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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!

For characters with their own pages see the following:

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    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 
"I'd prefer it if you didn't call me that name in this world. You should address me as His Highness, Fairy King Oberon!"

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.

For Alberich, the version of him from the Gameverse, see this page.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Beauty Is Bad: Played With. While he's not noted to be especially attractive IRL, looking like your average Japanese salaryman, his Oberon Avatar in ALO on the other hand has flawless skin, long blonde hair, extremely handsome features, and decks himself out in rich looking clothes to match his "king-ly" status. However, Asuna notes that it looks too perfect, which only serves to make him look unnatural instead of attractive.
  • Big Bad: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Corporate Conspiracy: Is at the center of one, as he hijacks the minds of 300 of the SAO victims (including his then-fiance Asuna) and traps them in his own game ALFheim Online to conduct experiments on human subjugation via full dive technology, in addition to attempting to take over RCT Progress Inc. by marrying Asuna while she is unconscious. His ambition is to become a god in real life, just as he is in ALO.
  • 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.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: He criticizes Kayaba for having this mindset, but Sugou isn't much better. Kayaba's FullDive technology has considerable potential and seen uses outside of game development, as seen with the Medicuboid, whereas Sugou's only interest in the tech is turning it into a Mind-Control Device to fulfill his delusions of godhood.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Kazuto, 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 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 Plan: In his arrogance, he explains one-half of his vile scheme to Kazuto in the hospital, which is to keep Asuna in a VR-coma so he can marry her without her objecting and inherit RECTCO through her. The other half is developing Mind Control and memory modification technology for criminal use.
  • 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, Kazuto 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    Sugou: [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!
  • Godhood Seeker: While he styled himself as god in ALO and saw himself as such, being the one who created the game, he also seeks to become one IRL by perfecting his Mind Control research.
  • 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: 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: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: Sugou isn't just evil, he's a thoroughly a callous and unpleasant dick to boot. 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 he gets his ass handed to him by his supposed victim, who hands him to the police. This thanks to the skills Kazuto 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: 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.
  • 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.
  • Leitmotif: "False king", a more divine but also darker sounding remix of “We Have To Defeat It” that played for the SAO bosses.
  • 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 was part of the same class of brilliant VR engineers as Kayaba, and 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!
  • 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 Invincible After All: When he first encounters Kirito in-game, it isn’t even a battle and more a massacre, where he abuses his admin powers to lay Cold-Blooded Torture upon the boy. But as Kirito is lying on the ground, completely helpless with his own sword impales through his back, Kayaba’s Virtual Ghost pulls a Big Damn Heroes and shows his account has even more authority than Sugou and gives these credentials to Kirito, who proceeds to reset Sugou’s OP account to zero, turn off the pain absorber, and lay a Curb-Stomp Battle upon the bastard.
  • 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.
  • 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 sinister 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 his own 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. Adding to that, while it isn't explicitly mentioned, no company would ever take in Sugou anyway; RECT Inc. was ruined by the bad press and no company would ever trust anything he made after the ALO incident, no matter how impressive, because he proved he would trap and kill people for his amusement.
  • 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 Messianic Archetype, 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 slick 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.
    • Implied to have been this towards Rinko during their school years, the Light Novel revealing that he tried to court her. Whether or not this was genuine attraction and just wanting what was Kayaba's is never clarified.
  • 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. This extends to real life, where he thinks wielding a knife will be enough to kill Kirito, only to have the boy turn the tides, steal his knife, and very nearly kill Sugou.
  • 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.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: ALO is his own personal outlet for endulging in his sick fantasies, from sexually assaulting Asuna to torturing Kirito.
  • Viler New Villain: Akihiko Kayaba was no saint, but he had his own moral code and stuck to it to the end. Sugou has none of Kayaba's Affably Evil traits and is just an amoral, greedy, perverted Jerkass who commits such horrifying atrocities as trapping 300 SAO survivors for the sake of performing mind control experiments, trying to rape Asuna while making Kirito watch, and then trying to kill Kazuto IRL. And while Kayaba had Villainous Valor, was a good fighter even without admin privileges, and ultimately took his defeat well, Sugou is a Dirty Coward who knows he doesn't stand a chance against Kirito without Game Master powers and wimps out when the tables turn on him.
  • 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 rumored 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 beforehand.
  • Badass Boast: After killing XeXeeD, he introduces himself to the players of GGO.
    Death Gun: 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.
  • Catch Phrase: "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. The fact he faces a boy wielding a Laser Blade drives the Star Wars homage even further.
  • 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 is the secondary villain part of a Big Bad Ensemble, only taking center stage during "Kirito Mode" which is the direct Phantom Bullet adaptation, which while important to the plot is ultimately not the main focus of the game.
  • 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.
    • The Kyouji side to him is one to Sinon, with both of them immersing themselves in Gun Gale Online out of a dissatisfaction in real life and seeking to grow stronger there. The contrast is that Sinon's goal was to use her time spent in GGO to improve her real life self in accordance, while Kyouji outright rejected reality and chose the virtual world as his new existence while his obsession with Sinon is Loving a Shadow.
  • 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:
    • The opening shows three shadows around Kirito, indicating there are three people in total behind his identity. Also, a shot of Kyouji with his hand outstretched gets replaced with Death Gun.
    • 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.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: He's a new villain who turns out to be an avatar for Shouichi Shinkawa, aka XaXa.
  • 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".
  • The Musketeer: His signature weapons are his eponymous "Death Gun", and a crudely built estoc made from warship armor plating, neither of which he uses at the same time, only using the latter against Kirito. Justified since the pistol can only be used on players who his IRL accomplices can enter the homes of and poison, meaning that using it on anyone who doesn't meet these requirements and therefore wouldn't be killed would break the illusion.
  • 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".
  • Precision F-Strike: The otherwise collected and impersonal Death Gun calls Kirito's initial attack on him "half-assed" in the English dub.
  • 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 his 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 so still 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.
  • 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 arc, 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 Death Gun 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)
"To love is to control. I love everything. I rule everything."

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.

  • Accidental Murder: Her implementation of the Taboo Index has caused incidents like this. One such example is when Rath caused a plague in the Underworld in hopes of forcing the people to break the laws so they can try to minimize possible deaths. However, the people's absolute adherence to the Index and it's rules against killing and stealing led to them no doing anything to do so, leading to devastating casualties that could have been avoided.
  • Accidental Truth: When she gave Scheta the Black Lily Sword, she encouraged her to cling to her murderous impulses and obsession with cutting, claiming that she'll find a way to break out of it as a result. Knowing Quinella, this is definitely an attempt at manipulating her into being an effective attack dog, But Scheta does end up finding a way out of her obsession, since it leads to her taking part in the War of Underworld and meeting Iskahn, who she falls in love with when he proves capable of resisting her slashes and soon realizes that in spite of her obsession, she doesn't want to kill or cut him.
  • Actor Allusion: This wouldn't be the first time Maaya Sakamoto voiced a video game AI that had seemingly infinite powers (and even resided in a cathedral) However, unlike Quinella, Aura shows herself to be a Benevolent A.I. who cares for the well-being of the players playing the game.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Her hair and eyes were described in the novels as silver with a platinum-like sheen. In all animated and illustrated media ever since, it's purple, with no noticeable luster.
  • 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.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Downplayed. The anime adaptation adds a few more scenes in that make her overall more sympathetic, such as her spirit lingering after her death and being proud of the empire that she created, as well as her appearing to Bercouli after his death where she seems to express understanding of her treachery and wonders if Bercouli should be so forgiving of her.
  • 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 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. This becomes especially the case when Quinella kills Eugeo, earning her a place among Kirito's most hated enemies of all time. 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".
    • To Eugeo. While his hatred was initially aimed towards the Axiom Church itself, later it gets centered on Quinella since she is the one responsible for everything. It becomes very personal after she subjects Eugeo to Mind Rape and make him susceptible to Synthesis, before later when he breaks free revealing she put forced Synthesis on Alice. Eugeo later decides that it is his purpose to bring Quinella down due to wishing to atone for his actions and gives up his life to ensure it happens.
    • To Alice. While originally Alice was fiercely loyal to the Pontifex and the Axiom Church, Kirito's influence began to cast more and more doubt upon her, and she uncovered more about the truth on Quinella's corruption. It reached the point where Alice openly abandoned her duties as an Integrity Knight and chose to oppose her former master. While her hatred for Quinella isn't quite as intense as Kirito and Eugeo's due to her conflicting loyalty, she still very much despises the Pontifex. Though this sentiment isn't quite as much shared on Quinella's side who views Alice's rebelling as an inconvenience and still sees her as an adequate doll that can be reprogrammed to do her bidding.
  • 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.
  • Barrier Change Boss: As a boss in Rising Steel, she makes use of barrier moves in each fight that nullifies damage from either physical attacks in her first and magic attacks in the second. As the Final Boss, she alternates between the two.
  • Beauty Is Bad: The Underworld's Most Beautiful Woman, and a self-centered Sociopath with a Sadistic streak and has no qualms with manipulating and Mind Raping anyone to suit her own ends.
  • 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, the lack of preparation the Human Empire has for the Final Stress Test, and the later revelation of the even more sinister plot of converting the Human Empire into Sword Golems to battle the Dark Territory.
  • 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.
  • Boobs of Steel: Presumably as part of being the Underworld's Most Beautiful Woman, Quinella has a considerable bust and, despite the fact that she spends most of her time sleeping, she is the most powerful Sacred Arts user of her time and has basically memorized every possible sword skill and technique, making her quite possibly the most powerful being short of a Physical God and allows her to give Kirito one of the toughest fights of his life.
  • Breakout Villain: Subverted. While she doesn't get to return to the series after her defeat, the anime does seem to acknowledge her popularity by not only giving her additional scenes but ones that depict her in a redeeming light.
    • After her initial defeat the anime adds a scene that shows her spirit getting to proudly observe the empire she created one last time as she passes on.
    • In War of the Underworld, her spirit returns after Bercouli is killed in combat and the two are reunited Together in Death.
  • 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 a human from the real world, a sharp contrast with her predecessors. She's also the first villain who isn't an obvious Evil Counterpart to Kirito, instead paralleling Alice. 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 psychopath 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.
  • Corrupt Church: She is the Pontifex of the Axiom Church, which is the leading authority in the human empire, but is more akin to a tyrant that rules the land with an iron fist while painting the allusion she's a benevolent ruler and emmisary of the gods.
  • 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 Action Girl: Being female does not stop her from being gifted at sword fighting.
  • 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.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Implied. While the spirit of her Bercouli meets when he dies is stated to be the version of her that exists in his Fluctlight, and in turn is more benevolent than she actually was, what’s hinted to be her actual spirit appears to cheer Kirito on when he fights Gabriel.
  • 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.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Surprisingly Played for Laughs in the If You Were Here timeline. After Kirito reveals that he knows about the Synthesis Ritual and tries arguing for why she shouldn't perform it on him and Eugeo by noting how tedious the process of doing the ritual then mind wiping the people they interacted with would be, she ends up whining about how much of a "pain in the ass" the whole thing is and admits that the only reason she still does it is because she's done it so many times with the same "Summoned from the Celestial Realm" story that revealing the truth to her Knights would effectively screw her over.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Serves as the Big Bad of the first half of Alicization before Gabriel takes over.
  • 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.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: In-Universe: After he dies, Bercouli happens to meet Quinella's ghost, or more accurately the version of her that existed in his Fluctlight before he learned of her true nature and as a result is a much kinder and warmer individual to reflect how he saw her beforehand, with the two of them treating each other like old friends as they pass on.
  • Dragon Rider: Like her Integrity Knights, Quinella has a personal riding dragon who she has dubbed Yukiori and is apparently the oldest and strongest of the dragons the Knights use. Like its master, it appears to spend most of it's time asleep.
  • 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. Rising Steel implies that while she started as an earnest and sweet girl despite being Nobility, being given a Calling dedicated to advancing the Sacred Arts and making great deals of progress, being able to weaponize it and make weather predictions, followed by her village believing her to be a goddess as a result was her Start of Darkness.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In her own warped, twisted way, she did seem to care about the Underworld as the world she created. This could be why her spirit appears to support Kirito during his fight against Subtilizer, seeing as the latter plans to destroy the Underworld.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Even she is sick of Chudelkin's shenanigans and often tells him off when he's being rude to the Integrity Knights or going over the top in smothering her with praise. It's a wonder why she even keeps him around.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Quinella has no understanding of what love really is. To her, love is just desire, something that can be acquired through an exchange, and a means of controlling people.
  • 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 Genius: Quinella is an esteemed prodigy and the greatest Sacred Arts user seen in the Underworld. She managed invent many rituals herself, as well as discovering every System Command in that existed in the Underworld.
  • Evil Is Petty: Brainwashing and forcing immortality on skilled swordsman and criminals so that they can enforce her control is one thing, but learning she did the same to some seemingly random girl with a knack for Wind Sacred Arts just so she can have someone to operate an elevator is where you truly realize how low her opinion of the Underworld's residents is.
  • Evil Laugh: While she usually remains calm and composed, when she really gets in the moment then she can let off some unhinged cackles.
  • Exact Words:
    • When Chudelkin requests that he have a night with access to her body in exchange for taking out the rebels, she agrees and swears to Stacia. The thing is, not only does she not believe in Stacia, but she's the one who made her up to begin with, meaning she effectively gave him an empty promise.
    • The reason she gives for putting Renly into stasis is that he was "defective". While his trauma-induced inability to fight could be what she meant, and is likely what Renly thought she meant, Rising Steel gives these words another potential meaning; When Renly was synthesized, Quinella was shocked when he asked if there was supposed to be someone with him, referring to his Best Friend who he promised to become an Integrity Knight alongside only to accidentally kill him during the Four Empires Unity Tournament. This tipped her off to the possibility that his memories weren't completely blocked and that the Synthesis Ritual has some issues she needs to fix, giving her reason to Deep Freeze him in case he remembered everything on his own and blabbed to the other Knights, with his inability to master the Twin-Edged Wings being a convenient excuse.
  • 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.
  • Fan Disservice: Sure, she has an extremely attractive body (that she has no qualms about showing off), but the way she smoothly seduces Eugeo (along with some of her other seductress-esque behaviors) is rather uncomfortable to watch.
  • 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.
  • Foil: To Sugou, being a more competent Distaff Counterpart to him. 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. However their difference lie in that Sugou is an Abhorrent Admirer who feels entitled to have Asuna, while Quinella loves no one but herself and only wishes for everyone to server her. In addition while both perform experiments on victims' minds, Sugou states he does not want to tamper with Asuna's mind except as a final resort due to wanting to turn her into a doll, while Quinella effectively made all of her Integrity Knights into her dolls and outright refers to them as that.
  • 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 twists Eugeo's perception of his feelings and even his own memories to make him believe he's a lonely and forsaken individual that only she herself could "save". She also wipes her Integrity Knights' memories after a 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:
    • Her turning the Elevator Operator into what she is, an immortal Emotionless Girl forced to recite Wind Sacred Arts all day with very few breaks to the point that she's forgotten her own name, is seen as this by Kirito and Eugeo and as a sign of how she views the people she rules over. And that's before she introduces the Sword Golem...
    • 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. Although considering Chudelkin's general behaviour, this comes off more as Kick the Son of a Bitch.
    • She also taunts Alice over how painful the process of forcibly turning her into an Integrity Knight must have been.
    • In a flashback, she contemptuously dismisses the traumatized Renly as "broken" before sealing him away.
    • In the Gameverse, her labelling the Orthinanos family as "defects", knowing that the weight of her words would make them pariahs among the nobility and subject it's descendants to horrendous abuse from other nobles.
  • 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/Darkness 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 psychopaths 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. She's somewhat amused when Kirito calls her by her name.
  • 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.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Her outlawing of things like murder and entering the Dark Territory where's there's monsters is done less for the sake of morals and protecting her people, but more to ensure that no one can do what she did to increase her Object Control Authority and System Authority growing up, ensuring her place as the most powerful being in the Underworld.
  • 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.
  • Promoted to Playable: In Rising Steel, Quinella first becomes playable in “Gift from the High Pontifex” Scout as a Light-Elemental Break Unit. She later appears in the “Fearless Resistance” Scout as a Fire-Elemental Charge Unit with an Enhance Mode.
  • Properly Paranoid: Her decision to make herself immune to metal and make it so every Divine Object she makes or bequeaths to her Knights are made of metal proves to be this when Eugeo's attempt to use Cardinal's Dagger on her fails, as it would have teleported her to Cardinal's domain and given the latter a homefield advantage against her. She's further vindicated when she fights Kirito, with him being able to defeat her due to both the Night Sky Sword and Blue Rose Sword not being able of metal, instead being wood and ice respectively.
  • 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.
  • Really 700 Years Old: She's 363 years old and retains her youthful appearance, both of which are made possible only after meddling with the Cardinal system in an attempt to control it.
  • 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.
  • Sleeps in the Nude: She's introduced to the audience sleeping naked in her luxurious bed.
  • 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 psychopath, she just made herself worse. She feels no remorse for the 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 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.
  • Stupid Evil: Quinella's Control Freak tendencies bite her in the ass when it's revealed that humanity is doomed because she refuses to allow the existence of any military force that isn't under her complete control. This realization is what convinces Alice to turn on her in favor of Kirito.
  • 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."
  • Too Powerful to Live: Notably Quinella is the first villain who was not allowed to remain alive after her defeatnote , albeit not by Kirito's hand. Had she succeeded in escaping to the real world, she would have been able to cause all sorts of chaos.
  • 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.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: In an original story in Rising Steel, we learn that before she received her Calling as a Sacred Arts researcher, Quinella came off as a kind girl who wanted to receive a calling so she could benefit her village in spite of her Noble Status, a far cry from the Sadistic Control Freak we meet in the present.
  • 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?
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Even after her death, her reputation as a benevolent ruler is maintained due to the unrest that would be caused by her true nature going public. Kirito actually fears that the people learning of her death at his hands would ruin his own One Hundred Percent Approval Rating as the Star King and head of the Human Unification Council.
  • 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.
  • We Can Rule Together: She offers this to all three of the Rulid trio.
    • She first gives it to Eugeo offering him the love which he has desired all his life, to which he very nearly submits after being broken by her Mind Rape. Eugeo gets voluntarily subjected to Synthesis and Synthesised into an Integrity Knight, but eventually breaks free and tries to incapacitate Quinella himself with a special dagger created by Cardinal. Upon his betrayal being discovered, Quinella offers him a last chance to pledge his loyalty and destroying Cardinal's dagger. Eugeo of course refuses having finally come to understand what love is.
    • After she sees Alice has broken the Seal of the Right Eye by her own volition, she offers to re-Synthesise Alice so she would no longer feel pain or emotion. Alice angrily rejects this proposal, citing the pain allowed her to realize she was human and not a doll-like Integrity Knight.
    • She even gives this offer to Kirito, stating she'd spare his life if he went into her servitude as her secretary. Kirito of course pays no heed and continues fighting.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Inverted. Quinella actually constantly preaches love and that she gives it to her loyal followers, but the twist is that she does not truly understand what love is, using it as a placeholder word for 'desire' or 'control'.
  • 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), Rie Kugimiya (Japanese, young), Ted Sroka (English, Alicization), Greg Chun (English, War of Underworld), Amanda Céline Miller (English, young)
Click here to see Vector 
Click here to see Subtilizer 

Click here to see the True Gabriel Miller 

"Your soul will be so sweet."

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.

  • 0% Approval Rating: Despite his status as the strongest being there, which dictates that they follow him unquestionably, none of the Dark Territory members seem to actually like him or are genuinely loyal to him. Shasta and Lipia die trying to kill him, Fu Za stopped Shasta out of a personal grude as opposed to loyalty, Dee Eye Ell has plans to usurp his authority, Kosogi thinks he's being manipulated by Dee Eye Ell and uses Loophole Abuse in regards to his orders, Lilpilin is angered when he orders 3,000 of his people dead for a spell, and Iskahn is disgusted by his We Have Reserves mentality enough to betray him himself and even before that he was rooting for Shasta when he made an attempt on his life.
  • Achievement In Ignorance: He has no idea how he managed to consume Lipia's FluctLight, but he doesn't care and is delighted nonetheless.
  • Adaptational Badass: Downplayed. The Light Novel depicts him as somewhat Unskilled, but Strong, due to lacking much skill in swordsmanship but compensating for that with the Vecta account's stats and Power of the Void, something which is Lampshaded by Bercouli during their duel. In the Anime however, he's depicted as being much more skilled with the Vecta account's sword and Bercouli's observation on his lack of swordsmanship prowess is adapted out.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: As much of a bastard he is in the lightnovels, he actually manages to be worse in the anime, having a penchant for rape that was never present in the lightnovels.
  • An Arm and a Leg: During their fight, Sinon's final attack destroys his arm in addition to the XM500 he generated. He temporarily replaces it with one made of pure energy for his final duel with Kirito.
  • 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.
  • The Anti-God: As the Dark God Vecta, he is this to Goddess of Creation Stacia. In the mythology of Underworld, Vecta was the one god who was not created by Stacia, being a sentience who was birthed from the darkness itself and opposed Stacia, envying her power. He also became the reason why humans die, as he steals their lives over time, effectively making him The Grim Reaper, but his origins also make him effectively Satan.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • To Alice. The man dedicates himself to capturing Alice's soul and having it for himself while being at the forefront of the Dark Territory's attack on the Human Empire, which Alice fought so hard to protect.
    • To Sinon. Ever since he delivered a Curb-Stomp Battle and brutally killed her in the 4th BoB, Sinon has been haunted by dreams of him. Defeating Subtilizer becomes almost as big of a priority to her as defeating Death Gun. Likewise, Gabriel sees Sinon as worthy prey and too desires her soul for his taking.
    • Interesting, he does not develop this relationship with Kirito, due to how late the boy was in participating in the war.
  • Artificial Limbs: After Sinon blows off his right arm (along with his rifle), he temporarily replaces it with one made of dark, multicolored- energy, although it doesn't always stay solid, often morphing into a lash of sorts.
  • Ax-Crazy: Hands down the biggest example in the series. Hands down. Not even the Laughing Coffin, an organization dedicated to Player Killing, at their most terrifying reaches to his level of derangement. To put it into perspective, whilst Vassago's kills number in the triple-digits, the vast majority of them were done in SAO. Gabriel had already committed his first murder when he was still a child, and it only progressed from there, such as "experimenting" on as much as more than 100 people in real life to satisfy his curiosity of the human soul.
  • Badass Boast: Makes one during his fight with Kirito.
  • Bad Boss: He has little regard for the lives of his forces and will do anything to get what he wants. When Gabriel leaves the Dark Territory forces at the mercy of the American players he invited, they pull an Enemy Mine with the Human Empire.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: His childhood experiments on insects.
  • Battlecry: During his fight with Kirito, he's eventually reduced to screaming "NULL!" as a reflection of his empty nature.
  • Big Bad: After Quinella is defeated, he takes over this role for Alicization.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: When he's using Incarnation, the whites in his eyes turn a pitch black, which, combined with his natural Icy Blue Eyes, makes him go from looking intimidating to outright demonic.
  • Break the Badass: After spending the entire Arc as an Invincible Villain who causes the death of thousands of Artificial Fluctlights for his own ends, even personally killing Bercouli, his response to being Dragged To Hell by his previous victims is to drop his generally emotionless visage and scream in terror, begging for his forces to save him from his fate.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Even after Bercouli pulls a Heroic Sacrifice takes out his Vecta Avatar, he's still a massive threat even when using the comparatively weaker Subtiliser Avatar due to his powerful Incarnation.
  • The Caligula: As the Dark God, Emperor Vecta, Gabriel is an atrocious Bad Boss who, instead of relying of his IRL mercenary leader experience, seems content with just sending waves of his troops at the enemy out of the arrogant belief that the human army will be overwhelmed easily, and he has no qualms with having Dee Eye Ell sacrifice 3,000 Orcs to power a Death Worm Curse and using his remaining forces as bait for the Human Army and the American Players Critter summons to capture Alice in the commotion.
  • 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.
  • Challenge Seeker: Implied. For both the 1st and 4th BoBs, he entered with some form of handicap that should realistically put him at a disadvantage, entering the former armed with only a pistol and knife, and the latter completely unarmed and instead stealing weapons from the other participants via his Army Combatant ability. These, however, do nothing to stop him from curb-stomping the competition.
  • 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: As Vecta, he is quick to take advantage of the Dark Territory's conditioning to follow the "Rule of the strongest" for his own ends, using them all as cannon fodder to overwhelm the Human Army and use them as bait so he can capture Alice just as he has his IRL allies summon American Players to hold them off from pursuing him.
  • Cool Sword:
    • His sword as Dark God Vecta looks especially impressive, being a One-Handed Zweihänder with a cross-guard in the shape of a cross in with a ring around it and a blue jewel imbedded in the pomel. It's also powerful enough to match Bercouli's Time-Splitting Sword.
    • When he logs back into the Underworld as Subtilizer, his combat knife is converted into a large sword, called the Nihlism Blade in Rising Steel, that he uses against Kirito.
  • 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.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Any battle involving him is bound to go in his favor. The only people who were able to stand up to him were Bercouli and Kirito.
  • 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. Made doubly ironic in that the latter part is the first time he's ever been afraid, a feeling he's always enjoyed inspiring in others.
  • Die Laughing: He's arrogantly laughing as Kirito finishes him off, not considering the possibility that Kirito could actually beat him. He only stops after realizing he's having an out-of-body experience and is about to be Dragged Off to Hell.
  • 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 being defeated.
  • Dragon Rider: He rides a dragon when he captures Alice. Fortunately, Bercouli manages to catch up and shoot the dragon down.
  • The Dreaded: Even the Dark Territory is terrified at his presence, and Kirito is unnerved by him when they finally meet. He's also this for GGO.
  • 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.
  • Ephebophile: Alice is one thing, but his partial obsession with Sinon is arguably creepier seeing as, while he's a 28 year old man, she's only 16 around the time they first met, something he suspected when he killed her in the BoB, yet he still tries to forcibly kiss her to "steal her soul" when they meet in the Underworld.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • To Eugeo. Both are blondes who lost their Childhood Friends when they were young and their lives were dictated by said loss from then on. However, while Eugeo was a poor Wood Cutter who truly cared for Alice and desired to save her, Gabriel was from a wealthy family and not only never truly cared for Alicia, just her soul, but he's also the one who killed her to begin with, with the belief that he saw her soul after he did turning him into a Mad Scientist Serial Killer who would kidnap people and experiment on them in hopes that he could experience what he did that day. Even their respective deaths mirror each other with them being Together in Death with said Childhood Friends, only Eugeo departs peacefully with Alice while Gabriel is Dragged Off to Hell by Alicia and the other people he's killed.
    • To Asuna as Stacia. Both of them dived into the Underworld as Physical Gods using Super Accounts, with the Dark God Vecta being built up as an Anti-God to Stacia. But Asuna's goal is to protect Alice and Kirito, while Gabriel's goal is to capture Alice.
    • To Sinon. Both of them are The Ace in GGO and potential winners of the BoB as well as Cold Snipers, both lead unorthodox platoons, and both end up logging into the Underworld as Super Accounts. But of course, Sinon is fighting for the force of good and defending the Human Empire, while it is Gabriel who is undermining their efforts by bringing in foreign players as reinforcements.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Being a mercenary, Gabriel is large and solidly built, and this translates to when he logs in as Vecta, as Underworld Avatars share the real world aspects of their users. Justified since he's an American, who would be taller than your average Japanese man.
  • Evil Overlord: As Vecta in Underworld.
  • Evil Plan: Capture Alice and the Soul Translator technology, go into hiding in his Australian house, create his own VR world for him to rule as God, and kidnap and murder several people to trap in there as his "subjects" who he can abuse and torment as he pleases. Oh, and destroy the Underworld for good measure.
  • Evil Tastes Good: Whenever he discussess souls, he tends to describe them as if they were food and even tends to use dining-related metaphors, such as him telling Sinon "Your Soul Will Be So Sweet" and comparing Bercouli's soul to a vintage wine during their duel.
  • Faux Affably Evil: During his meeting with the NSA, Gabriel seems to have a fairly normal, if businesslike, attitude, and Dario Giuliani remarks that Gabriel was well-behaved compared to his men on the Jimmy Carter. Anyone else who has encountered him knows that he's, in reality, a batshit insane, bloodthirsty, megalomaniacal sociopath.
  • Foil: To PoH. Both are Sociopathic Sadists with a severe Lack of Empathy for others, by far the most powerful and psychotic foes Kirito has faced, and serve as Big Bads for their own Arcs, Gabriel for War of Underworld, taking the role of the Dark God Vecta for the purpose of invading the Underworld and capturing Alice for his own twisted ends, and PoH for Progressive, being the head of The Conspiracy that are trying to make the Frontlines fall apart. However, whereas PoH is an disarmingly cheerful Manipulative Bastard who likes making bad situations worse, personally knows and enjoys tormenting Kirito, and seems content with causing as much pain and misery as he can, Gabriel is a calm and calculating man who relies on aggressive tactics and overpowering his foes personally, lacks any kind of connection to Kirito, and is a Godhood Seeker who wants to create a realm for him to rule and torment as he pleases.
  • Forced Sleep: His ability to suck in a person's Incarnation allows him to force people into unconsciousness. He uses this on Alice when he captures her.
  • 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 privileged 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.
  • Godhood Seeker: 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. He even boasts himself as one during his fight with Kirito.
  • 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: Reki Kawahara makes no secret as to what a monster he is. He murdered his fiancée Alicia Klingerman when he was a child to see what the nature of the soul was like, experimented on animals and even humans for that same reason, 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.
  • Heroic Willpower: Villainous Inversion. The reason that Gabriel is such an Invincible Villain is because of his great deal of willpower, which is the result of his delusional belief of his power to take souls and his great pride in his abilitiesnote . Even after losing the Vecta account, which for all intents and purposes should be more powerful, he remains a large threat with just his Subtilizer avatar as his powerful incarnation allows him to mimic the Vecta account's abilities to an extent, generate powerful weapons like an Anti-Material rifle, and take on a One-Winged Angel form to fight Kirito.
  • Hero Killer: He kills Bercouli during the UW war.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Inverted. Part of what makes Gabriel so dangerous is that he's an experienced soldier and as such can apply real-life tactics in the VRMMOs that he plays.
  • 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: He rips out Kirito's heart and eats it in an attempt to reap his soul. This works against him when Kirito places razors in his heart.
  • Instant Expert: Despite first having to use them when he gets into his first actual fight in the Underworld, and it's against Bercouli of all people, he picks up on the use of Vecta's abilities and Incarnation relatively quickly, allowing him to nearly deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle to Bercouli before being killed by the Uragiri. When he logs back in as Subtilizer, he's basically mastered the latter, being able to Psychic Strangle a waiting Sinon, turn his cross-bow into an Anti-Material Rifle, create a shadow tentacle to replace the arm he loses to Sinon, and take on a One-Winged Angel form in his fight with Kirito.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass: He's nothing but a ruthless asshole.
  • 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.
    • Puts Lipia Zankale's decapitated head on display after killing her. This sends Viksul Ur Shasta into an Unstoppable Rage and he tries to kill him, though his efforts proved futile.
    • 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: In the 1st BoB, he's stated to have made a name for himself wielding only a pistol and combat knife. Said knife is presumably what turned into a sword when he transferred his Subtilizer account to the Underworld.
    • In the Anime, he used one when he encountered Sinon in the 4th BoB, throwing it at her arm she pulled out her Glock.
  • Knight of Cerebus: SAO was already a dark series as is but Gabriel's introduction makes everything in the series even more serious.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Despite his partial obsession with Sinon and that fact that she very clearly pissed him off after destroying his arm and XM500 in addition to charring his face, he decides to cut his losses and take advantage of the fact that she can no longer use Solus' Flight ability to continue pursuing Alice.
  • 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.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: One of his abilities as Vecta allows him to induce this in people by sucking in their Incarnation. In his fight with Bercouli, he's able to cause the Integrity Knight to suffer brief moments of amnesia in order to make up for the skill gap between them, even using it to cut off his arm.
  • Lean and Mean: As Subtilizer, he has thin build compared to his real life counterpart. He is also arguably the most sadistic and ruthless character in the entire series.
  • Lust: Obviously towards Alice and souls but it's ultimately under a greater lust: a lust for power.
  • Mad Scientist: Even worse than Sugou. If Sugou forcing people into mind control experiments was bad enough, Gabriel kidnaps innocent civilians and murders them in his "experiments" to learn the nature of the soul.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He's quick to take advantage of his status as a Physical God, and in turn the strongest being, to make the Dark Territory follow him, promising them the plunder of the Human Realm when in reality he plans to destroy the Underworld after he gets Alice, them included. He later has Critter summon American VR players with the claim that the Underworld is a Beta-Test for a new VR game, saying that they can kill all the NPCs they want, so he can capture Alice in the ensuing confusion and make his escape.
  • 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:
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: When Alicia is being forced to move after her family became victim to a financial crisis, he concluded that the best solution is to kill her to prevent her soul from being "tainted" by any new people she could meet.
  • 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 Chines and Korean 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.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: If Subtilizer's meanings are of any indication, it gives an insight on to the inner workings of his mind.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!: He actually looks surprised, shocked even, when Bercouli uses the Uragiri to kill him as Vecta.
  • 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", which sucks in a person's willpower and Incarnation with varying effects, such as inducing unconsciousness and causing brief memory relapses.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Despite her now being vulnerable with her legs destroyed and Solus' Flight ability now unusable, he decides that he's wasted too much time on Sinon and continues his pursuit of Alice, even after Sinon tries egging him on.
  • Promoted to Playable: In Rising Steel, Gabriel becomes playable in the "Angel of Death" Scout as a Dark Elemental Break Unit with an Enhance Mode.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: While he never displays any behavior that would suggest this, the fact that his power to see souls and consume them in the Underworld stems from the delusional belief that he's actually capable of doing just that and that he's had this belief since childhood and has never grown out of it certainly implies that he is one.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The Vecta account comes equipped with black armor and cape combo with red coloring to them, and its user is perhaps the nastiest villain in the series.
  • Red Baron: Subtilizer, in GGO, and Dark God Vector in Alicization.
  • Sadist: Even worse than the Laughing Coffin (or any villain before him, for that matter). 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.
  • Red Right Hand: The right arm he creates to replace his missing one during his final duel with Kirito is made of pure dark energy.
  • 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.
  • Serial Killer: Given that he's "experimented" on as much as a hundred people in real life since his youth, this gives him one of the highest bodycounts in the series.
  • Shadow Archetype: To Akihiko Kayaba. Gabriel is pretty much what Akihiko Kayaba would have become if it wasn't for his own moral code.
  • Slasher Smile: Rarely smiles, but there's a grim smile on his face in the whenever he's close to getting what he wants, such as getting Alice. It shows his true character.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: As Subtilizer, he wears a black shirt that leaves his forearms bare, and he’s basically an Invincible Villain.
  • 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: Gabriel fancies himself as a Magnificent Bastard, but his overuse of risky strategies ends up getting his army killed for a fleeting to nonexistent tactical advantage, forcing him or his proxies such as PoH to to do the job himself. He's also very dismissive of all of his opponents and underestimates them greatly, which gets his Vecta account killed by Bercouli, gets him held up by Sinon long enough for Alice to reach the World's End Alter, and he even Dies Laughing out of arrogance when Kirito deals the final blow against him. His arrogance disappears the minute he realizes he's being Dragged Off to Hell, replaced by a coward who screams and begs for mercy.
  • 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: He gets a flying platform variation of this when he logs back in as Subtilizer. He states that it was converted from a jetpack he owned in GGO.
  • Spikes of Villainy: One of his pauldrons as Vecta has a horn-like spike protruding from it.
  • Stalker with a Crush: To his Childhood Friend Alicia Klingerman, or more accurately her soul, to the point where he murdered her in cold blood when she was about to move away, believing that interacting with people other than him would taint her soul's brilliance. His attempts at capturing Alice during the War of Underworld is so that he can use her as a Replacement Goldfish, planning on making her the queen of the VR World he was planning to trap various other people's souls in.
    • Minor example in regards to Sinon. While his focus is largely focused on Alice, his internal narration has him displaying an interest in her after their encounter in the BoB due to believing that she has a strong soul, to the point that he expresses a desire to trap her in his planned VR world as well. Not helping matters is when Sinon, as Solus, confronts him when he logs back into the Underworld as Subtilizer, the way he interacts with her can come off as kind of rapey, with him using his Incarnation to restrain her and attempting to kiss her as the light drains from her eyes.
  • 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.
  • Tempting Fate: During his fight with Kirito, he displays absolute certainty in his Invincible Villain status and believes that Kirito won't be able to beat him, even mocking him as Kirito deals a blow powered by the prayers of everyone in the Underworld. Not only does he lose, he ends up dying and getting Dragged Off to Hell.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: His GGO avatar is noted to look very average, having a, while not ugly, plain face, typical blonde hair and blue eyes and a build that's not too thin but not too large either. This however serves to make him more unnerving.
  • Tranquil Fury: It's easy to tell that he's pissed after Sinon destroys his XM500, blows off his arm, and burns his face with her final attack in their duel. Thankfully, he decides to go after Alice instead of continuing the fight.
  • 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).
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Zig-zagged. He possesses the skills and reflexes that one would naturally expect from a IRL mercenary, and while he does make use of them in the Underworld during his duel with Bercouli to dodge and even block his attacks, the Integrity Knight notes that he doesn't seem especially skilled in sword combat and is largely only able to have the edge due to the Vecta account's ability to suck in a person's willpower and Incarnation.
  • Uriah Gambit: Most of his tactics function as this.
  • Villain Ball: Despite being an IRL CO of a Private Military Company, suggesting that he has a good deal of experience in combat and in leading troops, his initial attack is simply just him having the Demi-Human tribes rush the Human Army in a frontal attack with seemingly no attempt to learn who exactly he's dealing with or, which causes the initial attack to fail miserably and all but wipe out four of the tribes. It's only after this fails that he relies on smarter plans such as sacrificing Orc troops to power a dark magic spell that's for all intents and purposes a One-Hit Kill and using his remaining troops and a bunch of foreign players summoned by Critter to distract the Human Army so he can capture Alice in the commotion.
  • 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. He even sacrifices 3,000 Orcs to power a One-Hit Kill Sacred Art and sets up his remaining forces to act as a bait for the Human Army while he captures Alice.
  • Would Hit a Girl: A repeat offender. He murders his friend Alicia by stabbing her in the head, brutally kills Sinon in GGO with a chokehold, and strangles Lipia to death, just to name a few examples.
  • 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: His tactics can be summed up as throwing all the men at his disposal at the enemy on hopes of overwhelming them, with no concern how many of them die due to his We Have Reserves mentality.

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 psychopathic 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 psychopathic 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 Conspiracy: The Progressive Novels implies that the guild started out as this, being a small group of players led by PoH, or as he was known then "the man in the black poncho", dedicated to sabotaging the frontlines and prevent everyone from escaping the game.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Part of what makes them so intimidating is how casually they generally treat their cruel actions, such as when PoH, XaXa and Johnny Black ambushed Golden Apple, and discussed what to do with them, with Johnny suggesting that they force them to fight each other to the death and kill the survivor, as if it was just every day for them... which, well, it kind of is, but still.
  • 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 Catch Phrase.
  • Early-Bird 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 entire M.O. is to kill other players without consequence, on the grounds that if it's a death game, then killing is a must. In fact, the entire Phantom Bullet arc was set in motion because two of the members wanted to continue the death game.
  • Grayscale of Evil: Their signature symbol/tattoo is always black and white.
  • 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 them 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.
  • Offscreen Villainy: 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.
  • 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.
  • Villain Team-Up: When they started as The Conspiracy, they apparently joined up with the Fallen Elves faction of the Elf War campaign, with Kirito suspecting that they somehow discovered a unique Villain Protagonist questline. This gives their members at the time, such as Morte, access to unique weapons such as specially poisoned throwing knives.

    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 
"It's showtime."

Laughing Coffin's Leader and founder, having drawn people in by preaching about how all the actual deaths will blamed on Kayaba once SAO ends. He later returns in the Alicization Arc working for Gabriel Miller in his attempts to capture Alice.

  • Abusive Parents: His mother wanted to abort him and named him after a demon to illustrate that she hated him, while his father only forced her to have him so he could give his kidney to a relative (outright stated to be a legitimate son in the anime).
  • Animal Motifs: Vassago has a snake motif going around. He created the Laughing Coffin guild, whose weapons of choice include Poisoned Weapons, poisons people with his philosophy, and and he openly defies the god-like entity and its messiah like the snaky devil. Some characters (and even the author) even compare him to snakes.
  • 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.
    • Possibly Subverted. It's revealed that when the remaining Glowgen mercenaries are retreating, those in charge of securing Gabriel and Vassago's corpses reveal that they were only able to recover Gabriel's body, and that Vassago's had mysteriously disappeared, implying that he escaped his fate somehow and disappeared from the Ocean Turtle without anyone noticing.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • To Kirito and Asuna. He desires to kill these two members of the Assault Team more than anyone else, willing to go back into the Underworld upon finding out they were present there. With Kirito he displays an almost a Stalker Without a Crush obsession with Kirito, awed by the boy's indomitable will that keeps pushing him forward and providing PoH with so much fun. In Alicization, his desire to seek out the Black Swordsman and wants to awaken Kirito from being an Empty Shell being willing to kill as many people as needed to bring the boy back to his senses.
    • To a lesser extent, all of the Assault Team. Due to being the leader of the murder guild and being responsible for many of the tragedies that occurred in SAO, all of them know about him and despise him. The anime adds Eiji as having personal beef with him too, despite the two never technically meeting.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Goes from being a scarcely seen villain part of a Big Bad Ensemble in the Aincrad arc to The Heavy of the second half of the Alicization arc. Progressive also makes him a more direct threat too.
    • Hollow Fragment upgrades him to the Big Bad of the Hollow Area though his Hollow AI counterpart.
  • Ax-Crazy: Easily the craziest below Gabriel Miller. However, he's at least calculated in his insanity. Vassago emphatically isn't.
  • Bad Boss: He's the one who leaked the Laughing Coffin's hideout to the other players while giving partial information about the raid on their HQ to his followers, all so he can watch both sides kill each other.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In regards to the Laughing Coffin Raid. While he did lose his entire guild and had to rely on manipulating random guys like Kuradeel to cause trouble from then on, The Reveal that he was the one who ratted them out in the first place brings a new perspective; he manages to cause the Clearing Force to lose a number of their people and force the surviving ones to become murderers, and as a bonus, he got a good show out of it.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: He's an Ax-Crazy murderer who kicks the dog For the Evulz and his Weapon of Choice, the Mate Chopper, gets a stat increase every time it kills another player. In Alicization, it's transfer into the Underworld combined with his own incarnation alters it so that it gets more powerful the more people die in general.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Is turned into a tree by Kirito.
  • Bastard Bastard: He's revealed to be an illegitimate son of a Japanese man and a Mexican woman, and he's definitely a bastard to boot.
  • Batman Gambit: Implied. When Moonphase notices how eerily calm PoH is in the face of his army turning against each other due to him convincing them a number of them about how off the whole situation is, he realizes, to his horror, that PoH may have already suspected that certain parts of his army might start realizing that they're being lied to, but that there'd still be a number of them who would cling to their hatred of Japan and insist on continuing the fight, giving him prime opportunity to provoke them into killing each other for his own amusement.
  • 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.
  • BFS: His Mate Chopper absorbing all the death to occur in War of the Underworld causes to grow substantially, making it go from a Chinese Kitchen Knife to a giant cleaver.
  • 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
  • Black Knight: Uses a Dark Knight avatar when he enters the Underworld.
  • Boomerang Bigot: He deeply hates East Asians and wants them to kill each other. His father is Japanese.
  • 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.
  • But Not Too Foreign: He was conceived from an illegitimate relationship between a Japanese father and a Mexican mother.
  • Catch Phrase: "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.
  • Characterization Marches On: In Aincrad he seemed to be more of a patient planner who would enjoy the show from the sidelines, while in Alicization he's noticeably more restless and loses his temper easily while requiring Gabriel to calm him. Asuna suspects that the shift in personality is due to PoH letting go of the facade he uses to manipulate others and embracing his bloodlust.
  • The Chessmaster: In the early days of SAO, he's revealed to have been the ringleader of a Conspiracy consisting of himself and a few other players, including the Beta-Tester Morte, who aim to hinder the frontlines in any way in order to keep SAO from getting cleared, with methods such as tricking the frontlines into almost committing the first PK by giving the Legend Braves an idea for a scam to allow them to join the frontlines, trying to get the two DKB and ALS to come to blows by spreading false info about the Elf War Quest and making sure they picked different sides, and trying to get one of them to get a Game-Breaker item so that the other guild would drop out of the frontlines due to not wanting to be absorbed by the other. Knowing PoH's reasons for being in SAO and his general personality, this could be either to give himself as much time as possible to locate the player he was sent in to kill or just to cause as much harm For the Evulz.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: His beatdown on a still-comatose Kirito.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: When Vassago is going on about how awesome the Underworld is, Gabriel attempts to rein him in by mentioning how the lack of a Pain Absorber will mean that every wound will hurt. Vassago just replies that that's the best part.
  • 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.
    • He even tried to do this to the Assault Team, pitting them and his entire Laughing Coffin guild against each other to not only watch them slaughter each other, but with the intent of turning the Assault Team into killers.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: He managed to get a stable, good-paying job after leaving Japan back to America following Aincrad but to him what good is it if he can't go back to killing people in the VR world to his heart's content?
  • 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.
  • Demoted to Dragon: He was the leader of Laughing Coffin during SAO, while in Alicization he is only the second-in-command to Gabriel Miller.
  • 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.
  • Disease Bleach: After being defeated and turned into a tree in the Underworld, his IRL hair turns completely white.
  • 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 psychopathic 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.
    • Alicization makes him one to Kirito himself. Both are SAO survivors who ended up in the Underworld, only on opposite sides of the war, had a generally black Color Motif, and were arguably the World's Best Warriors of SAO, Kirito being considered the strongest Frontline player outside of Heathcliff, and that was partially because he was Kayaba and rigged himself to never die, while PoH was an infamous Hero Killer with an already powerful weapon that got stronger and stronger with every PK he committed. The anime drives the point even deeper by making Vassago's half-brother an Identical Stranger to Kirito.
  • Evil Duo: He works with Gabriel as partners with, Vassago as his The Dragon and the second biggest threat in the War of the Underworld arc.
  • Evil Is Sexy: In-Universe. The Light Novel describes Vassago as being very attractive due to his rather exotic appearance, to the point where he could probably make a living as a model. Now if only he could do something about the Nightmare Face he sprouts every so often...
  • Evil Sounds Deep: For both his gameverse and his anime voice. Though gameverse PoH voice sounds raspier while in the anime he tends to have No Indoor Voice.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: In the gameverse he has a guttural, raspy voice. This is absent in the anime where his voice actor was recast.
  • 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 not in his best interests. Him bragging to Kirito that he'll never stop coming after him and Asuna until he finally kills them IRL 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. That being said, he's Implied to have somehow escaped his fate.
  • Faux Affably Evil: When in the company of other Glowgen members, Vassago downplays his bloodlust and seems like a boisterous and eager soldier with a snarky sense of humor. When he learns that Asuna and other SAO survivors are in the Underworld, he can barely restrain his malice and wears a smile so cruel that Critter immediately realizes that Vassago's previous behavior is just a facade.
  • Foil: To Gabriel. Both are incredibly powerful villains, by far the most powerful and psychotic foes Kirito has faced, and serve as Big Bads for their own Arcs, Gabriel for War of Underworld, taking the role of the Dark God Vecta for the purpose of invading the Underworld and capturing Alice for his own twisted ends, and PoH for Progressive, being the head of The Conspiracy that are trying to make the Frontlines fall apart. However, whereas Gabriel is largely The Stoic, doesn't even know who Kirito is, and is more reliant on sheer brute force and power to achieve his goals of attaining godhood, PoH is a gleeful Manipulative Bastard and Corruptor who's made it his mission to screw with Kirito whenever possible, and has no greater ambitions beyond causing as much pain and misery as possible solely For the Evulz.
  • For the Evulz: His entire motivation is to have people (East Asians in particular) kill each other for his own amusement. He displays this trait way too much for his own good, as his sadistic tendencies introduce him to a world of hurt when, after being defeated by Kirito in Alicization, he insults, threatens, and gloats to him that he will be hellbent on him and Asuna until he finally manages to brutally murder them in real life, leading to Kirito trapping him in the Underworld so he will never log out.
  • 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 Japanese man, forced his mother to have him so he can be used in a Kidney transplant for a relative and basically abandoned them after he was born. Upon arriving in Japan as part of a deal with his father, he's forced to join a Korean crime gang as a hitman since the laws would have otherwise had him deported. He starts the Laughing Coffin guild just so he could see Japanese people kill each other, and later brings in Chinese and Korean gamers to fight the Japanese gamers who want to rescue Kirito and later tries to turn them against each other 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 (who, to be fair, didn't love him, either).
  • 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.
    • He's also this for the Girls Ops' Spin-Offs, being the one who gave Lux the Sadistic Choice of either joining Laughing Coffin or being left for dead, which is the starting point of the Trauma Conga Line that is her Dark and Troubled Past. His recruitment of her is also what led to her meeting Gwen, the leader of one of LC's subsidiary guilds, and he unintentionallynote  ruins their friendship by leaking Laughing Coffin's location, leading to Gwen becoming an antagonist in the second arc.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Doesn't take much to piss him off.
  • Hate Plague: One of his abilities in the Underworld is emitting a corruptive miasma that drives players into killing each other.
  • Hate Sink: Vassago is ultimately a vile and cruel man who is unfortunately blessed with a high level of charisma that allows him to corrupt people and rally them behind him with ease, in contrast to the despicable but brilliant Gabriel Miller. He cements his loathsomeness in his raging homicidal sadism, the corruption of most of the members of his guild into becoming killers like him, and his callous mistreatment of his own men, as shown when he sold out his own guild members and gleefully watched them get slaughtered by the Assault Team in SAO, and when he purposely manipulated the Chinese and Korean players into killing each other in the Underworld, completely lacking in any sympathetic or admirable traits to offset his nature as a Satanic Archetype.
  • Hates Their Parent: He detests his father for conceiving him so that he could be used as a kidney donor for his older, sickly half-brother.
  • 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.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Vassago was so begging to fight Kirito that it ultimately leads to his defeat.
  • I Let You Win: He reveals that he was the one who leaked Laughing Coffin's location to the Clearers, Implying that he could have possibly led them for longer and allow them to cause even more havoc if he didn't get tired of leading them and thought it'd be fun to force the Clearers, namely Kirito, to become killers by forcing the two groups to come to blows.
  • In the Hood: His face is partially shadowed by the black hood he wears, concealing part of his identity.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Inverted then played Straight. It's implied that his time as a Professional Killer for the Korean Mafia benefited him in SAO in fighting and PKing other players. After he escapes and returns to the States, he's praised as an expert in simulation combat thanks to his two-year experience trapped in VR.
  • 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 Warranty: After having gotten away with spreading his reign of terror across SAO, 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. Or so it seems.
  • 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 inducing players and Underworld residents alike to start killing each other solely to provoke Kirito into snapping out of his catatonia so he can fight and kill him, 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.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: In his backstory, it's stated that after SAO ended Vassago killed his old employer, a Korean Mafia boss who was the one who sent him into SAO in the first place, after he tried to swindle him out of his payment.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: PoH reaches an all-new low during the Alicization arc when he knocks a catatonic Kirito out of his wheelchair and beats him to a pulp in front of Asuna and the rest of his friends, all while demanding Kirito snap out of it. In the anime, were it not for Eiji and Yuna's intervention, PoH would have killed him outright.
  • Knife Nut: His "Mate Chopper" resembles a Chinese kitchen knife and is classified as a One-Handed Dagger.
    • He also uses a dagger, which he bluffs has Level-5 Paralyzing Venom and Damaging Poison applied to it, to threaten Kirito on the 5th floor in their first meeting.
    • Even as a Dark Knight in the Underworld that comes with a high priority sword, he instead opts for a dagger in combat.
  • Latino Is Brown: He's an offspring of a Mexican woman, and has the complexion to show it.
  • Laughably Evil: For a psychopathic 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. He led the guild with a mix of of his devil-like Charisma, having drawn other players in by preaching his PK views like some kind of cult leader, and keen, Levelheaded intellect, having been extremely careful when going out on excursions, having headed it when it started as The Conspiracy in Progressive and almost dismantled the frontlines a few times, and managing to have his guild evade capture for a good while before they were finally discovered and taken down, and that's because he leaked their location out of the boredom.
  • Left for Dead: After defeating him, Kirito turns PoH into a tree to make sure he's unable to log out of the Underworld.
  • 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 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 NerveGear 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 on to be able to log in before Yuuki and Aiko talked her out of it, and is also the method Vassago used to get into SAO.
  • Manipulative Bastard: When he isn't getting in on the action himself, PoH has just as much fun manipulating other people into killing each for his own amusement. He preached his twisted "PK is okay" views in SAO, formed Laughing Coffin, and then leaked their location to the Clearers solely so he could watch them all kill each other and force the clearer's to kill, and it's hinted that when he invited the Chinese and Korean players to the Underworld to act as his reinforcements, it's Implied that he knew that they would figure him out sooner or later, but banked on a number of them clinging to their hatred of Japan so that he could spur all of them into killing each other just by killing the one who started pointing out how he was manipulating him.
  • Mask of Sanity: Downplayed. While PoH has always been a murderous psychopath, he's a low-functioning sociopath who's able to pass himself off as a high-functioning one.
    A cold gust of wind rustled his leather hood, revealing the eyes underneath for a brief moment. They were red and dimly glowing. A devil. He was not human, but a true devil. That was the true nature of PoH. The mask of the cheerful agitator he wore in Aincrad and the mask of the harsh commander he wore here were both just that: lies. In truth, he was a cold, cruel agent of vengeance who sought only to inflict pain, to torment and wipe out all traces of humanity...
  • Meaningful Name: His given name (Vassago) is a reference to a certain Prince of Hell. It also adds to his satanic character. Apparently his mother gave it to him because she never wanted him to begin with.
  • Not Quite Dead: Implied. Despite his fate in the Underworld, Vassago's body is revealed to have mysteriously disappeared when the GDS survivors went to collect his, Gabriel and Brigg's bodies, to which Critter remembers that while he did confirm Gabriel's death and witness Brigg get killed, he never confirmed whether or not that Vassago was dead.
  • 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 Japanese man and Mexican woman and joined a Korean crime gang upon coming to Japan.
    • 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.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: He has zero regard for the lives of anyone, including his fellow teammates. His plan in Underworld is have the Japanese players killed by summoning thousands of American, Chinese and Korean players, with full intent of having them all die during their fight. He even tells Asuna that he'll kill thousands of beings, inluding her allies and every other human and monster down there, just to get the comotose Kirito to wake up.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He's enraged when he enters Underworld and sees the broken Kirito, but only because he wasn't the one to leave him that way. Part of his reason to get everyone around killing each other is to try and snap Kirito out of it so he can fight and destroy him himself.
  • One-Winged Angel: Transforms into a literal "Prince of Hell" during his fight against Kirito.
  • Overarching Villain: PoH is arguably the most recurring and influential villain in the series, being the part of the Big Bad Duumvirate in the Aincrad and Progressive arcs, becoming the Greater-Scope Villain in Phantom Bullet through his influence on XaXa and Johnny Black, and becoming The Dragon for Gabriel Miller, the second Big Bad of the Alicization Arc. It's even implied that he somehow escapes his Fate Worse than Death at Kirito's hands in the Underworld with not even the GDS knowing where he is, implying a possible return in the future.
  • Personality Powers: Invoked weapon example. His weapon, the Mate Chopper, is largely dependent on what the wielder does with it; the lore of Aincrad labels it as a cursed weapon that gets more powerful if it kills other players, but weaker if it kills monsters and other mobs. If you kill enough monsters and "break the curse", it turns into a powerful katana but if you do what PoH did and just keep killing other players with it, you get a weapon that just keeps getting more and more powerful whenever you kill someone.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: His hatred towards his Japanese father translates to hostility towards East Asians as a whole, to the point that he relishes in the sight of East Asian players killing one another.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Not child per se, but the more his Mate Chopper is used to kill other players it's stats increase more and more. The inverse of killing monsters, while apparently awarding you with a powerful Katana, actually decreases it's stats. In the Underworld, it just gets empowered by death in general.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: In Girls Ops. In Lux's backstory, he stops one of his underlings from killing her by pointing out that they're down a town infiltration member, as they had to kill one of them when they tried escaping. Plus, from the sinister sneer he flashed when he forced her to join, he probably figured she'd suffer more if forced to work for them.
  • Purple Is Powerful: As a Dark Knight, he dons dark purple armor and, while not as powerful as he is using his SAO Avatar, he's still plenty skilled, being able to sneak into the Human Army camp without notice before encountering Ronye, and almost killing her when they get into a brief duel.
  • Professional Killer: Upon coming to Japan, Vassago joined the Korean Mafia as an assassin, and pulled off nine successful hits before SAO. Even his presence in SAO was part of a job, logging in after the Death Game started since the target was too well-guarded IRL.
  • Psycho for Hire: A murderous Sadist who cares only for killing, and not only did his guild take jobs to kill other players for a price, but before SAO he was a Professional Killer for the Korean Mafia, who were the guys who sent him into SAO in the first place, and after it ended he returned to the USA to become a mercenary for a PMC company that specializes in wetwork.
  • Reality Ensues: In the Alicization arc, he has the brilliant idea to insult, threaten and gloat to Kirito, who just kicked his ass, that he's never going to stop coming after him until he brutally murders him, Asuna and their friends 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 Japanese father, who forced his mother to have him so he can be used in a kidney transplant for a relative, he joined a Korean crime gang to kill Japanese people and he created the Laughing Coffin guild just to watch them kill each other. PoH later brings Chinese 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.
  • Self-Duplication: He creates several shadowy duplicates of himself using his Incarnation during his duel with Kirito in the War of the Underworld.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: It's noted that the simplicity of his Incarnation, which generates from his single-minded desire to kill and torture, ends up making him incredibly powerful, to the point where he can survive having a Torso with a View.
  • 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.
  • Torso with a View: Gets one when Asuna uses Mother's Rosario on him, but his Mate Chopper sucking in all the death occurring on the battlefield helps him survive.
  • Übermensch: Vassago has the antisocial behavior, presenting himself as a cheerfully sadistic man who believes that the virtual world reveals people's true colors and that people should give in to their murderous impulses and murder each other to their heart's content, which was why he founded the Laughing Coffin so he can murder other players For the Evulz and influence others into doing the same. His love of killing and violence serves its purpose as a twisted value; he doesn't care which side was winning, such as when he leaked the Laughing Coffin guild's location to the raiders or tried to make the Chinese and Korean players kill each other when they start to find out about his scheme, because all he cared about was watching people kill each other. Understandably, most people see his philosophy as little more than murder and sadism For the Evulz, but he was able to influence several of the Laughing Coffin members to his ideals, such as XaXa and Johnny Black. Kirito here would be the Last Man.
  • 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 after Kirito starts using his Night Sky Sword, which was made from the Gigas Cedar, to absorb the spatial resources from the deceased his Mate Chopper was previously absorbing, desperately waving his enlarged dagger to try cut off the flow going to Kirito's sword.
  • Villainous Rescue: Subverted. He did save Lux from getting killed by a monster, but he then immediately forced her to join the Guild as a town infiltrator and threatened to leave her to die if she didn't comply.
  • Villain Respect: Contrary to what Asuna believes, PoH admits that he has nothing but respect for Kirito, even claiming her loves him, not only for his strength, but for being able to resist his attempts to manipulate and corrupt him. Unfortunately, this "respect" and "love" compels him to do increasingly horrendous acts and being obsessed with killing him himself.
  • 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.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite being trapped as a tree in the Underworld, his IRL body somehow disappears from the Ocean Turtle with not even the GDS mercenaries, who went to the STL Room to collect Gabriel's body, knowing where it went.
  • Willfully Weak: Zig-zagged. His Mate Chopper was apparently a very unique weapon in that if it killed enough mobs, an action that lowers it's stats each time, it turns into a powerful Katana with the same name. This being PoH, he naturally stuck with it's dagger form and it's ability to get more powerful the more players it killed.
  • 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:
    • When he's initially logged in as a Dark Knight, Vassago gets into a duel with Ronye while he's infiltrating the human camp, and would have killed her if it wasn't' for Asuna's Deus ex Machina. Later on when he logs back in with his SAO Avatar, he casually shoves her out of his way when she tries to block him off from Kirito.
    • 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.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: It's said that he set up Laughing Coffin to be killed by the clearers when he got "bored" of running it.

    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 to save Yorko, Caynz and Schmitt. 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 an 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 opportunities 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, and his brief shots in the anime always obscure his eyes.
  • 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 Kyouji 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 Kyouji.
  • Hero Killer: Earns this reputation in SAO and GGO. As one of the few players who can match Kirito in a sword fight, it is not unwarranted.
  • Ill Boy: His brother Kyouji 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 Kyouji. 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. He also sees no problem in manipulating his brother into joining on his murderous exploits with seemingly no concern for his future.
  • 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.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Death Gun incident can be largely attributed to him taking advantage of his brother's fragile mind and his hatred for XeXeeD to give himself an excuse to kill again.
  • 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: Is easily the most unhinged of the Death Gun trio.
  • 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 got a noticeably high-pitched voice, which only goes to make him even more disturbing.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Along with XaXa, Johnny Black becomes the Arc Villain of GGO.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His first on-screen appearance was when he, XaXa and PoH incapacitate the Golden Apple guild. Black planned on making the guild fight each other to the death before killing the last man standing. Based on PoH's comment to him, this isn't the first time he did it, and it shows how sadistic he is.
  • 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. He also nearly killed Kazuto in real life.
  • 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: Everything he does in his on-screen appearances is to show how petty and wicked he is.
    • Incapacitates the Golden Apple guild and wants to force them to kill each other before killing the last man standing anyway, with PoH revealing that he's done this before.
    • Him stalking Kirito and Asuna and then attacking Kirito with the succinylcholine syringe.
  • Knife Nut: His Weapon of Choice were a large collection of knives for both melee and throwing, all coated in his signature poisons.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Chooses to use his last shot of succinylcholine to attack Kirito and avenge his comrades rather than attempt to flee the country for good. Justified in the end since while he had no way of knowing it, the authorities discovered his role in the Death Gun incident from interrogating his two co-conspirators and even without that, as an SAO survivor he'd likely be under great scrutiny from the government anyway.
  • Sackhead Slasher: Wore a burlap sack for a mask in Aincrad.
  • Sadist: You know how sadistic he is when they not only force their captives to fight to the death but kill the last man standing anyway.
  • 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.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Which goes hand-in-hand with his IRL Nightmare Face.

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.

  • Anime Accent Absence: They are supposed to be Americans, but speak perfect Japanese.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: They're all comprised of criminals. Captain Dario Ziliani remarks that with the exception of Gabriel Miller, none of the Glowgen operatives had any sense of discipline.
  • Eagleland: Given that they're the antagonists in Alicization, it's the boorish variety.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Villain example. The three main faces of the group could be seen to have this dynamic.
    • Gabriel is the Fighter, being the Physical God who relies on aggressive We Have Reserves tactics against the Human Army, and is powerful enough to be a match for several heavy-hitters like Bercouli, Sinon, who's logged in as Solus, and a recently revived and empowered Kirito.
    • PoH is the Thief, being a Professional Killer who's able to sneak into the human encampment and kill several guards and later ambush the Human Army and ALO players with his army of Chinese and Koreans.
    • Critter is the Mage, being The Cracker who not only hacks into the Ocean Turtle's system to log Gabriel and Vassago in, but also recruits and logs in foreign players to serve as Gabriel and Vassago's reinforcements.
  • Gratuitous English: They slip a lot of English words into their dialogue as a way of showing they are not Japanese.
  • He Knows Too Much: After the mission ends, Critter suspects that the surviving team members are likely to be detained or even killed due to the American Government not wanting it to leak that they violated their treaty with Japan and led an attack on one of their facilities, which could cause an international incident. It's why he stole a data-chip before they left the Ocean Turtle, hoping to use it to bargain for his life.
  • Post-Final Boss: After the defeat and(seemingly for the latter) deaths of Gabriel and Vassago, the remaining mercenaries declare the mission a failure and attempt to blow up the Ocean Turtle before leaving, with one of them staying behind in hopes of avenging his partner. It takes the combined efforts of Kayaba in a robot body and Kikuoka to prevent the bomb from going off.
  • Private Military Contractors: They operate in this way. It's a case of Truth in Television, as the GDS HQ is located in San Diego. In real-life, the heavy presence of both the U.S. Navy's Point Loma base and U.S. Marine Corps Camp Pendleton in San Diego County means that there are many, many corporations (mainly related to industries like communications, biotech, and engineering) in the region with major Department of Defense contracts.
  • Professional Killer: All of Glowgen's operatives specialize in assasinating people.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Vassago is the impulsive and hotheaded red to Gabriel's calmer and logical blue.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: As experienced in assasination the operatives are, as Vassago himself remarks, they are no match for soldiers with formal training like the JSDF.


Voiced by: Isshin Chiba (Japanese), Jon Allen (English)

A hacker under the employ of Glowgen Defence Systems. Brought on the assault of the Ocean Turtle in order to hack the Soul Translator.

  • The Cracker: Critter is a criminal hacker and claims to have once hacked into the Pentagon, a claim Vassago uses to mock him when he fails to hack into the Ocean Turtle's network to get Alice's Lightcube.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite being a criminal, he's frightened by Vassago's true sadistic nature. Of all the Glowgen members, he's the only one shown to be reluctant to blow up the Ocean Turtle and kill all the Rath members, only relenting when Hans threatens to kill him.
  • Evil Counterpart: His blonde hair, glasses and status as his group's computer expert makes him a rather obvious one to Higa.
  • Failed a Spot Check: When he notices that Vassago's body wasn't with Gabriel and Brigg's in the body bags, he realizes that he never confirmed whether or not he was dead when he found him and Gabriel, just assuming he was dead just by looking at him.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: He's a hacker and mercenary who wears a pair of glasses. Vassago gives him the nickname "Four Eyes" as a result.
  • Freak Out: Has a minor one when he realizes that Vassago might still be alive.
  • Non-Action Guy: Villainous example. Aside from possibly the initial shootout on the Ocean Turtle, Critter is the only member of the GDS forces to not do any actual fighting. His main role in the War of the Underworld is simply to log Gabriel and Vassago in as Vector and a Dark Knight and later as their personal accounts, Subtilizer and PoH, and to recruit foreign players from America, China and Korea via a false beta-test recruitment add.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: He and Vassago do not get along, the both of them making jabs at each other and almost coming to blows before Gabriel intervened.

     Hans and Brigg 

Hans and Brigg

A pair of mercenaries who were partners long before being hired by Glowgen Defense System.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: Brigg shooting the time accelerator safety switch. In the Light Novel it was simply because he lost his temper and shot it after failing to pick the lock for it and losing a bet with Hans in the process. In the anime, shooting it was his first idea.
  • Avenging the Villain: Hans tries to do this when Brigg is killed by trying to blow up the Ocean Turtle and staying behind so the bomb goes off. He fails.
  • Lethally Stupid: Kirito and Asuna probably wouldn't even be trapped in the Underworld for 200 years if Brigg didn't shoot the lock for the time accelerator safety switch, breaking it and causing the time acceleration to reactivate.
  • Oh, Crap!: Brigg's reaction when he notices Kikuoka shooting at him and Critter.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: The two of them have apparently been working as partners for a while and have a good deal of comradery between them. It's to point that Hans is willing to lay down his life to avenge Brigg when he's killed.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Downplayed. The both of them are mercenaries with little qualms with killing, but Brigg is described as being The Brute and comes off as Dumb Muscle while Hans is noted to be a bit of a dandy, having a soft face and a styled mustache.
  • Taking You with Me: In order to ensure the Ocean Turtle is destroyed to avenge Brigg, Hans stays behind to prevent anyone from disarming the bomb.

     Reinforcements (Spoilers) 

Foreign Players

Players from countries outside of Japan summoned by Critter to act as reinforcements for Gabriel and Vassago, having no actual knowledge of what's going on.

  • Adaptational Heroism: In the anime, since everyone figures out that PoH's a Serial Killer, he instead opts on brainwashing them into killing each other instead of just spurning the Only Sane Men against those following their blind patriotism and hatred of Japan.
  • Failed a Spot Check: As Moonphase points out, if PoH really was an admin like he claimed, then he could have easily dealt with the Japanese players himself by merely rebooting the system. However, none of them seem to pick up on this.
  • G.I.F.T.: Many of the Foreign players shown definitely give into their darker impulses, being borderline Sadistic Blood Knights who enjoy every moment they spend killing the "Enemy NPCs". The Chinese and Koreans arguably take it further, since their summoning gives them a chance to let out a lot of their resentment towards the Japanese.
  • Gratuitous English: They are all voiced by Japanese voice actors attempting to speak often broken English phrases in very obvious Japanese accents.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: All of the factions in this group are outright lied by Glowgen Defense Systems and PoH, believing the Underworld to be just be a regular VR Game and the Artificial Fluctlights they're killing to be mere NPCs.
  • Obliviously Evil: They genuinely have no idea that their actions are helping an amoral group of mercenaries, and that most of the "NPCs" they're killing are actually Artificial Fluctlights who are basically no different from them.
  • Secretly Selfish: It's Implied that while a good number of the Chinese and Koreans were genuinely oblivious to what was going on and actually started becoming suspicious the moment PoH started torturing Kirito, many others did suspect something was off, but went along with it and never bothered questioning it since they saw it as an excuse to kill VR players from Japan, who they resented due to being denied access to the Seed Nexus.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Alice and some others note how disorganized and uncoordinated the armies as a whole are, and that they don't appear to be very skilled with the weapons they came with. However, not only do the red knight avatar they log in with have decent enough stats, but their sheer numbers makes them a massive threat to the comparatively small armies of the Human Empire, Dark Territory, and Japanese players.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Both the American players and later the Chinese and Korean ones become this for Glowgen Defense Systems, being logged into the Underworld without being told the full truth, being told a lie that convinces them to fight the Human Army and be an effective decoy for Gabriel.
    • The Americans are told that the Underworld is a Beta-Test for a brand new VR Game and that both the Human and Dark Territory Armies are experimental enemy NPCs that they are free to kill as they please.
    • The Chinese and Koreans are a bit more in the know, being told that an army of American Players are being dealt a Curb-Stomp Battle by an army of Japanese ones... and that's about all they know. They're never told that it's because the American themselves are being manipulated and that all the NPCs they're killing are being defended by the Japanese, instead being convinced that it's all a joint VR Project between America, Korea and China and that the Japanese players are hackers trying to ruin it.
  • Zerg Rush: In terms of combat power, they are vastly inferior to the Integrity Knights, Physical Gods, and even the Pugilists. However, they have the power in numbers advantage and prove to be a threat because there's simply an endless number of them rushing in.

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