Monday, 1 May 2017

Manga: Sword Art Online Progressive 5

Sword Art Online Progressive Vol 5
Rating: 4/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

It's time for the "real" SAO--the third floor! Kirito and Asuna are hardly out the door when they stumble upon the start of the Elf War quest. When they decide to side with the elite dark elf Kizmel, they're set on a path that will push them harder than ever before. But together, nothing can stop them...right? 

This volume of SAO Progressive carries straight literally we're just a few hours on from the end of the last volume, and Kirito and Asuna have just hit the third floor. I've got to say, I'm loving the pace that this manga is taking, a couple of volumes for each floor. It's also funny, along with full of action. 

I love getting to know Asuna better in these volumes, we get to know her in Aincrad, and we get to see her past in little flashbacks...and we get to see how she adjusted and coped and became the Asuna we see for most of the main SAO. You guys might remember there was a point in SAO when Asuna refused to sacrifice this volume we see her struggling to deal with NPC's and how different they are. Kirito has a more logical approach. NPC's aren't real...whereas he and Asuna are and could die if they aren't careful. Whereas Asuna doesn't like letting the NPC's die. You see what made her feel that way, it was very well done. 

We also indirectly get to know Kirito better too as we see him quite a lot throughout the story, obviously. It's nice to get to see him in different situations, and during the beginning of Aincrad. In the original story there's a load of huge time jumps, and while we know Kirito....I just feel like we get to see that there's more to him, more sides. 

I also really love watching Asuna and Kirito's relationship in these volumes. In the original story...they meet a couple of times and then they end up together. In this volume we get to see how their acquaintance started, and watch as their feelings develop and their relationship develops and they get to know each other. They already know each other pretty well...Asuna knew straight away which Elf Kirito sided with in the Beta test...which cracked me up. 

I'm also loving all the new insights in to Aincrad and I was always so curious about what happened on the other floors and what the other floors where like. Turns out that SAO has Elves on the third floor. Yup. Didn't see that coming. We get a new character in this volume called Kizmel, she's a dark elf and an NPC and I'm interested to see how this is going to play out as Asuna is quite attached. Plus it's a Quest, and I don't recall seeing a Quest before in the original SAO. 

The only problem with this volume that I spotted a couple of inconsistencies with the main/original story. Like Kirito makes a comment about SAO not having a marriage system or whatever the wording was, and um.....yeah there is. Because there's that whole murder mystery thing that goes on in the main story. I distinctly remember it in the anime at least. The guy murdered his wife to get an item or whatever it was and they had shared storage because they where married, I think was how it went. Either way, we know they do have a marriage system because.....Kirito and Asuna. There where a couple of other little things too. I mean, we pretty much saw the first floor and then skipped a tonne, so the author kind of has free reign, but some things do stick out as not fitting. 

I'm not going to lie to you guys. The art in Progressive is waaaaaaaayyyy better than the original Aincrad arc. Way better. Sword Art Online Progressive is the Aincrad we all deserved and seriously should have gotten. It's so damn good. We get to explore the world of Aincrad, see more of it, see the other floors. It's more fleshed out and so are the characters and their relationships. I know at the end of the SAO Ordinal Scale movie it says "SAO will return" or something, and I know they'll probably do the Alicization arc which is yaaaaay because continuing the story finally BUUUTTT, my heart longs for a Progressive anime too. Because awesome. But for now I'll have to settle for the manga, and I'm a-okay with that! 

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