‘Sword Art Online -Progressive- Scherzo of Deep Night’ is loaded with flashy duels and action packed boss raids… But relatively lean on the psychological VR terror elements that made the original SAO anime series ground breaking and film ‘Ordinal Scale‘ so thought provoking.
This review contains spoilers for the ‘Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Scherzo of Deep Night’ dub.
Review Score: B+. Too much spotlighting of MMORPG guild infighting and rare item drops ventures the SAO Progressive movie sequel away from the anime’s core mainstream hook. The NerveGear VR headset and being unable to escape a video game world you willing gave your body & mind to.
As a Sword Art Online fan since the beginning of the series, SAO the Movie -Progressive- Scherzo of Deep Night feels more like a strong expansion pack without risks taken. Definitely enjoyable but more of a one off concert than the album you keep coming back to for repeated viewings.
If you already love the series, SAO -Progressive- Scherzo of Deep Night is an exciting theme park of beautifully animated action scenes of your favorites. But it’s missing that envelope pushing societal ‘X’ factor of past iterations.
Ordinal Scale made you wonder, ‘What would I do in that father’s position? Would I sacrifice all the other SAO survivors to bring my own daughter back to life? Even virtually…’
The first SAO Progressive movie brought back the original’s feelings of vulnerability, sheer terror, and boundless regret for ever putting the NerveGear on.
Sword Art Online -Progressive- Aria of a Starless Night reimagined the story from Asuna Yuuki’s vantage point in a very relatable way. Placing Asuna’s despair and lost motivation to go on at center stage in a virtual world she believed she couldn’t compete in.
It was a fresh retelling with no previous watching of the anime series required to know what’s going on. No need to have watched Alicization or even have MMORPG playing experience. Thus, the barrier for series entry (three seasons and a film minimum) was removed and easy again.
The central hook of fear and mental breakdown at the realization of being trapped in a virtual world were in tact… And it’s very easy for outsiders to the series to relate to this ‘futuristic but on the cusp of being real’ concept.
Scherzo of Deep Night in comparison more or less focuses on a guild flag that gives buffs and two PKing renegades. Relying heavily on action scenes in place of the kind of twists you’d expect from the series.
However, there’s a standout scene early on where Asuna has her rapier sword stolen from her after falling down a trap and is fully isolated sans Kirito.
The PKers manage to get her sword as a drop from a Sly Shrewman and the way Asuna gets the rapier sword back is a thing of beauty. Asuna’s isolation & lost confidence there should have been explored further but Scherzo of Deep Night strays back to spotlighting the guilds.
A duel between Mito and Asuna is stunning to watch visually but with an extremely predictable outcome. No surprises here unlike in SAO 2 with Yuuki Konno at the hospice in real life. And that’s the thing, outside of giving you a first-hand point of view from Asuna and Kirito’s headsets.
This second Sword Art Online -Progressive- movie stays fully inside the video game realm. You don’t see the outside reality, which was key to making non gamers connect and get attached to the SAO anime series. Anyone who’s played video games since their childhood will love the unique floor boss presented in the second half of this film by the way.
Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Scherzo of Deep Night gets a B+ review score as we love the series at The Natural Aristocrat® and want to see more of it. But objectively, for a new unattached anime fan, we can realistically see it being a B and even as low as a B-.
SAO Progressive 2 retreads familiar territory in an aesthetic way but we hold this series to higher expectations than most.
SAO the Movie -Progressive- Scherzo of Deep Night Dub Cast – Leads
The following voice actors feature in the English dubbed SAO Progressive 2 movie:
Cherami Leigh as Asuna
Bryce Papenbrook as Kirito
Anairis Quiñones as Mito
Kimberley Anne Campbell as Argo
A.J. Beckles as Morte
Patrick Seitz as Agil
AmaLee as Liten
Derek Stephen Prince as Kibao
SAO Progressive Movie 2 Release Date USA
You can see Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Scherzo of Deep Night in AMC theaters nationwide starting February 3, 2023.
How to watch SAO -Progressive- Aria of a Starless Night this February 2023?
Sword Art Online Progressive – Crunchyroll
You can watch the first dubbed SAO Progressive full movie on Crunchyroll.
You can also purchase the Sword Art Online Progressive Blu-ray on Amazon.
More coverage of SAO Progressive Dub
– Be sure to check our exclusive Cherami Leigh video interview on Asuna Yuuki.
– We also previously interviewed Todd Haberkorn on voicing villain Sugou Nobuyuki/Oberon