Anime Review: Sword Art Online: The Movie – Ordinal Scale

Sword Art Online movie cover

I hope that everyone is having a good week, and are getting weekend plans cemented.

Things have been going fairly here, as I can still do what I like.

Quite a while back, there was a movie that I wanted to see, but because no streaming service had it, I kind of just let it go.

Surprisingly though, it showed up on iTunes and I decided to check it out.

Today, I will be reviewing that movie, which is called Sword Art Online: The Movie – Ordinal Scale.

The world of gaming is changing quickly, with a move from virtual reality to augmented reality, and this new tech has quickly gained popularity.

However, when bosses from SAO start appearing for special events and Kirito's friends start falling and lose their memories of SAO, Kirito suspects something is up and is determined to bring things to end, ensuring nobody else suffers.

Eiji, the second ranked Ordinal Scale player, snaps.

While I do enjoy the a few things from SAO, it is not good enough that I would rank it too highly, regardless of the medium one is talking about, but there are times when something considered garbage, such as A Certain Magical Index or A Certain Scientific Accelerator, can turn out gold for once.

Unfortunately, after watching this movie, I cannot say that this is one of those moments, since I found myself unimpressed.

Normally, I like to go over what I liked and hated, as it allows me to judgement things as fairly as I can, but there are times where that is near impossible, which saddens me a bit, yet if everyone followed the often repeated adage, there would be no way one could improve themselves.

From the moment this movie started up, I had a very hard time getting immersed into things, enough so that I do not think that I would have had too much trouble putting it down, though if I did that I would not be able to review this movie accurately.

Now, Sword Art Online may be considered bottom of the barrel, just like DBZ and Attack on Titan, at least in my eyes, but one of the things that the anime adaptations did well was that they created some kind of pull to make me feel like I wanted to give it a chance, whereas the first book was bad enough that I did not want to continue on with the series in that medium.

The way a work of fiction starts important because the audience wants to be sucked into another world and possibly experience something that they might not be able to in their real lives, and if a work of fiction can pull a person into world within the first few pages or, in the case of movies, within the first few minutes, it has succeeded in meeting the bare minimum of a great work of fiction.

Sadly, this movie was unable to provide this necessary pull because it seemed like nothing was there. There was no feeling that something was going on or that I wanted to see where things were going, whereas the Aincrad, Phantom Bullet, and Mother's Rosario arcs all had kind of had those feelings, though the Aincrad and Mother's Rosario arcs were the only ones worth watching.

Seriously, it seems like the staff working on this movie thought they could do just about anything and fans would like it just because Sword Art Online is a big a title.

If the entire staff across all the production studios, which includes A-1 Pictures, and writers took the time to make it as easy to immerse myself in as the Aincrad arc was, regardless of how overdone its plot was, I would have been able to truly enjoy myself a bit more than I did.

Unfortunately, the staff took an approach that was kind similar to how The Last Jedi, the latest Star Wars movie released at the time that I wrote this review, and it only further cemented this series as more of The Adventures of Kirito and Friends than a series called Swords Art Online, and it makes me want to beat everyone involved into a bloody pulp, as this does not show that they really did pour all of their blood, sweat, and tears into making this movie.

This is not the kind of movie I want to see because it not only kills the potential for a great theater experience, which has already dying, according to a series of rants posted on YouTube by Chris Stuckmann, but also kills the possibility being enjoyable watching alone or with a group of friends at home, unless you enjoy bashing on movies for every little flaw.

Hopefully, the next SAO movie will be able to start off on a better foot than this one did, but seeing as the franchise is hated for very good reason, I highly doubt it will happen, seeing as SAO is the anime equivalent of all the big name writers out there that get money from works that do not deserve to see the light of day by just putting their name on it.

Another thing that I hated was how Kirito seemed to go from a newbie to an elite player.

Now, some of you guys might be groaning, as this was obviously going to happen, seeing as Kirito is a Gary Stu, which is much more obvious in the first book, due to how little development is seen in him, but this ends up being a bigger problem here.

Even though I can suspend myself disbelief for a bit about how Kirito can just figure things out without going through many attempts in the virtual reality games, seeing as the controls are mainly his brain, Ordinal Scale, the game that we are supposed to be impressed with for some reason, relies on the player's actual abilities, and Kirito has been shown here to not be in good enough shape to do what he does, which makes me interested in seeing how he will figure out movements, especially since he has been gaming more than practicing martial arts and has very little real life combat experience.

However, he suddenly seems to get better by just going through a bunch of boss fights in only a single to the point where he ranks in the top ten.

I may not be the best gamer out there, but I do travel mostly on foot whenever I want to go somewhere, and since augmented reality in this movie is said to rely more on a person's actual capabilities, this is something that I just cannot let go of easily.

Whenever I walk long distances, which can sometimes get close to two miles, I find myself out for a few days because my muscles ache too much from the extensive walking and I would only be able to accomplish it if I do enough walking to build enough stamina, which would take more than a single day.

This is what I wanted to see Kirito doing, because he hardly ever fails whenever we see him on screen, and this difference between virtual reality and augmented reality that the movie mentions makes me think that it would happen, but, instead Kirito seems to end up looking even more perfect than he did before.

Kirito is hated because he is too perfect to be an interesting character and comes across as only a wish fulfillment character, and by making him look even more perfect than the television series did, it makes me hate him more than I did before, seeing as how much luck seems to be on his side.

Honestly, I wish I could say that this series deserves all of hype and praise it gets, but how this movie makes Kirito look more perfect than he already did just makes me want to see somebody put it in the incinerator, where it belongs.

If the staff behind this movie actually gave Kirito something to overcome, like how Asuna had something to deal with in the Mother's Rosario arc that developed her character a bit, this would have been a great start in seeing SAO become just as good as FMA Brotherhood, where the Elric brothers learned that there was not much they could do on their own, regardless of whether they could use alchemy or not.

Sadly, they decided to preserve Kirito's god status, and they should ashamed of what they have done, especially because this movie is supposed to get fans of SAO excited to the see the return of SAO to the television screen, yet it causes me to want to forget this series even exists.

Hopefully, Kirito's god status would taken away, so that the series can become good enough to be called okay, but that will only happen when we stop giving people every right to create these wish fulfillment characters that seem to be plaguing anime and manga today.

The thing that I hated the most though was the fighting.

One of the best things about SAO was how the fights looked great and actually seemed to be exciting, and that has held up through pretty much all of the arcs seen in the anime, except for the Calibur arc that preceded the Mother's Rosario arc, and I was expecting to see at least much in this movie.

However, while watching this movie, I did not feel any excitement in any of the fights, even when Swordland starts playing in the background.

Sword Art Online is supposed to be an action heavy anime series, and that means the action sequences, such as the battles need to be interesting, yet this movie lacks everything that made the anime at least good enough to kill.

This movie was made by many of the same people that brought SAO to the public to begin with, yet they do not seem to understand this too well, and it makes it even harder to invest myself in the movie than the beginning itself.

If the staff had taken a bit more time to work on this aspect of the movie and made the battles more exciting, I would have at least had found something to like about this movie, as there would be something worth seeing.

Sadly, the people who worked on this movie did not do this, making it seem like they only cared that SAO fans would pick this up just because it is SAO, and it makes me regret even bothering to watch this movie.

Thankfully, I cannot think of anything else that bothered me to no end, so I can leave things here, before my impression of the series gets any worse.

Because the movie was unable to pull me in, Kirito looked even more perfect than he did before, which makes me hate him more than I did before, and the fights were boring, this was one of the worst movies I have seen.

Considering that its flaws, especially horrible fights, were so glaring that it made hard to see any good, this movie was a complete waste of time.

I recommend everyone, including SAO fans, avoid this movie like the plague, though you are free to watch if you wish.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon, so I can find more worthwhile anime for you guys to watch.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.