Sword Art Online Best Watch Order

Sword Art Online, directed by Tomohiko Itou, based on the popular novels by Reki Kawahara, debuted in 2012. It is considered one of the best action-fantasy anime of the last decade. The anime gained enormous popularity among anime fans because of its thrilling adventure gaming tale, undefeatable main characters, and epic fights. One of the key reasons is that the barrier between real-life and virtual reality is frequently blurred.

There are so many seasons and movies to watch that it might be difficult for an anime enthusiast to know where to begin. So don’t be perplexed, anime fans. Here is a detailed and complete chronological order in which you can view the entire Sword Art Online series without missing anything.

Correct Chronological Order for Watching Sword of Art Online Anime 

1. Season 1 -Sword Art Online (2012)

2. Sword Art Online: Extra Edition Movie (2013)

3. Season 2 -Sword Art Online II (2014)

4. Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale Movie (2017)

5. Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online(Side Story Series) (2018)

6. Season 3 Part 1 -Sword Art Online: Alicization (2018-19)

7. Season 3 Part 2 -Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld (2019-20)

8. Season 3 Part 3- Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld 2nd Season (2020)

Here is a list of all the seasons and movies, along with some details to get a sense of everything.

Season 1 -Sword Art Online

First, you should start the anime with season 1: Sword Art Online, released in 2012. It consists of 25 episodes, each being only 23 minutes long. The story takes place in 2022 when a massive and realistic role-playing game called “Sword Art Online” was launched. In this game, gamers can enjoy the virtual reality world by using an advanced technology called NerveGear, which allows players to control their avatars using their brains. The main protagonist Kazuto “Kirito” Kirigaya, logs into the game to enjoy the scenic and elaborative world of Aincrad: a world full of gruesome monsters and medieval weapons with 10,000 other players. They later realise they are imprisoned in the game and cannot log out until they complete all 100 levels. But the worst part of the game is that if they die in the game, they die in real life. The series shows how Kazuto fights for his survival in the game and tries to adapt to his new life. 

Sword Art Online: Extra Edition Movie

After completing season 1, you could watch Sword Art Online: Extra Edition. It is a 1 hr and 41 minutes long episode aired on 31 December 2013. The episode begins with Kazuto and Suguha arriving at the SAO Survivor School. Then he meets Asuna, Rika and Keiro but soon leaves to meet a government official Seijirou Kikuoka for explaining the events of season 1: Sword Art Online. He starts explaining that the true nature of Sword Art Online was to create a “Death Game” and further explains everything that happened in the game. There is also some new content of the players enjoying a swimming adventure in the real world with no life-threatening quest.

Season 2 -Sword Art Online II

Season 2 (Sword Art Online II) consists of 24 episodes, with each episode being 23 minutes long. It takes place a year after the events of Sword Art Online. In this season, Kazuto returns to his peaceful life in the real world. However, his peace soon ends as a player named Death Gun starts killing people in the real world by shooting them in-game called “Gun Gale Online”. Due to his extensive knowledge and expertise in gaming, Officials approaches Kazuto to assist in the investigation. He teams up with extraordinary sniper Shino “Shinon” Asada and logs into the Gun Gale Online to find and stop the killer by avoiding becoming the next victim.

Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scale Movie

Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale is a movie that takes place a few weeks after the events of Sword Art Online II. It shows the story of a new augmented reality device called the Augma, affixed with a combat-based game called Ordinal Scale, to become the first ARMMORPG. Ordinal Scale became an instant hit in the market because of being different and safe than the VR of NerveGear. It allows players to play and quit the game as per their will. Kazuto’s friends force him to play the game, so he starts playing it. Eventually, they enjoy the game, and it looks fun, but soon they find out that the game is not what it seems from the outside. The series then shows their new deadly adventures.

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online

Sword Art Online Alternative is a separate series with a new cast of characters. The only similarity to the main series is that it takes place in the world of Gun Gale Online. Though, there is no need to watch previous seasons to view this season. However, you could miss a few easter eggs related to Shinon and Kazuto without watching Sword Art Online II. It is the story of a college student Karen Kouhirimaki who avoids mingling and making new friends because of her exceptionally tall height. So, she chose the VR game Gun Gale Online and became Llenn, a short, pink-clad girl. 

Sword Art Online: Alicization

Season 3 (Sword Art Online: Alicization) consists of 47 episodes, making it the biggest season of the series. It takes place in June 2026, when Kazuto is offered a job by Kikuoka Seijirou, the VR crime division investigating officials in Rath private enterprises. His task is to test out the 4th generation experimental machine called the Soul Translator(STL), entirely diverged from the previous FullDive machine. Initially, his job looked simple, but unbeknownst to him, the company was testing the machine to create a special bottom-up type of Artificial Intelligence(AI) for military use. The company copied the soul of a newborn baby and made it a template for the new AI to nurture it in a specialised virtual world called Underworld, where time will flow a thousand times faster than the real world because of Fluctlight. Once, a member of the Death Gun plot attacks Kazuto in the real world. Kazuto somehow manages to escape but suffers significant brain damage and is kept alive with the support of a Soul Translator (STL). He wakes up in the Underworld with all the real-world memories intact. Now, he must figure out how to survive in the almost real VR world and find the true intentions of the Rath enterprises. 

Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld

Season 3 (Alicization-War of Underworld Part-I) comprises 12 episodes. It is the first part of the underworld story arc. The war between the Human Empire and Dark Territory has engulfed the entire Underworld. When Kazuto contacts the real world, he is shocked to know that the Ocean Turtle—a mega-float controlled by Rath—has been raided, and short-circuit caused by raiders has damaged Kazuto’s fluclight, which leads him to become unconscious. Everything now depends on Alice to protect and save the world. She reclaims her name as Alice Synthesis Thirty and goes into the battle. What follows is the bloody violence filled with death and new adventures for the viewers. 

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

Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld 2nd Season is the epic conclusion of the anime: Sword Art Online. The finale comprises 11 episodes. In the season finale, the final battle against the Dark Territory is still going on. Players from all over the world have flooded the Underworld’s servers and plunged the Human Empire into utter chaos. Asuna and her friends try to defend the Underworld with everything they have, but they are lacking behind because of less force. Meanwhile, Vecta relentlessly purses Alice, who heads towards the World’s End Altar.  

While members of Rath try to restore Kazuto’s damaged fluclight, intruders occupy the central control room with their vicious plans. Just when everything seems to end, Kazuto finally wakes up to help the Integrity Knights and save the Underworld from Dark Territory and face Vector while saving Alice at the same time. It is fascinating to watch how Kazuto and his friends save the collapsed world from people who believe it is just a game. 

While some seasons and films are unrelated to the primary season, others are closely related. Still, it’s best to watch Sword Art Online in the order listed above to get the most out of it and avoid missing easter eggs.

We hope we were able to explain the correct watch order of Sword Art Online so that you can watch it without any ambiguity and enjoy it to the fullest. 

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