Sword Art Online Progressive Barcarolle of Froth Vol. 2 Manga Review – More Asuna, Why Not?

    Title: Sword Art Online Progressive Barcarolle of Froth Vol. 2 Manga
    Author: Reki Kawahara
    Release Date: February 2, 2021
    Publisher: Yen Press

While Sword Art Online continues to dominate multiple forms of media, the series seems to want to do even more with its characters. This is why we even have reboots of the original arc where the characters find themselves once again taking on the death game. Sword Art Online Progressive Barcarolle of Froth Vol. 2 manga is the final volume of Kirito and Asuna’s adventure through the fourth floor. Even with a rocky opening, the story finds a way to put the pieces together for a decent conclusion.

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Sword Art Online Progressive Barcarolle of Froth Vol. 2 has Kirito and Asuna continuing their partnership throughout the fourth floor. They’ve teamed up to reach the final floor of a virtual reality tower that they are trapped in. Although they’ve adjusted to the RPG lifestyle, they still fight towards ending this game and making their way back home.

The opening chapters are all over the place in terms of pacing and character writing. If you have this firm idea of how Kirito and Asuna should act around each other, you should probably throw that out the window. While their skills are formidable, they have a ditzy, almost clumsy friendship. They seem to always be tripping over something or finding themselves in anime situations of a brief upskirt. It works for fan service, but they don’t react in ways that I remember. However, it’s important to remember this is a reboot of a light novel, and I think it adapts this arc reasonably in its panels.

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We’re mostly reading to see Kirito and Asuna work together more, which is something the didn’t happen until later in the original series. The way they approach obstacles head-on and strategize battles is fun to witness. Still, the goofy nature of the story and their banter makes Kirito out to be a character who is always saying something that could be considered sexual. Asuna is constantly yelling or living out some tsundere day dream.

It makes the opening chapters boring until we realize that everything they go through has a reason. The pieces begin to be put into place, and we easily see where this adventure is headed. The conclusion is actually really great and one that I could see making a decent episode of the anime. You had real tension and understanding of the situation that made the final moments engaging.

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These illustrations from Shiomi Miyoshi were amazing. I loved every panel and how they depicted Asuna as this fairly thicc character. It’s important to capture the fan service of a Sword Art Online story, but they did it so naturally that it was completely in your face. Further, there were quite a few high-action scenes and large environments that were sold through these panels.

The flow of the panels didn’t always work. I constantly had to slow down to make sure I didn’t miss anything since these characters move through the floor so quickly. There’s also a lot left on the table after the final chapter, but that can be picked up through other means. Given that this was the final chapter, I wouldn’t have minded if something drastic happened between Asuna and Kirito, but maybe I’m just dreaming.

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Sword Art Online Progressive Barcarolle of Froth Vol. 2 isn’t the best SAO side-story, but it is a fun distraction from the mainline stories. If you’re up for a few adventures between Kirito and Asuna, then you should probably pick this up. However, you won’t be left with anything be “That was okay feeling” after. Seeing Asuna depicted in a thicc manner is perhaps the highlight. Just saying.

2.5/5

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.