Sword Art Online - Aincrad Volume 001 (ソードアート・オンライン アインクラッド 001, Sōdoāto Onrain Ainkuraddo 001?) is the first volume of the Aincrad Manga. In Japan, the volume consist of stages 1-6, with Aincrad Manga Volume 2 being its subsequential release[† 3], but they are combined into one single volume in the American paperback release.[† 4]
During a battle with The Gleam Eyes, many members of The Army died. Kirito and Asuna were there at the scene and they also joined the fight. The scene ends there with Kirito manipulating a skill window.
Two years ago, at the official opening of the game called Sword Art Online (SAO), Kirito met Klein. Klein asked for Kirito's guidance after he realizes that Kirito was one of the Beta testers. After Klein successfully defeats a «Frenzy Boar», he tried to log out. Failing to find the logout button, Kirito and Klein discussed whether or not it was a bug. Without warning, they were both teleported to the central plaza of «Town of Beginnings». The Game Master (GM) informed them that the only way to logout was by clearing all one hundred floors of the floating city of «Aincrad». Their appearance was also changed to their real identity in the real world.
The Game Master revealed he was actually Kayaba Akihiko, the creator of Sword Art Online and the NerveGear. He warned that any external means of removing or shutting down the NerveGear would cause the player's brain to be destroyed by microwaves. The Game Master then revealed that authorities and media in the outside world had already been informed of the situation and that there would be a two-hour offline leeway to transport the player bodies to hospitals. Additionally, Akihiko warned that if a player's hit points (HP) reached zero, their avatar would be deleted and their brain would be destroyed, killing them in real life. Kirito realized that the NerveGear gained their physical appearance data from a facial and body calibration scan.
As all the other players began a riot over what they had been told, Kirito asked Klein to come with him to the next village so they could form a team and level up quickly before anyone else. However, Klein responded that he had to stay behind to make sure his friends were okay. Realizing he could not protect everyone at only Level 1, Kirito proceeded to the next village himself, crying as he left his first friend in SAO behind.
2,000 people died within the first month, each death leading to a name on the monument in Black Iron Palace being crossed out. The first floor was cleared in a month and the second one was cleared in ten days. Two years later, there were only twenty-six floors and only 6,000 survivors remaining.
In the 74th Floor Labyrinth, Kirito fought against a «Lizardman Lord» and exited the Labyrinth after defeating it.
- In stage one, Klein performs the Sword Skill before Kirito explains it.
- The mirrors appear in the players' hands and the avatars of the players are transformed to look like their real life bodies before Kayaba appears during the tutorial; in the light novel Kayaba Akihiko appears first and the mirrors appear in the players' inventories.
- In the novel, only three members of the Army died to The Gleam Eyes.
- The manga showed Asuna's, Agil's, and Kuradeel's reactions to Kayaba's announcement. In the novel, only Kirito's and Klein's reactions were described.