Released in Japan in 2017 Sword art online, Ordinal scale is the first feature film of the franchise. The film is in the continuity of the series and fans can be reassured, because Reki Kawahara, the author behind the light novel, has supported the scenario for the occasion.
We also find Tomohiko Ita, who has been the director of the series since its inception.
In 2016, at Japan Expo, we were already announced the release of the film at the French box office.
At the end of February 2017, previews were held, notably in Paris. It was necessary to wait until April 20 to be able to watch the film in the other dark rooms. Despite more than 75,000 viewers, the film remained confined to major cities, but it is catching up today with the release of a collector’s edition in DVD and Blu-ray.
The publisher sought to honor the feature film with a rigid 39-page booklet of the film’s hardcopy cards. Although SAO remains a license undoubtedly overestimated, the box is worth all the same. Despite a slight disappointment with its cardboard side, because we could believe that it was a metal case, it remains a very good bill.
It is true that ODS tends to divide. On the one hand, there are hardcore fans of the license who support her body and soul, on the other, people who do not hesitate to spit their hate whenever information about her appears on the web.
This criticism will be close to the first camp without ignoring the many defects of the series.
Located between Mother’s Rosario and Alicization, Ordinal Scale takes place in 2026 when Kirito, Asuna and the other survivors live peaceful days after SAO. Their daily life is somewhat transformed with the augma, the new gem of technology that allows to enter the augmented reality. The game “Ordinal Scale” enabled by the gadget, quickly becomes popular to the point of threatening virtual reality.
This time it is no longer a question of abandoning one’s body for In Game immersion, but of modifying our reality so that it becomes the theater of virtual events.
This evolution is far from being visionary since it already exists. For example, we have been able to attend Pokemon Go in recent months.
By pushing the technique to the extreme, the film proposes a questioning on the future of these technologies. What risks? What consequences? What advantages? And privacy in all this?
Do you know the slogan of the net: “If it’s free, is it the product”? Kirito is well aware and is therefore very suspicious by going so far as to point out the amount to her friends, the amount of information that Augma takes from its owner (eating habits, tastes …)
However, this question is quickly eclipsed by the rest of the plot. Kirito, who had been largely successful in the past, finds himself somewhat helpless in the face of this new mode where virtual and real abilities are tightly intertwined. Unattractive by nature, the legendary player becomes a very average character.
It is true that Kirito had a very annoying side in previous seasons. Exaggerably strong he could attract some animosity. In Ordinal scale, the candor and clumsiness of this Otaku gamer who has trouble adapting to a new game interface can reconcile with the character.
The case of Asuna is however more problematic. If she has often stolen the show in the past from her dear and tender, the girl disappoints us a little. If at first we are dealing with a strong and resourceful heroine, it becomes a simple issue in the majority of the film before returning for the final bouquet.
What a pity that Tomohiko Ito and Reki Kawahara did not think to twist the neck to the clichés by reversing the roles of Kirito and Asuna. It would have been refreshing and even more surprising.
Note that the film is accessible to newcomers of this epic. The booklet that accompanies the box will allow these new to better understand the characters. As Reki Kawahara says in the introduction, he was trying to “deal with the fans of the first hour, as well as those who will discover SAO for the first time by this film”. However, these new viewers may miss out on a part of the story that leaves a lot to Aincrad for a fan-service rather welcome.
Will the series never come out of the shadow of this iconic first bow? One could, perhaps, complain that the franchise is obliged to invoke Aincrad to make us really vibrate. But even if you do it, you must do it right and go all the way. On this side, A1 Pictures offers a nice reward to fans, because in his last quarter of an hour the film is loose and sends us all the sauce.
One of the bad points of Ordinal Scale however remains his rather poor scenario. Even if you do not get bored, the story takes a classic pattern and has antagonists justified reasons, but commonplace to cry. For a franchise that collects the bad guys to throw up, you could almost say they are top notch.
On the technical side, the studio A-1 Pictures does a great job with a satisfying 2D-3D mix. However, the end result may seem disappointing, as the overall quality is only slightly higher than that of the anime. The film is still in the top of the cart animation level, but it is far behind Your Name for example.
The fighting scenes are visually particularly neat and accompanied by dynamic music and worn by Yuna, the mysterious idol of this feature film. Yes, Ordinal Scale is very musical. On this side, Yuki Kajiura, the composer of the first two seasons, has let go even if she does not leave her comfort zone.
Despite some minor flaws, Ordinal Scale allows you to find the atmosphere of Sword art online in a different format. The team shows us that his franchise still has some cards to play.
This collector’s edition will especially delight fans who can find the heroes of their saga for two hours of fighting with the bosses of Aincrad.