|Spoiler Alert: This wikia contains details about future plotlines described in the light novels. Do not proceed unless you want to be spoiled. |
|Name (Romaji)[?]||Kayaba Akihiko|
|Avatar Name (Japanese)[?]||ヒースクリフ (Hīsukurifu)|
|Age||28 (End of Aincrad Arc)|
|VRMMO Games Played||«Sword Art Online»|
|Affiliation|| Guild Leader of «Knights of Blood» (SAO) |
100th Floor Boss (SAO)
|Occupation||Game Designer for Argus|
|Voiced By (Japanese)|| Yamadera Koichi |
Ohkawa Toru (Heathcliff)
|Voiced By (English)|| Marc Diraison|
Kevin M. Connolly (Heathcliff)
|Novel||Volume 1, Chapter 2|
|Manga||Aincrad Manga Stage.001|
Kayaba Akihiko (茅場晶彦, Kayaba Akihiko?) is the development director and GM (Game Master) of «Sword Art Online». He is also the designer of the «NerveGear», the Cardinal System and «The Seed», as well as the main antagonist of the Aincrad Arc. He plays SAO as the leader of the «Knights of the Blood», Heathcliff (ヒースクリフ, Hīsukurifu?).
Real Life Appearance/Sword Art Online AvatarEdit
Significantly idealized, Heathcliff is muscular, tall, and physically strong. With a cool demeanor, he is almost always seen wearing the colors of the Knights of the Blood.
At the start of Sword Art Online, Akihiko appears to the trapped players as a huge faceless, hooded person with a cloak as his Game Master avatar.
Although Kayaba Akihiko only appears as his true form few times throughout the series, he is always very calm, soft-spoken, and has a cool demeanor. Despite being incredibly skilled, Akihiko is not boastful, or arrogant, and when Kirito defeats him and clears Sword Art Online, he humbly accepts defeat.
He seems to be very sincere and thoughtful, as shown when he tells Kirito of his dream about creating a floating castle, as the basis for creating Sword Art Online.
Kayaba Akihiko has little to no empathy, no regard for human life (including his own), and instead is completely taken in by the virtual world. When he accidentally struck Asuna, which caused her apparent in-game death, he showed no remorse, and instead seemed rather amused, even though it caused Kirito an incredible amount of grief at the time. He chose to fulfill his dream by making a Death Game which cost thousands of lives, and simply noted that their minds were gone from both worlds. His fascination with computers is just very much like Kirito's, with the major difference being Akihiko having no regard for the lives of others, and Kirito doing everything he can to protect them.
In spite of this, Akihiko has a level of honor, and fairness. He designed Sword Art Online to be a beatable game, by anyone who had the skills. He never interfered with the players' progress to keep them from advancing through the game; in fact, as Heathcliff, he was actually fighting on the players' side, helping them clear floors. The one exception to this is the fact that he made himself invincible until his battle with Kirito, although this was necessary to survive the game until the 95th floor was reached, where Heathcliff planned to reveal his true identity and become the final boss on the 100th floor.
In Akihiko's childhood, Akihiko expressed an interest in reading books. He was not particularly engrossed in games in computers, but he participated in the Mathematics Club of his high school. Later on, in university, he did not participate in any circles because he frequently worked in and out of laboratories.
When he began developing Sword Art Online, Akihiko toiled for years to develop the game software. His main goal and dream was to "make Aincrad float" but after he did so, he wasn't entirely sure what his dreams, aspirations, or purpose were.
It can be deduced that Akihiko began working on Sword Art Online before his third year in university. His love interest was Koujiro Rinko, who assisted Akihiko for ten years of the game's development, and took care of his body during the course of Sword Art Online.
On the first day of Sword Art Online's official service, during which around ten thousand players logged into SAO, Kayaba Akihiko successfully trapped the players in the game. After forcefully teleporting all players in the game to the Starting City, he appeared in his GM avatar and, during his tutorial, explained the new rules of the game, including the fact that the players would need to conquer all 100 floors of the game to be set free and that death in-game or any attempt to remove the NerveGear would cause the NerveGear to fry the user's brain, to the players. To prove that the game was their new reality, Akihiko changed the avatars of all players to look like their real life bodies and then took his leave.
His avatar, Heathcliff is the leader of what is considered to be the Sword Art Online's strongest guild «Knights of the Blood». He is the owner of the first «Unique Skill» «Holy Sword» and is considered to be strongest player in-game. He wields the one-handed sword and a tower shield collectively called as Liberator. He also was able to hold off the boss of the 50th Floor for ten minutes by himself, which earned him the title «Man of Legend» (伝説の男, Densetsu no Otoko?). It is also rumored in Sword Art Online that Heathcliff's health has never gone into the yellow zone. This is due to his identity being Kayaba Akihiko and being able to make himself invincible or otherwise making his character into an «Immortal Object» after his health reaches 50% or is about to surpass it.
In the manga, he is first seen at the Town of Beginning, using his avatar, Heathcliff, with the rest of the Sword Art Online players listening to his other self talk about the new rules that made Sword Art Online into a death game. Kirito even commented on how calm Heathcliff's avatar was on the situation (later revealed to be because the death game didn't apply to him).
As a leader of the Knight of the Blood, Heathcliff was quite renown for his general tendency to stay out of guild affairs, preferring to allow his sub-leaders to develop plans and advance the game. Apart from guild paperwork and battles, Heathcliff rarely interfered with the choices and actions of his sub-leaders. The only exception to this was when Asuna expressed her wish to leave the guild, and Heathcliff refused to allow her do so without challenging Kirito to a duel.
Kirito first suspected his true identity during his match against Heathcliff when Kirito saw that Heathcliff's speed exceeded the system limits. However, Kirito figures out his true identity on the 75th floor. Thanks to a miracle in the game allowing Kirito to launch one final attack after his HP ran out, Kirito manages to defeat Heathcliff and free all the trapped players from the cursed death game.
After Sword Art OnlineEdit
Even before the SAO incident occurred, Akihiko had decided to die along with the collapse of the game, though his choice of death was unusual. After SAO was cleared, he used a remodeled FullDive machine (the design of which was later used in the creation of the Medicuboid, which in turn was used for the creation of the Soul Translator) to perform a super-highpowered scan of his brain to transfer his consciousness into the virtual world permanently. This scan led to burning out his brain cells and killed him.
Although the scan only had less than a 1 in 1000 chance of succeeding, apparently the scan was successful, as he reappears in ALfheim Online, noting that his program was only recently awakened after hearing Kirito's voice during his encounter with Oberon. When Akihiko sees Kirito giving up and submitting to the power of the system, he reminds the Black Swordsman about their battle, where Akihiko was forced to acknowledge the power of the human will, and encourages Kirito to stand and take hold of his sword. After Akihiko stands up and grabs the fist of Oberon, who attempted to punch him, Akihiko reveals his administrator ID and password to Kirito, allowing him to access Heathcliff's account, which in terms of administrative power, over-ranked Oberon and allowed Kirito to easily defeat Oberon. After Oberon is defeated and Asuna is logged out, Akihiko returns and entrusts Kirito with the «World Seed», as a compensation for helping Kirito. Although Akihiko wishes to have the seed sprout, he leaves the choice of what to do with it to Kirito as he disappeared into thin air.
Sword Art OnlineEdit
- Main Equipment:
|Holy Sword||One-Handed Straight Sword||Hand-to-Hand Combat||Heavy Metal Equipment||Battle Healing|
|Searching||Tracking||Spiritual Light (Hate Skill)||Immortality|
- Akihiko had an annual salary of more than 100 million yen (about 1,090,000.00 USD in August 30, 2013) at the age of 18.
- Aside from research and development, Akihiko's hobbies are cooking and playing Go (the board game).
- The first RPG Akihiko played was an old RPG known as Wizardry. It apparently played an influence on the development of Sword Art Online.
- Akihiko intended to reveal his true identity on Sword Art Online on the 95th floor, and become the final boss on the hundredth floor.
- Akihiko admits that he wouldn't be able to win against the youth with his actual reflexes.
- Akihiko had spared no attention to the existence of Yui and later regrets it, saying that it was a great opportunity that has gone by.
- The happiest moment to Akihiko during SAO was when Kirito saw through his true identity on the 75th floor, as Akihiko then realized that he (Akihiko) was nothing more than another player.
- Heathcliff is the only boss in Sword Art Online to have just one HP bar instead of multiple.