The first images of Sword Art Online: Progressive - Hoei no Barcarole have been released and they are relatively different from the last run of the light novel.
Now being handled by artist Shiomi Miyoshi, the new imagery is seemingly splitting fans of the franchise with its first panels.
Some are saying that the new direction is too comedic and leans too much into fanservice, when compared to the other SWO options available. The Progressive series has always had its fair share of fanservice, with up-skirts, bathing scenes, fetish illustrations and the like, but many are still saying that the new version is already a little too much.
For those unfamiliar with the Sword Art Online series, it was originally created by Reki Kawahara with illustrations provided by abec. The series -- at that point -- followed a boy named Kirito after he and thousands of gamers get trapped in a virtual reality video game known as Sword Art Online.
The gamers were forced to band together in order to defeat the game’s final level to escape, but Kirito and his guild learn there is more behind their prison than they were originally told.
Sword Art Online: Progressive's manga adapts the work of Kawahara and abec and retells the story of that initial arc with the journey through Aincrad.
Yen Press has distribution rights for the manga adaptation in the United States and the synopsis for Progressive's first volume is as follows:
"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.0comments
"Unwilling to wait on the sidelines for more experienced gamers to beat the game, Asuna employs her study habits to learn the mechanics of gaming - 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?"
The series began as a series of light novels published through Dengeki Bunko in 2009, and has been adapted into eight different manga series by ASCII Media Works and Kadokawa, and has been adapted into an anime series by A-1 Pictures.