The anime movie Sword Art Online -Ordinal Scale-is on its ‘more and more events’ season, since its release date is just around the corner! One of its latest event was a sports chanbara contest. Sports chanbara is a sport where you fight opponents with with soft inflatable sword-like weapons known as air soft swords (we have included more info about Chanbara at the end of the article).
MANGA.TOKYO went to the event for a full photo report: all the exciting matches and the opening ceremony that included a hilarious video letter by Kirito’s voice actor, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka!
Event Report: SAO Sports Chanbara Cup
In the opening ceremony of the SAO Sports Chanbara Cup, the vice-president of the Japan Sports Chanbara Association, Hisamichi Yokoyama, confessed his love for Sword Art Online, ‘I love Sword Art Online. I always recorded the show and watched it.’ He asked the audience if there are there fans of Sword Art Online among the participants and naturally almost everyone raised their hands. I could easily see the strong connection between chanbara and Sword Art Online.
In addition, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, who voices SAO protagonist Kirito, surprised us with a video letter! Matsuoka encouraged the players who would be playing, ‘Everyone! Have great matches with no regrets!’ he said in an excited tone. Matsuoka also gave them very practical advice as an experienced player who had won the first prize in a cup in Obihiro: ‘Aim for the legs!’
Preliminary Matches of Each Division
The preliminary matches of the amateur division began right after the opening ceremony. The players got serious and their matches started! Four people from Aniplex participated!
Takahashi, an Aniplex employee and a founder of this cup, participated with a two-handed long sword! He won with his dignified and calm tactics against a young player and advanced to the final tournament!
Kashiwada, one of the producers of the movie, participated with a dual wielding style. He showed a variety of tactics and the opponent was at his mercy! He advanced to the final tournament!
Satono, a young man in advertising, participated with a long-sword style. He’s the youngest among the Aniplex team. He advanced to the final tournament due to his youth and easy movements!
3 out of 4 from the Aniplex team advanced to the final tournament! Satono appeared in the second match, but he lost quickly against an opponent with the same long-sword style. On the other hand, founder Takahashi and producer Kashiwada fought in the 4th match. Producer Kashiwada’s dual swords beat Takahashi’s two-handed long sword and he advanced to the quarterfinals.
Later in the quarterfinal match, producer Kashiwada managed to win an exhausting match against a university student 20 years younger than him, and he advanced to the final match!
In the female division, a player appeared cosplaying Yuuki, who is one of the main characters of the Sword Art Online: Mother’s Rosario Arc! She won one victory after another with her overwhelming strength and advanced to the final round. In the preliminary matches of the experienced division, the blinding speed of offence and defence caused reactions not only in the venue, but also in the comments of the casters from NicoNama (a live streaming service)!
Amateur Division, the Final Round
In the final round of the female leg of the amateur division, player Itsukida, who dressed up in Yuuki’s costume, overwhelmed her opponent with her incredible movements, which made it hard to believe that she was an amateur! It ended with player Itsukida’s victory.
In the final round of the male leg of the amateur division, producer Kashiwada from Aniplex appeared! The opponent, player Kabaya, showed his light footwork in the preliminary matches. He got other players at his mercy and aimed for perfect one-hit victories. Player Kabaya fought with a long sword against producer Kashiwada’s double-sword style. Player Kabaya overwhelmed producer Kashiwada with his youth and aggressive sword techniques, and won the grand prize!!
Experienced Division, Final Round
In the final round of the experienced division, the winners of each weapon’s final rounds fought with their own weapons and aimed for the title of grand champion.
In the grand champion match of the female division, player Tomioka with a long sword and shield kept her offence and managed to win the first prize even though she got pushed back once by her opponent who used the short sword!
In the final round of the male division, player Fujita (long sword and shield) challenged his opponent (panache,) and won!
‘Thank you. I’m looking forward to the preview.’
‘I was worried about whether or not I could win, but I’m happy I did.’
‘I participated because my friend invited me. I didn’t expect to win, so I’m so happy.’
‘I played sports chanbara for the first time and it was a lot of fun. I also love Sword Art Online, so I’m looking forward to the opening greeting.’
What is ‘Sports Chanbara’?
Sports Chanbara is based on chanbara gokko (sword play) and kodachigoshindo (a self-defence technique.) You use a weapon made of inflatable rubber, an acrylic face mask, and simple protectors. When you’re hit anywhere on your body, you lose. Because of the simple rules, amateurs can start enjoying it immediately, and because of its accessible nature, it has been getting popular regardless of age and gender.
It’s attracting more and more attention, because it is a safe and fun sport in which you can compete using with various fighting styles from around the world such as fencing and Chinese martial arts as well as ancient Japanese kendo. Now they hold a World Cup once every 2 years and a lot of players from areas like Asia and Europe participate.
About the Weapons
・Kodachi (60cm long)
A short sword like a dagger. It is used by Silica in SAO. It’s light and easy to handle, so it’s easy for amateurs.
・Long Sword (100cm long)
A rapier-like weapon that is used by Asuna. You can either use it with one hand like in fencing, or both hands like in kendo. It has a longer reach than the kodachi, but it’s not as swift.
・Two-Handed Long Sword
You hold this sword with both hands and enables you to do powerful attacks. In Chanbara, you have to hold it with both hands all the times, and if you attack with one hand, it’s a foul.
・A Kodachi with a Shield / A Long Sword with a Shield
You hold a shield in one hand and a kodachi on the other. The shield is only for defense. If you shield bash, you lose! You can also exchange the kodachi for a long sword.
Kirito uses the dual-wielding style. In sports chanbara, anyone can use it without any unique skills. In Chanbara there are only 2 possible combinations: ‘kodachi × kodachi’ or ‘long sword × kodachi.’ It’s banned to hold long swords in both hands.
You can also check our Sword Art Online video report. We have added English subtitles just for you!
Anime Movie ‘Sword Art Online -Ordinal Scale-‘
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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