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Sword Art Online: Progressive Movie Trailer Focuses on Asuna’s Early Days

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Sword Art Online Progressive movie trailer

Sword Art Online: Progressive – Aria of a Starless Night, the upcoming film adaptation of the novel series, released a new trailer ahead of its October 30, 2021 release in Japan. Rather than focus on the franchise protagonist Kirito, the new film focuses on Asuna in her early days at the beginning of Sword Art Online‘s original “Aincrad” story arc. [Thanks, Comic Natalie!]

The Sword Art Online: Progressive trailer begins with Asuna in the real world, first hearing about the imminent launch of SAO from her friend Misumi. A new character created for the novel series, Misumi goes by the in-game name Mito and is voiced by actress Inori Minase. Minase previously voiced Hestia in Is It Wrong To Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? and Reines from Lord El-Melloi II’s Case Files. Mito invites Asuna to join her for the launch of SAO, a “Full-Dive” Virtual Reality Online game. The two become trapped inside the game together when its creator Akihiko Kayaba turns SAO into a death game, challenging the captive players to ascend the game world of Aincrad to escape. As in the original story, Kayaba has arranged things so that if a player dies in the game, they die in the real world. Mito, however, promises not to let Asuna die, comforting Asuna as they confront the now-deadly dangers of the game. Kirito also briefly appears, showing his appearance prior to donning his iconic black coat.

As the original novel and its subsequent adaptations focused on the story and perspective of Kirito, Asuna’s exploits before the pair met were relatively unknown. One of the purposes of Sword Art Online: Progressive was to refine and expand the story of that period. It put more focus on how Asuna, Kirito, and other key characters of SAO made their way through the early floors of the in-game tower. As of 2021, eight volumes of the novel series have been released. The film adaptation is being produced by studio A-1 Pictures, which also animated the Fate/Apocrypha animated series, the Sword Art Online anime adaptations, and the Ordinal Scale film.

Sword Art Online: Progressive – Aria of A Starless Night – will release in Japan on October 30, 2021. The film is licensed by Aniplex of America. However, international release dates have not yet been detailed.

Josh Tolentino
Josh Tolentino helped run Japanator as Managing Editor since 2012, before it and Siliconera teamed up. That said, it's been years since he watched enough anime to keep his otaku license valid. Maybe one day he'll see enough of a given season to pretend to know what's hot. Until then, it's Star Trek reruns, gacha games, and bylines at Destructoid and GameCritics.