Sword Art Online Watch Order: The Complete 2021 Guide

Sword Art Online Watch Order: The Complete 2021 Guide

Sword Art Online used to be hated despite its popularity among anime fans. It was a pioneer in the isekai style. Although it was the first of its kind, SAO has been a success despite its flaws. The series managed to redeem itself despite being criticized by western fans. Recent seasons have shown that even something harshly criticized can be overcome by negativity.

Trust me, the series will have a big premise. It will be easy to get caught up in the series and binge-watch it in one sitting. If you are willing to overlook the obvious flaws, then be prepared for an ever-evolving story that will adapt to your characters and stay fresh until the end. Fans who are new to the series may be confused by the fact that the original light novel has been expanded into multiple anime seasons and a theatrical anime movie.

Release Order

Sword Art Online Watch Order: The Complete 2021 Guide

1) TV Series

  • Season 1: Sword Art Online (2012)
  • Season 2: Sword Art Online II (2014)
  • Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online (2018)
  • Season 3, Part 1: Sword Art Online: Alicization (2018 – 2019)
  • Season 3, Part 2: Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld (2019 – 2020)
  • Season 3, part 3: Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld Part 2 (2020)

2) Movies

  • Sword Art Online: Extra Edition (2013)
  • Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale (2017)

3) ONAs

  • Sword Art Online Fatal Bullet: The Third Episode – Pilot ban (2018)

4) Specials

  • Sword Art Online: Sword Art Offline (2013)
  • Sword Art Online: Extra Edition (2013)
  • Sword Art Online: Sword Art Offline – Extra Edition (2014)
  • Sword Art Online II: Debriefing (2014)
  • Sword Art Online II: Sword Art Offline II (2014)
  • Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scale – Sword Art Offline (2017)
  • Sword Art Online Fatal Bullet: The Third Episode (2018)
  • Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online – Refrain (2018)
  • Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld Reflection (2018)
  • Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld Recap (2020)

5) Upcoming

  • Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night (30th October 2021) (Movie)

Chronological Order

Season 1: Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online Watch Order: The Complete 2021 Guide

Virtual reality has advanced by leaps and bounds in the past 2022. A massive online role-playing game, Sword Art Online (SAO), is now available. The “NerveGear technology allows players to control their avatars using only their thoughts.

Kazuto Kirigaya (nicknamed “Kirito”) is one of the few lucky enthusiasts to get the first shipment. Logging in, he finds himself in Aincrad’s elaborate and scenic world, complete with terrifying monsters and medieval weapons. The cruel twist of events is that the players quickly realize that they can’t log out. The game’s creator has locked them in the new world until they have completed all 100 levels.

Kirito must now interact with and collaborate with his fellow players to escape Aincrad. Some are friends, others are enemies, such as Asuna Yuuki who leads the group that is trying to escape the cruel game. Sword Art Online isn’t all fun and games. If they die in Aincrad they will die in real life. Kirito must adjust to his new reality and fight for his survival. He hopes to escape his virtual hell.

Sword Art Online: Extra Edition

The episode opens with Suguha and Kazuto arriving on their motorbike at the SAO Survivor School. Kazuto met up with Rika, Asuna, and Keiko before he left for emergency counseling. Meanwhile, the girls went to the changing rooms to get into their swimsuits.

Kazuto arrived at his office to find Kikuoka. Also, the counselor waiting for him at the office. The latter explained that the “emergency counseling” was a ruse to get Kazuto to meet him.

After the counselor left, Kikuoka brought a stack of snacks and a recorder to the table. This was to discuss Kazuto’s experience with Sword Art Online and to discover the reasons behind Kayaba Akihiko’s actions.

The girls compared swimsuit styles in the locker room. Kazuto began explaining how Akihiko announced that Sword Art Online’s true purpose was to create a setting. This is also the reason why Kirito left Klein in Town of Beginnings to be a solo player.

Season 2: Sword Art Online II

Sword Art Online Watch Order: The Complete 2021 Guide

Kazuto Kirigaya, a year after fleeing Sword Art Online has begun to settle back into the real world. But his peace is not to last as a new incident takes place in Gun Gale Online. A player referred to as Death Gun appears to be murdering people in the real world by shooting them in-game. 

Kazuto, who was approached by officials to help with the investigation of the murders, assumes the identity of Kirito and logs in to Gun Gale Online. He is determined to stop the killer.

Kirito is soon dragged into Sinon’s chase after Death Gun, who is a skilled sniper with a traumatized past. Soon, she is dragged by Sinon in his pursuit after Death Gun. Together, they enter the Bullet of Bullets tournament, where their target will be certain to appear. 

Kirito and Sinon race against Death Gun to stop him from claiming another life. However, things don’t always go smoothly as the past scars can hinder their progress. Kirito is once again putting his life at risk in a high-stakes virtual game.

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online

The notorious “Pink Devil”, clad in desert pink, is a small child-sized killer. Who hunts down other players of Gun Gale Online’s firearm-centered virtual reality game, Gun Gale Online. In real life, however, this player killer isn’t quite what anyone would expect.

Karen Kohiruimaki, a shy student at Tokyo University, stands out in stark contrast to her avatar in the game. She is more than anyone else, much to her dismay. Karen is a towering figure who feels superior to everyone around her. Her insecurity over her height leads her to turn to the virtual world as a way of escape. 

She began playing game after game, hoping to be a short, cute character. But Gun Gale Online finally gives her the life she desires. She is overjoyed with her new appearance and puts her efforts into LLENN to earn her legendary reputation as a player killer.

LLENN is unable to stop one of her targets from getting the better of her and she meets Pitohui, an eccentric, skilled woman. Pitohui quickly made friends with Karen and insists that LLENN take part in Squad Jam. This is a battle royale where teams compete against each other, fighting until one remains. LLENN is thrust into fierce competition and must use all her intelligence and will to win.

Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scale

Sword Art Online Watch Order: The Complete 2021 Guide

The Augma, a new alternative to the AmuSphere system, is released to the public in 2026. It projects a layer of reality on top of the player’s consciousness, instead of using FullDive. Ordinal Scale is the most popular combat-based game. In it, a player’s capabilities are ranked according to ordinal numbers.

After hearing that Aincrad bosses had appeared, Asuna and Lisbeth encourage Kirito to play OS. Asuna and Klein join Kirito in a boss battle against Kagachi, the Samurai Lord at Akihabara. Yuna, the AI idol singer, appears and gives buff effects to players as she sings. 

Kirito’s lack of agility and real-world physical strength is what prevents her from achieving anything. Eiji, the number-two ranked player, whispers “Switch” to Asuna before she delivers the fatal blow. This is an SAO game mechanic that she recognizes.

Asuna joined Klein and his group the next night for another boss fight at Yoyogi Park. While waiting for their last member, Asuna was unaware that Eiji had injured him the night before. Asuna leaves Klein’s guild and goes on to fight the Storm Griffin. Yuna is once again in charge. Klein and his guild are shocked by the sudden appearance of Zanghi, the Flame Caller. 

He is shockingly supported in his fight against the Storm Griffin by Eiji. Zanghi attacks Klein and his entire guild using superior reflexes, seemingly supernatural strength, and physically defeats them all. Klein and his guild disappear when Asuna returns home to the place she left them.

Kirito is practicing with OS in Yoyogi park the next morning when a girl he does not know, dressed in a white hood and mouthing something, appears before disappearing. Asuna arrives to surprise Kirito, who is confused. 

Asuna suggests that Eiji was once a member of the Knights of the Blood Oath. Yui, however, concludes that the spawning locations of the Aincrad bosses are aligned with the SAO maps. Kirito notices the absence of Klein and tries to find him.

Yuna as well as Eiji are back. Agil calls Kirito at the same time and informs him that Klein is in a hospital with a broken arm. Kirito panics and rushes to help Asuna as well as their friends. A second boss, Dorz’l the Chaos Drake, appears suddenly and focuses on Silica during the boss battle. 

Eiji stops Silica from fleeing by forcing her to the path of a deadly boss attack. Asuna is defeated and Asuna is protected. An orange orb appears from Asuna, which is quickly captured by an OS drone. Asuna suffers from memory loss and is taken to the hospital to be examined.

Asuna discovers that the Augma device scans her brain for SAO memories and that her memory loss may worsen. As Asuna’s condition worsens Kirito becomes determined to solve the mystery. Kirito visits Klein at the hospital and confirms that Klein has lost his SAO memories.

Season 3, Part 1: Sword Art Online: Alicization

Sword Art Online Watch Order: The Complete 2021 Guide

Kirigaya Kazuto, a young boy who had been playing Sword Art Online since its first beta. Kayaba Akihiko, the game’s creator, wants the MMORPG to be a real-life survival game. All players were shocked to discover that they would find themselves in big trouble. When a player’s HP is empty, their real body will also go.

Kayaba then stated that all SAO players had to complete all 100 floors for them to be free. Kirito claimed that he was a BETA tester. Because he knew enough about the game and had sufficient knowledge. Kirito meets Asuna, a swordsman. Later on, he falls in love with Asuna and adopts Yui, an AI.

Asuna was later described as belonging to the Knights of the Blood, the highest guild in “Sword Art Online”. Kayaba Akihiko, the leader of the Knights of the Blood, was discovered by the lovers. He challenges Kirito to a 1-v-1 fight to end it all in one. Kirito suffers massive damage but was saved by Asuna who gave her life for Kirito.

Sword Art Online was then over when all survivors returned to the real world. Asuna was however seen in a coma. Asuna disappeared and was found in Alfheim Online. Fairies compete to fly unlimited distances to the World Tree.

The game’s Fairy Queen Oberon, who is Asuna’s fiancée, revealed that the goal of the unlimited flight was a fabrication. Nobuyuki, the chief of RECT Inc. who acquired SAO from its owner Argus, is also known as Sugou Nobuyuki. Kirito meets Leafa, who was later revealed to have been his cousin Kirigaya Suguha. Yui and Kirito then set out to save Asuna and reach the World Tree.

As soon as Kirito and Suguo meet, he tries to rape Asuna before him. Kirito was then immobilized by Suguo’s superior account. Kayaba Akihiko revealed to Kirito that he had given his account, which is more than Sugou’s. This event allowed Kirito to summon the Excalibur sword, which he used in his attempt to kill Sugou.

Season 3, Part 2: Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld

It was already months later that the ALO incident had occurred. Kikuoka Seijirou approached Kirigaya again to ask him for help in a Gun Gale Online game. While the game uses guns most, Kirito used a sword and a gun. Death Gun, which kills players in the game, is the culprit he is warned to be wary of. The victims, who were also shot in the game, were later found dead in real life.

Kirito then enters GGO, where he meets Sinon, a well-known sniper who aims to win the Bullet of Bullets competition. It was believed that the event revealed Death Gun’s true identity, as the targets of Sinon were the best players in the game. 

After defeating Death Gun, Sinon and Kirito were victorious. Sinon was then apprehended in real life after he discovered that Death Gun was Sinon’s friend and was trying to rape Kirito in the real world.

After his venture with Sinon at Gun Gale Online ended, Kirito then steps into another game, which is requested again by Kikuoka Sijirou, the VR crime division member. Seihirou was also responsible for Kirito’s entry into GGO.

Season 3, Part 3: Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld 2nd Season

Sword Art Online Watch Order: The Complete 2021 Guide

Gabriel Miller briefly recalls his childhood fascination with souls during a dive into the Underworld. He quickly takes control of the army in the Dark Territory after logging in to the account representing the Dark Emperor Vector. General Shasta is not pleased with the emperor’s plans and confides in Lipia, his top soldier, to tell him that the emperor must be killed. Vector talks with his soldiers in real life and then retires to his bedroom where he is greeted by Lipia.

Lipia, disguised as a concubine attacks Vector with a hidden knife. Vector subdues Lipia and chokes her to death. Vector watches her glowing soul leave her body. He recalls his childhood obsession with souls and his love for his friend Alicia. He convinced her that her soul was hidden beneath her brain matter and inserted a long needle into her ears. He saw a glowing glow leaving her body as she passed away and rising into the sky. Vector, in the Underworld, addresses his legion and presents Lipia’s head froze in ice to warn anyone who might challenge him.

Shasta, shocked at the loss of his lover, tries to kill Vector. He unleashes a torrent of incarnations that nearly wipes out each army’s leaders. Vector is unaffected by his attempt to kill him. In the human empire, Alice arrives in the eastern camp close to the Eastern Gate with Kirito. Alice realizes that the gate will fall within days and removes the barrier between Dark Territory (Human Empire) and Dark Territory (Alice).

Alice and Kirito arrived at the military camp in the eastern corridor. Alice is concerned for Kirito’s safety. Alice and the other Integrity Knights are working together to devise a strategy to defeat the army of Dark Territory. Tiese and Ronie also learn about Eugeo’s fate and Kirito’s condition and are given the responsibility of caring for him. Everyone prepares for battle as the gate is about to fall.

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