One of the longest-running anime series we have today is Sword Art Online, which can trace its roots to an in-universe virtual RPG that basically killed a lot of different people due to its realistic nature. Of course, the storyline of the anime continued far beyond the events of the Sword Art Online game arc, as we have enjoyed multiple seasons of SAO. But it has been a while since we heard from SAO after the end of the Alicization arc. So, does that mean that Sword Art Online is over?
Sword Art Online is not yet over because there is still one more arc as far as the manga is concerned. After the events of Alicization, the Unital Ring arc is up next. However, the Unital Ring arc will be the final part of the entire Sword Art Online storyline as it is set to conclude this long-running adventure.
While there are a lot of Sword Art Online fans out there, it should be a while before the Unital Ring storyline is released in its anime form. That means that fans have to wait. Nevertheless, there is a lot of Sword Art Online content out there, especially with the release of SAO: Progressive, which takes us back to the Aincrad arc. So, with that said, let’s talk more about what’s next for Sword Art Online.
Is Sword Art Online Over?
Fans of online games were given a treat with the release of the Sword Art Online anime years ago as we were taken to an anime world where virtual games have become a reality. In that regard, the SAO game in the universe of the SAO anime took the players to a virtual world where everything felt real. However, the inevitable happened when they got stuck in the game and were forced to fight for their lives because the game turned into a life-and-death situation.
As fun as the original SAO anime was during what is called the Aincrad arc, the storyline progressed far beyond the SAO game as numerous other games were introduced in the anime. Of course, we just went through the entire Alicization arc, which is the longest in the SAO anime and light novel, as it introduced a new online world where everything was much more realistic due to the fact that it basically translates the soul of the person into a virtual world called the Underworld.
The Alicization arc focused on the development of a bottom-up AI that the company called Rath wanted to create using the help of Kirito. That was the reason why Kirito was given the task of spending time in the Underworld, where he spent several in-universe years as a character that had to fight his way through the injustice that was present in that world. While he was there, he met new friends in the form of Eugeo and Alice but got stuck in there due to the fact that mercenaries were hired to infiltrate the location of Rath, which was a huge floating laboratory called the Ocean Turtle.
Of course, Kirito saw help from his friends as they entered the Underworld to assist him. Most notably, Asuna went to the Ocean Turtle to help him fight the evil invaders that wanted to take Alice’s data for themselves because of how she developed into the bottom-up AI that Rath wanted to create.
To make things short, Kirito and his friends defeated the enemies in the Underworld and the ones that infiltrated it from the real world. Asuna was able to release Alice’s data to Rath. However, both Kirito and Asuna got stuck in the Underworld for 200 in-universe years despite the fact that they were only there for a few minutes in the real world. This was the result of how the infiltrators managed to speed time up in the Underworld.
Kirito and Asuna woke up in the real world but had no memories of the 200 years that they spent there due to the fact that those memories were taken from them to make sure that they were going to return to the real world as their old selves. Meanwhile, Alice became a real-world girl with an artificial body. However, data from Kirito’s version in the Underworld was backed up, as that was how the Alicization arc ended. So, does that mean that Sword Art Online is now over?
As seen in the ending of the Alicization arc, SAO is not yet over because fans were left with a cliffhanger. Of course, there are still a lot of things left unsettled after the events of Alicization. That is why the storyline of SAO is still ongoing in what is the final part of the entire journey of Kirito and Asuna.
What Is Next For Sword Art Online?
As mentioned, SAO is not yet over because the fifth and final arc of the storyline is eventually going to be released as an anime series. This arc is called the Unital Ring arc, which focuses on a new online game called Unital Ring.
The storyline of Unital Ring starts off two months after Kirito and Asuna woke up from their coma as they are just trying to get back to their normal routine. While in New Aincrad, Kirito and his friends ended up seeing a mysterious announcement similar to the original death game of SAO as they were forced into an entirely new game called Unital Ring.
Kirito and his friends are now in an entirely new world after New Aincrad crashed into this game. They now have level 1 accounts and eventually learned from a disembodied voice of a young girl that they have to reach a place that was marked by an aurora. The first player to reach that place would be granted everything.
Fortunately, they learned that they could log out of the game at will to return to the real world. But the catch is that their characters are going to be left vulnerable in the Unital Ring arc while their real-life versions are out in the real world. A character that dies while the player is out in the real world can never be used again, as Kirito and his friends are forced to find a way to fortify their log house in Unital Ring to make sure that their characters are left unharmed whenever they are in the real world.
However, while they were in the real world, Kirito learned that someone had managed to enter the Underworld once more, and he was intrigued by this new intruder. That was when he, Alice, and Asuna decided to return to the Underworld once more where they found a man who resembled Eugeo.
With all that said, the entire Unital Ring arc still has a lot of twists and turns that fans should be able to enjoy. And because this arc is set to become the final part of the entire SAO storyline, fans should ready themselves for an ending that is going to finally resolve all of the issues that have been lingering since the start of the anime and light novel.