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Sword Art Online Novels Enter 'Unital Ring' Arc

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins

The official Twitter account for Kadokawa's Dengeki Bunko imprint noted that Volume 59 of the Dengeki Bunko magazine (cover pictured at right) published the prologue chapter for the new "Unital Ring" arc of Reki Kawahara's Sword Art Online light novel series on Saturday. Kawahara himself noted on Twitter that the new arc's title uses a mathematical term in the same vein as the earlier Ordinal Scale title. However, he emphasized that this does not mean that he is linking the two.

Kawahara added that the Virtual Reality Massively Multi-player Online projects that have appeared in the story thus far have evolved through Sword Art Online, ALfheim Online, and Gun Gale Online. However, the setting of the new arc has everyone starting from scratch, without Wiki websites or strategy guides.

The original story began with a boy named Kazuto "Kirito" Kirigaya who enters a virtual-reality, massively multi-player online (MMO) world called "Sword Art Online." There is no escape from this world unless the player clears the game, but "game over" means the death of the player.

The light novel series has inspired two television anime, an anime special, and the anime film Sword Art Online the Movie: Ordinal Scale. A television anime of the Alicization arc and a separate television anime of Keiichi Sigsawa's Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online novel spinoff are also in the works. The novel series has also inspired multiple manga series, games, and a virtual reality demonstration in Japan. American independent production company Skydance Television plans to make a global live-action television series and a virtual reality experience.

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