Did 'Sword Art Online' Tease One Heroine's LGBTQ Sexuality?

These days, it feels like the entertainment field is always playing catch up when it comes to diversity. While series like Yuri on Ice have navigated sexuality gracefully, finding LGBTQ characters in anime does take a bit of searching. So, you can see why some fans were intrigued to hear about one of Sword Art Online’s characters fitting into that minority, but others aren’t sure that’s the case.

The whole ordeal falls back to a tweet which creator Reki Kawahara posted to Twitter. The artist is the one behind Sword Art Online, and they took to social media to answered a fan question. When someone asked Kawahara whether Pitohui would fight with Asuna over Kirito if she played Sword Art Online, the creator said no.

No, in that instance, Pitohui would be way too busy fighting Kirito for Asuna’s affection.

The answer came off innocently enough, but it has prompted conversation within the Sword Art Online fandom. After all, Pitohui has never acknowledged her sexual preference in the Gun Gale Online spin-off, so that canon is wide open. If Sword Art Online wanted, it would be very easy to make the girl bisexual or gay, and this vague message from Kawahara has opened a door to such discussion.

Of course, Pitohui isn’t the only girl in Sword Art Online who has a girl-crush on Asuna. In the past, Yuuki has openly flaunted her love for the heroine, and it even created friction between her and Kirito at one point. While the series has never openly addressed Yuuki’s sexuality, it is heavily implied her love for Asuna is one derived from intense admiration. So, who is to say Pitohui wouldn’t feel the same way about Kirito’s best girl?

For those unfamiliar with Sword Art Online, the series was originally created by Reki Kawahara with illustrations provided by abec. The series follows a boy named Kirito after he and thousands of gamers get trapped in a virtual reality video game known as Sword Art Online. The gamers must band together to defeat the game’s final level to escape, but Kirito and his guild learn there is more behind their prison than they were originally told.

As for the series' first the spin-off, the synopsis for Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online is as follows:

"In the world of guns and steel that is Gun Gale Online, LLENN has been a devoted, female solo player. She is obsessed with two things: donning herself entirely in pink and honing her skills with consistent game play. She soon discovers her love for hunting other players (a.k.a. PK), soon to be known as the “Pink Devil.”

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Meanwhile, LLENN meets a beautiful yet mysterious player, Pitohui, and the two click right away. Doing as she is told by Pitohui, she enters the Squad Jam group battle."

What do you make of this conversation? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics, k-pop, and anime!