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Sword Art Online: Phantom Bullet, Vol. 1

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A year after Kazuto and Asuna escaped from Aincrad, the deadly setting of Sword Art Online, they're still coping with the aftermath as they try to recover from the harrowing experience. Meanwhile, there's a new VRMMO game sweeping the world's gamers-Gun Gale Online. When a mysterious player wielding an item he calls the "Death Gun" claims to be responsible for real-world d A year after Kazuto and Asuna escaped from Aincrad, the deadly setting of Sword Art Online, they're still coping with the aftermath as they try to recover from the harrowing experience. Meanwhile, there's a new VRMMO game sweeping the world's gamers-Gun Gale Online. When a mysterious player wielding an item he calls the "Death Gun" claims to be responsible for real-world deaths, Kazuto is recruited to enter the game to investigate, bringing an end to his hard-won peace!


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A year after Kazuto and Asuna escaped from Aincrad, the deadly setting of Sword Art Online, they're still coping with the aftermath as they try to recover from the harrowing experience. Meanwhile, there's a new VRMMO game sweeping the world's gamers-Gun Gale Online. When a mysterious player wielding an item he calls the "Death Gun" claims to be responsible for real-world d A year after Kazuto and Asuna escaped from Aincrad, the deadly setting of Sword Art Online, they're still coping with the aftermath as they try to recover from the harrowing experience. Meanwhile, there's a new VRMMO game sweeping the world's gamers-Gun Gale Online. When a mysterious player wielding an item he calls the "Death Gun" claims to be responsible for real-world deaths, Kazuto is recruited to enter the game to investigate, bringing an end to his hard-won peace!

30 review for Sword Art Online: Phantom Bullet, Vol. 1

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    The Sword Art Online manga books are really entertaining!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I feel differently about this one, because I actually didn't get up to this part in the anime so I really had to concentrate on what was happening. This book was really a stepping stone to the next book that I think will really pack the punch. The only great thing was Asuna and Kazuto irl being cute and I have to admite, that ending was absolutely hilarious!! I feel differently about this one, because I actually didn't get up to this part in the anime so I really had to concentrate on what was happening. This book was really a stepping stone to the next book that I think will really pack the punch. The only great thing was Asuna and Kazuto irl being cute and I have to admite, that ending was absolutely hilarious!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

    This was good. It inspired me to watch this season of SAO again. I actually am watching episode three right now which takes place after this book. I was watching episode two so I can watch the fight scene that happened in chapter four of the manga. There was a slight variance but still awesome none the less. I love this whole series. Cant wait to read more.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Holly Letson

    This was my first journey into the world of Sword Art Online, and I found it quite enjoyable. (I had tried to read Sword Art Online: Aincrad Omnibus (2-in-1 Edition), while in Spokane, and moved on to something more shoujo or more mainstream action-based shounen instead.) This was definitely a great freebie to snag from Google Play Books. At first glance, and through most of the book, it quite reminded me of old .hack// anime and mangas. While I very much disapprove of MMORPGs IRL, I do enjoy r This was my first journey into the world of Sword Art Online, and I found it quite enjoyable. (I had tried to read Sword Art Online: Aincrad Omnibus (2-in-1 Edition), while in Spokane, and moved on to something more shoujo or more mainstream action-based shounen instead.) This was definitely a great freebie to snag from Google Play Books. At first glance, and through most of the book, it quite reminded me of old .hack// anime and mangas. While I very much disapprove of MMORPGs IRL, I do enjoy reading mangas about them and watching anime about them. Hence, this was a fun read, and I would enjoy reading more. I also enjoyed how they did find time to squeeze a little romance - I'm lookin' at you, Asuna. - into the story, regardless of the fact that it is indeed an action-based alternate-universe story full of traitors and enemies amongst all the happiness.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kaotic

    I've always loved SAO, and this was no exception. It's been a while since I watched the series, I really should go back and watch it again. <3 This was a fantastic issue with amazing art. I've always loved SAO, and this was no exception. It's been a while since I watched the series, I really should go back and watch it again. <3 This was a fantastic issue with amazing art.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Riku

    Good. Very different than the rest of Sao. GREAT plot, it really get's you thinking. Good. Very different than the rest of Sao. GREAT plot, it really get's you thinking.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elias Alexander

    Not much happened in this one. it's because they are building up to the story. We got a lot of reference to the first story from sword art online aincard Not much happened in this one. it's because they are building up to the story. We got a lot of reference to the first story from sword art online aincard

  8. 4 out of 5

    Iolanthe Weiley

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. If you're already enjoying the series, you'll probably like this SAO volume. And if you've been hoping to see a little more vulnerability from our protagonist, you will finally get your wish. This is if I recall correctly, the first volume to really address the trauma caused by SAO - and it seems to come at the right place - through the ALO arc Kirito was still really stuck in the tail end of the incident, but by the time Asuna has returned to real life, it's finally over. Which means we get to If you're already enjoying the series, you'll probably like this SAO volume. And if you've been hoping to see a little more vulnerability from our protagonist, you will finally get your wish. This is if I recall correctly, the first volume to really address the trauma caused by SAO - and it seems to come at the right place - through the ALO arc Kirito was still really stuck in the tail end of the incident, but by the time Asuna has returned to real life, it's finally over. Which means we get to see a character who is moving on with life after the adventure. There are a lot of elements I wasn't too fond of - it takes until the final two chapters for Kirito to actually enter the world of GGO and meet Sinon, the new female lead. I also wasn't that into this books' treatment of Asuna. That she doesn't take the spotlight is fine, I enjoyed Sinon as a contrast to Kirito quite a bit. But it's off-putting how little she seems to be in Kirito's thoughts, or have any impact on the story. Our protagonist isn't the best husband in this book, either. Kirito not telling his wife the true nature of the dangerous mission he's about to head off on rubbed me the wrong way. I'm hoping we'll get a scene where she tells him off, and reminds him that she's as capable of taking care of herself as he is in the next book. I'm not much of an MMORPG player, so it's very likely that I missed any gaming related elements that don't make much sense, but there's still something that seemed odd to me. Namely - the character conversion. I don't understand the reason converting a character into a new game means you can no longer use this character in the old game. It doesn't seem particularly plot relevant, either. Another mechanism introduced in this book that stood out to me in a different way would be the gender assignment thing. Kawahara states that playing as the opposite sex long-term causes "undeniable mental and physical effects", but doesn't elaborate. I suppose the mental effects would be something like gender dysphoria, though I don't know what the physical ones could be, and would like to see this idea elaborated on. I'm willing to accept that this tech can determine one's gender by brainwaves - it can make video games happen in your brain, so why not? I'm pretty glad that it is based on the brain and not the genitals, and that it's even acknowledged that the brain doesn't always match the genitals. This book is from 2010! I'd love to see these ideas explored more. I liked seeing Kirito and Asuna inhabiting the world after their adventure, and Kirito then being thrust into a new one. The government involvement aspect was an interesting element - and the complete genre switch of games was fun. The villain is somewhat intriguing, I suppose, but doesn't really capture my imagination. This book of course introduces a new female lead - Sinon. While I wasn't a fan of the way she was introduced, by the point we learn her backstory I had become interested in the character. I like the concept of using a game like GGO as exposure therapy, and how she's written to deal with her trauma. The comparison of her traumatic experience with Kirito's is well done. Sinon is clearly working very hard to deal with her trauma, while one gets the impression Kirito hasn't even acknowledged his. The final few scenes of this book are perhaps the most emotionally powerful this series has delivered. At first the scenes with Sinon and Kirito are light hearted fun, peppered with some exposition and a little light drama. We get a bit of action, and then we get the line "Are you the real thing?" and we are pulled with Kirito back into the world of SAO. There is power in the word choice of "SAO survivor" as opposed to something like "SAO player". And there is serious tension as we discover that Kirito is facing a member of Laughing Coffin. My favourite part of this scene is when Kirito wonders if the man he is facing is one of the two he has killed, because this thought is completely illogical. But it seems right, that when reminded of the death you once caused, that you would wonder if it had come back to haunt you. After this tense scene, we turn to Sinon's perspective. We get a few different elements of her views on Kirito, and then we get the moment where she recognises her own trauma in his. But then we see that she still believes that no one can share or understand her pain. The way this sentiment is written manages not to seem stand-offish, or arrogant, just the result of having felt isolated almost all her life. We see Sinon and Kirito's perspectives come head to head in their match, which leads to the duel they decide on afterwards. We're lead very naturally to that final scene, where Kirito asks Sinon if she could kill to save someone's life, and she wonders if he knows. And when she understands that no, it is that he has experienced something like what she has. The dialogue we get from Kirito: near the end "...I can't do it anymore. That's why I'm not truly strong. I... I didn't even know the real names of the two or three people I cut down... I just shut my eyes, covered my ears, and tried to forget everything." gives a shock that hit's more than just the surface level. What we have seen through the course of this book is someone who has finally made it out of hell forced to once again confront it, and we finally see how the experience has damaged him.

  9. 5 out of 5

    kuristina- tabreez

    Well... I certainly feel like my timing in reading this manga and my state of being right now did not allow me to enjoy it as much as I know I could have at some point in the past or the future. But hey, I can always re-read it, so whatever. The first thing that comes to mind is the hilarity in the end scene where Kirito dives into the world of GGO and describes how he believes the more manly your avatar appears in that game, the more desirable in basically every way you are, except appearance i Well... I certainly feel like my timing in reading this manga and my state of being right now did not allow me to enjoy it as much as I know I could have at some point in the past or the future. But hey, I can always re-read it, so whatever. The first thing that comes to mind is the hilarity in the end scene where Kirito dives into the world of GGO and describes how he believes the more manly your avatar appears in that game, the more desirable in basically every way you are, except appearance is randomly generated. All his data and stats was transferred, so he's still high level, however, his appearance is likely the lowest tier possible. He's still male, but he looks like a dainty female (albeit not too far off from the real life Kirito...) Sinon is... interesting. I don't really like her a whole lot yet. I don't really care for the new dynamics between Kirito and Asuna because I can tell just how little he seems to care for her now, yet how much she still adores him. When in comes down to it, yes, I'm sure he'd still give up his life for Asuna, but I guess I just really don't like how little thought he puts into pleasing her until he's on the spot and makes something up but it's okay because she loves him so much that she laps it up and believes every word. However, overall, it was interesting and I learned a little more about Kyoto and Tokyo, as well as guns in general... and VRMMORPGs. It was interesting, and I'd like to know more about this theory on data processing irl versus data processing in an actual computer program. How exactly would it come to be that reality would meet fantasy whenever, wherever?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    I am not the target audience for this manga. A student wanted me to add Sword Art Online manga to the library and, as with all the manga I read before adding it, I have to read it. I started here and this wasn't the place to start (another student informed me). It was very interesting and I got strong Ready Player One vibes. I'll have to go back and read the beginning of the story but Phantom Bullet at least is out for our library because... Profanity/swearing: There is definitely a fair bit of " I am not the target audience for this manga. A student wanted me to add Sword Art Online manga to the library and, as with all the manga I read before adding it, I have to read it. I started here and this wasn't the place to start (another student informed me). It was very interesting and I got strong Ready Player One vibes. I'll have to go back and read the beginning of the story but Phantom Bullet at least is out for our library because... Profanity/swearing: There is definitely a fair bit of "damn, hell" kind of swearing. Not as as bad as volume 3 of My Hero Academia though... Sex/sexual references: Interesting, Yen Press has warnings for Language and Violence but not Sex, however, there is definitely a picture in here of one of the MCs lining up a sniper shot and the artist chose to portray it by focusing on the back of her behind in a highly sexually suggestive way. There is also a shot of one girl naked in bed but just her cleavage is showing. Religious references: None LGBTQ + rep: Not specified

  11. 5 out of 5

    Viola460

    A great introduction to the new game world of Gun Gale Online (with a recap of the Aincrad arc at the beginning to get a new reader up to speed on how we got to this point). Someone named 'Death Gun' is seemingly stalking players in the game and killing them in real life with virtual bullets. Kirito is put onto the case and ordered to enter Gun Gale Online and discover who or what 'Death Gun' is and how he's killing these players. This is also the volume that introduces Sinon, the elite sniper a A great introduction to the new game world of Gun Gale Online (with a recap of the Aincrad arc at the beginning to get a new reader up to speed on how we got to this point). Someone named 'Death Gun' is seemingly stalking players in the game and killing them in real life with virtual bullets. Kirito is put onto the case and ordered to enter Gun Gale Online and discover who or what 'Death Gun' is and how he's killing these players. This is also the volume that introduces Sinon, the elite sniper and her tragic backstory. Outside of Kirito and Asuna, Sinon is one of my favorite characters in the series.

  12. 4 out of 5

    James Jr.

    I enjoyed this part of the anime, so I expected to enjoy the manga. I wish that it had been a longer volume because it seemed sort of rushed and more like a spin-off manga series than part of the original, so i do wish there was more there. However, the illustrator does admit in the back of the manga that they had difficulty imagining and drawing the weapons and world in this particular series, so I understand wanting to get things right. What was there, was fantastic!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Edward

    It was AWESOME Ya, that's it. BYE It was AWESOME Ya, that's it. BYE

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    I have every intention of ready more SAO after this one.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kate Church

    This graphic novel is well written and the characters are described well. It is just as good as the anime show.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eden

    I guess you could call this a fantasy. The book is well written and well thought out with strong characters and a fantastic story line.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lee Hall

    This is already looking good. I actually enjoyed that it gave you a bit of the back story of the first series, so If someone picked this up they would have an idea of the back story without having to go read the original series. I'm looking forward to this story arc. This is already looking good. I actually enjoyed that it gave you a bit of the back story of the first series, so If someone picked this up they would have an idea of the back story without having to go read the original series. I'm looking forward to this story arc.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Doc

    Sword Art Online - Phantom Bullet is rated Teen and while the original Sword Art Online series were more fantasy based this one follows a game where guns and more modern tools are used so there are instances of gun violence as well as the tried and true theme of dying while in a virtual game so use your best judgment before handing to younger readers. One thing I liked about the book is the recap about what happened in the original Sword Art Online story and even though I have not read the novels Sword Art Online - Phantom Bullet is rated Teen and while the original Sword Art Online series were more fantasy based this one follows a game where guns and more modern tools are used so there are instances of gun violence as well as the tried and true theme of dying while in a virtual game so use your best judgment before handing to younger readers. One thing I liked about the book is the recap about what happened in the original Sword Art Online story and even though I have not read the novels I have seen the anime and read the earlier mangas so I knew what was what but I think it is still nice for those that want to jump right into this story arc without reading a lot of other stuff first (though I wondered if they just ignored all of Fairy Dance stuff since the recap goes from escaping SAO to 1 year later. I guess it was just to much to add to the recap.) :) Kazuto (Though I prefer the name Kirito) has been enlisted to help in a new mystery surrounding the more modern apocalyptic type virtual reality game Gun Gale Online where certain players have been dying due to heart attacks. Meanwhile in the game a player who is named Death Gun as is his weapon claim their newest victim but compared to the old Sword Art Online game people have been dieing differently so one might wonder if this is a power born from the original game or is there something else sinister in the virtual world. Of course what is Sword Art Online without some cuteish gals so we also get a glimpse of life between Kazuto and Asuna one year after SAO and we also get to meet professional Sniper Sinon who is quite good at her job on the Gun Gale game as we see her assisting a group of PVPers in a battle so if you read this arc be ready for all sorts of gunfire. My favorite part of the book would have to be as Kazuto converts to Gun Gale Online. That poor guy does not get a break and to see what I mean all you have to do is look at the last few pages of this volume. Poor guy. :)

  19. 4 out of 5

    06kuot

    "Sword Art Online: Phantom Bullet Vol. 1" is a light novel written by Reki Kawahara focused on the events happening after the initial Sword Art Online incident. After escaping from the floating castle Aincrad, Kazuto and Asuna are struggling to deal with their experiences inside the deadly game and readjust and fit in society. Kazuto however, was soon recruited to investigate a mysterious case; in a new VRMMO game “Gun Gale Online,” a player known as Death Gun claims to be responsible for the de "Sword Art Online: Phantom Bullet Vol. 1" is a light novel written by Reki Kawahara focused on the events happening after the initial Sword Art Online incident. After escaping from the floating castle Aincrad, Kazuto and Asuna are struggling to deal with their experiences inside the deadly game and readjust and fit in society. Kazuto however, was soon recruited to investigate a mysterious case; in a new VRMMO game “Gun Gale Online,” a player known as Death Gun claims to be responsible for the death of some players who were killed in real-life as well. As I am a big fan of the original Sword Art Online franchise, I enjoyed reading this book; although many people who read the book told me that there were numerous plot holes in the story, I felt like it wasn’t much of an issue in affecting my reading experience. Reki Kawahara does an excellent job in immersing the reader into the new world of Gun Gale Online through detailed insights from Kazuto’s perspective, as well keeping the reader interested with a constant burning question: how is Kazuto (known in Aincrad as the strongest swordman) going to adjust to a world dominated by guns? Not a bad start to a new series, personally I’m quite looking forward to reading Volume 2 and finding out what will happen next in the story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Holly Letson

    This was my first journey into the world of Sword Art Online, and I found it quite enjoyable. (I had tried to read Sword Art Online: Aincrad Omnibus (2-in-1 Edition), while in Spokane, and moved on to something more shoujo or more mainstream action-based shounen instead.) This was definitely a great freebie to snag from Google Play Books. At first glance, and through most of the book, it quite reminded me of old .hack// anime and mangas. While I very much disapprove of MMORPGs IRL, I do enjoy re This was my first journey into the world of Sword Art Online, and I found it quite enjoyable. (I had tried to read Sword Art Online: Aincrad Omnibus (2-in-1 Edition), while in Spokane, and moved on to something more shoujo or more mainstream action-based shounen instead.) This was definitely a great freebie to snag from Google Play Books. At first glance, and through most of the book, it quite reminded me of old .hack// anime and mangas. While I very much disapprove of MMORPGs IRL, I do enjoy reading mangas about them and watching anime about them. Hence, this was a fun read, and I would enjoy reading more. I also enjoyed how they did find time to squeeze a little romance - I'm lookin' at you, Asuna. - into the story, regardless of the fact that it is indeed an action-based alternate-universe story full of traitors and enemies amongst all the happiness

  21. 5 out of 5

    David Caldwell

    I have said it before, and will probably say it again. I just don't seem to get manga. I love sci-fi/ fantasy and comic books so I thimk I should like manga as well. I think the main problem is I never know where to start. This one was free, it said it was volume 1, and sounded interesting. All of those things were true, but there was a little hitch. This is volume 1 but there was an entire series (at least) before this one. Now, they did a pretty thorough recap of that series. (At least enough I have said it before, and will probably say it again. I just don't seem to get manga. I love sci-fi/ fantasy and comic books so I thimk I should like manga as well. I think the main problem is I never know where to start. This one was free, it said it was volume 1, and sounded interesting. All of those things were true, but there was a little hitch. This is volume 1 but there was an entire series (at least) before this one. Now, they did a pretty thorough recap of that series. (At least enough for me to get the general concepts.) Still, I am guessing it would be better to read that other series first. Having said all of that, I would still say that I enjoyed this manga. There was some strangeness with the formatting in a couple of spaces but it really didn't distract from the overall story. I think fans of the first series would like this one as well. The only thing is that the first series was more fantasy based while this one seems to be more science fiction, which could be distracting. I would give it 3.5 stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Atiyah Arthur

    After dealing with the traumatic events caused by SAO and ALO, Kirito and Asuna return to the world of virtual reality, as they love the gaming, but Kirito is soon asked to investigate an new game by the name of Gun Gale Online. There Kirito meets Sinon, a player with a secret phobia of guns. They form a bond and together they defeat Death Gun, a player who happens to be able to kill players in the game and the real world.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Patsy Wisner

    It as good detail and is hysterical because one he didn't know his avatar was a girl. You should consider leaving all the blank white paper out. I gave Sao phantom bullet a rating of 5 because it was hysterical and makes me want to read more. I like the part where he does not know that he as a girl avatar, and what I do not like about it is all of the blank pages. The person I would recommend this to is markiplier. It as good detail and is hysterical because one he didn't know his avatar was a girl. You should consider leaving all the blank white paper out. I gave Sao phantom bullet a rating of 5 because it was hysterical and makes me want to read more. I like the part where he does not know that he as a girl avatar, and what I do not like about it is all of the blank pages. The person I would recommend this to is markiplier.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Aefener Alatus

    I liked the art and pacing but for some reason the first chapter is only a fast retelling of the first arc. Why??? Still, I wish this artist would remade the whole first arc into a proper manga since the very first SAO manga (omnibus) is so crappy.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy holderness

    Good but it needs a little more It was good to an extent some characters are really intriguing and i look forward to seeing them develop more thru out the story but the story itself seems to lack tge suspense that readers look for in order to keep reading

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gao Lee

    Its good, the amin thing though, i dont thinkbAsuna and Kirito sont belong to each other I love this but terrible writing terrible plot and more to go with, I don't think asuna and kirito belong to each other Its good, the amin thing though, i dont thinkbAsuna and Kirito sont belong to each other I love this but terrible writing terrible plot and more to go with, I don't think asuna and kirito belong to each other

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Wow, I really enjoyed it and enjoying this manga series & started the anime today and love it and love Kirito & Asuna together too! : ) definitely recommend if you love manga, video games or anime! : )

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tori

    I was expecting this manga to be a lot longer. Most of it was just a recap of what happened in the books before it. I already knew all of that, I wanted more story out of this than what I got. (I also spent too much money on this tiny manga!)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Garrett

    Stereotypical manga. Still, good for SAO fans.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I think I'm done with the SAO franchise. I couldn't get interested in this one at all. Finished only half. I think I'm done with the SAO franchise. I couldn't get interested in this one at all. Finished only half.

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