Despite Asuna’s incredibly powerful status as the sub-leader of the game’s most powerful guild, that doesn’t mean that she’s without faults.
Regardless of what side of the Sword Art Online debate one stands on, it’s hard to deny its influence on both the fan community and anime as a whole. It managed to work relatively well with a super-appealing idea at the time, the concept of a fully-immersive virtual reality world and packed it full of vibrant and colorful characters. One such character is Asuna Yuuki, a kind-hearted girl who starts off without any will to live and becomes one of the most powerful players in the entire game.
Despite her incredibly powerful status as the sub-leader of the game’s most powerful guild, that doesn’t mean that she’s without faults. In fact, her character is one of the more realistically written out of the main cast, giving her quite the balance of positive and negative traits.
10 Strength: Speedy Specialist
Although Asuna didn’t have any experience with MMORPGs before her full-dive into SAO, that didn’t stop her from becoming a top-tier swordswoman virtually on her own. After she’s inspired by Kirito, by the time the two meet up again, she’s already the sub-leader of the most powerful guild in the entire game. Her speed with the rapier, in particular, was so impressive that she was able to earn herself a nickname, “The Flash”.
9 Weakness: Overly Dependent
Although Asuna is able to do great things on her own once she finds something to drive her forward, it’s that need for an external drive that makes for an extreme weakness. Before she met Kirito, Asuna fought without any regard for her own life, because she felt that she was just going to die anyway. If she hadn’t been inspired by Kirito’s actions, it’s safe to assume that she would have died early on from fighting way too recklessly. She also completely depends on Kirito to rescue her numerous times in the future, as well, though that’s more her being at the mercy of a poorly written arc.
8 Strength: Competitive Drive
Despite Asuna’s incredibly kind-hearted nature, she can become incredibly proud when her abilities are challenged. This drive helps her to excel at most things that she takes an interest in, as she won’t stop until her skills in things like rapier-wielding and cooking are second-to-none. Even when starting out in new MMOs after Sword Art Online when some of her stats are lowered, she simply sees it as a welcome challenge to re-hone her skills.
7 Weakness: Touchy Temper
Going hand-in-hand with her competitive side, Asuna has a bad habit of getting physical with those who disagree with her. This can be seen half-jokingly when Kirito questions her cooking early on and she threateningly points a knife in his direction.
She can go as far as to challenge him to duels when the two don’t see eye-to-eye, such as when they disagreed on how to take on a field boss. Their time would have been better spent logically assessing the pros and cons of both of their strategies, rather than resorting to fighting over it.
6 Strength: Ability To Make Hard Decisions
One of the scariest moments for Asuna and Kirito within SAO was when they were tricked and nearly killed by Kuradeel, a Laughing Coffin member disguised as one of Asuna’s guildmates. In the original web-novel version, it wasn’t Kirito who killed him after Asuna’s hesitance, but Asuna herself. She actually doesn’t hesitate at all and doesn’t flinch when he begins to beg for his life, showing that Asuna is more than willing to make hard, potentially morally-grey decisions if the life of someone precious to her is on the line.
5 Weakness: Emotionally Manipulated
One of Asuna’s biggest downfalls throughout the series is the fact that she’s very easy to manipulate emotionally. This ties hand-in-hand with her fear of death, as she is unable to handle witnessing other people die in front of her. Whenever she does, she resorts back to her original reckless fighting style that disregards her safety entirely. On one of the higher floors, the team that had been assembled to take down the boss was completely wiped out, and Asuna charged at it in a blind, despair-fueled rage and only managed to survive because of Kirito.
4 Strength: Role Model
Despite the weaknesses that she possesses, Asuna is a character that comes off as quite the dependable role model, especially once the first arc really starts picking up. Asuna’s Japanese voice actor even states that she sees Asuna as a sort of ideal person that she would like to become. This is mostly due to how intelligent she is, as well as her ability to do things such as cook well. Combined with how confident she is in her own abilities and her warm, caring nature, there’s a lot about Asuna that makes for a leader to be admired.
3 Weakness: Overly Serious
Thankfully, this point of hers is one that begins improving as she spends more time with Kirito and sees how he’s not just attempting to survive in Sword Art but truly living within it. Asuna has a bit of a bad habit of being slightly too serious, and while her ethic towards escaping as soon as possible is admirable, it’s to the point where she completely forgets about trying to simply live.
She’s seen frequently clashing with Kirito early on, as she’d catch him taking a nap while she and her guildmates were out on patrol or coming up with strategies. Over time, she begins learning the importance of balancing both, but it’s a decently glaring flaw early on.
2 Strength: Drive To Act
Even though she may not always go about it in the best way, such as when she resolves to get stronger but does so by carelessly fighting without regard for her life, Asuna possesses an overwhelming drive to act. Her confidence and forward-thinking perspective help her become a near-master of whatever she sets her mind to. She also didn’t hesitate to use her brother’s NerveGear originally despite not having any prior MMO experience herself.
1 Weakness: Victim Of A Bad Plotline
This weakness isn’t directly the fault of Asuna herself, but it’s still a big enough- and glaring- part of her character that it can’t be skipped over. In the first arc, Asuna was one of the fastest, strongest, and most capable fighters in the game, as well as the strongest female representation the show had. That all changed in the second arc, though, where she spends the entire time as a dolled-up captive who’s only used for demoralizing, degrading scenes with the arc’s main villain. This plotline makes her seem even more hopelessly dependent on Kirito, as well, which is anything but a good look for her.
NEXT: Sword Art Online: 10 Storylines That Were Never Resolved
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