Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online Chap 3

Thank you very much for reading Sword Art Online 17: Alicization Awakening.

(Please note, there will be plenty of spoilers below!)

I deeply apologize for making everyone wait for so long after the last volume, ”Exploding”. The meaning of this volume’s subtitle, “Awakening”, means “awakening”, so does that mean Kirito-san, who’s been slumbering since Volume 15, is finally going to wake up?! Everyone might be thinking about that, but I’m terribly sorry, because for a number of reasons, I can only leave you to wait for the answer in the next volume, with a “Will he awaken…? Or continue slumbering…?” cliffhanger. To be honest, I really wanted to include the entire ”Chapter 21: Awakening”, but that would make this volume very thick and Volume 18 very thin, throwing off the balance, so I could only tearfully cut it off here. It doesn’t exactly make up for it, but everyone shouldn’t need to wait too long for the next volume. It’ll be the «next» volume after the «next», so please wait for a bit, everyone…!

Now, I’ll talk a bit about the content of this volume. As Gabriel, Vassago, and Critter have schemed, VRMMO players from the US, Korea, and China mass-invade Underworld and begin a fierce battle with the Human Empire Army and the Japanese players. When I wrote this portion of the plot in the web version ten years ago, it was because there had been an atmosphere of exclusion against foreign players present in the world of Japanese online games back then, so I hope that everyone can properly reconsider that part after reading it. But since my writing ability wasn’t up to scratch, I instead created something that resembled what happens when anger is incited against a common enemy, and this has always made me very ashamed.

While I was editing this into the Dengeki Bunko version, at one point I considered completely rewriting this section, but then I felt like that would only be fleeing from it… in the end I didn’t change the general plot. As to how Kirito will resolve the enmity created by the «Inciting PKer» Vassago/PoH, who is also beginning to take action from the shadows in Progressive, please wait for the next volume for that information as well, everyone.

Fifteen years have transpired since SAO was conceived in a corner of the Internet. I cannot help but marvel that it has managed to survive for this long. But now there will be a movie, video games, and many other projects that will keep expanding the SAO world, and I ask for everyone’s continued support from now on. Finally, to abec-san, who so majestically and beautifully portrayed Leafa, Sinon, and the others who charged into Underworld, and Miki-san, who is beginning an all-new challenge as my editor, thank you so much!

A certain day in March 2016

Kawahara Reki

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