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Fridge Brilliance

  • The NerveGear has medicinal value for the terminally ill—it can slow the progress of some diseases by conserving energy, and they can experience things in the game that their illness prevents them from doing in real life. This is actually a key plot point in Book 7 of the light novels, as Yuuki and the other Sleeping Knights are all hospitalized for various reasons—Yuuki is terminally ill with AIDS, for instance.
  • Why Kirito is so overpowered? While it's one of the biggest complaint of the series, there are several reasons behind why he's so impossibly strong.
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    • Kirito was a beta player. He personally dedicated hours of the 2 month beta period learning all the ins and outs of the game, having made it all the way to Floor 8. This gave him a huge experience advantage, where he knew about all of the best grinding spots and rare item drops. This in turn would have allowed him to level up much faster and get better items than standard players.
    • Kirito is a solo player. Aside from the Moonlit Black Cats, Kirito never joined any guilds for well over 2 years. Players who fight in guilds and parties will have experience and items split among all the players, but as Kirito soloed monsters, he alone would acquire the experience, Col, and item drops.
    • Kirito's Dual Wielding Unique Skill. Kirito's natural reaction time is immensely fast, which Kayaba had programmed the system to find said player and grant them the Unique Skill Dual Wielding, with the intended outcome of having said player face him as the Final Boss. This ability allowed Kirito to output double the damage compared to most players, but also buffed up his defensive as he was now able to crossguard block. Most MMOs will have strong abilities compensate in other areas such as sacrificing defense for offense, but Dual Wielding gave Kirito the best of both deals.
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    • Kirito's Survivor Guilt. Very early on Kirito experienced a painstaking loss when all of the Moonlit Black Cats are killed, especially Sacchi. Prior to this Kirito was merely fighting for his own survival in SAO, but from this point on, it became a matter of Kirito doing everything in his power to prevent losing anyone else. Fighting with a sense of purpose is commonly attributed to bolstering performance to exceptional levels.
    • Kirito's specialty of exploiting the System. It's shown many times that Kirito does not restrict himself to standard limits set by any given game's system. He will experiment and push the limits of what he can do which no one else thought of trying, which is how he's able to dual wield in ALO without system assist or dodge and parry bullets in GGO.
  • Asuna's cooking:
    • According to the novels, Asuna never had an interest in food in real life. So why did she become a master chef? Possibly because of the simple gesture of Kirito giving her cream for her bread.
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    • Not only that, but she's grown up having food prepared for her; in Aincrad, she's preparing her own food. And as everyone who has ever cooked knows, there's a differences in satisfaction in eating something someone has made for you, and something you've made with your own hands.
    • There is a brief mention in the first volume about cooking in Aincrad not being as fun as real life, suggesting she might have cooked some in the real world. Considering the fact she does so at the end of the Fairy Dance arc this isn't impossible. This means there is another reason behind her mastering that skill; it was something familiar to her.
    • Related to this, one of the first interactions Kirito has with Asuna (after getting her out of the first floor labyrinth in Progressive, the night after the first floor boss meeting in the anime) is sharing some bread seasoned with cream he had found on a quest. Since that may have been the first time she could taste anything after a month of playing, she probably thought it was worthwhile to be able to offer something similar to other people.
    • Alternatively she took up the skill because she wanted to find something she could relate to from the real world. Going off of the above, then naturally cooking would work for her.
    • As a genre-savvy young girl, Asuna also knows the best way to get her guy is Through His Stomach, and Asuna brings up her newfound skills wherever Kirito is around, offering to cook his rare Ragout Rabbit and insisting to share her food with him wherever they're in mission. Since Kirito had shown her some kindness, she was trying her hardest to impress him.
    • It's also worth noting that cooking classes are mandatory to an extent in Japanese schools, which explains why Asuna would have cooking experience and yet not see it as special until SAO.
  • Why does Asuna fall in love with Kirito? It seems very sudden and given little explanation, but ultimately the answer is found in her explanation to Nishida. Early on in the game she was immensely depressed, often crying herself to sleep and believing she was losing her life in the game. Then one day she found Kirito taking a nap rather than clearing the game and got mad at him. But then Kirito told her how the weather in Aincrad was optimal that day and it would be a waste to spend it in a dungeon. This makes Asuna realize Kirito wasn't losing days in the real world but was merely living them in the virtual world, allowing Asuna to finally be at peace and feel happy for the first time. So why does Asuna fall in love with Kirito? Because Kirito was the first person in SAO who taught her how to be happy again.
  • On the note of Kirito and Asuna, chapter 16.5 may be little more than a bad Coitus Ensues plot, but it actually makes sense when one looks at it from the perspective of that this isn't reality. Granted, Kayaba attempted to make SAO as close to real life as possible, so it's baffling why he would do such a shoddy job with one aspect. Maybe he wasn't expecting anyone to do the deed (the ethics code does exist after all), or maybe he was a fan of really crummy hentai. Either way Kirito and Asuna were probably embarrassed from the whole ordeal.
  • The whole incident with the 75th Floor Boss is a deliberate echo of the Black Cats of the Full Moon, with Asuna representing all of Kirito's comrades. Which is why Kirito loses his fighting spirit when he sees Asuna struck down. He loves her more than anything in either world, and the thing he most wanted to make sure never happened again happened again right in front of him, and again he was unable to do anything about it.
  • Why is it that SAO lacks a traditional Magic system, unlike other Role Playing Games? Because Kayaba wanted to keep this game as relatively close to real life as possible! It'd be hard to forget you're in a game when people are hurling lightning bolts at each other!
  • Since SAO lacked any sort of government, Kirito decided to become Sheriff. That's why he's called upon to investigate murders. On that note, Sword Art Online invokes a Western trope of the sheriff confronting the corrupt mayor. Not just western: basically Kirito acts like the lone samurai of your average jidai-geki: cue to Mito Komon, where the dismissive, non-confrontational nice guy just tags along to witness something evil and then, after a Badass Boast he opens a can of whoop-ass on the bad guys.
  • Yui looks quite a bit like what you'd expect a biological daughter of Kirito and Asuna to look like: She has Asuna's features, but Kirito's hair and skin tone. The Fridge sets in when you realize she must have based her appearance on them when she wanted to meet them.
  • How is it that Asuna survived taking the blow for Kirito? It clearly took longer than ten seconds between her dying and Kirito killing Heathcliff along with himself. Remember how Heathcliff agreed to keep Asuna from killing herself should Kirito die? Well he kept his promise and should Asuna have tried to kill herself, that's what would have happened. Hence how both her and Kirito were able to end up in the place above Aincrad to have one last chat with Kayaba before the virtual world ends.
  • It's shown that Kirito has more sympathy for Kayaba than for Sugou, even though Kayaba harmed more people than Sugou did. The reason behind this is because Kayaba truly loved SAO and the VMMORPG genre and, while he indeed killed more than 4000 people, it was a restricted case. Sugou, on the other hand, only saw ALO as a tool for his ambitions and vain glory.
    • Additionally Sugou used his authority to rule as a king. He installed himself as "High King" of a virtual world, and treated everyone else as beneath him, and made an actual in game quest that's supposed to let players ascend the World Tree to have an audience with him and made an "Alf" impossible to complete. Kayaba actually made his game winnable and actually assisted the players by joining them on the front lines in disguise.
    • Yeah, Kayaba seems like a pretty strong case of Blue-and-Orange Morality, with upholding what it means to be a gamer being his personal code.
  • In the Final Battle against Heathcliff, Kirito uses his heroic willpower to delay his fading away and returns the favor by stabbing Heathcliff back. Heathcliff doesn't even try to block the blow and simply smiles. Why? Because he's found the perfect ending to his magnificent story, The Hero defies the impossible, coming back from the brink of death to defeat the villain and take him with him.
  • After escaping SAO, Kirito is shown going toe-to-toe with his sister while still using his movements from the videogame. Yes, he was comatose for 2 years, but Damn You, Muscle Memory! still applied to the brain, so the motions were ingrained that way.
  • The second arc, particularly in the anime due to it being a more visual medium, has a huge spike in fanservice, with Gainaxing and Chainmail Bikini armor everywhere. In ALO, everything is run by Sugou, the creepy misogynist who sniffs comatose girls' hair. The fanservice spike is because he designed the game that way.
    • There's also the fact that, barring the matter with Asuna and the other 300-ish SAO survivors, Alfheim has much less at stake than Aincrad did.
  • Leafa's reaction to Recon's Love Confession probably had something to do with the fact that he sounded like he was asking her to marry him out of the blue.
  • Much flak is given to Asuna for being a Distressed Damsel, and not even trying to escape. But consider her situation: Stuck in ALO by Sugou, who has full GM privileges, and he is not one to disregard advantages. So she's forced into a revealing costume, placed into a cage that she cannot break/affect ('immortal object' by all rights), and literally has a blur over her vision whenever the exit code is inputted, though not when viewed through a mirror; that we know for certain. Considering Sugou's personality, he has also most likely placed a barrier around the cage, to prevent her from slipping through the bars - or alternatively, even if she did, falling down and dying might just respawn her back in the cage. And would even he allow her to keep her ALO skills and abilities to ambush him? Simply put, there really was little she could do, and she clearly hated this... but she held out anyway, and nearly got out despite all this.
  • On the first day of SAO, Kirito refused to escort all of Klein's friends, for fear that he wouldn't be able to protect all of them, and figuring that he would blame himself if any of them died. Thing is, this is a flashback being narrated by Kirito after the 74th floor has been opened. Is Kirito recalling his actual feelings from that day, or is he projecting his memories of the Black Cats of the Full Moon onto his memories of that day?
  • In Episode 19 of the anime, when Kirito and Leafa are fighting the Salamanders who had tracked them, pay special attention to what Kirito does after he uses his illusion magic, and it becomes clear why he picked The Gleam Eyes as inspiration for it: he's making the Salamanders feel exactly what the Liberation Army felt in the Floor 74 boss room.
    • Big frickin' monster that towers over everything they've fought so far (to our knowledge): scare them off the start, make them realize what they've gotten into - which the Army felt when Corvatz made them march into the boss room half-cocked
    • Killing their shield users first: give them the horrifying realization that they don't stand a chance - which the Army would have realized when The Gleam Eyes caused their first casualty
    • Leaping in front of the retreating spellcasters: let them know that they've walked into this and there's no getting out - which the Army knew when their teleportation crystals failed to activate
    • And finally, letting the last guy live (albeit at Leafa's request): making sure they know that they tried something stupid and should not do anything like that again - which the Army knew when Kirito and Asuna saved their asses.
  • In the "Alfheim" arc, Kayaba returning Back from the Dead to grant Kirito his admin account and powers and the World Seed may seem a cheap way to give closure to the plot. But actually, from Kayaba's perspective was the best thing to do. Despite being clearly victimized by Kayaba, Kirito still tried his best to enjoy and protect Aincrad, his finest creation. On the other hand Sugou, motivated only by greed, his delusions of adequacy towards Kayaba and his vilest instincts acquired Kayaba's patents just to squander them into a pale, vile imitation of his dream and weaponize his research. Basically, Kayaba used Kirito as his physical proxy and champion to wrest his uncorrupted dream from the hands of a thief. Kirito in the anime pretty much sums that up, claiming in his Badass Boast that, while both him and Sugou suffered at Kayaba's hands, Kirito was forged into the Hero of Aincrad and Sugou became a petty, green-eyed crook.
  • During the opening credits for the "Gun Gale Online" arc, Kirito can be seen writhing behind Death Gun while surrounded being circled by three shadows. This could be foreshadowing that Death Gun is actually three people.
    • It's could also represent the three Laughing Coffin members that he killed.
  • Something that may be obvious to some, but others might've not realized it, when Heathcliff kills Asuna, her sword is left on the ground and Kirito picks it up to use, people might wonder why it didn't disappear since she was dead, but Kirito and Asuna were married and shared an inventory, so Lambent light would've instantly become Kirito's the moment she died.
  • Speaking of the above, Heathcliff killing Asuna, incident, in Red-Nosed Reindeer, Kirito gains an item that allows you to revive a player within a short, limited amount of time. Meaning it's not surprising that Heathcliff, as the GMPC, was able to allow both Kirito and Asuna to live once Kirito beat him.
    • Alternatively: Said item lets you revive a character shortly after death, but before their player dies. That means that, as long as that item exist, their is a small time frame between character death and player death... and it might have been easier to program it to always have that gap, rather then check for whether it exists. If both Asuna and Kirito died, but the game was cleared during that gap period, then they both lived because by the time the killing function would have activated, said subroutine was deleted, and so couldn't fire.
  • Everyone referring to Freyja as a trap during Calibur. She is, in the slang sense.
  • The only girls in the crew that Yui tolerates besides Asuna are Leafa and Sinon. Why? Because Leafa is family and Yui can sense that Sinon doesn't have any romantic feelings for Kirito, but she can sense that the others do.
  • Why is Kirito able to pull off a convincing feminine act in GGO? Appearance aside, he copied the gestures and body language cues of Asuna and the politeness of Yui to make the act more convincing.
    • He was also has a sister and an aunt who he's lived with for his entire life. More chances for him to know how to act feminine.
  • Why does Kirito hurry to Sinon's apartment even though she told him not to? Because of the Black Cats of the Full Moon. He learned from that incident to always err on the side of caution. No sense taking the chance that the murderer might still be there or set her apartment on fire or something like that.
  • Kirito was blamed by Keita for the death of his guild the Moonlit Black Cats, because (according to Keita), Kirito hid his true level from the rest of the guild. However, that doesn't make sense because...In Pokemon, whenever you have a Pokemon that is at least 10 to 20 levels higher than anything else in your party that Pokemon becomes a Crutch Character. You take extreme challenges because you "know" that the super-strong character will always be there in the nick of time to save you and the rest of your team. That's all fine and good, except that the game was designed to kill the player shortly after the character dies. If the rest of the guild had known Kirito's true level/power/strength then it's almost assuredly likely that they would have rushed into the trap sooner, therefore being killed sooner. In fact, given Asuna's actions in the "Mother Rosario" arc, one can't help but realize that Kirito had a point doing what he did. Asuna showed the Sleeping Knights (who were already super-powerful compared to other players) even a fraction of her true power, and they did a 7-person boss-rush. And failed. Would the Black Cats have done much differently than the Sleeping Knights?
    • Unless the trap was leveled. In that case, the fact that Kirito was at a much higher level then the rest of the Black Cats would have screwed up the calculations, thus making the monsters spawned by the trap much more powerful than they would have been if Kirito wasn't there. If that's the case then it really is Kirito's fault that his team was killed.
  • There are a few moments in Aincrad where it's described that Kirito or Asuna are doing things that shouldn't be possible in the system of Sword Art Online. There is some speculation of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane, but in reality it is simply a function of the Nerve Gear, albeit an unsuspected one. In times of great worry or duress, it's been shown the human body can do things far beyond normal physiological limits. Since the Nerve Gear works by intercepting signals meant for the body and transfers them to the avatar, it only makes sense that these "override" mental signals would transfer as well.
  • What exactly does Death Gun mean by "false strength" and how he judges it? Death Gun is an SAO survivor where killing in-game would mean killing for real. In addition he was a member of the murder guild, Laughing Coffin, which killed players for fun. However in all subsequent games, death has no consequence, including GGO. For all the tough talking elite players who boast killing many opposing players, in Death Gun's eyes this is not 'real' strength as they never deal with the consequences of killing someone for real. Hence only himself as a true red-player and a Serial Killer does he have real strength.
  • A fun one in Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment concerns Sinon's weapon. At first, she can only use basic daggers, and she is therefore a relatively weak character, because she's a ranged fighter... then, presumably, the World Seed for Aincrad creates a quest to earn a bow, Sinon's signature weapon...
  • Another one from Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment in relation to why Strea looks older than Yui and the seven other Mental Health Counseling Programs despite being the second one made. It's because the character data she merged with. Strea either took on the appearance set within the data, or adapted to it which caused her original body to change and match the age set in said data. Because she's an AI, she may not be aware her programming's been changed.
    • Her personality could have also been effected by the same data which explains her Innocently Insensitive nature, because while her body is that of a teenager or adult's, her mentality is still that of a child's, so she doesn't have the knowledge to fully understand what she's doing, and just like with her appearance she's unaware her programming's been changed.
    • Why do the other characters not consider this when Yui mentions the unused character data to them? Because they never met Strea before this and wouldn't know of the change, while Yui was unaware for most of the game that Strea was an AI like her.
  • How is it that Kirito is able to beat Yuuki in Hollow Fragment when in canon both Kirito and Word of God state otherwise? Well Lost Song features the Mother's Rosario arc as an in-game event line, heavily implying the Svart Alfheim update was likely added during the Winter during or right after everyone escaped SAO. This means everyone was trapped in SAO for three years in the game continuity, the same amount of time Yuuki's been in a FullDive for. In other words... Kirito was able to win against Yuuki because they had both lived in the virtual world for three years straight, allowing him to grow much stronger than in canon, making them equals in the game continuity.
    • Further proof to how this one year made him a stronger player shows in Kirito's duel with Sumeragi, where he manages to chain 5 sword skills with the Skill Connect ability. He says he's usually lucky to manage 3 or 4 in a row in the main continuity.
  • A minor one in the games. In Sword Art Online: Lost Song, Kirito is able to detect a player named Rain following him and his party on more than one occasion. Granted, we know that Kirito's detection skills and reflexes are top-notch, but it's possible that he knows how to detect players following him because he's familiar with this kind of situation. After all, Kirito had plenty of hide-and-seek practice with Strea back in SAO (in the past SAO games). In fact, one could say that his detection skills increased in that time frame, and since stats carry over from SAO to ALO, Kirito's heightened detection skill was also brought over, which leads him to be able to notice Rain because her hiding ability is lower than his detecting ability.
  • Another minor one from Lost Song, in the American version Seven's real life name being changed to Rainbow has even more meaning than her original name when you remember that Rain's real name, Nijika, is japanese for rainbow. Where does each sister live again? America and Japan, they're names are the same word in their respective countries.
  • In Fatal Bullet, Asuna quickly gains a reputation as one of the strongest players in GGO even though she's relatively new. This is not a coincidence, as it has been established that stats from previous games carry over when covering to new games. So much like Kirito, Asuna retained her impressive stats and ascended the rankings quickly, especially since she and Kirito primarily pair up for major events.
  • "That's not possible!" said three or four times should give you a clue that we don't know something, especially if Kayaba says it about anything anyone does inside SAO. Then we learn about Fluctlight...
  • In Alicization, when Lisbeth and Silica play GGO they are both shown wearing green khaki colored outfits. These outfits match the color of the starter gear with by LLENN and Fukaziroh when they first converted over.
  • The Hand Mirror Kayaba gifts everyone on Day One has a lot more importance than the players believed:
    • All the players are going to be within the game 24/7 for a long time - so, if their real body is different than their virtual body, they are going to have many problems if/when they come back to reality, particularly those people who have avatars with the opposite gender. So, the Mirror is actually a way to help prevent body dysmorphia.
    • Also, Kayaba wants things to be as realistic as possible, but he knows many players are likely to get themselves idealistic bodies - with the Mirror, he forces everyone to accept themselves as they are.
  • The Interservice Rivalry among the Japanese Self-Defense Force in the Alicization arc makes sense when you understand the specific branches at play. Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online revealed that Lt. Colonel Kikuoka is part of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, while the domestic forces opposing him are primarily found in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force. In reality, air forces have always been the earliest adopters of AI warfare (see for instance, the United States Air Force being in charge of cyber security) while navies are inherently the most conservative and traditional branch of a country's armed forces due to ships being among the most expensive individual investments a country could make, therefore ships must last for a long, long time and procurement of ships also happens in far fewer numbers than airplanes (while some airframes are quite old and long-lasting, they are also much easier and cheaper to maintain than a carrier constantly out at sea). It comes as no surprise then, that elements in the JMSDF may be quite upset at seeing the JASDF getting a huge chunk of the national budget for unproven and potentially very dangerous AIs to remove the human element from war in the future (which in itself is deeply unsettling to any sailor, with sailing the seas being one of mankind's oldest and venerable traditions), and thus they have every incentive to see the Alicization project crash and burn.
  • Why does Kirito hide his true level from the Black Cats of the Full Moon? He had previously outed himself as not only a beta tester, but as a "beater." If he had told them his true level, his reputation would have almost certainly come back to bite him in the rear. In fact, his reputation does come back to bite him in the rear. After the fateful dungeon wiped out most of the guild, their leader Keita calls Kirito out, not merely for hiding the truth, but for presumably being selfish and keeping his level to himself so that he could look good in front of everyone else.
  • While the Four Whirling Blade's fights against Kirito and Sigurosig might paint them as ineffectual, there are actually good reasons for them losing both of those fights.
    • Technically speaking, their fight with Kirito wasn't really a fight; Kirito didn't bother with dueling them, instead parrying and dodging their strikes as he made a beeline for Fanatio in order to beat their leader so he and Eugeo can advance quicker. Once he reached Fanatio, there was little they could actually do to continue the battle due to the risk of getting hit by the Heaven Piercing Blade and getting in Fanatio's way.
    • Against Sigurosig, the Curb-Stomp Battle they suffered can easily be explained by one thing; Dakira's Heroic Sacrifice. The Four Whirling Blades were trained to fight as a group of four as if they were one fighter by combining their strikes into one large, fast moving combo attack, hence the name. Since they were trained to be four fighters as one, this causes them to suffer something of Crippling Overspecialization; if one of them is taken out or is otherwise unavailable, their training falls apart since they lose a vital part of their dynamic and lose a great deal of their effectiveness. You could also make the argument that their anger and grief of losing one of their number caused them to act recklessly against the giant leader.
  • Surprisingly enough, aspects of the Units in ‘’Rising Steel’’, such as their elemental attributes, stats and skills, have correlation with aspects of the character and their relationships with others.
    • Eydis views herself as a Cool Big Sis to Alice, and this can show if she, as [Knight of Abyss] Eydis is used to support [Osmanthus Knight] Alice. With Umbral Drain, she can heal Alice to make up for the latter’s lack of healing skills while damaging enemies to make them more susceptible to Alice’s Horizontalnote  and her ability to increase another unit’s Break can help Alice in knocking down an enemy’s Incarnation with her Break skill.
      • Their bond also applies to their Bond Between Sisters counterparts, [Waiting For You In The Skies] Eydis and [Embraced in Sunbeams] Alice. All of their Offensive Skills are Magic oriented, with Eydis being able to Draw Aggro to protect Alice while also weakening enemy’s magic resistance to make Alice’s spells more effective. On Alice’s end, she can buff both Eydis with an increase to her magic damage and her physical defences, allowing to tank more damage and deal more back.
    • Eydis and Fanatio are of the Dark and Light element respectively, which deals extra damage but also suffers more damage from the other and, if their scenes together are anything to go by, they don’t exactly get along.
    • Bercouli is noted to be the World's Best Warrior and the strongest Integrity Knight, with the only one of them said to fight him on even ground apparently being Alice, and he notes that all the other Knights who earn one choose ranged Divine Objects in hopes of taking advantage of the fact that he’s a Close-Range Combatant. He also stands out among other Integrity Knight Units by being the only one to be a Neutral-Element Unit, while all the other Knight’s are associated with an elementnote . This means that, while he can’t deal extra damage to them, they can’t deal any extra damage to him either, similarly to how even with their Divine Objects, which are associated with their respective elements, they still can’t get an edge against him.
    • [Rose Garden Knight] Eldrie helps in emphasizing Eldrie’s status as Alice’s apprentice while emphasizing how he’s inferior to her as a Knight if compared to [Osmanthus Knight] Alice. Like Alice, he possesses an Assault Skill that deals Sword damage to all enemies and a single target skill that applies a debuff, which in his case is an Assault Skill that deals “Phys Resistance -20%” while Alice’s is a Break Skill that deals “Mag Attack -20%”. The game emphasizes how Alice is a better fighter through their skills and attributes; [Rose Garden Knight] Eldrie is a water-element Charger Unit who’s Charge move is a multi-target magic attack while Alice is an earth-elemental Break unit who, as stated previously, can debuff magic attacks and has a Support Skill that raises her team’s magic resistance. Since Earth is resistant to and deals extra damage to Water, Eldrie won’t be able to deal much damage to an equally levelled Alice, with her ability to weaken his magic damage meaning that his Charge skill will damage her even less, while Alice’s Break skill, especially if used against him or another Water-Elemental Unit, will quickly undo the Incarnation he’s able to build up.
    • While it's kind of obvious why Eugeo is associated with water, the brilliance comes from how it can be used in regards to other characters of the Earth element. Namely, how they get the better of him.
      • As previous established in regards to Eldrie, Alice is an Earth-type Break Unit who is a bane for Water-Element Charge Units who have magic skills like Eugeo. His weakness against her is done in emphasis to two of his interactions with Alice, namely her backhanding him with her sword when he tries reaching out to her and her breaking out of his Perfect Weapon Control with her Osmanthus Blade.
      • This could also be done in association to Linel and Fizel, who have been implemented as a pair of 4 Star Earth-Elemental Units. He's arguably the better fighter between them, which is shown by the fact that neither have a personal Break skill to counter his Charge movenote , but their Earth affinity can help in emphasizing that he was the only one to be tricked by their cutesy act, as opposed to Kirito, who doesn't have an elemental weakness to Earth, who figured it out and was able to take countermeasures. The is further enforced by the fact that Fizel has a Debuff skill that lowers the Physical and Magical Resistance of Water-Element Units. This can also emphasized with their 3 star versions with in regards to who they stabbed, with the Earth associated Linel stabbing the Water associated Eugeo, who was fooled, while the Umbral-Element Fizel stabbing Kirito, who not only wasn't fooled but associated with the same element.
    • [A Hero Rises] Kirito is a Jack-of-All-Trades unit, being the only one capable of Charging and Breaking while possessing a Assault Skill for damaging a crowd, giving him an interesting niche as a purely offensive character. However, for the sake of game balance, both his Charge and Break percentages aren't as high as those of dedicated Charge or Break Units, not even coming up to the base Charge/Break percentages of dedicated units when fully upgraded. But keep in mind that this is Kirito playing Ordinal Scale, a Augmented Reality game where he has to rely on his own physical capabilities as opposed to his more impressive in-game ones. With this in mind, it's little wonder that he has to rely purely on Sword Skills as opposed to magical buff modes(lacking Asuna's charisma to inspire players into following him) and why the Charge and Break values of both his moves aren't as effective.
      • Ironically enough, the area where [A Hero Rises] Kirito most excels at are the Ordinal Battles, where the Charge and Break percentages of all units get a natural buff. However, he still can't Charge or Break as much as a dedicated Charge or Break unit, emphasizing how while he's skilled in his own right, he's behind his friends due to not being as physically active IRL.
  • Why is Leafa not at all bothered by the appearance of the Orcs, apparently the ugliest creatures in the the Underworld, when basically everyone else(or at least Gabriel) views them as hideous Pig Men. Well, this is the same girl who found Tonky, a giant hybrid between a jellyfish and an elephant, adorable. Why would what are basically anthropomorphic pigs bother her in the slightest?
  • While it might be weird that Eydis from Rising Steel has access to a Life Drain ability, which is previously shown to be something Dark Territory Dark Mages like Dee Eye Ell are shown to utilize, there's actually a possible explanation for this; Eydis is mentioned to spend most of her time in active duty patrolling the End Mountains and keeping a watch out for possible attacks and reporting on activity in the Dark Territory. Who's to say that during one of these scouting missions, she happened upon some Dark Mages practicing their Dark Arts (what they call Sacred Arts) and, using the knack for Sacred Arts she's mentioned by Bercouli to have, replicated them for her own use in battle?
  • If you look closely, each of the God Accounts for the Underworld have powers and abilities that fit with the Underworld's lore about each of it's deities:
    • Stacia is the Goddess of Creation, and is the one who created the Underworld itself. It's only natural that she'd be capable of altering the very land she herself created.
    • Not only is Solus the Goddess of the Sun, but in the Underworld she also serves as the literal sun. So it makes sense that she would have the ability of Flight; how else can she shine light down on the Underworld during the day if she's not in the sky?
    • Similarly to Solus, Terraria is considered as the embodiment of the earth and is the Goddess of Fertility. Therefore, it only stands to reason that her physical form would share the earth's attributes, with her Healing Factor being a representation of how it can be used to grow various plants and flowers.
    • While more commonly known as the God of Darkness, Vecta is also a being capable of invading people's minds and dreams, and apparently spends his time kidnapping people, giving them amnesia, and dropping them in some random location as a prank, leading to the term "Lost Child of Vecta" to circulate. While the abilities shown can also be due to Gabriel's Incarnation, it would make sense that such a being would have the power cause people to go to sleep, which Gabriel used to knock out Alice when he captured her, or to induce bouts of amnesia in people, which he used against Bercouli to bridge the skill gap between them and even take his arm.

Fridge Horror

  • Kirito fought a duel against Asuna to dissuade her from going through with her plan to lure out the boss into a village and defeat it while it's busy killing NPCs, because that would be cruel. The Fridge Horror is that based on everything we know about bosses and NPCs in Sword Art Online, that plan had no chance of working. If they had gone through with that plan, it is likely that it would have gone horribly wrong. If Kirito hadn't been so protective of the NPCs, a bunch of raid members might have died attempting an impossible strategy.
  • At one point when Kirito is lost in thought in SAO, he's casually asked if he's lagging. Wait, this game still has lag?! That is...not acceptable! Even if you're going to throw people into a video games that kills them, you should at least feel obligated to make sure people don't die because they have bad wifi.
    • Another thought that makes this worse: imagine if you were trapped in the SAO incident, were in the process of being properly transferred to a hospital.. and then you lost connection to the game from a lack of on-going signal. More likely than not, the NerveGear would activate the microwave switch and that ambulance transfer would've accidentally resulted in another corpse. Even for the time of 2022, there's no way every single casualty had a consistent connection, especially early on.
  • A lot of transgender people play MMO games so they can portray an idealized version of themselves in the gender that correlates with how they identify. Imagine how absolutely horrifying it would be in SAO when Akihiko Kayaba forces everyone he trapped in-game to appear as they did in the real world. It would be devastating.
    • Similarly, in some VRMMOs, like Gun Gale Online, players are not allowed to choose the opposite gender. This could present some problems for transgender people whose birth gender is not the gender they identify themselves as.
  • There's only ONE person in all of Alfheim Online who could get into Sugou's special area, who wasn't already there, and 'beat' the quest... and it's NOT Kirito. Due to the access lock-out on the entrance, if Kirito hadn't loaded Yui into his ALO account, he'd have wasted all that effort, since as mentioned above, he only became Alfheim's superuser AFTER the door was opened!
  • After the arrest of two of the Death Gun conspirators, Kikuoka says that he expects them to get off on an insanity defense. Thing is, what they were demonstrating was not criminal insanity, but rather classic Serial Killer behavior, having complete control of their faculties right up until their plans fell apart AFTER killing four people. This means that a couple of serial killers are probably going to be released in a few years after being "cured" because they were never insane in the first place. It seems the Japanese justice system needs to buy a clue: trapping 10,000 people in your death game so you can play God without any appreciation for the lives of the people you trapped is criminally insane; making a game out of killing people when you know exactly what you're doing and you're just angry at the world is not insane, but rather typical serial killer behavior.
  • In retrospect, it's probably a good thing that Kayaba's ex-girlfriend decided not to kill him when she had the chance. See, there's no guarantee that killing Kayaba wouldn't have made SAO unwinnable, since that would have killed the final boss without defeating him in battle. If she had killed him, there's a distinct possibility it would have trapped all the players in the game forever.
  • Kyouji probably would have gotten away with it if he hadn't had that creepy look on his face. He had an alibi when Death Gun appeared in the BOB preliminaries, as he was logged into GGO as Spiegel, and both Kirito and Shino had seen him there. The only potential witness against him would be his brother, who would not be credible in the face of witnesses giving him an alibi. When Kirito and/or the police showed up at Shino's apartment, Kyouji could claim to have fought off the Death Gun accomplice himself and pin everything on Johnny Black. Had he not had that creepy look on his face, it's likely that Shino would have accepted his proposal, and it's not like he was going to rape her on account of not agreeing to have sex with him then and there.
  • What was going on in the Shinkawa family that they managed to raise two serial killers? You'd think a doctor with his own hospital would have noticed something and intervened before the Death Gun incident.
  • Possibly a convenience, but the player's choice of the name "Spiegel" in GGO becomes one if you forget that it's a German word and instead think he's paying homage to Spike Spiegel. You know, the guy who, during one of the show's Signature Scenes points a finger at someone and says "bang"? Kind of makes you think he picked that name just to trigger Sinon.
  • More like Fridge Tragedy, but a lot of Kyouji's actions and behavior could come down to some form of mental trauma. While he wasn't in SAO himself, he did have to spend almost two years with the brother he was close to growing up being trapped in a virtual world with the constant threat of death looming over him. This, combined with all the bullying and the high expectations his parents placed on him, likely had a severe negative impact on his mental health. His one emotional outlet which he used to deal with it, Gun Gale Online, is also ruined as a result of XeXeeD's AGI scam rendering him virtually unable to play the game because he got stuck with what was an Awesome But Impracticable stat build. So when his brother came back, he was in a emotionally and mentally weakened state which, combined with his pre-established care and admiration for him, made him more susceptible to Shouichi's manipulations.
    • The game canon adds to this. Instead of two years, it's implied that Kyouji had to spend up to three years of bullying and stressful studying without his brother to turn to and he also didn't meet Shino until later since she was also trapped in SAO, deriving him of two Living Emotional Crutches. This subjects him to a major case of Adaptational Jerkass, where instead of the Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who did care for Shino in his own misguided and twisted way like in canon, he turns into a full on Jerkass Stalker with a Crush who throws subtlety out the window and constantly antagonizes Kirito for hanging around Shino, even revealing her Dark Secret for the sake of creating a wedge between them.
    • With all this in mind, it kind of makes you wonder what Kyouji would have done if Shouichi died in SAO.
  • In Volume 7, Asuna's mother, impatient with her daughter being slightly late for dinner and not knowing that she's logging off, pulls the plug on her Amusphere. It's quite possible that she might have done that back in the Aincrad arc, before word circulated about how forcibly unplugging the NerveGear killed the players. If she had, Asuna would have become just another day one casualty and the story would have turned out very differently.
  • The Sister's Prayer side story brings up a scary thought when you remember Yuuki's status as Ill Girl fighting AIDS, Merida was a terminal care patient who would have been one of the 10,000 players trapped if not for her brain tumor before the official launch. Imagine if during the two years SAO was running, other players gained similar conditions or got them shortly after it began. How many of the 4000 casualties of SAO died due to real life illness rather than in-game death?
  • Here's one from the gameverse: in Infinity Moment/Hollow Fragment, Kirito encounters an AI recreation of Sachi. Keep in mind that in both the light novels/anime and in the video games, Sachi was a human player who had been killed early on (and both continuities have the same "death-game" stakes attached to them, so Sachi is truly gone.) Also, in Hollow Fragment, Phillia spends some time wondering if she's the real Phillia, or if she's an AI based on another, real player who had perished. Now, if there are AI that are based on real players, what does that make Yui?.
  • In Volume 17, Lisbeth tells the assembled ALO players that some of the attendees at the SAO Survivor School have been forced to take medication against their will, just because the government's afraid of how being stuck in a VRMMO for years affected their minds. Not only is it unlikely to do anything for the people who became player killers inside the game, but who knows what sort of side effects the medication will have, or what they'll do to those who don't need them?
  • While most of us were likely sad to learn that Sortiliena didn't win the Four Empire Unity Tournament, it's probably a good thing that she didn't in the grand scheme of things, as doing so would have led to her becoming an Integrity Knight. Not only would fighting her have put a bit of an emotional strain on Kirito, her being his former mentor and all, and likely doomed her to an existence deprived of her memories if things went the way they did in canon, but she likely would have also become a greater threat compared to Eldrie if she was also given the Frostscale Whip; Eldrie, as far as we can tell, had no prior experience in the use of whips before his Synthesis as his event in Rising Steel shows him exclusively using a sword, meaning that he was only able to use it to the extent we saw with around a year of training with it under his belt and in that time he already had access to Perfect Weapon Control. Sortiliena on the other hand, in line with her family's Serlut Style, uses a whip as her secondary Weapon of Choice, meaning that she had prior experience in the use of a weapon like the Frostscale Whip and would likely would have mastered it and more. This means that, if she became an Integrity Knight and was given the whip, Kirito and Eugeo's chances of reaching Quinella would have likely been far lower should they have encountered her.
  • While the War of Underworld Event in Rising Steel might seem like a neat little event celebrating the Alicization anime's second half, it becomes a lot darker when consider the bosses. Or more accurately, the tactics you're forced to use against them. Initially, they're like any other boss enemy in the game that you can take out with a party of four or more and some clever strategy. But the more you beat them the more powerful they become, going over level 100, which is as high as a four star unit with all four possible Limit Breaks can reach, and can even reach level 200 and over. Simply put, fighting them expecting to beat them first try or expecting all your units to survive would be foolhardy. So what do you do? You have to do a Zerg Rush, focusing more on just dealing damage as opposed to saving your units and calling on other players to essentially do the same thing. If this sounds familiar, that's because that's exactly how Vecta, a ruthless Sociopath who views his loyal followers as expendable stepping stones to achieve his aims, operates in his attempt to win the war he's waging. In your efforts to defeat him, you're effectively using the same tactics he's more than happy to employ himself.
  • Scheta's backstory and the circumstances behind her "recruitment" into the Integrity Knights can be fairly disturbing when you think about it. Like most Knights, she was recruited because she won the Four Empire's Unity, however when she participated she ended up murdering all of her opponents and the whole tournament was so gory that it had to be covered up. Shortly after, she was synthesized and turned into an Integrity Knight. If you think about this from a real world perspective, and you know ignore the brainwashing part, then this can be compared to a known Serial Killer being recruited as an official police officer. If it wasn't for the fact that Scheta is genuinely a good person and a Reluctant Psycho who went as far to enter a Deep Freeze state so she wouldn't kill anyone after accidentally killing a fellow Knight, then this could have gone all sorts of wrong.

Fridge Logic

On the headscratchers page.

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