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August 12, 2022

The Art Of Sword Art Online museum exhibit in Tokyo celebrates SAO’s 10th Anniversary

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Key visual for the museum exhibition The Art of Sword Art Online.
Key visual for the museum exhibition The Art of Sword Art Online. Photo credit: @natalie.mu

On June 15, 2022, it was announced that the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo will host “The Art of Sword Art Online” exhibition from July 2-25 to celebrate SAO’s unique anime art style created by illustrator abec and character designer Kento Toya (Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of the Underworld, The Seven Deadly Sins: Revival of the Commandments).

The exhibition will feature a range of creative materials tracing the story of Kirito and his friends, including the first public SAO artwork. There will be life-size artworks, allowing museum visitors to have a unique experience by immersing themselves in the powerful battle scenes as well as memorable scenes from anime and movies.

There will also be visuals drawn by the illustrators, character designers and creators involved in the production of the anime series and films. Many of the artworks on display are works of art that shaped the world, characters, and stories of SAO. Some of the artwork could hint at future projects in the SAO franchise.

When a game becomes a matter of life and death

The story begins when Kirito gets trapped in a virtual MMORPG called Sword Art Online. The only way to escape is to “clear” the game by climbing all 100 floors that exist in Aincrad’s floating castle. The stakes are high as death in game means death in reality. Kirito starts out as a solo player, but eventually teams up with another experienced player named Asuna. As the series progresses, their friendship deepens into something more.

The Ueno Royal Museum website has given us a little taste of what the exhibition will actually look like:

The interior of the SAO exhibition.
The interior of the SAO exhibition. Photo credit: @sao10th.net/art/

The museum is divided into special areas:

00/Link Start – an entrance area where you can “log in” to the art world of SAO. A special exhibition film is shown in this area.

01/World – An area that showcases artboards and UI designs that make up the world of virtual reality and gaming.

02/Life – An area that features storyboards and original drawings depicting the first drafts of character design and many famous scenes. See how Kirito and Asuna were originally drawn and how their story came to life.

03/Action – an area where the original drawings of powerful battle scenes are exhibited. Experience the moving action with the original paintings on the wall and the large continuous panel.

04/Continue – a section that features specific redrawn illustrations for this exhibition and hints at SAO’s journey into the future. Speaking of future projects from SAO, the 2nd The new key visual of the anime film Sword Art Online Progressive has announced that the film will premiere on September 10, 2022. You can read more about the upcoming film here: Sword Art Online Progressive: Scherzo of the Dark Dusk release date by keyframe of new SAO movie

23 kinds of limited-edition goods and SAO-inspired merchandise will be on sale at the exhibition in the special shop at the venue, such as: wide tapestries featuring the characters of Sword Art Online and Sword Art Online: Alicization, T-shirts, mugs , bags, notebooks and more.

Preview of a SAO tapestry.
A little taste of one of the tapestries for sale in the exhibition. Photo credits: @natalie.mu and @sao10th.net/art/

The museum will sell audio guides that will enhance the museum visitor’s experience, including three consecutive animation producers: Jun Kato (Sword Art Online, Sword Art Online II, Theatrical Version Sword Art Online Ordinal Scale), Atsushi Kaneko (Sword Art Online the film Ordinal Scale , Sword Art Online Alicization, Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld), Akinao Shibuya (Theatrical Version Sword Art Online Progressive Starless Night Aria, Theatrical Version Sword Art Online Progressive Scherzo of the Dark Dusk). Many “secret stories” that can only be heard through the audio guides are experienced.

Preview of a SAO tapestry.
Preview of a tapestry for sale at the exhibition. Photo credits: @natalie.mu and @sao10th.net/art/

SAO staff recently announced a TV special titled TV Anime Sword Art Online 10, which will air on July 1st at 12pm (effective July 2nd midnight).th Anniversary Countdown on Tokyo MX! The special contains news about Scherzo of the Dark Dusk, the SAO 10th Anniversary project and announce details of repeat SAO selections beginning July 9, 2022. On November 6, 2022, the Tokyo franchise will celebrate a 10th seasonth anniversary event.



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