By Dustin Cabeal
I have never read or watched anything Sword Art Online. I know it’s about people stuck in a virtual world that can’t get out and have several ways that they can die, but that’s about it. I’m not even sure where Progressive fits into the storyline, but I’d guess somewhere after the original series.
The story follows a young girl that is freaking out about being trapped in the digital world because she needs to get home and take a mock exam. We see a few pages about her life before the game and then find her desperately trying to get out of the game through a supposed log out area. Which turns out to be a wolf’s den. She’s saved and decides to become an awesome player and fight her way out of the game. She does just that, and soon enough Asuna catches the attention of Kirito, and they partner up for a battle against the first-floor boss.
The story is okay. I didn’t get that into it because the characters were lacking any originality. It was stock standard character types from beginning to end, and it got old after a while. I did enjoy the video game element in which when they interacted with things they had to use video game commands. Otherwise it just never grabbed me. There’s this rift in the story between beta testers that are viewed as cowards for not helping newbies more, but it wasn’t developed enough to get my attention.
The artwork is professional, clean, and of course detailed. In other words, it has zero original personality. It’s house style through and through, and while that isn’t bad in and of itself, paired with the story, it leaves you feeling lack lustered. The action was decent, but it’s never given enough pages to impress you truly. Instead, it’s stiff images that could have been so much more.
If I hadn’t been sent this book for free, I would never have chased it down. Fans of Sword Art Online are sure to enjoy it because it’s more of that world. I can understand that and wouldn’t fault anyone for that, but it doesn’t make this a good series. It’s generic and average which isn’t enough to convince me to check out the next volume.
Sword Art Online: Progressive vol. 1
Artist: Kiseki Himura
Original Story: Reki Kawahara
Publisher: Yen Press