While the comment Rosalia made in episode 4 was more an excuse for her to justify her killing other players, it does show the fact that the players themselves do not have definite proof that they being physically killed when they are killed in the game. First, let’s review the information that the players can use to convince them that they will die if they are killed in the game.
- In episode 1, Akihiko Kayaba directly told all the players this information, supported by news from real life showing the death of people related to the game.
- Anyone that were killed off in the game does not come back to the game.
- They cannot log off themselves, and no one (that we know of) had their NerveGear forcefully removed, even after more than 1 year (the anime started at November 6, 2022, while the most recent date that we know if is Feb 24,2024 as shown in episode 4)
First and foremost, the most crucial information they had was the news reports that were shown from Akihiko Kayaba. However, since they can’t log out (fact 3), they have no way to authenticate what Kayaba showed was actually real news reports or not. In episode 1, Kayaba basically showed pictures relating to news reports that talked of the people dying because of SAO, and people crying over the passing of those people. As real as it might seem, he could have just made up the whole report, hired and filmed some actors to fake crying, and showed both, and the players, without any way to authenticate it, cannot have solid proof to decide if it was true or not. You say that falsifing those reports would be hard? It wouldn’t be easy, but my guess is that it would still be way easier than having to implement the brain destroying function on the NerveGear and explain to the related parties of why such function is actually needed for the game. Obviously, even if he does not have the power to kill people, he still have quite a bit of power to mess the game up, seen by the removal of log off button and the forced teleportation of everyone in episode 1.
As mentioned in the paragraph above, the players can’t log off, and hence cannot find the physical conditions of the people that were killed in the game, so they can’t say for sure that a certain player died in real life or not. On top of that, new players should not be able to log on after the start of the incident to prevent them from bringing in any news to the game world. If the NerveGear does really kill, then no new players would want to enter into the game world (why would they kill themselves), and hence that would a non-issue, but if the NerveGear does not have such abilities, then any new players that comes in would just destroy the whole fear that is in the game by mentioning the lack of such news reports in real life, and hence must be prevented at all costs. Fortunately, for the administrators, preventing people from logging in is really simple, as something as simple as displaying an Error 37 when someone tries to log on can stop them entering into the game world. Hence, for the players that are stuck, them not seeing new players, or players that were once killed (which might only be kicked from the game instead of being killed), point either truths, and hence cannot be used to proof the existence or the non-existence of the killing function.
One issue that other people mentioned was the need for the players’ physical bodies to consume nutrients while they are stuck in the game. While humans can go on for weeks without food, they can’t survive without drinking for days. Well, all that time is minuscule compared to the time that have passed within the game already (Nov 2022 – Feb 2024). So how can they live for so long not having the ability to grab food and eat for themselves. This, along with the issue with why someone like Kirito still weren’t forcefully pull out if the NerveGear does not kill, are few questions that I will try to answer with the following hypothesis:
1. [Assuming that the NerveGear does kill and what I said in the previous post about SAO is also true]. The surviving players are fed by their family members, and they, like heart-beating, still have the ability to chew and digest food, and as ugly as it sounds, their family members are also helping them with the disposal of their excrement and urine, all without moving the body too much [so that it won't trigger the brain frying function and kill the player]. This takes way too much input from the family members outside, and would obviously cause some family members to decide to ‘pull the plug’ on the players, especially if the player’s situation is as messed up as the main lead in .hack//Sign. Also, this will also cause the death of any players with their parents not living with them, which is the case of Klein, who is still alive by the end of episode 3, which either means that this hypothesis is false or his family members came and started living with him after hearing the news.
2. [Assuming that the NerveGear does not kill] The time in Sword Art Online is not the same as the time in real life. Just like how in sport video games, the game usually speed up the time of the match, making the match end faster than it would in a real sports match. It might be the case in Sword Art Online also, where despite experiencing the passing of years, they players might only really have played for hours. I argue that this is possible, since the duration of our dreams are not bounded the time that we sleep (sources needed). If this is true, it shows why the players aren’t dying from malnutrition, or is forcefully log off because of family members forcefully taking their helmets off, yet. Also, since there are so many time skips in the anime, maybe they players themselves aren’t experiencing everyday, but maybe actually just have control of several days in a mouth (actually, that sounds bullcrap to me too). The main issue of this hypothesis is the actions of Kirito, a beta tester, does not support this. If the days does go really fast, he should have caught on to this back when he was a beta tester, but his action shows otherwise. This might mean that this hypothesis is also incorrect, or that the administrators only increased the speed after the beta, which also means that players like Kirito would suddenly have faster response rate, so I donno how possible that this is.
3. The whole thing is just a hoax and players like Kirito can actually log off, and the time lapse is because he logged off. Wow, that just ruins the whole show eh?
Obviously, I might be over analyzing the whole show and is already starting to question something that is already establised as facts in the show, something which I should not do if I in mystery genre (which this is’t).Like Battler in the beginning of Umineko, he refused to accept anything and started questioning anything, and only started playing the game after the establishment of red truth, maybe I should also just accept the fact that the NerveGear does kill, the player’s physical bodies are kept alive somehow, and just see how Kirito pimps his way out of the game.