‘Sword Art Online’ Season 3 Release Date Delayed To 2016 Over Movie Video Or ‘SAO: Progressive’ Light Novels?

Predictions for the Sword Art Online Season 3 release date all seemed to point to late 2015, but since New Year’s Eve is upon us, it is quite obvious that we can’t expect SAO Season 3 until 2016 at the earliest. The question is, what is causing the delay? A-1 Pictures has yet to officially comment on the Sword Art Online release date, although Reki Kawahara has made it quite clear that he’d like to do an anime version of the Sword Art Online: Alicization story arc (click for spoilers).

In a related report by the Inquisitr, the release of The Seven Deadly Sins Season 2 has officially been confirmed for 2016. FUNimation is also predicting the same for Tokyo Ghoul Season 3, but fans are already demanding a reboot of the anime series, since it has strayed so far from the manga.

To a certain extent, the same can not be said about the SAO anime, which has kept fairly close to the Sword Art Online light novels. Kawahara has been involved with all of the various projects in some manners, even the video games like Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization. But lately, it seems like the creator of the series is working his way backward with the storytelling, not forward toward the eventual ending of the Alicization story arc.

In fact, Hollow Realization has Kirito and Asuna going back into time with a new VRMMORPG world called Sword Art Origin, which was created using the game’s original SAO server for Aincrad. Kawahara will be creating the new story for the video game, and some reports speculate the story may be a prequel, but he’s also been going back in time with the Sword Art Online: Progressive light novels and manga.

Sword Art Online: Progressive Light Novels — The Future Of The Anime?

To a certain extent, SAO: Progressive is a reboot of the original story, although it is best categorized as a retelling rather than a full remake. The Progressive light novels and manga mostly follow the path set by the original story, although Kirito and Asuna meet far earlier in comparison, but the goal is to flesh out the details.

When Kawahara created Sword Art Online for a writing content, he quickly progressed through the story of Aincrad, jumping ahead in time by large increments. As such, many of the potential stories were never realized, and many fans find Aincrad to be the best part of the story so far, making a return to the story’s roots very welcome indeed.

Unfortunately for A-1 Pictures, the Blu-ray and DVD sales of Sword Art Online Season 2 reflect that fact. The first series sold almost double of the second season, so Anime News Network asked Shinichiro Kashiwada, the producer of the anime series, if there were any plans to make a SAO: Progressive anime instead of jumping straight into the Alicization story arc.

“Well, I can’t share right now what we might actually be discussing,” Kashiwada replied. “The Progressive novels are building on a completed story. Personally I would like to see the Alicization arc because that’s something that hasn’t been done.”

Sword Art Online Progressive Kirito And Asuna
This interview took place in May of 2015, so many fans speculate that the Sword Art Online Season 3 release date is being delayed in order to all time for the Progressive story to be finished for an anime version. But any delays might be explained by the simple fact that Reki Kawahara is almost overwhelmed by working on so many projects at the same time.

“I work on both series at the same time, but also interchangeably,” he said in an earlier interview. “At the same time, after the animation started, there were a lot of requests like interviews or requests for short story writings. It made it even more complicated. I had to change my mind so quickly, it wasn’t easy.”

To put his comments in perspective, Kawahara is involved with writing multiple lights novel angles, giving input on the manga, and when the anime was being produced he attended weekly script meetings. He even attends the recording sessions in order to ensure the voice actors correctly pronounce all the terminology.

Considering how busy the author has become, it’s no wonder we’re still waiting on SAO Season 3. And, now, he is about to get even busier.

Sword Art Online Movie Release Date Also An Unknown

In October of 2015, Japanese fans were treated to the announcement trailer for the Sword Art Online movie during the Dengeki Bunko festivals in Tokyo. The director was announced as Tomohiko Ito, who also led the anime TV series, and Shingo Adachi will once again be in charge of character design for the animated movie.

Ever since then, not very much has been officially announced. It is known that Kawahara will be producing a brand new story for the SAO movie, so some fans speculate that the plot will take place some time between Mother’s Rosario and Alicization. The question is whether the Sword Art Online Season 3 release date will be pushed back as far as 2017 due to the movie, or if both projects will be completed in 2016. Either way, Kawahara is likely to be exhausted.

Sword Art Online Kirito Sleeping
[Image via YouTube]