Aniplex began streaming on Thursday a trailer for the Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Aria of a Starless Night anime film. The video highlights the Game Master’s appearance and declaration of the death game from Asuna’s point of view.
The film will open in Japan on Saturday in standard and IMAX theaters.
Cast members Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Haruka Tomatsu, and Inori Minase will join director Ayako Kohno and singer LiSA at stage greetings during four screenings of the film at Tokyo’s Shinjuku Wald 9 theater and United Cinema Toyosu on opening day, Saturday.
The film got an advance IMAX screening on September 15 at the T-Joy PRINCE Shinagawa theater in Tokyo.
Funimation will present the film in both standard and IMAX theaters in the United States and Canada on December 3 and in Australia and New Zealand on December 9. The movie will also screen soon in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Latin America. Tickets go on sale in the U.S. and Canada on November 5 and in Australia and New Zealand on November 9. The film will screen in Japanese with English subtitles and with an English dub. The film will open in over 40 countries and territories around the world.
Funimation describes the film:
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…
Ayako Kohno (unit director on Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic, High School Fleet, The Seven Deadly Sins the Movie: Prisoners of the Sky) directed the film at A-1 Pictures, and Kento Toya (Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld, The Seven Deadly Sins: Revival of The Commandments) designied the characters. Yasuyuki Kai served as action director, and Yuki Kajiura returned to compose the music.
Also returning are Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Kirito and Haruka Tomatsu as Asuna in the voice cast.
The anime is based on Reki Kawahara‘s Sword Art Online: Progressive light novel series. The novel series launched in 2012 as a revised retelling of Kawahara’s original Sword Art Online novels. The story depicts Kirito’s journey through the floating Aincrad castle from the beginning, floor-by-floor. Yen Press is publishing the Sword Art Online: Progressive novel series in English, as well as two manga adaptations.