Sword Art Online Season 1 (2012)
ソードアート・オンライン (Sōdo Āto Onrain)


The players of a virtual reality MMORPG, Sword Art Online, are trapped and fighting for their very lives. After it is announced that the only way to leave the game is by beating it, Kirito—a very powerful swordsman—and his friends take on a quest to free all the minds trapped in Aincrad.
Directed by
Written by
Screenplay by
Music by


  • 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


Character design
Character development



Sword Art Online takes place in the near future and focuses on protagonist Kazuto “Kirito” Kirigaya and Asuna Yuuki as they play through various virtual reality MMORPG worlds. An anime television series produced by A-1 Pictures, known simply as Sword Art Online, aired in Japan between July and December 2012.

Alternative title

– S.A.O
– Sword Art Online
– سورد آرت أونلاين
– ソードアート・オンライン
– Sōdo Āto Onrain
– 刀劍神域
– Мастер меча онлайн
– فن السيف عبر الانترنت
– هنر شمشیر زنی آنلاین
– 소드 아트 온라인
– Sword Art Online: Aincrad
– Sword Art Online: Fairy Dance
– SAO1

TL;DR Review

Sword Art Online (Japanese: ソードアート・オンライン Hepburn: Sōdo Āto Onrain) is a Japanese light novel series written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec.

Both the animation and the music for this series are exceptional. There are some 3D CGI used for a few scenes here and there.

I am not sure I understand the backlash Sword Art Online got from some viewers. It is an enjoyable show with great animation and engaging stories and characters. Sure, some plot and characters don’t always pan out, but you take the good and the bad. I think some may be scrutinizing an enjoyable show to the point they no longer enjoy it. If you look for enough negative in everything, then nothing in life is going to be enjoyable for you.

I’ll admit the beater plot logic was a little weak. Kirito was being very edge-lord there. Most of the early stories were good, and some not so good. The whole Yui’s mama papa dialogs was a bit cringy.

This may be the only anime where I say if fall into both a Harem and Romance genre. The Harem trope is there, where almost every female Kirito meet has a crush on him. However, he only has a romantic interest in Asuna so this also makes it a romance anime. I normally categorize an anime as either Harem or Romance, but rarely ever both.

The first story arc was engaging, with some interesting characters. The second half of the season, however, seem to drag a bit. It cranks up the melodrama quite a bit with the brother complex. The fan-services were also more obvious and noticeable.

I’ve watched Sword Art Online at least three times already and still find it is mostly enjoyable, despite some of its flaws. Highly recommended for fans that also enjoy playing MMO. Sword Art Online contains moderate violence and suggestive themes/dialogs. Intended for young adults.

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Featured Music

Sword Art Online Season 1 (2012)

A collection of notable music and song from this series.


Opening Theme

– “Crossing Field” by Lisa (eps 2-14)
– “Innocence” by Aoi Eir (eps 15-24)

Closing Theme

– “crossing field” By LiSA (eps 1,25)
– “Yume Sekai” (ユメセカイ; “Dream World”) by Haruka Tomatsu (eps 2-14)
– “Overfly” by Luna Haruna (eps 15-24)

Insert/Image Theme

– “Akahana no Tonakai” by Johnny Marks
– “Face to You” by Taketatsu Ayana
– “I Know [Ai]” by Itou Kanae
– “Lovely Super Idol” by Hidaka Rina
– “Memory Heart Message” by Hayami Saori
– “My Independent Destiny” by Tomatsu Haruka feat. Tomatsu Haruka
– “Party-Go-Round” by Hidaka Rina, Takagaki Ayahi
– “Sing All Overtures” by Matsuoka Yoshitsugu, Taketatsu Ayana, Tomatsu Haruka
– “Sky the Graffiti” by Taketatsu Ayana
– “Sword & Soul” by Matsuoka Yoshitsugu
– “White Flower Garden” by Tomatsu Haruka
“I don’t even know the real names of the two… no, three that I killed back then. I just close my eyes, put my hands over my ears and tried to forget it all.”
“Just consider hardships as another part of training and keep working hard.”
Asuna Yuuki
“Sometimes the things that matter the most are right in front of you.”
“Everybody can fight. It’s just a choice of whether you should.”
“Whether here or in the real world, you can cry when it hurts. There’s no rule that you can’t show feelings just because it’s a game.”
Asuna Yuuki
“I cried alone every single night. It felt like every day that passed here stole another piece of my real life away. After I cried, I’d go and fight as hard as I could. My only thought was winning, moving forward and getting stronger.”



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

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