It might seem wild thinking back on it now, but we are fast approaching not only the end of 2019, but the end of another ten years. It's been a long decade for many, but in that time, anime has grown significantly larger in both fanbase and exposure in general pop culture. One of the major series that helped this happen was Sword Art Online, and regardless of your feelings on the series overall, its impact is still being felt to this day. But while the series has gone on to great popularity in our world, it hasn't been so kind to Kirito lately.
Kirito's at a much different place in the current series, Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld, than he was when the anime first began, and a hilarious comparison from @kiwimonogatari on Twitter has gone viral for highlighting the stark contrast between the two Kiritos.
Kirito at Kirito at— 🥝 Kiwi Yotsugi 🥝 (@kiwimonogatari) December 7, 2019
the beginning the end of
of the decade the decade pic.twitter.com/qV1R0PgDqq
Although the first season of the anime didn't make its debut until 2012, the first in Reki Kawahara's original light novel series made its debut in 2009. In the time since the first light novel hit shelves, Sword Art Online has morphed into a massive multimedia franchise that now includes an anime series three seasons in, a spin-off anime, feature film, video games, manga, spin-off novels, and countless merchandise featuring the series' characters.
The series has also developed a much darker tone in that time. Although the series has had intense elements such as death when it began, War of Underworld is a much bloodier affair than the first season. This more intense tone has led to a different Kirito, too, who is now locked in the latest virtual world against his will following a fatal poisoning. Because of the Underworld's different time lapsing, Kirito has spent somewhere around two years stuck in this virtual world compared to the actual time he's spent in his coma in the physical world.
Kirito might have started off as an Isekai hero living out his dream of finding a use for his skills compared to his relatively unimpressive presence in the real world, but there are very few fans who are envious of his current position of being in a coma in both the physical and virtual worlds. He might end the decade much better off, but it's been a long road to get there. If you wanted to jump back into the series, you can currently find Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation, HIDIVE, and Hulu. The first 20 plus episodes of the third season are all available as well!