asuna.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: In the ''Lost Song'' video game, [[spoiler: 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, [[spoiler:where Yuuki is a party member, and her health is no longer a concern.]]
* SpellMyNameWithAThe: In SAO, Boss monsters have "The" in their name.
* SpiderSense: In SAO, there is a hypothetical Outside System Skill called Hypersense, or feeling the presence of an enemy before you can actually see or hear them. It's hypothetical because since the skill is not listed in the database, no one can prove that it even exists. However, numerous characters have been shown to possess it, including Kirito, Klein, and [[spoiler:[=XaXa=].]]
* {{Spinoff}}: ''Sword Art Online -- Girls Ops''
* SpoilerOpening:
** Lots and lots of info is revealed in the anime's opening, like Kirito's Elucidator and [[spoiler: his eventual relationship with Asuna]].
** The opening for ''Sword Art Online II'' reveals Kirito's [[DudeLooksLikeALady GGO avatar]] and his use of a beam saber and [[{{Foreshadowing}} foreshadows]] [[spoiler: Death Gun's true identity (one of them at least).]]
** The opening for the ''Mother's Rosario'' arc hints at the fact that [[spoiler:Yuuki had a twin sister]].
* {{Squee}}: Kirito's reaction to getting [[spoiler:Excaliber]], first when [[spoiler:Shino manages to trickshot it into her hands]], and then when he officially gets it as a quest reward.
* StalkerWithACrush: Asuna attracts a lot of these, all of whom are very dangerous. Shino has [[spoiler:Kyouji]].
* StandardFemaleGrabArea: [[ActionGirl 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.
* StarScraper: Castle Aincrad is so big, it's essentially a world within a world (though it's actually the entire ''playable'' world of the in-universe SAO game). The largest floor is 10 kilometers in diameter, and each one is 100 meters high. Given that there are 100 floors, that makes it 10 kilometers high.[[note]]For comparison, the summit of Mt. Everest is just under 9 km high.[[/note]] But then, that's not counting the fact that it all ''floats in the sky''. The anime also depicts a massive structure extending almost as far ''down'', below the first floor.
* StatingTheSimpleSolution: 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.
* TheStinger:
** 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 ''[[CompilationMovie Extra Edition]]'', Kazuto's phone gets a call from Kikuoka, [[spoiler:[[SequelHook 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.
* SuggestiveCollision: In episode 8, Asuna falls on top of Kirito after teleporting into his zone, quickly resulting in a ThanksForTheMammary moment.
* SuperPrototype: 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.
* SuperReflexes: Kirito has the best reflexes in SAO, which [[spoiler:Kayaba explains is why he received the [[DualWielding Dual Blades]] skill.]] This carries on into other games [[spoiler: 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.
* SuperSpeed: Kirito can move ''very'' fast, as [[OhCrap his enemies find out]].
* SupremeChef: 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. [[VideoGame/SuperRobotWars Ratsel Feinschmeker]] would approve.
* SupportingHarem: Thanks to Kirito and Asuna being the OfficialCouple from the first volume/first half season 1, all of the feelings of Kirito's other admirers remain unrequited.
* SurvivalMantra: The page quote, said by Kirito in the first episode of the anime, followed by a SkywardScream.
* SurvivorGuilt:
** [[spoiler: Kirito, the only survivor of the Black Cats of the Full Moon guild. Made worse because as a Clearer, he knew the area well enough that he could have prevented it just by warning them. The only thing that held him back was the fear of being hated for being a Beater.]]
** [[spoiler: This becomes a critical plot point when Asuna asks Kirito why he was always a solo player up until this point. He talks about the deaths he could have prevented of his previous guild, and how after that incident he felt that it was easier on his own. He does admit that he is reaching the limits of what a solo player can accomplish, so joining her guild isn't all bad for him.]]
** [[spoiler:Shiune of the Sleeping Knights ends up making a miraculous recovery and laments on being unable to keep her promise with Yuuki, Yuuki's sister, and her friends, that they will always be together.]]
* TakingYouWithMe: How Shino ends the [=BoB=] tournament in episode 13 of season 2. [[spoiler: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.]]
* TeleportersAndTransporters: Crystals in SAO, which allow you to instantly return to the level's town area. Unfortunately, certain dungeons have anti-crystal fields.
* TemptingFate: Episode 3 is filled to the brim with this. [[spoiler: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 TotalPartyKill.
** After Kirito joins the Knights of the Blood Oath, Godfree takes him an Kuradeel on an assessment for the beater's "reaction to danger". [[spoiler: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".]]
* ThanatosGambit: [[spoiler: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.]]
* ThemeMusicPowerUp:
** Invoked any time "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6NzqWI4HYU Swordland]]" or any of its remixes play.
** Asuna has her own theme in the form of "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQFW6BQ0y3o Luminous Sword]]", which noticeably returns (albeit remixed) in her battle against Yuuki.
** ''Sword Art Online: Extra Edition'' uses Season one's second opening theme, [[http://youtu.be/DY7EWUGq2O4 "INNOCENCE"]], as this [[spoiler: for the BigDamnHeroes moment during Kirito's second attack on the World Tree.]]
* ThereAreNoTherapists: 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 [[TheMostDangerousVideoGame 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. [[spoiler: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]].
* ThereIsOnlyOneBed:
** [[spoiler: 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.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: [[spoiler: 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.'']]
* TheTalk: Played hilariously straight in the adorable Blu-Ray/DVD gag short ''Sword Art Offline Episode 4'', where Yui innocently asks Kirito, Asuna and Kline "Mommy said she wanted lots of children; how do you make children?" Asuna tried to be frank ("You see dear, when mommies and daddies want babies they go to the bottom of the menu and turn off the Morality-Code..."), to be bluntly stopped by Kirito ("When Mommies and Daddies get married, it unlocks a quest where the stork brings a baby from the cabbage patch"); when Yui starts crying that she's not really Kirito and Asuna's daughter, Klien dodges the bullet by telling her "Actually Yui, we're all really just cabbage people", which to the trio's relief she happily accepts.
* ThisIsUnforgivable: Kirito says this [[spoiler: when he discovers that the quest in ALO for granting unlimited flight is a lie and Leafa's/Suguha's]] dream would not come true.
* ThreePointLanding: Kirito as a Spriggan fairy in ALO, complete with BadassLongcoat, pulls one off as he assaults the World Tree for the first time as shown in the anime adaptation.
* ThreeStrikeCombo: 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[[/note]].
* ThoseTwoGuys: 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 [[spoiler: being among the 300 players whose brains had been hijacked for Sugou's experiment]].
* TimeSkip: Between different arcs.
* TitleDrop
** The series is named after the first VRMMORPG featured in the series.
** ''Phantom Bullet'': [[spoiler: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".]]
** ''Mother's Rosario'': [[spoiler:Yuuki names her SignatureMove "Mother's Rosario" before passing it on to Asuna.]]
** ''Hollow Fragment'': [[spoiler:Near the end of the "Hollow Area" story, Philia thanks Kirito for helping her overcome her CloningBlues: before they met, after having faced her Hollow clone, she felt like little more than a "Hollow Fragment".]]
** ''Lost Song'': [[spoiler:The most powerful event boss is literally named "Lost Song", and defeating it unlocks [[BigBad Seven]] as a playable character]].
* TitleIn: 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 TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture. Used explicitly with an EstablishingShot.
* TooAwesomeToUse: 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. [[spoiler: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.]]
* TooDumbToLive: Corbatz. 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 Ghost}}s 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 PerfectPacifistPeople that they would rather [[SenselessSacrifice let entire populations die off]] than sacrifice some to save others.
* TookALevelInBadass: 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 BadassCrew.
* TournamentArc: Volumes 6 and 7, the Phantom Bullet arc, is one giant tournament arc where Kirito enters the Bullet of Bullets.
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: A variant. The opening shows Kirito and Asuna beating the monster they're shown fleeing in terror from in Episode 9.
* TranquilFury: [[spoiler:Kirito, once he gains administrator privileges in ''[=ALfheim Online=]'', proceeds to off on Sugou with application, remaining perfectly calm, until the very last blow.]]
* TruceZone: You cant 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 DuelToTheDeath.
** 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...
* TrueCompanions: Kirito and his friends became this after the SAO arc.
** The Sleeping Knights all met in the Serene Garden[[spoiler:, which is a VR hospice for terminally ill patients]], and partied together from VR game to game afterwards.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: The series is certainly this, though when the novel was written this future was more distant -- as of late 2014 virtual reality technology is steady in development, and while Full Dive technology might not be available within the next decade it's becoming increasingly more feasible -- it isn't unreasonable to assume the development of technology on the timescale the show provides, granted we make a few significant breakthroughs before 2022.
* TwoGirlsAndAGuy: Kirito, Asuna, and Suguha.
[[/folder]]
[[folder:U -- Z]]
* 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.
* UnderestimatingBadassery: This happens to Kirito a lot in Volumes 27, 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.
* UnexpectedCharacter: [[spoiler:No one expected Alice and Eugeo from the Alicization arc to show up as DLC characters for ''Hollow Realization'' and ''Millennium Twilight''.]]
* UnsettlingGenderReveal:
** PlayedForLaughs in the first episode of the anime -- see ThoseTwoGuys for details.
** [[spoiler:"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.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: After getting a glimpse of the Floor 74 boss, [[SpellMyNameWithAThe The]] [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Gleam Eyes]], Kirito and Asuna start thinking strategy; tanks in the front row, keep switching, and at least 10 shield users. [[spoiler:Then the [[TooDumbToLive 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.]]
* UnstoppableRage: Silica enters this momentarily after Pina's HeroicSacrifice, in the light novels. Subverted in that it turns out to be quite stoppable.
* UselessUsefulNonCombatAbilities: 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 [[spoiler:they marry]], he gives up the two-handed sword skill (which he probably didn't use much anyway after picking up [[spoiler:dual-wielding]]) to learn the Fishing skill.
* UnwinnableByDesign: In ALO (while it was still under control of RECTO), [[spoiler: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.]]
* VideoGameCaringPotential[=/=]VideoGameCrueltyPotential: Kirito, especially after his first year or so in Aincrad, deliberately invokes the former and avoids the latter. [[spoiler: Before they become friends, he even fights a duel with Asuna to protect [[NonPlayerCharacter NPCs]] from being used as distractions to the Boss in the upcoming Boss Fight.]] He {{discuss|ed Trope}}es the latter trope with Silica in Episode 4 and with Leafa in Episode 19.
** This is a plot point in the ''Hollow Realization'' game, where the [=NPCs=] [[spoiler:are in reality AIs]] who permanently die if killed, while players revive. Using [=NPCs=] as bait in the game is a legitimate, if frowned upon by some, tactic, and the system brutally punishes players who actually attack [=NPCs=] to minimize this.
* VillainBall: The villain of the second arc, from his first appearance. [[spoiler: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?]]
* VillainRespect: Akihiko Kayaba is genuinely impressed that Kirito and Asuna were able to actually defy the physics of his game through [[HeroicResolve 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 [[SympathyForTheHero gives Kirito his admin access]] to level the playing field.
* VomitDiscretionShot: When Shino pukes during her panic attack during Season 2 Episode 3, the camera helpfully gives a view of the floor of the room she just vacated.
* TheWarSequence: 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. [[spoiler:Kirito fails the quest on his first attempt, but succeeds later with help from Leafa, Recon, and the Sylph/Cait-Sith alliance as backup.]]
* WhamEpisode: Sigh... Even an MMORPG anime can have it!
** Episode 1: At first this was like your typical MMORPG until the rules unexpectedly changed. [[WinToExit No logging out until you clear the entire game, which will take ''years'' even for the best player]]. [[TheMostDangerousVideoGame Also, if you die in the game, you die in real life]].
** Episode 14: [[spoiler:[[TheReveal Heathcliff is Kayaba]].]]
** Episode 17: [[spoiler: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: [[spoiler: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: [[spoiler: 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: [[spoiler: 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. [[spoiler: 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 GoOutWithASmile.]]
* WhamLine: From Episode 23:
-->'''Yui''':[[spoiler:Players were never meant to open this door.]]
** From Season 2, Episode 18:
--->'''Lizbeth''': [''quoting Kirito''] "If Zekken had been in that world, then rather than me, [[spoiler:the Dual-wielding skill would have been awarded to them.]]"
** Season 2, Episode 22
--->'''Kurahashi''': [[spoiler:[[IllGirl Human immunodeficiency virus...HIV, for short.]]]]
** From the very first episode:
-->'''Klein''': "Huh? Where'd the log out button go?"
** Chapter 10 of Volume 7 ends with "That was when Dr. Kurahashi sent Asuna a message saying that [[spoiler:Yuuki's condition had taken a turn for the worse]]." In Episode 24 of Season 2, you see the message itself, which says, "[[spoiler:Yuuki-san, Konno-san's condition has deteriorated. Can you come immediately?]]"
* WhamShot
** Season 2, Episode 4 has one when [[spoiler:Kirito sees the Laughing Coffin brand peeking out from Death Gun's arm-wrapping]].
** Season 2, Episode 22: [[spoiler: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.]]
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: Invoked by Akihiko Kayaba [[spoiler:aka Heathcliff]] when Kirito [[spoiler:exposes his identity.]] Apparently the plan was to continue [[spoiler:leading the players]] until about 10 floors before the final floor and [[spoiler: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.
* WhatIf: The side story ''Caliber SS''[[note]]SS stands for Sukoshi Shippai, which translates to Slight Failure[[/note]] 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. [[spoiler:The BigBad wins, but there's a bit of hope: the system generates a [[GondorCallsForAid Defense of the Realm]] event, calling all players to defend ALO from the Frost Giants]].
** The video game ''Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment'': [[spoiler:What would happen when a glitch interrupts the death duel between Kirito and Heathcliff, forcing the players to continue clearing to the 100th floor while some players from ALO arrive in SAO?]]
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman?: 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 also forms the core theme in the [[spoiler:Alicization arc]].
* WhatYouAreInTheDark: In ALO, Leafa learns that [[spoiler: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.]]
-->'''Leafa:''' This is a game after all, so anything can happen. If you want to kill, then you can kill; if there is something you want, then you can steal it.\\
'''Kirito:''' ...People who've said that, I have met too many of them. On one level, that is true, and I used to think that way too. But it isn't right. Especially in a virtual world, there are some things that you must protect, no matter how stupid you look. I was taught that by a person very important to me... [=VRMMOs=] are called games, but this is a contradiction; splitting the player and the role is not a good idea. If you take on traits in this world, your personality in the real world will reflect those changes. Players and their character are one. I like Leafa, and I want to be your friend. No matter what the reason, I will not kill you to further my own self-interests, absolutely not!
* WinToExit: Unless the final boss of SAO is defeated, players will remain trapped in the virtual world until they die one way or another.
* WorldTree: 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.
* WorthLivingFor: Kirito, when paralyzed and being stabbed by AxCrazy [[spoiler:Kuradeel]], thinks of Asuna and moves his hand to try to stop the blade. ''That'' doesn't work. [[spoiler:But Asuna pulls a minor RealityWarper with the PowerOfLove to [[BigDamnHeroes come in and save Kirito with an antidote/healing crystal]].]]
* WorthyOpponent: Many of Kirito's opponents, such as General Eugene, become this. Kirito usually doesn't hold any grudges, either.
* WritersCannotDoMath: 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.
* WrongGenreSavvy: In the "Caliber" sidestory in Volume 8, thanks to his experience as a gamer, Kirito fully expects [[spoiler: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 Myth/NorseMythology, 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 [[spoiler: [[IncrediblyLamePun trap]]]].
* YamatoNadeshiko: In ''A Murder Case in the Area'' we learn the story of Griselda, a sweet HouseWife who was caught in the game alongside her husband [[spoiler: Grimlock]], then rose to the challenge of becoming a guildmaster. [[spoiler: Bad thing? Grimlock has a FreakOut due to both the stress and seeing that she was [[PluckyGirl more successful and independent]] than he thought she was, so he ''killed'' her.]]
* YearInsideHourOutside: 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. [[spoiler: 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]].
** [[spoiler: 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.]]
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: 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.
* YouAreTooLate:
** In the (non-canon) bonus side story ''Caliber SS'' (Failure Side), the characters follow the events of Caliber and miss an important EventFlag, 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 BigBad 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. [[spoiler: 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, [[spoiler: 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.]]
* YourMindMakesItReal: 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. [[spoiler: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.]]
* YouShallNotPass: These incidents happen from time to time, and are usually awesome.
* ZergRush: 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.
* ZeroApprovalGambit: 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.
* ZettaiRyouiki:
** Asuna's SAO outfit.
** Silica also has this.
** Leafa's ALO outfit also sports these.
[[/folder]]
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''"What's the difference between the real world and the virtual one?"''
18th Aug '17 9:31:22 AM RussellStar5641
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** ''Accel World VS Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight'' a video game crossover with LighNovel/AccelWorld based in ALO for the PS Vita and Playstation 4 released in Japan during March 2017 and in the west in July 2017.

to:

** ''Accel World VS Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight'' a video game crossover with LighNovel/AccelWorld LightNovel/AccelWorld based in ALO for the PS Vita and Playstation 4 released in Japan during March 2017 and in the west in July 2017.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=LightNovel.SwordArtOnline