Sword Art Online was an immediate hit from the moment it’s pitch-perfect first episode aired in 2012. Setting up this game world where every player within was trapped in a system where failure meant death, SAO one of the biggest successes in anime this decade, and will no doubt go down in anime history, no matter what it’s detractors might say.
That said, there are some aspects to the series which are a little...well...off. At the risk of poking too many holes in the plot or possibly ruining someone's enjoyment of the series, we’re looking at ten things about the series that make absolutely no sense at all.
10 HOW DID NO ONE NOTICE THE NERVEGEAR COULD KILL PEOPLE?
The main key to Sword Art Online at the beginning is that the players are trapped in the game until they can clear Kayaba’s absurd conditions...or until they die. If anyone tries to take the helmet off for any reason, their brains will get fried by the VR helmet.
Exactly how did no one notice these helmets had hidden functionalities in them that could literally kill someone remotely at another person’s whim? The device would have had to pass through a number of considerably more sane people as part of its inspection...did they all just ignore it, or were they paid off?
9 SHOULDN'T PKERS GO TO JAIL?
Early in the series, it’s mentioned that some characters begin to become Player Killers. This is a phenomenon that’s not uncommon in MMOs, and real-life games even have the ability to block “griefing” to keep people’s experiences from being so negative they stop playing. But, if players are still murdering avatars after they’ve already been told that doing so will mean killing someone in real life, aren’t they then murderers?
They try to brush this under the rug after the game is finally cleared and things are over, but shouldn’t any PKer be charged with murder the second people exit the game?
8 WHY WOULD ANYONE EVER PLAY A VR MMO AGAIN?
Sword Art Online has a neat enough premise that had rarely been explored in this much detail: Play a game in which if a player dies in the game they die in real life. That...honestly should have been the end.
After that, the VRMMO genre should have completely died out given that thousands of players were killed. Instead, we get Alfheim Online and even Gun Gale Online...and one of those turns out to be a mind-control experiment. How many more of these do businesses get to try before the government outlaws them all?
7 WHAT ABOUT POWER OUTAGES? INTERNET OUTAGES?
The way things were explained, if the player tried to exit the game at all, they would immediately be killed. So...what happens if real life gets in the way? They were trapped in that game for two entire years.
That’s an incredibly long time. In two years, there was never a power outage? No blackouts? More importantly, in two years...no one’s internet went out? Sword Art Online is set a couple of years into the future, but 2022 is not that far removed from the present day. There’s no way people don’t occasionally have their Wi-Fi go down for a bit.
6 WHY DID NO ONE ATTEMPT TO HACK THE NERVEGEAR?
So, assuming it makes sense that Kayaba could get people to wear his VR helmets of death...why is that the end of it? There are millions of geniuses in the world, and they had two years to figure out a way to get beyond this absurd plan.
There’s no one who could have bought one of these helmets and experimented with them in the hopes of figuring out how to hack it and keep people from dying before they took it off? This should have been attempted even without the police getting involved, as its a challenge any hacker would love to try and take on.
5 WHY AREN'T KIRITO & ASUNA DEAD?
In the middle of the first season of Sword Art Online, we get to the climax of the series, which sees Kirito reveal that he’s discovered that Asuna’s guild leader Heathcliff is actually Kayaba, creator of the game. At that moment, Heathcliff admits who he is and freezes everyone else so Kirito can have a duel with Kayaba to free everyone.
Because Kayaba designed the game, he was of course nearly impossible to defeat...and winds up killing both Asuna and Kirito. Essentially, Kirito only lives because he ignores his health bar and keeps fighting...but how does that even work? Why weren’t they both instantly just killed, other than main character plot armor?
4 HOW WAS SUGOU GOING TO MARRY ASUNA?
After Kirito wakes up, the first thing he does is go to see Asuna, who’s still out of it. This leads to the events in the Alfheim Online arc, where Kirito meets Nobuyuki Sugou, the CEO of RECT Progress. While he’s watching Asuna, Sugou points out that he intends to marry Asuna while she’s still comatose. How is that even possible?
There’s no way she could ever give her consent to something like that, and it’s way too high profile a marriage to fly under the radar. Public sentiment alone would be an absolute mess, to say nothing of legal implications.
3 DID THE POLICE JUST GIVE UP?
Let’s assume Kayaba is able to somehow fool people into putting a helmet on the market that’s capable of turning a person’s brain into buttered grits. Once the plan was put into action, not only did he have to tell people playing it, but he had to inform the entire world as well.
During that time...the police basically gave up? It’s one thing not to try to hack the helmets, but they couldn’t find Kayaba himself and force the people involved to cut the stupid game off? This would be mildly acceptable if they managed to finish the game in a couple of months, but the cops had two years. That’s basically saying they didn’t even want to bother.
2 WHAT'S THE POINT OF THE WORLD TREE QUEST?
Kirito travels to Alfheim Online in the hopes of recovering his lover, Asuna. While there, he learns about the World Tree quest, the quest to climb the top of the massive tree at the center of the game’s world. Wanting to rescue Asuna from Oberon, Kirito makes multiple attempts at reaching the top of the World Tree, only to be denied by the seemingly infinite swarm of knights that keep getting summoned.
If the quest is impossible, why even have it there at all? It’s just daring players to keep attempting for no reason at all, and it eventually leads to the antagonist losing.
1 KIRITO & ASUNA'S MARRIAGE
Just before the big climax of the series, the main characters Kirito and Asuna get married and spend the next few episodes enjoying life as husband and wife. It’s not official, but it’s obvious the two are deeply in love. So what’s the point of all the harem shenanigans that go on in both the Alfheim Online and Gun Gale Online arcs?
Harem anime are nothing new, but generally, the protagonist is a single guy with little experience with women, not a married man. This makes Kirito a bit of a creep, ‘cause he’s always flirting with the women who show interest in him.