Sword Art Online II – Calibur: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set III (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray review)
November 16, 2015 by Dennis Amith
I found “Sword Art Online II – Phantom Bullet Part 2 -: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” to be amazing. I absolutely loved how this first arc of the second season ended and I can’t wait for the second arc in the next Blu-ray volume! If you love SAO, “Sword Art Online II – Phantom Bullet” (both parts) are must buy, must have and highly recommended!
Image courtesy of © REKI KAWAHARA/ASCII MEDIA WORKS/SAO Project. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Sword Art Online II – Calibur: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set
ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2014
DURATION: Episodes 15-17 (175 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), Japanese and English Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Aniplex Inc.
Release Date: November 17, 2015
Originally Created by Reki Kawahara
Original Character Design by abec
Directed by Tomohiko Ito
Script by Munemasa Nakamoto, Naoki Shojo, Shuji Iriyama, Yoshikazu Mukai, Yukie Sugawara, Yukito Kizawa
Music by Yuki Kajiura
Character Design by Shingo Adachi
Art Director: Takayuki Nagashima, Yusuke Takeda
Art Design by Yoshinori Shiozawa
Anime Production: A-1 Pictures
Featuring the following voice talent:
Kanae Itō/Stephanie Sheh as Yui
Miyuki Sawashiro/Michelle Ruff as Sinon
Yoshitsugu Matsuoka/Bryce Papenbrook as Kirito
Aoi Yūki as Yuuki
Asami Tano as Nori
Atsushi Tamaru as Talken
Ayahi Takagaki as Lisbeth / Rika Shinozaki
Ayana Taketatsu/Cassandra Morris as Leafa / Suguha Kirigaya
Daiki Yamashita as Jun
Haruka Tomatsu/Cherami Leigh as Asuna Yūki
Hiroaki Hirata/Kirk Thornton as Klein
Houko Kuwashima as Urðr
Natsuki Hanae/Johnny Yong Bosch as Kyôji Shinkawa
Nobuyuki Kobushi as Tecchi
Rina Hidaka/Christine Marie Cabanos as Silica
Toshiyuki Morikawa as Seijirō Kikuoka
Yu Shimamura as Siune
Yuko Minaguchi as Freyja
Kirito is now certain that Death Gun is also a survivor of SAO. And to make things worse, he is most likely an ex-member of the murder guild, Laughing Coffin. As the final tournament of Bullet of Bullets begins, Kirito and Sinon agree to join forces until they identify which player is Death Gun.
News is spreading among the players of ALO that the legendary Holy Sword Excalibur has been discovered. This was actually the very sword that Kirito and Leafa found in the underground realm of Jotunheim several months ago when they saved “Tonky.” Hearing the news, they decide to acquire Excalibur before the other players. Summoning Asuna, Klein, Sinon, and the others, they set off for the dungeon in Jotunheim for an exciting new mission!
The “Calibur” arc begins as the next three episodes of “Sword Art Online II” (episodes 15-17) features Kiroto and friends going on ALfheim Online (ALO) to find the legendary item, the Holy Sword Excalibur.
As Kirito, Asuna, Klein, Lisbeth, Silica and Sinon try to retrieve the Holy Sword Excalibur, Yui tells the group that the quest they were given was created by the Cardinal System’s Automatic Quest Generation Function and if they don’t succeed, a final war event known as “Rangarok” will be triggered and will destroy AKO.
Will the group reach their objective? Find out in the latest third Blu-ray volume of “Sword Art Online II”!
What is “Sword Art Online”?
In 2002, writer Reki Kawahara wrote a novel series titled “Sword Art Online” under the name Fumio Kunori.
While Kawahara would receive critical acclaim for his novel “Accel World” in 2009, which earned Kawahara an ASCII Media Works’ 15th Dengeki Novel Prize and winning the Grand Prize in 2008, the popularity of “Accel World” would lead to “Sword Art Online” being republished and featuring the art work of abec.
This time using his real name on ASCII Media Works’ Dengeku Bunko label from April 10, 2009 and a spin-off series in 2012. The series has since spawned a total of five manga adaptations (“Sword Art Online: Aincrad”, “4-koma”, “Fairy Dance”, “Girls Ops” and “Progressive”). The anime series produced by A-1 Pictures was released in Japan between July and December 2012 and airing on Adult Swim’s Toonami in July 27, 2013.
And in 2014-2015, a 24-episode series titled “Sword Art Online II” aired on television. And now, “Sword Art Online II – Phantom Bullet” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Aniplex.
The anime series was directed by Tomohiko Ito (“Occult Academ”, “Silver Spoon”), featuring music by Yuki Kajiura (“.hack” series, “Eat-Man”, “My-HIME”, “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”, “Noir”, “Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE”), character design by Shingo Adachi (“Megaman Star Force”, “Rockman.EXE Beat”) and Art Direction by Takayuki Nagashima (“Durarara!!”, “Real Drive”, “Steins;Gate”) and Yusuke Takeda (“Berserk” films, “Armitage III”, “009-1”, “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex”, “Golden Boy”, “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing”, etc.).
Which leads us to “Sword Art Online II”:
“Sword Art Online II” is set a year after the “Sword Art Online” incident and not long after the “Gun Gale Online” arc.
One day, Suguha shows Kazuto a news article about the legendary Holy Sword Excalibur being discovered in ALO. Wanting the legendary sword, Kazuto calls his friends Asuna, Klein, Lisbeth, Silica and Sinon to join him on ALO and challenge the dungeon in the sky of Jotunheimr, where the Excalibur is located.
But will Kirito and friends find the Holy Sword of Excalibur?
The main characters featured in “Sword Art Online II – Calibur -: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set ” are:
- Kirito – The main protagonist of the series. Kazuto “Kirito” Kirigaya is a former beta-tester who fights solo and responsible for saving many lives in Sword Art Online and Alfheim Online. Kirito is recruited by Seijiro Kikuoka of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to become “Kirito” once again to enter the virtual world to investigate the cause of deaths in “Gun Gale Online” (GGO).
- Shino Asada/Sinon – One of the best players, a sniper on “Gun Gale Online”. In real life, she has a major phobia of guns after killing a robber. She is the owner of the rare gun “PGM Ultima Ratio Hecate II”. She looks at Kirito is a rival but she also wants to be closer to him because of the strength he shows in battle. But she is an excellent marksman in online games.
- Asuna – Kirito’s girlfriend (a main character in the previous “Sword Art Online”). She thinks that Kirito is earning money as a tester, but not knowing he is investigating a Death Coffin member.
- Yui – Kirito and Asuna’s “child” via artificial intelligence. She often helps both when they are in need.
- Suguha Kirigaya – Kirito’s adoptive sister (younger cousin), she knows that Kirito has joined another online game.
“Sword Art Online II – Calibur: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” features the episodes 15-17:
- EPISODE 15 – Kirito and friends go on ALO to find the Holy Sword of Excalibur.
- EPISODE 16 – Who is this Freyja and can the group trust her?
- EPISODE 17 – The group must take on the King of the Frost Giants, known as Thrym.
“Sword Art Online II – Calibur: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in 1080p High Definition. Because of the ever changing landscape within the online game, there is a good balance between well-painted buildings and interiors and also beautiful painted backgrounds for outdoor scenes. Black levels are nice and deep but its the colorful palette and the beautiful backgrounds that captivate you. Wonderful anime production from A-1 Pictures.
Colors are absolutely vibrant and I didn’t notice any problems with artifacts or banding during my viewing of each episode.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Sword Art Online II – Calibur: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is presented in Japanese and English linear PCM stereo. The voice acting for the Japanese soundtrack is solid. With that being said, having watched the series first in Japanese, watching it with the English dub, I felt the casting was spot-on! With this volume, it’s great to have the original characters return for this arc. Kirito, Asuna, Klein, Lisbeth, Silica and Sinon all work together in this volume, so it’s great to have all voice talents together once again.
Subtitles are in English and you can choose from complete English subtitles which include dialogue and Japanese kana translations or a selection to choose just kana translations or no English subtitles.
“Sword Art Online II – Calibur: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” features the following special features:
- Sword Art Offline II #6 – (11:41) Featuring Asuna and Kirito in super deformed format discussing the first episode, SOA trivia and more.
- Textless OP & ED (Calibur)
- Web Version Previews – Featuring web previews for episodes 16-18
- Audio Commentary 17 – Featuring Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (voice of Kirito), Haruka Tomatsu (voice of Asuna), Ayana Taketatsu (voice of Leafa), Kanae Ito (voice of Yui).
“Sword Art Online II – Calibur: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” Blu-ray also comes with the following:
- Sword Art Online Original Soundtrack II Vol. 2 – (45 Minutes)
- desolate landscape 2:42
- Tonky 2:35
- in this place 1:58
- Freyja 1:52
- Urd 2:28
- in another land 2:16
- the appearance of Thrymr 1:46
- defeat him and get it! 3:31
- in the battle field, once again 2:45
- a sad quarrel 1:40
- you are not alone #2 2:06
- light your sword 2:04
- heartbreaking reality 2:38
- you are not alone 2:48
- tears for you 1:51
- school days, with you 2:05
- you are not alone #3 2:05
- trying to understand 2:25
“Sword Art Online II – Calibur: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” also comes with a slip case, a 12-page deluxe booklet with character info, episode synopsis and more, a two-postcard set, and an exclusive Weiss Schwarz Usual Silicacollectible PR Card.
With the riveting “GunGale Online” storyline that was awesome to watch on the last two volumes, the series takes a breather from any deep storylines and instead features a short-story arc of three episodes as Kirito and friends go on ALO to find the Holy Sword of Excalibur.
While the storyline is good for this short arc, I found it to be a bit average, as it feels like three filler episodes. But the good news is that you get Kirito and friends together on ALO and you also get to see interesting character interaction between Kirito and Sinon, rather than Kirito and Asuna, which I found quite interesting.
And you also get to see Klein having more of a role in this arc since the first season. But for the most part, the story arc goes quickly and wished that Aniplex would have included two or three more additional episodes, but I can understand if they want to save the fourth volume for the final arc of “Sword Art Online II”. But the viewing for this set goes much quicker as can be expected with only three episodes included.
As for the Blu-ray release, once again, the animation looks magnificent, while backgrounds are nicely painted, CG elements are well-done and for the most part, the series continues its outstanding quality from the first series. While the lossless soundtrack remains as Linear PCM Stereo 2.0 and no 5.1 soundtrack yet, the soundtrack still sounds crisp and clear as dialogue for both Japanese and English tracks and Yuki Kajiura’s music sounds crystal clear. And you also get an audio commentary with the Japanese cast and more.
And similar to the previous “Sword Art Online” Limited Edition box sets, “Sword Art Online II – Calibur: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a CD featuring “Sword Art Online II – Vol. 2 Original Soundtrack”, a 12-page deluxe booklet, two postcards, a Weiss Schwarz collectible PR Card and a slipcase. So, Aniplex has done another wonderful job in continuing to provide the awesome swag for SAO fans!
Overall, I found “Sword Art Online II – Calibur-: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” to be enjoyable. With only three episodes included on a single Blu-ray disc and the episodes feeling like filler episodes, it was great to see Kirito and friends working together again. And if you want the second original soundtrack, then the third limited edition volume for “Sword Art Online II” is recommended.
If you love SAO and like many others who are fans of the popular anime series, “Sword Art Online II – Calibur: Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set III” is the third limited edition volume worth the purchase. Recommended!
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