What's Wrong With Being Badass? (Analyzing Kirito from SAO)

Topic started by Delphic on Jan. 14, 2014. Last post by Shadowchaos 6 months, 2 weeks ago.
Post by Delphic (48 posts) See mini bio Level 10
Duel Wielding = Instant Badass
Duel Wielding = Instant Badass

Here recently I finished one of the most controversial animes that aired in 2013, and that is Sword Art Online. Personally, I enjoyed it (you can see my thoughts on it here), but when I went to look at other reviews I was rather stunned by the reactions I was seeing. The one that struck me the most was how there was a very large dislike of SAO’s main character Kazuto Kirigaya, aka Kirito. There were all sorts of complaints about how he had no personality, how he was overpowered for unexplained reasons, and how he caused the female cast line to fall into the background as tired tropes of female sterotypes. The analytics of Kirito were pretty much all over the place. Personally, though I could not understand where the frustration was coming from, and I was asking myself: “What’s so wrong with Kirito?” I liked him, and I thought he was pretty badass in a lot of his sequences.

That being said, Kirito is not a perfectly rounded character, because he does have his faults. Predominately being the one thing that gives most people a problem with characters like him, and that is a sense of something to relate too. When it comes to Sword Art Online you don’t really get a sense of what Kirito is all about, other than he’s just badass for the sake of being such. Does that make him a bad character? I would think it doesn’t. Despite the elements that Kirito lacks, we the audience, still don’t want him to lose. We effectively want to see the hero win, and seeing that character overcome extreme adversity is really what the badass hero is all about. It’s the embodiment of the human nature aspect of wanting to see good overcome evil.

Spike Spiegel
Spike Spiegel

To understand the aspect of these characters you have to understand their key elements that make them up. A badass hero is above all else confident in his/her ability, courageous in the face of overwhelming opposition, and has a moral compass of some kind, even if it is slightly broken. Kirito from SAO still has all of these elements, but what is it about Kirito in particular that causes viewers to not connect with him as they would Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop, or Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist?

Edward Elric
Edward Elric

I believe that it is because the badass hero aspect is a tried stereotype that has been done over and again, and it has been done better in many cases. Also it is the fact that viewers want to see unique aspects to characters, so they can be awesome and relatable at the same time. Spike is a chill dude that can kick ass, and Edward has a height complex and a short temper (no pun intended) while still being able to kick ass. Kirito on the other hand is just able to kick ass. So in a way the audience is sort of asking: “What else can you do?”

I didn't have a lot of problem with this.
I didn't have a lot of problem with this.

Is that fair of us as viewers though? We still take a lot of appreciation in seeing the hero win. I know I was on the edge of my seat and all excited when I would see Kirito fight in the amazing action sequences of SAO, and I was happy to see him fall in love with Asuna, despite the nature the show took with the relationship. I believe it is fair, because as human beings some of us will like things that others may not.

In the end, I don’t think Kirito can stand up there with great badass heroes that we all know and love, but I don’t think that makes him a bad character either. Kirito is just a decent character that can do awesome things. So in a way we the audience like what Kirito does throughout SAO, but that is not the same things as liking Kirito himself, and that I believe is what a large part of where the dislike for Kirito comes from, and what is ultimately “wrong” with him.

So without all the flash, this is all you are dude...sorry.
So without all the flash, this is all you are dude...sorry.
Post by Acura_Max (2,323 posts) See mini bio Level 13
Moderator

It sounds like you just like the fight scenes. Also, you repeated a thought twice in a row. Edit: Looks like I made a mistake too. Now that is ironic.

I know I was on the edge of my seat and all excited when I would see Kirito fight in the amazing action sequences of SAO, and I was happy to see him fall in love with Asuna, despite the nature the show took with the relationship.
I know I really enjoyed watching Kirito fight in the amazing action sequences, and I was happy to see him get the girl, despite how the relationship was handled.
Post by bigz007 (1,088 posts) See mini bio Level 20

Next season Kirito will have a female avatar. I guess it's hard to be bada$$ when you're a trap.

Post by Delphic (48 posts) See mini bio Level 10

@Acura_Max: Thanks for pointing that out to me. This is the first time I've written a blog like this in a long time, and I wrote this one off the cuff. I'll have to be sure to be more careful next time when planning them out. Also as far as me just liking the fight scenes, you have a point there, and the funny part about this was I sort of figured that out as I was writing this. I was planning to write out why Kirito is pretty cool, but as I was writing and actually thinking about it, I figured out that there's nothing I really like about Kirito. Nothing outstanding anyway. Ever have that happen? You sort of answer your own question when you think about it or write out your thoughts?

@bigz007: Are you serious? The female in the SAO II trailer is Kirito? You've got to be kidding! I was hoping for a new story and a new character.

Post by phantomrant (1,302 posts) See mini bio Level 10

^

Yep. He's a trap.

Post by Acura_Max (2,323 posts) See mini bio Level 13
Moderator

Well, at least he's not an ugly trap =P

Post by Delphic (48 posts) See mini bio Level 10

@phantomrant: @Acura_Max: Well then if that's the case then I better damn well get a good story out of it, and not just great fight scenes! I want a freaking story where Asuna breaks up with his ass, and his idea of coping with it is "Screw you I'm going to play video games!" and "I make a better girl than you!" That's right crazy Kazuto FTW!

Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

Yeah from what I've heard of season two and the book it's based on he is hired to solve some other mysterious shit caused by using the same game engine as SAO in a new game and plays as a girl to disguise himself sense he's famous...which never came into play in the second game, but oh well.

I believe we have the exact same opinion of kirito, but you find his flat character acceptable and "okay" where I found it irritable and unacceptable. So the difference is just our set of standards more than logical process so pretty good I say. Nice hook btw of kind of luring in the audience thinking it was just a huge defense of kirito and it being deceptively moderate, I like that.

Also your break up plot line would have been a much more weird but interesting story.

Post by Delphic (48 posts) See mini bio Level 10

@Elfenlied1012: Wait a minute, wasn't there a deal at the end of the second season of SAO that Kayaba's ghost/program/whatever the hell it was, gave Kirito the game engine to SAO? Also didn't Kirito pretty much put that exact program out on the internet so people could build their own versions of SAO (effing logic there ain't it!?)? If that's the case though, then why in the hell would he be hired to investigate it in a new game, when he's the one who put the thing out there? ...That's it I'm done, SAO has been officially ruined for me.

You also might find this rather hilarious, but when I first started out writing this, I did plan on writing a huge defense of Kirito, but as I was writing, and really thought about it, I realized that I'm a complete idiot. LOL Nah, It was just one of those things where I realized I liked SAO for a much different reason than why I thought I liked it. Kind of like answering your own question, if you know what I mean.

Post by Shadowchaos (2,804 posts) See mini bio Level 13

@Delphic: actually Phantom Bullet is pretty good. Its basically Kirito gets hired by the goverment to investigate a game called Gun Gale Online due to the fact that several people have died while playing it and after getting shot by a player. Kirito is charged to find the player and discover how he is killing the people in real life. Also the feminine avatar is because he transferred over his alfeheim character which has actually been reset since he wanted to achieve the levels fairly without relying on the SAO days characters and he thought it was time to retire the black swordsman Kirito. But the girl like avatar is because a randam avatar generator happened to give it to him. Its a male avatar that just happens to look like a girl. Actually there is a girl in this one called Sinon (Real name Shion).

Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

@Delphic: Well to be fair the story of SAO has never been consistent or that well written, It has more holes in it than anyone seems to want to admit. though @Shadowchaos: seems to have the actual story, I'm working off second hand information, where he has first hand.

Post by Shadowchaos (2,804 posts) See mini bio Level 13

@Elfenlied1012: yeah I read the light novel till I got caught up and now am just waiting for it to be updated. I'm on Alicization Dividing waiting for the chapters to start. There is actual good plot in the alicization parts since things actually start to flow well together and Kirito is a bit more balanced out with the chacters actually his level or stronger then him as in capable of one shotting him. Plus Kirito was weakened to make him less over powered. Phantom Bullet has a good plot. but Kirito is still too fast compared to the other characters as he is bringing a sword to a gun fight and still winning by deflecting bullets and just going all jedi on them.

Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

@Shadowchaos: He brought a sword to a gunfight? Are you kidding me?

Post by Shadowchaos (2,804 posts) See mini bio Level 13

@Elfenlied1012: nope it was like a lightsaber like sword. He did have a hand gun though, but still that's just overly done. I mean if your going to be in a gun themed game at least use a gun not a sword. The same elvel of awesomeness could have been done by dual wielding handguns.

Post by takashichea (11,117 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

You guys are having a conversation on Sword Art Online without inviting me? You guys are mean. I'm just joking. I'm late to the party, but I have to leave soon. I'm looking forward to the new season in spring despite SAO's flaws in character and story.

Post by Shadowchaos (2,804 posts) See mini bio Level 13

@takashichea: Do you know when it will be coming to America?

Post by takashichea (11,117 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

@Shadowchaos:

Spring 2014 for Japan. Crunchyroll will be streaming it legally for other countries.

Post by Shadowchaos (2,804 posts) See mini bio Level 13

@takashichea: nice well I was mostly wondering when It will be on Toonami. Guess it will be around 2015-2016 possibly then. Still hopefully it will be close to the light novel.

Post by takashichea (11,117 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

@Shadowchaos:

Oh, you watch the dub. Same here, but I'm behind, so I use the DVR. I'm not sure for Toonami and the English dub. Since SAO was popular, the English dub took place a year apart from the original airing of the first season. I'm assuming it take a year to dub the 2nd anime series. I was okay with the dubs except for Kirito. Asuna's voice was a tomboy, but I like it that it was different. The dub's dialogue was cheesy. When Kirito says let's take this sucker out in episode 1 (not the exact quote), I face palm at that moment.

Post by Shadowchaos (2,804 posts) See mini bio Level 13

@takashichea: I really don't care either way just that the dub is easier to get a hold of and less strain on my eyes. Since apparently I found out the other day I needed glasses after spending my whole life with perfect vision.

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