Sword Art Online Ordinal Scale Movie Review
Date: 2017 April 7th Friday [16:28] | Posted By: Guest Contributor
The new Sword Art Online movie hits cinemas in the UK and Ireland on Wednesday 19th April 2017. You can get tickets at a cinema near you by visiting saothemovie.co.uk. Before you do, you'll want to read our review to find out more about Kirito and Asuna's biggest challenge yet!
Although our editor is a massive SAO fan if he went along he'd just go YEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Go see it. So instead we decided to send another fan of the series along - NatT a guest contributor who is more otaku than she claims.
I'm NatT, and would like to describe myself as a pretty decent anime fan but with my husband secretly streaming from Crunchy Roll or Netflix and watching episodes when I'm not looking and working around colleagues who make their own awesome cosplay outfits, who am I kidding, I'm just a infant newbie!
I go mainly by recommendations for new series to watch and SAO is my favourite. So, I more than happily leapt at the chance to review the new movie SAO: Ordinal Scale for Otaku News.
SAO Ordinal Scale Movie Review
SAO fans will not be disappointed with this movie adaptation of the series.
The most positive reviews of the SAO were for the first half of Series One set in Aincrad, which is what features predominantly in the movie. For those not familiar with SAO, the first few opening minutes briefly explains what happened in the first series, so you are fully up to speed for the thrills and spills about to unfold.
The series (set in 2022) concentrated on the full-dive Virtual Reality (VR) experience using NerveGear, which had a major drawback that left users physically vulnerable once logged into the SAO game. The movie set four years on, centres around the next generation of gaming: Augmented Reality (AR), where a wearable device called the Augma is used to enhance everyday living; such as tracking your activity, calories eaten etc., as well as gaming (something that viewers can relate to with the popularity of activity trackers at the moment); the most popular being Ordinal Scale. The Augma is thought to be far safer and superior than the NerveGear, but not is all as it seems once bosses from Aincrad start appearing in the Ordinal Scale battle arenas.
Kirito, the main protagonist in SAO, and Asuna (his now fiancťe), get a lot of screen time. We pick up where they left off in series 2. At first, Kirito does not think much of the Augma and of Ordinal Scale, but once he sees that there is something strange with the game, he joins Asuna to find out whatís going on. He was the #1 ranked player in SAO and highly respected, but in Ordinal Scale, he has to start from the absolute bottom and face ridicule, against some very fearsome players and battle bosses.
There isnít much character development from the legacy characters as the movie focuses on establishing the new ones, namely Yuna a diva songstress and Eiji the #2 ranked player in the game. These new characters are mysterious and complex, but itís not an easy feat to achieve to establish a character and explore their personalities within a two hour film. Sinon and Leafa do appear briefly, I think to keep fans happy - they mainly just sit there and giggle and don't really add much. Klein and Yui have much more involvement in the story, with a couple of heart in mouth moments for those characters too. The bosses are pretty fearsome too, I'm sure they picked the fans favourites of these to feature in the film.
Quality of Animation
The quality of the animation is fantastic, even surpassing the series. However, I did spot a few scenes reused, mainly for when the battle scenes were coming into play. It didnít detract too much seeing as itís only a few seconds of footage.
As a big music appreciator, I was very impressed by the music in the film. The new compositions by Yuki Kajiura really capture the emotions and feel of the original series. There are some really catchy new battle songs that you will be humming when you leave the cinema.
Once the danger of the new Augma device is revealed, Asuna and Kirito go to visit a doctor, who explains Ďthe science bití. It was a bit glossed over and left me a bit confused as I didnít quite understand if the technicalities were real science or stretched for dramatic licence. However, the pace of the movie and the story means it could be forgiven on this occasion.
Also, when Kirito faces his biggest challenge, it does suffer from the clichť scenario of an absolutely unbeatable boss, but after a few soul searching moments and some good old positivity suddenly itís all within reach, so nothing new there!
I am aware that the SAO franchise is quite divisive in anime; itís a bit like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. So, I would advise that if you did enjoy the series (especially set in Aincrad), you will definitely enjoy this film. If itís not your thing, then donít be disappointed if you expect anything different from the film, itís much of the same as the series, but with a better animation budget and a story neatly wrapped up into a 2 hour package.
I havenít watched that many feature-length anime movies, and am far from an anime guru, but being a massive fan of the SAO series (itís by far my favourite), this film just blew me away in every angle; the storyline, animation, music, humour, character development, and gives a tantalising teaser at the end of the credits... donít miss it!