Sword Art Online was written by Reki Kawahara and is illustrated by abec. Before it became the best-selling isekai light novel, and just light novel in general for years, it was a web novel that was single-handily written by the author on Shousetsuka ni Narou, a website akin to Wattpad where it is composed of user-made novels.
However, besides these basic facts that anyone can look up on the internet, a lot of fans may not know the entire story behind the creation of the hit light novel. Here are ten facts that many do not know about the creation of Sword Art Online.
10. Kirito & Eugeo Were Meant To Be Opposites
It is apparent to everyone who watches Sword Art Online that Kirito and Eugeo look almost exactly alike, aside from their hair color, swept bangs, and their eyes. Some people have even theorized that Eugeo is a fluctlight copy of Kirito when he was inside Project Alicization.
However, the reason why Eugeo looks so much alike to Kirito is that Reki Kawahara directed abec, the light novels’ illustrator, to draw them so they would appear like opposites.
9. Sword Art Online Was Originally Written In 2001
In the afterword of the first Sword Art Online light novel, it was revealed that the series was first written for a novel competition called the ASCII Media Works Dengeki Game Novel Prize. Although it has been rebranded as the Dengeki Novel Prize, Reki Kawahara submitted it in 2002.
His pen name at the time was Fumio Kunori instead of Reki Kawahara. To say that this random contest entry changed both Kawahara’s life and the anime medium as a whole would be an understatement.
8. Kirito & Asuna Are A Couple (In Fan Fiction)
Some Sword Art Online fans know about about Chapter 16.5 of the original web novel, while others do not. In this chapter set some time after the original canon, Kirito and Asuna are officially a couple and they get intimate.
While fans can assume that Kirito and Asuna have sealed the deal by the time their story ends, this official fan fiction written by Reki Kawahara himself leaves nothing to the imagination. While the author has stated that this chapter is not canon, the fact remains that Kirito and Asuna’s relationship was a lot more risque in the online game.
7. There’s A Reason Behind The Controversial Sexual Assault Scenes
Sword Art Online is no stranger to controversy, and the main root of the problems is how women are treated in the series. From Asuna turning into a damsel-in-distress and being assaulted by Oboreon to the most shocking revelation of Tiese and Royne being tied up and treated horridly, Sword Art Online has caused public outrage on more than one occassion.
While this does not make any of the author’s past actions excusable, Reki Kawahara explained why the series had so many instances of exploitative sexual assault. He stated that the web novels he read in middle school used sexual assault as plot points, even quoting a series he read called Gold Spur. He also said that he was “bound to it like a spell,” hence his use of these plot devices in his own works. Whether one agrees with this reasoning or not is entirely subjective, but at least the author gave his side of the story.
6. Unital Ring Is The Only New Arc In The Franchise
Although Reki Kawahara wrote the first volume of Sword Art Online for the ASCII Media Works Dengeki Game Novel Prize contest, he continued to write on Shousetsuka ni Narou from 2002 to 2008 until it was picked up by ASCII Media Works and Dengeki Bunko.
Unbeknownst to fans, Reki Kawahara wrote all the way up to the Alicization Arc with the newest arc, Unital Ring, being the first to be published officially and not online.
5. Sword Art Online Is As A Light Novel Because Reki Kawahara Doesn’t Like Drawing
It turns out that Reki Kawahara isn’t all too keen with creating manga. In an interview that delved into the inspirations behind Sword Art Online, he explained that he thought drawing manga was tedious and he enjoyed creating stories inside his head more.
Because of this, he wrote the series and opted out of drawing it, since he found writing more engaging and fulfilling. Coupled with the fact that he had no interest in trimming down his work, he decided to write the series online instead rather than deal with a publisher who’d most probably want the story edited down.
4. Reki Kawahara Added Main Arcs & Short Stories After The Fact
Continuing on with the interview with Reki Kawahara, it was also revealed that he wrote the main story first without any side stories.
This means that character-based side stories with characters such as Lisbeth and Silica were added into the story long after the main story’s creation.
3. Sword Art Online Was Inspired By MMORPGs & Manga
Reki Kawahara loves video games, which is perhaps why he wrote so many volumes of Sword Art Online. This is also why he can come up with so many arcs and video game ideas for Kirito to explore.
2. Reki Kawahara Exceeded The Page Limit For A Competition
When Reki Kawahara wrote under the pen name Fumio Kunori, he exceeded the page limit by 120 pages. Although he was unable to submit it to the contest, he also did not cut down on any words and left it as-is on Shousetsuka ni Narou.
While some fans may understand as he is often too descriptive in his writing, he nonetheless never gave up on the story.
1. Reki Kawahara Wrote Short Stories Based On Characters’ Popularity
Lisbeth (real name Rika Shinozaki) and Silica (real name Ayano Keiko) both appeared in a short story that surrounded their experiences in Sword Art Online. Their popularity exceed Reki Kawahara’s expectations and this convinced him to write more about them.
He didn’t just give them new adventures, but he also put them in their own arcs where they got more dialogue than before. They have even received a spin-off called Girls Op that follows Lisbeth and Silica as main characters.
Source of: Sword Art Online