5. Rosalia

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Rosalia taking Silica’s items.

Rosalia is a Sword Art Online player. She leads the Titan’s Hand guild and, although the guild is orange, Rosalia’s status bar is green. That’s because she convinces others to do her dirty work. Rosalia is charming, attractive, and manipulative. She is nothing more than a smart thief leading a band of less smart brigands. They bully other players into handing over their valuables and even resort to murder. The Titan’s Hand is the guild responsible for the murder of the Silver Flags members. The first time we meet Silica is when she is being robbed of her healing potions by Rosalia who is not even fighting against floor bosses. We deduce that Rosalia is not really interested in clearing SAO. She is merely enjoying life as a crook and she doesn’t want it to end. Too bad for her as she is sent to prison, along with her guild members, by Kirito.

4. Fairy King Oberon/Sugou Nobuyuki

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Sugou Nobuyuki in ALfheim Online.

As the last boss in ALfheim Online and the one who “kidnapped” 300 players for tests, one would assume that Fairy King Oberon/Sugou Nobuyuki deserves a higher spot. Oberon suffers from a god complex disorder, wishes above everything else to control others’ emotions, and is obsessed with a woman who despises him. He is petty, cruel, unfair, and abuses his game master rights to overpower Kirito. His fighting skills are laughable and he shows cowardice when he is harmed by Kirito. Oberon’s villain formula is a classic one, he brings nothing new to the table but his character is skillfully designed to make watchers hate him from the very first second.

3. Poh

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Poh getting ready to kill a player.

Vassago Casals by his real name, Poh is the leader of the Laughing Coffin guild in Sword Art Online. Although he doesn’t have much screen time he is one of the most significant SAO characters. Poh is the one who inoculated the idea that player murder is acceptable as it’s the device that does the killing by frying players’ brains and not the one who reduces their HP to 0. He believes and convinces others as well, that it’s Akihiko Kayaba, the game creator, who is the one responsible for the murders. Poh is a sick, sadistic player who seems to have no other goal but his own enjoyment. In this regard, he is similar to Rosalia. SAO gave them the opportunity to act according to their deepest dark desires. As of Aincrad Arc ending, Poh is still at large.

2. Death Gun

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Shinkawa Kyouji attacking Sinon.

Here we have a trio started by the Shinkawa brothers. Shinkawa Shouichi, a former SAO player and member of the Laughing Coffin guild, is the elder brother. Shinkawa Kyouji is a Gun Gale Online player and real-life friend of Sinon. Kyouji wanted revenge on the player who convinced him that agility is the best GGO stat. Shouichi, just like Poh, is a sadistic murderer. The third member is another former Laughing Coffin member and, as of the Phantom Bullet Arc ending, he is still free. The three of them planned and staged the murders of several GGO players. All of them are delusional, especially Kyouji who fell in love with Sinon after he heard about the postal office incident. The other two help him kill just for the fun of it and this makes the group known as Death Gun one of most skin-crawling villains in SAO.

1. Heathcliff/Akihiko Kayaba

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Akihiko Kayaba in Sword Art Online.

The inventor of Sword Art Online and the creator of the NerveGear device is the most fascinating villain in the SAO series. He is not inherently evil, he doesn’t enjoy harming others, he is not driven by a materialistic purpose or revenge. Kayaba’s mind is trapped in the virtual world so he came up with a way to trap others and created the ultimate VR experience. While in SAO, he took part in game activities, behaved in an honorable manner (most of the times), and took his defeat with tranquility. He respects Kirito, and overall doesn’t seem like such a bad guy but one cannot overlook that thousands died as a result of his actions.