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Warning Spoiler Alert: This article or section contains details about plotlines not covered in the anime. Do not proceed unless you wish to be spoiled.


Nezha (ネズハ, Nezuha?) is a supporting character in the Progressive series of the Aincrad Arc and one of the main characters of the Rondo of a Fragile Blade story. He is one of the 10,000 players who were trapped in Sword Art Online, where he was a member of the Legend Braves. He was the first player to ever open a player blacksmith shop in the game during its official service, but later abandoned his shop in favour of joining his friends in battle.

AppearanceEdit

Sword Art OnlineEdit

Nezha is short and squat, with a young honest face[1], appearing to be in his teens.[2] He has slightly drooping eyes and plain parted bangs, making him look like a perfectly typical crafter.[2] Kirito described Nezha's voice as young and boyish.[1]

During the 2nd Floor boss battle, Nezha wore a bronze breastplate, gauntlets of the same material, and an open-faced helmet. According to Kirito, his short, stocky build and round, dour face accentuated his image of a beardless dwarf.[3]

ChronologyEdit

Aincrad ArcEdit

Rondo of a Fragile BladeEdit

On December 8, 2022, Nezha attempted to enhance Ryufior's «Anneal Blade +4», but failed four consecutive times. After passively accepting his client's outraged vituperation and timidly apologizing, he offered to buy the spent weapon for 8,000 Cor, a generous amount considering the inability to upgrade the sword any further. The offer was accepted by a stunned Ryufior and his friends.

That evening, Nezha was visited by Asuna and Kirito, who wished to upgrade the accuracy of the former's Wind Fleuret. Receiving the rapier, as well as the maximum amount of materials for the upgrade, Nezha seemingly melded the materials with the blade in his portable furnace, then carefully hammered the sword on the anvil. However, on the tenth and last strike, the weapon completely and irreparably shattered.

The blacksmith and his clients remained motionless in shock for several seconds as the shards disappeared, after which Nezha stood and began profusely apologizing. When he offered to refund the enhancement fee, he was instead requested an explanation on the witnessed phenomenon, as weapon destruction was not a possible outcome of enhancing a weapon during the beta test. Nezha revealed that the destruction of the enhanced weapon may have been added as a possible penalty in the official service, as he had suffered the same incident before. After the explanation, Nezha offered an Iron Rapier as compensation for the lost weapon, or to at least refund the fee of his service, but both offers were rejected, thus he apologized once more as the two left.

Less than an hour later, Nezha closed his shop and carried his equipment to an inn, unaware that he was being followed by Kirito. After some hesitation, Nezha entered the inn, where he was greeted by the other members of the Legend Braves. Nezha reported the results of his business for the day but expressed his concern over their usage of the weapon enhancement scam, stating that continuing it would risk exposing them, while they had already made enough money to cover the cost. Unbeknownst to them, parts of their conversation had been overheard by Kirito. The Wind Fleuret disappeared from Nezha's inventory minutes later due to Kirito's intervention.

The next day on December 9, after Lind and Kibaou's groups defeated the Bullbous Bow, Nezha moved his shop to Taran to avoid having the scam unearthed in Urbus and to take advantage of the clearers' preparations for the 2nd Floor Boss fight. That night, after several maintenance repairs and successful upgrade services, he received a request from Shivata to enhance his Stout Brand's heaviness. Unaware that Kirito and Asuna were secretly watching him from above and behind, Nezha gathered the crafting materials for the upgrade from among his wares on his Vendor's Carpet and tossed them into the furnace; at that moment, he used the Quick Change mod for the One-Handed Sword skill to swap Shivata's Stout Brand for one that had all its enhancement attempts used up. With the exchange only noticed by Asuna and Kirito, Nezha proceeded to blend the broadsword with the materials in the furnace and hammer it on the anvil, whereupon the weapon inevitably shattered on the tenth strike. Shortly after Shivata left, Nezha closed his shop at eight o' clock and dejectedly departed from the plaza with his tools and materials stored in his Vendor's Carpet.

Two days later on December 11, Nezha was visited by Kirito, who was disguised in heavy plate armor, and asked to upgrade his Anneal Blade's speed. Upon receiving the sword, Nezha briefly admired its properties before accepting payment for enough material to boost the chances of successful enhancement to ninety percent. After using the Quick Change mod to secretly switch the weapon with a spent one at the same instant he tossed the materials into the forge, he merged the blade with the materials and began hammering it on the anvil. When the sword irrevocably broke, Nezha prepared to shriek his apology but was stopped by Kirito, who removed his disguise and revealed his identity before retrieving his Anneal Blade through the Quick Change mod.

Realizing that the other player had discovered the existence and workings of the scam, Nezha declared that it was impossible for him to return the stolen weapons to their owners, as most of them had been converted into money, so the only way he could atone for the thefts was by suicide. However, as he moved to fulfill his oath, he was prevented by the sudden appearance of Asuna, who sternly chided him for his actions. At her pronouncement at suicide was a betrayal of all those working to clear the game, he stated his death was an eventuality, with the only difference being its location and timing, upon which he was told Asuna shared that same sentiment but was starting to overcome it. When she encouraged him to find his own reason to fight and reminded him of how he managed to leave the Town of Beginnings on his own, Nezha admitted to such but revealed he had suffered a Full-Dive Nonconformity (FNC) the same day he bought the NerveGear.

After moving to a nearby empty house close to the plaza to continue the story, Nezha elaborated that the FNC had impaired his ability to comprehend distances. When he expressed his astonishment at how Kirito had seen through the scam and had recovered Asuna's Wind Fleuret three days before, he was informed they had figured the key to the trick when they learned his avatar name was the Western transliteration of Nataku, a hero as legendary as the namesakes of the Legends Brave. From there, Kirito had deduced Nezha's weapon skills might already be above a certain level, and thus may have had the Quick Change mod. Nezha explained he and the Legend Braves used to play another virtual reality game three months prior to the opening of Sword Art Online, and how his lack of perspective prevented the team from reaching the top ranks. As they had agreed to switch over to Sword Art Online once it was released, Nezha was too afraid of his FNC to leave the group and start on his own; his change in online names for the switch was an indirect appeal to them to let him stay with them.

When asked who had came up with the idea of the upgrade scam, Nezha revealed none of the Legend Braves were responsible. He had tried using the Throwing Knives skill as a main weapons skill, but its limitations slowed the Legend Braves' start. Just after he announced to them his abandonment of the skill and becoming a blacksmith, they were approached by a player in a black poncho with an unusual way of talking, who taught them the weapon-switching trick without requesting anything in return. Though the Legend Braves were hesitant on the idea, the stranger simply released a pleasant laugh which compelled them to join, and claimed the lack of rules against such an act meant it was permissible.

After the encounter, Nezha decided to follow the group in utilizing their new information, rather than continue slowing their progress. He quickly became remorseful the first time he performed the scam, but was unable to return the weapon or convince his teammates to discontinue their actions when he witnessed their enthusiasm over the success of their scheme. The recollection of those past events prompted him to start slamming his head onto the table in the room they were in. After doing so for a while, he was inquired of Kirito of his level and skills, and if he was willing to relinquish his Blacksmith skill in favor of the Martial Arts skill. In exchange, Nezha was offered a chakram Kirito had acquired from a Taurus Ringhurler from the Labyrinth, as well as a map detailing the route to and location of the Martial Arts quest. Accepting the demands, Nezha declared that sacrificing crafting and being a swordsman was all he needed, though he did not consider his usage of the chakram eligible for swordsmanship, and was told by Asuna that anyone striving to beat the game was considered a swordsman. Then he was guided by the pair to the beginning of the path to the quest area and left to finish the journey on his own.

Three days later, Nezha completed the quest on December 14, gaining the Martial Arts skill, and immediately headed to join the clearers for the boss raid. Just outside the entrance to the dungeon, he ran into Argo, who had just finished a questline detailing the attack patterns and strategies of a new Floor Boss added to the 2nd Floor since the official release. Using his throwing weapons in conjuncture with her Hiding skill to avoid and lure monsters out of their way, they reached the boss room immediately prior to the appearance of Asterius the Taurus King. When the new boss paralyzed a fifth of the raid party and was about to kill Lind and Kibaou with his hammer, Nezha quickly threw his chakram at Asterius' weak point on his crown upon his head, interrupting the attack with his strike and drawing the boss' attention to himself. Though hurt at Orlando and the other Legend Braves' concealment of their association with him, Nezha ordered the shocked raid members to help each other recover while he kept Asterius occupied. Watching the boss' head, he leaped aside when he saw the Taurus King's eyes glow just before Asterius unleashed his lightning breath attack. After pulling the boss' aggression for two minutes, he briefly paused as the recovered players resumed their assault and drew the Taurus King's attention away from him. Thanking Kirito and Asuna for allowing him to play a critical role in a boss battle, he followed the former's instruction and continued using the chakram to stagger and interrupt Asterius' breath attack for the rest of the fight.

After the boss was defeated, Nezha congratulated Kirito and Asuna for simultaneously landing the final blow on the Taurus King and thanked them again for granting him the chance to be what he had always wanted. Immediately after, he was approached by Shivata and two other victims of the enhancement scam, the former of whom questioned him on the reason behind his change in classes and the source of his chakram. No longer having any regrets, Nezha prostrated himself before them and confessed.to stealing their weapons, taking the blame for the Legend Braves by revealing he had already sold the weapons and spent the money on himself. After passively accepting the furious raid members' subsequent outraged condemnations, at Lind's query, Nezha imparted his name to him and listened to the raid leader's proposal of reparations for his crimes. However, at that moment, another player from Kibaou's team accused Nezha of indirectly killing one of his victims by depriving him of a sufficient weapon. When the player derided the former blacksmith for his inability to reverse the would-be deceased victim's death with apologies and money, Nezha declared he would accept any punishment they decided upon him, prompting the players to begin calling for his death. Then Orlando and the other Legend Braves moved to and knelt by Nezha's side, disclosing their own roles in the upgrade scam. While they offered their equipment as amends for their misdeeds, Nezha wept with joy over his friends' assistance.

StatsEdit

Sword Art OnlineEdit

Stat Value Time
Level 10 December 11, 2022[4]

Known EquipmentEdit

Sword Art OnlineEdit

Name Type Acquisition Notes
«Iron Hammer»[2] Blacksmith Hammer
Unnamed chakram[3] Chakram Given by Kirito

SkillsEdit

Sword Art OnlineEdit

SKILL SLOTS
Inventory Expansion[4] Blade Throwing[4] Martial Arts[3]

TriviaEdit

  • Nezha's name is based on a deity from Chinese folk religion and a Ming dynasty Chinese fantasy novel, Fengshen Yanyi. The deity's name was pronounced as Ne-zha or Na-ja in Chinese and as Nataku (ナタク, Nataku?) or Nata (ナタ, Nata?) in Japanese.

ReferencesEdit

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