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Characters / Sword Art Online Antagonists

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Real world names are in western naming order. Followed by their online name and worlds they played in.note 

This page details the antagonists of each story arc.

Note: Unmarked spoilers ahead. If you're starting the anime, do not read this page!

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    Akihiko Kayaba 

Akihiko Kayaba

Voiced by: Kōichi Yamadera (Japanese), Marc Diraison (English, Season 1-Ordinal Scale), David W. Collins (English, Alicization onward), Dafnis Fernández (Latin American Spanish), Luis Porcar (European Spanish)

The creator of SAO who trapped ten thousand players in his game of death. The antagonist of volumes 1-2.

  • Affably Evil: He might be a deluded mass-murderer, causing the death of thousands of players, but aside from this he's actually quite reasonable. Kayaba has his own code that he follows and will not cross the line, even stepping in to help the heroes when villains worse than him show up. He's overall a Fair-Play Villain who gives players a fighting chance and doesn't make the game any harder than originally intended, even joining them as Heathcliff to help them clear it.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: So Sugou is the GM of Fairy Dance, effectively making him the ruler and God of ALO. Along comes Kayaba's Virtual Ghost, giving Kirito his user ID which outranks that of Sugou's! Sugou immediately gets his admin credentials stripped away and Kirito pays him back for every horrible thing he's done.
  • Always Someone Better: To Sugou Nobuyuki. During the climax of the Fairy Dance arc, Kayaba is able to easily override Sugou's admin privileges and give them to Kirito, and in response, Sugou whines and throws a temper tantrum, screaming about how even in death, Kayaba's showing him up.
  • Ambition Is Evil: He tells Kirito of his dream about creating a floating castle as the basis for creating Sword Art Online.
  • Anti-Villain: Make no mistake, he's definitely the villain. But it's left up to interpretation on whether he's inherently evil. While his desire to live out his dream of creating a real virtual world did cause him to endanger 50,000 lives, he does not take joy in their deaths and gave them a fair chance to escape. In fact he even joined the players and genuinely aided them in clearing the game. Leaving aside the fact he's the creator of the Deadly Game, he's otherwise very noble and chivalrous, being a Benevolent Boss to his guild and organizing the players to give them the best chance to beat each Floor Boss. In fact Memory Defrag reveals he even took time out to train certain players who he saw potential in, so that one day they could surpass him. For this reason he's the only Big Bad who Kirito does not outright despise and respects as a Worthy Opponent to a degree.
  • Armored Villains, Unarmored Heroes: As Heathcliff he is clad in the armor of the Knights of the Blood Oath, while Kirito wears a simple Badass Longcoat.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Kayaba scanning his brain and uploading himself into the system at the end of the Aincrad arc seems to be treated as such. Although his physical body is no longer alive, he lives on as a Virtual Ghost having become one with the system that he worked so hard to create.
  • Badass Bookworm: He programmed all of SAO, and designed the hardware, by himself. Even after his death he created a program that revived the VRMMORPG genre in the aftermath of the Fairy Dance arc.
  • Big Bad: Of the Aincrad arc, being responsible for trapping all the players in SAO. He can also be thought of as the central antagonist for the whole series, given that everything that followed later one was made possible because of him. Heroes like Kirito were created while villains like Laughing Coffin reared their heads and would go and spread further evil. He also remains around for the whole series, albeit as more of a Big Good who assists Kirito from the sidelines.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: In the Aincrad arc, he creates the world and is ultimately responsible for all the troubles the characters go through by extension but he also has to share the spotlight with the leader of the Laughing Coffin Guild, Vassago Cassals, whose player hunting becomes a secondary but very substantial threat.
  • Big Good: Zigzagged. While Kayaba is more of a neutral than a flat-out good guy in later arcs, he's willing to humiliate Sugou by giving Kirito his GM privileges and save Ocean Turtle by hijacking a robot body and ruining the GDS' plan to destroy it because he thinks that they've gone too far.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • At the end of the Fairy Dance arc, his spirit seemingly comes back from the dead to give Kirito his Administrator privileges so he can defeat Sugou.
    • In the Alicization arc, he hijacks a robot body to prevent Ocean Turtle from being blown up by defusing the bomb that the remaining GDS operators implanted.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: His extreme Lack of Empathy creates this. He weighed 10,000 human lives versus him creating his ideal world and chose the latter, but feels neither any guilt nor joy at the deaths. He's actually happy that someone is coming to kill him as that is how Aincrad is supposed to work.
  • Brain Uploading: He uploads his consciousness to the internet at the end of the Aincrad arc. This involved a deep scan that fried his brain, thus destroying this body. He shows up again in Fairy Dance and Underworld.
  • Brought Down to Badass: He voluntarily strips himself of his Game Master status and admin privileges to fight Kirito on an even footing. Even without them, he's able to hold his own and nearly win.
  • Cast as a Mask: To hide his true identity, Kayaba and Heathcliff are given different voice actors in both Japanese and English.
  • Char Clone: Somewhat Downplayed, Rare non Mecha anime example. He doesn't wear a Cool Mask (though his SAO Avatar not being based on his Real Life appearance is pretty close), and his fighting style is different(being a Nigh Invulnerable Tank, rather than a very fast attacker) but his Custom Uniform as Heathcliff is Red and while he didn't interact with or fight against Kirito often enough to qualify as The Rival, he still remained the last obstacle for him to defeat(after besting him before) defeat while his motives for being a Big Bad are similar to a type 3. And similar to Char at the end of CCA, he ends up Ascending through a machine of his own design at the end after his final defeat. The fact that he also acted as a mentor and superior to Asuna also qualifies as similar to Quattro Bajeena.
  • The Chooser of The One:
    • He is this to Kirito in Aincrad, albeit indirectly at first. He made it so that the Unique Skill, Dual Wielding, would go to the player with the fastest reaction time and intended them to face him in the Final Battle, though at the time he had no idea it would be Kirito. Though by the time he meets Kirito in person, he already knew Kirito was the one who would fight him.
    • A more direct example in the Fairy Dance arc where Kayaba's Virtual Ghost provides Divine Intervention to give Kirito the means to defeat Sugou by giving him access to his admin privileges. Later on, he also chooses Kirito to be the one to receive the World Seed, confident that Kirito had the passion to see that the Virtual World would continue existing.
  • Create Your Own Hero: It is his trapping of the players in SAO that led to Kazuto Kirigaya becoming Kirito the greatest hero of the virtual world.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Nearly averted; he created and sold an extremely popular total-immersion virtual reality game, presumably making truckloads of money off it. But then he decided to remove the logout button and fry the brains of anyone who dies in the game. He also enters the game himself, and eventually disables his God Mode, allowing Kirito to kill him... making him a meta-version of a Tactical Suicide Boss. Why? He wanted to be the villainous god common in JRP Gs, and even planned to be the Final Boss. Sugou/Oberon lampshades it during the Fairy Dance arc:
    Sugou: Mr. Kayaba was a genius, but he was also a fool. All he wanted to use his technology for was his game. He couldn't see the potential in it.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: Once Kirito defeats him, Kayaba is given the blame for everyone who died as a result of his death game, while the Player Killers, who knew or didn't believe that killing other players would kill them in real life, get off with counseling at worst (well, those that survived the game did—many PKers were PKed in turn).
  • Duel Boss: He intended to be this and the Final Boss for Kirito, but Asuna ended up interfering in order to save Kirito. In Infinity Moment/Hollow Fragment, he averts this because Kirito is allowed to have one ally. This is more apparent in season 1 of the anime adaptation.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Kirito. Both are virtual reality junkies, with their goals for the virtual world and the real world to be one and the same. Both are the strongest players in SAO, but while Kirito is a solo player who got shunned for being a Beater, Kayaba as Heathcliff is the Big Good who leads the largest guild in the game and is highly respected. Kayaba had suspected Kirito would be the one to face him in the Final Battle and become The Hero of the story up against himself as the villain.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Doctor Kayaba has a surprisingly humanizing relationship with fellow PHD student Kojiro Rinko, whose love for him seems to be genuinely reciprocated. Around her, and her alone, does he dare to be vulnerable and honest about realizing the futility of truly acheiving his fantastic boyhood dreams. Even though he did plant an explosive in her left breast out of fear she'll disclose the location of his body to the police while his mind adventured in Aincrad, he never detonated it, and she remained in return faithful to him till his last breath. In fact, she tells Asuna that the bomb was for her protection. When Aincrad was over, she could tell the police that he threatened her into helping him and thereby escape legal punishment.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • He may have caused the deaths of 4000+ players just to bring his imagination to life, but he keeps his own rules even if it meant losing everything. By these standards he holds Nobuyuki Sugou, who exploited his Game Master status for all it was worth, in contempt and helps out Kirito in taking him down.
    • On a minor note, he's above hurting children as the Nerve Gears that he created disallowed people under 13 to use it.
    • He appears to draw the line at sexual assault. In SAO, a victim of such is immediately presented with an option to teleport the offender to Black Iron Prison. This is due to the Ethics Code he programed, and unlike the therapist AIs, it was allowed continue functioning properly during the death game. His virtual ghost also steps in to help Kirito against Sugou after Sugou molests Asuna.
    • In Ordinal Scale, he disagrees with Tetsuhiro Shigemura's Evil Plan, but that was because he thought it wasn't visionary enough rather than any moral objection.
  • Fair-Play Villain: He traps ten thousand players in a virtual reality video game, and promises to let them out when the defeat the 100th floor boss. The game is fairly balanced, and so on, which starts to show this, but the real point comes when Kirito defeats the final boss (Kayaba, it turns out) on the 75th floor. Kayaba keeps his word and lets everyone out.
    • Zigzagged by Heathcliff, his alter ego who has an exceptionally powerful unique skill that even people in-universe consider broken. He also is immortal after taking a certain amount of damage and explicitly cheats during his first duel with Kirito. The game may have been fair, but his place in it sure as hell wasn't. Double-subverted during his second and final duel with Kirito, however, as he intentionally turns off his admin privileges to give Kirito a fighting chance of winning and freeing everyone.
  • Final Boss: He was supposed to be this for SAO, but ends up being discovered at floor 75. In Infinity Moment/Hollow Fragment, he gets to properly fulfill his role on the final floor.
  • Game Master: He's the administrator of SAO.
  • GMPC: Considered to be the strongest player in SAO. The Leader of the most powerful guild. One of the only two known people with a Unique Skill. Have never been seen being brought down to below 50% HP. Respected by all. Granted he expected himself to be revealed at around the 95th floor and deliberately did this to bring forth the greatest despair to the players. On the other hand, he tends to not do much and fights passively, letting the rest of the players do their own thing and to figure out what to do on their own. It was the combination of all the above that led Kirito to suspect this trope and thus his true identity.
  • The GM Is A Cheating Bastard:
    • To protect his guise as Heathcliff in his duel with Kirito, he accelerated faster than the normal players in SAO to block damage. He also has the "Immortal Object" ability normally granted to environmental objects to protect his life if his HP goes below 50%.
    • In the second duel Kirito noted that Kayaba did not, in fact, need the additional assistance to strike that fast.
  • A God Am I: While he never claims to be anything more than a programmer, Kirito notes that his behavior is godlike - looking upon the players not with empathy, but with mercy and pity. This is what allows Kirito to identify him as Heathcliff.
  • Graceful Loser: When defeated three-quarters of the way through the planned SAO, Kayaba congratulates Kirito and Asuna, and lets them both live and return to the real world, even though they had both "died" in the virtual world.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: As the gamemaster, he's more dangerous than villains like Laughing Coffin but otherwise uninvolved with their evil plans. His actions would also lead to the later Arc Villains Sugou, Death Gun, and even The Movie villain in fulfilling their own evil plans.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Once SAO is cleared, Kayaba's Virtual Ghost becomes an ally of sorts and no longer antagonizes Kirito, even helping him out a few times against the new Big Bads.
  • Karma Houdini: He dies on his own terms. While Kirito isn't openly hostile or hateful, he doesn't think that he can ever forgive Kayaba for those deaths, particularly Sachi's.
  • Killer Game Master: He designed the Nerve Gear to kill players in real life if they died in his game. He also placed lots of traps in his world with the idea of making that happen.
  • Lack of Empathy: He cares nothing for the deaths of the players in SAO, treating it more like an inevitable consequence of living in the world he created. Unlike most examples, however, he isn't malicious about it, just indifferent.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: In his final duel with Kirito, he lowers himself to the level of the players, forfeiting all of his GM advantages to face Kirito in a fair duel.
  • Light/Darkness Juxtaposition: As Heathcliff he's the light to Kirito's dark. Kirito is known as the "Black Swordsman" and invokes Dark Is Not Evil, while Heathcliff is a paladin with his attacks including the "Holy Sword" and "Spiritual Light" and revealed to be Light Is Not Good.
  • Light Is Not Good: His Heathcliff Avatar has light based skills and is a Paladin.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: He's no saint by any means, but Kayaba is a Fair-Play Villain with his own morals who sticks to his rules, which makes him this to the likes of Nobuyuki Sugou, a sociopathic Corrupt Corporate Executive who stole and used Kayaba's technology to perform inhumane Mind Control experiments on innocent people, the members of Laughing Coffin, who killed other players For the Evulz because they knew Kayaba would get the blame and they'd get off scot-free, Quinella, a Dark Messiah and Control Freak who took over the Underworld for herself, and Gabriel Miller, a megalomaniacal and psychotic PMC commander with a twisted fixation on stealing souls.
  • Mad Artist: He dreamed of a masterpiece of a world where players can surpass the limits of reality. He also dreamed of people fighting for their lives in said world, apparently.
  • Meaningful Name: Kayaba naming his character after the villain of Wuthering Heights draws certain parallels — originally appearing heroic, he is revealed to have more evil and self-serving intents.
  • Moral Sociopathy: He trapped thousands of people in his death game and cares little about them, but he's a Fair-Play Villain who gave the players a legitimate means of escape and he keeps his own rules even when it costs him his life.
  • Motive Decay: As Aincrad crumbles, he discusses this trope with Asuna and Kirito in combination with a Motive Rant encapsulating his original desire. "Why you ask? For a long time, even I had forgotten. Why did I do this?" He concludes with a statement that suggests this Aincrad did not measure up to the ideal Aincrad he envisioned.
  • Noble Demon: He's a murderer and a kidnapper and has some weird ethics to be sure but he sticks to his rules and is a Graceful Loser.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: His ultimate goal is essentially to bring the world of his imagination to life and have it be as real as possible. He also possesses a certain sense of fair play. This is Lampshaded in the 4-koma, where the raid team accuses him of having 8th grader syndrome.
  • Slasher Smile: Gives off a vicious one during his Final Battle with Kirito, after Kirito blunders by accidentally activating a Sword Skill, to which Heathcliff knows he's won the fight.
  • The Sociopath: Just doesn't care either way about the people trapped in his death game. Sure, he does help found and raise a very powerful guild and helps its members develop, but that was done solely to have strong players who would keep challenging the game. That said, he's a surprisingly realistic example in that he does none of this with any malice in mind; he built the game not because he enjoyed watching thousands die but because he wanted to make and build a world and it wouldn't have been real if real people didn't populate, live, and die in it. In addition, he always meant for the game to end with his death, and when discovered early he willingly forgoed his admin privileges to fight on Kirito's level in a one-on-one duel and kept his word once he was beaten to let everyone go.
  • Sorry That I'm Dying: He apologizes to Rinko in the Alicization arc for leaving her behind. Case in point, Kirito beats him back in Aincrad.
  • The Stoic: Even when Kirito overcomes death to attack him one last time, his expression barely changes.
  • Straw Nihilist: He doesn't even care about his own life.
  • Strong and Skilled: He's the Game Master of SAO, and thus has OP admin privileges. And since he was the one who created the game, no one understands the game's mechanics better than he does. Even after voluntarily turning off his admin privileges and leveling the playing field, he's still able to hold his own against Kirito and would have beaten him if it wasn't for a combination of blind luck and The Power of Love.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: His anime character design is an average-looking man in a lab coat, in contrast to his Heathcliff avatar. Yet, he's still the Big Bad of the Aincrad arc.
  • True Final Boss: In Infinity Moment/Hollow Fragment. Alberich/Sugou may have usurped his planned role as the true villain of Aincrad, but Kayaba will only let the game truly end by finishing his final duel with Kirito.
  • The Unfettered: The game will continue for Kayaba's amusement. What the players think of him is irrelevant.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: His ultimate goal it to reach or create "Aincrad", the world that surpasses the limits of reality that he saw in his dreams. The "Aincrad" from SAO is based on it.
  • Virtual Ghost: What he becomes after the events of the Aincrad arc, which is why he also avoids being sent to prison (since his physical body was dead). All of his subsequent appearances have him manifesting in this form. In the main continuity, he used a special machine to preserve his life, while in the game continuity (Hollow Realization) the Cardinal System brought him back to life in order to serve as the restored Aincrad's Final Boss (as his death is necessary to destroy Aincrad and complete the test), but with the deactivation of the module he just runs off to do his own thing. In Ordinal Scale, he manifests through Augmented Reality to have a chat with his former teacher, that movie's Big Bad.
  • Visionary Villain: His dream of "Aincrad" led him to villainy.
  • Villain Respect: He's genuinely impressed that Kirito and Asuna were able to defy the physics of his game through sheer force of will. In his mind, this essentially proves the tenacity of humans — which was what he was trying to study all along.
    • Comes up again in the Fairy Dance arc when Kirito, defeated by Sugou's GM powers, is visited by Kayaba's ghost, who is confused by how Kirito has seemingly given in to Sugou's power. He then gives Kirito his admin access to level the playing field.
  • Villainous Legacy: A subversion, in that while Kayaba's influence does loom large over the series long after his role is ended, the impacts are largely beneficial to society:
    • A virtual remnant of himself is what allows Kirito to turn the tables on Oberon at the climax of Fairy Dance.
    • The World Seed he created with data gathered from the Aincrad server is ultimately what allows VRMMOs to continue to exist after SAO and the first ALO server are shut down. The same thing happens in the video game continuity at the end of Hollow Realization, when his virtual self is recreated as part of the Cardinal System's preparation to test Aincrad's destruction (as his death is crucial to make it happen). Thankfully, he deactivates the destruction module after Tia is defeated.
    • At the end of Mother's Rosario, it's revealed that he was the original designer of the Medicuboid system that made it possible for Yuuki to have a high quality of life in VR while her health rapidly deteriorated due to AIDS.
    • He shows up again (in a robot body) near the end of Alicization just in time to screw up the GDS' last-ditch bombing of Ocean Turtle.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: As Heathcliff, he is a famous hero.
  • Worthy Opponent: Develops this relationship with Kirito, as the player granted Dual Wielding, Kayaba envisioned him as the hero who would fight him as the Final Boss of Aincrad. Both Kirito and Kayaba possess a level of respect for each other, despite being enemies. Upon Kayaba's defeat, the two seem to have transitioned to becoming friendly enemies with Kayaba willing to help Kirito out against the later Big Bads who are worse than him.

    Nobuyuki Sugou / Oberon the Fairy King 

Nobuyuki Sugou / Oberon the Fairy King (ALO)

Voiced by: Takehito Koyasu (Japanese), Todd Haberkorn (English), Enric Puig (European Spanish), José Gilberto Vilchis (Latin American Spanish)
Click here to see Oberon 
Click here to see Sugou's Alberich avatar in Hollow Fragment 

The director of RECT Inc.'s research institute who is in fact a Mad Scientist behind close doors. He hijacked the minds of 300 of the SAO victims (including his then-fiance Asuna) and traps them in his own game ALFheim Online to experiment on them. The antagonist of volumes 3-4.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: To Asuna. Sugou freely admits that Asuna has always hated him, and that was before the events of the Fairy Dance arc, when he traps her in a cage in ALO for two months and makes multiple attempts to sexually assault her before trying to rape her outright. When holding her captive, Sugou asks for Asuna's love, and Asuna tells him point-blank that he'll have to make do with her disgust and hatred.
  • Abled in the Adaptation: In the video game continuity; Kirito doesn't torture him with the Pain Absorber, so Sugou never suffers phantom pains or goes blind in his right eye.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: He's a fair bit more competent in the game adaptation, with his more Bond Villain Stupidity moments being removed. As Alberich, he's no longer an Orcus on His Throne and actively carries out his Evil Plan, proving to be far more of a threat to Kirito. He's also more subtle in his approach, playing the nice guy and pretending to be an ally, rather than stupidly revealing his entire plan to Kirito in an act of Evil Gloating. He also very nearly succeeds in killing all of the assault team and was only stopped due to last minute intervention from Strea, rather than his canon counterpart's stupid decision to force Kirito to watch and inevitably giving Kirito time to be freed by Kayaba's Virtual Ghost.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: As much of a bastard as he is in canon, he manages to be even worse in the games. In canon, he hijacked the minds of a few hundred SAO survivors and ran experiments on them, but for the most they seem unaware of the tests that are done on them. In the games he creates a super powerful avatar called Alberich and uses everyone in Aincrad as test subjects and directly tortures them. In addition, in canon he kept Asuna captive, and once Kirito finds her tries to rape her in front of him. In the games he has already actively sexually assaulted several female players, using his admin privileges to override the Harassment Code put in place.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Literally every scene Sugou shares with Asuna has him drooling all over her. He sniffs her hair while she's in a coma, traps her in ALO just to lord over her in a bird cage, constantly gropes and sniffs her, and finally licks her face and rips her clothes off before trying to rape her outright. He's even worse in the video game continuity, where he takes advantage of his super account to override Kayaba's Harassment Code and sexually assaults more than one female player, and his Oberon self in Accel World vs. Sword Art Online lewds over several other girls before becoming fixated on Asuna.
  • Always Second Best: To Kayaba, which drives him nuts. To drive it home, when Kayaba effortlessly overrides Sugou's control of ALO and grants Kirito admin privileges to turn the tide, Sugou's immediate response is to throw a temper tantrum, whining about how even in death, Kayaba's getting in his way and one-upping him.
  • Arch-Enemy: He cements this status for Kirito. While he was already an awful person for kidnapping over 300 SAO survivors and keeping them captive in ALO for his sick experiments, he makes it very personal for Kirito for what he does to Asuna. Upon Kirito finding Asuna still hasn't woken up, Sugou reveals he was the one who had trapped her in another game and rubs it in Kirito's face that he is going to forcibly marry Asuna. When Kirito goes into ALO in an attempt to rescue Asuna, Sugou abuses his admin privileges to torture Kirito before sexually assaulting Asuna in front of him. When finally given the chance, Kirito wants nothing more than to spill his blood and make sure it's as painful and humiliating as possible. The feeling is mutual on Sugou's side, who comes to deeply hate the weak boy who defied him and foiled his plans. Sugou wants him dead above all else, to the point where it surpassed his obsession with Asuna and leads him to try to kill Kirito in the real world.
  • Arc Villain: The primary antagonist of the Fairy Dance arc, kick-starting the plot when he reveals he was responsible for keeping Asuna trapped in ALO, forcing Kirito to enter the game to rescue her. Infinity Moment/Hollow Fragment upgrades him to Big Bad; he hijacked SAO so that he could use it for his experiments and used a super account to enter the game as Alberich.
  • Arranged Marriage: Was the fiancé of Asuna chosen by her parents. In her parents' defense, he admits that if they knew how she felt about him, they would have called it off in a heartbeat.
  • Attempted Rape: During the climax of the Fairy Dance arc, Sugou molests Asuna and is just about to rape her in front of Kirito, before Kirito frees himself, obtains admin privileges from Kayaba's digital spirt, and beats the crap out of him.
  • Ax-Crazy: His childish, sickening obsession of dominating everyone around him leads him to trap 300 people to perform sadistic mind games with them, almost rape Asuna while trying to make Kirito watch and he actually tries to murder Kirito in real life after he gets his ass beat.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: While the legitimate Big Bad of the Fairy Dance arc and introduced as the villain following up Kayaba, he's ultimately just a shallow imitation of his predecessor. The entire system for his game was hijacked from SAO and he even shows himself to be extremely jealous of the far more talented Kayaba. His inferiority is cemented when Kayaba easily overrides the code in his game and gives Kirito admin privileges, while Sugou is helpless to do anything about it but whine and cry. Even when he manages to usurp the title of Big Bad of SAO in the video game continuity of Infinity Moment/Hollow Fragment, it's only because Kayaba was indisposed in dealing with the glitches in the Cardinal System and couldn't take care of Sugou himself, forcing Kirito and company to do it instead.
  • Big "OMG!": His response in the English dub when he realizes that Kayaba overrode his control of ALO and gave Kirito admin privileges, followed by a temper tantrum about how even in death, Kayaba is still beating him.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Asuna's father Shouzou viewed him as a friendly, bright prodigy, to the extent that he set up an Arranged Marriage between him and Asuna and intended for him to inherit his company, RECT Inc. In reality, Sugou is a Corrupt Corporate Executive and a Stalker with a Crush towards Asuna who not only trapped 300 SAO survivors, including Asuna herself, in ALO in order to conduct inhumane Mind Control experiments on them, but also planned to brainwash and rape Asuna and take control of the company. After Kirito defeats him, the sheep's clothing is flung off. In Hollow Fragment, as Alberich, he tries to act polite in order to get into the raid team, but Kirito and Asuna can tell that he's insincere.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: After stabbing Kirito through his back and spine with Kirito's own sword, Sugou, rather than just finish him off and be done with it, decides to torture him by slowly decreasing the Pain Absorber, on top of making him watch while he molests Asuna, just to be a sadistic asshole. This buys Kayaba's digital spirit time to save Kirito, granting him access to his ID and admin privileges, both of which outrank Sugou's own, and which Kirito uses to set Sugou's in-game level to 1 before using the Pain Absorber on Sugou himself, killing him so brutally that Sugou is left permanently injured IRL. Even though Sugou had no way of foreseeing Kayaba's intervention, that still wasn't exactly a smart move.
  • Break the Haughty: Due to his position as Game Master of ALO, Sugou has quite the bloated ego, to the point of declaring himself a god, and believes there's nothing Kirito can do to stop him. His delusions of godhood come to a crashing halt when Kayaba's Virtual Ghost saves Kirito and grants him admin privileges to turn the tables, proving that even with the former dead, Sugou is still Always Second Best to Kayaba. This is only the beginning of his Humiliation Conga; immediately afterwards, Sugou is left trembling in fear before an enraged Kirito, and by the time Kirito's done with him, Sugou is left a whimpering, blubbering wreck. It happens again when he tries to attack Kirito in real life, going from smugly gloating about how he's going to kill him and continue his research to crying his eyes out in fear and wetting his pants the minute Kirito turns the tables on him again.
  • Bright Is Not Good: In Hollow Fragment, his Alberich avatar is decked out in late-game white armor, but he's just as evil as his canon version.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: He pees in his pants, after screaming his lungs out, after Kirito overpowers him in real life.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Kayaba grants Kirito his user ID and along with it admin privileges that outrank that of Sugou. With this, Kirito proceeds to set Sugou's Oberon avatar to level 1, removing all unfair advantages he had before, before Kirito lays down the pain upon the bastard and inevitably killing his in-game avatar.
  • Can't Take Criticism: When Kirito pulls off his Heroic Second Wind and tears him down verbally, declaring he's nothing but a "king of thieves, sitting alone on a stolen throne," Sugou is outraged that Kirito dares speak to him in such a manner and tries to summon Excalibur to cut him down with; unfortunately for him, thanks to Kayaba's intervention, Sugou no longer has admin privileges.
    Sugou: You little punk... you dare... you dare talk to me like that?!
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Unlike Kayaba, he is portrayed as straightly and unconditionally evil, and revels in being able to do all the horrible things in ALO that would see him ostracized outside of it.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: He experiments on the minds of the 300 SAO survivors, testing their fear and pain responses. Then there's what he does to Kirito during the climax, running him through with his own sword and making him watch as he molests Asuna.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He's a lousy fighter, but compensates by using his admin privileges to give himself unfair advantages like overpowered stats, equipment, and magic. He also paralyzes Kirito and Asuna with an unreleased gravity spell and gets the jump on Kazuto with a surprise attack, slashing his arm before going for the kill. Tellingly, when Sugou can't rely on his Game Master powers or such dirty tricks, Kirito hands him his ass.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Aside from being a GMPC, he and Kayaba are as different as night and day. While Kayaba was simply deluded, Sugou is unambiguously, unconditionally evil and revels in his villainy. While Kayaba actively participated in the game under the guise of Heathcliff, Sugou was an Orcus on His Throne who didn't take action until Kirito was literally at his door. Kayaba posed as a humble player and a noble commander to his guild, while Sugou declared himself to be God and treated everyone else like dirt while believing he was entitled to have Asuna. Kayaba was Strong and Skilled, and still a match for Kirito even after forfeiting his admin privileges, while Sugou is Unskilled, but Strong, has nothing going for him aside from his Game Master powers, and is curb-stomped by Kirito when he loses them. While Kayaba was a Graceful Loser who faced death with dignity, Sugou is a Dirty Coward who goes out whining, cursing, and crying both times Kirito beats him.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: He is the director of RECTO's research institute and the one responsible for keeping 300 Nerve Gear victims, including Asuna, prisoner even after SAO had ended. He did this by transferring them all into ALO for experiments on human subjugation via full dive technology. He also attempts to take over RCT Progress Inc. by marrying Asuna while she is unconscious. In Infinity Moment/Hollow Fragment, he flat-out attempts to use all the trapped SAO players in his experiments and keep the death game going until he's perfected his work.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit:
    • Upon his defeat and arrest, Sugou attempts this, claiming that Kayaba was the one who was really behind his experiments on the SAO survivors. It doesn't work, and he eventually gives in and confesses when one of his employees is questioned.
    • In Infinity Moment/Hollow Fragment, Asuna fears this may be the case for Sugou, since Kayaba will most likely get the blame for the actions of Laughing Coffin as well. It's ultimately subverted, because unlike Laughing Coffin, Sugou does not escape justice; all the surviving players band together and tell the authorities about his crimes, and the resulting investigations turn up enough dirt that he's stripped of his position, arrested, and incarcerated.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: Everything he does throughout the Fairy Dance arc is for the sake of making himself a god, both in ALO and in the real world. This is a key component in his Mind Control research and experiments on the 300 SAO players.
  • Didn't See That Coming: He believes he has everything in the bag and is unstoppable. He would have been, were it not for Kayaba's Virtual Ghost intervening and giving Kirito access to his admin ID, which outranks Sugou's and allows Kirito to turn the tide in an instant.
  • Didn't Think This Through: In the video game continuity, he hijacks SAO using a super account and enters under the guise of Alberich, planning to clear it and become the hero of Aincrad after using the game to perfect his mind control research. The plan falls apart at step one; for starters, even with his high stats and equipment, his skills are as horrible as one would expect of someone who just joined recently, which makes him too much of a hindrance to join the Clearing group. In fact, the fact that he has such a powerful character when he has such poor skills (especially under the circumstances of the Death Game), the fact that he just showed up out of the blue, and his abuses of Game Master powers such as ignoring the Ethics Code, are what tip Kirito and the gang off that something fishy is going on.
  • Dirty Coward: He spends most of the Fairy Dance arc cocky, composed, and arrogant, declaring himself a god and rubbing in Kirito's face that there's nothing he can do to stop him... as long as he's in control of the situation and has his Game Master powers backing him up. The minute he's stripped of his admin privileges and faced with a righteously pissed-off Kirito, Sugou has a massive Freak Out! and breaks down crying like a scared little girl. He's just as cowardly in real life; he attacks Kirito with a knife, slashing his arm in a surprise attack, and kicks Kirito multiple times after he falls to the ground before trying to kill him... and when Kirito overpowers him, takes the knife away, and states his intention to kill him with it, Sugou panics and immediately tries to make a break for it; Kirito just barely manages to stop himself from finishing him off, by which point Sugou is crying Tears of Fear and loses control of his bladder before passing out.
  • Disease Bleach: In the anime. When we last see Sugou, in a flashback to his interrogation, his hair has turned completely white, no doubt from the shock of Kirito nearly slitting his throat.
  • Ditzy Genius: He's a VR genius in his own right, though falling a bit short of Kayaba. But he's prone to very blatant Bond Villain Stupidity moments and can't anticipate very obvious consequences to his actions. Case in point: he believes that there are numerous organizations that would kill to have his research and thus shelter him from the law after Kirito defeats him in ALO. Instead, he's arrested and incarcerated, with RECT nearly going bankrupt as a result of his crimes.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Insists that he be referred to as Oberon while in the game. Kirito doesn't give a damn and continues to call him Sugou.
    Sugou: I'd prefer it if you didn't call me that name in this world. You should address me as His Highness, the Fairy King Oberon!
  • Engineered Heroics: Part of his plot in the games' continuity. As he gloats to Kirito and company, once he's done keeping the death game going for his experiments, he'll personally beat the game and be seen as a hero for saving everyone from it.
  • Entitled Bastard: Sugou takes this to extreme levels, believing he has the right to do whatever he wants, like rule the world, and no one has any right to stop him. When he first reveals his true colors to Kirito, he brags that it's his right to take advantage of Asuna, since RECTO took custody of her and the other 300 SAO survivors, and that he's entitled to compensation for keeping them all alive. Later, when Kayaba's Virtual Ghost overrides his control of ALO and gives Kirito Game Master privileges, Sugou throws a screaming tantrum and rants that Kayaba always takes everything he considers rightfully his.
  • Entitled to Have You: His attitude towards Asuna. He even flat-out tells Kirito as such, saying it's his right to take advantage of her and he's entitled to compensation for keeping her and the other SAO survivors alive. Never mind the fact that, as he freely admits, Asuna has always hated him.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He thinks that Kirito will be too scared to enter ALO to save Asuna and gloats about it to her face in an attempt to demoralize her. Not only is Kirito more than strong enough to dive headfirst into the game on the off-chance he can save Asuna, she is well aware of that, and hearing that Kirito knows she's in danger is enough to keep her going for a little while longer. She herself lampshades this, saying that if Sugou had any understanding of love, he would have lied and said Kirito was dead.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • He's an eviler counterpart to Kayaba. Both are technical geniuses and the Game Masters of the virtual worlds they created, and both are Psychopathic Manchildren with God complexes. However, Kayaba has a Noble Demon attitude and sense of fair play while Sugou has neither.
    • To a lesser extent, Kirito. Both ended up being betrothed to Asuna, but while Kirito genuinely won over Asuna's heart and she pursued him herself, Sugou saw Asuna as rightfully his property and tried to forcefully make her his by any means possible. Both ended up having overpowered stats in Alfheim Online, but while Kirito had this due to an Old Save Bonus from his time in SAO and even then deemed it cheating, Sugou abused admin privileges to make himself an invincible avatar. Furthermore, Kirito proved himself to be Strong and Skilled being able to backup his stats with hours of VR experience, while Sugou is solely Unskilled, but Strong and is completely dependent on his stats and completely useless once he's stripped of his admin privileges. Finally, both ended up being 'successors' to Kayaba and continued his work, however while Kirito was handpicked by Kayaba as The Chosen One due to seeing the boy's love and passion for the virtual world, Sugou stole all of Kayaba's work in order create his own world where he could rule as a god. Kirito's wants to create the VR in order to seek out how it can benefit humanity, while Sugou's motives were only for his own selfish means of experimenting on helpless players in developing mind control tech and as an eventual means to Take Over the World.
  • Evil Gloating:
    • When he first reveals his true colors to Kirito, he spends several seconds rubbing in Kirito's face how he's going to forcibly marry her within a week, and there's nothing he can do about it.
    • He brags to a captive Asuna about his belief that Kirito is too scared to enter ALO to save her in an effort to demoralize her. It does the exact opposite; Asuna knows that Kirito is more than strong enough to enter ALO if there's any chance of saving her, and knowing that he's still alive helps her Heroic Resolve.
    • He does it once again after Kirito defeats him in ALO, when he attacks Kirito in real life. When Kirito tells him he's finished and should just turn himself in, Sugou smugly brushes him off, stating that countless organizations would want his work and thus shelter him from the law, allowing him to continue his research and become a true king. After Kirito overpowers him and leaves him unconscious in the parking lot, Sugou is proven wrong; he's arrested and incarcerated for his crimes.
  • Evil Laugh: He lets out some Ax-Crazy cackles during his first confrontation with Kirito. His face certainly adds to his psychopathic demeanor.
  • Evil Is Hammy: As Oberon, he acts incredibly grandiose and overly dramatic, particularly when he is beating up Kirito and then later on getting his ass whooped.
  • Evil Is Petty: After revealing to Kirito his Arranged Marriage with Asuna, he mockingly invites him to the wedding just to twist the knife. He takes great delight in describing Kirito's reaction to said wedding to Asuna, openly admitting he barely stopped himself from laughing at it.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Only in the Japanese version. Averted in the English dub, where his voice is higher pitched.
  • Evil Tastes Good: Says something to this effect while licking Asuna's face.
    Sugou: Yummy! How sweet!
  • Eye Scream: Suffered this by Kirito at the final part of his Curb-Stomp Battle by letting his sword fall into him and because of the pain reception he brought up during that fight it transfers into the real world with painful irritation and bad vision from that right eye.
  • Famous Last Words: While Sugou doesn't die IRL, his avatar, Oberon, says this before being killed by Kirito:
  • Fate Worse than Death: Not outright stated; but considering The Unwritten Prison Code of Honor pertaining to “doing unto him how he did unto her" when it comes to sex offenders, Kirito not killing Sugou will doom him to having a HELL of a time being "everybody's girlfriend" in prison for the next 25 or so years...
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • While Sugou tries to puts up a polite façade, it eventually becomes clear that he's an amoral, greedy, pretentious Jerkass with a God complex who looks down on everyone around him, as well as being a perverted stalker towards Asuna. It's particularly pronounced in his Last Villain Stand, where he casually talks with Kirito at first, before charging at him with a knife with full intent to kill him.
    Sugou: You're late, Kirito. I've been out here so long, I might catch cold.
    • In Infinity Moment/Hollow Fragment, he tries the nice guy act to get into the group's raiding party, but Kirito and co. are able to see through it right away.
  • Flat Character: Sugou is straight-out, flat-out evil. No motivation, no backstory, no reasoning. He's evil simply because he is, and goes straight for the lowest of lows like being a Mad Scientist experimenting on mind-control and being a rapist. In spite of his wealth and intellectual upbringing, he is likely a product of being spoiled rotten to the point of always getting what he wanted since childhood no matter what. See Spoiled Brat below for more details.
  • Flynning: Exploited hard by Kirito. When Kirito gets admin privileges and demands a duel, it becomes clear that Sugou is not skilled at either games or real swordfighting, because he attacks Kirito's weapon instead of the boy himself, which Kirito easily deflects and overpowers.
  • Foil:
    • Like Kayaba, he's a technical genius and the Game Master of the game he created, but while Kayaba built up SAO from scratch, willingly gave up his admin privileges to fight Kirito fairly, was able to put up a good fight without them, and went out gracefully, Sugou stole the entire system of ALO from Kayaba's design, abused his admin privileges to wipe the floor with Kirito, proved to be absolutely no threat without said privileges, and went out whining, cursing, and crying. The biggest difference between the two? Kayaba doesn't seem to see the inherent problems with his actions, whereas Sugou knows what he's doing is wrong and doesn't give a damn; instead, he revels in the knowledge that he can do all the things in ALO that would see him ostracized in real life.
    • To Kirito himself. Kirito notes that both him and Sugou shared the experience of being defeated and then forced to work for Kayaba — the difference being that Sugou tried to become Kayaba, while Kirito defied him. How they approach the concept of What You Are in the Dark also counts; Kirito believes that if you indulge your baser instincts while anonymous online, you end up becoming a worse person as a result, whereas Sugou revels in being able to do all the horrible things online that would see him ostracized in the real world, and uses ALO as his own personal outlet for indulging in his sadism and sick fantasies.
  • For the Evulz: He revels in being evil, and delights in being able to commit all manner of atrocities in ALO that would see him ostracized in the real world. Then there's his Cold-Blooded Torture of Kirito, where he pins him down and makes him watch as he sexually assaults Asuna, purely for the sake of being cruel and lording his power over the two.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Zigzagged. His real world counterpart (the corrupt corporate executive) wears glasses but his game avatar (the tyrannical king) does not.
  • Game Master: He's the administrator of ALO during Fairy Dance. In Infinity Moment/Hollow Fragment, he uses his administrator account and the fact Kayaba's not around to make a super-powerful avatar named Alberich.
  • G.I.F.T.: He may very well be one of the worst examples in all of fiction. While most examples of this trope merely have those online acting as massive jerks which they could not get away with in real life. Sugou sees being in a virtual world as the perfect excuse to bring a sadistic bastard, conducting inhumane experiments on players and making numerous attempts to sexually assault Asuna, before going for the full on Attempted Rape. And then, Kirito finds out he's just as bad in the real world as he is online, when Sugou tries to kill him using a knife.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: He doesn't wear glasses in ALO.
  • A God Am I: Saw himself as one in ALO and gave himself the identity of "the fairy king, Oberon". His research into Mind Control is in part so he can make himself one in real life as well.
    (mockingly)"Ah, who do you think is going to stop me? Ooh, maybe a god! But sadly, there's none in this world. EXCEPT FOR YOURS TRULY!"
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: In real life, his hair is slicked back. During his Last Villain Stand, said hair is now a mess, showcasing his Villainous Breakdown.
  • The GM Is A Cheating Bastard: Uses an unreleased, overpowered gravity spell on Kirito and Asuna. He then slowly lowers the Pain Absorber to torture Kirito rather than kill him immediately. The latter eventually leads to him being Hoist by His Own Petard with it being used against him.
  • GMPC: Both as Oberon in the novels/anime and Alberich in the video games he abuses the fact he has overpowered stats, equipment and magic to fight the heroes. Unlike Kayaba, who was a skilled fighter and warrior even when he intentionally turned off his admin privileges, those are the only things going for him as he's pathetic combat-wise. Once Kayaba's virtual ghost (anime/novels) or Strea (games) take his admin status away, Kirito wastes no time showing Sugou how outclassed and pathetic he really is.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: It may not seem like it at first, but he's this for the War of the Underworld subarc of the Alicization arc. Sugou had put spies within the Ocean Turtle with the intention to sell their tech to foreign governments, thus leading to NSA hiring Glowden Security Systems to seize it.
  • Greed: Part of his motivation for his mind control experiments. He gloats to Asuna that as soon as his research is complete, he's going to sell it and RECT to an American organization for "as much as he can." It's also revealed that he planted spies in the Ocean Turtle with the intention of selling their tech.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: His avatar gets chopped in half by Kirito during the climax of Fairy Dance, before getting thrown in the air and impaled through the eye.
  • Hate Sink: Unlike Kayaba, Sugou has no redeeming qualities and goes out of his way to be as despicable as possible. He's a Smug Snake, Dirty Coward, and Corrupt Corporate Executive who performs inhumane mind control experiments on 300 SAO survivors, thinks himself above everyone else, keeps Asuna prisoner in ALO to lord over her in a birdcage before trying to rape her outright while making Kirito watch, and lastly, makes an attempt on Kazuto's life IRL. Every moment he's on-screen seems devoted to making the audience cheer every time Kirito turns the tables on him.
  • The Hedonist: His lust for power and treatment of Asuna gives him some exaggerated hedonistic qualities.
  • Heroes Act, Villains Hinder: For the majority of the Fairy Dance arc he's an Orcus on His Throne who does nothing to stop Kirito from advancing the game and coming to rescue Asuna. Only when Kirito has made his way to the top of the World Tree does he get off his ass and take action. Even in the real world, he just stands outside the hospital in the snow, waiting for Kirito to show up, and when he does, he gripes that Kirito is late and he could have caught a cold.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Pain Absorption that he used to torture Kirito is used against him when the latter obtains Administration Powers from Kayaba.
  • Hope Crusher: He constantly tries to be this for Asuna during her time trapped in ALO, most notably by gloating about his belief Kirito is too scared to enter ALO to rescue her and that he won't be coming. It backfires, since Asuna knows Kirito will come for her, and the knowledge he's out there helps her Heroic Resolve.
  • Humiliation Conga: Both in the original series and the videogames.
    • Gets hit with this when Kirito pulls off his Heroic Second Wind. First, Kirito revokes his admin status and turns off the Pain Absorber that Sugou had previously used to torture him, insuring that every wound he inflicted on Sugou's avatar would carry over to his real body. Then, he uses a voice command to summon Excalibur, the most powerful weapon in ALO, and gives it to Sugou, who tries to cut Kirito down with it, only to fail miserably; subsequently, Kirito literally tears Oberon apart, slicing off his arm, cutting him in half, and stabbing him through the eye, killing him in-game. When Sugou later tries to attack Kirito in real life, he's overpowered, reduced to a sobbing wreck, and loses control of his bladder before being arrested and incarcerated. His crimes are subsequently made public, and Asuna's parents, call off his engagement to their daughter. In the end, Sugou lost everything; his dreams and ambitions are crushed, his body is permanently damaged, and the whole world now sees him for the cyber-criminal and monster he really is.
    • In Infinity Moment/Hollow Fragment, he hacks into the game with a super account to create a powerful avatar named Alberich and intends to use all the players in his mind-control experiments, but Kirito manages to show him up in their duels, he's rejected from the Clearing group due to his total lack of skill, Strea takes away his GM privileges in order to let Kirito and company land him his well-deserved beatdown, and then he's arrested and imprisoned for the rest of the game. Once SAO is cleared, he's arrested and stripped of his position in real life due to the players revealing his crimes and the subsequent investigations turning up the necessary proof, and once again loses his engagement to Asuna. His only saving grace here is that Kirito doesn't torture him with the Pain Absorber.
  • Hypocrite:
  • If I Can't Have You...: His threat of altering Asuna's memories. If she doesn't voluntarily submit to him then he will brainwash her into doing so. He flat-out states he will do this in Infinity Moment/Hollow Fragment, since he is torturing and killing her friends right in front of her with the Hollow Avatar.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Does this to Asuna by chaining her, ripping her clothes off and licking her, all this right in front of Kirito.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Kirito kills Sugou's Oberon avatar by tossing him up and letting him fall onto his sword that landed on his right eye.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: What he's reduced to when Kirito turns the tables on him, both in-game and IRL, is a tearful wreck.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: He fancies himself a big and powerful man, even declaring himself a god, but he's ultimately nothing but a poor imitation of Akihiko Kayaba and he knows it. During his Villainous Breakdown, he whines and throws a temper tantrum over the fact that even with Kayaba dead, he's still Always Second Best. Kirito even lampshades it; while both of them were defeated by Kayaba and forced to work for him, Kirito defied Kayaba while Sugou wants to be him.
  • In-Series Nickname: Kirito dubs him "The King of Thieves", since in spite of all his claims that he's the king, creator, and god of ALfheim Online, he actually just stole his power, the lives of 300 SAO survivors, the world someone else completed, and is overall mooching off Akihiko Kayaba's work and inventions.
  • It's All About Me: He takes having a god complex to unbelievable levels, thinking that he's entitled to ruling the world and it's not fair if anyone tries to stop his grandiose plans.
  • Jerkass: As if he wasn't evil enough, Sugou is a callous and unpleasant jerk. Aside from treating Asuna like a doll and disregarding her own emotions, he rubs his impending Arranged Marriage with Asuna in Kirito's face just to be a dick, looks down on everyone around him, and responds to his attempts to save Asuna from ALO with sadistic mockery.
  • Kick the Dog: He does this a lot. Highlights include gloating about his Arranged Marriage with Asuna to Kirito, bragging about the look on Kirito's face when he did so to Asuna, and pinning him down before impaling him with his own sword and making him watch as he molests Asuna while smirking and laughing about it.
    Sugou: Give me a break. Why don't you stay down and grovel like a GOOD LITTLE DOGGY?!
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: After impaling Kirito with his own sword, he decides to twist the knife by first changing the Pain Absorber to torture him, then to mess with him even further by molesting Asuna right in front of him. Later, when he attacks Kirito in the real world, he literally kicks him multiple times after Kirito falls to the ground.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Once Kayaba saves Kirito and takes away Sugou's admin privileges, Kirito wastes no time in defeating Sugou as painfully and humiliating as possible, verbally tearing down his delusions of godhood before brutally killing him to the point where Sugou is left with permanent injuries in real life. On anyone else, it would've been horrifyingly brutal, but after all of the atrocities Sugou has committed on top of being a Jerkass Smug Snake, it's incredibly cathartic to watch Kirito put him in his place.
  • Killer Game Master: The overpowered spells, the Pain Reception controls, and the fact that ALO is Unwinnable by Design, all point to a sadistic "Fairy King".
  • Knife Nut: He tried to kill Kazuto in the real world with a combat knife. Thankfully Kazuto handed him his ass and handed him to the police by his supposed victim, thanks to the skills he learned in game.
  • Lack of Empathy: He shows no remorse over any of his heinous deeds, and even takes delight in them. Most notably, he views the 300 SAO survivors he trapped in ALO as nothing but guinea pigs for his mind control research and calls them as such. He also believes he's entitled to have Asuna and completely disregards her own emotions, opting to make her fall in love with him and marry her.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Both in the original series and the video games.
    • After his Attempted Rape of Asuna and being a massive Jerkass to boot, Sugou gets what's coming to him big-time: after acquiring Kayaba's Administrator ID, Kirito kills Oberon so brutally in the game that Sugou is left with permanent injuries in the real world, and after trying to kill Kirito in real life, he fails, gets arrested, and is forced to confess everything.
    • In Infinity Moment/Hollow Fragment, unlike the players in Laughing Coffin, he does not get off scot-free because all the surviving players banded together and told the authorities about his crimes, and the resulting investigations turned up enough dirt that he was stripped of his position, arrested, and sent to jail.
  • Last Villain Stand: After his defeat, he's suffered a complete Villainous Breakdown and has lost everything he had planned to achieve... but still makes one last attempt to kill Kirito in the real world. Kirito beats the crap out of him and leaves him a broken wreck in the parking lot for the cops to arrest.
  • Lecherous Licking: When he is sexually assaulting Asuna in Alfheim Online, she starts to cry in humiliation and he ecstatically licks her tears.
  • Light Is Not Good: As Oberon he gives himself a divine looking avatar with blonde hair and gold ornaments on his robes, but he's one of the most vile characters in the entire series.
  • Light/Darkness Juxtaposition: As Oberon he's the light to Kirito's dark. Kirito is the Dark Is Not Evil hero while Sugou made himself into the King of the Fairies and the God of Alfheim Online, giving himself a divine appearance with blonde hair and ornamented with gold.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: If his ecstatic reaction to the look of fear on Asuna's face, complete with Slasher Smile, as he chains her up and is about to molest her in front of an incapacitated Kirito is anything to go by.
    Sugou: Yes! Great! That's what I was hoping for! You can't get NPC girls to make faces like that!
  • Mad Eye: His right eye bugs out while he's gloating to Asuna in episode 18. That same eye later gets this treatment in the real world after Kirito stabs him through it with the Pain Absorber set to zero; it's permanently bloodshot, with visible veins/scarring extending in all directions from it.
  • Mask of Sanity: He pretends to be a friendly, stable guy, and the act is convincing enough to completely fool Asuna's parents. Beneath it all, he's a totally sadistic, Ax-Crazy Jerkass prone to Evil Laughs and Slasher Smiles, especially in his role as Oberon in ALO. The mask comes off completely once Kirito defeats and exposes him.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: When Kirito gives him a small cut on the cheek, he freaks out and whines that it hurts. Kirito lampshades it, remarking that it's nothing compared to what Sugou did to Asuna; right afterwards, Kirito proceeds to really give Sugou/Oberon some wounds to cry about by, in this order, slicing off his arm, cutting him in half, and finally impaling him through the eye, into the brain area, killing him in-game and permanently injuring him IRL.
  • Moral Myopia: When he confronts Kirito outside of the hospital, he's absolutely furious that Kirito overrode his control of the game and permanently injured him... when he put Kirito through Cold-Blooded Torture, subjected 300 SAO survivors to inhumane experiments, and sexually assaulted Asuna while making Kirito watch.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: As stated above, Sugou is responsible for hijacking the minds of Asuna and other 300 SAO survivors to experiment on them for his Mind Control research.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: After being defeated in ALO, Sugou attacks Kirito in real life with full intent to kill, stating outright that he won't accept anything less than Kirito's death for interfering with his plans.
    Sugou: You think a piece of trash like you can get in my way? Did you think I'd let you slow me down?! Wanna know what the punishment is? Death. I won't accept anything less!
  • Mythology Gag: In the game continuity, while Sugou's role is drastically different during Hollow Fragment, having entered SAO using an overpowered avatar called Alberich and posing as a player. His canon "Oberon" counterpart can still be encountered in Accel World vs Sword Art Online as an AI, who's pretty much in-line with the lecherous creep who has a stalkerish obsession with Asuna and proclaims her to be Titania. Though thankfully unlike canon, this time he doesn't have Asuna trapped in a cage and at her mercy. When Asuna approaches him she immediately gets an unexplained feeling of dread, almost as if she bears memories of her canon counterpart from the Alternate Timeline.
  • Narcissist: Sugou displays multiple narcissistic traits. He's arrogant, egomaniacal, and power-hungry, to the extent of proclaiming himself a god, and quite manipulative, easily tricking Asuna's parents into thinking he's a friendly Honest Corporate Executive when he's really using their company for his own twisted ends. He also possesses a grandiose sense of self-worth and expects special treatment from people around him, believing he's entitled to have Asuna even though she completely despises him. Finally, he's unable to handle criticism and takes defiance of his plans very personally; he views Kirito as beneath him, openly calling him trash and scum, and is outraged when Kirito ruins his plans while verbally tearing down his delusions of godhood and summing him up as nothing but a "king of thieves" mooching off Kayaba's work, to the extent that he outright tries to murder him in real life while declaring he won't accept anything less than Kirito's death for his interference.
  • Never My Fault: After his arrest and subsequent interrogation, Sugou initially denied everything and tried to pin the blame for his actions on Akihiko Kayaba. He only gave in and confessed when one of his own employees was brought in for questioning.
  • No Ontological Inertia: His victims, bar Asuna, luckily had no recollection or post-effects of three months spent experimented upon. Neither madness nor suffering ensued once they were freed.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: He doesn't know how to keep his hands and tongue to himself.
  • Not-So-Badass Longcoat: When he attacks Kirito in real life after losing to him in ALO, Sugou is wearing a khaki trenchcoat. This is after Kirito beat him in ALO, turning off the Pain Absorber and killing Sugou's in-game avatar so brutally that Sugou has been left with permanent injuries in real life, and in the ensuing confrontation, Sugou loses once again to Kirito, who just barely manages to stop himself from slitting Sugou's throat with his own knife; by that point, Sugou is crying his eyes out and wetting himself.
  • Not So Stoic: Tries to act as if he's always in control, but his composure collapses when unexpected events happen.
  • Obviously Evil: As Oberon he gives off a very unsettling air, with his Slasher Smiles, evil cackles, and proclaims of godhood. It's also apparent from his very first appearance that he's a perverted rapist.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • He's quite visibly terrified when Kirito, using his newfound Game Master powers, reduces Oberon to Level 1 and turns the Pain Absorber for Sugou off completely, ensuring that every wound inflicted on Oberon would carry over to Sugou's real body. Kirito even calls him out on flinching and panicking, something Kayaba never did.
    • He does it again when Kirito manages to overpower him and take his knife away in real life, explicitly stating his intent to use it on Sugou himself. Sugou promptly panics and tries to make a run for it; Kirito doesn't let him get away.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: He admits to Asuna that he'd been researching mind control using FullDive for a while, and took advantage of the SAO incident to reroute 300 survivors to ALO for human experimentation. He's the same in the video game continuity; he confesses that he ended up in SAO by accident, but inherited a super account and took advantage of the situation for the sake of his research.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Despite holding administrative powers over the world of ALO, he chooses to sit back and observe the chaos from afar while making his own plans. It isn't until Kirito makes it to the top of the World Tree that Sugou actually bothers to get off his ass.
  • Paper Tiger: He talks a big game and boasts of his so-called godhood, but for all of his bravado, Sugou sucks at combat and has nothing but his Game Master privileges to keep up with Kirito. Best shown when Kirito pulls off his Heroic Second Wind and uses Kayaba's ID to strip Oberon of them; he summons Excalibur, the Infinity +1 Sword of the game, and gives it to Sugou before taking up his own sword. Even with the strongest weapon in the game, Sugou is no match for Kirito in a straight fight, fails to land a single hit, and goes down in a matter of seconds. It happens again in real life, where he goes from smugly gloating about how he's going to kill Kirito and continue his research to balling his eyes out and wetting his pants the minute Kirito turns the tables on him again.
  • Perverted Sniffing: Kirito and the audience first discover Sugou's true colors when, after Asuna's father leaves her hospital room, he sniffs the comatose Asuna's hair. Taken Up to Eleven when we discover he went so far as to recreate Asuna's real-life scent in ALO.
    Sugou: And don't even get me started on how... hard it was to get an analyzer into your hospital room undetected.
  • Pitiful Worms: He sees himself as the god of ALO, and thinks so little of Kirito that he calls him, among other things, a "cockroach," a "piece of trash", and "scum."
    Sugou: The last thing I expected to find was a cockroach in my little bird's cage.
  • Power Perversion Potential: In the video game continuity. He sexually assaults more than one female player, using his admin privileges to override the Harassment Code.
  • Pride Before a Fall: He's introduced as an arrogant, self-assured creep, declaring himself the god of ALO and rubbing in Kirito's face that there's nothing he can do to stop him. This culminates in him pinning Kirito down and making him watch as he molests Asuna just to rub in how powerless he is rather than just finish him off and be done with it... which allows Kayaba to grant Kirito access to his admin ID, which outranks Sugou's own, and allows Kirito to finally put Sugou in his place. For his ego, Sugou lost everything and landed himself in prison.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: While he can put up a respectable front, Beneath the Mask Sugou is a physically weak, morally spineless coward who just wants to slobber all over Asuna, both in-game and over her comatose body in real life, and throws temper tantrums when he doesn't get his way. Best shown when Kayaba's Virtual Ghost overrides his control of the game and gives Kirito admin privileges; Sugou whines and throws a temper tantrum, griping about how even in death, Kayaba's getting in his way and taking everything that Sugou considers rightfully his. Immediately afterwards, when Kirito gives him a small cut on the cheek with the Pain Absorber set to 0, Sugou has a minor Freak Out! and whines over the pain like a child with a scraped knee. Made even more blatant in the original Japanese; Sugou uses the gentle-masculine "Boku" (normally used by little-boys) to refer to himself (instead of the coarse-masculine "Ore" or gender-neutral "watashi" expected of a grown-man), further accentuating that beneath his Mask of Sanity is a pretentious Spoiled Brat.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: If all of his inhumane acts weren't enough, like hijacking all of the SAO captives and running experiments on their minds, just to show how much of an absolute bastard he is, he tries to rape Asuna in front of Kirito, after having stabbed him through the back with a sword.
    • It's even worse in the games, where he uses his admin privileges to override the Harassment Code put in place and actively sexually assaults several female players.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • When Kirito overpowers him in real life, his smug statement that other organizations would take him in and shelter him for his work is proven wrong; not only is he arrested and incarcerated for his crimes, but his actions result in a massive scandal against RECT Inc. that forces Asuna's father, who put Sugou in charge of the RECT Progress division in the first place, to step down as CEO in shame.
    • In the video game continuity, his plan to become the hero of Aincrad as "Alberich" falls apart at step one. For one, even with his high stats and equipment, his skills are as horrible as you would expect of someone who just joined recently, which makes him too much of a hindrance to join the Clearing group. In fact, the fact that he has such a powerful character when he has such poor skills (especially under the circumstances of the Death Game), the fact that he just showed up out of the blue, and his abuses of Game Master powers such as ignoring the Ethics Code, tips the heroes off that there's something fishy about "Alberich".
  • Sadist: Big time. Not only does he meddle with the Pain Absorber to torture Kirito, Sugou goes so far as to pin him down and sexually assault Asuna right in front of him, just to make him suffer psychologically. He even takes the time to look right at Kirito, smirk, and laugh while doing so. He also seems to thrive on trying to be a Hope Crusher towards Asuna, and is ecstatic when Asuna attempts to reassure Kirito, saying nothing Sugou does will really hurt her.
    Sugou: I was hoping you'd say that. But I wonder how long your pride's going to last. Thirty minutes? An hour? Why don't we see how long you can HANG ON TO IT?!
  • Satanic Archetype: If Kayaba is the equivalent of God and Kirito is The Champion, then this makes Sugou the Devil, the personification of everything awful. He once worked for Kayaba, but was always his inferior, however once given the chance Sugou seizes the world and its people, declaring himself its new god and ruler. However he's no match for the intervention of the real God, where Kayaba's Virtual Ghost steps in to give Kirito the means to beat him. As Kirito puts it, Sugou is a "King of Thieves, sitting alone on [his] stolen throne." His Light Is Not Good theme only makes it all the more apparent.
  • Sexier Alter Ego: He seems to be going for this with the Oberon character, given it's long blond hair, fancy clothes, and lack of glasses. His facial expressions and body language ruin the effect, though.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: While he has a deep voice in the Japanese version, Sugou nonetheless lets out a very high-pitched scream when Kirito chops his arm off in-game, and later when Kazuto nearly slits his throat in real life.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: When Asuna expresses disgust at Sugou using the SAO survivors for mind control research and claims that such technology is illegal, Sugou retorts that several countries are researching mind control technology just as he is, with the only obstacle being human experimentation.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: He's only stalkerishly obsessed with Asuna. In Accel World vs Sword Art Online, while he does lewd other girls, once he lays eyes on Asuna he became fixated with her and her only, ignoring all of the other girls present.
  • Sissy Villain: Speaks in a florid, posh and effeminite manner, even using gentle-masculine "Boku" (normally used by little-boys) to refer to himself (instead of the coarse-masculine "Ore" or gender-neutral "watashi" expected of a grown-man); further accentuating his immaturity.
  • Slasher Smile: He gives a big, toothy one after chaining Asuna up.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: He kidnapped 300 SAO survivors and trapped them in ALO for the express purpose of performing inhumane Mind Control experiments on him. He also makes the threat that if Asuna won't voluntary submit to him, then he'll simply brainwash her into loving him. He also intended to do this to Kirito to pry his mind for information.
  • Slimeball: An insecure creep and sexual deviant who sleazes his way up the business ladder and over-compensates his inadequacies and insecurities with expensive suits and slicked back hair. Yeah, Sugou would be right at home with fellow sleazebags Carter J Burke and The Wolf of Wall Street.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: He talks big, describing himself as an incredibly powerful man, to the point of claiming to be a god but is really the poor man's version of Akihiko Kayaba and after the latter's Big Damn Heroes moment in Alfheim, he shows that he knows it too. Kirito even spells it out for him, telling him point-blank that he's nothing but a thief mooching off Kayaba's work:
    Kirito: You stole everything in this world. Everything! Including its people! You're nothing but a king of thieves, sitting alone on your stolen throne!
  • Small Role, Big Impact: For the War of the Underworld subarc of the Alicization Arc. Sugou's spies in the Ocean Turtle leak out the info of their tech and research, thus leading to the NSA going after it and hiring Glowden Defense Systems to seize it, and thus causing the entire subarc.
  • Smug Snake: He constantly acts smug and arrogant, and tends to speak in a sarcastic tone... but that's only because he has the powers of a Game Master; the second the tables turn on him, he loses it and throws a temper tantrum.
  • The Sociopath: He's a straighter example than Kayaba, wanting to perform inhumane mind control experiments on 300 SAO survivors, whom he openly describes as "guinea pigs" rather than people, and making an incapacitated Kirito watch as he tries to rape Asuna without a flicker of remorse. Sugou also has a grandiose sense of self-worth, declaring himself a god and believing that he's entitled to have Asuna despite the fact that she can't stand him, and unlike Kayaba, he's a vicious sadist who revels in his cruelty and evil. He's a high-functioning sociopath, hiding his true nature to Asuna's father by playing the part of a friendly, polite Honest Corporate Executive.
  • Spoiled Brat: It is likely that being a spoiled rotten "prince" of a Zaibatsu family since childhood, having what he wants when he wants removed Sugou's need to ever take responsibility for his actions, and hence destroyed his ability to empathize with the rest of humanity in adulthood. When he loses to Kirito, he outright whines and throws a temper tantrum over the fact that things aren't going his way.
  • Stalker with a Crush: To Asuna. He sniffs her hair while she's in a coma, traps her in ALO just to lord over her in a bird cage, constantly gropes and sniffs her, and finally licks her face and rips her clothes off before trying to rape her outright, all while stating that he's going to record the act and then molest her unconscious body while watching said recording.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: As Oberon, he often screams in the midst of talking.
  • Take Over the World: What he ultimately strives to do is perfect his mind control technology and assert himself as God of the world.
  • Tears of Fear: He's reduced to balling his eyes out in sheer terror when Kazuto nearly slits his throat IRL.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Sugou is a power-hungry sociopath with a god complex, and in real life, looks like your average everyday guy in a business suit and glasses. Even Kirito didn't realize his true colors until Sugou sniffed Asuna's hair and gloated about their upcoming marriage.
  • This Cannot Be!: His response when Kirito gains access to Kayaba's ID and Game Master privileges, and uses them to strip Sugou of his own admin privileges.
    Sugou: An ID that outranks mine?! That's impossible! This is my world! I'm the creator! I'm its ruler! Its king! Its god!
  • Underestimating Badassery: He gravely underestimates Kirito, dismissing him as a "weak little boy" and believing he'll be too scared to enter ALO to save Asuna. This arrogance costs Sugou everything and results in him being locked up, his dreams and ambitions crushed and his body permanently damaged.
  • Unskilled, but Strong:
    • He's pathetic combat-wise, but gets by throughout most of the Fairy Dance arc purely by abusing his admin privileges to give himself overpowered stats, equipment, and magic to fight Kirito with. Once he's stripped of his Game Master status, Sugou proves to be no match for Kirito even with the strongest weapon in ALO, failing to land even a single hit before Kirito literally rips him to shreds.
    • As Alberich in Infinity Moment/Hollow Fragment, Kirito notes his avatar has ridiculously high stats and equipment, but his combat skill is very poor and lacking in any sort of technique or experience. Kirito compares it to a novice player controlling a powerful avatar, with no skill in handling his powers. In the end, Kirito resolves that he would only hinder the Clearing groups. This is actually what tips Kirito and the gang off that there's something wrong, since they can't fathom how someone can have such high stats and powerful equipment and yet be such a lousy fighter.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: ALO is his own personal outlet for endulging in his sick fantasies, from sexually assaulting Asuna to torturing Kirito.
  • Villain Ball: When he has Kirito pinned down in ALO, rather than just finish him off and be done with it, Sugou decides to indulge his sadism by slowly decreasing the Pain Absorber to "give him something to look forward to", and then make him watch while he sexually assaults Asuna. This buys Kayaba's Virtual Ghost time to save Kirito and grant him admin privileges, leading to the Pain Absorber being used against Sugou himself and Sugou being chopped up and left with permanent injuries IRL. Sugou had no way of foreseeing Kayaba's intervention, but deciding to torment Kirito before killing him was still a stupid move.
  • Villain Has a Point: Yes, Sugou is a total bastard, but he makes a valid point when he remarks to Asuna that Kayaba's FullDive technology had far more potential and uses than simply making a video game, and that Kayaba was foolish to not want more out of it. Indeed, Kayaba's tech has found other uses beyond game development, most notably with the Medicuboid and the Soul Translatornote .
    Sugou: Mr. Kayaba was a genius, but he was also a fool. All he wanted to use his technology for was his game. He couldn't see the potential in it. But I did.
  • Villainous Breakdown: He's far from sane to begin with, but as noted above, when things aren't going his way he loses any semblance of stability.
    • Sugou goes absolutely nuts after Kirito obtains Kayaba's User ID and takes away Sugou's admin privileges.
    • When a seriously injured Sugou makes a final attempt to kill Kirito in real life, when Kirito finally snaps and turns the tables on him, using Sugou's own knife against him, Sugou is absolutely terrified and reduced to a nervous wreck. After all, Kirito already killed him once in-game, so there's without any doubt he'd do so again given the chance. Kirito just barely manages to stop himself from slitting Sugou's throat, after which Sugou wets himself and faints.
  • Villainous Crush: His attempts at "courting" Asuna amount to putting her in a cage and threatening her memories.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: He gives a completely unjustified one to Kirito during his Last Villain Stand, calling him out on torturing and killing him in ALO and telling him that what he did was cruel. Of course, Sugou has no room to talk, considering that he himself tortured Kirito and tried to rape Asuna right in front of him on top of committing other horrifying atrocities.
  • Where's the Fun in That?: He remarks to Asuna that he could alter her memories if he wanted to, but claims he won't because such an option wouldn't be fun.
    Sugou: If I wanted, I could alter your memories too. Don't worry, the last thing I'd ever want to do is turn you into a porcelain doll.
  • Worf Had the Flu: He comes pretty close to killing Kirito in the real world, but fails due to the bad vision in his right eye, causing him to miss with the killing blow and allowing Kirito to beat him.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Because Kirito inflicted grievous wounds on him with the pain absorber set 0, he experiences phantom pain in the real world and is blind in one eye. It can't be cured because there is physically nothing wrong with him.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: When changing the Pain Absorber to torture Kirito, Sugou remarks that once it hits 3, any wounds he suffers in-game will affect his body in the real world. Once he gets Kayaba's admin privileges, Kirito turns the Pain Absorber off completely before chopping Sugou up, leaving him with permanent real-world injuries.

    "Death Gun" / Sterben 

"Death Gun" / Sterben

Voiced by: Soichiro Hoshi (Japanese), Ben Diskin (English), Rafael Ordóñez Arrieta (European Spanish), Alfredo Gabriel Basurto (Latin American Spanish)

"Let your fear carve one name into your brains, the name I share with this weapon: Death Gun!"

A mysterious gunman rumoured to be able to kill someone in real life from the virtual world. The antagonist of volumes 5-6.

  • Arch-Enemy:
    • To Kirito. XaXa had a very personal conflict with Kirito for besting him back in SAO and deeming him too unimportant to find out his name. "Death Gun" is delighted at having another chance to mess with Kirito's life, constantly rubbing in his face on why he can't remember who he is, always mockingly referring to him as "Black Swordsman". While on Kirito's side, discovering "Death Gun" was an SAO survivor who he had history with opened a lot of emotional wounds that he had tried to shut out, including the guilt he carried over taking human lives. Kirito becomes hellbent on finding out the identity of Death Gun and putting a stop to him before he can take anymore lives. The fact that they are Not So Different being SAO survivors who can't let go of their past, just makes Kirito all the more determined to prove he is better.
    • To Sinon. The Kyouji side of him was a Stalker with a Crush for Sinon and created the Death Gun myth through inspiration of the incident that traumatized Sinon, using the same gun she used to kill the bank robber. Sinon is one of Death Gun's key targets, while Sinon herself is determined to prove she isn't weak by overcoming him. It's even more prevalent in Fatal Bullet where Sinon actually has a score to settle with Death Gun, personally entering BoB in a bid to take Death Gun down and prevent the same gun from taking any more lives.
  • Arc Villain: Of the Phantom Bullet arc, with his mysterious murders driving the plot and leading Kirito being called in to investigate him, while also serving as the main threat throughout the arc as he threatens the lives of Sinon and other BoB players.
  • Ax-Crazy: As expected for a person who came from the Laughing Coffin guild.
    • In the Japanese Dub, when Kirito engages him in a final duel, his voice changes from the deep-sounding adult male voice, into one sounding late teen/young adult male voice, further revealing his true identity. Specifically, its XaXa's voice, just being filtered due to the mask, and using a voice changing filter to disguise his identity before hand.
  • Badass Boast: After killing XeXeeD, he introduces himself to the players of GGO.
    "This is real power, real strength! Let your fear carve one name into your brains, the name I share with this weapon: Death Gun!"
  • Badass Cape: Dons a tattered mantle that comes with a hood, which, in addition to the skull-like helmet, gives him a sinister vibe, akin to a Grim Reaper.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Three people are playing the role. One plays, while the other two break into the homes of either well-known, or powerful players and administers the lethal injections.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Borrows PoH's "It's showtime" as part of a Red Herring to his real identity in order to throw Kirito off.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: He is proud of the fact he is a true red-player, one who kills for the satisfaction and not for survival like Kirito did.
  • Cast as a Mask: To hide the fact that Kyouji was one of the members of Death Gun, while he's in-game he has a completely different voice actor.
  • Catchphrase: "The name I share with this weapon: Death Gun!"
  • Cold Ham: He doesn't shy away from Badass Boasts and reminding Kirito of how he holds all the aces, but due to the Creepy Monotone from his Cool Mask he never raises his voice while hamming it up.
  • Cold Sniper: During the BoB tournament, he shoots his targets with stun bullets from his "Silent Assassin" (a very rare and high-level sniper rifle according to Sinon) before moving in for the kill with his handgun.
  • Collective Identity: There were three perpetrators. Two were Siblings in Crime while the other was added later for their plot during the third Bullet of Bullets. Specifically, Kyouji Shinkawa/Spiegal created "Sterben", and bought the Optic Camo-cloak from a Real Money Trade, and a replacement for his Spiegel avatar, as it was poorly optimized due to XeXeeD's false information.. His older brother Shouichi/"Red-Eyed" XaXa, normally spied on players entering their real world info in game at the Governors Palace using the Optic Camo Cloak to stay hidden, and administered the poisons on the first two victims, while Kyouji performed the choreographed act of shooting the victims in game. Johnny Black joined in the crime to murder Garrett and Pale Rider, and Kyouji and XaXa switched roles for the Bullet of Bullets Tournament.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: In contrast with the previous two, Death Gun is not a GMPC and used a code name different to his character name. His goals are also very different, whereas Kayaba was a Visionary Villain who wanted to make a Virtual World real, and Sugou wanted to rule a Virtual World as its God and have Asuna for himself, Death Gun's goal is merely to kill in cold blood. Thematically he averts the Light Is Not Good motif seen with Heathcliff and Oberon, instead embodying Dark Is Evil to contrast Kirito's Dark Is Not Evil. Finally, Death Gun is the first Big Bad who is roughly on even ground with Kirito in fighting ability, by virtue that he's not a GM with broken admin privileges, as his power comes from skill with a sword, though of course that doesn't matter since the goal isn't to overpower Death Gun but to find out his identity and stop him from killing Sinon.
  • Contrived Coincidence: His "Death Gun" is the same exact model of gun Shino used to kill a bank robber years ago. She herself is stunned to see this. Subverted later; it's not a coincidence. Death Gun's creator, Kyouji Shinkawa picked it specifically, as a "tribute" to Shino's "True Power". For Shino, it triggers her PTSD.
  • Cool Mask: Wears one that resembles a mechanical skull whose eyes are glowing red, and vents out steam for extra creepy factor.
  • Cool Sword: An estoc crafted from the armor plating of a starship.
  • Creepy Monotone: Due to his mask filtering out his voice, it appears almost completely drained of emotion. His icy tone gives a haunting quality to all his lines promising to kill someone.
  • Dark Is Evil: Clad in black clothes and sneaks about in the shadows.
  • Darth Vader Clone: Clad in dark clothes, namely a Badass Cape (complete with a hood) and a Cool Mask, "Death Gun" sports a Vader Breath as well as a Creepy Monotone voice, and is related to Kirito by way of having faced him before in Aincrad as part of the Laughing Coffin guild.
  • Death by Irony: Death Gun's entire shtick is being able to fire a "Phantom Bullet" in-game that will kill players in real life. Ultimately what is used to defeat him is a Phantom Bullet created by Sinon (one of his targets), using her sniper rifle's prediction line which distracts Death Gun for long enough and allow Kirito to finish him off.
  • Decoy Antagonist: In Fatal Bullet, promotional advertising made it look like Death Gun would be the Big Bad of the game with him even headlining the opening sequence. In reality he only serves as a background villain and a distraction from the main campaign. Although he does take center stage in the direct Phantom Bullet adaptation side event based on the canon plot line.
  • Evil Counterpart: The XaXa side of him is one to Kirito, with both of them being SAO survivors who ended up in GGO. However, Kirito tried shutting the traumatic past out, while "Death Gun" embraced it and took pride in being a red player. Best seen while the two of them face off in GGO, both of them are still using swords despite being in a gun MMO, symbolic of how both are living in the past that is SAO.
  • Evil Is Bigger: While this is largely due to Kirito's GGO avatar being shorter, Death Gun typically towers over both him and Sinon.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Whenever he invokes his presence, he ensures that his ham invokes fear in his opponents.
  • Evil Laugh: Has a very creepy sinister chuckle which has a reverb effect.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Sports a deep, sinister, mechanical voice. Especially true with Ben Diskin, where he's known to pull deep voices at times for some of his older characters.
  • Fair-Play Villain: Kirito believed Death Gun to be this, stating he had his own rules that he followed and he wouldn't try to kill any of his victims in real life once it was made impossible in-game. This may be true for XaXa, but Kyouji had no problem with killing Sinon even after Death Gun's defeat.
  • Forced to Watch: His Evil Plan is to incapacitate Kirito in battle and then force him to watch as he kills Sinon both in-game and in real life.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Death Gun wears a skull mask and uses an Estoc, much like XaXa did back in SAO.
    • His tournament name, Sterben, means "to die" in German. It is also a medical term used to pronounce the death of a patient in a hospital. His method of killing involves his victim being injected with a lethal dose of drug in the real world the same time they were shot by him in GGO. This indicates that "Death Gun" might be a doctor or someone with knowledge in the field of medicine. Similarly, Spiegel's name is also German, being the word for "Mirror," implying a connection between the two.
  • For the Evulz: One of the reasons "Death Gun" kills. Two of the conspirators were members of Laughing Coffin and wanted to continue the death game that was SAO.
  • Four Is Death: He kills a total of four players.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Much like Oberon before him, Kirito slices Death Gun in half at the end of their duel.
  • Handguns: Uses a Type 54 "Black Star"note in GGO.
  • Head Bob: As his face is always obscured by his skull mask, his heads bobs and tilts about with his speech to convey his emotion. In the climax, Sinon puts a prediction line on him, where he shows his surprise by flinching and his head turning to look down.
  • Image Song: One, MAD BULLET"S".
  • Invisibility Cloak: He owns a mantle that has the "Metamaterial Optical Camouflage" ability. He can use it in the city AREA and hide from satellite scans during BoB.
  • I Know Your True Name: Is on both the giving end, and the receiving end of this. He notices Kirito's name in the Qualifiers and demands to know if he's the same one from SAO, or a fake using his name. Part of the plot during the actual tournament itself is when Kirito realizes that Death Gun's character is not actually named Death Gun, forcing him to figure out what his real character name is. It's also an important plot point, when Kirito figures out it's a member of Laughing Coffin, and tries to recall who he is, as so the criminal can then be arrested. He pieces together the clues via Death Gun's mask, melee weapon, and fighting style, identifying him as Red-Eyed XaXa on International internet streams watching the events of the tournament, shocking XaXa and breaking his concentration.
  • Improvised Weapon: Uses a crudely-made Estoc.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Several characters have had trouble pronouncing Death Gun's player name, Sterbern. Both Sinon and Kirito pronounced it as "Stee-burn", while Asuna thought it was a misspelled "Steven".
  • Knight of Cerebus: While he's not the first Sword Art Online villain to be a complete creep with no redeeming qualities, unlike his predecessors he invokes fear in the characters and audience alike. He's also a constant threat that Kirito must fight against and escape from, rather than a villain who waits around to be found. Season 2 is a great deal more Darker and Edgier because of him.
  • Leitmotif: Has an ominous theme that accompanies his presence.
  • Machine Monotone: In the English dub, Death Gun speaks in a mechanically-distorted Creepy Monotone.
  • Mood-Swinger: At the start of the arc, Death Gun goes on a rant to the TV screen of XeXeeD about high level players being cheaters but is more calm and sinister in the Bullet of Bullets tournament. Of course, it turns out to be foreshadowing to him being a Collective Identity.
  • Moral Myopia: He believes weakness is a crime. He passes judgement on a player's strength and if he deems them to be too weak or having false strength, then they must die. On the other hand, he doesn’t seem to think of having his brother and old partner poison people on his behalf, while they’re helpless no less, as "false strength".
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: As if his moniker as the "Death Gun" wasn't representative enough of the murders he started committing in GGO, his BoB tournament entry name, "Sterben", is the German verb for "To die".
  • Nonindicative Name: His estoc is officially considered a knife in Gun Gale Online, even though it's clearly long enough to be classified as a sword.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We know so little about him when he's introduced. Who is he? How does he kill players in real life? How does he remain undetected throughout the game? When these answers slowly get revealed he becomes less threatening.
  • Oh, Crap!: He's got Kirito on the ropes with an improvised estoc... then Kirito realizes he's Red-Eyed XaXa, and the Prediction Line from Sinon's Hecate appears on his center mass. His mask stops us from seeing his expression, but he promptly triggers his cloak's Metamaterial Optical Camouflage, so it's safe to assume this trope.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: "Death Gun" is the moniker he goes by and announces to the game. This is part of his cover, as player names are not displayed except as part of Satellite Scans, tournament standings, and when one has formed a Squad with others, as part of their HUD. His character name is actually "Sterben".
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: His helm features red eyes that glow and sometimes flash.
  • Red Herring: Although he reveals himself as being a Laughing Coffin member, he starts throwing multiple false clues common of other LC members. One of which is saying PoH's trademark line of "It's show time."
  • Revenge: Another reason why "Death Gun" kills. Two of the perpetrators are former Laughing Coffin members, and they are elated when they get the chance to torment Kirito in Gun Gale Online. The third blamed the high level players for recommending a character build that eventually got nerfed, leaving him unable to compete in the BoB tournament for his subscription fee.
  • Rich Kids: Shouichi/XaXa paid a lot of money to kit out Sterben with the sniper rifle and optic camo cloak via the Real Money Trade system in GGO. The cloak alone has an estimated value of 300,000 Yennote , and rare sniper rifles go for quite a lot. Shouichi is said to have a monthly allowance, of 500,000 yen, and the Shinkawa brothers parents are doctors.
  • Serial Killer: The Gun Gale Online arc has Kirito investigate on this enigmatic character who is rumoured to be able to kill players both in the game and in the real world. Two known victims were among GGO's top players.
  • Siblings in Crime: The original two members of the team. The eldest was a former SAO player who was part of the red guild "Laughing Coffin"; he was the one who collected info on where their targets lived, was the one who injected XeXeeD and Usujio Tarako with Succinycholine in the real world, and is the one who shot the avatars of Pale Rider and Garret in GGO during BoB. The youngest was the one who shot the avatars of XeXeeD and Usujio Tarako in GGO, and during BoB he was meant to break into Shino's home and inject her with a dose of Succinylcholine with a needless syringe. Both were children of a doctor and had access to the funds and equipment needed to pull it off.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: During his final duel with Kirito, he uses a player-made Estoc. Because of the limitations of GGO's Gun/Sword Creation skill, his weapon is statistically weaker than Kirito's; however, it's much better suited to XaXa's fighting style than a Photon Sword is to Kirito's, giving him an edge.
  • Sinister Shiv: His estoc is essentially this, being a strip of starship metal that he fashioned into a sword (or, according to Gun Gale Online, a long dagger).
  • Sliding Scale of Villain Threat: Death Gun actually averts this in terms of threat level, being far less powerful than his predecessors since he's not a GM with admin privileges. In battle he's mostly evenly matched with Kirito, with his power coming from skill and the equipment that he bought. However he makes up what he lacks in raw power by being genuinely terrifying compared to his predecessors, and has the edge in that the heroes don't know how he operates making him quite efficient.
  • Sniper Rifles: His rifle of choice is the L115A3, the British Army designation for the Arctic Warfare Super Magnum sniper rifle. His particular rifle is unique in that it has a custom integrally suppressed barrel akin to the AWS variant. This is what gives it its unique "Silent Assassin" moniker in-game.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: By virtue of having an Invisibility Cloak, he can quickly appear and disappear at will.
  • Strong and Skilled: Like Kirito he has the swordsmanship skills from his times in SAO, but overall he's equipped with much better gear due to Shouichi paying an extensive amount of money to fit him with the best.
  • Sword and Gun: Can use a sword just as well as he can use a gun.
  • Tattooed Crook: Amidst the bandages on his right arm, a small tattoo can be made out. It's the same mark as the members of Laughing Coffin, and Kirito subsequently has a Heroic BSoD when he sees it.
  • Troll: For a large portion of the season Death Gun would taunt Kirito on not being able to remember his name, guilting Kirito into thinking he had forgotten. In reality Kirito didn't forget at all, it was just that he never directly told his real name. However, Kirito was indirectly told his name during a briefing and is able to finally remember Death Gun's name as "Red-Eyed XaXa" from his red eyes.
  • Vader Breath: When talking, a distinctive wheeze can be sporadically heard around "Death Gun". In fact he sometimes blows out steam from his visor.
  • Walking Spoiler: The character known as "Death Gun" is actually an entity created by three people, two of which are SAO survivors of the Player Killing variety, to carry out murders both in GGO and the real life near-simultaneously, making its importance to the overall series' story that much more vital.
  • Wolverine Publicity: One of the most popular villains of Sword Art Online. Trailers for Fatal Bullet made sure to show him off, even though he's not that prominent in the actual game.



Voiced by: Maaya Sakamoto (Japanese), Maureen Price (English)

The Administrator of Underworld and high minister of Axiom Church. She is responsible for corrupting the government from behind the scenes, disposing of those who oppose her. The antagonist of volumes 9-14.

  • Adaptational Modesty: In the game, she wears her dress for the entire final battle intact against Kirito, instead of going into her Full-Frontal Assault territory that she's better known for. Not only that ...
  • The Ageless: Her original effort to take over the Cardinal system of UW resulted in her fusing with it, granting her eternal youth and the removal of the need to eat and drink. However, she wasn't satisfied with just that.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Her right arm was severed when Eugeo (in sword form) clashed with Quinella's blade. She subsequently transmutes said arm into another sword to kill Kirito with. And even that other arm is lopped off in battle later on when the two stab each other in such a way Quinella is also able to take one of Kirito's arms in exchange. Subverted Trope Subverted in Lycoris, where she and Kirito both apparently end the duel with all of their arms intact.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • To Cardinal. Being her antithesis, Cardinal exists for the sole reason of ending Quinella. The two have spent centuries battling and attempting to thwart one another. Quinella wanting nothing more than to hunt Cardinal down and kill her, while Cardinal wants to put an end to Quinella's reign and reclaim Administrator powers. Quinella has utter glee when she finally gets the chance to kill Cardinal and makes sure to enjoy every second of it.
    • To Kirito, with both eventually coming to see each other as this. Kirito discovers that Quinella is the one responsible for everything bad that happened to him in the Underworld, and dedicates his efforts to bringing her down, while ensuring that others who were once fiercely loyal to the Pontifex see her for the vile being she is. While Quinella originally saw Kirito as nothing but an insignificant bug who dared to defy her and waiting to be crushed, she attains special hatred for him when she finds out he's special, being from the other side of the outside world. Kirito giving Quinella a reality check in reminding her there are true gods on the outside infuriates her, and her hatred for Kirito only grows when he continues to resist her, being the last one standing. Worth noting is, even among the others who resisted her, Quinella at least is able to show a twisted form of affection such as to Alice, Eugeo, and even Cardinal, whereas she never once gives this treatment to Kirito and derogatorily refers to him as "boy".
  • Asshole Victim: Just when you thought she'd get away from UW and escape to the real world without any comeuppance, a dying Chudelkin flings himself towards Quinella and embraces her while on fire, taking both himself and her out.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Her personality aside, there's something to be said for her skills. She was the first UW resident to figure out how to create offensive skills, restore her life, overturn the Cardinal System, copy her Fluctlight onto others, and forcibly alter the Fluctlights of others into her personal Servants... all because she spent a large amount of time just analyzing how the Sacred Arts of the Underworld worked.
  • Bad Boss: It's repeatedly shown that she views the Senators and Integrity Knights as more like tools than people.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: She is shown to enjoy killing animals in her childhood to level herself up.
  • Big Bad: For the first half of Alicization, she is the head villain, being the leader of the Axion Church and thus the world itself. She is responsible for Alice's arrest, the corruption in the nobility and the lack of preparation the Human Empire has for the Final Stress Test.
  • Blatant Lies: She swears to the Goddess Stacia that if Chudelkin helps defeat her enemies, she'll let him do whatever he wants with her body for one night. While Chudelkin can't fathom the idea of lying, Kirito knows that Quinella doesn't believe in Stacia, so her oath means nothing. Cardinal is smart enough to see through this, and insists that Quinella swear by the one thing that matters to her — her own Fluctlight.
  • Blow You Away: Blasted Eugeo aside using a gust of wind after thwarting his assassination attempt.
  • Body Horror: Her skin starts cracking when she's near death after Kirito stabbed her.
  • Body Surf: First started doing this once she realized that her current body could no longer contain all her memories and needing a new body to store her new experiences, but as time went on it became about attaining complete immortality.
  • Casting a Shadow: Generated a ball of darkness using the Umbral Element Sacred Arts, and can have Silvery Eternity fire bolts of dark lightning.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: She's the first Big Bad who is a female and isn't human, a sharp contrast with her predecessors. She's also the first who had her fall to villainy and ascension to power told in great detail, rather than being presented as just another bad guy straight from the get-go.
  • Control Freak: Quinella is a corrupt, narcissistic and callous psycho who is not above killing, torturing, and brainwashing anyone to keep UW for herself, though her methods of doing so are different from the standard. She spends most of her time asleep in order to preserve precious memory space, but the laws she placed over the land and its people might as well be God-given edicts to follow consciously or subconsciously given her authority and are enforced by her Integrity Knights. In the backstory, while she fused with the Cardinal System to regulate UW, her original intention was to outright steal its powers and authority for herself.
  • The Corrupter: Quinella preys on Eugeo's emotions and his desire to be loved, twisting his memories and breaking him, before turning him into her own loyal servant.
  • Dark Messiah: Preaches herself as the will of God and the savior of humanity, when in reality she governed the human realm with an iron fist and is concerned with nothing but self-preservation.
  • Dirty Coward: Despite being more competent and attractive than Sugou, she's very rotten to the core and the reason why she's a Control Freak in the first place is because she fears losing power and influence to the people of UW.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Her biggest undoing is failing to anticipate that Kirito and Eugeo's swords are not made from metal, which she has not made herself impervious to.
    • Nor Chudelkin barely surviving his injuries and ruining her getaway, killing her in the process.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Serves as the Big Bad of the first half of Alicization before Gabriel takes over.
  • Distaff Counterpart: To Sugou. Parallels can be seen in that they are both raised as privileged people who grew to be corrupt and made and declared themselves the gods of a world. They both also perform awful experiments on innocents and have very twisted understanding of love. Kirito also calls both of them out for being false rulers with a God Guise.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Since her adult life, she wears just ankle wraps. She retains those even when naked.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Her forced synthesis of Eugeo looks very suspiciously like she's seducing him... or past that point already and gone to full-on sex.
  • Driven to Suicide: After fusing with Cardinal, the sub-process within it deemed Quinella "an error" due to her intentional direct manipulation of the UW residents and, in times of emotional distress, took control of her with the intent of making her kill herself. After several failed attempts due to Quinella taking back control at the last second, she only stopped this by forcibly sealing her emotions away.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: While already quite corrupt, Quinella becomes increasingly vile the more power she attains.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Alice. Like Quinella, Alice was very talented in the Sacred Arts. One of Alice's most well-known abilities was to predict a storm one week in advance at a rather young age, while Quinella was also able to predict the weather in advance, though only 3 days in advance. A notable difference between the two is that Quinella was born in a noble family in the capital, while Alice was born in a family of villagers in one of the most remote villages in the Human Empire. It's implied Alice might have walked down a similar path to Quinella had Eugeo and Kirito not been in her life from near the start.
  • Evil Laugh: While she usually remains calm and composed, when she really gets in the moment then she can let off some psychotic cackles.
  • Face Death with Dignity: In the anime, despite her horror at realizing she's going to die, she calms down when she sees a vision of the empire and world she always sought to build and manages to find peace with it before exploding, while smiling, no less.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Quinella has an angelic theme to her design. Her light purples and whites give off a generally non-threatening look, and at a glance, one would be forgiven for thinking she were a heroine rather than a villain. Quinella is perfectly aware of her "innocent" appearance, and uses it to mask her true nature as she manipulates others.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Had she bothered to check and make sure Chudelkin was actually dead (by nature of Disappearing Into Light, like Cardinal), he wouldn't have been alive to ruin her getaway attempt and kill her.
  • Faux Affably Evil: She maintains an air of formality towards her enemies, despite seeing everyone as nothing but fodder for turning into sword golems. When turning Eugeo into an Integrity Knight, she showers him with false affection in order to make him remove his core protection. She only drops the facade when encountering setbacks such as Cardinal fusing Eugeo with his sword or Kirito cutting her remaining arm off.
  • Final-Exam Boss: With her access to the system as Administrator, Quinella knows every fighting style and system call art in the Underworld and how to exploit them, as well as copying the Aincrad Style from Eugeo's memories. It takes Eugeo's Heroic Sacrifice to give Kirito a second sword for his signature dual-wielding style and a Heroic Second Wind to even the odds, and even then she still gives him a solid challenge with only a single arm.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Once, she was a simple resident (a noble, yes, but still something not too impressive in the grand scheme of things) of UW that discovered several key facts about the world, such as how to perform offensive commands and that killing things would increase her stats. Developing these powers further throughout her life, she eventually discovered how to raise her Authority to the level of Cardinal itself on her deathbed, making herself a Physical God in the process. Not content with sharing power, however, she tried to steal Cardinal's powers for herself but only succeeding in fusing with it to gain its functions of regulating the world, but even then she went much further than Cardinal intended.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: She has no problems fighting without any clothes on, as Kirito and Alice found out.
  • Gaining the Will to Kill: In her backstory she was among the first residents to realize that she could create offensive commands for the purpose of fighting and killing other things...and then realizing that doing so made her stronger with each kill...
  • Gaslighting: She twisted Euego's perception of his feelings and even his own memories to make believe himself a lonely and forsaken individual that only she herself could "save". She also wipes her Integrity Knights' memories after century or so to make them forget grievances.
  • A God Am I: After attaining the powers of the Cardinal System, she declares herself the Administrator of Underworld, which Cardinal considers the most arrogant name possible.
  • Godiva Hair: The only thing hiding her lady bits whenever she's naked is her long hair, along with some rare strategic object placement.
  • Go Out with a Smile: In the anime, just as she's dying, she sees one last vision of the empire she once controlled, looking at it with pride before she's gone for good.
  • Gratuitous English: Being well versed in System Commands and their meanings, she often spouts English words midspeech.
  • Handicapped Badass: Despite losing an arm, she still has sword skills from both the Underworld and Aincrad, allowing her to overwhelm Kirito until he dual wields his own sword and Eugeo's.
  • Heavy Sleeper: She spends the majority of her days in her chambers asleep. Justified, as it allows her to preserve as much memory space in her Fluctlight (and by extension, her lifespan) as possible.
  • Hero Killer: Not only did she turned Eugeo into her lackey, but also killed him. One might also consider Charlotte's death given how it was her Golem, or Cardinal, since she fried her with energy blasts, before the latter used the last of her strength to empower Eugeo before his eventual demise.
  • Hey, You!: She always calls Kirito "boy," as a reference to his coming from another world.
  • Human Shield: Quinella's Sword Golems are not only effective killing machines which never stop fighting for all eternity, driven by the emotion of love that got twisted into blind instinct, but the fact that they were once humans means that Cardinal cannot bring herself to attack them.
  • Immortality Begins at 20: Played with. She actually did age normally all the way to the end of her natural lifespan, but she was able to restore her youth just in time and then granted herself immortality, forever preserving her with the appearance of a twenty something woman.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Stabbed in the heart by Kirito during their duel - which lands a critical blow. It doesn't kill her though, since she had a sliver of health left - enough to make a last-ditch escape attempt.
  • Improvised Weapon: After Silvery Eternity was destroyed and her right arm was severed, she decides to transform her arm into both a rapier, and later, a katana, in order to fight Kirito.
  • It's All About Me: Attempted to steal Cardinal's Authority and/or destroy it simply because she couldn't stand the idea of another having equal Authority as her over UW. It did become slightly more justified when revealed that Cardinal tried at multiple points to make her kill herself after their fusion... but only because Quinella by that point had already started directly interfering with the lives of UW residents, something she wasn't supposed to do at all.
  • Karmic Death: Defeated and critically wounded by a royally pissed off Kirito as payback for what she did to Eugeo, before being killed by Chudelkin (while trying to escape to the real world to a robot body), who had already set himself on fire and embraced her despite her poor treatment towards him (in order to touch her and gain his reward for their bargain during said escape, no less).
  • Kick the Dog:
    • She plays a major part in causing Kirito's Game-Breaking Injury and Break the Cutie phase for the next three books by cleaving Eugeo in half.
    • She's also utterly contemptuous of Chudelkin even after he "dies" fighting for her. Alice, despite being fairly cold, is quite appalled at how callous Quinella is over the death of one of her servants.
    • She also taunts Alice over how painful the process of forcibly turning her into an Integrity Knight must have been.
  • Kill It with Fire: Not only does she possess fire spells, but Chudelkin setting her on fire is what does her in, and by accident, no less.
  • Leitmotif: Has a theme consisting of a choir's ominous chanting.
  • Light Is Not Good: She has long white hair and wears a white gown, and she's the Underworld's Satanic Archetype.
  • Light Darkenss Juxtaposition: She tends to dress in lavender/white and is otherwise associated with bright colors, while Kirito continues his Dark Is Not Evil theme, especially prominent when he uses Incarnation to manifest his Black Swordsman attire from SAO.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She manipulated Eugeo into doing her bidding through forced synthesis.
  • Master Swordswoman: Despite losing an arm, she proves skilled enough to keep pace with Kirito while he's Dual Wielding against her, even managing to take one of his arms at the cost of her remaining one.
  • Mind Manipulation: Quinella created loyal followers that came to be known as her Integrity Knights, who have their memories sealed off and will unquestioningly carry out her bidding.
  • My Skull Runneth Over: After ruling for seventy years as an Immortal Ruler, Quinella discovered that her FluctLight had reached its limit of stored memories, so the solution she came up with was overwrite a child's FluctLight with her own memories and FluctLight using the Synthesis Ritual. Though this would be her undoing as she ended up giving this girl power equal to her own and she would end up becoming Cardinal.
  • Moral Myopia: When asked why she would go the atrocious deeds of enslaving the souls of innocent people to become her Integrity Knights and not even being able to entrust them, she argues that her Piety Modules she implanted in her knights were out of an act of love which she reserved only for them, as it freed them from worry and pain and making them beautiful dolls who didn't need to think. In Quinella's eyes all her actions are just and she has done nothing wrong.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Has been regularly referred to as beautiful, voluptuous, and her clothing doesn't try to hide much of her figure, if she's even wearing any. Not to mention how she seduced Eugeo and fought against Kirito and Alice in the nude.
  • Mystical White Hair: Fitting for one who considers herself the goddess of UW and has the power to back it up.
  • Narcissist: Quinella believes that as the elegant "goddess" of UW, everyone should kneel before her.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Quinella's attempt to amend her overflowing memory by imprinting to another FluctLight was what allowed Cardinal to split off from her and seize control of another individual, the little girl who would come to be known as Cardinal and resist her.
  • No-Sell: She made her skin as hard as iron and therefore impervious to any metal weapon. This is why Eugeo's dagger failed even with the element of surprise. There's a heavy emphasis on the weapon being metal however - Eugeo and Kirito's swords bypass this drawback by being made of ice and wood, respectively - even Divine Objects are transmuted by Quinella herself into metal weapons in an attempt to counter this loophole.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: While she claims that turning half the Underworld (including her Knights) into sword golems is for their own safety, it's clear by her actions that she's nothing but a narcissistic Control Freak who's no better than any of the other psychos Kirito has faced, like Sugou or Laughing Coffin. In fact, Quinella's refusal to allow the existence of any military force that she can't control has doomed the realm of humanity, and this realization helps Kirito win Alice over to his side.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: She's almost exclusively referred to as "The Pontifex" or "Administrator" rather than Quinella.
  • Physical God: She imbued her FluctLight with the Cardinal sub-processor, which was essentially the god of the Underworld, and hence amassed its unlimited power.
  • Playing with Fire: Ranked up by killing foxes with fire arrows, and can shoot fire from her fingertips without having to recite anything.
  • Prehensile Hair: After losing both her arms, she resorts to turning her hair into needles. She also attempts to use a console by using her hair as fingers, or as razor-sharp blades and Combat Tentacles in a last ditch-attempt to kill Kirito with in their duel.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Her white outfit and hair has light purple shades in them, along with her eyes, and she's certainly powerful as the Administrator of Underworld.
  • Rapunzel Hair: A major feature is her incredibly long hair, which is appropriate given her past as a noblewoman and now as the ruler of the world.
  • Reality Warper: Possessing Cardinal's Authority gives her the ability to use very high level System Commands that virtually allow her to shape the reality of UW to her will.
  • Sadist: Despite freezing most of her emotions, she still takes pleasure in killing Cardinal slowly and states that she wants to see Kirito's despair.
  • Satanic Archetype: Her backstory paints her as one. She rebelled against the Underworld's version of God in order to become one herself, setting herself up as one gifted by the gods before constructing a false faith in her own name, eventually succeeded in her goals, and ruled by her specially-prepared laws and her Integrity Knights.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: After attaining godhood by imprinting Cardinal's system administrator abilities onto her FluctLight, she decided she was above simple things such as clothes, discarding her garments and often staying fully nude.
    • Word of God says that she doesn't feel shame about being nude because she's realized she's in a simulation. Even her body isn't truly real, so what's the point of caring?
  • Sinister Minister: She fancies herself as Axiom's high minister and rules UW with an iron fist.
  • Sliding Scale of Villain Threat: A huge jump from all of her predecessors in both power and threat. While previous SAO villains did make Kirito struggle, he could typically take them down on his own with limited assistance from the respective Arc Hero. Quinella however is godlike and initially towered over Kirito, whereby it took several sacrifices from his friends to wear her down before the playing field had been leveled for Kirito to match her. Also unlike the other villains who restricted their crimes to game communities, she has ruled over a human empire for centuries.
    • Not only is she the first villain since Kayaba to land a significant physical blow to Kirito, she's also the one to severely damage Kirito's mental health, to the point where he becomes comatose and depressed (thanks to killing his friends), something that no other villain has come close to. Even to this day, her killing of Eugeo still haunts him, and that's after he defeated the next, more invincible villain - Gabriel Miller.
  • The Sociopath: She never cares for the welfare of the UW people because it's all about her in her head. Justified in that she had to seal her emotions to prevent Cardinal from making her kill herself during times of emotional distress... but also double-subverted in that Quinella had already begun her experiments into manipulating the UW residents by this time, so she already was a psycho, she just made herself worse. She feels no remorse for trouble she's caused and even convinces her victims that she's helping them by twisting their feelings and memories.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Towers over the other female characters, being even taller than Kirito despite being the same biological age as him appearance wise.
  • Strong and Skilled: While she could be mistaken for Unskilled, but Strong at first with her over reliance on her godlike Administrator powers and mastery of the Sacred Arts, she is revealed to be as well versed in sword combat as Kirito himself. Even having worn her down with weapons that can harm her, she's still spends a fair share of the fight thrashing Kirito by showcasing her knowledge of Sword Skills. After all, she did fuse with the Cardinal System and knows of the entire command list, so it's not like she couldn't gain the knowledge one way or another, either by peering through Eugeo's memories, or by having the Cardinal system record the data every time Kirito or Eugeo swung their swords.
  • Super Toughness: She's made herself immune to iron and all forms of metal, which is what most weapons in the world are made from. This is why Kirito and Eugeo's swords, which aren't made of metal, are able to hurt her.
  • Terms of Endangerment: She uses the affectionate "-chan" honorific on Alice, even after it's become clear that Alice is now her enemy. She also occasionally calls Cardinal "Lyserith-chan."
  • Torso with a View: After Kirito impales her in the heart, what's left behind in the impact spot is a large hole in the center of her chest.
  • The Vamp: Seduces Eugeo with the promise of fulfilling his desire to be loved, even stripping off all her clothes in front of him.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: After Kirito deals her a lethal wound she attempts to escape to the real world in a robotic body. It would have worked if Chudelkin had not been still alive.
  • Villain Has a Point: When Kirito calls Quinella out on all the atrocities she committed of controlling her world, Quinella counter-argues that he's from a world of people who did the same thing by creating a world for their own purposes. So what right does a boy from such a world have to judge her?
  • Villainous Breakdown: She loses her cool when Eugeo fuses with his sword, enabling him to destroy her Sword Golem and cut off her arm - or when Kirito later impales her through the heart later on. While she could easily shrug it off the first two times (on account of having said arm transformed into a second sword, and an escape route into the real world), what really seals the deal is the panic on her face when Chudelkin unexpectedly shows up and sets her on fire, which thwarts her escape and eventually kills her, though she manages to regain control before her death.
  • Weapon of Choice: Silvery Eternity, her Royal Rapier, signifying her prestige and authority as the Ruler of the Underworld with its pimped-out design. It ends up a Wrecked Weapon during her fight with Kirito when Eugeo decides to intervene.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Stated to be this by a couple of characters, including Eugeo and Kirito. Even before becoming a Physical God, she was seen as one of the great beauties of the Underworld, which likely helped her convince people of her divinity.
  • You Keep Using That Word: A reoccurring theme brought up with her is her inability to understand love. She believes love is simply desire and that it can be acquired through an exchange. She also seems to believe that love is a means of controlling others, whereby she twists the emotion into making her Integrity Knights and her Sword Golems fiercely loyal to her.
    Quinella: To love is to control. I love everything. I rule everything.

    Gabriel Miller / Subtilizer / Vector 

Gabriel Miller / Subtilizer (GGO, UW) / Vector (UW)

Voiced by: Akira Ishida (Japanese), Ted Sroka (English)
Gabriel as Vector

Chief Technological Officer of "Glowgen Defense Systems" and son of the founder and former CTO. During the events of the Alicization arc, he leads a 12-men team of operators, at the request of the National Security Agency, on an assault of the Ocean Turtle.

  • Animal Motifs: In his introductory chapter, Dario Giulani, the captain of the USS Jimmy Carter, the sub that would transport Gabriel's forces right before the Ocean Turtle raid, describes him as having hollow eyes that "devoured all light like a bottomless pit" like the great white shark that he encountered while he was swimming in Miami. Considering the type of person Gabriel is, this is fitting.
  • Ax-Crazy: Hands down the biggest example in the series. Hands down. Not even the Laughing Coffin guild at its most terrifying reaches to his level of derangement.
  • Bad Boss: Gabriel doesn't care about the lives of his forces as long as everything is in his favor.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: His childhood experiments on insects.
  • Big Bad: After Quinella is defeated, he takes over this role for Alicization.
  • The Caligula: His attitude has some shades of this.
  • Call-Forward: He shows up in Fatal Bullet, being revealed to be the mastermind behind Lievre's Evil Plan. He teases the Alicization arc, where he mentions that the entire incident was to collect data on noteworthy players and that the "rabbit" would light the way to Wonderland before promising Alice he'd see her again.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Before blowing themselves up, Sinon told Kirito of the outcome of the first Bullet of Bullets tournament where it ended in a tie because the person who should have won got caught off guard. This is further explained under Taking You with Me.
  • The Chessmaster: Since he can get away with killing his fiancée when he was a child, combined with the fact that he's the director of GDS and has been playing GGO for years, he can outsmart the Human Empire Army and beat Sinon with little effort despite the latter using the Sun Goddess Solus super-account.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Even more so than Sugou. Gabriel's willing to kidnap and murder innocent people if it means finding about the nature of the soul.
  • Dark Is Evil: In contrast to Kirito's Dark Is Not Evil.
  • Death by Irony: Gabriel is left for dead by an Invincible Hero and ends up being Dragged Off to Hell by the souls of the dead, with the person he killed in his younger years mocking him.
  • Dirty Coward: For all of his bragging about being an Invincible Villain or stealing souls, he screams and begs for his forces to save him when he gets Dragged Off to Hell.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Was originally the Final Boss of the web novels prior to Kawahara writing the paperback remake.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: His fate after losing to Kirito.
  • The Dreaded: Even the Dark Territory is terrified at his presence.
  • Earlybird Cameo:
    • He was alluded to in the Phantom Bullet arc as the co-winner of the first BoB.
    • He makes his first voiced appearance in the game-verse entry Fatal Bullet, as part of its Collapse of Balance DLC.
    • The anime features him in Episode 1 of Alicization, as leader of the squadron in GGO fighting against Sinon and the rest of the SAO gang. This is a whole two cours before he's scheduled to properly appear.
  • Eagleland: The Boorish variety, and taken to the extreme.
  • Enfante Terrible: Even when he was a child, him murdering his fiancée and experimenting on animals to satisfy his curiosity on the nature of a soul clearly paints that he's been pure evil since his youth.
  • Evil Overlord: As Vector in Underworld.
  • For Science!: He wants to learn about the secrets of the soul through any means necessary, and is willing to kill innocents to perform this research. Even his childhood love interest is no exception, since he believes someone like her must have a high quality soul.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He started out as a a typical, if priveledged child. Then his father showed him a video that depicted a male preying mantis living after being decapitated post-coital, and things just escalated from there.
  • A God Am I: His end goal is to steal Alice's lightcube to place her in a virtual world of his own design. Afterwards, he plans on kidnapping real world people, killing their physical bodies, and placing their souls in his virtual world too, all so he can manipulate their souls as he sees fit.
  • God-Emperor: Of the Dark Territory.
  • Godlike Gamer: Regarded as the most legendary player of GGO and his reputation really shows with just how invincible he is on the battlefield.
  • Hate Sink: While Gabriel does manage some terrifyingly impressive featsinvoked, Kawahara makes no secret that as to what a monster he is. He murdered his fiancée when he was a child to see what the nature of the soul was like, experimented on animals for that same reason also during his youth, and treats his followers either as tools or his own stress toys. He has zero empathy or remorse, constantly viewing everyone else as beneath him whilst violating the laws of the Underworld to become God. Gabriel has the gall to mock Bercouli for sacrificing his own life to stop him as Vector, and then Kirito, Alice, Asuna and Shino for their supposed arrogance, and eventually tries to capture Alice and destroy the Underworld. It's hard not to cheer alongside the characters when Kirito gives him the pummeling he's asked for so long.
  • Hero Killer: He killed Bercouli during the UW war.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: His eyes are described as devouring all light. Also doubles as a Red Right Hand as it indicates of his sociopathic character.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: What he intends on doing to Kirito to obtain his soul.
  • Invincible Villain: Gabriel is by and far the toughest out of all the antagonists. Across his appearances, he has been steamrolling over nearly every member of the main cast, even those with super-accounts, whether via proxies such as PoH or by himself. Ironically, Gabriel ends up being outclassed by Kirito despite giving him the toughest fight of his life. Fittingly, he served as the Final Boss of the original web novel series.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: He's established to be an uncaring sociopath who sees his soldiers, both in the real world and UW, as disposable pawns. The only time he comes across as sympathetic is his flashback of his Childhood Friend Romance with Alicia, and he even seems to be sad that she has to move away and endure a life of poverty. This sympathetic moment is soon negated when he decides that he doesn't want Alicia to belong to anyone but him, leading him to kill her and revel in the beauty of her soul. In the end, his "love" for Alicia is really just selfish possessiveness over her soul.
  • The Juggernaut: He's called the "Dark God" for a reason, as his super account and GGO skills can outmatch any opponent he fought or killed... unless you're Kirito.
  • Just a Kid: He thinks that Sinon and Kirito are nothing more than just "brats". Unfortunately for him, the latter is NOT someone who should be taken lightly.
  • Karmic Death: For killing his fiancée and many others, Gabriel had it coming when their souls were freed and drag him away.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • In his youth, experimenting on animals, killing his fiancée when he was a child because he believed her soul would lose its brilliance.
    • The first thing he does upon returning the the Underworld as Subtilizer is to mock Bercouli for sacrificing his life to stop him as Vector.
  • Knife Nut: It also serves that he's insane.
  • Knight of Cerebus: SAO was already a dark series as is but Gabriel's introduction makes everything in the series even more serious.
  • Lack of Empathy: He cares for nothing but getting the first fully-functional artificial intelligence (i.e. Alice) all for himself, and that's before taking into account all the numerous atrocities that he did before getting to her, such as experimenting on animals to find the nature of the soul, killing his fiancé (the former two of which he did when he was a child), and leading people he manipulated to their deaths in the Underworld.
  • Manipulative Bastard: And how! He's also smart enough to know what the Human Empire Army is capable of.
  • Mask of Sanity: He's a sociopath with a sick obsession with possessing and consuming souls, but manages to pass himself off as a cold, rational leader. His batshit insanity really comes to light during the final fight with Kirito.
  • Meaningful Name:
  • Near-Villain Victory: He manages to outmaneuver the Human Empire Army with his elaborately effective Uriah Gambits, have PoH drive the heroes back into a corner by inviting thousands of Chinese, Korean and Russian players into the underworld and exploit their hatred against the Japanese for all its worth, and would've won by capturing Alice if it weren't for Kirito's last-minute mental recovery.
  • Not So Stoic: During his final fight with Kirito, Gabriel's Mask of Sanity breaks apart, revealing what he truly is: a batshit insane megalomaniac who's truly off his rocker.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: In his words, if he succeeds in capturing Alice, he'll blow up UW and its people next.
  • One-Man Army: In GGO, he was able to take on a bunch of players using only as little as a knife and a handgun, to just nothing at all, thanks to his Combat Skill, "Army Combatative", which allows him to grapple his opponent and steal their weapon before they can react and use it against them.
  • One-Winged Angel: While fighting against Kirito, Gabriel transforms into a pitch-black Eldritch Abomination with a pair of glowing blue eyes, a dark halo, and three pairs of angelic wings.
  • Physical God: As Vector, especially in his One-Winged Angel form.
  • Playing with Syringes: What he did to insects when he was a child to learn more about the nature of souls.
  • Power of the Void: His "Darkness of the Void".
  • Red Baron: Subtilizer, in GGO, and Dark God Vector in Alicization.
  • Sadist: Big time. He began studying the concept of mortality when he was a kid by killing his childhood friend Alicia Klingerman. And as Vector, the dark god of Underworld, he tortured even more souls (artificial ones, but no less satisfying to him). His prime goal in Underworld though to hunt down Alice - who resembles Alicia - and torture her as well.
  • Satanic Archetype: His obsession with souls easily parallels the Faustian depictions of Satan, his Chessmaster abilities parallel some contemporary depictions of Satan as a sophisticated, Machiavellian smooth-talker a la The Rolling Stones's depiction of the Devil from Sympathy for the Devil, and, as Vector, he's a God of Darkness with an Eldritch Abomination true form who leads an army of demihumans and monsters like the traditional depictions of Satan. To finish it off, considering that Alicization was the last arc in the original web novel series and the Book of Revelation is the last book of the Bible, if Gabriel is Satan then Kirito is the Messiah who ultimately defeats Satan in the Final Battle.
  • Shadow Archetype: To Akihiko Kayaba. Gabriel is pretty much what Akihiko Kayaba would have become if it wasn't for his own moral code.
  • Sliding Scale of Villain Threat: Quinella was already immensely overpowered compared to previous villains, but Gabriel cranks up the threat level in further by being a borderline Invincible Villain.
  • Smug Snake: Ultimately, Gabriel is this. He's got the skills, wits, and victories that would make a Magnificent Bastardinvoked envy for, but his gigantic ego ultimately is what leads to his demise.
  • The Sociopath: A high-functioning one, and the most dangerous example in the series. Gabriel is charismatic, manipulative, and wickedly intelligent, even despite his batshit insanity, but is simultaneously utterly bloodthirsty and utterly devoid of anything remotely resembling empathy.
  • Spider Tank: Has a flying platform variation of this as Subtilizer.
  • Taking You with Me: He was on the receiving end of this during the Japanese GGO server's first Bullet of Bullets tourney (the one where he participated with only a pistol and knife). He got blown up by the last surviving player when the latter pulled out and activated a plasma grenade as a "Screw You!" move.
  • Tears of Fear: The "spirit" of Alicia really set off the waterworks when she chose to banish him.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Killing his friend Alicia Klingerman when he was still a child.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Oh Gabriel, do you really think its a good idea to underestimate Kirito, just because you're a Physical God? You'll definitely regret it soon enough.
  • The Unfettered: He sees everyone, enemy and ally alike, as pawns or stepping stones to his goal.
  • UltimateGamer386: Regarded as something of a legend in GGO, being a renowned player and one of the finalists of the first BoB along with the only player who Sinon has had no hope of beating (with the list including Kirito).
  • Uriah Gambit: Most of his tactics function as this.
  • Villainous Breakdown: As he's Dragged Off to Hell after being defeated by Kirito, he breaks down crying and weeping, demanding to know what he had done wrong, before screaming as he's absorbed into oblivion.
  • Villains Want Mercy: He begs for his men to save him as he's being dragged into oblivion when he's rendered powerless. Unfortunately for Gabriel, his pleas are ignored as he's banished to oblivion. FOREVER.
  • We Have Reserves: For him, sacrificing his forces is no big deal.
  • Yandere: When his childhood friend Alicia is about to move away, Gabriel kills her in his mad belief that he can preserve the brilliance of her soul and keep anyone else from having her. In the present, he seeks Alice as a replacement due to their similar appearance and names, hoping that her soul will be just as brilliant.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: His entire motive. He has no problems "stealing souls" from his victims to the point of attempting to claim Kirito's soul by cutting him in half and trying to eat his heart during their fight.
  • Zerg Rush: It takes the combined efforts of Kirito, Alice, Asuna, Leafa, and an entire legion just to wear him down to the point to where Kirito can move in to close combat.

Laughing Coffin

    In General

A guild in SAO who revelled in killing other players. Because of this, they became known as a "red guild" and were eventually wiped out by the frontliner guilds.

  • Arch-Enemy: All of them (particularly the three highest ranking members) come to despise Kirito for defeating them in SAO. Members of their guild return in subsequent arcs to menace Kirito repeatedly in different games and in the real world.
  • Ax-Crazy: A guild of psychotic murderers who lust for bloodshed and would rather let themselves be killed in battle than surrendering.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: During Kirito's recount of the Assault Team's raid on the Laughing Coffin HQ, over twenty Laughing Coffin members choose to let themselves be killed rather than surrendering. One particularly psychotic member already had his HP reduced to red and was cornered by three clearers, yet instead of giving in, he chose to maniacally lunge and stab at the clearers, managing to kill all three of them, all the while cackling like a lunatic. Kirito is just in time to see the clearers die before the guy decides to attack Kirito, and he does not stop until Kirito deals the killing blow himself.
  • The Dreaded: Were this as a group, with multiple Hero Killer types like PoH, Xa Xa, and Johnny Black among their ranks. It's bad enough that in the GGO arc Kirito lapses into PTSD upon seeing Death Gun's LC tattoo, while Klein drops his alcohol and panics when Death Gun utters PoH's Catchphrase.
  • Earlybird Cameo:
    • PoH, XaXa, and Johnny Black are first seen during the "A Murder Case in the Area" story, as very minor antagonists. However they will all go on to become Arc Villains later in the story.
    • In a blink-and-miss shot of the players names list Kayaba brings out when telling Asuna and Kirito about everyone being logged out you can see XaXa, Johnny Black and PoH's names on the list of players logged out having survived SAO.
  • Evil Counterpart: To the Knights of the Blood Oath, being a large and famous guild, but one that is feared for being murderers, rather than attempting to save the players by clearing the game.
  • For the Evulz: Their logic for killing is, "If it's a death game, killing people is a must".
  • Informed Attribute: Most of their more brutal crimes such as the killing of hundreds of players occur entirely offscreen. Aside from Kuradeel, the only time we see them in action during the Aincrad arc was during "A Murder Case in the Area" story where they are hired by Grimlock to carry out the murders of his old guild. It isn't until the Phantom Bullet arc via a flashback that we finally get to see just how monstrous these guys truly are when a battle between them and the Assault Team results on a bloodbath on both sides.
  • In the Hood: Members of the guild are fond of draping themselves in black cloaks.
  • Karma Houdini: Due to all blame being placed on Akihiko Kayaba, none of their crimes were revealed to the public and none of the surviving members were punished for their crimes. However, after the guild's kill count climbed into the triple digits, the Knights Of Blood put the floor-clearing on hold and with a lot of other like-minded players, initiated a purge to track down all members of the guild and bring them to justice. Many of the psychos chose to let themselves be killed rather than to be captured. Some of them, including XaXa and Johnny Black, managed to escape, though, and remain at large. At least, until the Death Gun incident.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: While they get off scot-free for their actions in SAO due to Kayaba getting the blame, the surviving members return in later arcs and finally get their comeuppance: XaXa and Johnny Black are arrested and incarcerated after perpetuating the Death Gun incident (although the latter escapes justice long enough to attack and nearly kill Kirito in real life), and PoH himself is subjected to a Fate Worse than Death by Kirito during the climax of the Alicization arc.
  • Loophole Abuse: Because the Laughing Coffin cannot be recognized as a guild by the system given their abnormally high count of orange and red players, their members are free to join and infiltrate other guilds. Kuradeel exploited this by posing as a frontline soldier in the Knights of the Blood Oath, unbeknownst to everyone until he reveals his tattoo to Kirito.
  • Master Poisoner: Most, if not all, members of this guild are skilled in potion mixing, usually to paralyze their victims before going for the kill.
  • Murder, Inc.: Sometimes, some players will hire their services to kill a target as a means to avoid having their Karma Meter changed to orange or red.
  • Over Arching Villain: The Laughing Coffin are present one way or another in every season of the series. In the Aincrad arc they are a murder guild present in SAO and form a Big-Bad Ensemble with Kayaba. In the Phantom Bullet arc, two former members (XaXa and Johnny Black) are part of the Big Bad Duumvirate that makes up Death Gun, while in the Alicization arc PoH returns as The Dragon working for the new Big Bad Gabriel.
  • Player Killing: Some time after Laughing Coffin, a ragtag bunch of orange players, was founded, PoH spread the belief that killing other players was alright, uncaring of the fact that SAO was a death game.
  • Psycho for Hire: They are willing to get payed to perform their PKing.
  • Tattooed Crook: Members have their guild symbol tattooed on their avatar's bodies.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: They know their game-world actions have lethal real world consequences and yet they kill anyway.

    Vassago Casals / PoH 

Vassago Casals / PoH (SAO, GGO, UW)

Voiced by: Keiji Fujiwara (Games), Tsuyoshi Koyama (Anime) (Japanese), Xander Mobus (English), Alfredo Gabriel Basurto (Latin American Spanish)
Click here to see Vassago 

The guild's founder and (former) leader.

  • And I Must Scream: His ultimate fate. After PoH declares he'll never stop coming after Kirito and Asuna until he's killed them in real life, Kirito declares that he's never logging out of Underworld and traps him in a tree, leaving him to rot in Underworld forever. It's made even worse by the fact that time in Underworld runs on Year Inside, Hour Outside; years can pass in-game while mere days pass in the real world. Kirito even takes the time to describe such a fate to him: PoH will spend ten or more years of isolation and insanity, and then die after another 30 years of brain activity; as Kirito puts it, he better pray his allies bail him out, otherwise he's stuck in there, rotting for the rest of his life until someone else cuts him down with an axe.
  • Ascended Extra: Goes from being a secondary antagonist in the Aincrad arc to an Arc Villain of the Alicization arc. Hollow Fragment upgrades him to the Big Bad of the Hollow Area though his Hollow AI counterpart.
  • Arc Villain: He's the second biggest threat in the Alicization arc.
  • Ax-Crazy: The biggest psychopath of the bunch, though he pales in comparison to the megalomania that is Gabriel Miller.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: He's an Ax-Crazy murderer who kicks the dog For the Evulz and has a weapon that becomes more powerful as more and more people suffer and die on the battlefield.
  • Bastard Bastard: He's revealed to be an illegitimate son of a Korean man and a Mexican woman, and he's definitely a bastard to boot.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: While beating up the still brain dead Kirito, he demands the latter to stand up and fight him despite Asuna's pleas. Guess what Kirito did to him after waking up.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Given the damage he and his guild did, he rivals Kayaba for the biggest problem of the arc as well, necessitating most frontline players to put off the progression and actively hunt Laughing Coffin down. In Hollow Fragment, his Hollow AI counterpart serves as another example of this trope and nearly succeeds in killing and replacing everyone with their Hollows, including the real PoH. Additionally, in Alicization, he serves as the other half in the Big Bad Duumvirate along with Gabriel Miller
  • Break the Badass: He, The Dreaded founder and leader of Laughing Coffin and a well-known Hero Killer is reduced to a sobbing, whimpering lapdog as Kirito gets the upper hand and traps him in a tree, describing his fate in excruciating detail.
  • Bullying a Dragon: After Kirito beats him, PoH decides to mouth off to him, gloating that even if Kirito kills him in-game, he'll just keep coming after him and Asuna again and again until he finally kills them for real as payback. Of course, this bites him in the ass immediately afterwards, since Kirito proceeds to make sure that PoH is in no condition to come after them, ever again.
  • Boomerang Bigot: He deeply hates East Asians and wants them to kill each other. His father is Korean.
  • Catchphrase: "It's Showtime." (said in English) When the Death Gun utters this phrase in the BoB tournament, Kirito is quick to (incorrectly) assume that PoH might be the perpetrator; Klein similarly recognizes Death Gun as ex-Laughing Coffin, although the differences in speech tell him that he's not PoH. Indeed, XaXa is the one operating the avatar.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: His beatdown on a still-comatose Kirito.
  • The Corrupter: While his guild did a lot of damage back in SAO, there is still long-term damage in that he cultivated a number of potential real life serial killers because of his influence. XaXa and Johnny Black are two examples.
  • Curbstomp Battle: On the receiving end of this from a recently awakened and royally pissed off Kirito. Justified, since his Mate Chopper is a Glass Cannon and Kirito took advantage of its side effect with a Simple, yet Awesome combo.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: Recruits people for his red guild by promising them that all the blame for any murderers they commit will be placed on Kayaba.
  • Determinator: Even in defeat, PoH remains Defiant to the End and attempts to threaten Kirito with a We Will Meet Again speech and continue to Kick the Dog... which doesn't end well for him.
  • Didn't See That Coming: When Kirito defeats him in Underworld, PoH expects Kirito to give him a warrior's death, since he'll be able to pursue him and Asuna and kill them for real after being booted out of the system. What he didn't expect was Kirito to subject him to a Fate Worse than Death by imprisoning him in a tree and leaving him to rot in Underworld, vowing that this is the last time they'll meet and PoH will never log out of the Soul Translator.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Of Hollow Fragment. ...or at least his Hollow AI counterpart: he plots to initiate an update that would make Cardinal reverse the designations of players and the Hollow AI counterparts. Since Hollow Data is not allowed in Aincrad, this would cause a whole heap of trouble. However, his defeat does not spell the end of the death game, and Alberich/Sugou still needs to be defeated. Beating him also doesn't stop the Cardinal update, which requires the player to beat a Hollow version of Kirito.
  • Duel Boss: In Hollow Fragment, Kirito has to fight his Hollow AI by himself, which means no partners to help restore SP faster.
  • Eagleland: Was born in America, and is clearly a vicious Boorish variety.
  • Evil Counterpart: He is built up to be a parallel to Heathcliff. While Heathcliff rallied the strongest players in the game into forming an elite guild known as the Knight of the Blood Oath, PoH brought together all of the psychotic orange players in the game into a guild and spread the belief that it was acceptable to kill in a death game. Much like how Heathcliff is respected among most players, the Laughing Coffin members idolized PoH.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Has a guttural, raspy voice.
  • Fatal Flaw: Bloodlust and sadism. He can't stop being obsessed with killing and violence or resist the opportunity to Kick the Dog, even when doing so is clearly a not good idea. Him bragging to Kirito that he'll go after him and Asuna before killing them in real life after his final fight with Kirito leads directly to his undoing.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Got turned into a tree by Kirito, left to rot in Underworld, and driven to insanity as a result.
  • For the Evulz: His entire motivation is to have East Asian people kill each other for his twisted sense of amusement.
  • Fun with Acronyms: His username stands for "Prince of Hell". Also, see Meaningful Name.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: He has nothing but hatred for East Asians because his biological father, a Korean, had abandoned his mother after impregnating her. Furthermore, both he and his mother were bought by the CEO of a Japanese trade company and were subsequently shipped to Japan. He starts the Laughing Coffin guild just so he could see Japanese people kill each other, and later brings in Chinese, Russian and Korean gamers to fight the Japanese gamers who want to rescue Kirito solely because he wants to watch East Asians kill one another. That said, this isn't treated as sympathetic or redeeming, and he is never shown to have loved his mother.
  • Glass Cannon: His Mate Chopper can boost his attack strength at the cost of his defense and armor stats.
  • Gratuitous English: He slips a fair bit of English phrases into his dialogue. Somehow, he also spouts the word "suck" as if it is an expletive. Makes sense as he's American.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Of the GGO and, to an extent, Alicization arcs, where he is personally uninvolved in the former but responsible for the corruption of many SAO players through Laughing Coffin, including his two right-hand men who become the villains for that season, and one of his right-hand men almost comes close to killing Kirito, leading to him ending up in the Underworld.
  • Hero Killer: Had this reputation, with even Kirito respecting his abilities. Given that he had the highest body count of almost any player, this is understandable. He also swears that once he logs out of Underworld, he'll keep coming after Kirito and Asuna until he kills them in real life... so Kirito makes sure that he can't log out.
  • In the Hood: His face is partially shadowed by the black hood he wears, concealing part of his identity.
  • Just Between You and Me: For starters, he brags to Kirito's face that he's going to cut off his limbs, then torture Asuna and make him watch. And when he's defeated in Underworld, he declares that no matter how many times Kirito beats him in-game, he's not going to stop coming after him and Asuna until he finally kills them for real by slitting their throats and ripping their hearts out. This proves to be the final straw; rather than kill him, Kirito gives PoH a Fate Worse than Death by turning him into a tree and trapping him in Underworld, declaring that he'll never log out.
  • Karma Houdini: At least until his aforementioned Fate Worse than Death. More specifically, how he was never caught during the SAO arc. He was the one who secretly provided the location of Laughing Coffin's main hideout, effectively betraying his own guild. He then warns his guild mere hours before the raid by the front-liners was to take place, allowing them to ambush the front-liners as they entered. He then simply disappeared without a trace.
    • And after that event and witnesses Kirito's duel with Kuradeel, he recruits Kuradeel into Laughing Coffin and trains him in the use of poisons to attack Godfrey and Kirito.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: PoH finally gets what's coming to him in the Alicization arc, when Kirito turns him into a tree and leaves him to rot in Underworld for the rest of his life, unable to log out.
  • Kick the Dog: Does this a bunch and revels in it, such as establishing the Laughing Coffin guild so he can make people kill each other for his own amusement, to beating up a comatose Kirito in front of his True Companions entirely to spite them, to even his announcement to Kirito and Asuna that he will always be hellbent on them no matter what until he brutally murders them in real life.
  • Knife Nut: Wields a cleaver-type knife called "Mate Chopper".
  • Latino Is Brown: He's an offspring of a Mexican woman, and has the complexion to show it.
  • Laughably Evil: For a psychotic player killer, he can be somewhat humorous when interacting with his allies. He has a tendency to make Gabriel uncomfortable by calling him "bro," constantly butts heads with Critter, shows childish glee in logging into the Underworld and joining the front lines, and confuses his Underworld allies with MMO terminology.
  • The Leader: Of Laughing Coffin.
  • Louis Cypher: Although not literally Satan/Lucifer, he is the closest equivalent to him in the franchise, and his real-life name is Vassago and his avatar's name is PoH (Prince of Hell), which already speaks of his character.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: This was what he was in SAO for. For starters, an unnamed crime syndicate had been to wanting to eliminate someone, but have had no success at it since the target was too well-guarded in reality. When they find out about Kayaba's death game and the fact that the target is trapped in SAO, they seize upon the opportunity given to them, and tasked Vassago with killing the target's avatar in game, which would of course lead to the target dying in reality. He is then provided the necessary NervGear and copy of SAO. But how did he even get into SAO after the death game kicked off, when Pitohui and many others who were unable to log in on launch day (Due to scheduling conflicts, other sorts of personal obligations on that day, etc.) could not? This is answered in the Sisters' Prayer side story. After all the players were moved to hospitals and reconnected, the server stopped allowing logins from new IP addresses, but it would still accept logins from someone sharing an IP address with an SAO player. Ergo, someone in the same hospital as a player could log in. This is exactly what Merida had been counting to be able log in before Yuuki and Aiko talked her out of it, and is also the method Vassago used to get into SAO.
  • Meaningful Name: His given name (Vassago) is a reference to a certain Prince of Hell. It also adds to his satanic character.
  • Obviously Evil: With his name, satanic character and Red Right Hand, you could see villain from a mile away.
  • Oh, Crap!: Has this reaction after figuring out that Kirito intends to imprison him in a tree instead of killing him.
  • Omni Glot:
    • According to the novels he is apparently fluent in Japanese, English, Korean, Russian, and Latin American Spanish. Kirito even wonders if he's of mixed ethnicity, which is verified later on: He was born as the illegitimate son of a Korean man and Mexican woman.
    • His multilingual fluency is much more relevant later on during the Alicization arc, where he's part of a 12-man team of operators from Glowgen Defense Systems making an assault on Ocean Turtle, led by GDS's own Gabriel Miller. All of the team speak English, with only him and Gabriel being fluent in Japanese. This meant that they would enter the Underworld via non-password protected accounts (Vassago chose an account of a dark knight, while Gabriel got the account of Emperor Vector), in an attempt to locate Alice.
  • One-Winged Angel: Transforms into a literal "Prince of Hell" during his fight against Kirito.
  • Personality Powers: His weapon Mate Chopper becomes more and more powerful the more players get killed on the battlefield. It reflects his incredibly bloodthirsty character.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: His Mate Chopper becomes more and more powerful whenever more people suffer and die on the battlefield.
  • Reality Ensues: In the Alicization arc, he has the brilliant idea to insult, threaten and gloat to Kirito, who just wiped the floor with him, that he's never going to stop coming after him until he brutally murders him and Asuna in real life, expecting him to just sit there and cry about it. Instead, his threats are met with retaliation and efforts to make sure he never comes after anyone ever again, as can be expected when one threatens someone who can and will fight back, especially since Kirito knows what PoH is capable of and will spell nothing but bad news wherever he goes.
  • Red Right Hand: Vassago has a large vertical scar on the right side of his head. Also his eyes glow red when he's hooded.
  • Sadist: Taken Up to Eleven. Born to a Korean father, who sold him and his Mexican mother away, he created the Laughing Coffin guild just to see Japanese people kill each other. PoH later brings Chinese, Russian and Korean gamers into Underworld to fight the Japanese gamers who are rescuing Kirito, just to revel in the sight of Asians killing each other. But wait, there's more. PoH proceeds to beat down a helpless Kirito in front of his True Companions just to spite them, planning to cut off his limbs and force Kirito to watch him torture Asuna. And when Kirito has recovered from his Game-Breaking Injury and defeats him, PoH vows that he will never stop coming after Kirito and Asuna until he finally manages to kill them in real life by cutting their throats and ripping their hearts out. This backfires on him epically; after hearing this, Kirito has had enough of him and subjects PoH to a Fate Worse than Death by permanently trapping him in a tree and leaving him to rot in Underworld.
  • Satanic Archetype: Perhaps the closest example in the series. He was considered an outcast having been born as an illegitimate child similar to Lucifer being cast from Heaven. Not only is he responsible for the corruption of many an SAO player and the post-SAO incidents but he dons a dark robe, is named Vassago (one of the demons in the Ars Goetia) and calls himself PoH (meaning Prince of Hell). Also adding to his Satanic character is that he deceives players from America, China, Korea and Russia to fight the Japanese players in the Underworld, which neatly parallels Satan gathering the nations around the world to fight the people of God in the Book of Revelation. To further add to the Messiah-Satan contrast, Kirito's recovery from his Game-Breaking Injury and victory over PoH and his forces during the final battle parallels the Second Coming of Christ and him defeating Satan's forces in the final battle in the Book of Revelation.
  • Slashed Throat: Attempts to do this on both Kirito and Asuna should he get kicked out from UW. Kirito kills him for this shortly afterwards (via a cruel and unusual method).
  • Small Role, Big Impact: For the franchise as a whole. Although getting much less screen-time than Kayaba in the Aincrad arc, the repercussions of his actions extend far beyond him. His establishment of the Laughing Coffin in Aincrad and the subsequent corruption of many a player into player killers and even real-life serial killers was what ultimately led to the Phantom Bullet and Alicization arcs.
  • The Sociopath: Misanthropic, bloodthirsty, manipulative, and utterly devoted to dog-kicking, Vassago shows among the darker, more dangerous depictions of sociopathy. He establishes the Laughing Coffin guild so he can have people kill each other to satisfy his bloodlust, and even corrupts many an SAO player into player killers and even real-life serial killers.
  • Stupid Evil: As highlighted under Fatal Flaw, PoH is far too sadistic and bloodthirsty for his own good and simply can't resist "twisting the knife" or opportunities to Kick the Dog, actively antagonizing Kirito and his friends even when doing so is clearly not a good idea. This backfires on him when he openly mouths off to Kirito that once he logs out of the Underworld, he won't stop coming after Kirito and Asuna until he manages to brutally murder them in real life; in response, Kirito traps him in a tree and leaves him to rot in Underworld.
  • Too Dumb to Live: After Kirito defeats him soundly in the Alicization arc, PoH decides to openly mouth off to him and brag that as soon as he logs out of Underworld, he's going to keep coming after Kirito and Asuna until he finally kills them in real life. He cements his downfall doing this; Kirito has no intention of letting him walk away after such a threat and decides to trap him in a tree and leave him to rot in Underworld forever rather than kill him.
  • The Unfettered: PoH can't be reasoned with and he'll do whatever it takes to get what he wants. This is also his "double-edged sword".
  • Villain Has a Point: He founds Laughing Coffin with the sole intent of killing other players for fun, stating that since Akihiko Kayaba is the one who set up the death game in the first place, he'll get all the blame for any deaths that occur in SAO while any and all player killers will get off scot-free. Sadly, he's proven right when SAO is cleared.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Starts losing his composure when Kirito freezes the foreign players and gains the upper hand against him.
  • We Will Meet Again: He attempts this, declaring that even if Kirito does kill him in UW, he'll just keep showing up in front of Kirito over and over again until he finally manages to brutally murder Kirito and Asuna. Unfortunately for him, Kirito has no intention of letting him walk away after such a threat and traps him in a tree, declaring he's never logging out.
  • The Worf Effect: Despite being the former leader of Laughing Coffin and Gabriel's right hand man, PoH ends up being defeated, and then unceremoniously killed off by Kirito to show off the latter's Dual Wielding of the Night Sky and Blue Rose Swords.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Attempts to kill Tiese with his Mate Chopper, only for Kirito to bail her out.
    • Would've slit Asuna's throat along with Kirito's, if it weren't for the latter's interference putting a Spanner in His Works.


    Shouichi Shinkawa / XaXa 

Shouichi Shinkawa / XaXa (SAO)

Voiced by: Soichiro Hoshi (Japanese) Ben Diskin (English)

One of the top members of the Laughing Coffin, who survived the assault on the guild.

  • Call-Forward: In the light novel version of "A Murder Case in the Area" (Episodes 4 and 5 from season 1 for reference), he threatens to chase down Kirito on a horse after he rides in on one and intervenes on an assassination. In GGO, he, as Death Gun, chases down Kirito and Sinon on a (mechanical) horse.
  • Co-Dragons: To PoH alongside Johnny Black.
  • Curtains Match the Window: His avatar in SAO has red hair and eyes.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Along with Johnny Black, XaXa becomes the Arc Villain of GGO.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In Hollow Realization, while he doesn't make a direct appearance, Kyouji (as Richter) does make mention of him multiple times as his "brother", particularly when threatening Kirito and including a part where, upon gaining a orange cursor after attacking Sinon, he notes it happened just like his "big brother" said it would.
    • After the above event happens and a later event with Sinon finishes, he uses his brother's account to talk to Kirito and say he'll be the one to eventually bring his story to an end, heavily giving hints to who he is without outright revealing it.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • For Yuuki Konno. Both are very ill in real life and wanted to prove their strength in the VR world, which gave them more opportunity than the real world. Unlike Yuuki, XaXa completely gave up on real world ethics and became a killing machine, equating strength with murder.
    • Also one to Kirito, who noted they are both SAO survivors. However Kirito was left traumatized by taking the life of other players, while XaXa took pride in it and his status as a true red player.
  • The Faceless: The audience never gets a clear look at Shouichi's face, and the heroes never get a chance to meet him in real life. He wears a skull mask as XaXa and as Death Gun.
  • Freudian Excuse: Shouichi lived his entire life suffering from frailty and sickness to the point he was constantly moved between his home and the hospital after middle school. By the time he entered high school a year late, his father had all but given up on him becoming a doctor and coming into the family business. He eventually dropped out of high school entirely and turned to the internet and MMORPGs as an escape from the disappointment of his real life. Then he ended up in SAO, where he met PoH and was molded with the mindset of a serial killer.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: He is responsible for Kirito's presence in the Alicization arc due to providing Johnny Black with the syringe of succinylcholine, the method of killing used in their "Death Gun" scheme, which he used to badly injure Kirito. This in turn starts the chain of events that leads to Kirito ending up in the Underworld.
  • The Heavy: While Johnny Black and his brother Kyoji are also part of Death Gun, it is XaXa who poses the most direct threat to Kirito and Sinon during the events of Phantom Bullet, controlling the avatar that engages them in combat and culminating in the final duel that results in his identity (and indirectly those of consorts) being made known. His defeat also signals the end of most of the conflict of the arc minus the last bit with his brother Kyoji.
  • Hero Killer: Earns this reputation in SAO and GGO. As one of the few players who can match Kirito is a sword fight, it is not unwarranted.
  • Ill Boy: His brother Kyoji describes him as being very sick (in body, not mind). It's a problem that's hounded him his whole life, to the point his father decided he wasn't worthy of taking up the family business and he eventually dropped out of high school and turned to the internet and MMORPGs. Then he got trapped in SAO and met PoH...
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Of a different stripe than his brother Kyoji. Due to his life of illness his father eventually gave up hope of him ever inheriting the family business of being a doctor and pushed his expectations on his little brother, which lead to Shouichi dropping out of high school and committing himself to the internet and videogames.
  • Lack of Empathy: Due to his past, XaXa only sees value in that which is beneficial to him. He has no qualms killing other people if the mood strikes, and he actually spent his time in GGO before he became Death Gun stalking other players from afar and imagining ways to kill them.
  • Master Swordsman: The best swordsman in the Guild, and a match for Kirito. He gets to duel once more against the latter during the climax of GGO's BoB tournament, this time posing as the Death Gun and using a hidden estoc within his sniper rifle. He also goes into detail about how Kirito is rusty and uses technical jargon.
  • Psycho for Hire: To the point where he could not stop killing after being released into the real world.
  • Red Baron: "Red-Eyed" XaXa
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: His avatar in SAO has red eyes which helped earn his nickname. His helmet as the Death Gun in GGO has red lenses that glow.
  • Royal Rapier: He's a master fencer and he wields an estoc, a thin, sharply pointed sword meant for stabbing. It's zigzagged with the archetype associated with rapier-users. He turns out to be the scion of a rich family that owns a hospital, but he doesn't have any personal refinement or manners, being rather thuggish and blunt towards other characters.
  • Serial Killer: In SAO and out of it, he kills others that match his profile.
  • Skull for a Head: Wears a skull helmet. His preference carries over into GGO, where he poses as the Death Gun.
  • Weapon of Choice: Estoc-type weapons. In GGO, he tried to recreate one with the metal found in space battleships, but was only able to make a thin blade he can hide in his sniper rifle.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Averted. After his capture and imprisonment in SAO, he did nothing but train with his rapier skills, to the point where like Kirito, he can replicate SAO moves via muscle memory and can actually beat Kirito in a sword fight (though it should be noted that Kirito couldn't fight all out as his lightsaber had no weight, and he's too used to heavy swords).
  • Villainous Friendship: XaXa is very good friends with Johnny Black which is likely why it was so easy for XaXa to convince Black to help him as part of Death Gun.
  • Walking Spoiler: Even more so than the rest of his Laughing Coffin comrades due to the fact that he comes back in Gun Gale Online as the avatar known as Death Gun, and carries out public virtual executions while his accomplices inject their victims with succinylcholine in the real world.

    Atsushi Kanamoto / Johnny Black 

Atsushi Kanamoto / Johnny Black (SAO)

Voiced by: Ryota Ohsaka (Japanese), Alejandro Saab (English), Alberto Bernal (Latin American Spanish)
Click here to see him in RL 

One of the top members of the Laughing Coffin, and a survivor of SAO.

  • Ax-Crazy: Johnny's dialogue does not hint at a sane mind.
  • Beard of Evil: His real life appearance shows that he has a stubble, though it's oddly absent in the anime.
  • Co-Dragons: To PoH alongside XaXa.
  • Creepy High-Pitched Voice: For a person of his appearance, he's not a noticeably high-pitched voice.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Along with XaXa, Johnny Black becomes the Arc Villain of GGO.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: From what's depicted of him in real life, his eyes are incredibly narrow, and he's definitely a very heinous person.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: In the manga, at least, Johnny Black is seen smoking a cigarette and tossing in down onto the ground before squishing it with his shoe. It may have been a habit he picked up from PoH
  • Hero Killer: Has this reputation in SAO like many others in Laughing Coffin.
  • Involuntary Battle to the Death: Plans to force the members of the Golden Apple Guild into one. The survivor gets to live!
    PoH: But the last time you did that, you killed the winner anyways.
    Johnny: Agh, don't tell them that!
  • Kick the Dog: Him stalking Kirito and Asuna and then attacking Kirito with the succinylcholine syringe.
  • Master Poisoner: Was infamous for using poisons, and equipping the rest of Laughing Coffin with them.
  • Meaningful Name: Johnny Black alludes to another insane character.
  • Minor Major Character: He's one of the three high-ranking members of Laughing Coffin and also one of the three members that make up Death Gun, however he gets very minimal focus and most of his acts are all Informed Attributes. Even when he shows up in person to stab Kirito with a toxin it's merely a plot device and he isn't a main villain.
  • Nightmare Face: From what little IRL screentime we get, he wastes no time in showing some pretty disturbing and twisted faces, almost always with a Slasher Smile. Little wonder why there was the burlap sack.
  • One-Scene Wonder: He only has two onscreen appearances: one in Aincrad, and another in the Alicization arc when he ambushes Kirito and Asuna.
  • Obviously Evil: Let's see, Player Killer, Torture Technician and Master Poisoner in-game with a burlap sack for a mask, and his real life appearance having a haggard-looking appearance with narrow eyes and a stubble, what else could you guess what kind of person he is from all that?
  • Poisoned Weapons: His specialty, which only serves to highlight his Obviously Evil character.
  • Psycho for Hire: Loves to kill, in both the real world and the games.
  • Sackhead Slasher: Wore a burlap sack for a mask in Aincrad.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: After XaXa is revealed to be Death Gun and their plans are foiled Black gets the hell out of dodge as quickly as possible.
  • Serial Killer: In SAO and out of it, culminating in an attack on Kirito and Asuna in the real world.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: His attempted murder of Kirito was what lands him in Underworld, and considering all the misfortunes that happen to him over there.
  • Torture Technician: Uses his poisons so he can incapacitate and then torture before killing them.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: From what little is seen of him, his real life counterpart has very fair (or grey) hair.

Glowgen Defense Systems

    In General 

A US-based company that was hired by the National Security Agency to assault the Ocean Turtle to obtain the Soul Translator technology secretly developed there.


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