'Sword Art Online' Shares Special Animation Artwork

Sword Art Online is such a popular series, it essentially sparked the current wave of anime were normal people are transported to a fantasy world. As such a big icon in the "Isekai" subgenre, it is always nice to see anything new come out for it.

As Sword Art Online gears up to unleash both a new arc for its anime series, light novels, and spin-off work Sword Art Online: Progressive, fans have dug through some hidden art:

In the art book for Sword Art Online: The Movie, there are several designs for alternate versions of Kirito and Asuna (who was recently voted as the ideal anime wife in Japan) with costumes featured from Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and the United States.

Fans are sure to get a kick to see their two favorites in different types of outfits, and especially to see how cute Asuna is in a 1950s poodle skirt.

For those unfamiliar with Sword Art Online, the series was originally created by Reki Kawahara with illustrations provided by abec. The series follows a boy named Kirito after he and thousands of gamers get trapped in a virtual reality video game known as Sword Art Online. The gamers must band together to defeat the game’s final level to escape, but Kirito and his guild learn there is more behind their prison than they were originally told.

The series began as a series of light novels published through Dengeki Bunko in 2009, and has been adapted into eight different manga series by ASCII Media Works and Kadokawa. The series has been licensed for an English language release by Yen Press, and has been adapted into an anime series by A-1 Pictures. Its first season aired in 2012 and ran for 25 episodes, while its second season, Sword Art Online II, aired in 2014 and ran for 24 episodes. The series currently gearing up for its next big arc in the light novel series, "Unitial Ring," and the next season of the anime is set to adapt "Alicization."

"Alicization" covers Volumes 9-18 of Kawahara’s light novel series. In 2026, Kirito is offered a job with Rath. He's asked to work for the firm in order to test a new type of FullDive equipment known as the Soul Translator. But Rath had no plans to make a new FullDive gaming console. Instead, the firm is working to make a new military AI. Bringing Kirito in to act as a human influence on AI, he finds that Rath had already trapped a child's soul in the machinery. When Kirito was brought out of the machine, Rath blocked his memories of his time in Underworld, but Kirito learns there are many who want him to keep quiet about his time with the AI, a child named Alice.