Anime

SAO Progressive Movie - Is it Canon? Anime Trailer, Asuna, Kirito Lore, Spoilers

The AnimeJapan 2021 event was held on March 27-28, delivering many updates on future anime projects, alongside new announcements of brand new anime series and movies – in particular, we’ve got some new details on the SAO Progressive anime project: Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Aria of a Starless Night.

A new trailer was published for Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Aria of a Starless Night (Sword Art Online Progressive THE MOVIE: Hoshinaki Yoru no Aria), the movie adapting part of the SAO Progressive novels. A key visual was published as well, with Asuna, Kirito, and a brand new character named Mito, voiced by Inori Minase. A new key visual by Abec as also published.

The trailer features music by Yuki Kajiura, who did the OST of the previous SAO anime adaptations.

What’s Sword Art Online Progressive?

Sword Art Online Progressive is an ongoing light novel by Reki Kawahara, started in October 2012. As you already know, the original SAO starts with the beginning of Aincrad and how the death game started. However, right after the intro in the first volume, a two years timeskip happens, with the action switching to Kirito and how he manages to unexpectedly clear the death game when it was up to the 75th floor. All of this happens in the first volume of the series, so it’s not huge spoilers. This is what happens in the first SAO anime as well.

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However, In SAO Progressive however, this timeskip doesn’t happen, and you get to see in detail the adventures of Asuna and Kirito as they first meet, decide to become a party and explore the first floors of Aincrad.

SAO Progressive is extremely slowly paced when it comes to floor progression to the point the story will probably never cover up to Floor 25, let alone Floor 74-75, when the first SAO volume takes place. However, it covers both brand new story elements added by Reki Kawahara, and events mentioned in SAO but that we never got to see.

Sword Art Online Progressive movie release date

Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Aria of a Starless Night will be out in Japanese theaters in Fall 2021. An English release date was not announced yet. It’s possible the movie will either be screened in American theaters, or directly simulcasted on streaming services such as Crunchyroll, Funimation, or Neflix.

Is SAO Progressive canon? Should I watch or read it?

Overall, SAO Progressive is both a reboot and its own continuity. You shouldn’t worry about which is canon or not when it comes to Japanese things. Both SAO and SAO Progressive can be canon, and they’re different timelines. Just enjoy them for what they were. If your favorite part of SAO is seeing Kirito and Asuna hanging out together, you’ll love Progressive.

In fact, it looks like the SAOP movies will be a brand new continuity in themselves, as the character Mito is brand new and does not appear in the novel or manga.

It’s also important to note that SAO up to Alicization arc included was originally a web novel, written in the early 2000s by a young and inexperienced Reki Kawahara. While many elements were changed or improved in the Light Novel version, you can still clearly feel the flaws even in the anime. You can easily tell how Kawahara improved over the years by reading his other novels: Accel World, and SAO Progressive. So don’t miss it.

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Sword Art Online Progressive spoilers

The very first part of the Sword Art Online Progressive novel focuses on floor 1, the beginning of the death game, and Asuna and Kirito joining the raid boss party against Illfang: The Kobold Lord.

The first chapter of the novel is also titled Aria of a Starless Night, so it looks like this is what the movie will adapt.

Later on in the novels, Asuna and Kirito end up meeting a dark elf NPC, named Kizmel, and end up helping her race in a war against the forest elves. Kizmel is a major character in the story, and the elf war a huge arc. If a sequel to the movie is ever produced, we might see Kizmel.

Moreover, with the introduction of Mito, it has been confirmed the SAOP will feature new elemnts not found in the novel.

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Six light novel volumes of Sword Art Online Progressive have been released so far. Volume 6 released in May 2018, meaning we might get a new one soon too to ride the anime announcement hype. The series is published in English by Yen Press.

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Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07

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