Sword Art Online

Sunday 2:00 AM on Cartoon Network Premiered Jul 28, 2013 In Season




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Sword Art Online

Show Summary

The anime version of Sword Art Online comes from a series of novels and manga by the same name. Set in the year 2022, the gaming industry moved from Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game(s) (MMORPG) using monitors, keyboards, mice, headsets, etc to a neural interface allowing for true Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game(s) (VRMMORPG). Like other VRMMORPG, SOA interfaces directly with the human brain using Nerve Gear, a virtual reality helmet. Nerve Gear supplants the five human senses, so the user sees, hears, smells, tastes, and feels only what the game generates. This allows a player to become their character and experience the game as they experience their real lives, outside the game. Users have no connection to the outside world, other than what the game allows for based upon its programming.

SOA enters beta testing in the third quarter 2022 and allows 1,000 individuals to play the game in advance of the opening day. Upon beginning all players start over again with new basic characters. There are slight changes to the monsters, battles, etc between the beta and the opening day version of the game.

The official opening occurs on November 6, 2022 when all 10,000 players log into the game and begin exploring the world. After several hours, various users discover the logout command is not in the menu system available to them. Shortly after these players discover this fact, the owner and creator of SAO (Kayaba Akihiko) announces he is hijacking the game for his own personal desire, which he's had since he was a child. He wants to live in a world like SAO with true life and death struggles. Thus no one will be able to logout until someone reaches and clears the 100th floor. Additionally, if a character dies in the game the connected player will die in real life. As the developer of Virtual Gear, he designed and inserted into the helmets a kill switch that will microwave a player's brain in the real world. The kill switch actives should the player die in the game or if someone, in the real world, attempts to remove or disconnect the helmet.

The story follows several players who interact with each other from the beginning of the game, including a beta test named Kirito. He began playing SAO during the beta testing phased and surpassed other players in advancing through both character levels and floors. The anime is as much about the game play as it is the characters and how they develop and interact with each other.

Half way through the anime series, the action leaves the world of SAO and enters the real world, except for 300 players who for some reason don't wake up. Kirito discovers what happened to the 300 players, which includes his in game wife (Asuna), and begins devising a plan to rescue them and bring them to the real world. The last half of the game follows Kirito and others on this adventure and answers the question, will Kirito and Asuna marry also in the real world.

The novels and manga continue the story beyond the point where the anime ends.

Cartoon Network gives Sword Art Online an overall TV Rating in the USA of TV-14 LV, but the rating for each episode varies based upon content. As an example, some episodes have a TV rating of TV-PG L instead of TV-14 LV. The TV rating for an episode will be in the production note section, the summary, or both. As TV.com moved the production note section towards the bottom and as parents should be able to quickly find the rating of an episode, we're looking to have the rating in both sections to help parents, guardians, and other viewers.

Sword Art Online airs at the following times depending upon time zone:

EDT: Sunday at 02:00 (2 AM)
CDT: Sunday at 01:00 (1 AM)
MDT: Sunday at 00:00 (Midnight)
PDT: Sunday at 02:00 (2 AM)
Alaska: Sunday at 03:00 (3 AM)
Hawaii: Saturday at 21:00 (9 PM)


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 2/16/2014

Season 1 : Episode 25

  • The World Seed still

    The World Seed

    S 1 : Ep 25

    Aired 2/16/14 (23:54)

  • Gilded Hero still

    Gilded Hero

    S 1 : Ep 24

    Aired 2/9/14 (23:54)

  • Bonds still


    S 1 : Ep 23

    Aired 2/2/14 (23:54)

  • Grand Quest still

    Grand Quest

    S 1 : Ep 22

    Aired 1/26/14 (23:54)

More Info About This Show