When Sword Art Online debuted in 2002, it was just a series of novels focusing on the in-game adventures of a young lad named Kirito. However, over the course of six years, it spurned such a tantalizing tale that the novel was soon developed into a massive media franchise comprising multiple mangas, films, and TV series.
Sword Art Online has also spurned spin-offs and even side stories, and all of this has received the film treatment. It can be a bit difficult to figure out how to navigate this maze, and this is why we have painstakingly detailed the correct Sword Art Online watch order here.
List of Sword Art Online In Order
- Sword Art Online Season 1 (July to December 2012)
- Sword Art Online: Extra Edition (television film which originally aired on December 31, 2013)
- Sword Art Online Season 2, titled Sword Art Online II (July to December 2014)
- Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale (an animated film featuring an original story by Kawahara released on February 18, 2017, in Japan and on March 9, 2017, in the United States)
- Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online (spin-off anime series which premiered in April 2018)
- Sword Art Online Season 3, titled Sword Art Online: Alicization (aired from October 2018 to September 2020).
- Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night (an anime film adaptation of Sword Art Online: Progressive, which premiered on October 30, 2021).
- Sword Art Online Progressive: Scherzo of Deep Night (the second anime film adaptation of Sword Art Online: Progressive, which premiered on October 22, 2022).
The Correct Order to Watch Sword Art Online
The correct watch order for Sword Art Online pretty much aligns with the order in which the various films and TV series in the Sword Art Online universe were released. However, there is just a minor exception, and this has to do with the movie Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal, which was released in 2017, and the spin-off anime series, Scale Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online, which premiered in April 2018.
To watch Sword Art Online in order, one has to see the 2018 TV series first before now going on to see the 2017 movie. So, without much ado, the correct watch order for Sword Art Online is to start with Sword Art Online Season 1, which aired from July to December 2012, and then the television film titled Sword Art Online: Extra Edition, which aired on 31st of December 2013.
After that, one now has to watch Sword Art Online Season 2, which originally aired from July to December 2014. To continue watching Sword Art Online in order, one now has to cue up the spin-off anime series Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online which premiered in April 2018, and then go ahead to watch the 2017 animated film Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale. Seasons 3 and season 4 of Sword Art Online will follow next.
At this juncture, fans of Sword Art Online can now go ahead to watch the two films, namely Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night, released on the 30th of October 2021, and Sword Art Online Progressive: Scherzo of Deep Night, released on the 22nd of October 2022.
Both films are based on the Sword Art Online progressive novel series. This is a spinoff of the original Sword Art Online story and offers a more in-depth look into the setting of the dangerous game that Asuna and Kirito had to play, known as the Aincrad (a steel castle), and the events that occurred there.
Recap of The Correct Sword Art Online Watch Order
- Season 1: Sword Art Online
- Sword Art Online: Extra Edition
- Season 2: Sword Art Online II
- Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online
- Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scale
- Season 3: Sword Art Online: Alicization
- Season 4: Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld
- Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night (2021)
- Sword Art Online Progressive: Scherzo of a Dark Dusk (2022)
Where to Watch Sword Art Online
One can be able to watch Sword Art Online on streaming platforms such as Crunchyroll, Funimation, Netflix, and Hulu. Crunchyroll and Funimation have three seasons of the show, while Hulu and Netflix have two seasons.
Hulu additionally has extra titles such as Sword Art Online Alternative “Gun Gale Online”, Sword Art Online: The Movie – Ordinal Scale, and Sword Art Online Extra Edition, while Netflix also has Sword Art Online: The Movie – Ordinal Scale. The good thing about these platforms is that they have the English dub of the series, which makes it easy for fans to follow.
Fans of Sword Art Online can also buy all four seasons of the series on the Google Play Store. They can also purchase DVD and Blu-ray disk copies of the series.
When Did Sword Art Online Come Out?
The first Sword Art Online novel was published in 2002, and the publication continued up until 2008. Four years later, in 2012, Sword Art Online Season 1 was released. Season 2 will follow in 2014. Sword Art Online Season 3 was released in 2018, while Sword Art Online Season 4 originally aired from 2019 to 2020.
The first Sword Art Online movie was a TV film that came out on the 31st of December 2013 titled Sword Art Online: Extra Edition. Other films are Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale (2017), Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night (2021), and Sword Art Online Progressive: Scherzo of Deep Night (2022).
When Does Sword Art Online Take Place?
Sword Art Online is set in the 2020s with its major protagonist, Kirigaya Kazuto, aka Kirito, born in the 2000s. The timeline of Sword Art Online makes the story plausible. Sword Art Online is set in a world where virtual reality, online games, and multiplayer games are the other of the day, and this is what obtains in the real world that we live in now, featuring various technological advancements.
Season 3 of Sword Art Online, in particular, is majorly focused on an artificial intelligence entity named Alice. Alice is an innocent young lady, but various organizations desire to acquire her to carry out nefarious activities. It falls on Kirito to rescue Alice and keep her safe from those that want to use her for evil.
In the real world, there are also concerns about the Artificial Intelligence race getting out of control, and various countries have set up different mechanisms to checkmate this.