The Sword Art Online Progressive spinoff series has made it to the end of the fifth floor, and Sword Art Online Progressive: Scherzo of Deep Night 3 Final is finally here to wrap up the events with a healthy serving of action. The stakes in this fight extend past the fight itself as various guilds are eager to gain control of the Guild Flag for power. The weight of the situation weighs heavily on Kirito, but Asuna remains a key figure in getting Kirito’s thoughts on track.
As a finale to this three-part arc, Sword Art Online Progressive: Scherzo of Deep Night Vol. 3 is action-focused, as the fight against the Golem floor boss is unlike anything the group has encountered. For starters, the Golem isn’t technically an enemy standing in front of them, leaving Kirito and Asuna to be the ones and figure out how to actually fight this thing. It turns out something is preventing the Golem’s limbs from growing out of the walls and crushing whoever is in its path. As the other guilds show up, Kirito must make a few split-second decisions to save the unsuspecting warriors as well as determine the best outcome for the Guild Flag after the fight.
I think Kirito stands as a central figure in this volume, given the amount of growth he’s shown. He still relies on his time as a beta player, but he approaches the tense situations within this final volume from a different angle. The feedback he’s received after previous encounters and trials isn’t taken lightly, and he does his best not to make the same mistakes twice. It’s a great display of leadership and his desire to save his friends and ultimately bring peace to the surviving players. That said, I don’t like how he makes choices on his own and leaves Asuna out of the loop of some of his plans. This forces scenes like, “Omg, Kirito, you’re so great; how did you even come up with that?” When it’s initially Asuna who gives him the idea, but he doesn’t include her in the planning stages. Instead, a lot of his actions come off as impulsive, even if they are based on growth. He clearly wants to be the hero, but Asuna deserved a bit more credit in this volume than she got.
Aside from those moments, readers are treated to some really great action scenes. As Kirito and Asuna work out the room’s gimmicks, they showcase their combat rhythm by switching and executing sword abilities. There are a few notable panels that I found myself glued to give the amount of detail from Puyocha, who really went hard on this final chapter. Like Kirito’s growth across this arc, I think this was a great way for Puyocha to showcase their full creative ability in manga art. Each character is expressive enough, but the action set pieces and how the panels expertly showcase where the characters are in relation to the room are expertly done to emphasize the tension that the characters feel. It eventually builds to a pleasant conclusion that paves the way for the upcoming floors.
Although Sword Art Online Progressive: Scherzo of Deep Night Vol. 3 marks the end of the fifth floor, there are plenty of loose threads left for Kirito and Asuna to follow. A war between players is brewing, and Kirito is stuck in the middle of it. As we head into the Canon of the Golden Rule arc, I hope Asuna regains her place as the main protagonist of this adventure because Kirito’s moves here make it seem like he’s trying to take the spotlight. Regardless, I felt like this was a wonderful and action-filled conclusion to the stories, and you can bet that I’ll be there with the crew on the sixth floor to follow their adventure.
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