Reki Kawahara’s Sword Art Online has been one of the more popular multimedia franchises of the last decade. It now makes its way to the big screen with Sword Art Online Ordinal Scale, an original movie set 2 years after the events of the original death game (covered in episodes 1-14 of the anime and the first two volumes of the light novel). We review the Sword Art Online Ordinal Scale movie below.

Kirito Ordinal Scale

The movie makes use of the allure of technology as a base, with a focus on an Augmented Reality MMORPG (Ordinal Scale) as opposed to the VRMMORPGs of past stories (Sword Art Online, Alfheim Online and Gun Gale Online). Without giving much away, Kirito and his harem gets embroiled in a massive sinister plan to use the memories of all SAO survivors to make an AI personality. The plot may have been so-so in context, however it’s execution feels refreshing enough to keep one on it’s toes.

The movie makes a bit of a conscious effort to show Kirito and the gang together in real life as much as possible, sharing as much of the screentime as possible (with the exception of Suguha). Yuna, the Ordinal Scale AI character, at times feels less like Hatsune Miku but more of Aura (of .hack fame) – a troubled AI seeking salvation. Overall, the characters would act as how you would expect them, though there’s a moment in the movie where they played the difference between a person who’s OK with losing with his traumatic memories and a person who’s the exact opposite. The movie also lays enough groundwork to bridge the gap between the TV series to the next story arc, the light novel’s Alicization arc.

Silica, Lisbeth, Yui and Asuna

The movie is also littered with various Easter Eggs and references to the enjoyment of fans, including a cameo from a dead grill. There’s a bit of product placement too (notably from Sony products) but it is not enough to distract you away from the scene. There’s quite a few CG animated bits here and there however it serves it’s purpose nicely. I also feel that the music is pretty good, including Yuna’s songs. The AR user interface does seem to resemble a lot like how the UI in the Neuro Linkers in Kawahara’s other work Accel World works, possibly giving us another hint as to how the two works are linked together.

Asuna and Kirito

If you’re in the mood for an entertaining, action-packed movie, then by all means catch SAO Ordinal Scale. It’s not the best anime movie out there, but it’s one to guarantee to give you a good time.

 

All images (c) KADOKAWA / ASCII MEDIA WORKS / SAO MOVIE PROJECT

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