What Kirito said at the end of Sword Art Online has been plaguing the audience since day 1, and unfortunately, this torment has not yet ended.
Sword Art Online has reigned as one of the most popular anime franchises for years, despite the ongoing love-hate relationship the anime community shares with it.
Dubbed as ‘mainstream,’ it always receives a steady stream of audience. As a result, it has a flourishing fanbase and ample theories to resolve most unanswered questions.
However, there’s still one crucial question that is difficult to answer due to its ambiguity.
At the end of SAO season 1, as the floating castle Aincrad has been brought into Alfheim Online, Kirito says something to Leafa, Asuna and Yui, and then proceeds to fly towards it.
In the anime, as well as the light novel, Kirito’s words have been unclear, and all that the audience knows is that he said someone’s name. However, there’s no further mention of it as the author chooses to leave the person’s identity up to interpretation.
While many have their own opinions and beliefs on what Kirito said, there are two standard inferences among the SAO fanbase.
Gratitude Towards Kayaba Akihiko
Kirito said thanks to Kayaba Akihiko at the end of SAO and expressed his gratitude. It is assumed that he did this because Kayaba is the one who developed the game that changed Kirito’s life for the better.
Another reason why Kirito thanking Kayaba at that exact moment makes sense is that thanks to the latter, his problems (both in-game and real) were solved.
After all, it was Kayaba who reminded Kirito of the strength of human will, and thus indirectly encouraged him to save Asuna.
While this speculation is well accepted, it is, unfortunately, unconfirmed. Due to this, there is another theory that has similar standing to it.
A Promise Well-Kept
At the end of SAO Season 1, Kirito said that he had kept his promise and survived. He directed these words towards Sachi, and it is assumed that it was her name that he spoke.
While quite a few fans accept this theory, I personally disagree with it. While Kirito cared about Sachi, he also finished grieving for her.
He learned a lesson and to protect people other than him. This felt like a solid wrap-up, and Kirito saying Sachi’s name or telling her that he fulfilled his promise seems redundant.
Furthermore, after Kirito spoke up, Yui and Leafa had a positively surprised look on their face. If Sachi were mentioned, these expressions would have been out of place.
Thus, it makes more sense that Kirito either thanked Kayaba or made a positive remark on his relationship with Asuna.
In the end, none of these theories are confirmed by the creator himself. Nevertheless, it is a clever move on his part, as interpreting what Kirito said changes every time one rewatches the anime, thus keeping the mystery alive and flourishing.
About Sword Art Online
At the launch of the game, 10,000 people had connected themselves to the virtual reality of Sword Art Online. The plot takes a twist when people realize that they can’t quit the game.
Soon after the players realize that there’s no escape, the creator of the game makes an appearance in the virtual world of the game and warns everyone that if they forcefully quit the game or die in the game, they’ll die in real life too. Protagonist Kirito, who is a pro gamer and was present for the beta launch of SAO, starts planning to clear levels as soon as possible.
Throughout his quest to finish the game, he meets many friends and also a love interest, Asuna. The plot and the whole premise of the show are remarkably unique and quite believable in some futuristic sense.
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