Return (帰還, Kikan?) is the fifteenth episode of the Sword Art Online anime adaptation, as well as the first episode in the Fairy Dance Arc. It aired on October 13, 2012.


Kirito and Asuna were sitting on a rocking chair outside of their home on the 22nd Floor. Kirito watched her while she slept on a peaceful day. But quickly, the color of the sky began to darken and the house itself began to fall apart before disappearing completely, leaving the rocking chair and Kirito remaining. Kirito panicked as he tried to find Asuna and began to hyperventilate. Right away, he woke up from the nightmare and got out of bed to find tears in his eyes. Wiping his eyes, he remarked that he had become a crybaby.

Kazuto smiling

Kazuto's house in the real world.

Kirigaya Suguha was outside having her morning practice with her shinai while having flashbacks of all the events that had happened during and after the Sword Art Online incident. She was not aware that Kazuto (Kirito) was watching her. Kazuto tossed her a water bottle and held her shinai, stating that it was light. This shocked Suguha because the shinai was made of timber bamboo and was considered heavy, she wonders what he was comparing the shinai to. Kazuto then challenged Suguha to a kendo match. In an attempt to intimidate Kazuto, she asked if he could stand a chance against a quarter-finalist in a middle school nationals but also question his physical state, regarding his body. He reassured her that he could and would show her the results of all the rehabilitation he had done in the gym.

Suguha and Kazuto spar BD

Suguha and Kazuto spar in the Dojo.

At their family's dojo, the two were about to begin, when Suguha giggled at Kazuto's stance, but Kazuto proclaimed it was his personal style. Suguha could see an opening in his stance to attack, but Kazuto attacked first. Eventually Suguha won by hitting his head, but quickly regretted hitting him, asking if he was alright. Kazuto told her that she is strong and Heathcliff (Kayaba Akihiko) would not stand a chance against her. Kazuto took a few steps back and swung to sheath the shinai like he did with his sword in SAO, leaving Suguha confused and concerned. Realizing what he was doing, he told Suguha that it was old habits. While washing up, Kazuto notified Suguha that he wanted to do kendo again and asked if she could teach him, much to her delight. Suguha asked what Kazuto was doing that day and Kazuto responded he will be visiting Asuna in the hospital as usual, which made Suguha upset.

While Kazuto was riding his bike to the hospital, he narrated that it had been two months since he defeated Heathcliff. He traded information about SAO to the Ministry of Internal Affair's SAO Incident Task Force, in exchange for Asuna's whereabouts. He learnt that Asuna and three hundred players had yet to awake. Many people believed that the still-missing Kayaba Akihiko was behind it. Kazuto noted that the SAO incident was not over yet.

Kazuto in hospital BD

Kazuto, Yuuki Shouzou, and Sugou Nobuyuki are at the hospital.

Kazuto visited Asuna who was still wearing the Nerve Gear, but he was not the only visitor. Yuuki Shouzou, Asuna's father, and Sugou Nobuyuki also came for a visit. Kazuto told Shouzou that he was sorry for bothering him, but Shouzou encouraged Kazuto to come whenever he liked because it would make Asuna happy. Shouzou introduced Kazuto to Nobuyuki who was a family friend's son. Nobuyuki was overjoyed to learn that Kazuto was the hero who saved everyone in SAO, in addition shared news with Shouzou that he wanted to make it official. Shouzou is shocked but asked if he was certain, since he was so young. Nobuyuki reassured him that his heart had always been set on one thing and wanted Asuna to wear the dress while she was still beautiful, surprising Kazuto. Shouzou then left the room to attend a meeting.

Nobuyuki, now showing his true colors, grabbed Asuna's hair and starts to sniff it, angering Kazuto. Nobuyuki told him that the chat with Shouzou was about Asuna's marriage to him, shocking Kazuto even more. Nobuyuki informed Kazuto while touching Asuna's face that she never liked him, and it was likely that she would reject his marriage proposal, so he was taking advantage of the situation to marry her. Kazuto grabbed Nobuyuki's arm to stop him from touching Asuna, but he pulled back. Annoyed, Kazuto asked if he was trying to take advantage of the fact Asuna was in a coma. Nobuyuki told him that it was his right. Nobuyuki further explained that Argus went bankrupt and the SAO servers were entrusted to RECT Progress Inc., whose CEO was Asuna's father. Nobuyuki worked under the Full-Dive Technology Research Division, concluding that he was the one who is keeping Asuna alive and thought he can ask for a repayment. He then told Kazuto to never come back or have any contact with Asuna's family. Before leaving, Nobuyuki told Kazuto that the wedding was in one week and seeking to bring misery to Kazuto, invited him to the wedding.

Suguha and Kazuto sleep BD

Suguha puts Kazuto sleep next to each-other.

Back at home, Suguha told Kazuto that the bath was ready, but he didn't answer so she checked and found him in the room with the heating off. Kazuto asked Suguha to leave him alone. Seeing her brother upset, Suguha comforted him and asked what was wrong. Kazuto began to cry because Asuna was going somewhere far that he couldn't reach. Suguha hugged Kazuto and told him not to give up. When Kazuto fell asleep, Suguha put him into bed and fell asleep next to him, but cried as she did so.

In a flashback prior to Kazuto's 16th birthday, while he was trapped in SAO, his aunt Kirigaya Midori told Suguha, when Kazuto was just 10 years old, he found out about his real parents. His parents died in an accident and Kazuto was Midori's nephew, making Kazuto and Suguha cousins, not siblings. Suguha asked if that was the reason he began to play online games. Midori replied that that was not the reason, as Kazuto was already into making machines from junk parts when he was young and believed he inherited her own love of computers. Suguha is surprised that her "brother" was actually her cousin.

E-mail photo BD

The photo of the Asuna look alike.

The next morning, Kazuto tried to wake Suguha up by telling her that she wouldn't have time for her morning practice if she didn't get up soon. Suguha eventually got up but got embarrassed and ran out of Kazuto's room, blushing furiously. Kazuto, now alone, recalled Suguha's encouraging words. Without any warning, his computer bleeped to inform Kirito about an e-mail had been received from Agil, and the message showed a picture of a girl in a golden cage who greatly resembled Asuna, surprising Kazuto.

New CharactersEdit

Adaptation NotesEdit

Adapted from Sword Art Online Light Novel Volume 3 Prologue, Chapter 1


  • Kirito's dream, shown at the beginning of the episode, showed what it would feel like if all input signals were cut off while still inside FullDive space. [† 1][1]


  • "She's going to go away, somewhere I can't ever reach her.." - Kazuto
  • "You can't give up on the one you love so easily" - Suguha
  • "I won't lie to myself anymore either" - Suguha
  • "I think he inherited my love of computers.. At least mentally" - Kirigaya Midori
  • "But your heart... belongs to her alone" - Suguha


  1. Such a phenomenon could have happened when all of the players were disconnected from the internet during their transport to hospitals.




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