Following the success of the two seasons of the anime series, which sold 19 million worldwide, Aniplex has released a movie that continues the story, implementing most of the elements that have made the original a best-seller, through an original story by the creator of the manga, Reki Kawahara.
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In 2026, after the shuttering events of NerveGear, 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, does not 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, who seems a bit lost after the events, decides to join them. They’re about to find out that Ordinal Scale isn’t all fun and games, while Eiji, a minor player from Sword Art Online is on the path of revenge.
Tomohiko Ito continues where he left off with a number of social comments, mostly regarding the relationship of humans with technology, and the consequences of one relying on it excessively. Kirito’s psychological situation, who borders on depression, now that he is not the champion of SAO anymore, is a distinct sample of this as is the case of Eiji, who just takes the Augmented Reality “game” a bit too far.
Furthermore, “Ordinal Scale” includes one of the favorite concepts of recent Japanese cinema, that of the “idol”, with the consequences of the obsession with the girls that are usually perceived as such, both on the fans and the actual idols, being eloquently portrayed.
The above however, does not mean that the action is put in the back; on the contrary, the battle scenes are many and quite impressive, featuring many characters simultaneously on screen and some outstanding enemies, where the drawing aspect of the title finds its apogee. The same quality applies to the few but quite intense one-on-one fights. The animation finds its apogee on these sequences, with the movement of the characters being elaborate, even taking into consideration the fact that in Augmented Reality, the players use their actual body and abilities to fight. The same realism applies to the movement outside the actions scenes. Shigeru Nakayama’s editing also finds its pick in the various battles, while the combination with Yuki Kajura’s mostly J-pop music, lets the anime function as a music video, quite frequently.
Add to all the above a permeating sense of mystery, that derives from the “origins” and the purpose of the villains, and the true nature of Augma, and the progression of the relationship Kirito and Asuna, and you have a title where the thrill never actually stops.
“Ordinal Scale” is a great addition to the franchise, and a title that continues the legacy of “Sword Art Online” in great fashion.
Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale is available from Madman Entertainment