Otakon 2018: Voice Actors celebrate the Sword Art Online Summer Festival

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Sword Art Online voice actors Bryce Papenbrook (Kirito) and Cherami Leigh (Asuna) took to the stage of Ballroom C at the Walter E Washington Convention Center at Otakon this year.  One of the biggest events of Otakon 2018  this year was the Sword Art Online Summer Festival, a celebration of the anime sensation that is Sword Art Online.  For almost 10 years, the franchise has spanned the entire globe and through a series of manga, anime, and video games. fans have been enthralled and immersed into the dangerous but exciting world of Sword Art Online. In 2018, the third season, known as the Alicization Arc, will debut in the Fall and will be a huge event for fans loyal to the franchise.

The 1-hour long presentation encompassed the energy of the franchise, as well as teasing what is to come next. The presentation began with the announcement of a new mobile RPG  called Sword Art Online: Integral Factor from Bandai Namco.  The action RPG takes place in the world of the first VR RPG, Aincrad, and puts players right into the story of the first season of Sword Art Online. As players fight desperately to the 100th floor to free themselves from the game, players will join the assault team as their own custom character. Their character will interact with the main heroes and villains of Sword Art Online in a battle to survive the game of death.

Following the announcement of the game, we saw a quick montage, recapping the four arcs of Sword Art Online: Aincrad, Fairy Dance, Phantom Bullet, and Mother’s Rosario. Small snippets of the spin-off anime series, Gun Gale Online, were also shown, which just wrapped up its first season here in the West. Following the montage, the teaser for season 3, the Alicization Arc was revealed, which led into a quick trivia competition amongst members of the audience.

In between these moments, Papenbrook and Leigh reflected on their time voicing character from Sword Art Online and what the show, as well as the characters, have meant for fans over the past several years. The series has become more than just a fantasy, filled tales of friendship and love. The themes of power, reality, virtual video gaming, what computers systems could experience when encountering humans, and where we as a species are headed are just a handful of themes that come into focus.

Papenbrook and Leigh were humbled and excited to be a part of such a great franchise and to help deliver an astounding experience to fans in the West. The Festival concluded with a special surprise, which was a blooper reel from all episodes of Sword Art Online up to this point. The bloopers spliced in a plethora of silliness and word flubbing in various episodes, much to the delight of the audience.

With season 3 of SAO coming this fall, now is a great time to jump into the world of Sword Art Online, and fight for your lives! Seasons 1 & 2 are streaming on Hulu and Netflix. Sword Art Online Ordinal scale is available from the Aniplex Store. Gung Gale Online is streaming on Crunchy Roll. Sword art Online video games can be found at most retailers nationwide.