Sword Art Online

10 Best Episodes of Sword Art Online

In the near future, a Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) called Sword Art Online has been released where players control their avatars with their bodies using a piece of technology called Nerve Gear. One day, players discover they cannot log out, as the game creator is holding them captive unless they reach the 100th floor of the game's tower and defeat the final boss. However, if they die in the game, they die in real life. Their struggle for survival starts now...

Written by Sophie and last updated on feb 04, 2023.

PS: The following content contains spoilers!

PPS: I will admit that parts of this page was written with the help of AI - it makes my work so much easier to not start from a blank page!

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Sword Art Online - S3E24

#15 - My Hero (Season 3 - Episode 24)

Carrying the hopes of Cardinal, Eugeo, and Alice in his heart, Kirito stands yet again and visualizes the Black Swordsman, the top player who cleared SAO. For the sake of everyone he’s encountered in this world, Kirito, faces off with Administrator.

The episode was rated 8.16 from 161 votes.

Sword Art Online - S2E9

#14 - Death Gun (Season 2 - Episode 9)

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Sinon shoots at Death Gun, but he dodges the bullet and then kills Pale Rider with his pistol. Death Gun then introduces himself and his gun to the spectators, finishing his monologue with a catchphrase used by PoH, the founder of Laughing Coffin. Meanwhile, Sinon attempts to find out Death Gun's name, but he was not shown on the satellite scan, thus Sinon assumes that he traveled through the battlefield underwater. She and Kirito then decide to follow Death Gun, eventually going to the Lost City. However, since they could not find him along the way, they look for him during the next scan. Seeing that two players, Sterben and Juushi X (銃士X, Jūshi X?), were present in the city, they decide to go after Juushi X, as his name sounded like Death Gun (死銃, Shijū?) backwards. During the scan, they find Juushi X at a stadium, while Sterben abruptly vanishes from the city. The two rush to the stadium and, after confirming that there was a sniper, decide to split up. However, as Sinon takes a sniping position, she is suddenly shot with a stun bullet. Death Gun, who is actually Sterben, appears and proclaims that he is going to kill her. Sinon tries to defend herself, but then sees that Sterben is carrying the Type 54 Black Star, the same weapon she used to kill the robber at the post office.

The episode was rated 8.16 from 344 votes.

Sword Art Online - S1E24

#13 - Gilded Hero (Season 1 - Episode 24)

Arriving at the top of the World Tree, Kirito and Yui finally manage to reunite with Asuna. However, they are suddenly hit by high gravity magic, which forces Yui to retreat, and are confronted by Sugou. As Sugou reveals his plans to control the human soul, he chains Asuna up and starts to molest her in front of Kirito, who is stabbed and forced to endure incredible pain. As Kirito falls into despair, he hears the voice of Akihiko, who encourages him to stand up and fight, realising the pain is nothing compared to the pain of SAO. Using Akihiko's administrative abilities, Kirito manages to strip Sugou of his high level and challenges him to a fight with no pain absorption, showing him what true pain is before finishing him off. After logging Asuna out, returning her to the real world, Kirito meets with the remnant of Akahiko's memory, who gives him an item called The Seed before leaving. After returning to the real world and giving his thanks to Suguha, Kazuto makes his way to the hospital to finally meet Asuna for real.

The episode was rated 8.20 from 395 votes.

Sword Art Online - S1E12

#12 - Yui's Heart (Season 1 - Episode 12)

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Kirito, Asuna and Yui are resting at Sasha's church where she takes care of the younger children until Yulier of the Army arrives. Yulier explains the Army under their leader Thinker had good intentions of helping players but as the Army got bigger, people like Kibaou started abusing power on others. Thinker was going to expel Kibaou over the Gleam Eyes incident but the latter trapped him at a secret dungeon on the 1st floor which is why she has come to Kirito and Asuna for help. With Yui refusing to stay at the church, Kirito, Asuna and Yulier reluctantly bring her alone to rescue Thinker. When they arrive at his location, a boss called "The Fatal Scythe" attacks them. Kirito and Asuna orders Yulier to escape together with Thinker and Yui as they fight the boss but it is too strong. As the boss is about attack Kirito, Yui confronts the boss, who is unable to damage her due to being an "Immortal Object" and defeat the boss. Yui, finally remembering her past, reveals to Kirito and Asuna that she is an AI counselor created by the game's Cardinal system whose purpose was to monitor and counsel the players on their mental state. But on the day of game's launch, Cardinal refuse to allow to her interact with the players which she was forced to watch their mental state deteriorating until she learned about Asuna and Kirito and wanted to meet them. Despite the revelation, Asuna and Kirito still accepts Yui as their daughter but she tells them goodbye as she's going to be deleted for interfering in the game. Refusing to accept it, Kirito uses the GM console Yui left behind to save Yui by turning her into a crystal item. With Yui's data save on his NerveGear local memory, Kirito and Asuna hopes to recreate her in the real world.

The episode was rated 8.22 from 446 votes.

Sword Art Online - S1E25

#11 - The World Seed (Season 1 - Episode 25)

Rushing to the hospital Kazuto is attacked by an injured Sugou with a knife at the parking area. Kazuto manages to disarm him, and after considering everything Sugou has done, Kazuto spares his life. Kazuto finally meets with Asuna where they have a tearful reunion. On May 16, 2025, Kazuto and Asuna have returned to school, attending a special school for students who were trapped in SAO. As they have lunch, Kazuto reveals Sugou was arrested by the police after their fight and the crimes he committed were exposed by one of his employees. The 300 players that were trapped by Sugou were freed but his experiments shocked the public. Due to the scandal, Asuna's father and his higher ups resigned and shut down Alfheim Online with other VRMMORPG following suit. Later, Asuna, Kazuto and Suguha heads to Agil's bar along with Liz, Silica, Yoruko, Kains, Sasha, Yulier, Thinker, Klein and his guild where they have a party to celebrate Kazuto for freeing them from SAO. Kazuto gives Agil "The Seed" to be analyzed which is revealed to be a program that allows anyone with a server to create their own VRMMORPG and transfer players to other VRMMORPG easily. "The Seed" is uploaded to the internet which revives the VRMMORPG genre. Later that night in Alfheim Online, now run by a new company, Kirito meets up with Leafa where they share a dance in the sky. Leafa decides to leave since she feels she cannot keep up with her brother but Kirito reveals his character stats have been reset. As a surprise, the floating castle Aincrad from SAO has been brought into Alfheim Online which Kirito then declares he intends to finish clearing all 100 floors. With their friends from SAO and Alfheim Online flying towards the castle, Leafa, Kirito, Asuna and Yui join them.

The episode was rated 8.23 from 394 votes.

Sword Art Online - S2E13

#10 - Phantom Bullet (Season 2 - Episode 13)

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The battle between Death Gun and Kirito begins as the former unleashes a deadly barrage of strikes that greatly weakens Kirito. While they are fighting, Kirito has a flashback to the meeting before the Laughing Coffin raid in Sword Art Online, recalling a strikingly similar player with the same red eyes as Death Gun. Kirito deduces that Death Gun is really the infamous, "Red Eyed," Xaxa, the second in command of Laughing Coffin. As Xaxa goes for the final blow, Sinon creates the illusion of a direction line using her experience in the game alone, causing Xaxa to cloak to avoid it. However, Kirito pulls out his sidearm and fires it at Xaxa, stopping the cloaking process and rendering him vulnerable. Using the willpower and strength he possessed in Sword Art Online, Kirito defeats Xaxa, cutting in clean in half. Before he dies, Xaxa reassures Kirito that their battle is not over. Sinon and Kirito then come to an agreement to end the Bullet of Bullets by committing double in-game suicide using a grenade, crowning them both the winner, but not before they reveal to each other their real names. After logging out, Shino is visited by Shinkawa, who, after making romantic advances on her, pulls out a syringe and reveals himself to be the second person involved in the Death Gun murders, which Kirito and Sinon earlier deduced while in the cave. Shinkawa tries to rape Shino, but she is able to get away, only to have Shinkawa pull her back. As this is happening, Kazuto bursts through Shino's door and attacks Shinkawa, holding him off while telling Shino, who recognizes Kazuto as Kirito, to run.

The episode was rated 8.24 from 319 votes.

Sword Art Online - S1E23

#9 - Bonds (Season 1 - Episode 23)

Kazuto recalls when he was ten, he learn he was not related with Suguha, leading him to become detached from his family and become engrossed in online gaming. But due the lessons he learn during his time in SAO, he decides to make amends with his family. Wanting to sort things out, Kazuto asks Suguha to meet him in ALfheim. As Leafa contemplates whether she should stop seeing Kirito in-game anymore, she runs into Recon, whose unsuccessful attempt to confess to her cheers her up. Leafa then challenges Kirito to a one-on-one fight, during which they both end up throwing the duel and apologize to each other. After Kirito explains he won't be able to say what he thinks of Suguha until Asuna is rescued, Leafa agrees to help him in his quest, dragging Recon along with her. Kirito once again takes on the guardians, this time with assistance from Leafa and Recon. As the number of guardians keep increasing, Recon uses a self-destruct spell to create a gap for Kirito to get through, but it is filled up all too soon. Just as things look dire, Sakuya and Alicia arrive with their armies to back them up. Using Leafa's sword, Kirito manages to break through the guardians and reach the top, only to find a moderator-locked door in his way. Using the card Asuna gave them, Yui manages to open the door, teleporting her and Kirito to a new location.

The episode was rated 8.25 from 379 votes.

Sword Art Online - S1E1

#8 - The World of Swords (Season 1 - Episode 1)

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On November 6, 2022, the VRMMORPG, Sword Art Online (SAO), is officially released, with 10,000 copies released and sold immediately. Kirito, who beta-tested the game, logs-in to the world of Aincrad and meets Klein, a new player, who asks him to teach him the basics of the game including the Sword Skill battle system. Later, after several hours in the game, Kirito and Klein discover that they cannot log out. Shortly after, the pair are teleported to the town square, where they see that all other players have also been transported to the location. A red-hooded Game Master then appears in the sky and reveals himself to the crowd as Akihiko Kayaba, the game's creator. He tells them that he intentionally removed the log-out option. He cautions that they cannot log-out by simply removing the NerveGear, the VR helmet they use to log-in the game, as it will kill them instantly. The only way to log out is for the players to beat and clear all 100 floors of the game. Should they die in the game, their real bodies will perish as well. As a parting gift, Akihiko gives them a mirror that alters their in-game avatars to resemble their real appearance. Kirito asks Klein to follow him to the next town to level up before resources are depleted, but Klein politely declines as he wishes to remain with his friends. Kirito then heads out, vowing to be free from the game. By the end of the first month, 2,000 players have died and the 1st floor has yet to be cleared.

The episode was rated 8.26 from 658 votes.

Sword Art Online - S1E8

#7 - The Sword Dance of Black and White (Season 1 - Episode 8)

After adventuring on the 74th floor, Kirito finds a Ragout Rabbit, a rare animal with top grade meat. Since he can't cook well, Kirito decides to sell it to Egil. When Asuna arrives and tells them she has mastered her cooking skills, Kirito decides to give the meat to Asuna in exchange they both eat it together. But Kuradeel, Asuna's escort sent by the Knights of Blood, is against Asuna inviting Kirito to her home as he is a Beater but Asuna ignores him. As they arrive at her home at Selmburg on the 61st floor, Asuna cooks the rabbit meat for dinner. As they talk, Asuna and Kirito discuss how two years have past since they were trapped in the game and many players seems to accept living in Aincard with less then five hundred players clearing the floors. Both agree to party up and explore the dungeons at the 74th floor. However, Kuradeel was following Asuna to prevent her from meeting up with Kirito. To settle things, Kirito has a duel with Kuradeel where if he wins, Kuradeel will leave Asuna alone. Kirito wins the duel by breaking Kuradeel's sword. Kuradeel refuses to give up but Asuna relieves him of his duties and orders him to return to Knights of the Blood Oath headquarters to await punishment. As Kirito and Asuna explores the 74th floor dungeons, they discover the boss room and its boss, The Gleam Eyes.

The episode was rated 8.26 from 474 votes.

Sword Art Online - S2E24

#6 - Mother's Rosario (Season 2 - Episode 24)

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After a guild gathering which lead into a won boss fight and a timeline with background music Asuna comes home and sees that she recieved a message from Yuuki's doctor saying her condition got worse. Asuna immediately runs to her hospital. Arriving there she get's told that Yuuki's heart already stopped once. Yuuki wakes up and Asuna meets her using the Amu Sphere the next room in Alfheim Online at the tree they first met. Yuuki binds her original sword skill which is called "Mother's Rosario" to a scroll and gives it to Asuna as she knows she does not have much time left. Other members of the Sleeping Knights arrive and gather around her. After they spoke their last words hundreds of other players gather around the tree praying for Yuuki. She says to her friends that she may found her meaning in life and is in spite of all the pain in her life now at least happy in her last moments. At Yuuki's death watch Asuna and Siune meet up. Siune tells her she recovered from her disease the day after Yuuki died and got released from hospital. Kirito and Yuuki's doctor arrive and they figure out that the Medicuboid was designed by Kayaba Akihiko. After the outro Kirito and Asuna are sitting in a park meeting their friends in real life.

The episode was rated 8.29 from 292 votes.

Sword Art Online - S1E13

#5 - Edge of Hell's Abyss (Season 1 - Episode 13)

While fishing near a lake, Kirito encounters Nishida, an old man and a network security manager who oversaw the game's development. Nishida claims that despite honing his fishing skill, he is unable to create delicious dishes with it. Kirito then invites him to his home for Asuna to cook the fish he just caught for them. During their meal, Nishida mentions a huge fish he tried to catch many times but failed and asks Kirito to help him. Nishida manages to hook the fish and gives the rod to Kirito to pull it away. The fish is revealed to be a huge monster whom Asuna slays. Soon after, Kirito receives a message from Heathcliff and, upon meeting him, they learn that a scouting party was trapped and killed in the 75th level's boss room, thus a team of players from several guilds is being assembled to confront it. As the time for the battle approaches, Kirito asks Asuna to stay behind fearing for her safety, but Asuna refuses, claiming that she'd rather die than live without him. She also mentions that all players' real bodies must be currently being treated in hospitals and their condition cannot be kept indefinetly, thus fleeing to live by themselves inside the game is out of question. As the players enter the boss room, they are confronted with "The Skull Reaper", a powerful monster capable of killing players with one blow. Kirito, Asuna and Heathcliff confront the creature head on while the other players attack it from the sides.

The episode was rated 8.34 from 423 votes.

Sword Art Online - S1E10

#4 - Crimson Killing Intent (Season 1 - Episode 10)

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The duel between Kirito and Heathcliff is held at an arena where a large crowd has gathered. Asuna warns Kirito to be careful about fighting Heathcliff as he has an unique skill called Divine Blade which gives him maximum strength and defense. Heathcliff at first is able to overpower Kirito but the tides turn when Kirito forces Heathcliff on the defensive. Just as Kirito is about to deal the winning strike, Heathcliff mysteriously manages to dodge it and defeats Kirito. Now a member of the Knights of Blood, Kirito is asked by Asuna why he never join guilds and he reveals what happened to his old guild. Asuna comforts Kirito and tells him she will protect him. Later, Kirito is asked by fellow member Godfrey to follow him and a seemingly remorseful Kuradeel to the 55th floor dungeons for a skill assessment. As they take a lunch break, Kirito notices too late that the water he and Godfrey drank contains a paralysis effect. Kuradeel reveals he is a member of the Laughing Coffins and how he plans to kill both Godfrey and Kirito while making it look like they were killed in an ambush. After he finishes off Godfrey, Kuradeel attempts to kill Kirito but is saved from certain death by the arrival of Asuna who tracked them on her map. Asuna quickly decimates Kuradeel's health until critical stages. Kuradeel begs Asuna for forgiveness which is a ruse. When Kuradeel's is about to attack Asuna, Kirito jumps in between them, blocking the attack with his arm before killing him. Asuna feels guilty for what happened but Kirito calms her by kissing her, telling her how much he cares about her and wants to protect her. They agree to a take break from adventuring and stay at her home for the night. Later, as he sits next to Asuna at her bed, Kirito tells of a place they can be alone together and proposes to her, which she happily accepts.

The episode was rated 8.40 from 475 votes.

Sword Art Online - S3E10

#3 - Taboo Index (Season 3 - Episode 10)

Ronie and Tiese are late getting to the dorm. Kirito rushes out in search of them, but no sooner has he gone than Frenica appears. She tells Eugeo about how she's suffered at Humbert's hands, and that Tiese and Ronie went to confront him about it.

The episode was rated 8.49 from 166 votes.

Sword Art Online - S1E9

#2 - The Blue-Eyed Demon (Season 1 - Episode 9)

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Kirito and Asuna flee from the boss and take a break for a snack when they meet Klein and the Furinkazan guild. The army also appears, visibly exausted from exploring the floor. They demand Kirito to give them the map he made of the floor, and despite Asuna and Klein's protests he willingly complains with their request. Kirito, Asuna and Klein keep exploring the floor, clearing the monsters there, just to learn that the army is confronting the boss by themselves despite Kirito's warnings, and to make matters worse, the teleport crystals do not work in the boss room. As the members of the army are killed one by one, they launch themselves against the boss to protect the survivors and Kirito is forced to deploy a special skill of his he used to keep in secret that allows him to fight with two weapons, one in each hand, defeating the boss with a series of quick strikes. After the fight, Kirito collapses with HP almost totally depleted, just to wake up instants later, seeing Asuna in tears, who asks him to form a party with him, to which he agrees. Some time later, Kirito and Asuna are brought before Heathcliff, commander of the Knights of Blood who challenges him to a duel. If Kirito wins, Asuna is allowed to leave the guild and join his side, but he must join the guild instead should he loses. Kirito agrees to the terms and accepts Heathcliff's challenge.

The episode was rated 8.49 from 472 votes.

Sword Art Online - S1E14

#1 - The End of the World (Season 1 - Episode 14)

After the group defeats the Skull Reaper, suffering 14 casualties in the battle, Kirito deduces that Heathcliff is, in fact, Akihiko Kayaba himself. Akihiko paralyses everyone except Kirito, and then offers Kirito the chance to face him in a one-on-one duel where, should Kirito win, Akihiko would log out all the remaining players. After giving his best wishes to the others, Kirito accepts the challenge but is unable to overcome Akihiko's absolute defense and intimate understanding of the game's mechanics. As Akihiko readies the finishing blow, Asuna overcomes her paralysis and takes the hit instead, losing all her HP and disappearing as a result. Distraught by Asuna's death, Kirito loses the will to fight and receives a fatal stab from Akihiko. However, at the point of death, Kirito remembers Asuna's belief in him and manages to regain enough substance to defeat Akihiko using Asuna's sword. They are both killed simultaneously and the game is declared cleared on November 7, 2024. Kirito then awakens high above the game world, where he finds both Asuna and Akihiko. Akihiko informs Kirito and Asuna that he has logged out all the other players as promised, and also explains his motives for creating Sword Art Online before disappearing. Kirito and Asuna then tell one another their true names, Kazuto Kirigaya and Asuna Yūki, and embrace each other as the world falls apart. To his surprise, Kazuto awakens in a hospital in the real world and, despite being physically weak, sets off to search for the real Asuna.

The episode was rated 8.70 from 458 votes.

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