December 01, 2019
Drawing by: Tasfiq Jawaad
Character: Kazuto Kirigaya
Kazuto Kirigaya (桐ヶ谷 和人 Kirigaya Kazuto) is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Sword Art Online series of light novels written by Reki Kawahara. He is more commonly known by his portmanteau, Kirito (キリト Kirito), his player name in the eponymous video game which the novels are partially set in.
In the series, Kirito is depicted as a teenager who was chosen as one of 1,000 beta testers for a new state-of-the-art virtual reality MMORPG called Sword Art Online. After the game is released to the general public, he and the rest of the 10,000 players soon discover that they are unable to log out and are trapped in the simulation unless they manage to beat the game.
In the anime adaptation, Kirito is voiced in Japanese by Yoshitsugu Matsuoka and in English by Bryce Papenbrook. Due to the initial popularity of Sword Art Online, Kirito has become an extremely recognized character in the anime and manga fandom.
Creation and conception
In an interview with series creator Reki Kawahara, when asked whether Kirito’s personality and character were based off his own, the author responded that he does not usually put aspects of himself into his characters and jokingly remarked that “but if I had to say there was a point of similarity between Kirito and myself, it is the fact that neither of us are good at forming parties. We [both] tend to play solo in these games a lot.” He also added that he wrote the series to change popular opinion of online gaming; viewing it not a social ill or just an escape from real life, and thus decided to show games in a more positive light in his light novels. When fans asked him about Kirito using a sword in a gun-based game, Kawahara responded that the energy sword in Halo can be the most powerful weapon if used properly.
Many fans have asked Reki Kawahara whether there would be an eventual crossover between Accel World and Sword Art Online, to which he answered that while he had already written a scenario where Kirito and Haruyuki Arita meet and fight, such a prospect would be difficult due to SAO taking place in 2022 and Accel World in 2046.
In an interview with Kirito’s Japanese voice actor Yoshitsugu Matsuoka on the similarities between him and his character, Matsuoka opinioned that “I’m thinking about our workplaces – in both of our workplaces, there’s only one chance [for success], so there’s a lot of people who are putting in their all. I always think that I have to do the best acting I can for the sake of those who came to see me or watch the show. I feel like I have to pull along people with my acting. I feel like, I have to pave the way for the others.”
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