The Anti-Criminal Code Effect Area (アンチクリミナルコード有効圏内, Anchikuriminaru Kōdo Yūkō Ken'nai?), usually referred to as the «Area» (圏内, Ken'nai?), is a special anti-criminal protection system within most town areas in Sword Art Online.
The range of the «Area» extends from the city's centre to its gates, from the street level of the city to the base of the next floor. The moment someone moves into this three-dimensional space, the «Anti Criminal Code» will immediately take effect, with an «Inner Area» notification appearing in the player's visual display; conversely, leaving the space will have an «Outer Field» warning materialize within their view. This «Code» protects the players within the radius of the «Area» from any possible source of damage, including the damage caused by other players; any attack would be blocked by a purple system barrier, preventing any damage to the Hit Points (HP) of the targeted player. However, the «Area» does not stop the impact of the blow, thus players hit by other players still suffer an unpleasant feedback, despite their HP not decreasing. Moreover, the «Area» also negates the effects of any poisonous items and damage over time effects, though the piercing damage on armor and equipment would continue to apply.
As a direct act of violence cannot be performed within the «Area», the only way to deal damage to another player within the «Area» is by starting a duel or accepting a duel request, which will cause the «Area» effect on the players involved to be lifted temporarily. This is also the only known method of killing a player within the «Area», though it may be possible to fake a murder within the «Area» aside from duels by teleporting a dying player into the «Area» before they scatter into polygons, though that is highly improbable to do.
The «Area» also prevents Orange Players from entering a settlement protected by the «Area». If an Orange Player attempted to enter such a settlement, they would be immediately attacked by a large number of powerful NPC guards. The only way for a criminal to safely enter such an area would be to change the colour of their Cursor back to green. As Player Killers can never restore their cursor back to green, it is impossible for them to ever sneak into a settlement protected by the «Area».
The system does, however, have some loopholes. One of such loopholes is sending a Total Loss Mode duel request to a sleeping opponent and then moving their fingers to press the "OK" button to accept the duel and lift the «Area»'s protection. Another method is carrying an unconscious body out of the «Area» with a stretcher item and then attacking them where the «Area» effect no longer applies.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Volume 8, A Murder Case in the Area, Part 5
- ↑ Progressive Volume 1, Aria of a Starless Night, Part 3
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Volume 8, A Murder Case in the Area, Part 4
- ↑ Volume 8, A Murder Case in the Area, Part 7
- ↑ Volume 2, Morning Dew Girl, Part 2
- ↑ Volume 8, A Murder Case in the Area, Part 10
- ↑ Volume 8, A Murder Case in the Area, Part 12
- ↑ Volume 8, A Murder Case in the Area, Part 1