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Funimation Releasing New 'Sword Art Online' Movie, My Hero Academia' Movie Trailer

Before the pandemic, anime fans in the United States and the United Kingdom had been enjoying more Japanese animation on the big screen than ever before. The shuttering of all cinema screens for months on end derailed this for a while. But now as more and more people are feeling safe to return to their local multiplex, the anime distributors are back.

Funimation has announced the release of the new feature film release in the popular Sword Art Online franchise in association with Aniplex of America. Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Aria of a Starless Night is the second theatrically released film in the franchise, following 2017's Ordinal Scale. In continuity terms, however, it takes fans right back to the start of the story and shows us events from the first season, although this time from female-lead Asuna's perspective. It will also introduce an enigmatic new character named Mito. The movie is set to open on Japanese cinema screens from October 30.

This is a tale of the time before “Lightning Flash” and “The Black Swordsman” were known by those names… 

The day that she happened to don the NerveGear, Asuna Yuuki was a third-year middle school student who’d never even touched an online game before. On November 6, 2022, the world’s first VRMMORPG, Sword Art Online, is officially launched. But the players, still euphoric over having logged in, suddenly find themselves trapped inside the game when the Game Master deprives them of any way to log out.

The Game Master then gives them this warning “This may be a game, but it’s not something you play.” If a player dies in-game, they die in the real world. 

Hearing this, all of the players panic, and pandemonium reigns. One of those players is Asuna, but despite not yet knowing the rules of this world, she sets off to conquer the floating iron castle, Aincrad, whose peak is too high to be seen. As the days go by in this world where death is never very far away, she has a fateful encounter. And then, a parting…

Though she’s at the mercy of the reality before her eyes, Asuna fights on with all her might until someone appears before her: the aloof swordsman, Kirito…

Sword Art Online is based on the light novel series by Reki Kawahara. The books have been adapted as three TV series, a spin-off and a TV movie as well as manga and video games. The film is produced by A-1 Pictures and is directed by Ayako Kono. The main voice cast are reprising their roles for both the original and English versions.

Funimation will release the film in cinemas and IMAX screens on December 3 in the US and Canada, on December 9 in Australia and New Zealand. The UK and Ireland and Latin American releases are listed as "coming soon".

Meanwhile, Funimation have also been hyping up the forthcoming theatrical release of My Hero Academia: World Heroes' Mission, the third movie spin-off of the smash-hit anime series from renowned studio Bones. The movie hits screens in the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland on October 29, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa on October 28. It will also screen in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Finland and Latin America.

Funimation will also be giving away a free gift to fans in the US and Canada in the opening weekend.  My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission Vol. W Specialty Manga Booklet is a 76-page collectable publication featuring exclusive insight into the making of the new film, original art from the manga author, a Q&A and an original manga. One per customer while stocks last.

In My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission, U.A. High School students Izuku Midoriya, Shoto Todoroki, and Katsuki Bakugo face the greatest crisis in My Hero Academia history, with only two hours to save the world! During their internship with the number one Pro Hero Endeavor Agency, Deku and his new friend Rody find themselves wanted nationwide for a crime they didn’t commit.  Can Deku and his friends stop Humarise’s global plans of eliminating all Quirks?

Ticket are now on sale in the US via Fandango. The film will be released in both original language subtitled and English dubbed editions. Non-English-language territories will screen the film with subtitles in their local language (excluding Iceland).

Funimation have also released a new trailer- check it out below. My Hero Academia recently concluded its fifth season and is available streaming on Funimation and Crunchyroll. It's been confirmed to return for a sixth season, most likely next year.