In 2022, the world of virtual reality was upended by the arrival of a new invention from a genius programmer, Akihiko Kayaba. Called NerveGear, it was the first full-dive system and with it, came endless possibilities to VRMMORPGs.
In 2026, a new machine called the Augma is developed to compete against the NerveGear and its successor, the Amusphere. A next-gen wearable device, the Augma doesn’t have a full-dive function like its predecessors. Instead, it uses Augmented Reality (AR) to get players into the game. It is safe, user-friendly and lets users play while they are conscious, making it an instant hit on the market. 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, by the time Kirito decides to join them. They’re about to find out that Ordinal Scale isn’t all fun and games…
Story is created by original author Reki Kawahara
Director is Tomohiko Itoh
(may have some spoilers but I will keep it a minimum)
Before I start the review, I want to tell you my first experience on watching an anime film on the big screen and surrounded by fans. This was the very first time I have attended to an anime film in theaters. I got my tickets free from a giveaway video hosted by my aniblogger friend Shay of Anime Reviewer Girl.
After getting the tickets, I told my parents that I wanted to attend to the movie event by myself. At first, it was not easy getting a “yes” for an answer for personal reasons; however, I got permission and they said yes. I got my tickets and printed them out for the nearest theaters in Southern California. This is where things got scary. The tickets came out very small in print and the workers couldn’t get them verified. I was so nervous and scared to the point I could cry. But thank God that didn’t happen because they got verified and I was able to go. I felt that He wanted to make my night great and give me more blessings this month.
When I found the room where the movie was going to be held, I was filled with excitement because I was surrounded by other SAO fans. I saw many guys talking about Sword Art Online and talking about the characters, it was great. The theater screen held an easy trivia game for the fans like “What is Kirito’s nickname in Sword Art Online” and they showed some cosplay pictures and telling people to by the DVDs.
Last but not least, before the movie began, the movie showed the fans and thank you message to the fans from the popular SAO theme song singer LiSA, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (voice of Kirito) and Haruka Tomatsu (voice of Asuna) for supporting the series for 5 years.
It’s one thing to enjoy an anime you love, but being surrounded by the fans makes a huge difference. With that said, I will begin my review.
Taking place after the events of Sword Art Online II, after the Mother Rosario Arc, a game device called the Augma is released and players all over using it for daily usage like exercising and virtual pets. The Augma is an AR devie where players can interact with the virtual world but still be in the real world; it is like a half full-dive experience (in simple terms, it’s like Pokemon Go). With the Augma, a new game also takes over and people are joining the bandwagon; the game is called Ordinal Scale and players can use different weapons like swords, clubs or guns to kill monsters and compete for ranks.
Already playing the game is the key characters such Kirito, Asuna, Silica, Lisbeth and Klein and many more. However, surprisingly, Kirito doesn’t really enjoy the game and hardly care about the raid campaigns. This is the part of the movie where he is constantly mocked for being unfit or not active.
At first, the movie starts off being nothing but fun for the gamers all over but then then movie gets takes a turn when the boss monsters from the raid battles are the exact same bosses from the death game Sword Art Online. What also makes things suspicious is that there is a player who is targeting SAO survivors and fighting them in the games.
As a Sword Art Online fan, I was ready to experience more Sword Art Online. I haven’t had enjoyed the series since I finished Sword Art Online II. The story was fresh and the animation was stunning. It had great music and tons of fanservice (not that kind of fanservice). I would tell you my favorite parts but I don’t want to spoil the movie. The movie really does into the actual series and mentions parts from the past. I felt like the pacing was good and timed and every story detail was carefully placed.
The movie heavily focuses on the characters but unlike the past anime, the film focuses on more than just Kirito. The movie deals with either the relationship between Kirito and Asuna, Kirito or Kirito’s friends.
In the parts with Kirito and Asuna, the movie heavily focuses on the theme of romance and the importance of why they are the perfect pair. Personally, I find these scenes really touching. I know we see some moments with theme in anime series but the movie shows how close and personal Kirito cares for her. Whenever, Kirito is not involved, the movie focuses on his friends like Asuna, Lisbeth, Silica or Klein or others. It’s awesome to see these characters in action and everyone has the spotlight. Kirito gets screen time too but he usually gets it when he is eating pasta or doing research on the events.
The movie also introduces three new characters: Professor Shigemura, Rank 2 Player Eiji, and AI Diva Yuna.
Shigeruma is the guy behind the Augma and he plays a huge role on the events. Eiji is the mysterious player who is known for the attacks on the SAO survivors. Yuna is diva idol who appears in concerts and in raid battles, she is also an AI like Yui.
I won’t go into details in much of these characters but I will say that the character that takes much of the attention is Eiji. This mysterious guy is incredibly strong in both game and reality. He acts like an antagonist based on his actions towards the gamers. However, once you watch more of the characters, you will understand their motives.
Remember what I said about the fanservice? Personally, the fanserivce is the characters that appear in this movie. To understand what I mean, take the Marvel movie Avengers or Captain America: Civil War. There were so many characters that got attention and no one wasn’t hogging it up either.
You might be wondering, anything wrong with this film? Well, the only thing I could think of is that things were happening fast. Since I saw this in subtitled, it was hard to read and watch at the same time. This is the only flaw I found. I can’t wait to see this again in English. Also, if you not a fan of the past Sword Art Online anime, you may not like this film.
Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale is one of the best animated pictures I seen. There were tons of action, conflict and character development. The art in this film is beautiful and the theme song LiSA sang “Catch the Moment” is really awesome. Personally, if people really loved Yuri on Ice!! and fangirl/boy on specific moments, this movie was my “Yuri on Ice!!”. I would personally recommend this movie to Sword Art Online fans. I say this is needed to be seen too because it’s part of the main story.
(If you guys stayed after the credits, what was your reaction? I squealed!)