Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online

Updated May 18, 2014 at 04:59PM EDT by Random21.

Added May 17, 2014 at 02:26PM EDT by Random21.

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Sword Art Online (Often abbreviated to SAO) is a Japanese Science-Fiction series created by Reki Kawahara. Ever since it’s creation, the series has spawned a significant fandom, as well as a significant anti-fandom, mainly due to the themes presented in the series.


The series takes place in the world of Sword Art Online, an MMORPG released in 2022, controlled using Virtual Reality helmets which allow players to play their onscreen avatars using their minds. However when players log in for the first time, they find that they are unable to log out, with the only way of escaping being to beat the final boss on the 100th floor of the in-game tower. However, also find out that if a player is to die in-game, they also die in real life. The series follows the adventures of Kazuto “Kirito” Kirigaya, one of the chosen beta-testers for the game, joined by female player named Asuna, who tries to stop the game’s creator and free all the other players.


The original Light Novel for Sword Art Online, written by Reki Kawahara, was first created in 2002 as a competition entry for the ASCII Media Works’ Dengeki Game Novel Prize, but as the work exceeded to required page limit, he instead decided to publish the work as a web novel under the pseudonym Fumio Kunori, later adding three further volumes as well as several short stories alongside it. However, in 2008, after winning the competition’s grand prize with his work Accel World, he was requested to send in his original Sword Art Online novel as well. He then later took down his novels online after agreeing to this deal, with the first republication being released on April 10, 2009. A second novel series, titled Sword Art Online: Progressive, was also released on October 10, 2012. An anime adaptation of the series, created by A-1 Pictures, was also aired between July 7 and December 22, 2012, with a movie recap titled Sword Art Online: Extra Edition airing on December 31, 2013. A second season is also set to air in July 2014. As well as this, there have been a total of 8 manga adaptations of the series published to date, all written by Reki Kawahara, as well as a number of video game adaptations also. Also, starting on July 27, 2013 and concluding on February 15, 2014, the anime series was also aired on Adult Swim’s Toonami block.


The Sword Art Online series has received mixed reception since its first creation, especially in regards to the anime adaptation, with many critics criticizing the second arc of the show especially. Kotaku’s Richard Eisenbeis, while originally praising the show as being one of the smartest series in recent years after viewing the first arc[1], lost some of these positive opinions after viewing the second arc, especially in regards to the portrayal of the character Asuna, stating that she is “reduced to nothing but the quest item the male lead is hunting for.”[2] Rebecca Silverman of Anime News Network also criticized the series, pointing towards it as having pacing problems and “sloppy writing”[3]

Online Relevance

In North America, Sword Art Online is licensed by Aniplex of America and available for streaming on Crunchyroll[4]. The show has gained a large online following on many sites, including on Tumblr[5], Reddit[6], 4chan’s /a/ (Anime and Manga) board[7], Fanpop[8], My Anime List[9], and DeviantART[10]. There are numerous sites that provide episodic information about the series, such as the Sword Art Online wiki[11], TV Tropes[12] and Anime News Network[13]. In addition, the Sword Art Online Facebook page also has over 600,000 likes[14].


The series has spawned a large number of fan creations on the web since it’s creation, such as Fanart and Fanfiction. For example, on the Japanese fanart site Pixiv, there are over 8000 illustrations tagged under “ソードアート・オンライン”[15], as well as over 2800 results on video sharing website Nico Nico Douga[16]. On the western web, DeviantArt also has over 29000 images based on the series[17], and Fanfiction.net also has over 1400 fanfictions based on the series[18]. On Tumblr, there are a number of blogs dedicated to Sword Art Online, including Sword Art Online Fans[19], Sword Art Online Confessions[20] and Sword Art Online [21], among others.

Related Memes

Glop Glop/Chapter 16.5

Chapter 16.5 (Also referred to as Glop Glop) refers to a special chapter from the original Sword Art Online novel, featuring a sex scene between the characters of Asuna and Kirito. Due to the out of place and awkward nature of the scene, the chapter became notorious online, spawning many parodies.

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