Sword Art Online has a fair share of female characters, but fans haven’t always been impressed with them. In the past, the series received backlash for its love-struck heroines, but creator Reki Kawahara isn’t looking to repeat those mistakes.
In fact, the writer seems rather determined to give girls like Asuna all the agency they could want.
Recently, Dengeki Online posted an interview with Kawahara which he did with fellow artist Nio Nakatani and actress Ai Kayano. It was there Nakatani admitted she was a fan of Sword Art Online’s female characters, and Kawahara admitted they would be developing more active roles in the series.
As reported by Anime News Network, Kayano was the one who questioned Kawahara on his decision to bolster up those characters. The writer said it was natural for him to do as his writing matured, and he stressed his desire to give his heroines more agency.
In fact, Kawahara went so far as to question the use of hero and heroine as roles for characters. The writer said terms like protagonist and antagonist may better suit the roles as he noticed overseas fans using them often. Saying gender should not determine a character’s role, Kawahara said it is wrong to treat heroines like trophies and should be seen as full fledged protagonists in their own right.
The lengthy interview saw the Sword Art Online creator touch upon other writing topics, but the comments he gave about his female character piqued particular interest. Aside from this talk of so-called trophy waifus, Kawahara also said in this interview he had no intentions to use plot devices like sexual assault in future works. Plenty of fans took to social media to praise the creator for educating himself on the sensitive issues, so you can be sure lots of attention will be put on Kawahara's upcoming projects.
What do you make of the artist's turnaround? 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.