Sword Art Online: Best Order To Watch All The Series & Movies (2022)

The saga of Sword Art Online began with a series of novels written by Reki Kawahara between 2002 and 2008. Almost two decades later, the franchise has grown to include light novels, anime television series, and movies for both television and theaters. The video game section of the Sword Art Online franchise has 16 titles. It's a lot of media for one franchise, even in the anime category.

Even fans of the series might be overwhelmed as they try and keep up with new material, so new fans have a lot of catching up to do. The series is easy to find on a variety of streaming services, but there's an ideal order to watch them. Keeping an eye on the Story Arcs, which are numbered, is one part of the guideline.

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The series' aesthetic is intended to be surreal, so the setting and characters might seem fantastical or even inconsistent even if viewed in the recommended SAO watch order. The anime doesn't dramatically deviate from the manga or light novels, and reading the literature isn't mandatory to understand any of the anime. This order also doesn't include spinoffs, which are optional for viewers more interested in the expanded lore.

Updated July 25, 2022 by Kristy Ambrose: The world of Sword Art Online continues to expand, which includes more additions to the SAO movies and shows along with other sections of the popular franchise.

Each series ends, like all the others before it, with ample dropped story threads and a promise that the main character will be back even though every series hypes a permanent conclusion. That means there will likely be another series coming soon, and even more to add to this list with release dates set for later this year.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Sword Art Online (2012)

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This series neatly explains everything in the very first episode, including the development of the new "virtual reality massively multiplayer online role-playing game" or VRMMORPG, its flagship title being the new Sword Art Online. The plot follows the main character Kirito, a dedicated gamer who was also active in the beta-test version, as he and the other players become trapped within the game world. He seeks to beat the game and free himself along with all of the other players.

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(Video) How To Watch Sword Art Online in The Right Order!

The series takes place in two virtual worlds. Story Arc 1: Aincrad takes the audience to the floating castle Aincrad of SAO, and the second to the world of ALfheim Online where all of the characters can fly, hence the title Story Arc 2: Fairy Dance. The movie Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night, which was released in 2021, is a retelling of these two arcs from Asuna's point of view, focusing on her first experiences as a gamer trapped on Aincrad's First Floor.

The original Sword Art Online anime series has a wide appeal to those who like fantasy, romance, or gaming-related anime. It's also a great story and is beautifully rendered with some of the best combinations of CGI and hand-drawn animation that existed at the time. The series consists of 25 episodes, which is a single season.

Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria Of A Starless Night (2021)

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Although this movie is a more recent addition to the already extensive anime library of the SAO universe, the story takes place during the same time as the first season that was released in 2012. This time, however, the story is told from Asuna's point of view instead of Kirito's.

For those who have seen the first series, many of the tentpole events are still the same. That includes the moment when the head developer Kayaba refuses to let the players leave and insists that they fight for their lives and the famous fight scene when Asuna first meets the solitary Kirito. The plotline follows her rise from a nervous level one player to "a floor clearing badass" by the time they meet again.

Sword Art Online Progressive: Scherzo Of A Dark Dusk (September 2022)

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This latest installment in the SOA movie series hasn't been released yet, but the event is imminent and the hype is real. The next movie in the Progressive arc continues, making this one in the Sword Art online chronology. It also features Asuna and her first experiences while leveling in Aincrad, putting it earlier in the SAO watch order.

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(Video) Correct Order To Watch [ Sword Art Online ] Complete Series | All Seasons & Movies

The story recalls the second meeting of Kirito and Aincrad, this time when Asuna is geared to the max and one of the leaders of the server's biggest and most powerful guild. Viewers might recall the storyline from the original series about the journey to the final boss and how the guilds rallied together as one, even accepting the help of an outsider, loner, and "beater" Kirito to defeat it. This concludes that plotline but from Asuna's POV.

Sword Art Online Extra Edition (2013)

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For those that would rather take a shortcut to the second anime series, there's the option of watching Sword Art Online Extra Edition first instead and skipping the original anime entirely through part of the entire SAO watch order. On the other hand, those who are familiar with the first series can skip this movie and not miss anything.

It's a synopsis of the previous anime season condensed into about an hour and a half, plus there's some new footage added in, so it's not a total bore for viewers who have already seen the original season. The film is intended more as promotional material for the upcoming Sword Art Online II than a conventional movie that's intended to stand on its own.

Sword Art Online II (2014)

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Sword Art Online II is a direct sequel to the first series, bringing viewers to Story Arc 3: Phantom Bullet. It begins with the two main characters, now returned to their real-life selves, doing their best to live normal lives. However, the hero, who now uses his real name of Kazuto, has gained some notoriety as some sort of expert when it comes to issues with VRMMORPGs. So when yet another new game, this time a first-person shooter (FPS) called Gun Gale Online, starts to have some unique problems, the authorities ask Kazuto to investigate the game on their behalf.

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The issue with Gun Gale Online is that the in-game weapons are actually injuring and even killing players. The first season is constantly referenced to the point where the viewer can't help but smell some fanservice, but it's an exciting story all the same. It's almost the same length as its predecessor, consisting of 24 episodes.

(Video) How to Watch Sword Art Online 2022 Best Watch Order Guide

Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale (2017)

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The appeal of the SOA franchise is partly due to the clever twist that seems to form the basis for each subsequent plotline. The new game this time is combat-based and called Ordinal Scale, which is one of many games using a new VR technology called The Augma. This is an alternative to the previous FullDive technology and is the real focus of the plot. When Aincrad bosses start to appear in Ordinal Scale, our heroes create new avatars to investigate. Much of the story is tied to the first series again, but it makes more sense in the wider scope of the plot this time.

Unlike the previous movie, which was a summary of the first season with some new footage, Ordinal Scale is a movie intended as a direct sequel to Sword Art Online II. However, it isn't assigned a story arc like the anime series are, so it's hard to know where to put it when deciding about the best Sword Art Online viewing order other than somewhere after the original but before the Alicization arc.

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The movie ends with a moment that everyone was waiting for even though it was coming, and it feels like it could be a satisfying end to the anime series. There's plenty more to come, however, although after this point the story takes on a more unconventional style.

Sword Art Online: Alicization (2018-2019)

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The third official installment of the Sword Art Online series is labeled Story Arc 4: Alicization. This arc seems extensive because it's broken into so many parts, but it's still only as long as a regular season with 24 episodes. This season is the first three parts of a total of seven.

The first episode features a child Kirito growing up in what seems like a fantasy world, which may or may not be a game. Many of the popular characters from the previous seasons and movies are absent and seem to never have existed. Eventually, it's revealed that it's a dream, and the audience returns to the "real" world where Kazuto is back with his usual friends playing Gun Gale Online. The same day, he's attacked, poisoned, and ends up in a coma, where he returns to his strange dream and lives as Kirito again.

(Video) How To Watch Sword Art Online in Order!

There are two interesting parallel storylines in Alicization. One is the adventure Kirito has in his dream, and the other is the drama of his friends in real life, led by Asuna, trying to help him as he lies in the hospital. Asuna is not only the person that discovers his location but also finds out about the new Underworld technology, and Kazuto's brain is one of the test subjects.

Sword Art Online: Alicization – War Of The Underworld (2019-2020)

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The first part of the series about the new MMORPG known as Underworld consists of 25 episodes which are divided into four parts. Kirito is comatose for much of it but haunted by disturbing dreams. He regains consciousness in Part 7 in time to join his friends as they learn the true secret of the child that Kirito thought was his avatar's younger sister, Alice.

In yet another compelling twist, the character that lent their name to the series is the key to everything. It turns out Alice is the world's first true AI, and despite the attempts to find and capture her, she manages to escape with Kirito's help.

Sword Art Online: Alicization – War Of Underworld Part 2 (2020)

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The battle of Underworld continues with Alice traveling to the World's End Altar and the rest of our heroes trying to save the world's first and so far only type of artificial intelligence. Players from the outside crowd into the servers and threaten to destroy the world entirely, and all hope seems to fade as our heroes try to stop them.

Chronologically, this is the last series in the franchise, and part of the marketing was that this was the conclusion to not only the Alicization arc but the whole anime franchise. However, that doesn't rule out OVAs, SAO movies, or video games.

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(Video) Sword Art Online Perfect Watch Order For Beginners

FAQs

What order do you play Sword Art Online? ›

  1. There are currently 5 home console games for Sword Art Online series. ...
  2. The chronology of the games follow as Hollow Fragment, Lost Song, Hollow Realization and Fatal Bullet. ...
  3. Something that needs to be added however, is that the Gameverse starts at the end of the Aincrad Arc during Kirito and Heathcliff duel on Floor 75.

What are the SAO seasons in order? ›

Contents
  • 2.1 Season 1 (2012)
  • 2.2 Season 2: II (2014)
  • 2.3 Season 3: Alicization (2018–2020)

Where do the SAO movies fit in? ›

The events of the film take place between the second and third seasons of the Sword Art Online anime series.

Is SAO a 12 year old? ›

Its a great show I recommend it for ages 11+.

Do you have to play Sword and Fairy in order? ›

The game is a direct sequel to Sword and Fairy 6 but can also be seen as a standalone story that you can enjoy without having played previous games in the series.

Did SAO get Cancelled? ›

The game was terminated on July 29, 2016.

How old is kirito? ›

10/10 Kazuto Kirigaya / Kirito (14 - 17)

In the virtual reality of Sword Art Online, he'd develop many names, from the Black Swordsman to the Star King. Kazuto is 14 at the start of the Aincrad Arc, 16 towards its end, and 17 throughout the Phantom Bullet Arc and Alicization Arc.

Is SAO season 5 a movie? ›

The Sword Art Online franchise revealed the Sword Art Season 5 start date on its official Twitter profile as a result of the perseverance and enthusiasm of fans. Following the streaming service's acquisition of all of the film's copyrights, Netflix claimed that it would be released on November 6, 2022.

Is Kirito a girl in SAO 2? ›

Sinon eventually discovered Kirito was in fact not a girl while in a changing room, and was appalled and frustrated that he took advantage of the mistake. Despite the initial upset, Sinon still entered a tournament with Kirito.

Will there be SAO s4? ›

Sword Art Online season 4 Netflix release date confirmed for February 2022. After an incredibly long wait, Netflix is finally releasing the highly-anticipated fourth season of the beloved sci-fi adventure anime series Sword Art Online!

What is SAO 3 called? ›

Sword Art Online: Alicization is the third season of the anime series adapted from the light novel series Sword Art Online, written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec.

Who is the youngest in SAO? ›

Ayano Keiko, otherwise known as Silica is a supporting cast member of the Sword Art Online series. She was only 12 years old upon being trapped with the 10,000 players in Aincrad during the first arc in the series.

How old is Kirito's sister? ›

Bio
BirthdateApril 19, 2009
Age15 (Fairy Dance Arc); 16 (Phantom Bullet Arc); 17 (Alicization Arc, Unital Ring Arc)
GenderFemale
System Name, NicknameLeafa (リーファ rīfa)
EpithetSpeedaholic (スピードホリック supīdohorikku)
11 more rows

Who is the youngest person in SAO? ›

Ayano Keiko
  • RL.
  • SAO.
  • ALO.

Is Sword and Fairy 7 the same as Sword and Fairy: Together Forever? ›

There are a lot of similarities between Sword and Fairy: Together Forever and last year's ,Xuan Yuan Sword 7. Not only do they have the same developer and publisher, both are the latest games in long-running Chinese RPG series that date back to the '90s.

What is the best fairy type in Sword? ›

Every one of the Eeveelutions is a great Pokemon, but as one of the premier and most iconic Fairy-types, it's no surprise that Sylveon continues to be one of the best Fairy-types in Pokemon Sword & Shield.

Is Sao season 5 Confirmed? ›

Recently, Netflix issued a decree that the 5th season will be released on November 6, 2022 after it acquires all of the film's copyrights. The official Twitter handle of Sword Art Season 5 also announced the release date on Twitter. The much-anticipated season 5 will thus premiere on 6th November in Asia/Tokyo time.

Will there be a season 7 of Sao? ›

The seventh and final season of the American television drama series Sons of Anarchy premiered on September 9, 2014, and concluded on December 9, 2014, after 13 episodes aired on cable network FX.
...
Sons of Anarchy (season 7)
Sons of Anarchy
Original networkFX
Original releaseSeptember 9 – December 9, 2014
Season chronology
List of episodes
7 more rows

What is Sao season 4 called? ›

Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld (2019 - 2020)

Who is the wife of Kirito? ›

Asuna. The main heroine of Sword Art Online and main protagonist of the seventh volume and the Progressive series (which tells the entire Aincrad Arc through her perspective), Asuna – who is 17 – is a friend and later to be girlfriend and the in-game wife of Kirito in Sword Art Online and Alfheim Online.

Why did Kirito erase 200 years? ›

The 200 years they spent in Underworld were attributed to Fluctlight's technology effect; time acceleration. After Kirito and Asuna leave the Underworld after 200 years, they decide to remove their memories of the VR world.

Who was Kirito first love? ›

There, Kirito clearly states that Asuna is his second love and Sachi is his first love.

How many Sao movies will there be? ›

2013's Sword Art Online: Extra Edition, 2017's Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale, and 2021's Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night. There's also a sequel to the Progressive movie slated to be released later in 2022, called Sword Art Online Progressive: Scherzo of a Dark Dusk.

Has Sao series ended? ›

Is Sword Art Online finished? Nope. It isn't. After Alicization there is going to be another arc called the Unital Ring.

How do I watch Sao in chronological order? ›

The order to watch Sword Art Online is:
  1. Watch Season 1 (Sword Art Online)
  2. Watch Sword Art Online: Extra Edition.
  3. Watch Season 2 (Sword Art Online II)
  4. Watch Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online.
  5. Watch Movie (Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scale)
  6. Watch Season 3 Part 1 (Sword Art Online: Alicization)

Who is in love with Kirito? ›

Asuna Yuuki

Asuna is Kirito's partner and love interest. They first met after being trapped in SAO for a month and formed a party to defeat the 1st Floor Boss.

Is Kirito's sister? ›

Suguha Kirigaya, also known as Sugu, is Kazuto "Kirito" Kirigaya's "sister" in the real world; she is in actuality his cousin, as her mother had been raising her sister's child from a young age, though neither Suguha nor Kirito knew about this until later.

Is Asuna Kirito's wife? ›

The main heroine of Sword Art Online and main protagonist of the seventh volume, Asuna is a friend and later to be wife of Kirito and a sub-leader of the "Knights of the Blood Oath", a medium-sized guild acknowledged as the strongest guild in Aincrad.

Why was SAO removed from Netflix? ›

The date for leaving is certainly more confusing as Netflix tends to license shows for 12, 36 (3 years) and 60 (5 years) months at a time. To put it simply, Netflix's license to stream the popular anime title is coming to an end.

Is asuna in SAO s4? ›

Asuna does snatch the main protagonist role from Kirito in SAO's fourth arc, Mother's Rosario, but this story was a mere seven episodes and serves as a side juncture in between the Phantom Bullet and Alicization arcs.

Is SAO 2022 finished? ›

The ending of SAO: Alicization – WoU teased the “Inter-Intelligence War”. However, there is still no information about this in the available light novel volumes. What we know so far is that the story is still ongoing, with volume 26 as the latest.

What is Kirito's sword called? ›

The Elucidator is Kirito's Primary Sword throughout the game. He was awarded the sword as a boss-drop, after he defeated one of the bosses in the game.

How old is Kirito s3? ›

Kirito
Kirigaya Kazuto
Age14-5 (Aincrad Arc) 16 (end of Aincrad Arc; Fairy Dance Arc) 17 (Phantom Bullet Arc; Alicization Arc)
BirthdayOctober 7, 2008
SexMale
SpeciesUnknown
6 more rows

What is Kirito's title? ›

At some point in the game, Kirito became known as the «Black Swordsman» (黒の剣士, Kuro no Kenshi?) due to his tendency to wear black clothing.

What is the 4 season of Sao called? ›

Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld (2019 - 2020)

How many seasons Sao have? ›

Released in 2013, Sword Art Online (SAO) has had 4 seasons (the third season is split in 2) and a spin-off series, Gun Gale Online (GGO), and the storylines all revolve around fully immersive games.

What is the 3rd season of Sao called? ›

Sword Art Online: Alicization is the third season of the anime series adapted from the light novel series Sword Art Online, written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec.

Will there be season 4 for Sao? ›

'Sword Art Online' Season 4 released on Netflix today, February 6, 2022. The third season of Sword Art Online, which was titled Sword Art Online: Alicization, was released on October 7, 2018, and continued till March 31, 2019.

Why is it called Alicization? ›

The name 'Alicization' is formed from the acronym A. L. I. C. E. (Artificial Labile Intelligent Cybernated Existence or simply a highly adaptive artificial intelligence), in reference to the project's goal of turning artificial human Fluctlights into «Alice».

Is SAO s3 good? ›

Alicization is a gorgeous, enjoyable season of SAO action that does a lot right but seems unable to shake the issues holding back the previous seasons. Still, if you made it this far you're likely to see it through to the end, flaws and all.

Has SAO series ended? ›

Is Sword Art Online finished? Nope. It isn't. After Alicization there is going to be another arc called the Unital Ring.

How many movies of SAO are there? ›

Sword Art Online

Will there be a season 7 of SAO? ›

The seventh and final season of the American television drama series Sons of Anarchy premiered on September 9, 2014, and concluded on December 9, 2014, after 13 episodes aired on cable network FX.
...
Sons of Anarchy (season 7)
Sons of Anarchy
Original networkFX
Original releaseSeptember 9 – December 9, 2014
Season chronology
List of episodes
7 more rows

Is Asuna in Sword Art Online 2? ›

The Mother's Rosario Arc of Season 2 gave Asuna a small, but important, moment to shine as she became the arc's leading protagonist in lieu of Kirito.

Is SAO Alicization a different story? ›

In short, no. Alicization is mostly self-contained, and events from earlier in the series are referenced with explanations. But if you're wanting a summary of the most important information, here's a basic synopsis.

Who is the main character in SAO season 4? ›

Asuna does snatch the main protagonist role from Kirito in SAO's fourth arc, Mother's Rosario, but this story was a mere seven episodes and serves as a side juncture in between the Phantom Bullet and Alicization arcs.

Will Sword Art Online continue after Alicization war of underworld? ›

Since the main light novel series is still ongoing, the logical continuation for the next SAO anime series is certainly the next arc after the War of Underworld, called Unital Ring. Reki Kawahara said that Unital Ring will be the last arc for SAO.

How many seasons are there in SAO 2022? ›

Don't forget to catch the beloved fourth season of Sword Art Online coming your way on Feb. 6, 2022, but while you wait for this day to arrive, catch the first three seasons of the anime streaming right now on Netflix!

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