Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online Season 1 (2018)
ソードアート・オンライン オルタナティブ ガンゲイル・オンライン (Sōdo Āto Onrain Orutanatibu Gangeiru Onrain)


Due to the incident that occurred in VR MMORPG Sword Art Online — where 10,000 players were trapped in the game on launch day — the popularity of VR games has plummeted due to fear of similar incidents. The NerveGear, SAO’s VR device, was recalled and destroyed, but with the launch of its successor, the AmuSphere, combined with the release of the license-free development support package the “Seed,” the popularity of VR games saw a sudden resurgence. The story follows Karen Kohiruimaki, a university student with a complex about her abnormal height. She begins playing a VR game called Gun Gale Online after it gives her the short, cute avatar that she has always wanted.
Directed by
Written by
Screenplay by
Music by

TV Rating





  • The overall rating of the show.

Poor < Fair < Good < Great


  • Animation quality and consistency for that time. 

Poor < Fair < Good < Great


  • How well the story flows and keeps you engaged.

Poor < Fair < Good < Great


Character design
Character development
World building




The series is a spinoff of Reki Kawahara’s Sword Art Online series. A manga adaptation by Tadadi Tamori launched in 2015, and an anime television series adaptation by studio 3Hz aired between April and June 2018.

Alternative titles

– Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online
– ソードアート・オンライン オルタナティブ ガンゲイル・オンライン
– 刀剑神域外传 Gun Gale Online
– 소드 아트 온라인 얼터너티브: 건 게일 온라인
– SAO Alternative: GGO

TL;DR Review

Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online (Japanese: ソードアート・オンライン オルタナティブ ガンゲイル・オンライン Hepburn: Sōdo Āto Onrain Orutanatibu Gangeiru Onrain) is a Japanese light novel series written by Keiichi Sigsawa and illustrated by Kouhaku Kuroboshi.

This spinoff series was made by a different studio (Studio 3Hz) while the main Sword Art Online series was made by A-1 Pictures. Despite that, I wasn’t even aware due to the high-quality production. The animation and movements are gorgeous and elegant. The writing and characters of Gun Gale Online are quite appealing and engaging. We go along a journey with our main protagonist as she gains personal growth and overcomes a trauma in her youth.

This can be a stand-alone series with almost no reference to the Sword Art Online main casts. The series is short, charming, and easy to follow. I almost expected some lame cash-in for a spin-off show. The season is only 12 episodes long, which is a perfect length.

If you enjoyed the first story arc of Sword Art Online season 2 (Gun Gale arc), then this series explored more of that environment. Admitted none of the original Sword Art Online casts are in this, which can be good or bad depending on how you feel about those characters.

I highly recommend this to the fans of the series, or if you just enjoy action anime and shooter games. Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online contains graphic violence and some suggestive themes/dialogs. Intended for young adults.

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Opening Theme

– “Ryūsei (Falling Star)” by Eir Aoi

Closing Theme

– “To see the future” by Tomori Kusunoki

Insert/Image Theme

– “Independence” by Kanzaki Elsa starring ReoNa (eps 5-5.5)
– “Pilgrim” (ピルグリム) by Kanzaki Elsa starring ReoNa (eps 2-3)
– “step, step” by Kanzaki Elsa starring ReoNa (ep 4)



All images are copyright to their respective owners.

Photo by Nicolas LB, Jon Flobrant, and Yvette de Wit on Unsplash.

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