- This article is about the series. You may be looking for the VRMMORPG.
In the year 2022, Kirito (the main protaginist), a solo player who had the luck-of-the-draw to play the beta version, and the many other players of Sword Art Online (SAO) are trapped inside of a game, unable to logout; the only way to live is to win. Death in-game means death in the real world, tampering or prolonged power outage with the Nerve Gear, the gear that simulates in-game character control by redirecting brain signals, also means death. To win means to defeat the final boss on the top floor, out of the original 10,000 players at the start, two years later 6000 remain and 26 floors left to clear.
This Arc also contains 4 side stories that happened within two years of the SAO incident, as well as other side stories touched upon further below.
- Black Swordsman (Aincrad 35th Floor, February 2024)
- Pina, a «Feathery Dragon», dies protecting her tamer Silica, one of the rare Beast Tamers in SAO. In order to revive her, Silica must obtain «The Flower of Pneuma» in four days. Will she and Kirito succeed or fail?
- Warmth of the Heart (Aincrad 48th Floor, June 2024)
- Lisbeth, a Blacksmith, is visited by Kirito and requested to make a high level sword. But to do so they need a special ore. Will the two succeed in this quest or die trying?
- Morning Dew Girl (Aincrad 22nd Floor, October 2024)
- Kirito and Asuna are now married in SAO and living together. One day they stumble upon a girl with no memories, who is younger than any player they have seen so far. Who is this girl and what secrets does she hold?
- Red-nosed Reindeer (Aincrad 46th Floor, December 19th - 23rd, 2023)
- Kirito has been leveling up without any regards to his life in preparation for a game event. Just what happened that caused Kirito to go so far?
Fairy Dance (Second Arc, ALO)Edit
"The Hero" Kirito has completed and exited the game along with the majority of the living players. However, 300 players, including Kirito's sweetheart Asuna Yuuki, are still trapped by the Nerve Gear and have failed to awaken. Kirito finds a picture of what looks like Asuna in one of the other VRMMO games known as Alfheim Online (ALO). And so he must now embark on another quest for the sake of his love, who is held captive in Alfheim Online.
Phantom Bullet (Third Arc, GGO)Edit
Thanks to the "World Seed", entrusted to Kirito who uploaded it onto the internet, the development of VRMMOs has progressed extensively. However, Gun Gale Online, a VRMMO game that focuses on guns and shooting rather than sword and sorcery, has had some of their players killed by a certain individual while in the game world, but the mystery is that they also died at the same time in the real world. Kirito must once again embark for a new world in search of the man supposedly behind the deaths, "Death Gun".
Mother's Rosario (Side Story Arc, ALO)Edit
A new player titled Zekken (Absolute Sword) appears in ALfheim Online and needs help. Will Asuna have what it takes? And what are the secrets that Zekken and her guild, The Sleeping Knights, hold?
Early and Late (Side Story Arc, ALO & SAO)Edit
Contains 3 side stories that take place in Sword Art Online and ALfhiem Online.
- A Murder Case in the Area (Aincrad 57th floor, April 2024) (SAO Side Story)
- A murder takes place within a town's safe «area». Now Kirito and Asuna must unravel the mystery of this supposedly impossible death. Otherwise nowhere in Aincrad will be safe any more.
- Caliber (Alfheim, December 2025) (ALO Side Story)
- In the Fairy Dance Arc, while traveling to the World Tree, Kirito and Lyfa had discovered the location of the Legendary Sword, Excaliber. Now a few weeks after the events of Phantom Bullet, Kirito, Asuna, Lyfa, Silica, Lisbeth, Klein and Sinon embark on the quest to claim the strongest weapon in ALO. However things are not as they seem, and the quest for the Legendary Sword turns out to be one that may decide the very future of ALfhiem itself.
- First Day (Aincrad 1st floor, November 2022) (SAO Side Story)
- The Logout button is gone and Sword Art Online has become a Death game. This chapter tells the story of what Kirito did in his first day trapped in Aincrad after leaving Starting City.
Project Alicization (Fourth Arc, Underworld [UW])Edit
Kirito awakens to find himself lost in a new world. With the realistic world and his "lost" memories with this world, he questions his own identity and his existence in the world he used to know and the world he is currently in. He soon finds out that this is a virtual world with the name "Underworld", and pursues to find the truth about this world and the objective of RATH for making this realistic world.
The start of the first part of the arc, begins with Kirito, Eugeo and Alice, setting out to explore a cave said to harbour a dragon and ice. After entering the cave the trio leave and pass close to the darken side, where a terrible mishap happens to Alice, and she is taken away from her village by the Integrity Knight to be tried and executed. However, Eugeo believes she is still alive. Six years later, Kirito reappears, and he helps Eugeo cut down a tree, his Sacred Task, so that they can go find Alice at the top of the Cathedral Castle.
After Kazuto is attacked by Johnny Black with a deadly dose of Succinylcholine, which puts him into a coma, and mysteriously disappears while being transported to a hospital, Asuna sets out to find him. With the help of Yui and Koujiro Rinko, she finds Kazuto in the custody of Kikuoka Seijirou in a secret government base in the Pacific Ocean, where Kazuto is being treated to have his neural network restored with the help of the Soul Translator, the fourth generation FullDive system that Kazuto has been testing. There she learns the about the truth about Project Alicization and why was the Soul Translator created.
Meanwhile, Kirito and Eugeo journey to the south of Rulid to Zakkaria to participate in the Zakkaria Sword Arts Tournament to continue on their journey to gain access to the Central Cathedral, where Alice is supposed to be held.
Now in the second year of the Norlangarth Empire's Independent Master Sword Academy, Kirito and Eugeo are working their way up to the top of the Academy's ranks to be given the right to participate in the Norlangarth North Empire Martial Arts Tournament and, later, the Empires Unity Tournament. However, after a certain incident midterm, they both end up breaking the Taboo Index and are arrested by an Integrity Knight, who turns out to be Alice, with no memory of her life in Rulid. After escaping the Axiom Church's jail and an encounter with another Integrity Knight, they are saved by the world's Cardinal, which has taken the form of a human avatar and no longer in control of Underworld. From her, Kirito learns the secret of the Axiom Church and its immortal ruler, Quinella.
Other Side StoriesEdit
Other Side stories from different Arcs.
- Aria in the Starless Night (Aincrad 1st Floor, December 2022)
- A month has passed since 10,000 players were trapped in Sword Art Online, 2000 have already died and yet the first floor boss hasn't been defeated. Tensions between the Beta Testers and Normal Players are building. In the depths of a labyrinth, the fated first meeting between Kirito and Asuna unfolds. The players, tired of the stalemate prepare to challenge the first floor boss, The Kobold Lord. And in the end Kirito will have to make a choice. A choice that will redefine the relationship between players and Beta Testers. A choice that may cost a piece of himself.
- Rondo of the Transient Sword (Aincrad 2nd Floor, 8 December 2022)
- The Day Before (Aincrad 22nd Floor, 24 October 2024)
- Sound of Water, Sound of Hammer (Aincrad 48th Floor August 2024)
- Kirito goes to «Lisbeth's Equipment Shop» to reinforce his weapons.
- Caliber SS (Failure Side)
- An alternate ending, based on what would have happened if Klein hadn't saved Freyja during the quest for Excaliber.
- A Spot of Sunshine in the Winter (New Aincrad 22nd Floor, 31 December 2025)
- Versus (Accel World crossover)
- Roppongi, 2026. Kazuto/Kirito has been called in to test the newly developed «4th-Generation FullDive Experimental Unit». But what he finds in the virtual world is a battle with Silver Crow/Haruyuki Arita of the year 204x.
- Cradle of the Moon (Alicization Side Story)
- There is but one Ultimate Way
- Taking place after the Underworld Arc (after/around Volume 15). The third year students' summer holidays are about to end. It seems that the girls have something planned for Kirito. Something that involves being Married-in-game, with a twist. Confirmed to be not canon.
Sword Art Online: Material EditionsEdit
- The Material Edition (ME) series is a series of doujinshis created by Kawahara Reki himself using the pen name "Kunori Fumio" (the same that pen name he used when he wrote the web novel of SAO).
- ME1: The Progressers
- An argument over the method of defeating a floor boss turns into a duel between Kirito and Asuna.
- ME2: Early Characters
- Early character designs and descriptions as well as status parameters.
- ME3: Ceramic Heart
- The story of Yui learning what love is as well as loss.
- ME4: Cold Hands, Warm Heart
- Kirito is afflicted by an unidentified negative status. Unable to handle it he messages Klein for help, but the one who appears to take care of him is...
- ME5: Salvia (Real World before the events of Fairy Dance, January 2025)
- Kazuto and Suguha remember a treasured memory from their childhood.
- ME6: Algade Showdown (Aincrad 22nd floor, October 2024)
- Is that an NPC or a Player? Asuna and Kirito attempt to find out the identity of a certain cook.
- ME7: Continuation: Aria in the Starless Night (December 2022)
- Continuation of Aria in the Starless Night side story immediately after the defeat of the first floor boss.
- ME8: Rondo of the Transient Sword - first chapter
- Sequel to Aria in the Starless Night. The Black Swordsman Kirito is now in hiding because of the choice he made. However, Asuna doesn't plan on abandoning him. Together, they seek to upgrade their weapons, in anticipation for the battle against the Second Floor Boss.
- ME9: Monochrome Concerto - first chapter
- The second floor has been cleared. Kirito and Asuna head towards the third floor. Kirito aims at beginning an NPC Quest he learned about during the Beta Test and Asuna decides to tag along. But will everything work out as it is supposed to?
- Sword Art Online Volume 1 - Aincrad
- Sword Art Online Volume 2 - Aincrad SS
- Sword Art Online Volume 3 - Fairy Dance
- Sword Art Online Volume 4 - Fairy Dance
- Sword Art Online Volume 5 - Phantom Bullet
- Sword Art Online Volume 6 - Phantom Bullet
- Sword Art Online Volume 7 - Mother's Rosario
- Sword Art Online Volume 8 - Early Late
- Sword Art Online Volume 9 - Alicization Beginning
- Sword Art Online Volume 10 - Alicization Running
- Sword Art Online Volume 11 - Alicization Turning
- Sword Art Online Volume 12 - Alicization Rising
- Sword Art Online Side Story - Aria in the Starless Night
- Accel World Volume 10 Chapter 3 - Versus: Accel World & Sword Art Online cross-over
- Sword Art Online Side Story - Caliber SS
- Sword Art Online Side Story - Cradle of the Moon
- Sword Art Online Side Story - Rondo of the Transient Sword
- Sword Art Online Side Story - Sound of Water, Sound of Hammer
- Sword Art Online Side Story - There is But One Ultimate Way
- Sword Art Online Side Story - The Day Before
- Sword Art Online Side Story - A Spot of Sunshine in the Winter
- Sword Art Online Material Edition 01 - The Progressers
- Sword Art Online Material Edition 02 - Early Character
- Sword Art Online Material Edition 03 - Ceramic Heart
- Sword Art Online Material Edition 04 - Cold Hand, Warm Heart
- Sword Art Online Material Edition 05 - Salvia
- Sword Art Online Material Edition 06 - Algade Showdown
- Sword Art Online Material Edition 07 - Continuation: Aria in the Starless Night
- Sword Art Online Material Edition 08 - Rondo of the Transient Sword (first chapter)
- Sword Art Online Material Edition 09 - Monochrome Concerto (first chapter)
The Sword Art Online series has had at least two manga adaptations. One by Nakamura Tamako and the other by Minami Juusei. There is also a 4-koma comedy related to some parts of the light novels.
A video game adaptation, Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment (ソードアート・オンライン -インフィニティ・モーメント Sōdo Āto Onrain: Infiniti Mōmento?), is developed by Namco Bandai Games for the PlayStation Portable (PSP). The game follows an alternate story line, in which a glitch causes Kirito and the other players to remain in Sword Art Online despite defeating Heathcliff on 75th floor, whilst players from other VMMORPGs such as Leafa and Sinon get sucked into the game. The game was released in both regular and limited edition box sets on March 14, 2013.