Main series: Major Characters (Kazuto Kirigaya, Asuna Yuuki, Suguha Kirigaya, Shino Asada) | Aincrad | Alfheim Online | Gun Gale Online | Underworld (Integrity Knights) | Antagonists (Akihiko Kayaba, Laughing Coffin) | Bosses | Others
Alternative Gun Gale Online Characters: Team LPFM | Team SHINC | Team MMTM | Others
Video Game Continuity | Gameverse Characters (Gameverse Main Characters) | Mobile Game Exclusives
This page details the various characters that debuted in the first story arc of Sword Art Online.
Note: Unmarked spoilers ahead.note If you're starting the anime, do not read this page!
Argo (SAO, ALO, UR) / Tomo Carina Hosaka
Voiced by: Shiori Izawa (Japanese), Cassandra Lee Morris (English), Jocelyn Robles (Latin American Spanish)
- Absurd Phobia: Her fear of dogs is understandable enough, but when even a puppy getting close to her sends her into a panic, it starts to get rediculous.
- Action Girl: Downplayed. Argo doesnt usually enter a fight herself and her build is more focused on espionage and info gathering than combat. But when she does enter the fray, she proves to be a rather capable fighter, being able to easily deal with monsters and, if her mock duel with Asuna is anything to go by, other players. She also proves to be an effective combatant against the Floor 5 boss.
- A-Cup Angst: Implied during SAO. In Progressive Vol 4, when Argo challenges Asuna to a mock duel while theyre bathing, Asuna shyly asks if she can wear a swimsuit while they do it and Argo complains to her about how shes baring what minimal assets she has while Asunas got so much better.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Throughout the light novels (mainly Progressive), Argo's design is fairly consistent as one of the many cute faces of the cast. The anime, going with her being Demoted to Extra, kept her fairly plain-faced by comparison besides her whiskers while toning down the blonde color of her hair (though it might be due to her one scene being at nighttime), and her concept and card designs at the time even gave her Blinding Bangs and a rougher face as if to downplay her appearance for a one-off character in the adaptation. When she was brought into the game continuity which uses the anime designs as a basis, her design was noticeably bumped up in quality and consistency, and stayed that way for the rest of the games.
- Adaptational Dye-Job: Most mediums be that light novel, manga, or games all depict Argo with blonde hair. The only exception is the anime where her one off appearance in Episode 3 made her a brunette.
- Adaptational Modesty: In the below-mentioned The Tease example, the manga instead depicts her as unambiguously clothed when she shows off her Walk on Water boots. She makes the same tease however by instead insinuating that she's Going Commando.
- Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Argo was a recurring minor member of the cast during the Aincrad arc and boosted up to a major character spot in the Progressive novels, but got heavily Demoted to Extra for a single scene appearance in the anime likely due to the anime predating her fan-favored debut. Despite this, she appears at the end of season one's guest artwork cast roll by the light novel's artist alongside every other notable and heroic character, likely to the confusion of many anime-only viewers. Fortunately, Progressive was confirmed to be receiving an anime adaptation, just after the finale for War of the Underworld, which had also confirmed an adaptation of Unital Ring.
- Animal Motif:
- Shes not just called The Rat because of her whiskers and sly mannerisms. Along with having a stealth build, she has various rat and mouse like qualities, such as a an Implied fondness for cheese on Floor 4 and having something of a short stature that helps her avoid capture more easily. When we finally meet her IRL in Unital Ring, she even wears a jacket with a small mouse insignia on it.
- While she's known as "the Rat", she has plenty of links to cats, including her whisker marks, laughing with a "Nyahahahaha", the fact she's a Cait Sith in ALO, and her crippling fear of dogs.
- Affectionate Nickname: Refers to Kirito as "Kiri-bou" or "Kii-bou" while calling Asuna "Asu" or "A-Chan" depending on the translation.
- Ascended Extra: Originally just a minor character role in the original novels, Progressive made Argo into a major cast member throughout Aincrad. Consequently, this led to Argo becoming enough of a Breakout Character that the game continuity took her surge in popularity, made her a Guest-Star Party Member, and then ascended her to part of the main cast. She even got an ALO avatar of a Cait-Sith in Lost Song, whereas Argo had completely disappeared in the canon continuity post-Aincrad. Until her surprise return in volume 21 of the light novels, likely also stirred by this trope.
- The Atoner: Being a beta player herself that distributes information to help players survive, she is horrified upon realizing that some of the information in the game had been changed since the beta - which means that no small number of player deaths occurred likely because of her misinformation. This not only pushes her to secretly distribute beginner's guides for free despite her usual hunt for profits, but likely encourages her more hands-on Intrepid Reporter habits to make damn sure the info is right. Kirito himself also notes that Argo likely feels guilt for being a beta player with an unfair info advantage over most of the populace in the first place.
- Badass in Distress: She ends up in the grasp of Fuscus the Vacant Colossus when she and Kirito are scouting the boss room. Thankfully, all that happens is that her signature cloak is destroyed and she suffers some damage to her armor, and Kirito is able to free her before it can kill her.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- She's saved Kirito and Asuna a couple times, much like Kirito's saved her life before. It's also Argo's discoveries that canonically allowed the cast to survive the second floor, even if she wasn't the one to act on the boss info she found directly.
- With the help of Gwen, she jumps in to help the girls deal with Granze and her Guild, with her taking out their mages before Granze can order them to fire again.
- Boyish Short Hair: Of the side fringe variant. It's especially hard to tell whether she's a boy or girl when she's wearing her hood.
- Breakout Character: A downplayed case, as she's not helming any spinoffs or significant franchise ventures of her own, but Argo's popularity exploded thanks to her Ascended Extra role in Progressive and the game continuity, up to fan favorite levels alongside Yuuki, which is saying a lot. And as of volume 21 of the light novels, Unital Ring seems to finally be ascending her to a main cast member with her official return.
- The Bus Came Back: After a lengthy absence since the Aincrad arc, with her fate not even being known, Argo makes a return in Unital Ring to the main cast.
- She also appears in her ALO Caith Sith avatar in chapter 23 of Girls' Ops.
- Cat Girl: She is extremely cat-like in personality and appearance, made even more prominent where she plays as a Cait Sith in ALO.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Despite being a recurring character throughout the novels in Aincrad, Argo basically disappeared from the cast and plot partway through the arc in the main continuity as the story gradually turned away from separate short stories through the floors and more towards the completion of Aincrad itself; besides an offhand reference here or there, starting with the Fairy Dance arc she might as well have never existed. Until her return in volume 21 of the light novels to insert into the main plot as a major character again. It counts as an in-universe Big "WHAT?!" for Kirito, given how out of left field it was.
- She had also appeared personally in the Girls' Ops spinoff manga back in Volume 5, two years prior to her resurgence in the light novels and with a wholly different avatar design than her Lost Song counterpart. Most overlooked this appearance because of the spinoff's low-key status.
- Continuity Snarl: Argos reappearance in Unital Ring creates continuity problems with Girls' Ops given that she already appeared there and had played ALO as a Cait Sith. This either puts Girls' Ops into Loose Canon territory, or that there has been a retcon.
- Cool Big Sis: Progressive bumps her up to acting as one for Asuna in the Aincrad arc and outright calls herself Kirito's "Onee-san" (older sister), when she isn't being The Gadfly and teasing either of them (usually Kirito). She also serves as one for Yui in optional scenes in Hollow Realization.
- Rika and Keiko freak the hell out at the thought of yet another potential harem member when she shows up calling herself Kirito's Onee-san, while she milks the reaction for all it's worth.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Subverted. In Progressive Vol. 4, Asuna initially worries that the fact that Argo doesnt focus too much on combat skills in favour of ones that help with info-gathering would make her an easy target for monsters and PKers. Argo reassures her by challenging her to a mock duel and winning!
- Dance Battler: Uses a style that is even named Wild Dance.
- Demoted to Extra: In the anime, she only appears in one brief scene towards the end of Season 1 Episode 3. The anime launched in July of 2012, so the staff likely had no idea that Progressive would greatly expand her role come the first volume's release that October.
- Depending on the Artist: Does she have yellow or green eyes? It all depends on the avatar she's got per story, and sometimes even that changes between individual artwork, to the point of particular Progressive art having them be more brown. Though it's Truth in Television, as the colors are consistently close enough to be lumped together as having hazel eyes.
- Difficult, but Awesome: Since her build is more about stealth and gathering information, Argo largely has to rely on her own skill when forced into a fight. She is still a capable fighter however.
- Dual Wielding: Her weapon is a pair of Wolverine Claws.
- Everyone Has Standards:
- She refuses to sell the identities of other beta testers. The fact that she didn't do this helps Kirito realize that the only reason Diavel knew about Kirito's status as a beta tester was because Diavel was also a beta tester.
- In Hollow Realization, Richter/Kyouji bought personal information off her about Sinon. This creeped Argo out so much she informed Sinon of this completely free of charge.
- Upon meeting Lisbeth, Silica, Leafa and Lux, she teases them by saying that she has some info on Kirito that she could sell them, only to reveal that shes joking and that she has a rule against selling personal information.
- Facial Markings: She has whisker markings, which she applies with make-up. The information on why she has them has a high price tag of 100,000 col. She originally got them as scars during the beta test, when she tried and failed the quest to unlock the "Martial Arts" Extra Skill. When her character was transferred to the main game and the scars vanished, she liked the markings enough to apply them using makeup. In Hollow Realization, she eventually finds actual whiskers as an equipable item in the shops, which she immediately bought.
- Fatal Flaw: Her fear of dogs ends up biting her in the ass in "The Day Before". When she started the quest, her phobia compelled her to flee from Toto, the canine quest NPC, towards the log cabin. Unbeknownst to her, the cabin was designated to start flying once the players entered, and with Toto being unable to catch up to her, she's unable to progress the quest or cancel it, getting her stuck in the flying cabin for two days.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Kirito and company. Shown in special detail in the videogame continuity, where she's counted among Kirito's circle and despite still selling info and demanding payment, is noticeably much more personable with them than nearly anyone else.
- Flechette Storm: Carries throwing pikes as one of her weapons.
- Fragile Speedster: Her dash exceeds even Asuna's speed! She also takes more damage because she doesn't have knightly armor like Asuna.
- Fun Size: She acts like she's older than Kirito and Asuna, yet she's a head shorter than them.
- The Gadfly: One of the biggest trolls in the entirety of Sword Art Online, being relentless with teasing others when the opportunity comes up, and seeing people squirm just convinces her to go further. Justified in that it gives her yet another edge when it comes negotiating as an info broker.
- In Progressive, she's not above teasing Kirito and Asuna alike just to get a reaction even if it's not for information, and especially takes a lighthearted advantage of her friendship with Asuna to troll Kirito.
- She loves making fun of Kirito's love life. From his relationship to Asuna, his being Oblivious to Love, and that he might harbor feelings for her.
- In "Aincrad Side Story: Secret Battle", she's quick to tease Kirito upon hearing about how Asuna had a nap next to him before the Murder Case in the Safe Zone, which she then uses to extort ten thousand cor from him, with the possibility of getting more if someone offers a higher price.
- Glass Cannon: In spite of her skills however, Argo is not a true powerhouse, and not even close to being a frontliner like Kirito or Asuna. She's capable of picking off foes with the element of surprise, and fighting alongside others if need be, but as an actual combatant, she's focused more on passive abilities and Hiding to supplement her info broker role rather than combat skills. It's notable enough that Kirito actually chooses not to commission for her to stick her nose into potential PK conspiracies, because as combat specialists they'd probably wipe the floor with her if she was discovered.
- Hartman Hips: In her Hollow Realization design, she ditches her prior cloaks for a more stylish outfit with a case of Bare Your Midriff, where it becomes incredibly apparent that she's got a bit of an hourglass figure going on.
- Hidden Buxom: She's far from the largest of the cast, but her petite frame and short height combined with often wearing thick clothing conceal a rather modest bust as far as the gameverse from Hollow Realization onwards is concerned. Compare this to her Aincrad and Lost Song appearances and it's like night and day.
- Idiot Hair: A strange case in that she's far from an idiot, but is depicted as having two tufts upraised in an uneven, U-like shape. These carry over to her thus-far limited appearances in real-life.
- Incompletely Trained: During the Beta she tried to get the "Martial Arts" Extra Skill but gave up.
- In the Hood: A Knowledge Broker has to keep her ID secret, you know.
- Intrepid Reporter: Publisher of the Weekly Argo and always in search of new information and rumors. When Kirito was going to propose to Asuna and they met Argo he was quite afraid to be tomorrow's headline. The series also never delves into who her contacts and co-workers are if any, strongly implying that Argo herself is diving into basically everything worthy of a scoop even in spite of the risks and potential lack of forewarning.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite her greedy and trollish personality, when the opportunity presents itself, Argo is shown to be a very kind and principled person who will put her love of money aside for the sake of others.
- Just a Kid: She keeps calling Kirito a kid and acts as though she's older, even going so far as to refer to herself as "Onee-san", despite being a great deal shorter. Though in reality, she actually is, by potentially two years.
- Knowledge Broker: In SAO, being a beta tester she has some info only she knows and sells them for col (the currency of SAO).
- Meaningful Name: Argo means "swift" in Greek and her character build is focused on agility.
- Minored in Ass-Kicking: Her build primarily marks her as a scout and info-gatherer, but Argo is still a fairly skilled fighter. In Progressive, she beat Asuna in a mock duel and was a vital member of the impromptu Floor 4 Boss Raid party Kirito set up in order to prevent the ALS from getting a Game Breaker item that would disrupt the power balance between them and the DKB.
- Mixed Ancestry: Confirmed to be half-Japanese by the author, though the other half is ambiguously western between her true middle name of Carina and blonde hair.
- Mr. Exposition: In games like Fatal Bullet, Argo's info sourcing makes her an integral individual to the cast thanks to staying up and up on the latest leaks and info, often serving this role as she exposits the next story objective.
- Mysterious Past: Basically nothing is known about Argo's real life, what she does, how she came to beta test or play SAO in the first place and so forth. Some of the information she gets her hands on also treads the line of implausible, often having sources pick up on something big immediately after it shows up with the implication that she's doing much of the research personally. Even when she's finally back in the light novels, so far she somehow seems to know exactly who Kikuoka is even despite him being legally declared KIA and in secretive contact with Kirito's group, which catches him off-guard given he has no idea who she is, and she obviously wasn't a part of the Death Gun or Ocean Turtle debacles to be in on the know.
- New Transfer Student: She appears in-person for the first time in canon at the very end of volume 21, explicitly stating she's transferring to the school for SAO survivors. Kirito suffers a Delayed Reaction, given that he's not seen her in several years.
- Oh, Crap!: A few times, like the time she was lured into a trap or being there to witness Nezha attempting to kill himself. A more notable case was in Progressive when she personally found out the secret to the first floor's boss - and realized that the key weapon in his second phase wasn't the talwar like the beta, but a nōdachi, which would drastically upend the entire frontline's strategy. By the time she gets the info to Kirito and the others, Diabel and several other players were in too deep and doomed by the weapon change.
- Older Than They Look: Argo looks short and young, but she's actually about as old as Asuna, if not potentially a year older.
- Only in It for the Money: She is incredibly sly and greedy, and will sell any piece of information for the right price, including the identities of her clients and the information they bought from her. She observes that as soon as someone buys information from her, she gets a new piece of information (X bought Y from her) to sell. Though she draws the line at selling the identities of other beta testers. She is also the author of a free strategy guide for beginner players, detailing the hazards and best hunting spots of each floor. Kirito observes that this is probably her way of "atoning" as a beta tester. She's also decidedly honest about the information she sells; when Kirito inquires about the "Nicholas the Renegade" quest on SAO's first Christmas Eve, she tells him that there's nothing worth charging money for, and shares what she knows without charging half a Col.
- In The Day Before after she explains that she was stuck in the cabin when it got launched in the air because her fear of dogs caused her to flee too far from Toto and therefore prevented her continuing or cancelling the quest, Kirito quips that she could probably right a book about her in-game adventures and sell it for thousands. Argo actually seems to consider the idea before snapping at him for not taking the situation seriously.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Since the start of the series, "Argo" was the character name that she's primarily known by, which the games and extra materials have stuck with consistently. As of Volume 23 of the light novels however, Argo's real name has been revealed to be Tomo Hosaka.
- OOC Is Serious Business: In "Aincrad Side Story: Secret Battle" in Rising Steel, her actually deciding to show up to a Boss Meeting when Kirito suggests it actually catches Kirito off-guard, and she states that it's because she found something interesting. Part of the reason for this was that she was hoping to run into Heathcliff to get info on him.
- Platonic Life-Partners: She and Kirito are longtime friends and clients, but their relationship remains strictly professional. Doesnt stop her from messing with Kirito through joke flirting.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Argo is one of the shorter characters in the series, and nearly a head shorter than Asuna while only being taller than Silica and Yuuki of the major cast members. She's also a beta tester and competent enough a combatant to be considered a handy ally of Kirito on the field when she's absolutely needed, to the point of her signature weapons from Aincrad being a pair of up-close melee claws that would probably be more dangerous and unwieldy than the standard swords.
- The Rat: This is her title because of her sneaking and shiny object hoarding (i.e. Col) behavior.
- Red Baron: She is known as "The Rat", due to her whiskers and her selling info.
- Sailor Fuku: The end of Volume 21 depicts her wearing one of these when she greets Kirito, hinting it was the uniform of her old school.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: After her sneak attack on Granze fails and she hints that she knew about her plan all along, Argo admits that she's run out of idea and goes into hiding, telling the girls "good luck" against Granze.
- Shipper on Deck: In the manga adaptation of Sword Art Online: Progressive she seems to be one. Given her reaction to rumors that Kirito and Asuna are a couple, and actively selling information that seems to encourage it. She even tells Kirito: "You've got dibs on that girl. Don't you know what you got?"
- Ship Tease: Traces of it with Kirito in canon, most notably the one time she hugged him after he saved her from a guild's attempt on her life, and oodles of it if you interact with her enough in the games. Despite this, she's canonically not a harem member, and more like a personal accomplice and one of Kirito's few truly equal friends outside of the main cast.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: In Fatal Bullet, she uses a UTAS UTS-15 pump-action shotgun as her secondary weapon.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: She carries a pair of glasses with her IRL.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: Her relationship with Kirito largely consists of the two playing mind games and seeing who can get under whose skin first.
- The Sneaky Guy: Hiding is one of her non-combat skills.
- In Girls' Ops, she's able to use Adie's smoke grenade to use her Hiding skill to drop in, kill the Elves and Shoemakers mages, before hiding to strike again.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Argo loves sneaking up on people and seemingly appearing out of nowhere. A good part of this is thanks to her Hiding skill, to the point that she snuck up on Kirito who was using the same skill by way of being potentially twice his level or more.
- The Tease: A lot of her Trolling of Kirito tends to be her jokingly flirting with him.
- In Progressive Vol 3 on Floor 4, she surprises Kirito and Asuna by going up to their boat while standing on the water and proceeds to explain that its due to a special pair of shoes she found, which allow the wearer to Walk on Water if they have high enough AGI and are wearing light enough equipment. When Kirito points out that her equipment loadout doesnt seem any different, she proceeds to suggest that shes probably wearing nothing beneath her signature cloak, flustering him and causing Asuna to give him the stink eye. At the very least her legs are bare, which either means shes actually doing it or she removed or replaced her trousers with shorts or something to further mess with him.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Memory Defrag has Kirito explain that he met the Moonlit Black Cats and helped them defeat a boss for a lot of Col to purchase their guild house, which earned him a number in their ranks and their trust. However, Kirito had hired Argo to help him reduce the boss HP to half before the Black Cats arrived, and then she would disappear so it seemed like he did the work himself; this meant that Argo unwittingly helped get Kirito into the position that would lead to the Black Cats being wiped out, and likely was kept in the dark about it given Kirito's immense self-loathing and guilt complex over the incident.
- Weak, but Skilled: Argo focuses more on information gathering skills and skills that help with her movement speed, the only pure combat skill being her dual-claws, and her stats are heavily AGI focused at the cost of powerful defensive equipment and VIT, meaning she cant take too many hits. However, as a Beta-Tester, she has a good deal of experience with the Combat System and her build makes her very quick and acrobatic.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- Argo is one of the few named allies of Kirito whose fate is completely unknown. While other side-story characters like Lisbeth and Silica continue to make appearances in the main light novels, Argo disappears after her story concludes.
- She reappears in the game Sword Art Online: Lost Song as a Cat Sith in ALO, confirming her survival in the game continuity as she joins the cast semi-consistently from then on.
- She also made an appearance in the Side Story, The Day Before which tells the story of the day after Kirito proposed to Asuna. So it can be assumed that she survived up to that point but anything after that remains a mystery.
- She has a New ALfheim Online account in Girls' Ops Volume 5 with a very different avatar design than in Lost Song, and briefly appeared to give Lisbeth, Silica, Leafa, and Lux tips on finding a recipe they need for a quest while being The Gadfly the entire time, which confirmed her survival beyond Aincrad and was her last canonical appearance. Interestingly enough, apparently none of them enough knew about her to tell Asuna, given that the pair's reunion is a big moment in and of itself in the light novels.
- As of Volume 21 in the Unital Ring arc of the light novels, Argo makes a surprise appearance at the very last page, re-entering the plot personally after so many years. Kirito is completely taken off-guard and even thinks to himself about her being alive, indicating that she suffered from What Happened to the Mouse? in-universe as well.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Runs away screaming in panic as soon as she sees a dog, which fits into her cat motif. In Hollow Realization, she considers a quest where she has to take care of a little puppy to be harder than fighting a floor boss, though she starts to warm up to it when Yui starts helping her.
- Wolverine Claws: One of her weapons are claws she wears over her hands.
- Zero-Approval Gambit: Much like Kirito, who plays the "Beater" role much more directly to be a Hero with Bad Publicity that can be blamed by the normal populace, while Argo plays up her Knowledge Broker aspects to take the heat off of other beta testers when it involves the spread of "misinformation". Few ever find out that the tutorials and guides everyone gets their hands on come from her, and she prefers it that way.
Voiced by: Shizuka Itō (Game)
A Dark Elf and royal knight of the Pagoda Knights Brigade in the service of the kingdom of Lyusula from the third floor of Aincrad. She is an elite quest NPC for the Elf War quest campaign that joins Kirito and Asuna's journey through the third floor despite the fact that she was scripted to sacrifice herself like in the beta.
Returns in Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization as an NPC and recruitable character.
- Adapted Out: As she was introduced in Progressive which wasn't written/released until after the anime, she never made it into the anime series with the Time Skip glossing over the floors which she is present on.
- Adaptation Expansion: In the original Progressive Light Novel, the details of her sisters death are never really touched upon and it serves as more of a motivator to defeat the Forest Elves and a basis for her bond with Asuna, who apparently has a similar appearance and traits. In the Manga, it becomes a major part of the Floor 3 arc, with us learning more details about her sister Tilnel through a flashback, showing us how she died, and the Forest Elf who killed her being a central antagonist alongside Morte despite them having no connection to one another, who Kizmel makes it her mission to kill.
- Angsty Surviving Twin: Kizmel had a twin sister named Tilnel who was killed by the Forest Elves.
- Artificial Intelligence: Is noted at multiple points to have an unusually advanced mindset for a simple NPC, to the point she's comparable with Yui and other humans at times. There's little explanation for this, though it's implied she's "learned" through her interactions with Kirito and company. She even talks how she has had several dreams of her encounters with Kirito during the beta test.
- Ascended Extra:
- Originally a major character in the Progressive series, she makes a return as a recruitable party member in Hollow Realization and is given a larger roles in Integral Factor.
- The Manga adaptation of Progressive also gives her a bit more prominence in her first appearance, with the Forest Elf who killed her sister Tilnel appearing as a Arc Villain.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: She's a royal knight in service to her kingdom and one of the most powerful and reliable NPCs Kirito and Asuna have ever encountered.
- Bathing Beauty: Whenever she makes an appearance, chances are that she's going to be sharing a bath with Asuna, Kirito, or both.
- Big Sister Instinct: To Kirito and Asuna, which is Implied to be because she had a sister who was killed by Forest Elves.
- The Progressive Manga expands on this. Before her death, Kizmel had high standards on how her sister should be treated, telling her fiancé that she would only give them her blessing if he beat her in a First-Strike Duel and when he finally wins one, you can tell shes reluctant to follow despite swearing on her honor as a knight. After she dies and her brother-in-law informs her that the killer was a Forest Elf Falconer, she is pissed, having Glowing Eyes of Doom and since then is dead set on finding and killing him, killing any Forest Elf she had to.
- Black Knight: Shows shades of this. Aside from the obvious dark colour scheme, shes a pragmatic warrior, has little hesitation in killing the Forest Elves her race is at war with, and in the Manga she had to be convinced by Asuna to not kill the players allied with the Forest Elves and initially argued against the request until Asuna pleaded. Despite this, she doesnt meet the requirement of being an antagonist, instead being a steadfast ally throughout the Progressive series.
- Boobs of Steel: Well-endowed and a powerful fighter, acting as a Crutch Character for Kirito and Asuna in the Elf Quest and, to neutral players or ones siding with the Forest Elves, her cursor is pitch black, which informs players that shes so many levels above them that taking a hit from her could potentially be a One-Hit Kill!
- Combat Pragmatist: Kizmel has no qualms accepting help in a duel against a Forest Elf, has equipment thats suited for sneaking and ambushes, and she has no issue with using deception against her foes.
- Especially prominent in the Manga. When faced with the Forest Elf Falconer who killed her sister, she triple teams him with the help of Asuna and the wolf belonging to her deceased brother-in-law as opposed to settling it in a one-on-one duel like most people in her position would do. After hes beaten, shes forced to spare him when he surrenders as part of her code as a knight. Instead she simply lets him get mauled by her brother-in-law's wolf when he tries to stab her in the back.
- Crutch Character: She's on the third floor, but she and most of the elves are on par with enemies on the seventh floor, making her much stronger than Kirito and Asuna when they first meet.
- Death Seeker: Her sisters death turned her into one in hopes of both avenging her and reuniting with her in the afterlife. Meeting Kirito and Asuna changed that.
- Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment: In Hollow Realization, Kirito and Asuna encounter a version of Kizmel in SA:O, but since she was generated by a different game she has no memories of the Kizmel they met during Progressive. Though Kirito and Asuna are still hellbent on saving her life when she gets petrified. Kizmel herself still has an odd feeling she knew them in a previous life.
- Face of a Thug: Played With. She's a very beautiful woman to be sure but to everyone but Kirito and Asuna, her cursor is pitch black to mark her as an NPC enemy who can easily kill you if you dare challenge her. But as her interactions with Kirito and Asuna show, she's a very cordial and friendly NPC.
- Foil: Provides something of one to Alice. Both are female knights serving as part of an order in service to a kingdom, Kizmel the Pagoda Knights of the Dark Elves and Alice the Integrity Knights of the Human Empire, both have a dutiful and calm demeanor at almost all times, and both have No Social Skills in regards to IRL culture. However, Kizmel is a Dark Knight with a sabre and shield fighting style who starts off as an ally and remains as such throughout the story, typically shows a kind and sisterly attitude, and her Fish out of Water tendencies stems from being raised(or programmed) as part of an entirely different culture, meaning her customs are different overall. Alice on the other hand is a Knight In Shining Armour who wields a Two-Handed Sword who starts off as an antagonist before becoming an ally, often displays a no-nonsense and even cold demeanor, and shes more of a Fish out of Temporal Water, with her lack of social skills being the result of her way of thinking being more outdated.
- Friendly Enemies: Downplayed. While shes unhesitant to cut down any Forest Elf who gets in her way due to their war, there are signs that she has a modicum of respect for them.
- In the Manga version of Progressive, she displays a great deal of outrage when the Forest Elf Falconer who killed her sister begs that his life be spared, not due to the fact that her code of honor would prevent her from properly avenging her sister (she had a contingency for that), but because it disrespects the lives of the Forest Elves who died trying to protect him.
- After her sword is damaged when she tries to prevent Kysarah, a Fallen Elf, from making off with the four keys, Kirito gives her an Elven Stout Sword he got from beating a Forest Elf Captain on Floor 4 as a temporary replacement. When Kirito worries that she wont be able to use it, Kizmel alleviates these worries by taking the time to admire thr sword and admit that the Forest Elves have skilled blacksmiths.
- It's Personal: In the Manga, the Forest Elf who killed her twin sister is a major antagonist in the Floor 3 series of Elf War quests and she makes it her goal to kill him, especially after he kills her brother-in-law. In the end, she settles for beating him in combat, humiliating him, and leaving him to get finished off by her brother-in-laws pet wolf.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In the SAO beta she was supposed to sacrifice herself during an event, but Kirito and Asuna save her. In Hollow Realization, she does it again to save Kirito from being hit with a spell that would have turned him to stone. Unlike the original SAO, both Kirito and Asuna aren't sure if she was programmed to do it or if she did it of her own free will, which considering the fact she is an advanced AI the second option might not be too out there. Luckily, she got better.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Dark Elves have no sense of modesty and she does not understand why humans like Kirito are so embarrassed to bathe with someone of the opposite gender. Downplayed in that she covers up just fine most of the time, but when it comes to bathing she has absolutely no problems going full in naked with either a male or female audience present. She personally just doesn't see the point of segregated baths, though she's willing to be modest for Kirito's sake.
- Invisibility Cloak: Her Mistmoon Cloak grants her the "Hiding" skill, which lets her turn invisible. It works even better during the evening and morning hours, to the point she can make some physical contact with other things without her "Hiding" status breaking.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Don't let her species name of "Dark Elf" fool you. She's undoubtedly a heroic and honorable fighter who's saved Kirito and Asuna's lives on several occasions. She's also an official royal knight.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: During her travels with Kirito and Asuna in Aincrad she used a small shield in conjecture with her sword.
- This is Adapted Out of the manga, where she mainly relies on her saber.
- She can be equipped with a new one in Hollow Realization if so chosen.
- Male Gaze: In the Manga, she swerved round Lind and a group of DKB members to avoid killing them as she attacked the Forest Elves they were allied with as she made a beeline for the Forest Elf Falconer, and they were so enamored by the up close look at her Boobs of Steel that they changed sides.
- Ms. Fanservice: In Asuna's own words, she's a "Male Generated Fantasy". She has flawless, Ambiguously Brown skin, a nice figure with Boobs of Steel, and, due to her culture, she's a Shameless Fanservice Girl who has no issue with being naked around Male Players. She also gets a lot of bath scenes, two in Hollow Realization and several in the Progressive series, all of which are rather extensive and show off her body. She's also willing to bathe with Kirito though both Kirito and Asuna spend their time washing her back instead of anything else.
- Obstructive Code of Conduct: When she's staying at Yofel Castle, she's forced into wearing a dress instead of her armor by the castle's priests. Not for any spiritual reasons, but just because they find the noise distracting.
- "Oh, Crap!" Smile: Inverted Manga example. When Asuna manages to send an enemy Forest Elf, whos an elite mob equal in skill/level to her, flying into a tent and subsequently destroying it, all she can do is smile in a mixture of awe and fear as she praises her, as if thinking good thing shes on my side. This gets mentally lampshaded by Argo.
- Our Elves Are Different: Being a Dark Elf, shes rather different than the more traditional image of an elf as opposed to the Forest Elves, who are Implied to play it straight. While her species shares the link to nature and plant life, theyre also willing to eat meat, all their magic comes from items and concoctions, and theyre dark-skinned and clad in dark clothing. She also averts the traditional view of Dark Elves being inherently evil, being a proud and noble warrior.
- Past-Life Memories: In a strange way. She confesses to Kirito that she's had several dreams which he realizes she could only describe if she actually remembered the events of the beta test, where she always died. In Hollow Realization, she also hints that she recalls some of what happened in Aincrad during her travels with Kirito and Asuna.
- Promoted to Playable: In Hollow Realization, she can be recruited into the party after finishing her event.
- Purple Is Powerful: Has purple hair and eyes and shades of purple in her outfit and armor, and she's one of the most powerful recurring NPCs around.
- "Reason You Suck" Speech: In the Progressive Manga, she gives one to the Forest Elf Falconer when he pleads for his life, outraged that hed dishonor his comrades and ancestors like that and that both her sister and brother-in-law were killed by such a pathetic man, before dismissing him as dog food as she spares" him.Kizmel: Hold your tongue! After all this time ! You would dare to beg for your life!? Do you think you can face the white Holy Tree you worship, and your fellow forest elves who laid down their lives to protect you, and your ancestors spirits and still hold your head up high!? Have you no sense of shame!? This is the man to whom I lost my sister and my brother-in-law !?
- She Cleans Up Nicely: When Kirito and Asuna meet her again at Castle Yofil, she's wearing a beautiful dress instead of her armor, which Asuna acknowledges looks lovely on her. However, she states that she'd rather be in her armor, and the only reason she's donning a dress to begin with is because the priests residing in the Castle are taking advantage of Yofilis' lack of administration to force their own rules, which includes forbidding armor for even the guards.
- Shipper on Deck: There are multiple hints that she supports a possible romance between Kirito and Asuna throughout their adventures.
- In the Progressive Manga, her initial assumption upon meeting them was that they were a couple, referring to them as such when she thanks them.
- When she catches Kirito and Asuna in the bath after a misunderstanding and a Suggestive Collision, she acts very smug and assumes she walked in on them during a private moment, which they hastily deny.
- When Myia, a human Quest NPC who also seems to possess an advanced AI like hers, expresses that she mistook Kirito and Asuna for either a couple or siblings, Kizmel admits to having similar assumptions and insinuates that they argue Like an Old Married Couple.
- Sinister Scimitar: Her main weapon in Hollow Realization, though she herself is anything but sinister.
- The Sneaky Guy: She was charged with obtaining the keys because she was the most skilled at stealth among the Pagoda Knights.
- Statuesque Stunner: She's slightly taller than Kirito in the novel and one head taller in the manga.
- Taken for Granite: In Hollow Realization she gets hit with a curse that turns her to stone after forcing Kirito out of the way. Kirito and Asuna use one of the items needed for the quest to save her.
- Took a Level in Kindness: As part of her questline, she initially tells Kirito and Asuna to go away while shes dueling a Forest Elf Commander but after they assist her and she comes out alive, she treats them more kindly and progressively grows closer to them. She also expresses that, thanks to them, she went through this in regards to humans, initially looking down on them like a stereotypical elf would before seeing more of their good traits through the duo.
- Tranquil Fury: In the Manga in regards to the Falconer who killed her sister. When she first receives the news from her brother-in-law, she appears to unnervingly calm in spite of the situation... until the next page shows her with Glowing Eyes of Doom to illustrate how utterly enraged she is.
- Uniqueness Value: Kizmel's circumstances are unlike any other NPC in Aincrad. After Kirito and Asuna saved her when she was scripted to die like in the beta, any other player taking the quest encountered a different dark elf in her place. She possesses a high level of intelligence that at times leaves people wondering if she's actually human rather than an NPC. She also admits to Kirito she had several dreams that relate to her encounters with him during the beta test, where she always died. Exactly why this happened is a matter of debate, though there are hints that she's "learned" through her experiences with Kirito and company to the point her AI has evolved.
- We Cannot Go On Without You!: Like Premiere she can be made a party member, but like her if she dies it's Game Over since NPCs die for real. Luckily, like her there's a very generous timer that counts down 99 seconds before that happens which stops and resets if she's being revived and even if it fails, so it's a more forgiving example than most.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
- Her Artificial Intelligence is so advanced that the heroes don't just think of her as a run of the mill NPC program but as an actual friend.
- This is brought up in Integral Factor where Koharu treats Kizmel and all of the elves like real people who are alive, in contrast to Sinon who is unable to see them as NPCs who are nothing more than data composed of 1's and 0's.
- Wistful Amnesia: In Hollow Realization, the Kizmel Asuna and Kirito meet and recruit isn't the exact Kizmel from Aincrad and is simply based off the data from the original. However, this Kizmel at multiple points acts outside of her programming to help them and admits that she feels a strange sense of camaraderie towards them. It helps that both Kizmels are noted to have very advanced AI compared to other NPCs, which may play a role in the connection.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Her Avatar has purple hair.
Voiced By: Inori Minase
An original character to the Progressive anime film. An IRL friend of Asuna who invites her to play SAO with her.
- Badass Cape: She wears a white cloak.
- Color Motif: Purple. She wears a purple tunic, dark purple stockings, and she has lilac hair.
- Gamer Chick: She's an avid gamer, often playing games with (and beating) Asuna IRL when they hang out in school, and being the one to invite her to play SAO with her.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Has a pair of red eyes.
- Sinister Scythe: Interestingly enough, she stands out among others players from the early days of SAO by wielding a scythe, whereas most others wielded sword or spears.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Her hair is a lilac colour.
Aincrad Liberation Squad/Aincrad Liberation Front
Aincrad Liberation Squad / Aincrad Liberation FrontOne of the earliest Frontline Guilds, being unofficially formed on Floor 2 and initially led by Kibaou. Focused on increasing their numbers as much as possible, they had a rivalry with the DKB. After the Floor 25 boss fight, where they lost most of their numbers, they were forced to drop out of the Frontlines and merge with "MMO Today" under the leadership of Thinker.
- Dirty Cop: The ALF essentially became the police ever since Floor 25, being guards at the Black Iron Prison in the Town of Beginnings where they keep Orange Players and other criminals. However, as shown when Kirito and Asuna visit Floor 1 with Yui, many of them are very blatantly corrupt, harassing other players, even an impromptu orphanage of children, for "taxes" and even trying to force them, again, children being cared for by a female player, into giving up their clothes and equipment as a "lateness fee".
- Tempting Fate: During the fight against the Bicep Archellon, one of the ALS' Gondalas barges past Kirito and Asuna's Tilnel, taunting that "even the great beater ain't gonna win the LA today". Guess what happens.
Thinker (SAO, ALO)
Voiced by: Takahiro Mizushima (Japanese), Victor Sgroi (English), Víctor Ruiz (Latin American Spanish)
Administrator of "MMO Today" and co-leader of Aincrad Liberation Front, the largest guild in SAO. Thinker's leadership and influence have slowly been eroded thanks to his co-leader Kibaou, and he's eventually trapped unarmed in a dungeon, prompting Yulier, his real-world and virtual wife, to request Kirito and Asuna to help rescue him.
- Distressed Dude: His status as one is what drove Yulier to contact Kirito and Asuna.
- Happily Married: Eventually to Yulier, both in-game and IRL.
- Horrible Judge of Character: How could he trust Kibaou, like, at all?
- Informed Attribute: He's the leader of MMO Today and later the joint guilt of the Aincrad Liberation Force. Though it's never really explained what's so special about for him to earn the position of leader to begin with.
- Nice Guy: He had this "hands-off" style of management because he didn't want the ALF to become an oppressive force. In the end, he was a bit too nice, to his detriment, which allowed the hardliners in ALF to marginalize him into a figurehead.
- Too Dumb to Live: Willingly walked unarmed into an obvious trap set by someone he knew was going to betray him. If not for a safe zone within the dungeon and some quick thinking from his love interest, he would certainly have died.
Yulier (SAO, ALO)
Voiced by: Ryoko Shiraishi (Japanese), Amanda Céline Miller (English), Rosa López (European Spanish)
A senior member of ALF and wife to its leader Thinker, both in the real and virtual worlds, who disapproves of the current hardline direction of the guild. She requests Kirito and Asuna's help to rescue Thinker.
- Happily Married: Eventually to Thinker, both in-game and IRL. She's quite devoted to him.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Ignores Thinker's cries when he warns her a corridor is trapped and triggers the boss monster that Yui deletes, causing Cardinal to delete Yui.
- Not So Stoic: She breaks into tears when she begs Kirito and Asuna to help her save Thinker.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Before arriving in the game she was all silk; a docile House Wife. After arriving in the game, the steel revealed itself; a powerful guild member.
- Statuesque Stunner: While her height is never specified, she is described as being of tall stature and significant beauty.
- Undying Loyalty: She's quite devoted to Thinker. It's soon clear that she has strong feelings for him, which he reciprocates.
- When She Smiles: She's in a rather gloomy mood when she's introduced. While exploring the dungeon to rescue Thinker, she lets out some giggles when she sees Kirito and Asuna bickering with each other, prompting Yui to comment that she finally smiled.
- Whip It Good: Her weapon of choice is a whip.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Strongly gives off this vibe, so much so that Asuna is awed when she first meets her.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Her SAO Avatar has grey hair. Later in ALO she uses an Undine avatar, with light bluish hair.
Voiced by: Tomokazu Seki (Japanese), Derek Stephen Prince (English), Rafael Ordóñez Arrieta (European Spanish)
A warrior who participated in the 1st floor boss raid who has a dislike for beta testers. He founded the Aincrad Liberation Squad before it was later merged with MMO Today to become the Aincrad Liberation Force, however he was later exiled for the trouble he caused with Thinker.
- Actually Pretty Funny: In the Progressive Manga he, along with the rest of Clearing group, break out laughing in response to Lind's dramatic attempt at using Exact Words to spare Orlando.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: He's a lot more approachable in Integral Factor, being less of an outright Jerkass and more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. While initially still being cold to Kirito for being a beater, he does come to uphold a begrudging respect towards both him. He's also pretty kind to the Player Character.
- Adaptational Villainy: Of a sort. While he is an antagonist towards Kirito and Beta Testers, it is another player named Lind who accused Kirito of getting Diavel killed by withholding information. His version in the anime appears to lack his light novel counterpart's Hidden Depths.
- Animal Motif: His orange hair, username(note: literally translates to Fang King) and Hot-Blooded nature brings Tigers to mind.
Kibaou: Dragons? You gonna talk to me about Dragons!? A real man takes after a real animal - The Tiger!!
- In the Progressive Manga during an argument with Lind about who should lead a field boss raid, he immediately mocks the fact that he called his group the Dragon Knights Brigade with this line:
- Because You Were Nice to Me: Of a sort. In the Progressive manga during the first boss fight, Kibaou finds himself too petrified with fear to go help his squad when theyre being attacked by Illfang. Conveniently enough, Kirito rushes past him and attacks Illfang, saving Kibaous squad in the process. This Implies that Kibaous grudging respect for Kirito in contrast to Linds stubborn distrust was the result of him saving his squad and Kibaou being a first-hand witness to this act of heroism gave him a different perspective on Beta-testers, having found out Kirito was one earlier.
- Big Bad Ensemble: Alongside Kayaba and Laughing Coffin, Kibaou is the other main source of trouble during the Aincrad arc.
- The Chains of Commanding: This is what most of his more Ambiguously Evil actions amount to. He was often pressured by his followers to do things that could cause problems for the frontlines, like betray the DKBs trust to get a Game-Breaker item that would break the power balance between them, which he knew was important to the progression even if he didnt like Lind and his guild, and he was victim to manipulations from Morte and Joe, who were both infiltrators aimed at destroying the front lines. Needless to say, his job wasnt easy, and likely contributed to him becoming a Corrupt Corporate Executive near the end of SAO after the infamous 25th Floor Boss fight.
- Composite Character: In the anime he becomes the one who accused Kirito of getting Diavel killed. Taking on the role of Lind.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: He becomes one later on as part of The Army. His group of followers are really nothing more than a bunch of extortionists. He later tried to get rid of Thinker rather than having to answer for his screwup that cost him a few men.
- The Dragon: Ends up as this to Diaval during the first boss fight, trying to buy Kiritos Anneal Blade in Diavals place and trying to prevent Kirito from stopping Diaval from attacking the boss, not knowing that Diaval himself was a Beta-Tester and that Kirito was trying to save him.
- Early-Bird Cameo: In Episode 1, his name is one of many seen on the Monument of Life.
- Everyone Has Standards: While he's fairly belligerent and reluctant to trust those outside his group, he tells Joe, one of his underlings, to shut up when Joe tells him not to believe Kirito, and again, when Joe suggests walking out of a tense negotiation with the DKB.
- Evil All Along: While he was always an asshole, he could be interpreted as being stern but well-meaning initially. This changes after the incident with MMO where Kibaou lured Thinker into a trap to try and very nearly got him killed.
- Face of a Thug: Of a sort. Kiboau acts just as gruff and dickish as his appearance would suggest, but hes a nice guy deep down.
- Fantastic Racism: Against Beta-testers. Coins the term "Beater", though he progressively acknowledges their use as opposed to Lind. However, considering that the Beta-tester he himself relies on is Morte, hed probably have been better off clinging to his own doubts about them.
- Fiery Redhead: Kibaou has spiky orange hair and, while pretty level-headed when he needs to be, is a pretty aggressive and gruff man with a bit of a Hair-Trigger Temper.
- Foil: To Lind. Both are followers of Diaval who competed for leadership over the front lines after his death, both having a distrust of Beta-Testers and each other, and led their own guilds to clear SAO. However, while Kibaou does, initially, care about getting everyone out of the game and shows concern for things such as the fragile power balance between their guilds and seeing the use of Beta Testers like Kirito despite his aggressive nature and mistrusting attitude, Lind is much more mistrusting and manipulative, having no qualms trying to pressure Asuna into joining his guild, and comes off as more concerned about his guilds power and trying to overtake ALS, all while making himself appear calmer and more reasonable.
- This is especially prominent with their actions when presented with a Game-Breaker item. While Kibaou does assemble a party to obtain it, hes only doing it due to The Chains of Commanding and silently thanks Kirito when he gets it first, knowing that the power balance between the Guilds tipping could negatively affect the frontlines, knowing that his own guys wouldnt want to follow Lind and vice versa, and possibly drop out of the front lines as a result. Lind on the other hand seems to have no qualms with disrupting the power balance if it means his guild takes the lead, outright trying to buy the item from Kirito when he meets to discuss the terms and conditions of ownership he gave Kibaou.
- Hate Sink: In the anime, the point of Kibaou's character is to show that even in a life-or-death situation, people can still be jerks.
- Hidden Depths: His portrayal in the Progressive light novels is a bit more nuanced. He's still a jerk whose mistrust of beta testers and rivalry with Lind and his faction divides those trying to clear the game, but he is somewhat more reasonable than people like Joe, and gradually seems to be developing a grudging respect for Kirito. He also honestly thinks he's following in Diavel's footsteps.
- Hot-Blooded: Downplayed. While he does know when to keep a cool head and is a fairly adept leader and negotiator when he does, Kiboau is certainly the more aggressive between himself and Lind, being more openly distrustful of others and using more aggressive tactics compared to Linds subtlety and manipulation.
- Incoming Ham: When he first makes his appearance, Kibaou loudly demands everyone's attention before flamboyantly hopping his way down to Diabel's stage.
- Irony: Greatly respects Diabel, not knowing that he is actually a beta tester and is just using the raid group to get a rare floor boss item via exploiting the last hit system and screwing over Kirito. He respected the very type of player that he hated.
- Jerkass: He's easily the biggest one in the Aincrad arc, and a contender for the biggest one in the show, considering how not only did he put Kirito in a tough spot by labeling himself as a "Beater", resulting in his first girlfriend and her group's deaths, but also once he becomes a power-hungry leader of extortionists. It's revealed in Progressive that he's not just an ass to beta players either, but also discriminatory against low-level newbies.
- Jerkass Has a Point: While his demands were unfair, hes quickly refuted by the existence of a beta-tester made guidebook, and he starts having second thoughts about his stance himself, he wasnt wrong when he said that a number of Beta-testers werent above abandoning other players and looking out for themselves, which probably led to at least some deaths; Theres Kirito, who at most was just going to bring one guy with him to level up and was mostly concerned with his own survival before the deaths of the Moonlit Black Cats, Coper, who did the same and tried to Monster PK Kirito just to beat a quest before him, Diavel, who partially assembled a boss raid party just to get a rare item and went out of his way to sabotage Kirito, and lastly Morte, whos literally trying to use his knowledge to prevent players from escaping and is more than happy to kill anyone to achieve it.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In Progressive, hes a downplayed version of this with some of his more Jerkass actions early in SAO having been done by Lind initially. While hes still belligerent, Hot-Blooded and frequently gets into arguments with Lind, he also acknowledges Kiritos strength after the 1st Floor Boss, willingly and non-forcibly directs Asuna to a party, asks for Kiritos opinion on the Floor Bosses before fighting them, and sacrifices his chance to retreat and be the leader in the 2nd Floor Boss fight since he knows they still have a chance. Also, compared to Lind, hes certainly less manipulative and cares more about the power balance between their guilds.
- The Load: In the anime, he complains much and contributes little. By the end of the second episode he incites a witch-hunt against beta-testers that dissembles the coalition Diabel put together.
- The Napoleon: Hes described as short yet solidly built, being a bit shorter than Kirito while he was in SAO, and is rather Hot-Blooded and mistrustful.
- Pet the Dog:
- Soon after Kiritos Zero-Approval Gambit, he speaks to Asuna about Kiritos location due to their partnership, mentions that theres a party with a free spot when she says she doesnt know where he is, and doesnt try pressuring her when she politely declines. And when Kirito does show up, he doesnt object to his involvement in the boss fight.
- While Kirito thinks he imagined it, it's hinted that he whispered "thanks" to Kirito for beating the Floor 5 Boss and claiming the Guild Flag first.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Near the beginning of SAO when he was running the ALS, he was this, being much more serious on keeping the power balance between them and the DKB intact and being willing to ask Kirito for advice on bosses despite his mistrust of Beta-Testers. Near SAO's endgame however, he's become a Corrupt Corporate Executive.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red Oni to Lind, given that he's hotheaded and quite open with his distrust of others.
- Spiky Hair: Sports random, protruding spikes from his hair that resembles a mace.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In the original Light Novels. While he was discriminatory to Beta-Testers and invested in the ALS rivalry with the DKB, he came off as more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold with his Hidden Depths, begrudging respect for Kirito, and more of his more Ambiguously Evil actions being the result of the The Chains of Commanding more than anything else, and he was certainly more reasonable and less competitive than Lind. Fast forward about 2 years later, he's become a Corrupt Corporate Executive who extorts taxes from lower level players on Floor 1, sends his men on a suicide mission to gain reputation, and tries to trap Thinker at the mercy of an unbeatable boss under the guise of a peace treaty. He pretty much goes from kind of a jerk to a full-blown criminal.
- Trrrilling Rrrs: Rolls some rugged r's to match his rough personality.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His obsession with gather more and more people to join his guild and, by extension, the frontlines has caused him to let in members of a group actively trying to stop people from clearing SAO. This led to such things as:
- The first actual PK almost being committed by frontline players, when Joe accused Nezha of inadvertently killing a player with his weapon scam and trying to incite everyone into executing him. This is thankfully stopped when Joe is forced to admit that he heard it from someone else.
- A near conflict with the DKB over who should do the Elf War Questline, with Morte and Joe making sure that both guilds sided with different factions(note: ALS with Dark Elves, DKB with Forest Elves) and convincing them that it has a key to beating the Floor Boss.
- The ALS almost gaining a Game-Breaker item that would disrupt the power balance between them and the DKB and ultimately lose willing fighters for the frontlines, which Kibaou knew would happen but couldnt prevent due to The Chains of Commanding, because Morte had Joe spread word of it through the higher ranked members.
- Uriah Gambit: It's revealed in the twelfth episode that he pulled this on Corvatz in a bid to gain power.
- We Used to Be Friends: Downplayed. While he didnt go out of his way to act friendly or even hang out with them, he had something of a respect for both Kirito and Asuna that they seemed to reciprocate. Next time they hear of him after hes forced to leave the Frontlines, hes become a Corrupt Corporate Executive committing Uriah Gambits and sending political rivals into death traps in bids to gain power, and they have to put a stop to him by rescuing the guy with the power to get rid of him.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It's unknown if he ever got any punishment for trying to get Thinker killed in-game.
- You Are What You Hate: He dislikes Beta Testers because they tend to abuse the system to obtain power. A couple of years later, and he's doing the same thing with the Aincrad Liberation army.
LitenA female player of ALS who specializes in being a tank.
- Affectionate Nickname: She calls Shivata, her friend from the DKB, Shiba. He in turn calls her Licchan.
- Ascended Extra: While in the Progressive light novels, she first appears as a one off character for the Floor 5 Arc, Integral Factor greatly expands her role to that of a reoccurring supporting character.
- Battle Couple: With Shivata during the fight with Fuscus the Vacant Colossus, the both of them serving as the tanks.
- Big Damn Heroes: When Fuscus the Vacant Colossus tries to eat Shivata, she leaps in to keep the mouth pried open, giving Kirito and the others time to find it's weakpoint and hit it, freeing the both of them.
- The Big Gal: Specializes in being a tank class and taking the brunt of the damage. Liten mentions that it was a deliberate choice, as she always played tank classes in other MMOs.
- Big Sister Instinct: In Intergral Factor, she's shown to have instinctively protected two young girls from harm, Mater and Silica, on different occasions.
- Carry a Big Stick: She wields a mace in combat.
- Conflicting Loyalty: In Integral Factor, as the ALS gradually lose their influence following events like the 25th floor massacre and the emergence of the Knights of the Blood, Liten becomes torn between staying with the dwindling guild out of loyalty or joining a different guild to improve as a player. She eventually decides to leave the ALS to join the Dragon Knights Brigade following the 35th floor so she can be with Shivata.
- Cool Helmet: She dons a helm for added protection and whenever she wants to appear intimidating, making it hard for players to tell that she is a girl at first glance. The reason Liten started wearing one was so that people would be more inclined to judge her based on her skill as opposed to her gender.
- Establishing Character Moment: Gets one in Intergral Factor, where she's introduced protecting Mater from monsters in the catacomb dungeon.
- Friendly Enemies: Strictly speaking, her guild isn't supposed to associate with rival guilds or solo players. In Intergral Factor, while she is happy to be an ally of the Player and Koharu, she is forced to keep this a secret from her own guild.
- Friendly Rivalry: She and her friend(?) Shivata of the DKB want this between their respective guilds, even setting up a joint New Years party to improve relations. Unfortunately, top members of the ALS pressured Kibaou into using the party as a distraction to fight the 5th Floor Boss to get the Guild Flag item that was rumored to drop while the DKB were distracted.
- Glacier Waif: She's a girl with a body shape and stature similar to other female players like Koharu and Asuna, but she's playing as a heavy armor tank.
- The Mole: In Integral Factor, she is very nearly forced to become one as she contemplates using her position in the ALS to help the Player, Koharu, and other smaller guilds to purchase an auctioned item and cease the fighting between ALS and DKB. Fortunately, Asuna steps in first.
- Noodle Incident: Shes implied to have been a friend of Lisbeths since the early days of SAO, with her blacksmith friend having been the one who convinced her to take advantage of the infinite bug she found, helped her transport it, and even made the armor for her. While this could very well be anyone, an illustration shows a Faceless silhouette who bears a striking resemblance to Lisbeth.
- Official Couple: She's heavily Implied to have a romantic interest and maybe even be in a relationship with Shivata, a member of the Dragon Knights Brigade. Theyre shown to be close and have a common interest in having their guilds become closer, and Kirito and Asuna are quick to pick up on their mutual interest.
- In Integral Factor On Floor 20, Shivata and Lind both get trapped in a dungeon, leading a distraught Liten to come to the heroes and ask for their assistance in rescuing him.
- Samus Is a Girl: Wears a helm and is a pure tank class. Who would have thought she was a cute looking girl?
- Shipper on Deck: When she asks why Kirito doesn't just join one of the Clearing Guilds, he lets slip that it's because they'll only welcome him or Asuna under the condition they break their partnership. Liten finds this rather touching.
- Straw Misogynist: Downplayed, but shes been a victim of this. She decided to play SAO as a Tank and got armor to suit this purpose, but she was rejected by almost every party she went to since they apparently couldnt trust a female to act as a tank. She became understandably upset by this but starts hiding her gender with full plate armor as opposed to calling them out on it.
- Unwitting Pawn: She and Shivata end up being this for the ALS senior members, who wish to use their joint New Years party as a distraction for the DKB so they defeat the Floor Boss and claim the Guild Flag.
A halberd user who's in charge of recruiting members for the ALS. He was the one who recruited Liten to the guild.
- Big Brother Instinct: To Liten, who he scouted to the ALS due to her Tank Capabilities, with Kirito noticing the he seems to look at her in a rather paternal manner. Part of the reason he wanted to keep the Guild Flag was so she could be the one to use it in battle.
- Blade on a Stick: Wields a Halberd.
- Easily Forgiven: No one holds anything against him for wanting to take the Guild Flag, knowing his heart was in the right place and he owned up to it before he could get away with it.
- Freudian Slip: Kirito's able to figure out that he was the one who got the Guild Flag based on him almost calling Liten a "bearer", which he hastily corrected to bear. From this, Kirito's figures out that he meant it as in "flag-bearer", like in the FPS game mode "capture the flag".
- Meaningful Name: He named his Avatar after a river that flows into Lake Shikotsu in Hokkaido, where he grew up near as a child.
- Gun Nut: He mentions that before SAO, he played shooters more than Fantasy games like SAO. This quickly exposes him as the one who got the flag, since he nearly referred to Liten as "bearer", as in the player in the FPS mode "Capture the Flag" who would carry the team's flag.
- Heel Realization: After Kirito gives a heartfelt speech about how they need all the help they can get to clear SAO, not just for them but for all the non-combatants on the lower floors, he steps forward and admits to having obtained the flag.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: When he got the Flag of Valor, he figured he could use it as bargaining chip to get the ALS and DKB to merge into one, properly unified front.
JoeA loud-mouthed ALS member who's very passionate about his dislike of Beta-Testers and the DKB.
- Big Bad Wannabe: While he's part of The Conspiracy, Joe proves to be very ineffective in sowing discord among other players due to his status as the No Respect Guy among the frontlines making him come off as an annoying whiner, and many of his attempts at causing P King among them usually fail just as quickly as they start, such as when he tried to get the Frontline Group to execute Nezha over his scam killing someone only to quickly be forced to reveal that he just heard it somewhere instead of knowing for certain.
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: His main purpose is just to needlessly complain about Beta-Testers and the DKB and bitch at Kibaou to not trust them. Turns out that this is less because he actually believes it, but more because he's trying to escalate things between the ALS and DKB.
- Jerkass: He's basically a whinier, more short-tempered Kibaou who tries to encourage distrust to everyone around him. Doesn't help that he's part of a P Ker Conspiracy.
- Hate Sink: Remember Kibaou from the anime, who simply bitched and groaned about Beta Testers and lacked the original's Hidden Depths? Well Joe's basically that only whinier, dumber and part of a P Ker Conspiracy.
- Hypocrite: He's keeps trying to convince everyone around him to mistrust Kirito and Argo due to them being Beta-Testers, but he's actively working with Morte, who's also one, to turn the front-liners against each other to prevent SAO from ending.
- In the catacombs of Floor 5, after Asuna's scream, which shocked Joe enough to drop her Chivalric Rapier and get it stolen by a Sly Shrewman so she can get it back, ends up attracting the attention of monsters, Joe calls them out on trying to MPK them. Morte can only point out his hypocrisy in amusement.
- In the Hood: In the Progressive Manga, he wears a hood. This makes his connection with Morte and PoH a lot more obvious.
- Knife Nut: He stands out as the sole Knife user in ALS. This another hint of his true identity, since Morte met with a dagger-user in the Floor 5 catacombs.
- The Mole: Turns out he, along with Morte, is part of The Conspiracy against the frontlines.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: When Kirito, Asuna and some others beat the Floor Boss before the ALS' arrival and he makes it clear that he won't give either of them the Guild Flag unless they and the DKB willingly decide to merge into one Guild or if another Guild Flag appears, Joe is quick to try and persuade Kibaou to just attack and even kill him to get it, noting that there's no witness who can see it and they outnumber him and Asuna, only to be told to shut up by a disgusted and secretly grateful Kibaou.
- No Respect Guy: His constant shouting and ranting about Beta-Testers and the DKB, along with the fact that he almost got the Clearing Force to PK someone based on unreliable information, quickly makes him seen as a nuisance more than anything else.Joe: But I'm saying we can't trust "someone" including you! It's all suspect!
Argo: No offence, but I'm done with ya.
Voiced by: Tetsu Inada (Japanese), Joshua Tomar (English), Raúl Solo (Latin American Spanish)
The leader of a raid party sent by Kibaou to explore the 74th floor. He ends up getting himself killed by the floor's boss when he refuses to back off despite Kirito's warnings.
- Asshole Victim: Considering his rudeness toward Kirito and his reckless disregard for his men's condition, it's hard to feel sorry for him when he gets killed.
- Determinator: A particularly stubborn case of this, since he doesn't Know When to Fold 'Em despite being clearly overwhelmed by The Gleam Eyes.
- Honor Before Reason: Refuses to back off from a fight because he sees it as cowardice.
- Jerkass: While he claims to be acting for the good of the players as a whole, his interactions with Kirito prove that he doesn't get along very well with his fellow players.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Because of him, Kirito was forced to reveal his Dual Blades skill to defeat The Gleam Eyes and save the remaining party members before they were killed too, causing the news to spread like fire.
- Too Dumb to Live: Challenges a dungeon's boss with a small party that is clearly exhausted, and completely dismisses Kirito's warnings to get more backup before facing it. Sure enough, he doesn't live through it.
- Ungrateful Bastard: He demands that Kirito hand over his map data, and gives an insincere "thank you" when Kirito complies.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Killed off in the same episode he's introduced.
Dragon Knights Brigade/Divine Dragon Alliance
Dragon Knights Brigade / Divine Dragon AllianceOne of the earliest Frontline Guilds, being unofficially formed on Floor 2 and led by Lind. Hiring only the best players when they were formed, they had a rivalry with the ALS. In the present, they have the largest numbers of any guild and are obsessed with hoarding rare items, often demanding to have the Last-Attack Bonus and some even resorting to attacking other players to get them, with having rare and powerful equipment apparently being a pre-requisite to join them.
- Ambition Is Evil: Their desire for power and getting rare equipment has led to some of them even attacking other players.
- Blue Is Heroic: Downplayed. Their main color is blue and while they are trying to clear SAO and save everyone, their ambition and greed leads to some moral dubiousness, which eventually culminates in them partaking in PVP if it means getting rare items. Even when they become the Divine Dragon Alliance and start opting towards full suits of silverish armor, blue remains a secondary color for them.
- Skewed Priorities: While started with the legitimate goal of clearing SAO, they evidently became more obsessed with being the strongest guild as time went on, even stooping to some morally questionable actions.
Another warrior who participated in the 1st-floor boss raid who much like Kibaou had an intense hatred toward beta testers. Founder of the Dragon Knights Brigade.
- Adapted Out: He makes no voiced appearance in the anime, with most of his Jerkass moments being transferred over to Kibaou.
- Ambition Is Evil: While he is working with Kibaou and arguably Kirito to clear SAO, he seems to have more of an interest in making his own guild more powerful than cooperating with others, putting the guild rivalry that arguably makes the clearing group so effective at risk multiple times.
- Once he and Kibaou officially create their respective guilds, they attempt to break up Kirito and Asunas Action Duo and have them join their guilds separately as to not disturb the power balance and to ensure that they dont plan on starting their own guild. Once Kirito denies any desire to join or start a guild, Lind immediately tries to goad Asuna into joining the DKB, despite literally just explaining why her or Kirito joining just one of the guilds would disrupt the power balance.
- Upon later learning of the existence of a Game-Breaker item from the 5th Floor Boss, a special flag that would apply a Status Buff to any member of the same guild whos near it, and that Kirito obtained it to prevent either frontline guild from obtaining and disrupting the power balance, he immediately tries buying it off Kirito when he comes to explain the ownership conditions that he gave Kibaou and the ALS, either not recognizing or just not caring about the glaring problem with just one of the guilds having the item.
- Art Shift: In Integral Factor, prior to Floor 20, he was given the design of a minor character with no facial details. After Floor 20 he was given eyes and distinctive hair color.
- Covert Pervert: In the Progressive Manga. What gets him, and the rest of his guildmates, to reconsider fighting for the Forest Elves is getting a close-up of Kizmel's Boobs of Steel when she avoids harming them in favor of attacking other Forest Elves.
- Demoted to Extra: Aside from a brief cameo in episode 3, who doesn't even look like him, he has no appearance in the anime, where his role as the one who accused Kirito of killing Diavel is given to Kibaou.
- Everyone Has Standards: He generally comes off as rather power hungry, often making a number of attempts to increase the DKB's power at the potential expense of the Frontline's effectiveness, but he doesn't want to go as far as to have them partake in Player Killing. When everyone's calling for the Legend Brave's head after they're accused of an Accidental Murder, he pretends to play along by forcing Orlando to "exact judgement", anticipating Orlando may try to take his own life so that he can prevent him from dying, claiming that Orlando "died and was reborn" to let him off.
- Fantastic Racism: Towards Beta-testers much like Kibaou, only arguably to a greater extent as while Kibaou acknowledges their use as time goes on, Lind is arguably the one who officially instigates the witch hunt by forcing Kiritos Zero-Approval Gambit.
- Foil: To Kibaou. Both are followers of Diaval who competed for leadership over the front lines after his death, both having a distrust of Beta-Testers and each other, and led their own guilds. However, while Lind clings to his mistrust of Kirito much more and tries to manipulate things to give his guild a major edge in the rivalry against the ALS despite the risks, Kibaou is much more open-minded in regards to him and recognizes the necessity of the rivalry staying mutual.
- This is especially prominent with their actions when presented with a Game-Breaker item. While Lind tries to buy the item off of Kirito despite the fact it could completely destroy the power balance and hinder the frontlines, Kibaou was incredibly reluctant to go after it himself because of this very reason, not wanting to risk the effectiveness of the frontlines but also not wanting to risk losing control of the ALS.
- Hypocrite: He claims to encourage the rivalry between the ALS and DKB as its in the front lines best interest at the time, something Kirito agrees with, yet hes made multiple attempts to ultimately disrupt the power balance between the two guilds in his favor.
- It's All About Me: He constantly tries to seize power over the clearing force and, unlike Kibaou who knows how risky tipping the power balance between their guilds can be, makes repeated attempts to increase the DKBs, and by extension his own power.
- Jerkass: Much like Kibaou and often a much larger one throughout Aincrad's early floors. In Progressive, his jerkish tendencies are more subtle compared to Kibaou, but he makes it clear that he doesn't fully trust Kirito, having the one who accused Kirito of being Beater. Theres also the fact that hes more manipulative compared to Kibaou, trying to claim leadership over the frontlines, trying to pressure Asuna into joining the DKB, and outright tries buying a Game-Breaker item from Kirito that he knows would greatly disturb the power balance that arguably makes the frontlines as effective as it is and allows for the number of members it currently has to be possible.
- Named Weapons: A scimitar named Pale Edge.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue Oni to Kibaou. He's relatively calm but makes it clear that he doesn't fully trust Kirito.
- The Rival: To Kibaou after forming a rival guild.
- Sinister Scimitar: His scimitar is a contrast with Kirito's straight sword.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Kirito saves his ass from the 1st floor boss, and what does he do? He accuses the Raid Party'a savior of being as greedy as the other Beta-testers and intentionally letting Diaval die.
- This is especially bad in the Manga where Kirito was rushing over to help Diaval and, unlike the anime or Light Novel where he was trying to give him a potion but could easily be mistaken for withholding it, was not in a position where anyone, let alone him, could have reasonably been able to help Diaval.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Hes clearly believes hes inherited Diavals will and is just as dead-set on getting everyone out of SAO as Kibaou and Kirito, but his methods of doing so involves making his own guild more powerful at the risk of the frontlines overall effectiveness and hes definitely the shadier one between himself and Kibaou.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Some time on the 2nd floor after the 1st-floor boss raid. He dyed his hair blue in honor of Diavel.
HafnerA Two-Handed Sword user and the Dragon Knights Brigade sub-leader.
- BFS: Wields a Two-Handed Sword as a pure Damage Dealer.
- Easily Forgiven: He holds nothing against Okotan for wanting to unite their guilds with the Guild Flag as a bargaining chip, even mentioning he'd also like to fight side-by-side with him again and calling for the others to let him off the hook.
- Hot-Blooded: He's rather loud-mouthed and eager, and pretty aggressive to people he doesn't trust, such as Kirito.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's gruff and, surprise surprise, distrustful of Kirito, but he's genuinely dedicated to clearing SAO and is willing to work with Kirito to this end. Even when Okaton admits to trying to steal the Guild Flag in a misguided plan to unite their guilds, he holds nothing against him due to seeing his motives as noble.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: As Sub-leader of the DKB, he's naturally invested in their rivalry with the ALS. That being said, he does recognize that breaking the fragile power balance would make escaping SAO more difficult, which is why he risks his position to help Kirito defeat Fuscus the Vacant Colossus to prevent either side from getting the Guild Flag.
- Terms of Endangerment: When Kirito first meets him when he and a few others are preparing to fight the Floor 5 Boss, he calls him "Blackie" as he threatens to attack him if it turns out he's lying.
ShivataA Stoic member of the DDA who wishes to improve relations between them and the ALS with the help of Liten.
- Ascended Extra: Shivata as a character existed as far back as the anime, being one of the Elite Mooks that confronted Kirito in Episode 3 and ultimately went on to survive the death game. He would eventually gain a more prominent appearance in the Progressive Light Novel as a major character in the Floor 5 Arc as part of Kirito's impromptu party to defeat the Floor Boss, before reappearing in Integral Factor as a recurring support character alongside Liten.
- Affectionate Nickname: Calls Liten "Licchan".
- Badass in Distress: He's nearly eaten by Fuscus the Vacant Colossus when the group attempts to retreat, Thankfully, he's saved by the combined efforts of Liten and Kirito, and is able to keep on fighting with a spare set of armor.
- Battle Couple: With Liten during the fight with Fuscus the Vacant Colossus, the both of them serving as the tanks.
- Characterization Marches On: Having only previously appeared as a voiceless background character, Shivata didn't have much in terms of standing out save for a unique helmet to separate him from the other DKB soldiers. The Progressive novels were where he became more established, giving him his own unique appearance, characterizing him as The Stoic, and having a love interest in Liten. Integral Factor, meanwhile, shifts the focus more towards his relationship with Liten.
- Crazy-Prepared: He carries a spare set of armor with him. This proves usueful when Fuscus the Vacant Colossus nearly eats him and destroys his first set.
- Determinator: Even after nearly getting eaten by him, he's adamant about continuing the fight with Fuscus despite the others' suggestions that he stick back and heal.
- Fire-Forged Friendship: Like most other people in the DKB and the frontlines in general, he has a great deal of distrust towards Kirito, and when Kirito messages him to ask about the New Years party, he immediately assumes that hes blackmailing him with his implied relationship with Liten. After the fight against Fuscus the Vacant Colossus however, he acts a lot more courteous with him and is less prone to insulting him, likely as a result of Kirito preventing a major blow to the frontlines and showing him that hes not as selfish as he thought.
- Friendly Enemies: He, along with Liten, want this or a Friendly Rivalry between their respective guilds. This is what prompts them to organize a shared New Years party between the two Guilds.
- In Intergral Factor, like with Liten, Shivata isn't supposed to associate with rival guilds or solo players, but he makes an exception for the Player, Koharu, and, of course, Liten.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: He mains with a sword and shield combo, effectively serving as a tank player.
- Oh, Crap!: His response to learning that the Floor 5 Boss dropped a Guild Flag is a disbelieving "what?"
- Ship Tease: With Liten, who hes implied to be in a Secret Relationship with.
- The Stoic: Shivata is noted to have good control over his emotions, which, considering that VR games tend to greatly exaggerated the emotions a player is feeling, is saying something. This is especially prevalent when he confronts Nezha over his role in the Upgrade Scam, where Kirito notes that he looks quite calm despite his anger.
- Unwitting Pawn: He and Liten end up being this for the ALS senior members, who wish to use their joint New Years party as a distraction for the DKB so they defeat the Floor Boss and claim the Guild Flag.
BuxumA member of the DKB who betrays the Frontlines during the Floor 6 boss.
- An Arm and a Leg: Loses both his arms to Kirito, his right when Kirito stopped his attempt at killing Theano and destroyed his sword and the left when he tried using the golden cube to paralyze him again.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Unlike Morte and Joe, he gets little to no Foreshadowing to him being part of The Conspiracy.
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: He wears a sallet helmet that leaves his mouth uncovered, exposing the Slasher Smile he flashes he paralyzes the Floor 6 raid party.
- The Quiet One: Only says one word when we meet him; Bind.
- The Mole: Reveals himself as one during the Floor 6 boss by grabbing the golden cube and using it to paralyze everyone.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: After Kirito relieves him of the burden of his arms, he immediately high-tails it out of there. The only reason he's able to escape is because the mysterious buff Kirito used to escape the paralysis wears off and he collapses.
- Slasher Smile: Flashes one after he uses the golden cube to freeze everyone present and prepares to kill Theano.
- Walking Spoiler: Seeing as we only learn his name when he reveals himself to be The Mole in DKB for The Conspiracy, it's hard for him not to be this.
- Wrecked Weapon: His sword is destroyed when Kirito breaks out of golden cube's paralysis and he stops him from killing Theano.
Knights of the Blood
Knights of the BloodThe "Strongest Guild" on the Frontlines and their un-official leader, who members comprise of the best players scouted out by them. Led by Heathcliff, but duties are often left to the Sub-Commanders, namely Asuna. They joined after the events of the Floor 25 boss that forced the ALS to drop out of the frontlines.
- Bright Is Not Good: Downplayed. They're largely a heroic group, being at the forefront of clearing SAO, and they wear bright white armor to give off a Knightly vibe. However, it's evident that being the "Strongest Guild" has made them somewhat stuck-up and and they can resort to shady means of getting what they want. Plus it turns out their leader is the Big Bad, albeit not to their knowledge.
- They, or at least Heathcliff, had seemingly no issue in using Asuna, their Sub-Commander who helps in drawing in members and the one who's made the bulk of their battleplans, as a bargaining chip to lure Kirito into joining the Guild, when all she asked for was a well-deserved break.
- During the fight with the Geocrawler Field Boss, they, led and represented by Asuna, attempt to propose a strategy to use NPC Villagers as bait for the Boss and shoot down any protests against it, even trying to lord their status as the leading Guild and call out of the rest of the gathered players on not taking their work as Clearers as seriously as them.Kirito retorts that just because they aren't willing to stoop to morally questionable tactics, that doesn't mean they aren't taking clearing SAO seriously, even going as to claim that their "tactic" is devolving them into He Who Fights Monsters.
- Oddly Small Organisation: They're the strongest Guild on the Frontlines, but they comprise only of 30 members by the time of Floor 75. Justified in that all their members are scouted, and often for being the best of the best.
- Red Is Heroic: Downplayed. Red is a secondary color of theirs, their uniforms and armor having red trims and their Leader standing out by wearing full red armor. However, there are times when they're not the most morally upright, and said Leader is secretly Akihiko Kayaba.
- Unwitting Pawn: They are lead by Heathcliff, not knowing that he's actually Akihiko Kayaba.
- See this page.
Voiced by: Masashi Ebara (Japanese), Kyle Hebert (English)
Another member of Knights of Blood. He was assigned to form a party with Kuradeel and Kirito to assess the talents of the latter.
- Adaptational Personality Change: In the Light Novel, he comes as something of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, being gruff with Kirito but also bringing Kuradeel along with them so they can put their differences aside. The anime instead makes him more of a Large Ham Boisterous Bruiser, as well as more of an outright Nice Guy.
- An Ax To Grind: Like Agil, he wields a large battle-axe.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: He's the first in his group to pick up on the possibility that Lux may have been a Green Cursor spy for Laughing Coffin. Gwen's sudden Smoke Out however prevents him from doing anything with this, as he and his group immediately move to pursue Gwen.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: In the anime, he comes off as a lot friendlier than he did in the Light Novel.
- Badass Beard: He has a thick beard, and like Asuna he's in charge of one of the KoB's squads, implying he's a very capable fighter.
- Big Damn Heroes: Subverted. When he and a small group of KoB members discover Lux and Gwen, they move in to help the former under the belief that Gwen, who has a red cursor, is holding her hostage. What they don't know is that Lux was actually a spy with a green cursor and the two were discussing whether the go on the run or turn themselves in.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Towards Kuradeel after getting paralyzed and killed.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Acted a bit rough with Kirito at first, believing Kirito had yet to prove himself, but ultimately seemed to be a pretty decent guy with Cool Big Bro vibes.
- Large Ham: Downplayed. He's more excitable in the anime, speaking louder and letting out a few "hoorahs!" in his time on-screen.
- Red Shirt: Getting assigned with the main character and an undercover Laughing Coffin out to kill the former was bound to spell doom for Godfrey.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His discovery of Lux and Gwen during the Laughing Coffin raid and subsequent questioning if Lux is a Laughing Coffin spy is arguably the straw that broke the camel's back, as Lux's fearful hesitance in answering causes Gwen to think she's betraying her and break off their friendship.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Gets killed in the same episode he is introduced in to establish Kuradeel's intentions.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Again, like Klein, if their reaction to Asuna saying she was having a bath before coming to the boss fight in Ordinal Scale is anything to go by.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: Downplayed. Despite their vastly inferior numbers, they're shown to have held off the DDA members who attacked them and Kirito to get at Nicholas the Renegade. They are however shown to be drained after doing so.
- Everything's Better with Samurai: Following Klein's lead, the group has a prominent Samurai theme going on. Unlike him though, none of them use a Katana, the closest they got to using Samurai-edque weapons being their spear wielders using Japanese style spears, with Kunimitzz using a kama yari and Issin using a sasumata, and Dale briefly wielding a weapon resembling a kanabo around the time of Floor 40.
- The Ham Squad: Being a Guild led by Klein, they're as hammy and boisterous as he is.
- No Death Run: In-Universe. They stand out as the only Frontline Guild to have suffered zero casualties during SAO, something not even the KoB has going for them, and especially impressive considering how dangerous the Skull Reaper was.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: For a given value of Awesome, but in "Aincrad Side Story: Secret Battle", they're stated to be the ones who found the Boss Room.
- Red Is Heroic: Like Klein, they have a largely red colour scheme.
- Token Good Teammate: In contrast to other frontline guilds, who are either corrupt, have shady side-practices, are more concerned with their own personal power over actually clearing the game, or are run by the Big Bad, Fuurinkazan can come off as the most morally sound.
- Turn the Other Cheek: They are stated to have not pressed charges against Eiji for assaulting them.
- Weak, but Skilled: They lack the sheer numbers of other Guilds, especially the DDA, but each member are still very capable and were able to fight them back once.
- Acrofatic: He has a wide girth to him, but he's able to keep up with the comparatively slimmer Klein when they're running from Kagachi the Samurai Lord in Ordinal Scale.
- Afro Asskicker: He wears his hair in an afro, and is a frontline player for apparently the only guild to suffer zero casualties.
- BFS: His Weapon of Choice appears to be a Two-Handed Sword.
- Big Fun: He's a rather large guy, but like the rest of his guild, he seems like a pretty decent guy.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: He likely doesn't mean this maliciously, but he doesn't seem to recognize Eiji despite being one of the players there when Yuna died, and being forced to refuse to save her since he and Issin had to keep the boss from attacking the others.
- Carry a Big Stick: In Hopeful Chant, he's shown wielding what appears to be a massive club.
- The Needs of the Many: Implied. When Yuna Draws Aggro from the Feral Warder Chief's minions and Eiji begs them to save Yuna, they refuses since the boss would attack the other players if they did.
- Sacrificial Lion: Hes involved in one fight scene in Ordinal Scale before being ambushed and beaten in a duel by Eiji and having his SAO memories stolen.
A guild of Role Players who named themselves after Legendary Heroes, and quickly make a name for themselves on the frontlines after Floor 1 with their powerful equipment.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: While in Light Novel they had to be convinced by Kirito to admit to their part in the Weapon Upgrade Scam to prevent Nezha from taking the fall for it, they instead own up to it willingly in the Manga.
- Anti-Villain: Their Blacksmithing scam caused plenty of players, including frontline players, to lose powerful weapons and could have led to player deaths if they weren't careful, but they did so with the legitimate intent of helping clearing SAO and the reason they did it in the first place was because they were being manipulated by "the man in the black poncho."
- Arc Villain: Their scam drives most of the conflict of the Floor 2 Arc.
- Blade on a Stick: Guess what Cu Chulainn uses.
- Clothes Make the Superman: Stat-wise, they're vastly behind front line players like those in the ALS and DKB, but they're able to make up for it with their powerful equipment, which they got thanks the Nezha's Blacksmithing Scam.
- The Ham Squad: They take their roleplaying very seriously, talking in fantasy-esque manner even when in the midst of battle or displaying surprise.
- Karma Houdini: Down Played. Once their scam is exposed, they're forced to hand over their equipment to cover the costs, but other than being accused of getting someone killed and almost getting executed, they get off relatively easy. Volume 4 reveals that Nezha, was allowed to keep his Chakram and is helping them grind so they can catch back up.
- Pose of Supplication: The Legend Braves do this while exposing themselves as Nezuo's accomplices.
- True Companions: They prove to be this with their attempts to help Nezha keep up with them despite his Full-Dive Non-Conformity and admitting their part in the scam so he won't get punished alone.
The Leader of the Legend Braves.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the Manga, it was actually the other guild members aside from him who started the Upgrade Scam and he just got swept up in it along the way.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Kirito adamantly believes he is this, believing that he's manipulating Nezha and that he's willing to cut him loose at the first chance. This get Subverted when he not only owns up to his role in the scam, but is willing to kill himself so his guildmates can live.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In the Manga. After Joe accuses them of accidentally killing a player with their scam, Lind decides to have Orlando act as the Judge, Jury, and Executioner. Instead of cutting down his friends, he opts to stab himself instead. Thankfully, Lind steps in and exonerates them in response, saving his life.
- The Leader: The Charismatic type. Orlando was The Face of the Legend Braves, being the most friendly and willing to interact with other Guilds and players in contrast to his guildmate's more mistrusting stance, and his men clearly looked up to him. In the Manga, the reason they start doing the Weapon Upgrade scam was less for their sake, but more for his.
- Nice Guy: Hammy he may be, but he's a very nice guy and has less qualms with cooperating with others than his guildmates. He was also happy to help Nezuo grind on account of his Full-Dive Non-Conformity at the expense of the guild's growth, and he's willing to take his own life so Nezuo and the others wouldn't be punished for their alleged Accidental Murder.
- Stock Weapon Names: He calls his Stout Brand "Durandel", after the weapon of the actual Orlando.
Black Cats of the Full Moon
A guild made up of friends from the same computer club in the real world. They were the first guild that Kirito joined in SAO.
- And the Rest: Whenever Kirito refers back to his old guild, he either refers to the guild, or to only Sachi and/or Keita. Note that this is NOT an insult.
- Band of Brothers: They were originally from the same school club, but in the game they practically became a family. This is what ultimately convinces Kirito to join them, since he was feeling lonely after a whole year playing solo.
- Doomed by Canon: Kirito tells Asuna about them in Volume 1, though their actual tale takes place in the next volume.
- Five-Man Band: Before Kirito joined, they were a five-man guild. Keita is the The Leader because he is the levelheaded guildhead who sets the strategies. Sasamaru is The Lancer because he is the Number Two and he literally has a spear for a weapon. Tetsuo is The Big Guy because he is physically fit enough to wield a giant bludgeoning weapon. He's also the team's only shield user. Disarming traps is Ducker's role in the guild which makes him The Smart Guy. Sachi is the lone female that most of the guild, and especially Kirito, are invested in protecting because she contributes with kind words and love, making her The Chick.
- Kill 'Em All: They end up getting completely annihilated in a trap not a while after Kirito joins.
- Meaningful Name: Black cats are known to cause bad luck in common superstition. Guess what kind of luck befalls them.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Their real world names are unknown, unless, like Asuna, their game names are the same as their real world name.
- Poor Communication Kills: Had Kirito told them what he knew from the start, they wouldn't have been wiped out in the first place because they either would have respected his experience and stayed away from the trap, or stayed where they were instead of going higher than they could manage.
- Sentai: Note their color-coded outfits, with the guy in red being the leader and black-themed Kirito as their extra man.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- Kirito was only partly to blame for their doom. The other half of their sorry story is that they explored a dungeon well above their level and triggered a Shmuck Bait trap. Ducker assumed he could disarm any trap they ran across, Sachi assumed that Kirito would save everybody if anything happened (which is probably one reason she didn't blame Kirito for what could happen to her), and Sasamaru and Tetsuo were just overconfident. Boy was their confidence misplaced.
- Their acts throughout the game were reckless. Pressuring Sachi to be a shield user was merely a symptom of the fact that their egos were writing checks their bodies couldn't cash. Kirito blames himself for their deaths, but in all probability, Kirito's actions extended their lives.
- Total Party Kill: The sole survivor was, ironically, their extra man.
Voiced by: Toshiyuki Toyonaga (Japanese), Lucien Dodge (English), Víctor Ugarte (Latin American Spanish), Enric Puig (European Spanish)
Leader and founder of the guild.
- A Father to His Men: He's the resident Team Dad, and the rest of the team respond accordingly. Kirito admits that his way of running the guild was one of the main reasons why he joined them, hoping that his way of thinking would help the people trapped in SAO to complete the game someday.
- Driven to Suicide: After Kirito informed him that the rest of the guild died, he jumped off of Aincrad.
- Fantastic Racism: Not as bad as Kibaou, but he wasn't fond of learning that Kirito hid his "beater" status along with his guild being wiped out.
- Jerkass Has a Point: It's a minor example. If you count the "jerkass" as someone who also doesn't like "beaters", he was right about the fact that the guild perished due to Kirito's dishonesty. Then again he didn't know the whole story about Kirito's reason for being dishonest and was too emotionally shattered to care about that or the fact that he and his group were being too reckless and probably would have been dead a long time ago were it not for Kirito.
- The Leader: Guildhead of the "Black Cats of the Full Moon." He's the levelheaded type.
- Simple Staff: His weapon is a bladeless pole arm.
- The Strategist: He's also the guy who creates the team formations and strategies, more than someone who's in the middle of the fight.
Voiced by: Kenji Akabane (Japanese), Tyler Shamy (English), Alan Fernando Vásquez (Latin American Spanish)
The mace user of the guild.
- The Big Guy: He's physically fit enough to wield a giant bludgeoning weapon. He's also the team's only shield user.
- Carry a Big Stick: Wields a mace.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Also wields a shield to protect himself and his fellows.
Voiced by: Tsubasa Yonaga (Japanese), Bobby Thong (English), Arturo Cataño (Latin American Spanish)
A spear man of the guild.
- Blade on a Stick: His weapon is a spear.
- The Lancer: A contrast to the leader with a literal spear for a weapon.
Voiced by: Takuya Eguchi (Japanese), Erik Kimerer (English), Miguel Ángel Ruiz (Latin American Spanish)
The thief of the guild.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Repeatedly pick-axed to death by Dark Dwarf Miners, screaming in pain with each hit before dying.
- Knife Nut: As a thief, this is his natural Weapon of Choice.
- Nice Hat: Wears a knit cap.
- The Smart Guy: Disarming traps is his role in the guild.
- The Sneaky Guy: Sneaking around comes with being a thief.
Voiced by: Saori Hayami (Japanese), Xanthe Huynh (English), Nina Romero (European Spanish), Azul Valadez (Latin American Spanish)
The sole female member of the guild and the first girl Kirito set his eyes upon during his earlier days in SAO.
- Adaptational Early Appearance: In canon, she doesn't appear for several months when Kirito joins her guild. In Integral Factor, she's seen as early as the first day of launch and had a scattering of appearances afterward.
- Adaptation Expansion: Integral Factor sheds light on what Sachi was up to before Kirito joined her guild and is a far more prominent character to the point where she's practically part of the core SAO gang.
- Adaptation Relationship Overhaul:
- In the webnovel, she was the First Love to Kirito. In the light novels and anime, this was downplayed to being really close friends with a romantic subtext for a possible Relationship Upgrade.
- In Integral Factor, due to being involved in the story far earlier than her original appearance, Sachi is able to establish friendships with characters she never met in canon, namely the other female players like Asuna.
- All Deaths Final: After Sachi dies, the revival item that Kirito uses doesn't work on her.
- Artificial Intelligence: In Hollow Fragment, Kirito meets an AI duplicate of Sachi. This happens again in Fatal Bullet's Dissonance of the Nexus DLC, though thanks to a quest reward her data is saved and allows her to become a party member later on.
- Ascended Extra: Sachi ultimately plays a very minor role in the grand scheme of the series, and due to her nature as a Posthumous Character, there isn't much leeway for her to appear outside of the Aincrad arc without averting her original fate. Regardless, the character gained enough of a following to warrant continued appearances in spin-off titles like the game series, often as an AI duplicate or otherwise in order to prevent going against canon events. This culminates in Integral Factor, where she's more or less part of the core SAO gang that made up Kirito's Unwanted Harem, partaking in countless stories and getting far more focus than she did in canon.
- Beauty Mark: Has one near the outside corner of her right eye.
- The Big Gal: Keita wanted to make her into the guild's second shield user. Kirito eventually convinced him to change his mind because Sachi had neither the physical build nor the mentality for it.
- Blade on a Stick: Sachi uses a two-handed spear in combat. The reason for this is she's terrified at the mere sight of monsters if she gets to close, so her friends figured a spear would allow her to fight from a distance.
- The Chick: She can contribute with kind words and love and is also the lone female that most of the guild, and especially Kirito, are invested in protecting. This also makes her The Heart.
- Cynicism Catalyst: One of her friends outside of the Black Cats died on the first floor despite being incredibly careful. As such, Sachi became convinced that she didn't have much of a chance of survival.
- Dead Man Writing: Recorded a Christmas card for Kirito and left it in their shared inventory. She mentions in the recording that she would have deleted it and told him its contents in person if she had survived until Christmas Eve. In the recording she tells Kirito she knew about his high level and not to blame himself for her death, telling him to continue surviving so he could find out why this world was created. She ends the recording by singingnote Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for Kirito, before telling him "thank you, goodbye".
- Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment: In Hollow Fragment, Kirito encounters a Hollow Data version of Sachi, his deceased first love who he failed to save. Although suspecting she's not real, Kirito is hellbent on protecting her at all costs so she won't die again. Eventually, Sachi does reveal she is indeed not the real Sachi. She also remembers the words the real Sachi never got to say to Kirito, which leaves him distraught and shaken, but also giving him closure.
- First Love: To Kirito in the webnovel. It's downplayed in the case of the light novels and anime, but they do have a romantic subtext to their close friendship and possibly for a Relationship Upgrade if it weren't for her untimely death.
- Go Out with a Smile: As she sustains a lethal blow that depletes all her HP, Sachi looks at Kirito and gives him one last smile of encouragement before she dies.
- Hair Color Dissonance: Her Avatar has blue hair.
- Image Song: Memory Heart Message.
- The Lost Lenore: She is the first love interest for Kirito. Her death in particular is what causes Kirito to go solo for so long.
- Nice Girl: Although she's not a good fighter, what she can contribute are kind words and love.
- Posthumous Character: Most of Sachi's non-canon appearance in games are this, where any time she shows up it's established she's already dead and is either a memory or an Artificial Intelligence copy. Integral Factor is one of the few stories which features Sachi alive and well before she met her tragic demise.
- Secret Secret-Keeper: It wasn't until six months after her death that Kirito learns she was aware of his actual level, but refrained from telling anyone.
- Shrinking Violet: An extremely shy girl who's too fearful to fight monsters out on the fields.
- The Smurfette Principle: The only female member of the "Black Cats of the Full Moon".
- This Is Gonna Suck: Implied. Sachi knew that Kirito's level was double what he said it was, and would therefore logically know that if Kirito thinks opening that chest is a bad idea, it's because opening that chest is a bad idea. The fact that the others decide to open it anyway means that she knew that something really bad was about to happen and there was nothing she could do about it.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: A light of innocence and hope that was destined to be snuffed out.
- Virtual Ghost: A trace of Sachi's digital data makes a return in a novel sidestory titled, "The Day Story". Asuna kept experiencing memories that were not hers, leading to her having Out Of Body Experiences while in Full-Dive. Yui and Kirito figure out that it is Sachi's player data trying to make contact, with it being exactly two years since Sachi died. The reason Asuna was contacted was because Kirito was using a different avatar to his one in SAO, while Asuna's was the same and contained a 'hidden' married status to Kirito. It ends with Asuna experiencing a vision of Sachi who requested her to tell Kirito she was happy.
- You Did Everything You Could: She did this for Kirito through a Recorded Christmas card for Kirito and left it in their shared inventory to snap him out of his despair- she figured she wouldn't survive until Christmas and that Kirito would blame himself for her death, so she recorded a message thanking him for the time they had together and for giving her joy and hope, as well as telling him not to blame himself for her death and asked that he survive in the world of SAO to find the reason why such a world was built.
Golden Apple Guild
Yuuko / Griselda (SAO)
The Leader of the Golden Apple Guild. After she was killed, the guild was disbanded. Her real name was Yuuko.
- Cool Big Sis: Yolko had a great deal of admiration for her, which implies Griselda was this to her.
- Happily Married: According to Yolko, she and Grimlock were this, both in the game and IRL. Subverted when you consider that Grimlock never truly valued her as a person and suspected that she'd divorce him when they returned to the real world, hinting that she wasn't entirely happy with their relationship.
- The Leader: A Charismatic type for the guild, since she led by virtue of being respected.
- Lightning Bruiser: Along with wielding a Sword and Shield, Griselda also utilized a speed-based stat build. Grimlock tries using this to claim that she took the speed-enhancing ring she was sent to sell when she was murdered, but Yoko proves him wrong by pointing out that both the rings that were on her person when she died were buried as an impromptu grave, her Guild leader ring and her Wedding Ring.
- Meaningful Name: She shares her name with Griselda, the titular protagonist of a story about a women who's Undying Loyalty is tested by her husband by making numerous cruel demands and seeing if she complies with them, including giving up her children to be executed, being publicy divorced by him, and wishing her now ex-husband well in a fake marriage with a 12 year old, actually her daughter. This Foreshadows how she was originally an Extreme Doormat, which is the only reason Grimlock "loved" her.
- Personal Effects Reveal: After her death, all her items fell on the ground, including her two rings- her guild sigil and wedding ring. This proves that she didn't actually wear the agility ring, as Grimlock said she did.
- Posthumous Character: She was killed before the arc began.
- Peaceful in Death: A vision of her appears before Kirito and Asuna.
- Took a Level in Badass: She became more confident after coming to SAO.
- Trophy Wife: What she really was to Grimlock IRL, leading the latter to murder her because he can't stand her Character Development and only value her as a quiet, obedient wife.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: She was evolving into this since she started enjoying the game and became stronger and braver. This did not sit well with her husband, who apparently liked her better as an Extreme Doormat.
Voiced by: Ken Narita (Japanese), Matthew Mercer (English), Carlos Hernández (Latin American Spanish)
Griselda's husband, both in the game and IRL. He was the one who hired the Laughing Coffin guild to get her killed and planned to off the rest of the members of this former guild when they investigated the truth of her murder.
- Arc Villain: He serves as the main villain for the "Murder in the Safezone" mini-arc.
- The Blacksmith: Implied to have been this for Golden Apple as opposed to a fighter. He's the one who made "Guilty Thorn", the spear that killed Kainz, which quickly makes him a suspect in his murder. It turns out that he wasn't and that he made it at Yolko and Caynz's request, but he did use their own gambit so he could kill them and Schmitt to prevent Griselda's death from being further investigated and linked back to him.
- Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: He arranges for Laughing Coffin to kill Griselda, expecting that when the game ends, Kayaba will be blamed for anyone who dies since he was the one who set up the death game in the first place.
- Dirty Coward: Unlike Griselda, he was utterly terrified when they were trapped in SAO.
- Evil Is Petty: This bastard arranged for the assassination of his wife just because she changed and was no longer the woman he loved. Both Kirito and Asuna are rightfully disgusted.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He thinks everyone is as depraved as he was and that his actions were warranted in murdering his wife and Loving a Shadow.
- Happily Married: Was this to Griselda before the game, as Yolko says. At least until she was no longer an Extreme Doormat, which means he didn't really love her in the first place and suspected that she'd divorce him when they returned to the real world, hinting that Griselda wasn't entirely happy with their relationship.
- Hate Sink: Arranging for the murder of your own wife is a low few characters sink to, even by the standards of Sword Art Online villains.
- Karma Houdini: Downplayed. While he was caught, called out on his petty actions, and likely imprisoned for the remainder of the game, he was very likely unpunished for his crimes once SAO ended in a similar vein to Laughing Coffin, just like he planned.
- Loving a Shadow: Asuna points out that if he was disturbed by the idea of Griselda changing, he never truly loved her.
- Motive Rant: Tries to justify having killed his wife because she was no longer the woman he used to love. Asuna replies that if that's the case, he only saw her as an object and never actually loved her.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Previously Extreme Doormat wife suddenly growing a backbone, standing up to you, and growing more independent? Have you considered... murder?
- Moral Myopia: He saw nothing wrong with hiring Player Killers to murder his wife for growing more independent as a woman and actually disagreeing with him, seeing it as something anyone in his position would do.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Asuna's speech seems to sink in as he realizes the truth of her words and the heinousness of his actions.
- Stepford Smiler: Yolko described him as being kind and cheerful before Griselda's death. In actually, he's a sexist Dirty Coward who had his wife murdered for becoming independent.
- Straw Misogynist: He liked Griselda because she was a Extreme Doormat who never argued or disagreed with him. The moment SAO started and she started becoming more independent, he considered the woman he loved dead.
- Walking Spoiler: It's hard to talk about him without exposing the big mystery of the Safe Zone Murder Case.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: We never do actually know what happened to him after he got arrested, nor after he was logged out of SAO.
Voiced by: Nozomi Yamamoto (Japanese), Natalie Hoover (English), Elizabeth Infante (Latin American Spanish)
A former member of the Golden Apple guild went her own separate ways with her boyfriend, Caynz, who gets murdered in a safe zone and enlists Asuna and Kirito's help. Turns out it was a ploy to try and uncover the truth of Griselda's death.
- Amicable Exes: While Golden Apple was still around, she and Caynz were in a relationship, with Yolko voting to keep the ring since Caynz wanted to use it. Griselda's death and the guild breaking up caused them to end their relationship, but they still met up from time to time to eat together, like on the day of his death. The Reveal that the Safe Zone Murder was a trick played by them to draw out Griselda's killer brings into question whether or not they truly broke up, with the anime blurring the line further with them showing up together at Kirito's congratulations party at the end of Fairy Dance.
- Guile Hero: Her plan to set up the staged murders for Caynz and herself helps track down the real killer, and she determines Grimlock's guilt by proving that since Griselda was wearing her guild leader's sigil and wedding ring at the time of her death, the agility ring could only have been in Griselda and Grimlock's shared inventory, not where her body was discovered, something that impresses Kirito.
- Faking the Dead: She faked her own death to create a witness with Kirito and Asuna to lure out Griselda's murderer.
- It's All My Fault: She blames herself for Griselda's murder, as a result of going along with the decision to sell the ring. In reality, the issue was more or less irrelevant to why the murderer wanted Griselda dead.
- Nice Girl: She's very kind and polite and even apologized to Kirito and Asuna for using them as witnesses in her fake murder.
- Pet the Dog: Kirito interprets her making Asuna and Kirito her in-game friends to be proof that she's a good person at heart, since while it potentially jeopardized her plan to fake her own death by virtue of showing her status, it signifies genuine trust in and friendship with the two of them.
- Shrinking Violet: She seems to be very shy and easily terrified. Subverted, as it might just have been all an act.
Voiced by: Tokuyoshi Kawashima (Japanese), Kyle Hebert (English)
Yolko's boyfriend, who somehow is murdered inside a safe zone of the game. Turns out it was an act to lure out Griselda's murderer and discover the truth of her death.
- Amicable Exes: While Golden Apple was still around, he and Yolko were in a relationship, with Yolko voting to keep the ring since Caynz wanted to use it. Griselda's death and the guild breaking up caused them to end their relationshipbut they still met up from time to time to eat together, like on the day of his death. The Reveal that the Safe Zone Murder was a trick played by them to draw out Griselda's killer brings into question whether or not they truly broke up, with the anime blurring the line further with them showing up together at Kirito's congratulations party at the end of Fairy Dance.
- Faking the Dead: He faked his own death to act as a lure to expose Griselda's murderer and discover the truth of her death.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: A weapon through his mid section killed him; well, appeared to kill him anyway.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The fact that his name is "Caynz" rather than "Kainz" is a plot point. There was an actual Kaynz who happened to die on the same day a year ago, and by giving the wrong spelling of his name, Yolko fools Kirito and Asuna into thinking that he had actually died.
- Stone Wall: He was stated to be one of Golden Apples tanks, along with Schmitt.
Voiced by: Masayuki Katou (Japanese), Kaiji Tang (English), Manuel Pérez (Latin American Spanish)
Another former member of the Golden Apple guild. Joined the Divine Dragon Alliance after Griselda's death.
- Clothes Make the Superman: He was able to join the the Divine Dragon Alliance thanks to some powerful gear he bought with the money he got from being an unwitting accomplice in Griselda's murder.
- Cowardly Lion: Despite being very afraid of death, he's still a player on the front lines and was perfectly willing to attend boss raids and fight Floor Bosses.
- Hypocrite: When he and some other DDA members corner Kirito so he can question him on the Safe Zone Murder, he tries calling Kirito out on hoarding information on it. However, considering that his guild's general un-cooperativeness involves them hoarding information themselves, Schmitt himself is arguably just as guilty of this, or at least guilty by association.
- Jousting Lance: His weapon appears to be one of these.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: As part of his tank build, he carries a large shield.
- Not Helping Your Case: While it turns out that he's not Griselda's killer, it's hard to blame people for suspecting him considering his actions throughout the investigation into Caynz's death, such as forcibly confiscating Guilty Thorn from Kirito and demanding that he doesn't involve himself further, despite claiming to not know the victim. The reason Yolko and Caynz initially suspected him is because of how quickly he left Golden Apple to join the DDA, with Kirito noting that it shouldn't have been possible unless he very suddenly came onto some good gear, which is what he used the money he got from the real killer for.
- Red Herring: Yolko and Caynz suspect he might be responsible for Griselda's murder. Turns out that he isn't, although he does feel guilty for her death, to the point he believed her ghost was after him.
- Stone Wall: Chose to become a super defense type because he was afraid of dying.
- Took a Level in Badass: Implied. The Murder Case in the Safe Zone arc establishes him to have been terrified by the prospect of dying, but the Anime shows him leading the raid on Laughing Coffin, which takes place after the events of Grimlock's attempt at killing him and the other Golden Apple members.
- Unwitting Pawn: His true role in Griselda's murder; he was left an anonymous letter offering him a hefty sum of money if he followed Griselda to the front line town, save her Inn Room's location onto the provided Corridor Crystal, then put in the Guild's shared storage. Assuming it was just an elaborate robbery and tempted to use the money to get into the Frontlines, he did the job as asked and was horrified to learn that it was actually an assassination, being too afraid to tell the others.
A small-time guild that focuses on leveling up and earning money through Quests alone.
- Armour Is Useless: Zig-Zagged. Gindo wears heavy plate armor and wields a tower shield, giving him a good deal of defensive power. However, when Kirito encounters him when he poisons Castle Galey's springs, Kirito's able to beat him without getting a red cursor by pushing him in the spring's water, preventing him keeping himself afloat due to his armor's weight and stopping Kirito from purifying the spring.
- Badass in Distress: They get captured by the The Conspiracy and the Fallen Elves, who force Gindo to help the latter attack Castle Galey and poison it's spring in exchange for their lives.
- Crutch Character: For the Elf Campaign, they have one from the final Floor 3 quest in the form of a Dark Elf Scout, who only assists them in quests pertaining to the Elf Campaign and who they leave most of the fighting to. Kirito expresses worry that they'll become over reliant on him and will struggle once they part ways but writes it off since they're able to do Non-Elf quests without him. He ends up killed though by a swarm of monsters, which "the man in the black poncho" used to capture them and blackmail Gindo into helping the Fallen Elves attack Castle Galey.
- Despair Event Horizon: Gindo very nearly crosses this when Kirito purifies Castle Galey's spring after he poisons it, since it means The Conspiracy and the Fallen Elves will kill his friends unless he gets them the keys.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Downplayed. At first, they were all just strangers who exchanged information to help survive, or more accurately live in comfort, in the Town of Beginnings before they decided to start a guild and work together in the field when quests in the Town started becoming a less reliable source on income.
- The Leader: Gindo.
- Meaningful Name: Their name comes from how their a group is dedicated to earning money and EXP through quests alone, with the "Qu" standing for "Quests" while "sack" refers to "Sacks of Gold". "Questing for Sacks."
- The Mole: Gindo was forced to act as this when The Conspiracy kidnapped his guildmates, helping the Fallen Elves attack Castle Galey and luring Kirito, Asuna and Kizmel into a trap to get the keys from Kizmel.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: After being kidnapped and almost killed by Kysarah of the Fallen Elves, they decide to cut their losses and abandon the Elf War Campaign.
- Unskilled, but Strong: By the time they left the Town of Beginnings, they were all Level 5 from the experience they got from the town quests, an advantage Kirito and Asuna didn't have when they left, but they were also comparably unskilled in combat and their lack of it almost got them killed when they stumbled upon a particularity difficult area.
- Wham Line: "Wait, you guys don't know? The central figure of the quest, Lord Cylon, just up and vanished."
Titan's HandA lesser known guild on the lower floors, who operated by having green players infiltrate other guilds.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Due to his higher level and Battle Healing, not even two parties worth of them were able to deal any meaningful damage to Kirito. This leads to them losing their will to fight and him arresting them.
- Pragmatic Villainy: In order to do their Trojan Horse tactic, there were a number of members who didn't partake in the actual fighting and PKing.
- Trojan Horse: Their main tactic; they have one of their green cursor members join another party or guild and spy on them, before leading them to an ambush.
Voiced by: Megumi Toyoguchi (Japanese), Laura Post (English), Rosa López (European Spanish), Cristina Hernández (Latin American Spanish)
The leader of Titan's Hand.
- Dirty Coward: She immediately surrenders when Kirito puts a sword to her throat and informs her that, being he's a solo player anyway, a couple of days with an orange cursor aren't much of a hindrance to him. In game mechanics, he doesn't have to kill her, either: it's possible to cut off players' limbs.
- Evil Redhead: She has no qualms with making other players miserable or even outright killing them if it means getting ahead.
- Fatal Flaw: Her vanity leads to her downfall at Kiroto's hands.
- Fate Worse than Death: Yes, Kirito spares her life, but he sends her straight down to the Black Iron Dungeon instead. The anime, however, is more of What Happened to the Mouse? scenario.
- Faux Affably Evil: Posed as Silica's friend all the while looking to exploit her for a rare item.
- Femme Fatale: A rare nonviolent one. What makes her dangerous is that she fools other players with her "green" cursor status.
- Hate Sink: She has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. She seeks out and assesses players as potential prey, uses her green cursor to lure them into danger, then either forcibly robs them or has her Titans Hand thugs kill them.
- Just Giving Orders: She keeps her cursor green by having her henchmen assault players for her, never laying hands on them herself.
- Lecherous Licking: She's often seen licking her lips in a creepy manner.
- Manipulative Bitch: Several unwitting male players seem to fall for her charms, but luckily, Kirito wasn't fooled by her.
- A Million Is a Statistic: She either doesn't believe that people are actually dying when they're killed in the game, or just doesn't care. She claims that there's no proof, though exactly what she was doing when Akihiko informed everyone (with sources!) that people were actually dying is a mystery.
- Peek-a-Bangs: Her hair covers her right eye. Obviously, there's a side of her that she's keeping hidden from others.
- Smug Snake: She had no idea who she was messing with when she picked a fight with Kirito.
- The Vamp: Her appearance and vain attitude lean her in this direction.
- Virtual Danger Denial: She says there's no proof of the game designer's admonition that if you die in the game, the Nervegear kills you, and uses this to justify her actions. It's left ambiguous whether she believes it.
- Would Hurt a Child: She and her guild were planning to attack Silica, a 12-year-old girl, to steal a rare item.
CoperA Beta-Tester Kirito meets shortly after leaving the Town of Beginnings.
- Asshole Victim: It's hard to pity him when he dies after he almost commits the first PK in SAO when he tries to trick monsters into killing Kirito, and being an Ungrateful Bastard despite Kirito genuinely wanting to help him.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He and Kirito seem to hit it off quite well when they first meet, bonding over being computer nerds and agreeing to help each other with the Anneal Blade quest. Turns out however that he was just using him to make finding the item for it easier and was planning on Monster-PKing once they found it.
- Failed a Spot Check: Despite being a Beta-Tester and having done the quest in the Beta, he seemingly forgets that monsters like the Little Nepenthes, who don't have eyes and therefore use other means of locating enemies, are able to find players with a Hiding Skill, causing him to be overwhelmed and killed when he tries using it against them.
- It's All About Me: Despite the term having only circulated after his death, Coper is a good representation of what many people saw a Beater as; a selfish Beta-Tester who are willing to abandon and even manipulate their fellow players if it means ensuring their own survival.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Wields a small buckler.
- Stupid Evil: What's most baffling about his actions is that he had very little reason for them; even if Kirito did find the item for the quest first, the worst Coper would have been subjected to is having to spend more time fighting Little Nepenthes, which probably wouldn't be too time-consuming with Kirito's help. If anything, his plot just seems like a poorly thought out way to save time.
Voiced by: Nobuyuki Hiyama (Japanese), Sean Chiplock (English), Miguel Ángel Leal (Latin American Spanish)
A "knight" who organized and led a raid against the L1 boss. He is actually another beta tester and exploits the group in order to ensure that he lands the last hit, which would maximize his chance of obtaining a unique drop. Recognizing Kirito as another beta tester, he also takes steps to actively hinder him by manipulating Kibaou and assigning back row duty to Kirito's party.
- Adaptation Distillation: In the light novel, he's practically the Big Bad of the 1st Floor arc. The novel contains an additional subplot about a mysterious benefactor trying to buy Kirito's sword, later revealed to be Kibaou (acting as Diabel's middleman) as part of a scheme to weaken Kirito and further lower his chances of getting the final hit. The novel also contains more implications that Diabel is a Beater, making note of the obscene amount of Col he can throw around (on the first floor) and his possession of rare items such as his blue hair dye.
- Adaptational Heroism:
- Implied, but the above parts not making it into the anime makes it easier to interpret his anime version as a well-intentioned but misguided leader than a self-centered and power-hungry manipulator.
- The Manga gives him a Downplayed variant. His attempts at buying Kirito's Anneal Blade to weaken him is Adapted Out, but his Manipulative Bastard traits are still there, albeit with more noble connotations.
- Adaptational Intelligence: Whereas Diabel in the Light Novel and Anime were fully confident in their Beta-Tester knowledge and didn't think there'd be any changes, causing him to rush head-first into his death, his manga counterpart at least suspected that Illfang would be different from the Beta, but didn't know what the change would be.
- The Chessmaster: The Progressive Manga depicts him as such. Anticipating that Illfang was altered from the Beta-Test based on Argo telling him that a number of Beta-Testers died from their knowledge being outdated, he knew that Argo would become a pariah who no one would trust if the Illfang boss doesn't go like it did in the Beta, which wouldn't bode well since she is the most reliable source of info there is. Knowing that, he's Implied to have been planning to put on a "Beater" act to deter the hatred from her and other Beta-Testers, and even anticipated that Kirito would do it in his place if he died.
- Curtains Match the Window: Blue hair to match his blue eyes.
- Death by Materialism: He gets killed because he was so determined to get the Last Attack Bonus and by extension the reward, that he charged right at the boss and straight into an attack that depleted all his HP.
- Didn't See That Coming: The Level 1 boss has a different weapon and style when it Turns Red, which was much different from what was stated in the manual.
- Evil Counterpart: In the light novels only he serves as one to Kirito. He was depicted as being a true Beater who abused his beta tester knowledge to get ahead of everyone else, whereas Kirito was wrongly accused of being one but still accepted the title as part of his Zero-Approval Gambit.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: His beater knowledge proves to be his downfall as he became too confident in what to expect.
- The Leader: The first leader of the frontlines, Diaval led with a high level of charisma and some impressive strategic acumen during the fight against Illfang, his one mistake being letting his greed get the better of him.
- Mauve Shirt: He led the players in their victory over the first floor, but he didn't live long enough to see it.
- Meaningful Name: Diabel (spelled Diabeł) means 'Devil' in Polish, which, at least with the original interpretation, fits with how he was actually a Manipulative Bastard trying to gain power. It's explained in Integral Factor that he intentionally choose this name as he probably planned on being a Internet Jerk, before bring trapped in a death game made him prioritize his morality and aid the players.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Diabel is a natural leader who rallies the players and inspires courage, unlike Kirito who is a loner and gets ostracized. Although this is a case of Adaptational Heroism, as in the light novel he's a Manipulative Bastard.
- Small Role, Big Impact: In Progressive, he was the one who formed the clearers into a unified group. Even after his death, the clearers continue on (albeit divided), to carry on his mission.
- Spared by the Adaptation: In Integral Factor, he's fortunate enough to be spared his canon counterpart's fate, due to the Integral Factor Player Character managing to block the blow that would have killed him. Though his fate was only postponed as he has an Uncertain Doom later on.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Implied and Zig-Zagged. In the manga, he's not opposed to Asuna taking part in the Illfang fight, even asking her and Kirito to deal with Kobold Ruin Sentinels, but he also refers to her as a "princess" and states that, "as a Knight", he's envious that Kirito gets to be her guard. Kirito is keenly aware of the Death Glare Asuna's sporting in response to that.
- Survivor's Guilt: It's implied the reason he assembled the strongest players in the game into a raid party was because of his own guilt as a beta tester who stood by and watched as thousands of newbie players died. This is confirmed in Integral Factor, where Diabel took Kibaou's discrimination against beta players personally.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Blue, which is unnatural and the result of Diabel's use of a hair dye item.
A blacksmith who turns out to be a scammer, stealing items that players give for him to upgrade and selling them while claiming that they broke.
- The Atoner: Kirito convinces him to become this, and switch his Blacksmithing skill for a Martial Arts skill so that he can fight with a chakram.
- Battle Boomerang: After he's talked out of killing himself, Kirito offers him the Chakram he got from the Bullbous Bow, saying he can use it with his Blade-Throwing and a Martial Arts skill (which he would need to give up Blacksmithing to put in his skill slot).
- The Bus Came Back: He returns in the Floor 5 Arc as part of Kirito's impromptu boss raid party.
- Driven to Suicide: He becomes suicidal after being exposed, even trying to jump a window to his death in the Manga.
- Handicapped Badass: He has a Full-Dive Nonconformity that renders him almost blind in SAO, and thus, unable to fight well. With a chakram, though, he becomes quite effective against his enemies.
- Head Desk: In the light novel version, he does this when Kirito and Asuna confront him. While it does nothing, Kirito and Asuna realize that he's suicidal.
- Heel Realization: He has this when he sees the customer's face the first time he scams someone out of a sword, but when his guildmates are amazed at how he succeeded, he feels as though he has no choice.
- Long-Range Fighter: Being the only Chakram user at the time, he's invaluable as someone who can hit a boss' weakpoint from the distance without having to suffer an ammo limit, adn who can attack hard to reach places.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: Kirito and Asuna found out about his scam, but kept quiet about it in exchange for helping him put his talents into a more positive direction. When he arrives to the second boss battle and saves the group with a chakram, some people ask about his chakram, and things go downhill from there.
- Nerves of Steel: As he confesses to his part in the scam, his avatar's only outward show of emotion is a furrowed eyebrow. Kirito points out that since SAO's system for displaying player emotions tends to exaggerate, Nezuo must have had impressive self-control.
- Odd Name Out: Nezuo's name seems to be the only one of the Legend Braves who isn't an actual hero, something he points out in the Manga when he's trying to deny his connection with them. Kirito realizes, with some help, that it's actually Nezha or Nataku.
- Put on a Bus: The Legend Braves' better gear was the only way they were able to keep up with the other clearers, so once it's sold off after their actions are exposed, they're no longer able to help out until they catch up.
- Silent Scapegoat: When he's confronted, he plans on taking the fall for his friends until the others confess.
- Spell My Name with an "S": An In-Universe example, as Nezuo's name is actually Nezha, or as the Japanese like to call him, Nataku.
- Walking Spoiler: He's a major character in the Floor 2 Arc due to his role in the Weapon Upgrade Scam
- With Friends Like These...: Kirito believes, and not without good reason, that the Legend Braves will hang him out to dry when he's no longer useful to them. Thankfully, with a bit of encouragement from Kirito, they also take responsibility for having him scam others.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Kirito fears that his friends will do this to him if he gets caught or they no longer need his services. Thankfully, he's proven wrong.
Sasha (SAO, ALO)
Voiced by: Kyouko Fujii (Japanese) and Erika Harlacher (English)
A priest-type player who takes care of the younger players in SAO.
- Badass Preacher: She dresses like one and lives in a church to boot, but she is ready to use her knife when necessary.
- Hair Colors: Depending on the media she will have different ones: reddish-brown in the anime and dull-blue in the novel.
- Good Shepherd: A priest-type player who cares for younger players.
- Knife Nut: Her primary weapon is a knife, which is at odds with her priest-type character.
- Mama Bear: She's ready to fight to protect her children, even if she's no match.
- Nice Girl: She decided to take care of the younger players in SAO because she couldn't stand watching them suffer.
- Parental Substitute: For the children she takes care of.
- Ambiguously Bi: They originally looked like a Bishōnen boy and a cute girl before Kayaba revealed their true appearances. But they still remain hanging with each other and may or may not have had a Relationship Upgrade. Though both of them display attraction to girls like Silica and YUNA.
- The Bus Came Back: Two of these. At least one of them got trapped in ALO by Sugou, with the two of them meeting each other in the hospital and hugging each other upon waking up. They also have a cameo in Ordinal Scale being among the SAO survivors attending YUNA's concert.
- G.I.R.L.: Miyurin originally made himself a girl avatar before Kayaba switching everyone's avatars to their real appearances exposed his true gender. Though for unknown reasons, he continues wearing the pink girl's armor for the entirety of his time spent in SAO.
- Named by the Adaptation: They remain unnamed across most media. Integral Factor finally provides their names. The G.I.R.L. is named Miyurin and the fat guy is named Ulrik.
- Recurring Extra: They have a scattering of appearances throughout the Aincrad arc even though they never play any significant role to the plot.
- Those Two Guys: Even after discovering their real appearances, the two of them remain friends for the rest of their time in SAO and even after they return to the real world.
Voiced by: Saito Shiro (Japanese), Doug Stone (English), Carlos Águila (Latin American Spanish)
A player living out on the 22nd Floor and a friend of Kirito. He is often seen fishing.
- Comical Overreacting: Has an over the top freak out when Kirito invites him over to try Asuna's soy sauce substitute.
- Cool Old Guy: Kirito finds out he's pretty good company out on a fishing trip.
- Early-Bird Cameo: He first appears in Episode 11 watching in amusement at Asuna riding on Kirito's shoulders. He properly debuts in Episode 13.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Strikes up quite a close friendship with Kirito while living on the 22nd Floor.
- Nice Guy: A kind old man who managed to enjoy his life in SAO, spending his days fishing.
- Ambiguously Human: What appears to be her ghost appearing to Lux in ALO makes the girls question whether she was really a player or an advanced NPC akin to Kizmel or Yui.
- The Anti-Nihilist: One of the things she said to Lux when they knew each other was the above quote.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Revealed to have had this. Along with befriending Lux when she was still getting over her falling out with Gwen, Silica also mentions that she saved her when she was out grinding while saying she can repay her by helping others, and Liz reveals that she wanted to buy armor not for herself but for other players who broke theirs and even went as far as to help Liz gather materials.
- I Have Many Names: Back in SAO, she apparently went by the alias "Blossom-san the Helping Girl". It's unknown if this or Rossa was her actual username, or if even either of them were.
- Nice Girl: Whenever she's brought up, there's nothing but nice things to say about Rossa.
- Not Quite Dead: At some point, what appears to be her ghost starts appearing to Lux in ALO, prompting her and the girls to look into it. It turns out that her data has been copied by ALO's Cardinal System to be a member of the Einherjar as a part of a randomly generated quest.
- Posthumous Character: She's dead by the time of Volume 1 of Girls' Ops, but she's frequently due to her role in Lux's Dark and Troubled Past.
- Taking the Bullet: It's implied she died taking a fatal blow meant for Lux.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: She was a girl who dedicated her time in SAO to helping other players, with her last act fittingly being Taking the Bullet for Lux.
- Walking Spoiler: She's a crucial part of Lux's Dark and Troubled Past and her ghost showing up in ALO is a major plot point in Volumes 5 onward.
Kizmel's deceased sister, a herbalist who was killed by Forest Elves.
- Animal Lover: In the Manga. Unlike Kizmel, who had a dislike for wolves and their handlers due to Interservice Rivalry, Tilnel had no qualms with marrying a wolf-handler and got along quite well with his wolf, even being Implied to bathe with it, much to Kizmel's chagrin.
- Bathing Beauty: According to Kizmel, Tilnel enjoyed her baths. This is one of the similarities Kizmel finds between her and Asuna.
- The Lost Lenore: To the Wolf Handler in the Manga.
- The Medic: As a herbalist, she primarily served as this in the war efforts.
- Posthumous Character: Kizmel's deceased sister, whose brought up often by her due to Asuna's apparent resemblance to her, and who serves as her motivation for fighting in the War.
- Legacy Vessel Naming: Upon reaching Floor 4 and making a gondola to traverse the flooded Floor, Kirito and Asuna name it "Tilnel" in her honor, something Kizmel very much approves of.
Wolf HandlerTilnel's husband and a Wolf Handler for the Dark Elves.
- The Beastmaster: He is a wolf handler.
- Big Damn Heroes: After Asuna gets the the key back from the Falcon by running up a tree and attacking it, she starts falling from a great height that'd likely kill her, to which the Wolf Handler hurries over and catches her. This however leads to him getting stabbed In the Back by the Falconer.
- Fire-Forged Friendship: Due to a Interservice Rivalry between the Knights and Wolf-Handlers, Kizmel didn't seem to like him very much and opposed his marriage to her sister. After he defeats her in a first strike duel for her blessing and Tilnel gets murdered, they seem to end up getting along a lot better as they go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- It's Personal: Like Kizmel, he has it out for the Forest Elf Falconer for the murder of Tilnel, his wife.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: He's killed after we meet him, being killed by the Falconer after he saves Asuna from falling to her death, letting his guard down.
- You Remind Me of X: Like Kizmel, he apparently finds some similarities between Asuna and Tilnel, prompting him to vow to protect her from the Falconer.
Leyshren Zed Yofilis
A Viscount in the Dark Elves and leader of Castle Yofil, who hardly ever steps outside and keeps his office dark, keeping his appearance a mystery.
- The Alleged Boss: His desire to hide his face has made him this. Since he spends his time in his office never interacting with anyone, the Dark Elf Priests take advantage of the fact that he can't properly keep them in check to enforce their rules and authority, such as forbidding the guards from wearing armor in the the castle due to finding the noise unpleasant.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He's the Viscount in charge of the fortress base of Floor 4, and he's capable of using Flashing Penetrator, a Sword Skill you get from Maxing Out your Rapier Skills.
- Blue Blood: His family has been part of the Dark Elf Nobility since before the Great Separation, which is when parts of the earth rose into the sky to create Aincrad.
- Crutch Character: When he finally appears in the Battle to defend Castle Yofil, he has high stats, is able to give buffs to his troops as well as players doing the quest, has access to Top-Tier rapier skills. This also helps when he assists in the Floor 4 Boss Fight, where he's able to turn it from Curb-Stomp Battle on the Clearing Force to one on the boss.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: He actually has a large, vertical scar on the left side of his face going across his eye. As a result he, likely due to some Dark Elf custom or how he got it, views this scar as a sign of great shame and dishonor, and so hides away to spare his children from the sight of it.
- Honor Before Reason: He's an incredibly powerful warrior, even having access to Rapier Skills you would normally have if you maxed out the skill, but he opts to stay indoors and leave all the fighting to his troops due to the scar on his face, which he feels dishonors his family. It's only Kirito comes to him during the Forest Elves' attack and convinces him that his presence could increase everyone's morale, that he realizes how foolish this is and joins the fray.
- The Noodle Incident: How exactly he got his scar. Kirito contemplates asking Kizmel, but Asuna tells him that it'd be rude.
- Playing Sick: The reason he gives for never going outside is that he's sick and can't be exposed to light. In reality, it's just so no one can see his scarred face.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: For their help, he offers Kirito and Asuna two treasures each from Castle Yofil's treasury. Kirito takes a Sword of Eventide, a new sword to replace his broken Anneal Blade, and , , while Asuna picked Earrings of Ripples, which grant a boost to hearing, and Prancing Boots, which increases her jumping ability and makes her footsteps quieter.
- Status Buff: When he arrives to battlefield, he's able to give his troops a major morale boost, which represents itself to Kirito as buffs to attack, defense, attack knockback and luck.
- Walk on Water: He has a special charm that allows him to walk on the surface of water.
An Anecdotist for the Dark Elves and the master of Meditation, who teaches players who can find him the Meditation skill.
- Actually Pretty Funny: When Kirito tells him that he climbed up to his secret chamber, something that would take him to the mountaintop where even birds didn't go, he responds with laughter.
- Covert Pervert: Implied. When they meet again, Kirito can't help but note that he's treating Kizmel and Asuna a lot more politely he did him, with him even greeting them as "Beautiful Knight of Lyusula and human swordswoman" and demanding that Kirito make the tea.
- I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: When Kirito suggests that he eat his "fricatelle" with some vegetables, he scoffs at the idea due to a long-living dislike of them. He's quick to change his tune when Kirito gives him a sweet potato to try with it.
- Mentor Archetype: He's the NPC that teaches players the "Mediation Skill", which allows Players to regain HP and gain immunity to debuffs if they enter a zen-like sitting pose. If his secret chamber is discovered, he will teach players "Awakening", a supposedly enhanced version of the skill, that's later hinted to be an ability that allows Heroic Willpower to grant immunity to debuffs.
- Mr. Exposition: At Kirito's request, he explains how Kirito's (originally Cylon's) and Myia's respective keys were originally one key, but have a charm placed on them that prevents them from re-joining each other.
- Pet the Dog: After Kirito gives him a sweet potato to go with his fricatelle, he goes back on his initial agreement to only give half of it to throw in two pieces of the sweet potato he brought him. Sure, he takes them back for himself in exchange for teaching him "Awakening", but it's still a nice gesture.
- Race Lift: In-Universe. In the Beta-Test, he was a human who lived nowhere near Dark Elf territory. In the final game, he's now a Dark Elf residing in Castle Galey.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Technically speaking, he can only teach "Awakening" to players who already have the Meditation skill. However, since Kirito unintentionally fulfilled the conditions to learn it, he decided to make an exception despite him lacking "Meditation". He also passes Kirito earlier than three hours out of the realization of Kirito's dedication.
- Later on, he not only teaches Awakening to Asuna, Kizmel and Myia at Kirito's request, but he also lends Asuna a powerful Lance from the Castle's armory to help in repelling the Fallen Elves. He then complies with Kirito's request to borrow the Sacred Keys so he could save Qusack.
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: At least towards Kirito.
- Stern Teacher: He proves to be harsh in teaching Awakening to Kirito, smacking him twice when his thoughts turned to food.
- Trademark Favourite Food: Kirito meets him when he's in the middle of cooking a fricatelle, which in IRL terms is a hamburg steak, and he's very protective when Kirito was drawn to his secret chambers by the smell of it.
- Obstructive Code of Conduct: Part of the reason the Forest Elves have never been able to conquer Castle Yofil is because it is taboo for Elvesnote to cut down trees, which would otherwise allow them to make boats to reach the fortress. They work around this by allying with the Fallen Elves, who are not hindered by the taboo and therefore can build boats.
A Manga original character. A Falconer Soldier for the Forest Elves, and the one who killed Kizmel's sister, Tilnel.
- Arch-Enemy: To Kizmel. Not only is he the murderer of her sister Tilnel, something he did with Sadistic glee and constantly taunts her over it, but he also murdered Kizmels brother-in-law in front of her when he tried avenging his wife.
- Ascended Extra: While it's stated that Tilnel was killed by a forest elf, we never actually meet the guy who did the deed in the Light Novels. Here, not only do we meet him, but we end up really wanting him to die.
- Dirty Coward: When Kizmel has him at her mercy, he begs for his life and immediately tries stabbing Kizmel when she obliges.
- Draw Aggro: He appears to make it a habit to target who he considers "the weakest", which likely means he targets the lower-levelled enemy Unit, who between Kirito, Kizmel, and the Wolf Handler, would be Asuna.
- Eyes Always Closed: He only ever opens them when Asuna catches him off guard with an attack and when he's finally killed by the Wolf of Kizmel's brother-in-law.
- Fantastic Racism: While its not really a surprised considering the circumstances, the Falconer displays himself as incredibly racist towards Dark Elves, calling them filth and looking down on them greatly.
- Hate Sink: While the Elf War is supposed to be painted as a case of Grey-and-Grey Morality, this guy is absolutely vile and Sadistic, making it easy for readers to root for Kizmel to kill him.
- In the Back: Seems to like doing this, seeing as killed both Tilnel and her husband by stabbing them in the back.
- I Surrender, Suckers: When Kizmel finally has him at her mercy, he pleads for his life and, on her honor as a Pagoda Knight, Kizmel is begrudgingly forced to comply. The moment she turns away from him however, he tries stabbing her In the Back. Fortunately, Kizmel anticipated this and simply leaves killing him to her brother-in-laws pet wolf.
- Karmic Death: Beaten in combat by Kizmel, whose sister he murdered retrieving one of the keys,his attempt at stabbing her in the back after he begs for mercy is foiled by the wolf of Tilnel's husband, who he also killed.
- Kick the Dog: His murder of Tilnel, while tragic, could have been seen as just him doing his job as a soldier, but the way he smiled as he did it and taunts Kizmel and her brother-in-law over her death shows that he enjoyed it. Then there's how he taunts Kizmel about her brother-in-laws death after he kills him.
- Smug Smiler: His face is almost always in a smug grin, that turns more sadistic and depraved at times.
- Smug Snake: His Fantastic Racism leads to him greatly looking down on and underestimating both Dark Elves and Humans.
- Speak Ill of the Dead: Does this constantly in regards to Tilnel, mocking her to mess with her husband and Kizmel.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: He killed Tilnel by throwing his sword into her back.
The third faction of the Elf War Questline, who are elves ostracized by both the Forest and Dark Elves for wishing to defile the Holy Tree for their own ends. Along with The Conspiracy that later becomes Laughing Coffin, they serve as antagonists in the Progressive series.
- Combat Pragmatist: They're noted to make use of plenty of under-handed tactics, including poison, traps, blinding opponents and even holding hostages.
- Immortality Seeker: Their background. Their ancestors seeked a way to attain immunity to blades with the Sacred Trees' magic before the Great Separation, and were banished as punishment.
- Knight of Cerebus: They're set up as this for the Elf War Campaign. When Kirito and Asuna help Kizmel take out a camp of them, Kizmel immediately heads to the next floor due to the possible threat of the Forest Elves working with them.
- Master Poisoner: One of their more notable weapons are throwing knives coated in the venom of a, which Morte and his friend use.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Of a sort. They are certainly antagonistic force and are extremely dangerous, especially after they join forces with The Conspiracy, but at the end of the day, they're only antagonists because they were programmed to act as one for the questline, and therefore cannot truly be considered malicious beings.
- Villain Team-Up: With The Conspiracy, who are heavily hinted to be the precursors for Laughing Coffin.
General N'ltzahhThe Leader of the Fallen Elf Faction.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Apparent leader of the Fallen Elves, and when Kirito and Asuna first saw him his color cursor was almost pitch black, immediately telling them that fighting him along with his troops would have been suicide.
- Big Bad: Implied to be this for the Elf War Campaign.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Kirito can't help but notice a red glow beneath his mask.
KysarahGeneral N'ltzahh's Aide.
- The Dragon: Stated to be General N'ltahh's aide.
- Eyepatch of Power: She wears an eyepatch over her right eye.
- Katanas Are Just Better: When we first meet her, she wields a Katana when she engages Kizmel, and it's so powerful that it destroys Kizmel's saber.
- One-Woman Army: Kirito speculates that she accompanied Gindo to Castle Galey and killed the gatekeeper to allow the Fallen Elf forces to slip in while largely staying out of sight. However, he feels that the Fallen Elves would have won if she took part in the battle.
- Red Baron: When they meet, Kizmel calls her "Kysarah the Ransacker".
- The Rival: Set up as one for Kizmel, the two of them engaging each other when she comes to take the Sacred Keys and breaking Kizmel's saber in the process.
- Stupid Evil: Despite her devastating power, with Kirito noting that the Dark Elves would have lost if she did, she doesn't take part in the Fallen Elves' assault of Castle Galey, merely killing the gate keeper with the assistance of Gido so her fellow Fallen Elves can break in. Justified because SAO, for all it's threatening faults, is designed by Kayaba to be as fair as possible; forcing the players to go up against her that would lose them a safe-zone wouldn't be fairly balanced in the grand scheme of things.
- Super Speed: Fast enough to perform a Flash Step towards Quasack so she can use Temuo as a hostage.
- The Worf Effect: Inflicts this on Kizmel as she takes the Sacred Keys, establishing the threat the Fallen Elves present.
Lord CylonA quest giver NPC and the Presiding Lord of Stachion who's the original Big Bad of his questline.
- Even Evil Can Be Loved: Despite his actions, both Theano and their daughter care for him and grieve his passing.
- Frame-Up: He framed his murder of his mentor Pithagrus on Pithagrus himself, making his face unrecognizable and putting him in shabby clothes to make him look like a traveler while making it appear that Pithagrus did the deed and he fled after, taking leadership over Stachion after.
- Freudian Excuse: He wanted to become Pithagrus' heir so he could marry Theano and free her from her servant status. However, when he was rejected as the heir due to Pithagrus' immortality, he killed him in anger at being lied to, and perhaps fear of what Pithagrus could truly be.
- Lean and Mean: Kirito describes him as a skinny man, and he's the original Big Bad of his questline.
- Love Makes You Evil: It was his anger at him and Theano being lied to that compelled him to kill Pithagrus.
- Plot-Triggering Death: In the original quest, he kidnaps the quest-takers and takes them to the maze to break the curse. However, Morte killing him when he and his accomplice try to assassinate Kirito and Asuna when they're doing the quest causes the storyline to diverge dramatically in a way Kirito could not have seen coming.
- Redemption Rejection: Theano wished for him to admit to his murder of Pithagrus before trying to help him to dispel Stachion's curse, but he instead opted to trick and force adventurers to dispel the curse for him, not wanting to admit to his crime and lose his position as Lord.
- The Unreveal: Since Kirito did his questline in the Beta-Test, Kirito knows about his past, how he framed Pithagrus for his own murder, and that he's the true Big Bad of the questline.
The previous Lord of Stachion, who was murdered and framed for his own murder by his apprentice Cylon.
- Easily Forgiven: In the original questline, he forgave Cylon for killing him and asked him and Theano to look after Stachion. Kirito speculates from this that he would have done the same in the updated quest.
- Frame-Up: Cylon framed him for his own murder so he could hide his role in it and take over Stachion.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: After Cylon murdered him in a fury, he made sure to make his face unrecognizable and dressed him in shabby clothes to make him appear to be a random traveler, and then claimed that Pithagrus murdered the "traveler" because he failed a difficult puzzle he brought him and subsequently fled.
- The Reveal: The real reason Cylon murdered him is because Pithagrus was actually an Elderly Immortal, and therefore wouldn't choose him or Theano as his successor, making Cylon felt that everything he did was All for Nothing.
MyiaAn advanced quest NPC similar to Kizmel, who is the daughter of Lord Cylon.
- Adorably Precocious Child: She drops this when she finally reunites with her mother.
- Badass Adorable: A ten-year old girl, but she's a higher level than Kirito and Asuna and is quite skilled with a rapier.
- Child Soldier: Despite the implications that she's around ten years old, she's shown to be a skilled Rapier user who's more than capable of fighting off assassins.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: While she does lose her father, she's reunited with her mother.
- Royal Rapier: Along with being the daughter of Lord Cylon, Myia is surprisingly skilled with a rapier for her age.
- Token Mini-Moe: Kirito states her to be no older than ten based on her appearance.
- Tragic Keepsake: Due to never knowing her father, she goes around with the gas mask he wore when Morte killed him in an effort to feel closer to him.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Kirito notes that, for a ten year old, she's surprisingly sharp and skilled, with Kirito noting that she has a good head on her shoulders. Also due to living in Stachion since she was a baby, which is actually due to her being an NPC, she's able to solve the puzzles much quicker, as shown when she and Theano try doing the puzzles that appear on the Boss Room door.
TheanoMyia's mother and Lord Cylon's lover ten years prior to his murder of Pithagrus.
- Badass and Child Duo: With Myia, her and Cylon's daughter.
- Badass in Distress: When Buxum uses the golden cube's "Bind" on everyone in the Boss Room, he immediately moves to kill and has to be stopped by Kirito.
- Childhood Friend Romance: She and Cylon knew each other when they were children, and when she went to Pithagrus' manor as a servant, he became his apprentice in hopes of taking over his position and marrying her to free her from the role.
- Crutch Character: Subverted. At Level 32, she's over 10 levels above Kirito and Asuna, but she's unable to properly prove since [[spoiler: she and Myia are tasked with unlocking the Boss Room door, which is locked by a series of Sudoku puzzles. She does however save Kirito from one of the Irrational Cube's arms, to which he remarks that she has the "strength of a hundred".
- Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: When Cylon died, she was forced to take the matter of removing the Curse of Stachion into her own hands, leaving Myia on her lonesome. This prompts Myia to search for her with Kirito and Asuna's assistance.
- Royal Rapier: Like Mother, Like Daughter.
- Silk Hiding Steel: When Kirito and Asuna meet her during the questline, she wore a plain apron-dress and looked like your basic NPC housewife. When they encounter her again near the Floor 6 boss room, she's decked out in full combat armor, carrying a Rapier, and is a full ten levels above them.