Sword Art Online Volume 16 is part of the Alicization arc. It consists of Chapter 18 and Chapter 19. Please note that Chapter 18 is already translated by Tap, and will not be included in this translation. A link will be provided to Tap’s translation of Chapter 18. This translation will start directly from Chapter 19, and then proceed to the Afterword.
Translation – CJ, luacs1998, defan752
Editing – CJ, luacs1998, defan752, ZeHaffen, DarthMewtwo
Scans – 仓崎枫子
Terminology – Tap
Thank you to everyone for reading the sixteenth volume of Sword Art Online, [Alicization Exploding], published a year after the previous one.
Ever since the battle in the Central Cathedral ended, the story has finally extended from the Human Empire to the entire Underworld… I’m very sorry for making everyone wait for so long. In this volume, Asuna finally descends into the battlefield, and seems like some familiar characters are joining the battle as well, so from now on, I hope I can recover the normal pace until the end of Alicization arc. After being constantly protected since the last volume, Kirito-shi may make a big comeback in the next one. I just can’t help feeling so!
The subtitle of [Exploding] was added to reference the various explosions and bursts that occurred in this volume. Although the names were kind of short at first, like [Beginning] and [Turning], they’ve been getting longer and longer recently1, so I want to shorten the next volume’s name a bit. Below, I’ll be discussing the plot of this volume for a bit. The first half of this volume is titled [War of the Underworld], and it gives a taste of a war chronicle since various characters are all fighting in a mess. Because of that, I’ve shifted the writing style from a limited third-person perspective to the so-called “omniscient third-person perspective”. Please forgive me if you were confused by the endlessly appearing information that should remain unknown to that part’s central character!
Although I want to describe the author’s situation, life has been pretty normal like last time, so there aren’t any topics worth mentioning… I haven’t been playing any MMORPG games properly these few years. I’d love to start something new yet I haven’t done that since long ago, so I at least tried a western open-world RPG on the PS4, and wow, that was awesome. The map’s too big, there’s too much freedom, so after wandering around for a while I forgot what would happen during the main quests. I’m pretty sure that if I used an HMD2 and motion controllers to play this kind of game, I wouldn’t be able to return to the real world! I’m always dreaming that one day SAO will become like this kind of game, but when I pleaded to producer Futami over at Namco Bandai Entertainment, “Please turn the entire Underworld into something that you can adventure around in!”, I only got a stupefied smile in return.
Lastly, some routine words of thanks. To abec-san, who gave the Stacia version of heroine Asuna-san the most beautiful and cutest design possible (Sheyta, Renri, and the Goblin Tribal Chiefs are great, too!), and to Miki-san, who as chief editor proofreads for me deep into the night, thank you very much! See you next volume, everyone!
A certain day in June 2015
1. Referring to the katakana of the names: Beginning ビギニング, Turning ターニング, Rising ライジング, Dividing ディバイディング, Uniting ユナイティング, Invading インベーディング, Exploding エクスプローディング.↩
2. Head-mounted display, used for virtual reality.↩