Sword Art Online: Progressive, LN Recommendation of the Week!

Article at a glance:

  • Sword Art Online: Progressive breathes new life into the series by addressing past flaws and enriching the story with detailed world-building and character development.
  • The slower pacing allows for a deeper exploration of characters and their backstories, adding weight to their actions and the consequences within the game world.
  • Fans of the original series will appreciate the consistent yet evolved art style in Progressive, maintaining the franchise’s signature aesthetic while offering fresh perspectives on familiar scenes.

Now, I know that it is cool to hate Sword Art Online and all. And I think that is for a good reason. The later seasons of the series are garbage. It is as if the author completely forgot what made the first arc of the series so beloved. Sword Art Online: Progressive is the author realizing their mistake, going back to the first arc, and giving it the time it should always have had. The pacing is slowed down significantly, and new characters are added, older characters are given more story and depth… and man, it is really good. Progressive is what this LN should have always been.

Better late than never though so here we are. Welcome back to another recommendation article. This week we are doing an LN recommendation instead of a manga recommendation. And of course, this week we are talking about Sword Art Online: Progressive. Let’s get started.


Sword Art Online: Progressive, just like the original series is written by Kawahara Reki and illustrated by BUNBUN. It has been serialized in the Dengeki Bunko magazine since October 2012. Progressive currently has 8 volumes, the latest one came out in 2021 so volume 9 should come out later this year. As for anime adaptation, Progressive has been made into 2 anime movies so far, both of which were made by A1 Pictures and they cover 1 volume of the LN each, I believe. They are good so check those out if you don’t want to read the LN.


The overarching plot of Progressive is the same as the original series. Just that everything is more detailed and expanded upon now. The plot takes more time with establishing characters before the death game reveal so that when we get the eventual 1-month timeskip, we get a better feel for how things have changed. Asuna gets a whole new fleshed out story, that gives better context to her emotional state when she meets Kirito. Progressive is meant to explicitly flesh out Asuna and Kirito more but it works wonders on other characters as well.

Because of the slower, more deliberate pacing, more emphasis is placed on deaths. Deaths have more weight now because you spent more time learning about that character. The slower pacing also helps with the world-building because unlike the original, we are not rushing through Aincrad now. Every floor is explored and we get a lot of details about it.


I already touched on how the slower pacing affects the characters. The addition of certain new characters like Misumi helps give more depth to the older characters while being a good addition to the cast in their own right. We get more detailed backstories for all our old cast now and we get to see them change gradually. Asuna and Misumi’s story again is a perfect example of all of this. Kirito is also getting more character development now, which is good because, in the original, he was a very flat character.


If you liked the art of the original LN, you will like the art of this as well. It is the same artist after all. Still, it is interesting to see how the same artist now has different takes on similar/same scenes. SAO has always had a great sense of style and sure enough, it is still present and I love to see it.

Summing Up

Here’s why you should read Sword Art Online: Progressive

  • Massive improvement over the original
  • Great pacing
  • Awesome characters
  • What SAO should have always been

That is all for now! Let me know what you guys think in the comments, I will take my leave here. See ya!

Also, check out this week’s anime recommendation here!

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