Sword Art Online first started as a light novel series written by author Reki Kawahara and illustrated by ABEC. Reki first started uploading the series on his own website from 2002 to 2008. These novels were then picked up for publication by ASCII Media Works’ Dengeki Bunko imprint in 2009. So far, the series has been adapted into ten manga versions, the English version of which is licensed by Yen Press in North America. The Light Novel series in itself is very popular and commercially successful. It has sold over 20 million copies all over the world as of 2021. The manga is also available on Kadokawa’s Comic Walker website so that is one place you can read it from.
The anime is adapted from the first four novels by Kawahara. It is produced by Aniplex and Genco in a partnership and animated by A-1 Pictures. The first season aired in 2012 between the months July to December and the second season followed suit in 2014 airing in the same months. The makers then decided to drop the Sword Art Online film Ordinal Scale which had an original story by the author. The much-criticized season 3, Alicization ended with its last episode in September 2020. Now, SAO is all set to launch its fifth season as well.
So, what is Sword Art Online all about? Where are we in the story so far? And when is the fifth season releasing? Let’s talk about it.
10,000 gamers log into to a new virtual reality MMORPG game Sword Art Online. They are greeted by Akihiko Kayaba, the creator of the NerveGear and the game. He reveals that they are all basically trapped in the game and have to defeat all 100 floors of Aincrad, the steel castle. If they forcibly remove the NerveGear and themselves from the game, they’ll die. If they suffer deaths inside the game, they will yet again, die. Kirito, a player who had previously Beta Tested the game steps up. He isolates himself from the rest of the players and tries to beat all the 100 levels of Aincrad by himself.
Kirito has the advantage of having experience with virtual reality. He was also one of the 1000 players who beta tested the game and that gives him a greater edge. While playing the game, he comes across another gamer, Asuna Yuki. The two quickly form a relationship and always have each other’s backs while fighting powerful foes. They get close enough to get married inside the game itself. The story then continues with Kirito going into various virtual reality worlds and defeating powerful enemies.
Story So Far
The latest episode of Sword Art Online was of the Alicization arc. It aired on February 2021. We see Kirito get a call from Rinko who informs him that Alice has gone missing. He decides to meet her at Rath just to have a package delivered to his doorstep with the Rath logo on it. To his surprise, he opens the package to find Alice inside it. They get her all dressed and go on to spar in the family dojo. Alice receives a cryptic email that could connect to the Underworld. Alice, Asuna, Kazuto, and the rest head of to Rath to test their theories. Later on, we see Ronie and Tiese’s descendants being chased away by a space monster named Abyssal Horror. They get taken down with their airships and Kirito and the others go to their rescue. After defeating the monster, the descendants recognize Kirito and the others and rejoice having been rescued by the Star King and Queen along with Integrity Knight Alice. They fly back to Cardina in the ending scenes.
Now that you’re all caught up, here is what the future looks like for Sword Art Online. The series is all set to release its fifth season on Netflix but it is not slated for release any time soon. We expect the anime to be out in late 2022, around November month; we will keep you posted nonetheless.