Sword Art Online is back, and there is only so much time left before the main series returns in full. Last week, the franchise made a TV comeback when its first anime spin-off about Gun Gale Online went live. In just a few months, Sword Art Online will follow when its third season debuts, and fans just got a better look at one of its latest key visuals.
Over on Reddit, fans began shared a clearer key visual of Sword Art Online’s new season after it was shared in a Japanese magazine. The image shows off Kirito as well as two other players in the ‘Alicization’ arc, and fans would be amiss to overlook the art’s biggest shake-up.
You know, because Kirito definitely looks like he is a little kid in this key visual.
As you can see above, the poster shows Kirito in the center of two blond-haired children. The young boy is dressed in a dark blue shirt that’s tied with a grey sash. The protagonist looks way younger than he has in any previous Sword Art Online series, but he looks plenty happy to be holding a stick.
Oh, to be young again.
To Kirito’s right, fans can see a young boy with green eyes and light blue shirt. The character is known as Eugeo, and he acts as one of Kirito’s best friends in the ‘Alicization’ arc. The pair grow up in-game as childhood friends, and they become partners in crime once they catch wind of their world’s virtual nature.
As for the final character, the young girl shown seems to be Alice herself. The bright blond looks much younger here than she does after joining the Integrity Knights, but her lace headband is a dead giveaway. Donning a blue dress and boots, the young girl can be seen carrying a basket in this poster while her friends prepare themselves for a long day of adventuring.
If you are not up-to-date on the anime's third season, you should know it adapts the 'Alicization arc', a story that takes part in 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.0comments
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.
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.