Pretty much if you're one of the people that only watched the first half of the SAO or just liked the first half (because the other half and season two is shit u must agree) you came back to the right place.
First of all, welcome back to the true fascinating side of SAO. Once the best virtual reality game turned into a shit Harlem ecchi anime, but now the true SAO finally resurrected because there was this cunt (no spoilers) that made SAO good again
Story - 10 cause the original story has come back again
Animation - 9 I loved the animation, it was beautiful and unique,I'mut im a cunt to say this but nothing will beat the Kimi no na wa animation so I gave it a 9.
Sound - 8 I love how they included the original music during battles
Character - 8 Although this anime contains everyone's waifu Asuna, there are some unnecessary Harlem characters
Thank you for reading
***THIS IS A SPOILER FREE REVIEW***
YOU REALLY SHOULD GO SEE ALL SAO TV SERIES STUFF BEFORE SEEING THIS FILM
Let me preface this review by giving you my thoughts on SAO as a series; I liked the first season regardless of its faults but everything afterwards is hot garbage. I didn't like anything about the succeeding seasons even though I enjoyed those arcs in the light novel. Now, how was this film?
A really surprising element of the film for me was how they implemented the deterrent element that made the film have tension. It got stupid in the final 30 minutes but the emotional issues that got tagged onto the film in the first hour and a half was actually well executed. However...with typical SAO fashion things just seem to happen out of nowhere without any real explanation. Add to this the sort of rushed and hand-fisted ending and you get a film that started out interesting but sizzles out towards the end.
No way to baby this; the film looked fucking spectacular. If you look at the staff list for this anime you will see why the film looks simply orgasmic. I'm not talking about just the actiony stuff, I'm saying the entire film, each scene is just so beautiful and well done. Both the cityscape of (I think) Tokyo and the AR superimposed game world is just so detailed. The animation is super fluid and looked very realistic. The characters seemed to have a real sense of weight (which can be an issue for other animation projects). The character models are of course super handsome and beautiful (and for the most part stay on-model).
A pretty good element to the film was how well everything sounded. The 'clangs' and 'swooshes' you would hear during combat scenes seemed really on par and the surround-sound design worked well for spatial moments. The voice actors (who appear in-person before the film starts to “greet” the audience on-screen) were 100% on-point with their performances. The only thing I feel that was off was strangely the music. It sounded epic when it needed to but I felt that there was no...no connecting of the music? It felt like a bunch of individual tracks instead of a connected score that you would hope to have in a film. There really didn't seem to be a simple theme present in each song (which is what makes film scores like Star Wars so rememberable and great). There are some idol type songs in the movie which I don't really care for but that is not why I found the music so...average.
If you liked how the cast of SAO interacted from season 2 onward then you will like how they act in this film. The sort of weird pseudo harem Kirito had going on in the tv series is still kind of weird in the film. The girls still show affection towards Kirito and Asuna still just sits there with a blank expression on her face (not sure if she is oblivious to the situation or is just playing dumb). The romantic element between Kirito and Asuna though actually came off pretty realistic in the film. The flashbacks in the film that show scenes from the first season are still super cringy to watch but the romantic elements that occur in the actual film are quite nice. The main “bad guy” though I did not buy one bit. He's overpowering for the bulk of the film but then for some reason becomes really powerless? I don't know I didn't buy him at all as a “bad guy”.
After leaving the cheer-filled theater (sold out and full of fans of the series) I could not help but notice the sly gleam that was covering my face. I enjoyed the film even though it felt like the second season and onwards nonsense. The fighting scenes are beautiful, the talking scenes are beautiful, the cast are beautiful, and a lot of the film is super enjoyable. If you are ok with the asspulls that SAO is known to do then you will for sure enjoy this film. Go see it in a theater if you can.
Thanks for reading my review! If you liked my writing style, would like to see some other reviews, or just want to talk, please stop by my page!
The movie begins by reminding us how stupid the show was. After openly telling us thousands of people were killed and tortured across several videogames. People kept playing them like nothing much had happened. They even go as far as saying “this time there is not going to be any danger, so there is nothing to worry about.” Spoiler: There was.
Kawahara Reki has no idea of how normal people behave. They don’t simply return back to normal if they survive a death game. If they see someone reusing the same monsters that kept killing them for years, they will go crazy and sue the crap out of the company who dared to make a profit from their tragedy by making such a heartless publicity stunt. But since this is a written by a guy who has no idea of normal human behavior, everyone is thrilled at the idea of fighting against the monster who almost killed them because it will give them lots of points. Videogames are serious business.
This is also written by a guy who doesn’t even know about videogames, even though that is the main appeal of his overrated franchise. How are these people using augmented reality without hitting the pedestrians who are not playing the game and are thus invisible when wearing the glasses? Heck, how are they thrown around like rug dolls by fictional explosions? But it’s ok since Kawahara has the perfect answer for that. Here’s a joke about a loli wanting to ride Kirito’s bike, if you know what I mean.
Then people begin losing their memories of the time they were in the death game, and this is presented as a bad thing, although in the real world this way they wouldn’t have PTSD for the rest of their lives and would count as something positive. And it happens so often the doctors know about it and yet nobody makes a fuss about it on the news. Not even the victims. Everyone keeps playing videogames like nothing matters. Because these are not people you are supposed to care about.
Then it’s revealed the bad guys want to create an artificial intelligence of a deceased girl by stealing the memories of everyone who knew about her. Which makes no freaking sense. You can’t steal what is not physical, therefore you can’t steal data. You just copy them. It’s the same thing as pirating a movie; you never steal the movie, you only make a copy of it. Causing amnesia is a completely different action that can only happen deliberately by sadistic individuals.
Also, if the bad guys needed memories to recreate a persona, then their memories were the only ones needed, since they knew the deceased girl better than everyone else in the world. There was no need for any of the crap they did. But you are not supposed to think that, so here’s a boobshot to make you stop caring. You are not watching SAO for quality, you are watching it as bottom tier empowerment fantasy, where you self insert as a generic OP gamer, who defeats everyone and gets all the bitches.
The thing is, the movie is not honest about it. It’s constantly trying to fool you into thinking it is much more. The bad guys are not one-dimensional rapists for once, and actually feel the consequences of having to deal with the death of a loved one. Something nobody else is doing in the show, because they were not written by a normal human being.
Unfortunately, the script is so garbage to the point nothing they do makes any sense. If they could simply steal the memories they needed from all players at the concert, why did they waste the whole movie in stealing memories from individuals? They could just steal everyone’s memories in the concert without giving anyone the time to prepare.
Another thing the movie tries to fool you about is Kirito-sama. He may have been undefeatable in virtual reality, but he sucks in augmented reality, because you have to be physically fit, and he’s a total slob. This ends up being yet another thrown away idea, since despite being completely unexercised, he trains a few days and instantly defeats professionals with athletic bodies. A blatant example of empowerment fantasy ruining good ideas.
The movie also lies about making Asuna relevant again. At first, she is a much better player than Kirito, a capable and dynamic woman like in the first episodes when everybody loved her. And then she becomes a damsel in distress once again, before devolving into no more than fan service and a reward for Kirito-sama to save her once again.
And thus the movie ends with everything returning to status quo, since memories are something you can steal and return whenever you feel like it, and the characters have no reason to face the consequences of their failures, since SAO is and forever will be garbage aiming to pander casual gamers who have no idea how normal people think or how videogames work.
About an hour out of the theater and I'm still reeling from how much Ordinal Scale managed to get it right.
Although I enjoyed the latter three cours of SAO seasons one and two, the first cour of season one still holds up as one my favorite anime of all time, even five years later. Its unique blend of adventure, discovery, and situational weight is stunning; it's something special in a way that few other shows have been able to emulate.
Ordinal Scale manages to capture that same essence that was present in season one and build on it. The characters are delightfully familiar, the story's scope is appropriate, and the callbacks are enough to make me giddy with nostalgia. The weight of the characters' actions is once again brought to the forefront, building the same sense of tension that had me so heavily invested in season one. When characters were in danger, my stomach dropped.
To me, Ordinal Scale feels like the perfect next step for SAO, taking the buildup of the previous seasons (their cast, world mechanics, and storylines) and bringing them together in something great. It's a culmination of SAO's best aspects, taking what we have seen so far and giving us a direction for the series's future.
To top it all off, this movie is undoubtedly A-1 Pictures at its best. The visuals are stunning, the soundtrack spot on, and the sound effects weighty and solid. The voice acting and writing are exceptional as well; these are definitely the same characters I've grown to love watching the SAO franchise. Development on the relationship between Kirito and Asuna is something I've been waiting for in the series, and this movie just does it right.
In all, Ordinal Scale has proven to be a fantastic movie that I'd highly recommend. For SAO as a whole, I can't wait to see where things go from here.
Not the SAO we needed, but the one we deserved. The franchise that launched a 1000 'trapped in a videogame' copycats gets its theatrical debut with a film that exemplifies all SAO's strengths and weaknesses.
"What if Pokemon Go could kill you?" Taking place after the events of SAO II, a new video game craze is sweeping Japan. Using a new device called the 'Augma' that lets gamers play while fully conscious, the video game Ordinal Scale seems to have none of the inherent risks of a full-dive system. But there's a catch, because we wouldn't have much of a story if there wasn't one, now would we? (Seriously, why hasn't the Japanese government banned these devices yet?) The story itself isn't too bad for an action film, even if I was able to guess what the last act would look like by the time I was halfway through. Granted, it isn't too good either. Be prepared for more characters sitting around eating while they dump exposition (although mercifully never for as long as some of the TV episodes). There was some potential here, such as the way the first act of the movie brings Kirito's power level down to mortal levels with a convincing explanation thus restoring a degree of tension, but then in the last act those rules and limits are simply broken because the plot demands it. If you see the plot as simply an excuse to set up cool duels and boss battles, the story is servicable. Interesting premise, hit-or-miss execution, a trademark of SAO writing.
The cast from the TV shows returns and isn't really changed. They do go through some dramatic moments, but those moments never add up to any kind of character growth. At the end of the story nobody is noticably different or has changed from what you would recognize from TV. Kirito is still Kirito, Asuna is still Asuna, all the girls in Kirito's harem still haven't figured out that Asuna won a long time ago, and I still can't name a single one of the guys in Klein's guild. The antagonists are step up from what we're used to in that they have a clear goal we can somewhat understand and sympathize with (even if their plans and motivations aren't terribly original). This film is pure SAO, it doesn't do anything the franchise hasn't already done before, although it usually gives us the best version of it.
On that line of thought, this film also brings the franchise's traditional strengths. SAO has always relied on excellent music and animation to counter its relatively weak writing and characters. LiSA is back again with the theme song 'Catch the Moment', another high-energy-but-easy-listening J-Pop song in the vein of 'Crossing Field'. The animation is excellent, although if a SAO movie had second-rate animation there might be a riot. For those of you with a knowledge of Tokyo geography there can be some bonus enjoyment in picking out which real-life location the scene is happening in. They took the best part of the TV series and bumped up the budget.
This movie is pure SAO, distilled into movie form and with the increased production values a movie normally entails. It is at least the best form of SAO I've seen, maximizing existing strengths and minimizing traditional weaknesses, but neither fixing the existing problems or adding any new strengths. I'm sure it's just what the fans ordered, but I'd be surprised if Ordinal Scale turned that many heads in the doubters community. As for people like me who see the SAO franchise as a decent place to get your action and sakuga fix, it's a fine movie but not a (video) game-changer.