|“||Tell me something: do you remember the Reaper from the beta? I wouldn't mind going orange to take out trash like you. I'm going to count to 5. If you aren't gone by the time I hit 3 you'll be nothing but a name on the monument in the Town of Beginnings.||„|
|~ Kenji gives Loki his chilling ultimatum.|
|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, was one of the original beta testers for «Sword Art Online», where he was referred to as and feared 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. Kenji led a Clearer guild called «Brightscale». Prior to his imprisonment in the game Kenji was a professional gamer in real-life with an avid fan-base. He is known to have a sister and two young nieces.
Kenji was a fair-featured man in his mid-twenties during the SAO Incident with aqua-green eyes. His initial avatar was slightly taller and more muscular than his real-life appearance, with shoulder-length black hair. In real-life -- and the official release of SAO -- Kenji sports a toned physique and stood at 6ft tall, with only Yoshiro being taller of the initial «Brightscale» membership.[Notes 1] The only constant between his avatars where hair colour and length: Kenji preferred his natural style, which was several messy-looking spikes atop his head, whilst the back reached roughly to shoulder-length.
As far as equipment went Kenji initially wore minimalist protective gear to maximise 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 armor than he did weaponry and thus the majority of his early armor was shop-bought gear, whilst his weapon was a yellow-bladed curved-sword with a bar-shaped guard enhanced to +4.
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 predominately 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 «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 armor offering a number of effects. The boots where predominately leather and fashioned in the form of caligae with a lightweight metal shin-guard, whilst the gloves consisted of tanned leather. The trousers where simple cloth that provided bonuses to jumping and swimming.
|“|| You're going to disappear.|
"And if I don't?"
"I go orange and you turn into polygons. Either way you disappear.
|~ Kenji and Loki prior to their duel.|
Kenji is generally laid-back and non-confrontational and is noted to be calmer and more relaxed than his guild-mate Kusaka. Despite this attitude he quickly intervened when Loki attacked Momoko and Akiye and admitted aloud himself that he would happily go orange over the whole situation; to the point he threatened Loki's life. 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. 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 swelled with pride whenever he saw them succeed.
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, but has quickly learned not to push his antics too far with Airi, who often reprimands him with a quick stomp. In addition he is 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.
Following the battle with Event Boss Zagan the Exile on the 2nd Floor Kenji, impressed by Kusaka's leadership of the party, suggested he should lead their eventual guild. Kusaka, however, declined; he informed Kenji that a "people-person" like Kenji was more suited to the role. Despite Kusaka's confidence in him Kenji at first struggled with the added responsibility of his newfound role but was heartened by his companions attitudes.
When dueling, however, Kenji becomes cold and calculating. 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.
In the real-world Kenji made his money as a professional gamer. In SAO this yielded a unique mind-set. He 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. He has used his Agility and Strength stats to effectively run along walls, find a round-about-method of dual-wielding, and even chain a «Martial Arts» skill following a successful curved Sword Skill.
SAO Beta test
Kenji was part of the beta test for Sword Art Online. During his adventures on the 1st Floor he discovered an alpha Dire Wolf mob near Tolbana that dropped a set of claws. He was also one of very few beta testers who discovered the existence of the «Martial Arts» Extra Skill and it took him close to four days to complete it.
- 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
|Level||12.||December 4, 2022.[Notes 2]|
|Level||14.||December 6, 2022.|
|Level||16.||As of December 24th, 2022.|
|«Unnamed curved sword»||One-Handed Curved Sword||Initial Equipment||Eventually replaced by a Scimitar before December 4, 2022.|
|«Scimitar»||One-Handed Curved Sword||Received as a rare monster drop on the 1st Floor sometime before December 4, 2022.||Upgraded to +4 (3S1D) before December 4, 2022.|
Upgraded to +8 (5S3D) between December 15th & 17th.
|«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 in the early hours of December 22nd, 2022, and used to experiment with dual-wielding.|
|«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.
|«Unnamed Strength ring»||Ring||Received December 19th, 2022, as a reward for the «Jade Key» quest.||Grants +1 to Strength.|
During the beta he was renowned amongst the community for his dueling skills and surprise PK's. He has admitted to Asuka that he heavily experimented in this aspect of the game during the beta. Whilst he has attempted to distance himself from the title he earned due to the PKing he performed in the beta, it is no exaggeration that his duelling skills remained formidable even in the official release. Despite the act of dueling being incredibly dangerous in the official release Kenji frequently engaged in both Half Loss Mode and First Strike Mode, and is the recognised "Dueler" of «Brightscale».
In the official release Kenji uses an attack-focused build, prioritising Strength, and prefers the use of the «One-handed Curved Sword». As such he fills the role of party DPS. Upon reaching the 2nd Floor he acquired the Extra Skill «Martial Arts» and immediately slotted it to his third skill slot. Thanks to the «Relaxed Equipment Conditions» mod of the «Martial Arts» skill he can use attacks from the «Martial Arts» skill-tree whilst equipped with a sword. He can likewise perform Sword Skills from the curved-sword category and immediately follow-up with a Sword Skill from the «Martial Arts» tree, allowing him to "skip" a post-motion delay by immediately transitioning into another Sword Skill.
Kenji, by his own admission, experimented at length during the beta on how best to kill other players. One of these experiments was carried into the official release, and this was dual-wielding. Equipping two individual weapons at once places the wielder in an «Irregular Equipped State» that prevents the use of Sword Skills. Despite this Kenji could still launch Sword Skills from the «Martial Arts Tree» that utilised the legs solely. He could also simply «Drop» his off-hand weapon which would instantly remove the «Irregular Equipped State» and allow him to attack normally, though he admitted the entire technique was fraught with risks and prone to backfire.
Despite his status as a Guild leader Kenji does, on occasion, operate as a solo player for heightened EXP gains and undivided loot. He has both the «Hiding» and «Searching» skills slotted for just such an eventuality and was easily fit to trail Loki, Momoko and Akiye, and remained sufficiently hidden until choosing to reveal himself. His tendencies to play solo have been highlighted most strongly when he's attempting in some way to experiment with the actual system of SAO.
Sword Art Online
|SAO SKILL SLOTS|
|One-handed Curved Sword||Hiding||Martial Arts||Searching|
One-handed Curved Sword
- Reaver -- a basic charging skill with a short delay. Kenji often uses it as his opening skill when dueling to enter into 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 3] -- 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 dueling. His go-to technique when seeking to increase his damage through «Motion Delay Skipping».
- Water Moon -- a roundhouse-kick.
- 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 in order 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.
Outside System Skills
- Hypersense -- The act of sensing another player's intentions, which often manifests as an odd feeling of tension. According to Kenji he learned this particular skill during the beta around the time the beta testers arrived on 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.
- 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 steps, whilst his strength allowed him to propel himself a fair distance without suffering damage.
- 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».
Known quests completed
«Brightscale» was formed by Kenji and Kusaka on the 3rd Floor of Aincrad. Despite a slower start than some of the 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 Asuka he also admitted to be somewhat intimidated by her.
The two evidently grew quite close. Kenji noted that Airi and he eventually revealed various details about their real-life self to one another, one example being their actual names.
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.
Kenji made no attempt to hide his beta tester knowledge. He was thankful to Kirito for alleviating some of the 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 pretense 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.
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.
- Due to his achievements in the beta -- namely committing the most PK's -- Kenji was the eventual owner of the «Sanguine Sword» Unique Skill.