If you’ve read my previous post on .hack and enjoyed the anime/manga/whatever other media .hack has appeared in, you might also want to try Sword Art Online!
Sword Art Online (often abbreviated as SAO) is a light novel series created by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by Abec that has also been adapted into an anime and manga. A game is also in development, titled Infinity Moment (due March 14, no NA release confirmed yet). However, I have only seen the anime, so that’s what I’ll be talking about.
Sword Art Online begins within the titular videogame, a virtual reality world that allows the player to feel as though they are physically experiencing everything, and features a protagonist named Kirito. Kirito’s been to the world before – as a beta tester – but he was one of the lucky 1,000 who managed to make it into beta trials. The other 9,000 players who managed to snatch up the limited 10,000 copies of the game and logged on were experiencing Sword Art Online for the very first time. The game is set in a floating castle in the sky that is comprised of 100 floors, and each floor contains a boss that must be beaten in order to proceed to the next floor. However, soon, the players notice that something is awry.
The “logout” button is missing. The players have no way to exit Sword Art Online, and their minds are trapped within the game while their mortal bodies lie abandoned in the real world. Also, their avatars have changed – everyone now looks exactly as they do in the real world. The confused players are suddenly teleported into the town center of floor 1, where the game’s creator, Akihito Kayaba, explains to them what has occurred.
The players have been trapped within the game. And until they can clear all one hundred floors, they must remain within the game. Because of the headset they all wear in order to experience the virtual reality world, death within the game will result in death in the real world – in the form of an electric shock that will fry the players’ brain.
Will the players ever break out of Sword Art Online? Or will they stay trapped forever within a virtual world? Watch the rest of Sword Art Online to find out!
Although I have only seen the anime, my friends who have tried other forms of Sword Art Online say that the light novel is the best out of all of them, and that the manga is the worst – however, this is fairly subjective, and personally I think the anime is pretty awesome. Either way, if you liked .hack, you should definitely take a look at Sword Art Online!