Kazuto Kirigaya (桐ヶ谷 和人 Kirigaya Kazuto) is a fictional character who appears in the Sword Art Online series of light novels by Reki Kawahara. He is more commonly known by his portmanteau, Kirito (キリト Kirito), his player name in the eponymous video game which the novels are set in. Kirito is the protagonist of the series, and is depicted as a teenager who was chosen as one of 1,000 beta testers for a new state-of-the-art virtual reality MMORPG, Sword Art Online. After the game is released to the general public, he and 10,000 other players soon discover that they are unable to log out and are trapped the simulation. Thus his quest to beat the game to set them free.
Due to the popularity of Sword Art Online, Kirito has become an extremely recognized character in anime and manga fandom, frequently appearing on lists of the most popular fictional characters. Additionally, Kirito has featured in numerous official merchandise, and has been the subject of mixed to mostly positive critical reception, with focus on his personality, traits, and relationship with fellow player and love interest Asuna.