Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online Volume One (Manga)


With the premiere of the latest Sword Art Online Progressive Film in the US, I’m following up with one of my favorite spin-off stories in the Sword Art Online Series. This is the first volume review of Keiichi Sigsawa’s Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online.

In this manga adaptation, our story begins with a young lady named Karen Korhiruimaki. She always felt out of place in the real world due to her height and struggled with making friends her age. Everything changes when Karen is introduced to VR Games and a new game called Gun Gale Online. She quickly discovers that she can play as the chibi avatar of her dreams! Can she find friendship in the bullet-ridden world known as Gun Gale Online?

It is a story without Kirito or his friends, which to be honest, is a breath of fresh air. While it is a story about Karen’s time in a VR MMORPG, it is also a story of a social outcast who finds her comfort zone and finally gets to have fun without anyone giving her strange looks. While playing against AI, she finds that playing Video Games can be very therapeutic. It leads her to meet a new friend named Pithoui. Pithoui is a mysterious lady, who is very skilled when it comes to military-style gaming.

Aside from meeting Pithoui and her brooding, bulky partner M, there are subtle nods to Sword Art Online, the previous events of the BoB Tournament (Bullet of Bullets), which leads to Squad Jam, a team battle royale tournament.

I enjoyed the plot and premise of the story. As much as I enjoyed Kirito and his friends’ adventures in places like Aincrad and Alfheim Online, it was LLENN’s adventures in Gun Gale Online that gives a certain feeling of not only excitement but a sense of an adventure that doesn’t have any strings attached to it (Death Games).


The artwork, handled by Tadadi Tanori, and Character Designs by Kohaku Kuroboshi are magnificent. The action sequences are drawn with great detail and do have moments where it is unbelievable (I’m not saying this negatively, it’s something needed to entice the reader to continue reading). Each Character has a defined personality that has a stronger connection with each other, something that the earlier SAO stories were lacking at one time.

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online Volume One Is Available Now in Print And Digitally. The Anime Series Is Also Available On Crunchyroll and Hulu.

Final Grade:

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

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