'Sword Art Online' Creator Explains His Use of Sexual Assault as Plot Device

Sword Art Online remains one of the isekai genre’s top titles, but that does not mean it is problem free. The title has split fans over the years with its controversial stories, and creator Reki Kawahara is speaking out about one of the series’ most hotly debated topics.

After all, the author took to Twitter to address his use of sexual assault in Sword Art Online, and he did not hold anything back.

Recently, Kawahara decided to address the issue after an episode of Sword Art Online: Alicization housed a scene featuring graphic assault. Not only did the writer apologize to the show’s actors for having to act the scene out, but he revealed why he used the plot device at all.

"This may be a bit late, but if you're wondering why SAO has so many of those scenes, a considerable number of light novels (although they weren't called light novels back then), epic sagas, and adventure stories I read back in middle school contained those plot elements. I would cite Ōgun Hakusha (Gold Spur) as a representative title. My writing was bound to that as if it were under a spell,” Kawahara wrote. (via ANN)

"These days, the spell has finally worn off. Nowadays I would prefer to express catharsis through other means. If it was an absolutely necessary scene for the story, I would write it, but I would prefer to do that in a book that isn't a light novel."

Continuing, Kawahara said he was shocked the anime made its recent episode so graphic. “I believe that the level of grittiness in SAO is extremely average for light novels. The directing, animation, and voice acting in the anime are too powerful, which has absolutely boosted the impact [of the scenes],” he explained.

For fans, this explanation is a considerate one as many have questioned Sword Art Online’s use of assault before. The franchise has used the plot device a few times to spur its male heroes into action, leaving its female leads to suffer for misogynistic silence. Now, Kawahara admits he’s matured enough as a writer to avoid cheap sequences of assault, and fans of Sword Art Online are happier for it.

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So, what do you think about the creator's explanation? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!

Sword Art Online 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.