Review: Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale

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Sword_Art_Online_The_Movie_-_Ordinal_Scale_VisualSword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale is a 2017 Japanese animated film based on the Sword Art Online light novel series written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec. 2009 the light novel was released and gained a lot of popularity due to the characters being sucked into a virtual reality game and only surviving to finally leave their VR prison. An anime was soon after created and aired late 2013.

The film is produced by A-1 Pictures and directed by Tomohiko Itō, based on original story by manga writer Kawahara, character designs by Shingo Adachi and music by Yuki Kajiura. It was released in Uk April 19th 2017.

poster_art_2So following from the anime series all the survivors have resumed their ‘normal’ lives except it is now part of society to use ‘AR’ (Augmented Reality) so you can jump in and out of reality as well as also use the original VR.

The Ar is a next-gen wearable device that users play while they are conscious and out and about in their daily routine, making it an instant hit. The most popular game on the system is “Ordinal Scale” (aka: OS), an ARMMORPG developed exclusively for the Augma. Asuna and the gang have already been playing OS for a while, but Kirito is reluctant as he isnt very good with the fighting method. I could go in depth about this but it kinda technical and boring so lets get to the juicy stuff.

kirito asuna

After Asuna, Lisbeth and Silica peer pressure Kirito to play OS new Aincrad bosses appear, way more powerful than the previous ones. The game’s mascot, AI idol singer Yuna, appears and her signing gives status effects ie. support, she is the main reason people like to play or watch. Kirito bombs and is quite useless to the team due to lack of physical strength and quickness.

You encounter Eiji, the number-two player, who appears to aides the group in defeating the boss. Before Asuna makes the killing blow, Eiji whispers the word “Switch,” a game mechanic from SAO that she recognizes.

yuna

The next night,  Asuna proceeds to the fight alongside Klein, which is again presided over by Yuna. Klein and his group are ambushed and defeated by the sudden appearance of another boss and Eiji. Meanwhile Kirito practices with OS and encounters a vaguely familiar (butn to us oh so obviously), a girl in a white hood. The penny drops for Asuna, and realises that Eiji in fact was a member of the Knights of the Blood Oath named Nautilus from SAO.

eiji

In the next battle Silica gets into trouble, Eiji pushes her into the way of the OP boss but Asuna sacrifices herself to help her. After the blow, Asumna wakes up in hospital realizing her memories of SAO are fading which could also happen to other SAO survivors playing OS. Kirito investigates the issue in the next boss battle, where another SAO player is defeated and a glowing orb floats upward into an OS drone. Yui (adopted fairy child of Kirito & Asuna) fails to retrieve it after being locked out by the game.

After a lot of research and digging (I felt like there was more detective work in this anime than action at times)Kirito goes to Touto Technical University and meets Professor Tetsuhiro Shigemura who developed Augma, but Shigemura refuses to comply and asks Kirito to leave. However nothing gets past Kirito, he notices a picture of a girl who resembles Yuna on Shigemura’s desk. Kirito discusses with Kikuoka Seijirou, and we figure out that this is Shigemura’s daughter, ‘Yuna’, who died in SAO.

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The film revolves around Kirito’s and Asuna’s awkward relationship, it becomes Kirito’s goal to retrieve Asuna’s lost memories of SAO and with that we gain snippets of the original series and of the characters who weren’t really shown ie. Eiji and Yuna. It was cute to see Eiji and Yuna’s relationship blossom but sadly if your not the main character or survive your story gets lost amongst the gravel and that was the whole point of the movie. A book was published on SAO but no mention of the deceased characters.

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After Asuna kicks the Floor 100 boss butt, I remmeber how much I dont get why she is with Kirito but hey it’s just an anime and it’s weird seeing her so helpless without her memories and quite docile and lost half the time, this is not the Asuna I am accustomed to !Anyways there is more awkward confessions between the two after and they legit get engaged which again feels weird as they were married in the game.

One of my favourite parts were the post-credits scene, Kikuoka, who was impressed with Shigemura’s attempt at AI and soul reconstruction, recruits Shigemura to Rath. Also no booze for lazy people, that means you Klein!

yuna art

My verdict is it was easy to watch this film and pick up what was going on. I was wit a friend who had never seen the series but figured it out within the first 15 minutes without me explaining anything. It was tedious at times when they discussed theories and researched AR and all that but I guess for tech-fans this was important. Seeing the character developments was interesting after SAO and how they all lived with the new technology – all very dependent and just as dangerous as the original software – never mind all the original thousands of people who died. The graphics were slick, crisp and pretty, I liked the new costumes and the music of course was amazing. This movie is worth your money and watching on the big screen. Odeon Pantan street, London is still screening this – do give it a watch !

I give it 4/5

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