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Sword Art Online: Progressive movie release date: SAO Progressive: Aria of the Starless Night (Hoshi Naki Yoru no Aria) in 2021, Rondo of a Fragile Blade in 2022? [Trailer]

Sword Art Online: Progressive Aria of the Starless Night
The Sword Art Online: Progressive movie will adapt the first story, Aria of the Starless Night, which is the first half of SAO: Progressive Volume 1. Pic credit: A-1 Pictures

The Sword Art Online: Progressive movie release date has officially been confirmed to be scheduled for 2021.

The anime movie is officially titled Sword Art Online: Progressive – Aria of the Starless Night (Gekijou-ban Sword Art Online Progressive Hoshi Naki Yoru no Aria).

It’s rumored that Sword Art Online: Progressive movie 2 – Rondo of a Fragile Blade will release in 2022 (please see below for more details).

The story for the SAO: Progressive anime movie is based on the light novel series by Japanese author Reki Kawahara.

The new Sword Art Online movie’s story about Kirito and Asuna will go back to the beginning in Aincrad rather than jump into a Sword Art Online Season 4 anime sequel based on Unital Ring. The story will reveal one of the first encounters between “The Flash” Asuna and “The Black Swordsman” Kirito.

SAO: Progressive shows how the players cleared Aincrad floor by floor. It essentially works as an SAO reboot, although it could be perceived as expanding the original story while retconning specific minor details.

The focus is still mainly on Kirito, but the narrative’s point of view often switches to Asuna, which is why she has been featured in the trailers and key visuals for the new SAO movie.

Sword Art Online Progressive
A key visual for the Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night movie that was released in November 2020. Pic credit: Studio A-1 Pictures

The film is being produced by A-1 Pictures, which is also working on the Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 3 anime. The SAO movie is being helmed by director Ayako Kawano, who previously directed The Seven Deadly Sins: Prisoners of the Sky. Yasuyuki Kai (Haikyuu!!) will be the action animation director.

Sword Art Online: Alicization character designer Kento Toya is returning. Composer Yuki Kajiura is also returning for the music.

A Sword Art Online: Progressive movie trailer was released in November 2020.

This article provides everything that is known about the Sword Art Online: Progressive movie (Sword Art Online: Progressive – Aria of the Starless Night -) and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.

Sword Art Online: Progressive movie 2 – Rondo of a Fragile Blade release date rumored to be in 2022

It’s already being rumored that the books will be adapted into a Sword Art Online: Progressive movie series. Anime news leaker Snky claims that Sword Art Online: Progressive movie 2 – Rondo of a Fragile Blade will release in 2022.

While rumors should always be taken with a grain of salt, this information is based on a leak that claimed SAO: Progressive would be a movie adaptation before the announcement was made official.

Now, the Aria of a Starless Night story arc is the first half of light novel Volume 1. The first book ends with the Rondo of a Fragile Blade arc.

While a two-part movie series makes sense for adapting the first volume, it doesn’t really fit the story’s structure. Rondo of a Fragile Blade is less action-based and more slice of life.

Therefore, it would fit the story structure better to adapt the next story arcs as part of a Sword Art Online: Progressive TV series that ends with Volume 4. That would mean the TV anime would adapt the Concerto of Black and White, Barcarolle of Froth, and Scherzo of Deep Night story arcs.

SAO: Progressive Anime
The teaser key visual for the Sword Art Online: Progressive anime that was released in September 2020. Pic credit: Aniplex

Sword Online: Progressive Volume 7 release date set for 2021

The entire Sword Art Online book series started life as a novel contest entry for Dengeki Novel Prize that ended up being self-published online.

Kawahara’s ideas for the Aincrad arc needed to be condensed since the contest rules required that entries have an actual ending, not a cliffhanger or a “to be continued” ending.

As such, Kawahara introduced many time gaps that skimmed over the many stories of the original SAO players trapped in Aincrad.

In 2012, Kawahara decided to fill in those gaps by writing the Sword Art Online: Progressive light novel series (it’s also being adapted into a manga).

In recent years, Kawahara has been focused on writing the Sword Art Online: Unital Ring light novels, but he hasn’t ended the Progressive series, which still has many floors to cover. It was announced in late September 2020 that the Sword Art Online: Progressive Volume 7 release date was scheduled for Spring 2021.

SAO Volume 25
The book cover art for Sword Art Online Volume 25 (Unital Ring 4). Pic credit: abec

Why Sword Art Online Season 4 is not coming out soon

Some fans are probably wondering why Sword Art Online Season 4 has not yet been announced. After all, there is a book sequel that’s already available.

The third season of the SAO series, Sword Art Online: Alicization, adapted light novel Volumes 9 through 18. Volumes 19 and 20 were called SAO: Moon Cradle Part 1 and 2.

Moon Cradle is a side story that tells what happened to Kirito and Asuna after the Fluctlight Acceleration maxed out and they became trapped in Underworld for hundreds of years. Kawahara structured Moon Cradle to be readable as an independent fantasy story with some character names in common with the original SAO series.

Rather than being adapted into Sword Art Online Season 4, Moon Cradle would make more sense as a two-part Sword Art Online: Moon Cradle movie project.

SAO: Unital Ring is Volumes 21 and on. It will be the basis for creating the Sword Art Online Season 4 anime, but the problem is that it’s not finished.

Nor is Unital Ring expected to be completed soon. The Sword Art Online Volume 25 release date was scheduled for December 10, 2020.

Assuming that the final SAO story arc is similar in length to Alicization, that means Unital Ring 4 is only about halfway done. Therefore, the Sword Art Online Season 4 release date probably won’t happen until 2024 at the very earliest.

Patrick Frye is Monsters and Critics' Anime Editor. He considers himself a "woke-taku" and he enjoys covering all the latest news related to Japanese entertainment.... read more


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