|“||... I've decided to try something new, you know? Let's face it: «The Reaper» doeesn't exactly inspire a lot of confidence in people. Fear, sure. But there's enough of that going around without me adding more. So, for now I'm Kishi, otherwise known as the «Bright Samurai», and we'll see what happens. We're pushing towards the front-line and player killers have no place there.||„|
|Real Name||Kenji Hiroshi|
|Height||183 cm (6'0")|
|Weight||68 kg (150 lbs)|
Two unnamed nieces
|VR Played||«Sword Art Online»|
|Occupation||Guild leader, Clearer|
|Appears In||«Sword Art Online (Kenji)»|
Kenji Hiroshi (健児博), known by the username «Kishi» (輝士) in various online games, including «Sword Art Online», was a professional gamer, blogger, and reviewer. He served as one of the original beta testers for SAO. During the beta period Kenji was a prolific player killer whose activities earned him acclaim as «The Reaper» (刈り手). He subsequently became one of the 10,000 players trapped within the game when it was officially launched. In addition, he was viewed as a "dirty Beater" by some, especially since he shared his knowledge with only a select few rather than everyone. Despite this, he eventually garnered a new reputation for himself, becoming known as the «Bright Samurai». In «Sword Art Online» Kenji led a Clearer guild called «Brightscale». He was the eventual owner of the «Sanguine Sword» Unique Skill, itself a reward for his beta period player killing.
Kenji served as the primary point-of-view character of Part I, a background character in the Inbetweeners side-stories, the deuteragonist of the Intermission chapters, and is slated to be the main character of Part II.
Kenji was a fair-featured man in his mid-twenties during the SAO Incident with aqua-green eyes. In real-life, and the official release of SAO, Kenji sports a toned physique and stood at 6ft (ca. 183 cm) tall, with only Yoshiro being the tallest of the initial «Brightscale» membership.[Notes 1] In both real-life and Sword Art Online, Kenji's hair consisted of several messy-looking spikes atop his head, coloured black, whilst the back reached roughly to shoulder-length. Momoko was known to style his hair into what Fujimaru dubbed "the Kishi do-over".
A player's physical profile or appearance could change under certain circumstances in Sword Art Online, either as a result of a Skill activating, or through use of an in-game item, such as hair dye. Kenji was very fond of his natural hair-colour and style, as even his original avatar possessed his real-life hair-style and colouring, and he was known to have Momoko style it for him in the morning. The day following Airi reprimanding the members of «Brightscale», Kenji and Kusaka included, for their teasing of Fujimaru, Kenji dyed his hair a striking shade of orange as a way of supporting the young teenager, claiming that actions spoke louder than words. Ever since he claimed that his "quiet life" was over as people constantly noted his hair's very distinguishing colouration.
Another notable example is when Kenji activates his «Searching» Skill. In this case Kenji's already greenish eye-colour began to glow an even brighter shade of green, which gave him an assortment of effects: enhanced cursor identification, enhanced visual range, night vision in darkened areas, and the ability to see players or monsters obscured by the «Hiding» Skill. It could even be used to spot traps or secret areas hidden from normal sight. This would later extend to his use of the «Tracking» mod of the «Searching» Skill. When questing in darkened caves or underground dungeons with poor lighting, it wasn't a rare sight for Kenji's eyes to shine in the darkness like small torches.
The first combative members of «Brightscale» to exhibit a casual uniform outside battle were Kusaka and Yoshiro, both of whom found the weight of their armour impractical. Momoko created a casual uniform rather than a strict battle uniform, allowing for the members of «Brightscale» to exhibit their own unique appearance when questing. The uniform she settled on was distinctly Eastern in design and consisted of a black-coloured kimono, white shitagi, black hakama, white ōbi, white tabi, waraji, and a simple armband with the «Brightscale» insignia emblazoned on its surface. Kenji began wearing this uniform when he wasn't actively questing sometime before the 22nd of December 2022 and even when he wore it, he occasionally equipped his primary weapon alongside it threaded through the ōbi at his waist.
As far as his early equipment was concerned Kenji initially wore minimalist protective gear to maximize his evasion rather than focusing on defensive coverage. His equipment consisted mostly of leather jackets and worn leather trousers, with a single piece of protective metal guarding his heart and lungs, with an emphasis on damage-over-protection. He didn't place as much focus on armour than he did weaponry and thus the majority of his early armour was shop-bought gear, whilst his weapon was a yellow-bladed curved-sword with a bar-shaped guard enhanced to +4, which he carried at his waist in a black sheath. He was known to wear a long leather coat when venturing outside.
It wasn't until Akiye forged the «Cardiophylax» that Kenji began balancing ease-of-movement and protection, whilst adopting a unique appearance. The entire suit appeared to be based on gladiatorial equipment with a mixture of classical Hoplite depictions. He predominantly wore his «Scimitar» on the waist. When experimenting with dual-wielding however he also wore his «Pale Edge» on the same side, with the sheaths crossing in a manner similar to the Samurai's method of carrying daishō. The «Scimitar» and «Pale Edge» were replaced as his primary and secondary weapons by «Razer». This one-handed curved sword had the hilt of a katana and a long, thick blade that ended with a curved, massive tip.
The «Cardiophylax» incorporated three slots. The neck slot and upper-body slot, similar in function to a gorget, focused its protection on the central chest-area and throat. It primarily safeguarded the lungs and heart, with an accompanying shoulder-guard on the left shoulder that extended down to shield his off-hand bicep. The waist slot featured several strips of studded leather that descended to cover his knees and hips, appearing similar to a skirt. Between the metal of the chest-piece and Kenji's skin was a layer of hardened leather. A good portion of his upper torso, including the outside area of the pectoral muscles and his entire right-shoulder, possessed lesser protection than the main cardiovascular areas. The upper-body from the base of the pectorals to the beginning of the waist was unprotected.
He accompanied the «Cardiophylax» with mismatched gloves, boots and leg armour offering a number of effects. The boots were predominantly leather and fashioned in the form of caligae with a lightweight metal shin-guard designed to boost the strength of the «Martial Arts» Skill, whilst the trousers where simple cloth that provided bonuses to jumping and swimming. The gloves that completed the set were acquired on the 5th Floor as the «LA bonus» from the «Armoured Revenant» from the «Dead Woods Mausoleum», which provided a boost to Agility and a lesser boost to Vitality when worn. These gloves were made of darkened rawhide and were fingerless.
At an unspecified point prior to March 2023, Kenji replaced his «Cardiophylax» with a new set of clothing known in-game as «Sunburst Fatigues» which, according to Kenji's journals, was crafted by Momoko using materials harvested from the various monsters found within the «Sunburst Forest». Unlike the «Cardiophylax», this new suit was entirely made from cloth and padded leather and offered fantastic mobility whilst retaining defensive strength. It comprised a long white cloth draped over and secured to Kenji's body by various belts, a long bandanna with floral patterns, with an accompanying black cloth tied around his head that was woven around the bandanna. The main upper-body portion resembles a heavily padded poncho coloured light-brown, the leg slot are hakama-style, coloured white, in a fashion similar to his guild uniform, whilst his waist is adorned with a floral-patterned strip of cloth similar to a sash. The clothing along his arms are thick black-coloured straps, whilst his footwear consist of stout black leather boots. When using only one blade Kenji wears his curved-sword threaded through the waistline cloth to be drawn by his right-hand, but when wielding an additional blade he carries it secured to his back, with the hilt visible over his left-shoulder. These weapons were «Talon» and «Claw» respectively.
Kenji is generally laid-back and non-confrontational, takes most events in his stride, and is noted to be calmer and more relaxed than his friend Kusaka. He tries to use diplomacy to solve his issues and is something of a mediator, especially when Kusaka is concerned, and rarely swears, at least in public. During his private journal entries however he is shown to use bad language quite frequantly as a means of venting his frutsrations. He isn't above acting in a childish manner, or cracking clever jokes, if it serves to relax those around him. Airi notes however that he can be too clever sometimes and his attempts at humour can come across as teasing. All-in-all Kenji is an approachable man with an easygoing outlook to life.
Although the best of friends, Kenji and Kusaka have an undeniable rivalry. Even before Airi joined them, their competitive spirit drove them to advance more-or-less at an even pace. Even when helping the other members of «Brightscale» catch up in terms of level, Kusaka was the sole member whose level remained on-par with Kenji. This remained the case even when the two resolved to bring «Brightscale» closer to the front-line. Against Boss monsters the two were often able to channel their rivalry into flawless teamwork and remarkable synergy, to the point their teammates were left speechless when the two more-or-less dispatched the «Armoured Revenant» of the «Dead Woods Mausoleum» by themselves. The two understand one another on a level untouched by their allies, and usually only require a quick glance to have an idea of what the other is planning. Kenji has admitted -- at least in his private journal -- that he loves Kusaka and greatly values his support.
Despite his laid-back demeanour and preference for diplomacy, Kenji is far from being a pacifist, though he barely holds a candle to Kusaka. He quickly intervened when Loki caused damage to Akiye's HP, and admitted aloud himself that he would happily go orange over the whole situation. Kusaka, however, revealed this to be a mere bluff; especially the bit where Kenji threatened Loki's life. Kusaka went so far as to label Kenji "soft". Unsurprisingly Kenji's actions instantly earned him Momoko's and Akiye's trust. Loki's actions frightened the girls to the degree that they couldn't initially sleep without knowing Kenji was nearby, and his laid-back and carefree nature allowed him to accept their dependency on him in good spirits, even if Loki's actions infuriated him. This evolved as he spent time with them and Kenji came to develop something of a parental instinct when it came to the girls, and he swelled with pride whenever he saw them succeed. Per the beginning of 2023 the twins viewed Kenji as a father-like figure, whilst the players at large were under the impression that he was their elder brother.
Kenji had a soft-spot for his initial «Bronze Sabre» because it carried him through his first days in SAO, and he refused to sell it. The weapon served as Kenji's last resort against the «Armoured Revenant» on the 5th Floor. Kenji landed the LA Bonus with his old blade, and silently thanked it afterward.
In social settings he is generally seen as an older-brother type by other players, has been described as "the soul of the party", and is generally approachable. He enjoys poking fun, especially amongst his friends. Shortly after discovering that Meian Tadaoki was likewise trapped in Sword Art Online the two immediately partook in mutual insults, with Meian describing Kenji as "a decidedly cheeky fellow". He has quickly learned not to push his antics too far with Airi, who has shown herself capable of curbing even Kusaka's outbursts and, when needed, Kenji's as well. Despite how Airi, and Kenji interacted, it became apparent that they began seeing each other as more than just friends pretty early into their relationship. During the pitched battle with «Zagan the Exile» Kenji willingly kicked Airi out of the way of his lightning breath attack, which ended up hitting him head-on. The attack almost killed Kenji and would have certainly killed Airi had he not intervened. The two shared an immediate physical attraction and, by Christmas of 2022, the two had grown quite close. Airi was the first person in Sword Art Online whom Kenji willingly sang in front of.
In addition, he has proven himself quite generous. Despite a non-enhanced «Anneal Blade» going for around 16,000 cor shortly after the 2nd Floor was opened, Kenji gave the sword to Yoshiro for free because it was far superior to the sword he currently wielded. He also gifted Airi two pieces of armour to heighten her armour-value without impacting on her Agility-focused build only a few hours after having met her. Rather than abandon the twins after their ordeal with Loki, Kenji opted instead to take them with him and look after them, despite considerable disapproval from Kusaka.
|“||This wasn’t exactly easy to explain because it was a matter of exploiting the primary systems employed as part of Sword Art Online’s combat engine to achieve an unfair advantage. This particular kind of exploit wasn’t unheard-of in the gaming industry, but Sword Art Online was uncharted territory. The world’s very first VRMMORPG.||„|
|~ Excerpt from SAOK: Pushing the Frontier, were Kenji muses on an exploit.|
In the real-world Kenji made his money as a professional gamer. This aspect of his life has seeped into his everyday interactions in Aincard, especially with Airi, whom he often has to explain game-related terms to. He admits to being something of a know it all and his close friends have taken to teasing him regarding his many explanations. His long association with the gaming industry and its practices have allowed him to make informed guesses about SAO that, more times than not, tend to be true.
Outside of conversations this profession has yielded a unique mind-set that allows Kenji to more easily exploit the systems used in games, including Sword Art Online, from a history of such exploitation. Kenji was constantly striving to test the limits of the system and those of his avatar, find exploits to increase his survival chances, and find ways to use the system assist in ways it wasn't intended such as running along walls using the basics of the Agility and Strength stats. He even discovered the means of chaining a «Martial Arts» Sword Skill into his sequence of attacks following a successful curved Sword Skill. This exploit became a cornerstone of his overall fighting style.
In addition, Kenji was one of the first players in Sword Art Online to effectively dual-wield two one-handed weapons, though he openly admitted to Airi that it was fraught with risks without practice. Like his habit of chaining Sword Skills this was an exploit of the system and was used very much as an ace-in-the-hole. The monster's in Sword Art Online used a learning model that eventually allowed them to predict a player's actions. Kenji's usage of a dual-wielding outside the recognized Dual Blade Skill threw off their learning capabilities and served to mislead them.
|“||I seriously hoped he stayed away. I had spent a great deal of time last night doing some soul-searching and the results scared the absolute hell out of me. Because apparently I was the kind of person who could contemplate murder and find the entire scenario perfectly justified.||„|
|~ Excerpt from SAOK: The Business of Grinding, were Kenji muses on the subject of murder.|
Kenji can quickly do an about-face in terms of personality, specifically when he duels, becomes aggressive, or is otherwise annoyed. The only time he is known to swear outside of his journal is when he is genuinely angered. Prior to the SAO Incident Kenji assaulted his sister's partner for almost bankrupting Kireina, reportedly breaking the man's nose and legs.
When it comes to survival he does not hesitate to kill, even if his opponent should be another player, though this didn't stop Kusaka labelling him soft, or his actions a bluff. He did, however, struggle with this aspect of his personality. Kenji admitted that his soul-searching scared the absolute hell out of him because, apparently, he was the kind of person who could justify the murder of another person in his own mind. He was aware of how uncomfortable the topic of player-killing was in the official release of Sword Art Online and went out of his way to avoid talking about his activities in the beta, especially around his closest allies.
In a duel Kenji becomes cold and calculating, something even his closest friends have observed. He ruthlessly deprived Loki of his sword-arm and primary weapon during their «Half Loss» duel and told the man directly after being victorious that he wouldn't mind going orange if it meant teaching people like him a lesson. He has likewise expressed considerable knowledge regarding the killing of other players from his time in the beta, which hasn't always been warmly accepted even amongst his closest allies.
Kenji grew up on Izu Ōshima, which was one of the volcanic islands of the Izu Peninsula, and described himself as an "island boy". He has a sister and is an uncle to two girls, whom Momoko and Akiye reminded him of. Kenji has been friends with Kusaka Kori for years, having known him since the two were in school, and remained close even when they progressed through adulthood.
Prior to the SAO Incident Kenji's sister, Kireina, had financial problems caused by her partner, resulting in her having to sell her home to resolve his gambling debts. Kenji assaulted him during this time and reportedly broke both his nose and legs. Despite the situation Kenji grew very close to his nieces during this time.
Kenji was a beta tester for the worlds very first VRMMORPG, Sword Art Online, alongside Kusaka. He was a prolific player-killer during the beta test and was, alongside Argo, one of the few testers to discover the existence of the «Martial Arts» Extra Skill. Unlike Argo, who failed to complete the quest and was branded with whiskers for the remainder of the beta test which eventually became her trademark in the official launch, Kenji succeeded after a four-day period with help from a «Trembling Ox».
- Main article -- Sword Art Online (Kenji).
- SAOK: Unexpected Meetings
- SAOK: Pushing the Frontier
- SAOK: The Karma Scales
- SAOK: The Business of Grinding
- SAOK: The Eventful Taurus
- SAOK: The Moneymaking Crusade
- SAOK: The Twin Sword Conundrum
- SAOK: Roving Rovia
- SAOK: Braving the Depths
- SAOK: New Year Resolutions
- SAOK: Inbetweeners I (mentioned)
- SAOK: Inbetweeners III (mentioned)
- SAOK: Inbetweeners V (mentioned)
|Level||12.||December 3rd 2022.|
|Level||14.||December 6th 2022.|
|Level||15.||As of December 22nd 2022.|
|Level||16.||As of December 24th 2022.|
|Level||28.||As of January 27th 2023.|
|«Bronze Sabre»||One-Handed Curved Sword||Initial Equipment||Upgraded to +1 (1S) before his acquisition of the «Scimitar».|
Eventually replaced by a Scimitar before December 3rd 2022.
Temporarily used as a last resort in the boss battle against the «Armoured Revenant» on the 5th Floor sub-dungeon on the 30th December 2022.
|«Scimitar»||One-Handed Curved Sword||Received as a rare monster drop on the 1st Floor sometime before December 3rd, 2022.||Upgraded to +4 (3S1D) before December 3rd, 2022.|
Upgraded to +8 (5S3D) between December 15th & 17th.
Given to Akiye to be reforged on December 30th.
Converted into a «Razor Ingot» on the 31st of December 2022, and used to create the «Razer».
|«Anneal Blade»||One-Handed Sword||Left behind by Loki after he lost his sword-arm dueling Kenji on December 6th, 2022.|
Given to Yoshiro on the morning of December 7th 2022.
|No enhancements made as of December 6th 2022.|
|«Pale Edge»||One-Handed Curved Sword||Received on December 10th 2022, where it languished in Kenji's inventory until December 22nd, 2022.||Upgraded to +4 (4S) in the early hours of December 22nd 2022, and used to experiment with dual-wielding.|
Broken in the «Dead Woods Mausoleum» by the boss of the dungeon.
Repaired and converted into base materials for use in the forging of «Razer».
|«Razer»||One-Handed Curved Sword||Player-made by Akiye on December 31st 2022, using materials from Kenji's «Scimitar» and «Pale Edge».|
|«Talon»||One-Handed Curved Sword||«Last Attack» bonus from an unspecified event Boss encountered by «Brightscale» immediately before the front-line group unlocked the 22nd Floor.||Possesses a «Parry» effect.|
Possesses an «Arms Destruction» effect.
|«Claw»||One-Handed Curved Sword||Forged by Akiye using an ingot from «Razer».||Possesses the «Deadly Darts» Sword Skill.|
|«Cardiophylax»||Lightweight neck, upper-body & waist armor.||Player-made for Kenji by Akiye using materials from «Zagan the Exile» and various other rare materials.||Grants +8 to Strength.|
Grants +4 to Agility.
Bonus to the «Hiding» Skill.
|«Oxen Cloth Trousers»||Cloth Lower-body||Player-made for Kenji by Momoko using the skin of a «Trembling Ox.||Boosts jumping ability.|
Boosts swimming speed.
|«Martial Arts Leg Guards»||Boots||Player-made for Kenji by Momoko using left-over material from «Zagan the Exile».||Enhances the damage caused by «Martial Arts» Sword Skills.|
Increases «Martial Arts» skill proficiency gain.
|«Gloves of the Defiant»||Gloves||LA Bonus from the «Armored Revenant» of the «Dead Woods Mausoleum».||Grants +5 to Agility.|
|«Unnamed Strength ring»||Ring||Received December 19th, 2022, as a reward for the «Jade Key» quest.||Grants +1 to Strength.|
|«Sigil of Lyusula»||Ring||Received between December 26th and December 29th 2022, from Yofilis, after the completion of the «Shipwright of Yore» quest.||Allows access to «Dark Elf» areas.|
Increases Skill proficiency gain.
Grants +1 to Agility.
|«Poison Vial»||Poison||Treasure chest reward in the «Dead Woods Mausoleum».||Applied to a single weapon with a 1-hour duration. Provides a Level 2 Poison effect.|
Kenji is an experienced, unorthodox, and quick-thinking combatant who performs to a high-standard whether he is alone or in a group, and is labelled the primary DPS of whatever «Brightscale» team he joins. In both the beta and official releases Kenji was a damage-dealer with an emphasis on Strength, whose weapon of choice was the «One-handed curved sword». Despite his DPS numbers being high, Kenji also serves a scouting function. His second Skill slot, «Hiding», allows him to avoid being detected by monsters and players alike, assuming his «Proficiency» is at a high enough level. The «Hiding» Skill also played into his damage and allowed him to launch devestating surprise attacks against unwary monsters, with a supplementary bonus being his ability to hide away his allies as well. His fourth Skill slot, «Searching», gave him an assortment of effects: enhanced cursor identification, enhanced visual range, night vision in darkened areas, and the ability to see players or monsters obscured by the «Hiding» Skill. As his «Proficiency» rose he could also spot traps and hidden passageways, though this was noticeably less potent than the «Composite» discovered by Airi.
Even early on Kenji was known to utilize every option available to him to squeeze out the most DPS possible, and helped Airi do the same. This included buffs to his «Damage-over-Time» effects, and consumable vials of «Poison» that could be applied to his weapons prior to an engagement.
Kenji's unorthodox approach led him to discover numerous system exploits that increased his DPS by a noticeable margin. Most of thse involved his third Skill slot, which was «Martial Arts». The first «Mod» Kenji took, «Relaxed Equipment Conditions», allowed him to launch Sword Skills from the «Martial Arts» tree whilst equipped with a one-handed weapon. An exploit unchanged from the beta involved the skipping of one's «Post Motion» to follow-up with a «Martial Arts» attack. This allowed Kenji to bypass a post-motion delay by immediately transitioning into another Sword Skill, a trait that allowed him to win a «Half-Loss Duel» in a matter of seconds after said duel began. By the time the pre-«Brightscale» group fought «Zagan the Exile», Kenji had mastered the art of chaining Sword Skills; to the point he could perform the exploit in rapid succession, under pressure, without failure. Over weeks of theory-crafting and an entire morning spent in practice, Kenji furthered this exploit to allow for a method of dual-wielding. Although he admitted that the style was fraught with risk, Kenji took it to a level that he could use it in actual battle to engage multiple adversaries at once.
As far as his own defences go Kenji was known to be quite lax, with a marked preference for weaponry over protective equipment. Like Airi, he was in real danger of being killed by «Zagan the Exile», and was actually the sole member of the pre-«Brightscale» group that fought the fearsome Minotaur whose HP fell into the red zone. It wasn't until after the battle with «Zagan» that Kenji began focusing on enhancing his equipment to better aid his survival. His fifth Skill, «Battle Healing», was an evolution of this mentality, and healed Kenji by a rate equal to his «Proficiency» every 10 seconds.
Sword Art Online
|SAO SKILL SLOTS|
|One-handed Curved Sword||Hiding||Martial Arts||Searching||Battle Healing|
One-handed Curved Sword
- «Reaver» -- a basic charging skill with a short delay. Kenji often uses it as his opening skill when duelling to enter close-quarters. He has likewise showed tremendous timing with Reaver; he can deliberately hold the Sword Skill back whilst advancing towards his target, which results in the charging motion to actually take him past his opponent and potentially out of their range.
- «Shunt» -- a defensive Sword Skill, and the earliest available, which involves a horizontal push. Activated when the hand is placed against the backside of the blade and the user pushes with both arms.
- «Leaver»[Notes 2] -- a basic two-hit combination skill involving an uppercut slash and a downward stroke. Has a small chance of causing a bleeding debuff. When performed whilst under the DoT buff Kenji claims that Leaver's DoT occurrence actually becomes reliable.
- «Fell Crescent» -- highly accurate one-hit area attack. He has shown the requisite skill to "aim" the resultant attack, allowing him to hit -- or purposefully miss -- his target.
- «Flash Blow» -- the fastest «Martial Arts» skill which consists of a basic thrust with the user's hand.
- «Crescent Moon» -- a backflip kick technique commonly used by Kenji as a follow-up from Reaver when duelling. His go-to technique when seeking to increase his damage through «Motion Delay Skipping» as the technique can be launched from most positions assuming a back-flip is possible.
- «Water Moon» -- a roundhouse-kick. Kenji has shown the ability to launch this Sword Skill even under less-than-ideal circumstances.
- «Tracking» -- a mod for the «Searching» skill. In 2022 Kenji's skill was at its lowest level, for he could only detect footprints a minute-old. This allowed him to follow Loki, whom Kenji suspected of leading Momoko and Akiye outside town to rob them, without being detected.
- «Detection Range Bonus» -- a mod for the «Searching» skill. Kenji could see Loki's cursor turn from green to orange from a considerable distance away, and was able to keep track of Momoko and Akiye even when they weren't members of his party.
- «Battle Healing» -- a self-healing passive Skill that restores the user's HP equal to their «Proficiency» every 10 seconds. Kenji slotted this particular Skill upon reaching Level 20 and levelled it with help from Kusaka, who pulled hate from Kenji when his HP was low enough for the Skill to be levelled, and Fujimaru, who used his «Healing Waltz» to rapidly replenish Kenji's HP.
Outside System Skills
- «Hypersense» -- The act of sensing another player's intentions, which often manifests as an odd feeling of tension, even outside battle. Kenji sensed Loki's intentions towards Momoko and Akiye and immediately gave chase. According to Kenji he learned this particular skill during the beta around the time the beta testers arrived at the 5th Floor, where a great deal of PKing was done. By the time of December 22nd 2022, Kenji's sense extended to monster's targeting him for attack, even when his back was turned. Against the «Armoured Revenant» he was able to deflect its attack despite the room being plunged into total darkness.
- «Wall Running» -- The act of running along walls without falling. As of December 6th 2022, Kenji's agility allowed him to take at least three complete steps along a vertical surface, whilst his strength allowed him to propel himself a fair distance without suffering damage. Only 3 days prior he found the third step difficult.
- «Water Walking» -- the act of walking on the surface of a large body of liquid. Yoshiro gave Kenji the idea, which he resolved to test.
- «Motion Delay Skipping» -- the act of bypassing the post-motion delay for a Sword Skill through precisely activating a Sword Skill from the «Martial Arts» category, before the delay begins. Used by Kenji to great effect during his duel with Loki and again during his battle with «Zagan the Exile». By the end of 2022 he had mastered this particular Skill. He eventually extended this particular exploit to allow for a roundabout method of dual-wielding two one-handed weapons, but claimed it was incredibly situational and fraught with risks.
- «Mislead -- The act of tricking the learning capability of engaged monsters in order to gain an advantage. M»ost prominently employed by Kenji through usage of his dual-wielding without using an actual Skill, which includes usage of the «Quick Change» Mod.
- «Ambidextrous» -- the ability to use either hand equally with no preference. Kenji is fully ambidextrous, capable of using his right and left hands with equal ability, and does do frequently through his personally developed dual-wielding style. Beyond that, it plays into his ability to confuse the learning mechanics of monsters by creating a pattern and suddenly breaking it to give himself an advantage.
Known quests completed
«Brightscale» was formed by Kenji and Kusaka on the 3rd Floor of Aincrad. Despite a slower start than some other clearers «Brightscale» eventually joined the front-line group.
Kenji first met Airi when she suffered the tumble status when met with a particularly large Dire Wolf. He defeated the wolf with the Sword Skill Reaver and subsequently suggested that she join Kusaka, and he on the path to Tolbana for safety. Kenji was more tolerant of Airi than most and went out of his way to help her in her daily activities, even if it contributed to the slower start joining the front-line. Although he liked Airi he also admitted being somewhat intimidated by her.
The two evidently grew quite close. Kenji noted that Airi, and he eventually revealed various details about their real-life selves to one another, one example being their actual names. By the end of 2022 the two were actively dating.
Momoko and Akiye
Momoko and Akiye where 12-year old twins encountered by Kenji in Tolbana on the 1st Floor shortly after the 2nd Floor was opened, with both reminding him of his own nieces. Kenji ended up protecting the two girls from an orange player called Loki and would have happily went orange himself to protect them. In light of this the girls quickly developed a high degree of trust in Kenji. He subsequently became their guardian in the death game and the two twins joined «Brightscale» as crafters. Due to Kenji often being viewed as younger than he actually is many people, most notably Fujimaru Nakamura, held the belief that Kenji was the twins' older brother. For themselves the twins' viewed him as a father-figure.
Kenji made no attempt to hide his beta tester knowledge. He was thankful to Kirito for alleviating some negativity and anger levied at beta testers by creating the "Beater" category, though Kenji himself adopted the new title. Antagonism also grew against him when he admitted that he was the Reaper from the beta responsible for the highest level of PK's in the beta test.
Loki was an opportunistic former beta tester who attempted to rob Momoko and Akiye under the pretence of guiding them through a difficult quest, but was defeated by Kenji in a Half Loss duel. Kenji admitted that he would happily go orange to teach Loki a lesson and further stated that he would also carry his threat through to its ultimate conclusion should Loki not run away.
- My guild's name is «Brightscale». I'll let you think about its abbreviation -- but I suppose I can give you one small hint! You're talkin' an awful lot of it right now.
Appearances in other media
Kenji has appeared in a number of specials and one-shot chapters, usually as the main point-of-view character. Whilst considered canon to the rest of Sword Art Online (Kenji), these chapters are designed to be light-hearted and not overly serious, with content that can rightly be called ridiculous.
The specials in question are:
- The Tortilla Crusade! -- one-shot celebrating "National Tortilla Chip Day".
Behind the scenes
- Kenji's in-game name is created from letters found in his own name: Kenji Hiroshi, creating Kishi. The kanji chosen for Kishi translates to bright samurai. This likewise plays into the name of the guild: Brightscale.
- Kenji's height and weight measurements, including physical appearance, is modelled on Kaien Shiba from Bleach. The decision to dye his hair orange in-game was made as a shout-out of sorts to Ichigo Kurosaki, who is stated many times in the Bleach series to heavily resemble Kaien.
- Although Kenji is the primary POV character, the author prefers Fujimaru Nakamura.
- Due to his achievements in the beta -- namely committing the most PK's -- Kenji was the eventual owner of the «Sanguine Sword» Unique Skill.
- Argo's nickname for Kenji is «Shi».