Attention, anime enthusiasts! If you’ve been on the hunt for your next epic adventure, look no further. Welcome to the exhilarating world of Sword Art Online (SAO), a realm where fantasy meets reality, and every episode is a thrilling roller coaster ride. But wait! Before you dive headfirst into this digital universe, it’s crucial to know the correct SAO watch order.

Why, you ask?

Because in SAO every detail matters, and missing a single episode could be like skipping a chapter in an engrossing novel. So, buckle up as we guide you through the intricate labyrinth of the SAO series, ensuring you experience every heart-stopping battle, every tender moment, and every plot twist in the right sequence. And the cherry on top? We’ll also reveal the best legal platforms where you can immerse yourself in the SAO universe.

Before we do that, however, let’s take a quick look back at the plot of this popular series.

Sword Art Online Plot:SAO Watch Order

Sword Art Online, often abbreviated as SAO, is a captivating anime series that takes us on a thrilling journey through various virtual reality worlds. The series begins in 2022 when a revolutionary Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) called ‘Sword Art Online’ is released. However, the excitement quickly turns into a nightmare when players realize they cannot log out. The game’s creator has trapped them in his new world until they complete all 100 levels of the game.

The series follows our protagonist, Kazuto “Kirito” Kirigaya, a skilled gamer who was a beta tester for the doomed game. He, along with thousands of other players, must navigate through the perilous levels of Aincrad, battling monstrous creatures and overcoming intense challenges to survive and escape the game.

The SAO series is packed with multiple seasons, each introducing new virtual realms, intriguing plots, and complex characters. From the fairy-filled landscapes of ‘ALfheim Online’ to the gun-slinging universe of ‘Gun Gale Online’ and finally, the extremely realistic world of ‘Underworld.’ Each season offers a unique storyline that adds depth and dimension to the overarching narrative.

My favorite arc in the series would definitely be ‘Alicization’, where Kirito finds himself in a new VRMMORPG that is eerily similar to the real world due to its advanced AI technology. This arc delves deeper into the concept of artificial intelligence and questions the nature of human consciousness and the soul. It’s a thrilling, thought-provoking journey that pushes the boundaries of virtual reality.

Sword Art Online Chronological Watch OrderSAO Watch Order

Sword Art Online (TV Series) – July 8, 2012

This is where it all begins. The first season of Sword Art Online introduces us to the virtual reality world of Aincrad, where 10,000 players, including our protagonist Kirito, are trapped by the game’s creator. The only way out is to complete all 100 levels of the game. This season consists of 25 episodes and covers two major arcs – the Aincrad Arc and the Fairy Dance Arc. It’s crucial to start here to understand the premise of the series and the characters.

Sword Art Online: Extra Edition (Movie/Special) – December 31, 2013

This is a special episode that serves as a recap of the first season with some additional content. While it’s not essential to the main storyline, it’s a good refresher and provides some additional character development.

Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night (Movie) – October 30, 2021

This movie is a retelling of the Aincrad arc from Asuna’s perspective and provides a more detailed look at the early stages of Sword Art Online.

Sword Art Online Progressive: Scherzo of Deep Night (Movie) – October 22, 2022

This is the sequel to the first Progressive movie and continues the retelling of the Aincrad arc. It provides further insight into the experiences of the characters during their time in Sword Art Online.

Sword Art Online II (TV Series) – July 5, 2014

The second season of Sword Art Online, consisting of 24 episodes, introduces us to the world of Gun Gale Online. The series continues to follow Kirito as he investigates a series of mysterious deaths linked to the game. This season is divided into three arcs – the Phantom Bullet Arc, the Calibur Arc, and the Mother’s Rosario Arc. Each arc introduces new characters and challenges, expanding the SAO universe.

Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scale (Movie) – February 18, 2017

This movie takes place after the second season and introduces a new augmented reality game, Ordinal Scale. The movie, which is integral to the overall storyline, sees Kirito, Asuna, and their friends dealing with a new threat in this game. It also sets up some elements that are referenced in the Alicization arc.

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online (TV Series/Spin-Off) – April 8, 2018

This is a spin-off series consisting of 12 episodes that focus on the game Gun Gale Online, which was introduced in the second season. It follows a new character, Llenn, and her experiences in the game. While not directly related to the main storyline, it provides a different perspective on the SAO universe and is worth watching for fans of the series.

Sword Art Online: Alicization (TV Series) – October 7, 2018

The Alicization arc is the longest in the series, spanning 47 episodes across two seasons. It introduces a new virtual reality world, the Underworld, and delves deeper into the concept of artificial intelligence.

Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld (TV Series) – October 13, 2019

This is the continuation of the Alicization arc, consisting of 23 episodes split into two parts. It follows the events of the first Alicization season and sees Kirito, Asuna, and their allies fighting to protect the Underworld.

Best Places to Watch Sword Art Online:

Crunchyroll:where to watch sword art online

Crunchyroll is definitely the best platform for watching Sword Art Online as it lets you watch the entire series for free. The platform has both subbed and dubbed versions of the series, and you even get access to the latest movies. You will have to pay in order to unlock certain episodes and get an ad-free experience. Is Crunchyroll not available in your region? Here’s how you can use a VPN to bypass this issue!

How to Watch Sword Art Online on Crunchyroll Anywhere in the World

This method works on both desktop PCs and mobile phones or tablets.

    1. Purchase (or start a free trial) of a VPN. I can confirm that NordVPN works for this purpose.
    2. In the settings, choose America as your location.
    3. Fire up the VPN and wait for it to do its magic.
    4. Once you’re connected, navigate to Crunchyroll (browser or app).
    5. Search “Sword Art Online” in the Crunchyroll search bar and you should see the anime pop up.
NordVPN banner (Nord VPN)


Enjoy! Please note that if you still can’t watch SAO, you may have to clear the Crunchyroll cache first and try again.

To do this on mobile, go to settings -> apps -> Crunchyroll -> clear cache. To do this on PC, you have to clear the cache in your web browser.

I’ve had no trouble using this method and I still use NordVPN to watch anime from various Crunchyroll country libraries daily.

Funimation:where to watch sword art online

Funimation also lets you watch SAO online, but the site does not have the latest movies.

Hulu:where to watch sword art online

The entire series is available on Hulu as well, but you will have to buy a subscription or use the free trial in order to watch it.

Click here to find even more places to watch SAO online!

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