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Sword Art Online Progressive, Vol. 1 - manga…
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Sword Art Online Progressive, Vol. 1 - manga

by Reki Kawahara

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(I took care to give no obvious spoilers about the story)

Title: Sword Art Online Progressive #1 (on Librarything)
Original title: ソードアート・オンライン プログレッシブ1
Author: Reki Kawahara
Translator: Stephen Paul
Illustrator: Kiseki Himura
Language: English, original Japanese
Series: Sword Art Online Progressive (manga)
Format of publication: paperback, Loot Crate Exclusive Edition (which has a shiny cover)
Number of pages: 181
Publisher: Yen Press
Year published: original Japanese 2014, original English 2015, my edition 2016
ISBN number: 9780316469630
Topics: virtual reality game, sword fighting
Reason for reading: I really enjoyed reading the Sword Art Online novels written by Reki Kawahara. I've also read the first Progressive novel, so I was curious about the manga as well. When someone put up this manga for sale on a second-hand Dutch website, I bought it.
Recommended: Yes!

Short summary:
Asuna has become trapped in a virtual game called Sword Art Online, together with 10000 other players. They can't return to the real world until they beat the bosses of all 100 floors. In this story, a group of players takes on the boss of the first floor.

Back cover text:
Yuuki Asuna was a top student who spent her days studying at cram school and preparing for her high school entrance exams - but that was before she borrowed her brother's virtual reality game system and wound up trapped in Sword Art Online with ten thousand other frightened players. As time passes, Asuna fears what will become of her life outside the fantasy realm - the failure she might be seen as in the eyes of her peers and parents. Unwilling to wait on the sidelines for more experienced gamers to beat the game, Asuna employs her study habits to learn the mechanics of the game - and swordplay. Her swiftness impresses Kirito, a professional gamer who invites Asuna to join the best players on the front line. Is Asuna ready to swap class rankings for player rankings and join Kirito?

Comments on the back cover text:
Kirito isn't a professional player - he doesn't get paid for playing games! He's just a boy who has had lots of experience playing virtual reality games and who has also played the beta version of Sword Art Online.

First three pages:
Asuna is fighting against a monster.
Asuna: If I keep fighting like this...
...the day will come when I fully collapse.
But until that moment...
...I'm going to keep running.
So I can prove...
...that I gave everything I had.

Comments on the first pages:
The first few pages have been printed in colour - so pretty!

Review:
Story:
The focus in the comic is on Asuna. Here she's the main character, while in the novels, Kirito really is the main character (the novels are also told from Kirito's viewpoint). I already knew the story, but it's nice to see it told in yet a slightly different way again :)

Differences with the novel are that this comic starts with a bit of Asuna's life before she went into the game and the comic also shows how Asuna learns her first Sword Skill.
Another thing is that when she meets Kirito, he calls her "Miss Fencer". In Japanese this was "Fencer-san", -san being a suffix that can be used for both males and females. So the moment that Kirito discovered she was a girl, was a bit lost here. The part with the Rat (Argo) in Kirito's room was also a bit different (it was shortened and the situation with Asuna in the bathroom also changed a bit).
Things that were added in a visual way (which is much more easily done in a comic than in a novel) is, for example, Asuna buying and changing clothes.
However, this manga doesn't cover the entire Progressive #1 novel - it ends in the middle of the boss fight, just after they discover it isn't exactly the same as in the beta version of the game.

Writing style:
Much of the dialogue was very similar to the novel, which was really nice!
However, they only translated the main dialogue. All of the sound effects and some background text was left in Japanese (not a problem for me, but if you can't read that, you miss out on some tiny details). Though most sound effects did have a translation next to the text.

Art:
Very pretty! Nice use of shading, backgrounds (though the focus is on the characters) and expressions. Overall there's not too much text and much of the story is told through the drawings.

Conclusion:
As I already know the story from the novels, I mainly compared it to the original. But the story is still really enjoyable and currently one of my favourites!

Rereadability:
Yes (^o^) I want to read more... but English manga are quite expensive! However, ordering the Japanese editions from abroad is also pretty expensive. I hope to find more secondhand SAO manga (or save up and buy new books :P).

On my weblog here.
  mene | Jan 1, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316259373, Paperback)

Yuuki Asuna was a top student who spent her days at cram school and preparing for her high school entrance exams--but that was before she borrowed her brother's virtual reality game system and wound up trapped in Sword Art Online with ten thousand other frightened players. As time passes, Asuna fears what will become of her life outside the fantasy realm--the failure she might seem in the eyes of her peers and parents. Unwilling to wait on the sidelines for more experienced gamers to beat the game, Asuna employs her study habits to learn the mechanics of game--and swordplay. Her swiftness impresses Kirito, a pro gamer who invites Asuna to join the best players on the front lines. Is Asuna ready to swap class rankings for player rankings and join Kirito?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:43 -0400)

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