Reki Kawahara originally wrote Sword Art Online for the Dengeki Light Novel Award in 2002 but wrote more than the maximum number of pages allowed. Since he could not trim the pages and did not want to erase the manuscript, Reki posted it on his personal website on November 2002 under the pen name "Kunori Fumio." Having received many good responses from the readers, Reki continued the series with sequels and various side stories at his site. As of July 2008, the website has exceeded 6.5 million views.
In 2008, Reki's Accel World won the grand prize for the Dengeki Light Novel Award and was to be published on February 2009. When Reki's editor found out about Sword Art Online, it was decided that the web novel will also be published on April 2009 under the Dengeki Bunko label.
An anime adaption by A-1 Pictures was announced at Dengeki Bunko Autumn Festival 2011 and began airing on July 7, 2012.
Director: Tomohiko Ito
Character Designer: Shingo Adachi
Sub Character Designer: Tetsuya Kawakami
Monster Designer: Ryuuta Yanagi
Prop Designer: Yuuta Tsuchiya, Takahiro Shikama
Main Animator: Atsushi Saitou
Chief Animation Director: Shingo Adachi, Tetsuya Kawakami
Action Animation Director: Ryuuta Yanagi, Takahiro Shikama
Sound Director: Yoshikazu Iwanami
Sound Production: DAX Production Inc.
Music Composer: Yuuki Kajiura
Music Production: Aniplex
Animation: A-1 Pictures
"Even if it's a game, it's not played as one."
On November 6, 2022, the first Virtual Reality MMORPG (VRMMORPG) called Sword Art Online (SAO) was released. Using a VR Helmet called "Nerve Gear," which simulates in-game character control using brain signals, approximately 10,000 players logged into SAO's virtual world, Aincrad.
However, an unexpected event occurred when Akihiko Kayaba, the creator of SAO and the Nerve Gear, announced that players cannot log out from the game. In order to log out, players must complete all 100 floors of Aincrad and defeat the final boss under the condition that death in-game means death in the real world. Tampering the Nerve Gear in the real world will also cause death to the player.
Having a new deadly predicament set on the 10,000 players, Kirito, a skilled player who was a beta tester for SAO, sets out to complete the game and achieve freedom.
The main protagonist of the series. Using the knowledge he obtained as a SAO beta tester, Kirito chose to play solo throughout the death game, earning the title "The Black Swordsman" and "Beater" during raids and floor boss fights.
The main heroine. Asuna is one of the few female players in SAO who has exceptional skills with the rapier. As the players slowly complete the 100 floors of Aincrad, she became sub-leader of the Knights of Blood guild and earned the title "Flash."
An MMORPG player who met Kirito during the beginning of SAO and quickly befriends him in order to learn how to play. After Kayaba's announcement, Cline decided not to follow Kirito because he could not abandon his other MMORPG friends who were also new in the game. A katana user who leads the Fuurinkazan guild.
A young girl who tamed a dragon monster early in the game, obtaining the rare "Beast Tamer" class.
A female blacksmith who is Asuna's best friend.