Sword Art Online

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Alternative Titles

Synonyms: S.A.O, SAO
Japanese: ソードアート・オンライン
English: Sword Art Online
More titles


Type: TV
Episodes: 25
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 8, 2012 to Dec 23, 2012
Premiered: Summer 2012
Broadcast: Sundays at 00:00 (JST)
Licensors: Aniplex of America
Studios: A-1 Pictures
Source: Light novel
Genres: ActionAction, AdventureAdventure, FantasyFantasy, RomanceRomance
Themes: Love PolygonLove Polygon, Video GameVideo Game
Duration: 23 min. per ep.
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older


Score: 7.201 (scored by 19608371,960,837 users)
1 indicates a weighted score.
Ranked: #30282
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
Popularity: #5
Members: 2,770,136
Favorites: 64,279

External Links

Streaming Platforms

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Preliminary Show Spoilers
Apr 6, 2014
LordAura (All reviews)
--The review contains minor spoilers--

Since I've seen a plethora of scores of 10 for this show, I thought I'd write what I feel is a more realistic review for this show. Sword Art Online is more or less the equivalent of a fanfiction in it's writing and quality. Whether people want to overlook it or not is up to the individual, but I believe it fails at the fundamentals for writing a good story. This review will go into details as to my opinions on why I feel this way.

1) Story - This is first major problem is the show. Let's start from the read more
Feb 26, 2013
LLYNCES (All reviews)
I don't really want to go into too much depth, but I'd like to give an overview of the series and give my opinions it. If you haven't noticed yet there are many negative reviews out there for this anime, and while many of them bring up some pretty fair points, I think some people are being a bit too harsh on it. Let me explain.

Yes it's a popular anime, yes it has flaws, no it's not perfect, but at the very least in my opinion it is enjoyable. The pacing is off, the beginning particularly feels rushed, there were moments where I thought read more
Oct 12, 2014
TheDeedsOfMen (All reviews)
Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a brave young boy. He was the best swordsman in the land and the manliest man of all. He overcame countless trials with little effort and won the hearts of many fair maidens.

Yes, it's time for Sword Art Online, the origin of many angry rants.

The premise doesn't sound too bad. Ten thousand players of a virtual MMO are trapped in the game and forced to complete it to escape, except that death in the game leads to death in real life. Just think about it: this could be a tragic story of struggle read more
Dec 31, 2012
_Rika (All reviews)
Once in a while, there comes along a title (be it movie, book or anime) that takes the audience by storm, sweeping numerous off their feat, leaving several with a bad aftertaste in their mouth and making a few pass the work off as ‘average’ or ‘mediocre’. Online communities, forums, chat rooms and every other nook and corner of the internet known to man turn into arenas of debates, discussions, fanboyism/fangirlism and flaming. It’s apparent that when something is popular, it doesn’t always get to bath in praises. With the acclaim, comes a sheer amount of criticisms. Also, it goes without saying that popularity read more
May 4, 2013
Polyphemus (All reviews)
Well then. SAO is indisputably one of the most polarizing anime in recent memory. It has devout fans who think it's one of the greatest, haters who think it's trash, and a minority that just says "hey guys, can't we all just have different opinions?" I hate the first and last groups with a fiery passion. I feel like breaking down why I think it's awful, so I'm writing a review. Let’s get into it, shall we?

The premise was a somewhat generic one, and “trapped in a video game” has been done numerous times before, but SAO seemed promising. And then the plot did everything read more
Oct 15, 2012
Florete (All reviews)
Sword Art Online, aka The Twilight Saga for Teenage Boys.

In the beginning, Sword Art Online (SAO) looked like it could have turned out to be the best show of the year, no exaggeration. The premise of being stuck and unable to log out of a virtual reality MMO with the condition that dying in the game means you die in real life and the only way out is to clear all 100 floors was set up extremely well in the first episode. The second episode continued this with the first boss fight, supported by well-done animation and Yuki Kajiura's amazing-as-always score. At this point, hopes read more
Nov 3, 2012
Stellio (All reviews)
After examining forums, comments, and reviews on Sword Art Online, it doesn't take a genius to recognize that this anime adaptation is one of the most controversial, disputable TV Series of the year. Thus, it'll be understandable if you disagreed with me at some point in this review, but please take the time to actually read it before deciding "oh, just another fan boy" or "gross, just another hater." Because, in my opinion, Sword Art Online doesn't deserve the amount of crap it gets or the amount of praises; essentially, it's mediocre.

First and foremost, the Sword Art Online TV Series is an adaptation of the read more
Jul 17, 2012
iWriter88 (All reviews)
Sword Art Online was one of the most hyped up animes of Summer 2012 and has probably the widest range of scores I’ve ever seen. Does it live up to the hype? Read on to find out! That being said, skip to the consensus (TLDR) if you don't want to read blocks of text! :D Please do not send anything overly negative to me; polite and constructive criticism is always appreciated.

The Good: Man, they really went for a lot here. The light novels themselves were actually more action/adventure focused, something that doesn’t happen in the anime. I’m going to do my best not to give read more
Dec 18, 2012
etherealharmony (All reviews)
A brave young hero. His beautiful sidekick who becomes a love interest. Dual wielding swords. A world in chaos. Lives at stake. All seem so cliche, why would I even think to watch this? I made the right decision to. I know there is alot of controversy over this anime currently so I, naturally, must enter my two cents to defend and be realistic about this hot commodity anime of 2012:
*As spoiler free as can possibly be*
The story is indeed EXTREMELY rushed. While the ideals and thoughts behind the initial plot are absolutely outstanding and completely unique and original, the SAO anime timeline leaves little read more
Sep 29, 2012
Angel_Milk (All reviews)
Why is SAO bad? First of all let us ask what SAO is and what bad is. SAO is an anime adaptation of a light novel of the same name. The light novel was created in 2002 by Reki Kawahara, around the time when MMORPG were the craze. The anime like the name suggest is about a virtual world in a MMO. Akin to .hack//SIGN it¡¯s about a group of people being stuck inside a videogame (at least until the third volume where the game changes) where the only way to escape is to finish the game. The MC is a guy named Kirito who read more
Sep 23, 2012
Mortsyn (All reviews)
Scavenge. Slay. Survive.

This is what Sword Art Online should have been about. It should have been an anime that was a pure MMORPG in anime form, as it was made out to be. What did we get instead? 55% slice of life, 25% romance, 10% action, 10% plot. SAO is quite possibly the most overrated and overhyped anime I've ever come across in my anime years. SAO is highly regarded by its fans as one of the best Light Novels ever, better than Fate/Zero, Monogatari series, Haruhi series, Kara no Kyoukai, Welcome to the NHK and Baccano for a few examples. Granted, I haven't read read more
Nov 26, 2013
HannahxBear (All reviews)
I've heard many things about SAO (Sword Art Online): There's either a lot of love or a lot of hate for it. Personally, I'm leaning a little towards the latter, but not fully on it. Before you start sending me hate mail or press the "Not Helpful" button, please hear me out.

As a gamer, and a fan of MMORPG's, I tried to keep my expectations not too high, because you know what they say: "The bigger they are, the harder they fall". Unfortunately, SAO fits this saying to a T, as it was one of the most disappointing anime that I've seen this year. Why? read more
Jun 8, 2015
RedInfinity (All reviews)
|This review contains minor spoilers of the shitty story and characters|

Oh Sword Art Online, how you fooled millions of people into thinking that this show will be every gamer and anime fans' dream-come-true. We all came in, watched the first episode and thought " This actually looks pretty cool " , and continued watching like fish on a fishing rod. How wrong were we? Well, I will tell you, fellow readers, how the anime that received one of the largest fan-bases in recent times, holds the pinnacle of the word 'Overrated '; and I will do my best to convince you to NOT watch this read more
Dec 23, 2012
NV2301 (All reviews)

Sword Art Online is a pioneer of its genre in that, the source material dates from all the way back in 2002 (.hack// being of the same vintage). This is important to note as with all pioneering feats, there is an initial sense of wonder and hype, followed by disappointment as the same concept is refined and improved upon. To give an example, the Victorians pioneered the underground railway in London, a marvel at its time but it was soon realised that they dug the tunnels too small. The tiny, overcrowded trains of today cannot be appreciated for read more
Dec 22, 2012
BloodRequiem (All reviews)
Remember back in July I said that seeing the hype, this would probably become the next Guilty Crown? Well, reflecting on that now…I would like to sincerely apologize…to the Guilty Crown fans because Sword Art Online is nowhere near Guilty Crown’s level in terms of visuals and soundtrack.

As we all know, studio A-1 is not known for action based anime. Most of their signature works are slice of life romantic comedies. The character designs are reminiscent of those in Working!! despite the fact that this show markets itself as a serious action fantasy series. Action scenes heavily utilized flash frames in order to cut read more
Sep 17, 2012
kwgee (All reviews)

Sword Art Online (SAO) had real promising from reading the synopsis; however, I feel that it failed to delivery on all the hype it was getting. But after watching several episodes I feel like SAO has two major issues which make the anime really hard and jarring to get into. These two problems are the Story and the Characters. The story starts off with the premise that players are trapped within the game, SAO, and the only way to get out is to clear all 100 levels. But the problem here, with the story, is that the anime tends to skip months at a read more
Aug 10, 2013
Ascarde (All reviews)
I heard all this hype about Sword Art Online. Any anime site worth its salt has heard of it. It's vaunted as one of the best animes of 2012, and I heard pretty good stuff about it! However if there's one rule about anime is that the more hyped it is, the more crushing when it turns out to be a disappointment. SAO is one of these.

It started out with an interesting premise: ten thousand people are locked into a virtual reality game, with no law or order. They must beat the game in order to get out. At the forefront is Kirito, a skilled read more
Jan 6, 2013
Lindle (All reviews)
I might as well skip the plot synopsis of Sword Art Online, because odds are you already know it. Sword Art Online has utterly exploded. It is all over the place. It is that one show the EVERYONE is watching, whether it be through genuine interest or sheer bile fascination. And amidst this, it has split the anime fandom enormously between those who utterly love it and those who absolutely hate it. As you no doubt checked what I scored this before anything else, you can probably tell I'm in the latter camp.

In the event that you've been living under a rock these past 6 read more
Jan 24, 2014
Gotanon (All reviews)
Yes! Yeeees! Oh, let me taste your tears, Asuna!
Mm, your tears are so yummy and sweet!
Oh, the tears of unfathomable sadness! Yummy~

In a world where series' like Harry Potter, or other real abhorrent fanfiction tittles the likes of Twilight sells well enough for multiple sequels, it shouldn't be a surprise then, Sword Art Online's popularity skyrocketing that is. Pretty posters, familiarity, perhaps male power fantasies and the like, etc. There are numerous factors that play a part in a works' popularity; but it's hard to pin-point just what exactly got SAO such hype. Especially since it becomes apparent that it was already losing it's read more
Jun 3, 2013
petch (All reviews)
This is a review of Sword Art Online’s adaptation. I do not care for the light novels, this review is based entirely on the anime adaptation.

The Story (4/10)

The plot for this anime falls below that of an average seasonal anime. Sword Art Online begins with a good, interesting premise. The first two episodes are actually very promising. However, once you get past those initial episodes the show doesn’t really do anything of interest and feels like it was written by a sexually frustrated teenager. As I said, the concept is good and somewhat tragic. A new virtual reality MMO opens up and thousands of read more