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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Given that it's an abridged series, a lot of characters are given a different characterization than their canon counterparts, while the plot tends to remain the same.
    • Asuna is just as good a fighter and tactician as the original, but has far less tact and only pretends to be nice. Her clingy tsundere teenager attitude has been amped up to being a murderous yandere.
    • Agil is still a reasonable, level-headed player, but his screen-name is "Tiffany" for the sake of comedy.
    • The most noticeable example of this has to be Kirito, who has gone from an aloof, badass, Broken Ace character to a trolling, snarky, sarcastic, comically sociopathic Jerkass that seems to embody every "l33t" gamer out there that thinks they're better than the rest of the crowd.
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  • Awesome Ego: Here, Kirito has an ego the size of the moon and the skills to match, on top of being hilarious to watch.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The opening is 30 Seconds to Mars' "This is War", which just works with the video. It comes back to the (unedited) final fight with Heathcliff/Kayaba, and is just as awesome, if not more so.
    • Lisbeth and her smithing skills, which is played to Guilty Gear Xrd's "Big Blast Sonic," which makes the whole thing even more amazing.
    • The music that plays as Yui curbstomps the Grim Reaper? The Cleric Beast's theme.
    • "Thoughts to a Friend" from Xenoblade Chronicles plays when Kirito finally admits to Asuna that he loves her before he wakes up. It can, and probably should, kick your feels right in the dick.
    • Another song from Guilty Gear Xrd's soundtrack, "Coming Home" plays over the credits, a fitting and thematic send-off for the season finale.
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    • And, perhaps appropriately, "Swordland" from Sword Art Online proper is retained for some key fights, usually when Kirito is bringing down a boss monster.
    • With season 2, the opening theme song has changed to Greek Fire's "A Real Life", which is just as if not significantly more awesome and meaningful than season 1's OP.
      Can we live a real life?
      A real life.
      And do we even know what that means?
      Can we live a real life
      and know people outside machines?
      Can we live a real life between the devil and the digital sea?
  • Better Than Canon: See here.
  • Broken Base: While the series is immensely popular and heavily hyped by those who hate the original series, it's very divisive among the SAO fans. Some love it for turning SAO into something comedic in typical Abridged Series fashion, while others feel the abridged Series is overrated and ruining the original series through its complete alternate interpretations of the characters to the point where they are In Name Only versions of the originals, and for all the claims of it fixing SAO, many of the problems are still there only with the characters approaching them with a more jerkass personality.
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  • Can't Un-Hear It: YamatoSFX as Kirito. Besides the usual Better Than Canon and Subbing vs. Dubbing arguments, his Kirito voice is very distinctive, and as a result many other videos in which he's voiced a character have a flood of comments talking about Abridged Kirito.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Asuna's a walking generator of these.
      • Her horribly racist attempts to talk to Tiffany are cringeworthy as all get out... but then, they're so silly it's impossible to take them seriously.
      • In Episode 11, merrily skips over the line of good taste like a game of hopscotch as a character fades away, but turns something that should be utterly tragic into hilarity with five simple words:
      Asuna: Go on. Cry. Cry your... little... bitch tears...
    • Sugou being creepy with Asuna in her coma stops being disturbing once he starts talking in falsetto and playing with Asuna's lips to say that she'll love him over Kirito and suck him off when they get married.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • Fandom Rivalry: Zigzagged. For fans of the original Sword Art Online, due to the vast majority of fans from the abridged series being haters of the original and use it to further bash it, especially through citing that the abridged is superior in every way. However, there are a fair share who are fans of both, as they deem it a genuinely funny and well put together parody, and feel that the jabs at the original come from a place of appreciation of the anime, rather than as yet another mean spirited attempt to ruin its reputation. But as liking and praising the abridged series tends to be mutually exclusive to those who hate the original SAO, it's nearly impossible for original series SAO fans to get along with those who solely like the abridged series. SAO fans will constantly get reviled for having bad taste and not recognizing how good the abridged series is, while many SAO fans feel the abridged series is ruining the original SAO with its recharacterizations given to Kirito and Asuna to the point they are entirely different characters, the many jokes involving Black Comedy that are in poor taste, or citing that rather than improving upon the original, it turns it into a completely different type of story altogether that doesn't hold up that well when you stop treating it as a parody and take it as seriously as fans usually take it.
  • Fan Nickname: Kirito and Asuna are occasionally referred to as Kurt and Ass due to a duology of Explanation Point analysis videos referring to them as such to differentiate them from the canon Kirito and Asuna.
  • Fountain of Memes: Kirito is the most quotable character period, with his many wisecracks and snarks being memefied.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Asuna has no interest in a "human piñata", but Kirito promises, "I'll save you a KitKat!" KitKat candies are very popular in Japan.
    • The soundtrack for the duel between Kirito and Kuradeel is circus music. As easy as it is to handwave with the explanation that Kayaba knows an upcoming curb-stomp when he sees one, the track is called "Entry of the Gladiators". What sounds like a badass BGM for duels... evolved into circus music.
  • Growing the Beard: While the early episodes are certainly funny, they stick rather close to the typical abridged series model with lots of comedic Alternative Character Interpretation and referential humor. It's the later episodes, where the Character Development starts getting more pronounced without sacrificing the comedy, that gets the series most of its Better Than Canon comments.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Asuna's teary rant after Kirito has another near-death experience in Episode 9: "You ever stop to think about how I feel?! Maybe I wanna almost die once in a while, huh?! Make you cry!" Come Episode 11...
    • Keita decided to recruit the tutorial NPC into his guild, only for the entire guild to get wiped out in Episode 3. Kayaba points out how that was an oversight in programming eight episodes later, meaning Keita doomed several newbies through his own exploitation of the system.
    • The moment where Kirito saves Yui by making her an item in Episode 10. It's revealed in Episode 13 that Yui faked her death as a joke and by making her into an item Kirito trapped her with no way to communicate.
    • Klein implied that Kirito is an Internet Tough Guy and gets beaten a lot in real life. Absolutely not Played for Laughs as we see Kirito getting subjected to a Curb-Stomp Battle by his own cousin in his first day out of hospital, where Suguha leaves no stones unturned in establishing she is a Little Sister Bully who doesn't give a damn that Kirito saved 6000 people on his own. Only that he's a nerd.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Before Pina gets killed, she calls Silica "Dovahkiin" in the Dragon Tongue. In episode 11, the final episode of the first story arc, we learn that SAO's in-universe publisher was Bethesda, the company behind The Elder Scrolls. Fittingly for an open-world Bethesda game, SAO is also glitchy as hell, up to and including player death.
      • This becomes all the funnier with the release of Bethesda's wide open massive multiplayer survival game: Fallout 76, a horrible buggy mess.
    • If Silica hadn't told Kirito EVERY problem in her life, Pina would have been alive at the end of the episode, Chain Fetch Quest and all.
    • In Episode 2 of the Sword Art Offline DVD Commentary, Kirito remarks that he should have drawn on Asuna's face while she was asleep. In the same scene of the Abridged Series, Kirito actually does.
    • Based on how Kirito acts around her, it's quite possible that Asuna is actually following through on the "If you walk away with my half the coat, I will make your life a living hell!" threat she made in episode 2.
    • Kirito saved a lot more people than just the three "sinners" with his advice to Laughing Coffin; Kuradeel reveals that Kirito's "advice" left them with "an army at their door and a blade to their hearts".
      Kuradeel: "Ad campaign! PR Blast! Get your faces out there!" Send an e-mail with your exact location to EVERY PLAYER IN THE GAME!!
    • Many SAO detractors have mockingly referred to Kirito as "God" or "Jesus", while in the Abridged Series Kirito outright declares himself to be God. Becomes even more hilarious in the original story, given that by the end of the Alicitization arc and going into the Moon Cradle arc, Kirito and Asuna literally become digital gods.
    • Abridged Kirito's VA also did the voice of Abridged Shirou in Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works Abridged. In the dub of the original shows, Kirito and Shirou were both portrayed by Bryce Papenbrook.
  • Hype Backlash: It's bound to get some with all the cries of "it's the better SAO!" that advertises it.
    • Some newcomers and those familiar with SAO walk away from the experience with opinions at neutral or lower; either feeling like it's an Americanized Progressive or that, while it does fix some of the problems of the original Aincrad arc to make a more palatable story, it has the same amount of quality as the original anime adaptation, as well as the unorthodox voices used for the abridged version.
    • There's also the fact that, at the end of the day, it's still a parody, so many of these people consider that trying to meaningfully compare the two at that level is a complete apples and oranges scenario. You can argue that the abridged series is better at what it does than what the original is at what it does, but you're not really getting a better version of the same type of experience from SAO because you're not getting the same type of experience to begin with.
    • Some even claim this isn't even the best SAO abridged series out there and that this one merely got lucky with its early coverage and collaboration with Team Four Star that led to its popularity exploding among the haters as they found more ammo to use to bash the original SAO.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • It's not for nothing that Kirito refers to his own life as a multi-headed dick hydra. Sachi's death really messed him up, and he's in an absolutely miserable situation in the real world.
    • Kayaba can be considered this due to being overworked to the point where the official release of SAO had the real-life death glitch. The Jerkass part comes into play when he keeps players from leaving the game so he can look more competent and dastardly than he really is, but even that was due to extreme sleep deprivation affecting his sanity and he eventually regrets his pointless actions. While he brought most of it upon himself, it's still pitiful to see how his attempts to save face turned into a massive Snowball Lie.
    • As of Episode 12, we can add Asuna to this list given her miserable excuse for a father, who only leaves Asuna plugged in at his lawyers' insistence and wants to marry her off to Sugou so he doesn't have to pay her medical bills any more, with her unable to consent due to still being trapped in a game.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Fluffles. The Abridged fandom claim he's the greatest SAO villain of all time and everything that has ever gone wrong is his doing.
    • There's a staggering amount of people who cite Abridged Kirito as the best version of Kirito period, glorifying and praising him to ridiculously copious levels.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "The Abridged series is better than the original" eventually got spread so much, especially by detractors of the original SAO, that you are very likely to find some variation of that line in pretty much any comment section of anything SAO related.
      • "The only good thing to come out of SAO is the Abridged series"
      • "I'm only here for the Abridged series"
    • "We must save my family!"note 
    • "There's no need to wonder where your god is! Cause he's right here.. and he's fresh out of mercy."note 
    • "Who's Klein? I only know BallsDeep69."note 
    • "Mr. Kettle? Mr. Pot called! He says you're blaaaaaaaaa... ck."note 
    • "My sandwich, it was innocent... I must grieve."note 
    • "Have you considered...murder?"note 
    • "Goddammit, Kayaba! I am sick and tired of you kicking my heart in the dick!"note 
    • The Kirito is Always Right Foundationnote 
  • Memetic Psychopath: Kirito. The abridged series adds in a dangerous Ax-Crazy side to him and he likely has a higher body count than Laughing Coffin.
  • Narm: Episode 3, which was a Christmas special, took the liberty of adding Santa hats to all the characters in the opening. However they don't quite follow the characters perfectly, making it very amusing to watch. Whether or not this is intentional is unclear.
  • Nightmare Retardant: Sugou moving the unconscious Asuna's lips and imitating her voice, which makes for a funny moment in what would otherwise be a creepy scene.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: The abridged series has done this for Kirito, who was one of the most polarizing anime characters in The New '10s. Many consider his depiction here to be much more complex, while seeing him being a jerk as far more entertaining to watch than his canon counterpart's more stock personality. His overpoweredness has also either been toned down in some instances, justified, or poked fun at by making him a Comically Invincible Hero.
  • Signature Scene: Kirito going Laughing Mad from Episode 04 and his A God Am I rant.
  • Spiritual Successor: Ironically, for its expansion of situations in the Aincrad arc, it makes for either an alternate take on Sword Art Online Progressive's own take on the inbetweens or the inevitable Cultural Translation version that would be seen in Skydance Television's version of the arc.
  • Squick:
    • The result of the teleport crystals glitching is severe Body Horror. Fanmade original footage in Episode 11 shows one unfortunate victim with his limbs distorted, with his hand coming out from where his mouth should be, while his eyes and mouth have been disembodied and floating beside him.
    • When Kirito finally gets out of SAO, he tries to walk around only to find out he's got a catheter in his urethra too late. If you don't know what it feels like to have a catheter indelicately removed from your urethra, you're better off not knowing.
      • We later find out in Episode 12 that this RIPPED KIRITO'S DICK IN HALF! Yikes.
    • Kirito wastes absolutely no time verbally objecting to Shouzou marrying his unconscious daughter off to Sugou, and the show treats the situation with complete disgust.
  • Subbing vs. Dubbing: The one area of the series which opinions are divided over, even amongst the abridged fans. The voices done for most of the characters are either extremely unorthodox or just ordinary soundingnote , with most VAs sounding quite amateurish in comparison. A lot of the time they really don't line up with their original character voices from either the Japanese or English versions, which is in stark contrast to other Abridged Series like Dragon Ball Z Abridged, which largely involve voice actor impersonation.
    • One defense of the difference of voice is that, since most (main) characters personalities are completely different from their source, having the V As not try to replicate them strengthens the differences of the parody from the original. And where they're wildly different, it's simply to enhance the comedy aspect. Could also be considered an Ass Pull, regardless.
    • Could also be a cause of working with what you got. Some voices changed over the course of the series (ex. Asuna, given the months/years between some eps or character usage). In Kirito's VA case, it might've been the been for the best, as whenever Yamato SFX voices a faceless background character, it is very obviously just Kirito's voice just pitched higher or lower.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Lisbeth's blacksmithing minigame is just stunning, with a backdrop of several exciting games like Guitar Hero, Space Invaders, and Mortal Kombat. And also Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, because why not?
  • What an Idiot!:
    • By their own admission, Episode 10 has Kirito and Asuna accidentally agreeing to marry each other, which then snowballs out of control due to neither wishing to admit defeat. This then led to the adoption of Yui as their daughter and her death. They lampshade this at the end that it was really dumb of them to not be upfront about this from the beginning.
    • Suguha choking on food while talking isn't particularly idiotic, but trying to eat more of the same food while choking to stop it, and then immediately choking again is not a good sign of one's survival.
    • Thinker is, as Yui notes, something of a dullard. Did it not occur to him that a peace talk hosted by his violent rival in a dungeon might be a trap. Doesn't even bring weapons or items, either! And he believed him when he claimed that in-game messaging wouldn't work due to "bad reception!"

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