Sword Art Online (also known as Sōdo Āto Onrain in Japanese) is a sci-fi anime television series which is based on a light novel series of the same name. Written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec, the light novel series was first published April 10, 2009, and its publication marked the start of an extremely successful franchise. The light novel series not only spawned a whopping eight manga adaptations, but it was also picked by A-1 Pictures to be made into an anime television series.
Three years after the initial publication of the light novel series, Season 1 of Sword Art Online was released in Japan on July 8, 2012. It was an immediate hit among fans of the show, and spawned a bunch of special episodes. Subsequently, the show was renewed for a second season, and Season 2 made its way to viewers’ screens on July 5, 2014. It was again renewed for a third season, and Season 3 premiered on October 7, 2018, much to the delight of fans. Now, fans of the show are demanding a fourth season, and here’s everything we know about the prospects of Season 4.
Sword Art Online Season 4 Release Date: When will it premiere?
Sword Art Online season 3, titled Sword Art Online: Alicization, was released on October 7, 2018 and will continue well into 2020. Season 3, which was preceded by an anime movie titled Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale, was a direct continuation of the show from Season 2, and adapted volumes 9 to 18 of the original light novel series.
As far as a whole new season 4 is concerned, we will only come to know about that once ‘Sword Art Online: Alicization- War of Underworld‘ ends its run. Which means, Sword Art Online season 4 can realistically be expected to release sometime in 2021 or later.
Sword Art Online English Dub:
For those who like watching anime shows in English, the good news is that Sword Art Online has a great English dub, which was made keeping the show’s international fanbase in mind. If you want to watch the show in English, you can find dubbed episodes on Crunchyroll.
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Sword Art Online Plot:
The show is set in the near future and spans across multiple virtual worlds. It starts off in 2022 when a new virtual reality massively multiplayer online role-playing game (VRMMORPG) called Sword Art Online is released by a game developer Akihiko Kayaba. Using proprietary technology called NerveGear, which is a helmet that stimulates the five senses of the brain, Sword Art Online is a game like no other and allows users to control their characters with their minds.
Understandably, there’s a lot of hype prior to the release of the game. When Sword Art Online is finally launched on November 6, 2022, more than 10,000 enthusiastic gamers log in to play it, hoping to experience the future of the gaming industry first hand. However, their enthusiasm soon turns to horror when they realize that Sword Art Online does not have a logout button, leaving them trapped inside the game world. These gamers are even more horrified when Kayaba appears in the game world and informs them that they must beat all 100 floors of the steel castle the game is set in if they wish to be free. Kayaba also informs everyone that anyone who suffers an in-game death or tries to leave without beating the game will suffer a real-life death. Thus begins the nightmare called Sword Art Online.
In this backdrop, the show focuses on a gamer called Kazuto “Kirito” Kirigaya. Having been among the 1,000 beta testers for Sword Art Online, Kazuto has prior experience in VR gaming and is acquainted with the game world of Sword Art Online. Having this advantage over other gamers, Kazuto tries to beat the game on his own, but as he progresses, he befriends a young girl named Asuna Yuuki. He soon gets into an in-game relationship with Asuna, and the two marry in the game world. As Asuna and Kazuto progress through the game, they manage to discover Kabaya’s secret ID. Having discovered Kabaya’s in-game avatar, Asuna and Kazuto confront and destroy him, thereby freeing other players from the game world.
A year after escaping from Sword Art Online, Kazuto is again drawn into the world of online gaming when a new threat arises. Officials approach Kazuto to investigate mysterious incidents in a game called Gun Gale Online, where a player by the name of Death Gun appears to be killing people in the real world by shooting them in the game. While Kazuto is hesitant at first, he feels obligated to help, and soon dives headfirst into Gun Gale Online with the intention of tracking the killer and stopping him. Inside the game, Kazuto meets a highly skilled sniper called Sinon, and she soon joins him in his search for the Death Gun. Together, the duo enters a tournament called Bullet of Bullets, where they hope to find Death Gun and stop him.
Later in the show, after the Kazuto’s mission in Gun Gale Online, he gets recruited by a company called Rath to become a tester for a device known as the Soul Transistor, which is a state-of-the-art full-dive interface that interacts directly with the human soul. Kazuto starts working part-time to test the device, and his test runs take him to a new virtual world called the Underworld. Although Kazuto’s memories of his trips to the Underworld are wiped every time he returns to the real-world, he can’t help but recall a name, Alice, from the Underworld. As the show progresses, Kazuto finds himself trapped in the Underworld and he has to undertake an epic quest if he is to free himself from the virtual world and return to reality once again.
Sword Art Online Characters:
Over the three seasons of Sword Art Online, there have been many characters who have played important parts. Below, we’ve given you brief descriptions of each of these characters.
[WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD]
Kazuto “Kirito” Kirigaya: The main protagonist of the show, Kazuto is an accomplished gamer who prefers to play solo rather than in groups. After he rises to fame for defeating Kabaya and freeing trapped players from Sword Art Online, he soon gets approached for a variety of assignments in virtual reality, be it tracking down the Death Gun or testing the Soul Transistor.
Asuna Yuuki: Another major character in the show, Asuna comes into the picture when Kazuto encounters her in Sword Art Online. Being the sub-leader of a high-profile guild in Sword Art Online, Asuna becomes instrumental in helping Kazuto uncover the secret ID of Kabaya so that they can defeat him and set everyone free. In the show, Kazuto and Asuna also develop a close relationship and become lovers, both in the virtual world and in the real world.
Shino Asada: Also known as Sinon in Gun Gale Online, Shino comes into the picture when Kazuto dives into Gun Gale Online to find the Death Gun. Armed with a powerful .50 calibre anti-materiel rifle, Shino is a deadly sniper and she aids Kazuto considerably in taking down the Death Gun.
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