The first visual featuring Asuna and Kirito released, lead staff revealed
The story of Aincrad, the first arc of the popular TV anime series Sword Art Online, gets retold in the upcoming Sword Art Online Progressive THE MOVIE: Hoshinaki Yoru no Aria (Sword Art Online Progressive THE MOVIE: Aria of a Starless Night), which releases in 2021. The first trailer for the anime film was shown off on the official Twitter account for the film, along with a visual featuring Asuna and Kirito, and the lead staff and cast.
The Sword Art Online Progressive light novel series is a retelling of the first arc's story, Aincrad, by the light novel author Reki Kawahara, with each floor getting their own story. The title of this film, "Aria of a Starless Night", corresponds with the first chapter of the first book in the series. Yen Press releases the novels in English and describes the first volume as such:
'There's no way to beat this game. The only difference is when and where you die...' One month has passed since Akihiko Kayaba's deadly game began, and the body count continues to rise. Two thousand players are already dead. Kirito and Asuna are two very different people, but they both desire to fight alone. Nonetheless, they find themselves drawn together to face challenges from both within and without. Given that the entire virtual world they now live in has been created as a deathtrap, the surviving players of Sword Art Online are starting to get desperate, and desperation makes them dangerous to loners like Kirito and Asuna. As it becomes clear that solitude equals suicide, will the two be able to overcome their differences to find the strength to believe in each other, and in so doing survive? Sword Art Online: Progressive is a new version of the Sword Art Online tale that starts at the beginning of Kirito and Asuna's epic adventure--on the very first level of the deadly world of Aincrad!
Leading Sword Art Online Progressive THE MOVIE: Hoshi Naki Yoru no Aria is director Ayako Kawano (Yurikuma Arashi, Love Live! Sunshine!! episode director), with Kento Toya returning from Sword Art Online Alicization as the character designer, Yasuyuki Kai returning from the original Sword Art Online TV anime series as the action director (he was previously a key animator), and Yuki Kajiura also returning to provide the music for the anime film. The animation will be produced at A-1 Pictures.
The voice actors for Kirito and Asuna return for the second Sword Art Online anime film in the franchise.
Previously released teaser poster:
Sword Art Online Progressive THE MOVIE: Hoshinaki Yoru no Aria is scheduled to be released in Japanese theaters in 2021. No details on a western release has been announced.
Daryl Harding is a Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs a YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza, and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.