Sword Art Online (Volume 1) – Aincrad

Sword Art Online Aincrad Cover

Ten thousand people logged in on day one of the new VRMMORPG – Sword Art Online, however, there was no way to log out. Complete the game or die trying. This might be a game, but it’s not something you play!

Sword Art Online (Volume 1) – Aincrad

What happened?

Kirito had been a beta tester for SAO so when the final version went live, he was determined to play the game to the fullest. He was spotted by a new player who realised he knew what he was doing. Klein convinced Kirito to show him the ropes. After a while, Klein went to log off to grab some food, however, there was no logoff button. Then, Kirito and Klein were teleported to the main square where they were addressed by a ghostly figure claiming to be the game’s creator.

He made everyone’s avatars revert to their own likeness and then told them that the only way to get out of the game was to defeat Aincrad. All one hundred floors. Also, if you die in the game, you die in real life There was outrage, panic, and despair. Kirito, however, knew what he needed to do and ran off to find the best place to raise his XP. He asked Klein to come with him, but Klein had friends from the real world that he couldn’t leave behind.

Within a month, two-thousand gamers had died. After two years in the game, they had only just reached the seventy-fourth floor and it was getting harder and harder to keep everyone alive. Kirito paired up with Asuna in the hopes of finding something more to live for than just defeating the game. Will they make it out alive or is it their fate to remain trapped inside Sword Art Online for the rest of their lives?

Sword Art Online Aincrad Asuna and Kirito

What did you think?

This version of the book combined volumes one and two, which was the Aincrad storyline. That meant I got to read the whole thing through in one go, however, it was almost four hundred pages so took twice as long as normal. Anyhow, it’s been a while since I last watched Sword Art Online and for the record, I loved the anime. So, I was excited to see what the manga might add to the story. Unfortunately, it really didn’t add anything.

It wasn’t a bad adaptation, but it suffered from the same problems as the anime in that things go too quickly, and it’s even worse in the manga. A lot of the real tension in this story should have been those first couple of months as people struggled to come to terms with the game and people dying. That part of the story would have been intense and tragic, however, we didn’t get to see any of it. Even the stories on the earlier levels were skipped or added as flashbacks later on.

I still remember the first episode and how Akihito told them they would need to clear one hundred floors to escape. All I could think was how epic this story was going to be, but then it just skipped loads of floors. It’s the same in the manga when I was really hoping for more details. It’s still an enjoyable story, although I’d recommend the anime over this version. For the record, I absolutely enjoyed the book, but I really wanted more. There’s never enough!

Sword Art Online Aincrad Kirito duel wielding

Volume highlights

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