And you thought Cyberpunk 2077 was a cautionary tale against pre-ordering!
There's a genre of anime/manga called "isekai," in which a person from the normal world is transported to some strange alternate reality that fits with the tropes normally associated with fiction -
usually Fantasy, but it could be anything. Like, technically Gwenpool would count, because she used to live in our reality, but somehow found herself in the Marvel universe with all her meta knowledge intact. In strictest terms, Sword Art Online wouldn't count, because it's set in a videogame rather than a distinct world of its own, but the idea is similar.
When the new immersive virtual reality game Sword Art Online came out, super fan Kirigaya Kazuto, aka "Kirito," skipped school so he could be there for the launch. That turned out to be a bad idea, because at the introductory welcome meeting, the game's creator announced everyone was trapped in the digital world until someone could reach the top of the floating castle Aincrad and clear the final boss there. Until then, everyone's life support was linked to the game, so if you died digitally? You died for real. If someone in the real world tried to remove you from your gaming rig? You died for real. Paddling the school canoe? Oh, you better believe you died for real!
SAO, as a game, was like World of Warcraft or Everquest - a big, open-world fantasy setting, full of orcs and skeletons and other monsters - and since it was a fantasy world, people who were trapped in there set themselves up with fantasy lives, fantasy jobs.
Need a weapon repaired? Go to the guy who's put all his points in blacksmithing. Looking to boost your stats? The player who runs an inn can cook you something to help with that. Kirito decided to be a Fighter, basically, determined to be the one to make it through the 100 levels of dungeons and free everyone. Clearly SAO has less ostentatious costume choices than most games, because Kirto gets to wear a cool black trenchcoat with white trim instead of, like, plate mail and spiky shoulder pads or something. His original black coat was the first rare drop he got from a boss, so coordinated everything around it; this one, though, is the Blackwyrm Coat made from dragon leather (by a player who'd decided to become a seamstress), marking this toy as coming from near the end of the series.
This is a Figma release, which means tons of highly useable articulation. In addition to the usual points you'd expect to find
on a human-shaped body (ankles, knees, hips, waist, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck), he also gets a pair of joints for the tails of his coat, so it can flare out behind him dramatically. That's a cool idea! Imagine if Gambit could do something like that. As always, I'm bad at coming up with cool poses for figures, but fortunately the back of the box has some suggestions.
As is traditional for Figma toys, Kirito has alternate faces: one happy, one worried, and one yelling. That pretty much covers all his emotions, yeah. To change the faces, you need to remove the front of his hair, which helps hide any seams.
Kirito's specialty weapon was swords - you probably could have guessed that from the title of the show, but it's not like everyone in the game focused on the same thing. There were spears, axes, hammers...
fantasy weapons. You get the idea. Anyway, by being the player with the fastest reaction time, Kirito unlocked a Unique Skill, Dual Blades, which allowed him to be the only player who could effectively dual-wield. Naturally, then, this figure comes with two swords: the black sword is Elucidator, which he got as a boss drop on Floor 50; the blue sword is Dark Repulsor, which was forged from a high-grade weapon material (dragon poop) found on Floor 55. He can hold both well, and there are semi-translucent "swinging" effects that can slide onto the blades, though those do make the accessories a little heavy for him.
Each has its own scabbard as well, and
there are two... things... to attach them to his back. Square loops, basically. You have your choice of having him wear only one or both swords (because the skill is so rare and he already had other players gunning for him [no, that's two games later --ed.], he chose to not make it obvious that Dual Blades was something he had unless absolutely necessary). Getting the scabbards into the loops is a chore and a half, though - to make sure everything stays where you put it, they need to be tight! Like most Figmas, he also includes alternate hands and a clear display base with an articulated arm.
I got this figure a while back on Singles' Day, so there's like a 90% chance that it's a knockoff and not an official product. But there really hasn't been any official Sword Art Online product here in the West, and while I like the show, I don't like it "$90 importer's prices" amount. Still, Kirito is a very cool character, and I'm glad to have him represented in my collection.