A 15-second “Battle” trailer for Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Aria of a Starless Night has been released ahead of the movie’s October 30 Japanese premiere. The brief trailer offers a preview of Asuna, Mito, and Kirito in action.
Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Aria of a Starless Night is inspired by Aria on a Starless Night, one of the stories from the Sword Art Online: Progressive light novels’ first volume. However, the movie features an original character in the form of Mito and appears to focus on series heroine Asuna.
The Progressive series expands on the “Aincrad Arc” of the original and still ongoing Sword Art Online series. The first volume was published in 2012, while the eighth and latest volume was published in June 2021. Both the main and Progressive series are written by Reki Kawahara with illustrations by abec.
Aniplex of America describes the movie as:
This is a tale of the time before “Lightning Flash” and “The Black Swordsman” were known by those names…
The day that she happened to don the NerveGear, Asuna Yuuki was a third-year middle school student who’d never even touched an online game before. On November 6, 2022, the world’s first VRMMORPG, Sword Art Online, is officially launched. But the players, still euphoric over having logged in, suddenly find themselves trapped inside the game when the Game Master deprives them of any way to log out.
The Game Master then gives them this warning “This may be a game, but it’s not something you play.” If a player dies in-game, they die in the real world.
Hearing this, all of the players panic, and pandemonium reigns. One of those players is Asuna, but despite not yet knowing the rules of this world, she sets off to conquer the floating iron castle, Aincrad, whose peak is too high to be seen. As the days go by in this world where death is never very far away, she has a fateful encounter. And then, a parting…
Though she’s at the mercy of the reality before her eyes, Asuna fights on with all her might until someone appears before her: the aloof swordsman, Kirito…
Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive-’s staff includes Ayako Kounou (86 EIGHTY-SIX storyboarder) as director, Kento Toya (Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld co-character designer and co-chief animation director) as character designer and chief animation director, and Yasuyuki Kai (My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission key animator, Haikyu! The Movie: Battle of Concepts co-action animation director) as action director.
Other staff include Yusa Itou (Woodpecker Detective’s Office) as art director, Naomi Nakano (The Aquatope on White Sand) as color designer, Yuki Oushima (Cells at Work!!) as photography director, Kengo Oda (Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld Final Season) and Hiroshi Nakajima (Fate/Apocrypha) as CG directors, and Yuki Kajiura (The Case Study of Vanitas) as music composer.
Additionally, Aya Akizuki (Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld co-sub designer), Tomomi Ishikawa (PERSONA5 the Animation character designer), and Keisuke Watanabe (Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club chief animation director) are the sub character designers. A-1 Pictures is the animation production studio.
Meanwhile, the cast includes Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Kirito, Haruka Tomatsu as Asuna, and Inori Minase as Mito.
Funimation and Aniplex of America are bringing Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- to North America on December 3 and to Australia and New Zealand on December 9. Odex is bringing the movie to Southeast Asia, with Singapore getting a fan’s screening on November 20.
Source: Aniplex YouTube channel