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Anime Discussions

How Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale falls short

DISCUSSION – After waiting for a few months, I finally had the opportunity to go and watch Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale – an anime film set on events after its main series. Despite enjoying the film, I find myself somewhat dissatisfied and wished that the film would have tried to go all out with its story progression – which is something I want to talk about here.

If you have not watched this film and do not take kindly to spoilers, avert your eyes! With that warning in, let us dive in.

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Anime Discussions

Why am I still hopeful for Sword Art Online?

If you’ve read my article on Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale, you might remember me writing about how hopeful I am for Sword Art Online to redeem itself. I haven’t changed my thoughts about it since, but why?

Sword Art Online’s popularity was probably the largest than any other anime I’ve seen. The fans were partial when it comes to their reactions about the franchise – it was either they hated it or loved it. I kind of understand since Sword Art Online had a lot of good stuff going for it and there were also numerous times where it just ruined itself.

The main reasons why Sword Art Online was ruined is either because Asuna started to suck as a character and depended heavily on Kirito as her knight-in-shinning-armor, Yui was introduced in the series, and Kirito was heavily overpowered.

In the first three episodes, Asuna was a sort of bland character and majority of us were rooting for her development but it was ruined when she developed a sort of dependent relationship with Kirito. Romance can be a good thing in a series but only when done right.

Yui, as a character, was quite absurd for me. An artificial intelligence was somehow set loose by a game’s system and players are able to “adopt” it or just make some conversations with it as if it were a legit human being. I mean, that’s quite impossible in real life but hey – it’s an anime series and anything can happen.

The biggest reason, however, is that Kirito is an overpowered player. I don’t know if the writers intended it to be like this or just didn’t know how to properly write a well-written badass main character.

Him being invincible is a factor up for debate. He might’ve become as such due to the fact that he’s a solo player and therefore gets the full amount of XP from the monsters he fought.

This part is absurd though – hacking. Every time he hacks something, it’s always convenient for plot progression. It’s like a button writers made when they’ve reached a dead end and don’t know how to justify a certain event or actions of a specific character.

But despite of all these, Sword Art Online had a lot of promise going for it.

First of all, the series was and is still known for it’s visually appealing animation. It may lack a bit in how fight scenes are animated but it still does a pretty good job in making the environment more vivid and unique.

Secondly, the setting. Despite the concept of people trapped in a virtual world or game has been used before the series started, none of them have gone deeper than Sword Art Online (as far as I know).

The series does an excellent job of portraying the MMORPG setting but it does have a few flaws. However, if the people working behind this would be able to somehow improve it – that would make a lot of improvement to SAO’s  overall setting.

The pros and cons of Sword Art Online have similar weight. I am still hopeful that with this upcoming movie, Ordinal Scale, the series will be able to redeem itself.

Augmented reality is a wonderful setting to tackle after all.

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Anime Discussions

Will Sword Art Online’s Ordinal Scale be better?

DISCUSSION – On October 4, 2015, it was announced that the light novel would be turned into an anime film adaptation, with the main staff returning from the anime series. The voice actors and actresses from the anime series will return to reprise their roles in the anime film. This anime film adaptation would be called “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale”, and is scheduled to release in Japan on February 18, 2017. Australia and New Zealand will see the film in their theaters some time in 2017, courtesy of Madman Entertainment.

The plot for the new anime film is as follows:

The film is set after the events of the anime’s second season, in which Kirito, Asuna and their friends start playing a new game known as OS (short for “Ordinal Scale”) that, contrary to the previous ones they played, doesn’t have a full-dive function and is based on a new augmented reality device instead called “Augma”. In this game, players are ranked according to their achievements and players with lower ranks have serious disadvantages in duels against their higher ranked peers. However, Kirito and co. discover that something is wrong when they come across monsters from Aincrad, the world from the same game they were trapped inside for two years while fighting for their lives.

(source: en.wikipedia.org)

sword_art_online_the_movie_-_ordinal_scale_visual
Key Visual

The thing that interests me about this new anime film adaptation for Sword Art Online is the augmented reality aspect. For those who don’t know, augmented reality is an indirect view of the environment around us. An example of a game that uses the augmented reality concept would be Pokemon GO.

Now imagine, the mechanics of Pokemon GO right now but merging the MMORPG genre. It would be a different situation entirely than playing virtual reality. The film is set on a game that uses augmented reality and (judging from the trailers) the main characters are somehow trapped in that game.

This certainly piques my interest as being “trapped” in an augmented reality seems too confusing to me since if such game would exist in real life, we would be playing through either a smartphone screen or a pair of goggles that use the elements of the environments in your local area. That idea would be cool but it is quite interesting how the characters would be “trapped” in such a game. Maybe the same conditions with the first game, Sword Art Online, where if they remove the device connecting them to the game then it would end their lives.

As far as success is concerned, I’m very “iffy” on how the plot would be written – will it be good or just as plain and illogical as the anime series? The concept of augmented reality is indeed a new thing in anime (or maybe not) but the success of Sword Art Online’s new animated film “Ordinal Scale” will basically be in the hands of the writer. I do hope that Reki Kawahara has improved his writing for this film, otherwise, it would be a huge downer for me and other people who are expecting the film. That being said, people are already expressing their dislike for the whole series. I hope that the film becomes the “saving grace” for the whole franchise.