Sword Art Online to be US TV show
THE immensely popular young-adult fantasy novel series Sword Art Online, also known as SAO, is to be made into a live-action TV series by a United States media company.
The drama, based on a series of novels written by Reki Kawahara, will be produced by Skydance Media.
The Hollywood company is known for its production of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation.
Kawahara began writing SAO around 2001 and initially released the novel online.
The work eventually took on other forms - manga, anime and video games - to become a media franchise.
Since 2009, some 12.5 million copies of the book have been printed in Japan.
In addition, 6.5 million translated copies have been printed in 10 foreign countries and territories.
Laeta Kalogridis, executive producer of Avatar, will write the script of the drama's pilot episode.
The series' broadcast schedule has not been announced.
"I'm really excited and feel grateful for this unexpected development," Kawahara told The Yomiuri Shimbun.
SAO is a tale of a young man named Kirito and a group of his friends who are trapped in a virtual reality online role-playing game.
They fight their enemies with swords under do-or-die conditions. If they die in the game, they really are dead.
The bond among the characters and the efforts they make to save each other won the hearts of a generation who grew up with video games.
In China, 3.72 million translated copies of the novels have been printed, followed by 1.45 million copies in Taiwan and 760,000 copies in South Korea.
A combined 360,000 copies have been printed in North America and Britain.
Its TV anime series has also been popular, selling more than 930,000 copies worldwide. Online streaming is also available in North America.
The latest TV project will be added to the list of film and TV drama adaptations of Japan's sub-culture works produced by Hollywood companies.
Previous works include the Resident Evil film series, which were based on the video game Biohazard, and the film Edge Of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise and based on the novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.
THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN/
ASIA NEWS NETWORK