Sword Art Online Season Three Starts With One-Hour Special

It’s been six whole years since Sword Art Online took the world by storm. Many other shows have enjoyed similar success since its debut, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have something to say about the long-running franchise. Fans of the show will be delighted to hear that Sword Art Online: Alicization, which is technically Sword Art Online season three, will premier with a one-hour special.

Sword Art Online: Alicization was announced on the back of a spin-off series, Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online, which was centered around one of the games featured in Sword Art Online season two. It’s a fairly confusing timeline at this point, but Sword Art Online season three is set to pick up after the events of the recent movie – of which was a wholly original story not based upon the light novels of which each season typically adapts. Yikes.

Originally planned to release in October a few months after the conclusion of the spin-off anime, Sword Art Online season three is now set to officially premiere next month with a one-hour special. The episode will be screened all over the world, presumably through simulcast services like Crunchyroll, but there’s always a chance of select theatres screening the episode in partnership with these services. It’s happened in the past with popular franchises, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen here.

What isn’t clear, however, is whether this means season three has been bumped up to a September series, or if the feature-length premiere is simply releasing a few weeks ahead the original October air date. If you happen to know Japanese, feel free to take a look at the official website and let us know!

Sword Art Online: Alicization officially covers the fourth arc of Kawahara Reki’s light novels, but takes place after the events of numerous side-story segments featured in other seasons of the hit show. Season three sends series lead Kirito into yet another virtual world as he continues working for the VR Crimes Division tasked with investigating the incident that kicked the whole show off.