Image copyright goes out to A1 Pictures.
SAO screamed ".hack//" to me when I first started watching this what turned out to be wonderful anime. While this anime does share similar elements with .hack// (people getting stuck in an mmo world with only a drastic means of escape); so far the anime has proven to be different enough to not only be enjoyable but seen as its series. Unlike .hack//, this one is based on a series of light novels rather than a video game series.
Type: light novelSynopsis:In the near future, a Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) called Sword Art Online has been released where players control their avatars with their bodies using a piece of technology called Nerve Gear. One day, players discover they cannot log out, as the game creator is holding them captive unless they reach the 100th floor of the game's tower and defeat the final boss. However, if they die in the game, they die in real life. Their struggle for survival starts now...