10 Sword Art Online Characters Who Wasted Their Potential (And How)


First release in 2012, Sword Art Online revolutionized the perception of the isekai genre, causing it to explode in popularity. ODS spawned constant new releases, all exploring similar themes – an unlikely protagonist being transported to a different world, often dealing with death in a way that mimics game mechanics.

RELATED: Sword Art Online: 10 Ways The Series Is Cliché

ODS remains incredibly popular, but it also has its fair share of detractors. Many dislike the many tropes it contains. One of the most frequent complaints concerns the cast of the series. Many believe that anime characters often waste their potential due to poor creative choices.

ten Coper is completely absent from the anime

A lesser known character from the series, Coper is one of the first memorable figures to appear in the Aincrad arc. After being told by antagonist Akihiko Kayaba of the real implications of playing Sword Art Online, he sets out to improve his chances of survival. After being a beta tester, he hunts down the quest for the Secret Forest Medicine, hoping to acquire the Annealing Blade.

He teams up with the protagonist Kirito for this, but betrays him in the end, attempting to lure monsters called Little Nepenthes to kill Kirito. This backfires, as Coper’s camouflage skill fails to protect him from monsters. Kirito survives the incident, but Coper does not. Sadly, the episode isn’t present in the anime, which is a shame as it highlights from the start just how ruthless Aincrad can be.

9 Sachi’s importance is pushed aside without being properly explored

Sachi smiles

Originally a solo player, Kirito eventually joined a small guild called Moonlit Black Cats. He is especially close to insecure player Sachi, always reassuring her when she voices her fears of being killed. He breaks his promise to keep her safe.

The guild ventures into an area that is too high for them. Despite Kirito’s best efforts, most of the guild members, including Sachi, are killed – the guild leader later committed suicide. Kirito is traumatized by the whole incident and it influences his first character arc. Unfortunately, the significance of this incident, and of Sachi in particular, is soon pushed aside without being properly explored.

8 Argo the rat does not have a significant presence

Argo the Rat is also much more relevant in the novels and manga than in the anime. She serves as an informant for Sword Art Online players. In the anime, she provides Kirito with information on the location of the boss monster Nicholas the Renegade, who is said to drop an item capable of bringing a player back. Kirito intends to use this item to resurrect Sachi.

RELATED: Sword Art Online: 10 Differences Between The Anime And The Light Novel

Argo is much more important than it seems, because the guide used by players is its creation. Kirito’s decision to identify himself as a drummer makes other beta testers less targeted, and as a result, Argo is willing to provide information to Kirito for free.

7 Akihiko Kayaba’s Motivations Are Never Really Explained

Akihiko Kayaba forgot his motivation

Main antagonist of the first story arc, Akihiko Kayaba is the creator of ODS and the man responsible for the countless in-game deaths. He later joins Kirito and the other players on Aincrad under the guise of player Heathcliff. Kirito discovers his identity and the two fight. Despite Kayaba’s huge advantages, Kirito manages to persevere and the two stab each other, ending the game with the defeat of the final boss.

In the aftermath, Kirito and his primary romantic interest, Asuna, meet Kayaba and question her motives. He claims he can’t even remember his reasons, a confusing and unsatisfying response. Kayaba later returns as a force for good, aiding the heroes on more than one occasion. Even so, the resolution of its original arc remains unsatisfactory.

6 Asuna’s strength is completely forgotten during the Fairy Dance arc

Asuna shines as the main heroine of the Aincrad arc. Despite her lack of experience with games, she learns quickly and quickly makes a name for herself as Lightning Flash Asuna. She even saves Kirito’s life.

RELATED: Sword Art Online: 10 Ways Asuna Is Different In The Light Novel

Unfortunately, she became a damsel in distress in the Fairy Dance Arc. Captured by Nobuyuki Sugou in Alfheim Online, she can do nothing but wait to be rescued by Kirito. Worse still, she is sexually abused by Noboyuki during her captivity. Subsequent arcs return Asuna to her previous strength but the damage is already done.

5 Sugu’s romantic affection for Kirito doesn’t help him.

Kirigaya in the real world

With Asuna out of the picture in the fairy dance arc, Kirito’s companion is his adoptive sister and cousin Suguha. She plays Alfheim Online using the avatar Sylph Leafa and befriends Kirito unaware of his true identity.

It is later revealed that Sugu has romantic feelings for Kirito despite being related. It’s the root of the emotional conflict between them but it’s completely unnecessary and it doesn’t help him. A strong fighter and a refreshing presence, Sugu would have been much more interesting without being part of Kirito’s harem.

4 Silica and pina are excluded from later parts of the series

Silica and her dragon, Pina from Sword Art Online

There’s nothing like a cute familiar to make a story more intriguing. Silica’s little feathered dragon, Pina, is an important addition to the series, sacrificing herself for her master when Silica is in danger. Whereas in ODSSilica and Kirito go on a quest together to revive Pina and succeed.

But after the Arc of Aincrad, Pina doesn’t show up much. Silica loses its importance. While her dragon is converted upon transfer to Alfheim Online, Pina has no other memorable contributions, which is a shame.

3 Death Gun’s True Identity Is A Wasted Opportunity

Sword Art Online Death Pistol

After saving Asuna, Kirito investigates the VMMORPG Gun Gale Online, where players presumably die after being killed in-game. The culprit is a player who calls himself Death Gun. At first, Death Gun’s identity is a mystery, but Kirito discovers a connection between Death Gun and the SAO gamer-killing guild, Laughing Coffin.

Death Gun is actually a group of people formed by Laughing Coffin member XaXa, nicknamed Red-Eyed XaXa, his brother Kyouji, and later fellow SAO player Johnny Black. These revelations would have been much more interesting if the orange guild had had a more pronounced presence in the first arc of the series. Kirito’s epiphany relies heavily on flashback and falls flat, erasing the potential for a truly intriguing backstory for the villain.

2 Eugeo is killed a little too quickly in Alicization

Eugeo using his new sword for the first time

The Alicization Arc sees Kirito travel to the Underworld, a virtual world populated by artificial Fluctlights. There he becomes friends with Eugeo and Alice Zuberg. When Alice accidentally breaks the taboo and violates the Dark Territory, she is arrested by an Integrity Knight. Kirito and Eugeo set out to find her, and their friendship and quest is truly inspiring. This is the only part of the series where Kirito relies heavily on friendship instead of romance in his adventure.

Eugeo is an excellent fighter and displays remarkable skills. Unfortunately, he meets a tragic fate. He is first manipulated by Administrator Quinella and turned into a Knight of Integrity. Then, once he manages to free himself from her grip, he is killed in the final confrontation with Quinella. His memory later gives Kirito strength but he could have done so much more if he had lived.

1 Kirito’s development stalls due to his overpowering

Kirito using Incarnation

One of the most common complaints related to ODS involves its protagonist. Kirito is so overpowered that he defies death itself, earning him the nickname Jesus-kun. As the series progresses, Kirito reaches unparalleled skill levels that make him virtually unbeatable.

While he spends time virtually in a coma during the Alicization Arc, as soon as he wakes up, the efforts of the villains are rendered useless. His skills also extend to the real world. Viewers certainly enjoy watching Kirito defeat his opponents, but it can get exhausting and stale. His development as a character falters and his personality is overshadowed by how overpowered he is.

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