Sword Art Online

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



User Score: 258

out of 10
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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

Newest Full Episode

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  • Sword Art Online is pretty good.

    Alright, I'm about to review another anime. This time one that I only just got finished watching. Sword Art Online! What did I think of it?..... Pretty good actually! It's weird too cause considering what SAO is about, I wasn't sure if I could get into it because I know absolutely nothing about MMOs. But I think the creators of SAO sorta counted on some people with that same mindset possibly watching it, because they do a pretty good job explaining the basics of MMO mechanics for newbs like myself. At least I think so. I'm glad for that, cause I probably would've been completely lost and lost interest in the show quickly had they not done that.

    I like most of the characters. Minor ones like Andrew and Klein are pretty cool, with Andrew going out of his way to help lower ranking players as often as he can and Klein trying to support Kirito when he goes all "lone wolf". Silica is a nice girl, who I think would make a great little sister. Suguha though can be kind of... creepy. Granted, I like how supportive of Kirito she is, and how funny she can be as Leafa in ALfheim, but I'm never gonna forget that she's in love with her damn cousin. I realize that's okay in Japan, but since I'm not Japanese, I just can't wrap my mind around something like this! I'm sorry, it's just weird!

    And now we come to the main characters: Kirito, Asuna and Yui. Kirito's got a likable personality. I liked his shifting from a loner to a team player as SAO went on. I like how he fights too. I know there were some criticisms about Kirito being overpowered, but he was a beta tester for the game, so it shouldn't be that much of a surprise that he won pretty much every battle he was in. At least later enemies would put up better fights as the show went on. Asuna is equally likable and strong. She's feisty in the beginning and I like her interactions with Kirito a lot. I also think she's one of the most attractive girls I've seen in any anime show. She's hot, but not overly sexual in the slightest, she's mature, but does have her silly moments, and she shows toughness, but is clearly kind too. These traits make Asuna's one of the most likable female protagonists in any animated show I've seen in a while. And as a straight male, I have no problem in saying that I love Kirito and Asuna together. The progression of their relationship is one of my favorite things about Sword Art Online because they just work so well together in battles, and they just have great chemistry together. Finally, Yui is just adorable. She's really useful as an assist considering she's basically the MCP of SAO and ALO. And it's just so cute how she calls Kirito and Asuna "Daddy and Mommy"... Ugh, I need punch a wall just to regain some masculinity. Oh well.

    Another thing I love about Sword Art Online are the two games themselves. Sword Art is an impressive looking Guild Wars-like setting, and I liked the enemy and boss designs. ALfheim however was more fantastical, like a mixture of Fire Emblem and Ferngully. That sounds so freaking stupid and yet with all the fairy races and the world having set pieces and weapons/magic similar to Fire Emblem, that's the best combination I can think of. And they made a beautiful world. The show's animation and art style look really good too.

    With all this good stuff though, I do have one major problem with Sword Art Online. The pacing at the beginning. Why were there such big time skips in the first several episodes? Example. Kirito helps Silica with her dragon and then in the next episode he's suddenly aligned with the Knights of the Blood Oath and Asuna's just there as second in command. We don't know how he joined up or how she got that position, it just happens out of the blue. What? How? Why? But the pacing got better after that so it doesn't seem so bad in retrospect. But that's my only major criticism. I wasn't even angry about Asuna basically waiting around to be rescued (I don't mind that if the character is likable enough) in the ALO half of the show. I mean if I think about it, she couldn't really do much, since Sugo probably removed all of her power from SAO after trapping her in ALfheim. She's still an awesome character and I WANT to see her be saved. Though I did hate the two instances of her basically being... assaulted. Those made me very uncomfortable, and it was all the more reason that I freaking HATED Sugo/Oberon. I wanted so bad to enter the show and kill him myself. I applauded when Kirito did it for me.

    This show is dark too man. The idea of someone intentionally trapping people inside a virtual MMO, and programming it so if they die there they die in real life, is freaking scary. It takes a psychotic, sick dude to actually try it. And so is stealing 300 of those players who didn't make it out of SAO after it's completion to use them in human subjugation experiments. Luckily, SAO had a satisfying ending. People may not agree with me on that, but it's my opinion. Still, I'm used to so much more lighthearted stories when it comes to anime. This was a different approach for me but I liked it nonetheless. Sword Art Online is just really good. I love the idea, the two MMOs, the characters, and especially Asuna. I'm glad I was able to finally watch this great anime and if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.moreless
  • Really Clever

    When i saw this on netflix i was really hooked. i like anime but this show had impactful emotions and some people made videos about someday we could actualy have Nerve Gear. The only side afect is i dont think including the five senses would come in this life time first of all.
  • Amazing, Anime. Might Give You Tears

    Sword Art Online is one of the Best Anime I seen in a while. It is filled with emotion, and joy. It will definitely be one of your favorites. I watched it in sub, and the Japanese voice actors were amazing. Its now in dub if you like to watch it in English. And the voice actor of Kirito will be the same voice actor as Eren in Attack On Titan's Dub. You will enjoy the amazing art style of this series.moreless
  • Best show in a while.

    Of the shows I've seen this year, this has been one of the best. ALO may be rushed, but SAO was quite nice.
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