Sword Art Online Progressive Vol 1 is an alternative retelling of the original story of Sword Art Online, this time from Asuna’s perspective. It present the time line in a more chronological order, and changes certain elements from the story. Find out here how it holds up!

Fans of Sword Art Online, as well as anyone who wants to see a slightly more refined take on the SAO story.

  • I appreciated the reorganization of the story compared to the original light novel, which I reviewed here. It had a better flow to it and felt more logically organized.
  • The volume contains a number of great character moments for Asuna, helping to flesh out her back story as well as set up some good character development.
  • The artwork is gorgeous and a massive step-up from the original manga version of Sword Art Online. Himura’s style is wonderful and is much closer to ABEC’s designs (the original illustrator for the light novels) which I enjoy.

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  • Asuna’s character has been made significantly colder, she is now a full fledged tsundere. I prefer the way her character was originally portrayed more, and I don’t feel like her interactions with Kirito stand out as much in this volume. His personality has also been lightened and is significantly less aloof. Oddly, this makes the manga feel more derivative and it definitely plays into more genre tropes than the original work.
  • There is more fanservice than I’d prefer to be present. It happens in only one chapter but seems particularly at odds with trying to set up Asuna as a strong character, and is reminiscent of a particular episode of Sword Art Online II which aired this past season.

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I enjoyed it, and I feel like it is worth picking up for its different take on the original Sword Art Online story. It was neat to see Asuna as the main character especially after Mother’s Rosario recently was adapted as part of Sword Art Online II. I hope that Volume 2 is able to build on Asuna’s character more and limits the fanservice to a lesser degree, but otherwise I’m optimistic for where this adaption will go.

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What do our scores mean?

You can buy Sword Art Online Progressive Vol 1 starting on January 21st, 2015 from Yen Press.

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