Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale is perhaps the ideal movie for those who have followed the series since 2012. It features past characters, introduces a handful of new ones who easily integrate into the overall story, and it ends without pleasing for a sequel. It is simply the send off you wish more anime had the privilege of having.
Characters & Storyline
In many ways, Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale, at its heart, is a love story. One in which the relationship between Kirito and Asuna has matured maturing to the point that Asuna’s mom wants to properly meet Kirito. However, life can’t be so easy for the SAO survivors. For while many have came back from Aincrad like soldiers who have come from war, there is still that desire for combat. Making the newest game out there called “Ordinal Scale” quite attractive.
For one, it doesn’t require a deep dive, it is an augmented reality device. Plus, while it may require you to be a bit more physically active, it does allow you to safely re-experience combat. However, like with the nervegear, there are ways to tamper with the device for ill means and goals. Something that becomes an issue for our heroes as a special day approaches and one of them are stricken with a form of amnesia. Thus leading to a loss of the memories which led to the bond of Kirito and Asuna being so strong.
When it comes to anime, I usually skip intros and outros for the songs don’t appeal to me. Heck, even for anime like Fuuka, which has music as part of the show, I either fast forward or get a glass of water during performances. Yet, for the first time since playing Final Fantasy X-2, I found myself enchanted by the music. For while I didn’t understand a word of it, the songs that the character Yuna sung really beefed up that character’s tragic story. Plus, on top of being catchy, they seemed so appropriate for the moments they were sung.
While others may note Bleach, Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and many other anime as their standard for action, for me it is Sword Art Online. For there is something about swordplay that just does it for me. Hand to hand combat gets dull quickly as it just becomes a bunch of blurs and about speed and magic is just beams of different colored light. Swordplay, though, it has the personal touches of hand to hand combat yet that aw and shock which comes from the grandest of spells.
So with this movie focusing solely on Asuna and Kirito’s swordplay, among their friends, of course, I felt reminded of why I have yet to find another show, except maybe Gangsta. and Grimgar and Ash which had the type of action scenes which had me watching the screen like a little kid. You know the look, right? Sitting down, elbows on your knees, child resting in the palm of your hands, just mesmerized.
The Love Story
Love stories are a common thing in anime. Arguably, there aren’t too many which omit it, at least in my experience. However, with the prevalence of harems, one or both characters being generic and a bore, or else the odd case of going from hated to love, unfortunately, quality romantic plots are scarce.
Sword Art Online, however, is a rare exception. Both Kirito and Asuna have personality and, on top of that, are equals in the battlefield. Hell, one could argue that while Kirito maybe a better fighter in short burst, Asuna is the type you want on your team for drawn out battles. And, in many ways, what makes them such a lovely couple is they both balance and complement each other.
But even off the battlefield, there is a maturity to their relationship also rarely seen. Just listening to Asuna call Kirito to hear his voice, watching Kirito snuggle into Asuna’s bosom, in a non-sexual way, and express his love for her, these are things I feel we rarely get. Especially in anime which isn’t some form of slice of life.
A Good Recap/ Reminder of Asuna and Kirito’s Journey
Be it the games they played, the people they met, or the memories they shared, for fans of the series you get a good reminder of who is who and how they tied into the overall series. Some, naturally, more than others, but pretty much all the major players of any arc you can think of at least make one appearance. Even Yuuki.
The Voice Actor Introduction
I could have done without the voice actors thanking the fans. If only because it seemed they were reading from a teleprompter than speaking from the heart.
On The Fence
An Adequate Villain Who Fits Into The Story
I’ll admit, I wasn’t blown away by the movie’s villain. They were good, I like how they tied into the show’s first season, and I very much understood the reasons for what they did. However, there wasn’t much in the way of personality when it came to them. Also, I don’t want to say the mystery of who the villains were and why they were doing what they were doing was predictable, but I do feel it was kept rather simple.
Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)
Like Logan, this sends off for Sword Art Online is everything you could wish for. It features damn near every character you ever knew and possibly liked, it reminds you with both its action scenes and the bond between Asuna and Kirito, why you have stuck with it for so many years, and it ends everything with a ribbon on top. It doesn’t hint at a sequel or pushes the type of ending in which you want more. It respects the journey you have been on with the series and gives you some sense of closure as a thank you.