This is Kawahara Reki. I have now delivered the first volume of 2012,『Sword Art Online 9 Alicization Beginning』.
Since the release of volume 8 last year, it had been half a year of vacant. During that time, under various circumstances many things happened, so first off, I have to apologize for the wait. I’m sorry! I’ll do my best next time!
……Then, I feel like I should talk about this book’s content, now… what should I write…… While I would like to avoid spoiling things for those who look ahead and read the afterword first, no matter how I put it, it’d still be a spoiler storm! So I decided to put a warning line. Please note that beyond the line would be the Dark Territory! Ha…… now let’s start with the spoilers……
Volume 7 which has Asuna as the main character, and volume 8 which is a compilation of side stories, both took place before Kirito-sensei’s new journey in volume 9. Although he traversed from the virtual game worlds of SAO, ALO, to GGO, the world this time is at last, prohibitively «Difficult new game», as he has to challenge it from level 1. ……Although that was how it should be…… but he was able to use various sword skills right off the bat, please put it as love and respect……
As the writer myself, I tried many new things in the world which made an appearance in this volume, the «Underworld». To give a concrete example, Kirito didn’t meet a girl…… err no, that wasn’t the case; how far the straight fantasy ball using the net game context could go, about NPC, or in the other words, AI, which hadn’t been touched up close until now, how could I focus on that, I want to expand the wrapping cloth to the limit of the «VRMMO stuff» using those things. When thinking about how to have the story unfold later, it made me feel like working harder on the next volumes!
Then the next, while it might belatedly, I want to talk about the animation adaptation of this『Sword Art Online』. As I started writing at the end of 2001, and was silently serializing『SAO』the following year at the corner of the web novel world, I thought about the day that it would become an anime…… I remember the time that I said “Let’s make a GIF anime” with no confidence at all. This miracle was only made possible because of the the hard work of the illustrator abec-san; Miki-san who is in charge and said three years ago “Let’s publish this too!”; Tsuchiya-san, the assistance, whose HP bar of his tight schedule stays in deep red; and all readers who continue supporting the works from this writer, I thank you again. Of course, this original novel is still far from finished!
A certain day in December 2011, Kawahara Reki