Today, Funimation, the market leader in anime globally, along with partner Aniplex of America, announced they will be releasing a brand new theatrical adventure, Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Aria of a Starless Night part of the official canon of the long-running anime series.
The film will be released in theaters and on IMAX screens on December 3, 2021, in the United States and Canada (with tickets on sale November 5); December 9, 2021, in Australia and New Zealand (with tickets on sale November 9); and coming soon to the United Kingdom, Ireland and Latin America. The film will be released both in Japanese with English subtitles as well as dubbed in English. The film has a running time of 1 hour and 37 minutes and is directed by Ayako Kono with animation production from A-1 Pictures.
Based on the original story from Reki Kawahara (Dengeki Bunko), Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Aria of a Starless Night travels back to the beginning of the saga where players find themselves trapped inside the world’s first VRMMORPG, Sword Art Online, with no way out. The film introduces the story through Asuna’s perspective as she struggles to cope with the realities of her new world and her fateful encounter with Kirito. The film also introduces a new mysterious character, Mito, but not much is known about her.
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…
Kirito: Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (Japanese voice); Bryce Papenbrook (English voice)
Asuna: Haruka Tomatsu (Japanese voice); Cherami Leigh (English voice)
Mito: Inori Minase (Japanese voice)
Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Aria of a Starless Night is distributed in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand by Funimation and Aniplex of America.