Sometimes the things that matter the most are right in front of you.
Haruka Tomatsu (Japanese) Cherami Leigh (English)
Media of origin:
Sword Art Online
Asuna Yuuki is the main female protagonist and deuteragonist of the Sword Art Online light novel/manga/anime franchise. She is Kazuto Kirigaya/Kirito's girlfriend/wife, the former vice-commander of the "Knights of the Blood" guild in Sword Art Online, and the daughter of the former CEO of RECTO Progress Inc. who decided to retire shortly after she was freed from the virtual world.
Asuna is a kind and helpful young woman, who is similar to Kirito, cannot abandon another person in trouble even at the risk of her own life.
Asuna isn't afraid to act out on her own and will take matters in her own hands from time to time when its needed.
Asuna has a reputation for being the best at everything. On top of being drop-dead gorgeous, a gaming prodigy, an exceptional leader and being a celebrity on SAO with her position, skill and Dude Magnet status.
Asuna is a skilled player earning the title "Lightning Flash" for her extraordinary sword skill that is lightning fast. Her game alias is the same as her real world name. She wields a rapier and has a fighting style focusing on speed, making for a very graceful fighter.
Asuna is an academically gifted student who is top of her class, and one of the most athletic characters.
Asuna and Kirito are a cute couple, one of the best in the series and it shows that the chemistry between them is sweet and genuine. They also get married in SAO and even adopt Yui as their daughter.
One of the reasons she gets together with Kirito is that the two are very alike. Both of them are the strongest players in SAO, both have cases of Chronic Hero Syndrome, both act as an older brother or sister to other players, both are strong believers in each other and refuse to give up on hope, and both have similar thought patterns. Asuna once remarks that she and Kirito were so similar that it was like she married herself.
Their relationship is very serious, to the point that they cannot live on if one of them dies. Asuna outright declares if Kirito were to die then, she would take her own life.
Also, the fact that they get together early on and stay together ever since, no matter how much Ship Tease both parties may have with other characters, and without relying on Will They or Won't They? dynamics nor forced bickering between them is considered even refreshing in a popular culture where romance stories and subplots almost always end with the couple getting together or are about the couple being in danger of breaking up.
She's a supporting character in Gun Gale Online arc, where despite not doing much, she's still there for Kirito and even stays by his side during his fight against Death Gun.
She has fully redeemed herself during Mother's Rosario arc, where she becomes badass again and is given a lot of backstory and character development.
While she shared the limelight with Kirito in the Aincrad arc, she takes the central focus in the Mother's Rosario arc and replaces Kirito as the main protagonist while he takes a back seat.
Asuna develops a great bond and friendship with Yuuki. First, they have a duel to see who's stronger. In the end, however, Asuna is no match for Yuuki, whose reaction times are so lightning-fast that she was able to deflect one of her fastest Sword Skills.
She then invites Asuna to join the Sleeping Knights guild because they needed one more super-strong person to fill out their roster, so they can achieve the feat of soloing one of Aincrad's fearsome floor bosses, an achievement that would immortalize their names on the Monument of Swordsmen.
She also becomes the focus of Progressive, where it tells the story from her point of view and adds additional material about Asuna's life prior to Sword Art Online and explores how she got to the point Kirito meets her in the novel.
Her designs are very pretty too, and it has one of the unique designs in the franchise, be it from Aincrad, Alfheim or Alicization arc.
Cherami Leigh and Haruka Tomatsu both do a very good job voicing her.
Character development: Starts off as a lonely girl who is distressed over being trapped in a VR world and not knowing the first thing about gaming. After the Time Skip, she's established as the vice commander of the top guild, being a strong leader and very assertive in getting her way.
The biggest one occurs in the Mother's Rosario arc. After the events in Aincrad, she discovers she doesn't have the same self-confidence in the real world as she has inside VR. Something that holds her back, specially in her relationship with her mother. Her friendship with Yuuki allows her to overcome her insecurities and mature as a person.
During Aincrad, she was very quick to anger and had a tendency to violently threaten Kirito if provoked. She often used kitchen utensils of all things as weapons.
She does have some unlikable moments, namely in Progressive.
Asuna is voiced by Haruka Tomatsu in the original Japanese version and Cherami Leigh in the English dub, who also voiced Lucy Heartfilia in Fairy Tail, Natsumi Hinata in Sgt. Frog, Ilia Amitola in RWBY, Elizabeth Midford in Black Butler and Yoshika Miyafuji in Strike Witches.
Asuna is easily the more popular character and her being a strong female lead was in part what drove the initial success of the series. Despite her detractors, Asuna is still widely considered to be one of the most influential anime characters in The New '10s, and quite possibly the most iconic Sword Art Online character.
Asuna placed second in the Top 10 Female Characters in the Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi! 2012 and 2013 awards and third in 2014. She placed sixth back in 2011, and fourth in 2015.
Asuna is one of the two known players using their real name as an In Game Name (IGN), the other being Yuuki.
In an official character popularity poll hosted by Dengeki Bunko for the cover of abec Art Works, Asuna's SAO avatar ranked first, her Alicization avatar ranked ninth, her Undine avatar ranked fourteenth, while her real life persona ranked thirteenth.
Asuna is similar to Lucy Heartfilia. Both come from a rich family and have issues with one of their parents (Asuna with her mother and Lucy with her father), both are very kind in spite of their upbringings and both share the the same English voice actress (Cherami Leigh). Coincidentally, one of Asuna's online names in ALO is Titania, Queen of the Fairies, the nickname of Erza Scarlet, one of Lucy's friends and teammates.