Sword Art Online -Ordinal Scale- is one of the most anticipated anime movies of 2017. As a big fan who’s obsessed with the TV anime series, I’ve been longing for its release with so much excitement. And I’m quite sure I’m not the only one! Recently, MANGA.TOKYO went to the premiere and cast greeting report (we have a video with ENG subs you should check out):
The SAO series has a lot of devoted fans in Japan, and last summer it was announced that a live-action adaptation is under-way in the US. While its popularity is expanding worldwide, the theatrical anime adaptation of Sword Art Online, is taking a very different approach than the TV series. Fans were very anxious to see if the great features of the TV anime, such as the intense emotional expressions of the main characters, the dynamic action scenes, and the humorous moments, were expressed in the movie.
In Japan, it’s popular for movies and shows to run preview screenings. These events are available only through application. The SAO movie employed an open application system, for which I obviously applied. I kept my hopes as low as possible, because there were so many people who applied. The Anime God was on my side this time: I WON A PLACE!
There was no way I was going to miss this opportunity to share my excitement with you guys, so I decided to write a spoiler-free quick review for the movie. This is dedicated to all the Sword Art Online fans out there who are eagerly awaiting for the movie to come to their country. Finally, we can see Kirito again!
Comparing the Movie Version with the TV Series
SAO takes place inside an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) in which the death of a player means their death in the real world as well. The terrifying sense of urgency of one’s immediate death and the fierce actions one takes to preserve one’s life intensifies its enchanting story of friendship, betrayal, and romance. In my opinion, the movie anime adaptation managed to keep all of these essential themes!
In the TV series, the MMORPG ‘Sword Art Online’ utilized the VR device NerveGear, a head VR device not unlike those we have in our world, through which the players logged in to the game (LINK START!) In the movie, the MMORPG ‘Ordinal Scale’ utilizes the AR device Augma, an augmented reality interface that is closer to what you probably know from Pokemon GO. This time, the battle in whichKirito and the others throw themselves against the sinister scheme surrounding Ordinal Scale is fought in the real world!
The story takes place after the SAO incident. Although background knowledge about SAO is not required to watch the movie, a brief knowledge of the SAO incident is provided at the beginning of the movie. It makes it easier for new fans to understand the relationships between the characters, since the movie is a sequel to the TV series. I’m certain that fans of SAO will have more fun, but that doesn’t mean that first-time watchers won’t enjoy the movie. They’ll just have to go watch the series next, and then come back to the theaters to enjoy the movie even more!
After the preview, the fans shared some incredible reviews. ‘I’ve just watched something awesome’ and ‘it’s far better than I expected’ were some of the most common responses. Most of their reactions were enthusiastic. It was worth the wait after all! I was overwhelmed as well. The movie was amazing and exactly what SAO is all about. Even though I have a couple of points I would like to make, I was just simply stunned by the unpredictable storyline and the intense action scenes. My negative comments were totally wiped out by the movie’s energy.
The Quality of the Animation is Outstanding
The quality of animation easily outstrips that of the TV series. The action scenes are so aggressive that you can only call them ‘abnormal’. The raging movements didn’t allow us to even blink. Many anime action scenes are usually too fast for audiences to recognize what’s really happening, but Sword Art Online -Ordinal Scale- managed to depict the movements of each character and situations clearly. I was flabbergasted by its action scenes. I felt they were almost insane. I don’t know how to explain their raging, boiling energy. I can only say that I felt like I watched something absolutely amazing. You just have to see it to believe it. The animation in the movie reveals the fundamental strength of Japanese anime.
The Fear of AI
There is an overarching message in the story that pinpoints one of the most pressing technological matters in our society. The story’s theme is about Artificial Intelligence. This is not the right kind of article to analyze all the concerns about it, but SAO tries to convey some important messages. The success of the movie was that it managed to advocate these points without spoiling its entertaining quality. That balance is what elevates the SAO series to a higher level of quality.
A Must-watch for all Anime Fans
Sword Art Online -Ordinal Scale- shows the culmination of Japanese anime which captivates us with its extraordinary appeal. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect without any blemishes. However, the animation is so amazing that the movie is well worth watching if only for that, but it’s not only ‘that’. The story is amazing as well. It’s quite addictive. We, who live in the world of today and will be also living in the world of tomorrow, should take in our hearts its warning for the role technology plays in our society.
In my opinion, Sword Art Online -Ordinal Scale- surpasses all other TV anime movie adaptations. This is an anime movie masterpiece. As simple as that.
Released February 18 Across Japan
Released March 9 Across the United States and Canada!
Screening in Cologne, Germany on February 18 (Nationwide screening not yet announced)
Screening in Perth, Australia on March 3 (Nationwide Screening not yet announced)
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