Recently, Sword Art Online Ordinal Scale came out to audiences stateside for a few nights. Fans were thrilled to catch the newest adventure of Kirito and friends. Not only was there more to see with Asuna and Kirito’s relationship, but even virtual reality was taken up a notch in this movie with the addition of the Augma. This allows people to participate in special events from companies or even virtual games in real time. However, it’s not quite so simple when a player from SAO gets involved and starts coming after players from the game.
So, starting with this mysterious player. Eiji is wonderful, mainly because he’s a character that doesn’t completely lose his mind by the end of the movie. Most SAO villains are crazy or incredibly despicable. However, he’s rather sympathetic. It’s obvious he is misguided and he is going about things the absolute wrong way, but it’s easy to understand why this is the course of action he’s taking. His relationship with the idol, Yuna, is very touching and it make him more grounded as a character and not just someone who is power hungry or out to prove something.
However, he is severely undercut by the end of the movie. It’s later revealed that he’s working with someone else, so he’s not the true antagonist. This is unfortunate because everything about Eiji’s motivation is spot on. There’s no reason to bring anyone else into the picture. He works as a perfect foli to Kirito after Eiji attacks Asuna. Now, Kirito is given motivation and it makes it personal. The antagonist that gets brought in later makes the conflict a more “save the world” fight, but many of Kirito’s friends have already been affected by Eiji that Kirito doesn’t need any more motivation than what he already has. It makes the movie feel more padded out to give it a “twist” at the end that was honestly incredibly predictable.
However, it is Asuna and Kirito that really shine in the movie.
Kirito is completely unimpressed by the Augma and frankly doesn’t want anything to do with it. When the others start getting involved with Ordinal Scale, he’s hesitant because he prefers the full dive. However, there is an incident where Asuna gets involved trying to protect someone else and is badly injured because of it. She tries to tell Kirito that he doesn’t have to worry about her but, to an extent, Kirito feels guilty for not fighting along side her. While he knows that Asuna is more than capable of protecting herself, he still wants to fight along side the woman he loves.
Which is another thing this movie does amazing; rekindle the love between Asuna and Kirito. After season two, fans thought that maybe the romance was fading with the introduction of Sinon. This movie puts that all to rest with several very touching scenes between Asuna and Kirito. There is a mutual respect and admiration between them as well as affection. Never does it seem like Asuna is just a damsel or that Kirito has to protect her because she’s “his woman”. They work together, which is something that’s been missing from the series and was a joy to watch.
Overall, the movie was an awesome experience. While the new characters didn’t bring much to the series, they were still interesting to see the relationship they developed. In addition, giving Kirito and Asuna more time together and a little more development was fantastic and breathed a new excitement into the series. Fans will enjoy the new directions the characters take while seeing what is set up for the future of the franchise while those with just a passing knowledge of SAO will be able to jump right in and enjoy the action.
To anyone interested in catching the movie or who just want to see it again, the dub will premier in the States on April 22, 2017. Ticket sales start tomorrow and you can order your tickets here!