Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris Original Character Medina Explained

Sword Art Online Author Reki Kawahara, Alicization Lycoris Producer Yousuke Futami explained the concepts behind Medina in a new interview.

June 20, 2020

Dengeki Online published an interview focusing on the upcoming PS4, Xbox One, and PC JRPG Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris. The interview features SAO Author Reki Kawahara, SAO Producer Kazuma Miki, and SAO console games Producer Yousuke Futami. Divided in multiple parts, the interview covers various aspects of Alicization Lycoris. Including Medina Orthinanos, the newest Sword Art Online game original character appearing in Alicization Lycoris. Producer Futami and Reki Kawahara shared multiple interesting details and anecdotes regarding Medina’s conception.

In Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris, Medina is voiced by Miho Okasaki. Medina the ninth head of the Orthinanos house in the Human Empire, a family of second class nobles. She has a pretty calm personality, but becomes fierce when in battle. Medina fights with a one-handed katana. She strives to become an Integrity Knight, earn military exploits and clear her family’s name. Her father, the previous head, passed away in an incident when she was younger, and the Orthinanos has been since then labeled as defects.


In the interview, Yousuke Futami first explained how Sword Art Online games until now started with Kirito immediately meeting said game’s original character. This isn’t the case in Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris, as Medina first appears shortly after the beginning of the game, which covers the very beginning of Alicization. Kirito and Eugeo meet her when they depart from Rulid Village.

Following that, Medina is also studying at the Sword Mastery Academy, and players will interact with her multiple times during that part of the main story. Overall, this part of the game will show multiple aspects of Kirito and Eugeo’s sword school life, not depicted in the anime or novel. The game’s main story has a stronger focus on Medina once it delves into its original story part.

In case you forgot, Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris adapts up to episode 24 of the Sword Art Online Alicization anime. Following that, in the game’s second and longer part, we switch to an original plot, instead of the Dark Territory invasion events depicted in the War of Underworld anime.

Producer Futami then explained how Medina is based around two themes. The first one is how she has a huge inferiority complex, because of everyone shunning her family. This is a similar trait to Renly, another character in Alicization. In Renly’s case, however, you don’t notice it as much in the game since he lost his memories. That trait of Medina is displayed especially during the Sword Mastery Academy story part.

The second theme Medina is based on is how she strongly wishes to be acknowledged. Futami explained how when he first read the Alicization arc, he felt that Alice and Eugeo’s souls were vividly depicted through the story. He hopes that players will have similar feelings when playing Alicization Lycoris and experience Medina’s story and emotions.

Reki Kawahara added that the Alicization arc in a sense is a cruel story. At the end of the day, Higa and Kikuoka only made Underworld because they want a single AI: the one who surpasses its limits. This turned out to be Alice, and they only needed Alice, and could have disposed of all the other Underworld inhabitants. From the perspective of real people in the real world, Medina is just another unit. However, in Underworld, she’s more than enough human, has her own story, and a destiny she must face. Medina will make players realize this contrast, and that’s what makes her an interesting character according to Kawahara. He’s looking forward to playing SAOAL himself at release.

Reki Kawahara and Yousuke Futami also explained Medina’s character design. In particular, Producer Futami is the one who decided to give Medina those short, thick eyebrows. It’s far from being an uncommon feature of female characters in Japanese media, but it’s relatively unpopular when compared to other elements. Reki Kawahara jokingly added Medina is pretty much everything you shouldn’t do when trying to sell a “Heroine” character. For example: her short hair with the tips pointing to the outside, which isn’t a very popular hairstyle either.

Alicization already has Alice as its “Heroine” character. So for Alicization Lycoris‘ original “Heroine”, Futami wanted to do something different than the usual pretty girl. Instead of focusing on whether Medina’s character design will be popular or not, Futami believes the most important was picking a charadesign that would fit her story the most. He wants players to experience the game, feel Medina’s soul, and see what they think of her then.

Yousuke Futami also explained how similarly to Medina, all the SAO Original Game Character “Heroines” have relatively short hairstyles, to not clash with Asuna’s long and girly hairstyle.

Strea, Philia, Seven, Rain, Premiere, Kureha, Koharu and Zeliska all have short hair or shorter hair than Asuna.

Producer Futami also recently explained Silica isn’t wearing a red outfit in Alicization Lycoris since Medina (and Lisbeth) already wear red. Silica also wore blue or yellow outfits in past games.

As an important note, in Japanese media, a “Heroine” character do not designate a female hero or protagonist, but rather points to a female character central to the story. The term is most notably used to designate characters the protagonist can hook up with in Galge / Bishoujo Games. However, “Heroine” characters don’t necessarily develop a romantic relationship with the male protagonist. There are also many cases of stories with “Heroines” and female protagonists, or with “Heroine” roles not filled by a female character. You often see these cases in the Super Robot Wars series for example.

Personally. I’d add that Medina’s charadesign isn’t that anti-heroine. Medina does have a well-endowed chest and an outfit which emphasizes it. She has a Zettai Ryouiki too. So she’s not that different in that regard. On a recent stream, Producer Futami also said Medina’s three sizes will be revealed at some point. That’s a regular occurrence with female characters in Japanese stuff and pretty normal.

Medina Orthinanos was first revealed by Bandai Namco on August 18, 2019, at the SAO Beater’s Meeting 2019 event. Five months after the game’s first announcement in March 2019. She’s definitely an interesting character and I’m looking forward to discovering her story in SAOAL.

SAO console games sales have topped 5.6 million units in the world.

If you’d like to learn more on Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris, you can check out: Our summary of the latest stream and gameplay, gameplay trailers for Lisbeth, Silica, Leafa, Sinon. The game’s original story and characters. The battle system along with character creation and online multiplayer. Planned DLCs, the return of bed scenes, and more comments from Producer Futami, including the game’s length and regarding a Switch version.

Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris recently went gold. The game will launch July 9 in Japan and July 10, 2020, worldwide. You can preorder it on Amazon to support us.

Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane (He/Him) is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He speaks Japanese, has been loving anime and Japanese games for over 25 years and plays Genshin Impact for its story and exploration. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

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