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Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale (a J!-ENT Anime Film Review)

March 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

I found the storyline of “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” to be extremely satisfying and as a person who has watched the series and loved nearly every episode, I really enjoyed seeing the progression of Kirito and Asuna’s relationship and how that relationship plays a big part in the film’s storyline. I really do feel that fans will enjoy this SAO film! A wonderful and engrossing storyline filled with action and drama, “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of  2017 © REKI KAWAHARA/PUBLISHED BY KADOKAWA CORPORATION ASCII MEDIA WORKS/SAO MOVIE Project. © RK/KC AMW/SM


Originally created by Reki Kawahara

Original Character Design by abec

Directed by Tomohiko Ito

Scenario by Reki Kawahara, Tomohiko Ito

Music by Yuki Kajiura

Character Design: Shingo Adachi

Art Director: Takayuki Nagashima

Chief Animation Director: Shingo Adachi

Sound Director: Yoshikazu Iwanami

CGI Director: Ryuta Undo

Director of Photography: Kentaro Waki

Anime Production by A-1 Pictures


Featuring the following voice talent:

Haruka Tomatsu as Asuna Yūki

Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Kazuto Kirigaya/Kirito

Ayahi Takagaki as Rika Shinozaki/Lizbeth

Ayana Taketatsu as Suguha Kirigaya/Leafa

Hiroaki Hirata as Klein

Hiroki Yasumoto as Andrew Gilbert Mills/Agil

Kanae Itō as Yui

Miyuki Sawashiro as Shino Asada/Sinon

Rina Hidaka as Keiko Ayano/Silica

Sayaka Kanda as Yuna

Takeshi Kaga as Professor Shigemura

Yoshio Inoue as Eiji

Kouichi Yamadera as Akihiko Kayaba


2022 – The NerveGear, the world’s first dedicated full-dive device developed by the genius programmer, Akihiko Kayaba. It was a revolutionary machine that opened up infinite possibilities for the world of VR (Virtual Reality.) 4 years later…. A next-generation, wearable multi-device called the Augma has been released to compete with the NerveGear’s successor – the Amusphere. A cutting-edge machine boasting the ability to enhance AR (Augmented Reality) to the maximum, the Augma offers a safe, user-friendly experience, as it can be used while the player is awake, making it an instant hit. Its killer title is an ARMMORPG developed exclusively for the Augma, “Ordinal Scale (a.k.a. OS).” Kirito is about to join Asuna and the others as an Ordinal Scale player, but…


The year 2026.

Two years after the “Sword Art Online” fiasco perpetrated by SAO creator Akihiko Kayaba which left many gamers injured or dead, a new technology is to be released.  A technology that is thought to be safe and nothing like the Nerve Gear that was used in “Sword Art Online”.

Now people can use the Augma, the successor to the Amusphere full-dive system which allows a player to play a game that simulates reality while the player is conscious (via augmented reality).

And one of the popular games created for the Augma is “Ordinal Scale”.  A game which has quickly gain popularity that Asuna, Lisbeth and Silica are playing it, but surprisingly Kirito hasn’t jumped aboard to play the game just yet until now.

As people get into the game, part of the main appeal to “Ordinal Scale” is the game’s mascot, an AI idol singer named Yuna who appears during the game to increase the stats of players.

While everyone is playing, the #2 ranked player Eiji helps the Kirito, Asuna and team defeat the level boss but Eiji uses the words “switch”, a term that was used in SAO to Asuna.

Meanwhile, Asuna tells Kirito that Eiji is most likely a member of the Knights of the Blood Oath named Nautilus, Yui tells them that the appearance of Aincrad bosses in “Ordinal Scale” are similar to the line up with the SAO dungeon maps.

As Asuna goes to play the game with her friends again, immediately Yuna and Eiji appear and Eiji pushes Asuna towards the level boss.

When Asuna is hit, she passes out and suddenly, Asuna starts to realize that her memories from SAO are starting to disappear. Concerned, Kirito takes Asuna to the hospital to get checked out and it is learned that the Augma device has scanned her brain for SAO memories, and it may have happened to other SAO players that are playing “Ordinal Scale”.

With Asuna’s memory loss of SAO, that means her memories of her friends, but most importantly her memories of Kirito will disappear.

A desperate Kirito tries to search for answers and promises that he will do whatever he can to get Asuna’s memories back.  But what will his search unveil?

What is “Sword Art Online” about:

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 also winning the Grand Prize in 2008, the popularity of his “Accel World” storyline would lead to “Sword Art Online” being republished and also featuring the art work of illustrator, 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 ten manga adaptations, two anime series, one TV film, five video games and now an animated film.

The original “Sword Art Online” series is set in 2022 and many are playing the Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG), “Sword Art Online” (SAO for short).

The game comes with a virtual reality helmet known as a Nerve Gear which uses the five senses of the brain and so players can control their characters with their mind.

The anime series focuses on protagonist, Kirito, one of the 1,000 beta testers of the Closed Beta version of SAO.  On November 6th, the game is released to the public and Kirito is enjoying the game and meets Klein, who has experience playing RPG’s but learns from Kirito about the basics of the game.

While the two are talking, suddenly they are transported to the main courtyard and are unable to log out.  They are told by the creator of SAO, Akihiko Kayaba, that all of the people playing are stuck in the game.  If anyone takes of the virtual reality helmet of a player, they will die.

As for those playing the game, if they want to be free of the game, they must reach the 100th floor of the game’s tower and defeat the final boss.  But if their avatars (their game character) dies in the game, their bodies will also die in the real world.  Also,  people in the real world who were stuck in the game have died by someone removing their Nerve Gear.

In the first series, Kirito and Asuna have become an online couple and while Kirito was able to succeed and free everyone by defeating the final boss of “Sword Art Online”, he has been utilized by law enforcement to assist in troubles that have affected users (as seen in “Sword Art Online II”).

In reality, Kazuto Kirigaya (Kirito) and Asuna Yuuki (Asuna) have continued their relationship outside of the game.  Asuna dreams of marrying Kazuto and having a family with him in the future.

And with the 2017 animated film “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale”, with Asuna’s memories of SAO fading, the dreams of her and Kirito being together may now be in jeopardy.


If there is one thing that “Sword Art Online” has proved over the years, that Reki Kawahara’s light novels and the anime adaptation inspired from it, are popular among many fans worldwide.

I had no doubt in my mind that “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” would do well as a theatrical release, not just in Japan but other countries worldwide, especially the United States.

Considering the film is not a Studio Ghibli film or an animated film with no Disney or Hollywood movie studio connect, “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” grossed $1.35 million in the first four days of its North American run.

In fact, the film set an opening weekend record for an Aniplex of America theatrical release and has played in 560 theaters nationwide.

And that is for a film that debuted in American theaters with Japanese voice acting and English subtitles.  And for those who dislike reading during their films, Aniplex of America will be releasing the film with an English dub soundtrack in April 2017 for a limited theatrical engagement.

Watching “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale”, it has everything that fans have loved in the series.  A lot of action, a lot of humor but also emotional drama as viewers have watched and seen the relationship between Kazuto (Kirito) and Asuna evolve and in this film, you really see how far their love for each other has blossomed.  And so, this film has become a fight for love and Kazuto doing all that is necessary to make sure that the young woman he loves is saved from losing her memories due to a new threat.

Fans will also love seeing characters from the past making their appearance in the video game but one will no doubt be anticipating the next SOA storyline as the ending teaser (after all the credits are done) shows us another menacing threat that will surely surprise fans of the series.

Animation is fantastic as A-1 Pictures did a wonderful job with capturing emotion in the faces of the characters but also within action sequences.  Voice acting is wonderful in its original Japanese soundtrack and English subtitles were easy to read.  And having watched the original series in both Japanese and English, I’m expecting the English dub to be equally fantastic when the English version of the film is released in US theaters this April.

If there was anything that I didn’t get into all that much in regards to “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” is the overuse of AI idol singer Yuna.  Music plays a big part in the film and where idol singers through battle is something we are accustomed to seeing in “Macross” anime series or film, it was not something I expected all that much in “Sword Art Online” and felt it was done a little bit too much for my tastes but at the same time, I’m sure it benefits Aniplex for music soundtrack sales and I’m sure fans who loved the music in the film will no doubt be seeking to purchase the soundtrack.

But I also hope that Aniplex, a company known for giving fans a lot of swag with their limited edition releases, will include the film’s soundtrack with the Blu-ray release of “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale”.

I absolutely enjoyed “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” but I do recommend people who know nothing about the series to at least watch the SAO series before jumping into the film.

Overall, I found the storyline of “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” to be extremely satisfying and as a person who has watched the series and loved nearly every episode, I really enjoyed seeing the progression of Kirito and Asuna’s relationship and how that relationship plays a big part in the film’s storyline.  I really do feel that fans will enjoy this SAO film!

A wonderful and engrossing storyline filled with action and drama, “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale” is highly recommended!

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Sky Wizards Academy – The Complete Series (A J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Sky Wizards Academy – The Complete Series” is an anime series that is easy to follow, is a lot of fun and fully of action.  If you enjoy magical academy anime series and are looking for an anime series with a shorter duration, “Sky Wizards Academy” is worth watching!

Image courtesy of © 2016 Funimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Sky Wizards Academy – The Complete Series

ANIME SERIES AIR DATE: 2015

DURATION: (Episodes 1-12) 300 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Funimation

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: November 8, 2016


Originally created by Yu Moroboshi

Directed by Takayuki Inagaki

Series Composition by Hiroshi Yamaguchi

Music by Daisaku Kume

Original Character Design by Mikihiro Amami

Character Design by Osamu Horiuchi

Art Director: Hirofumi Sakagami, Hiroshi Kato

Art Design by Hiroshi Kato, Shingo Yonekawa

Anime Production by diomedia


Featuring the following voice talent:

Iori Nomizu/Dawn M. Bennett as Rico Flamel

Nao Tōyama/Megan Shipman as Lecty Eisenach

Nozomi Yamamoto/Tia Ballard as Misora Whitale

Yoshitsugu Matsuoka/Joel McDonald as Kanata Age

Chika Anzai/Lynsey Hale as Amie Mustung

Hiroki Yasumoto/Chris Guerrero as Real Nua

Ibuki Kido/Sarah Wiedenheft as Christina Balcuhorn

Jiro Saito/Jeremy Inman as Gail Whitale

Mami Kamikura/Alexis Tipton as Sasha Nielsen

Mari Misaki/Bryn Apprill as Lily Lancaster

Nichika Omori/Michelle Rojas as Coela Viper

Rina Satou/Morgan Garrett as Socie Whitale

Risa Taneda/Jad Saxton as Yuri Flostre

Saeko Zōgō/Alexis Moore as Freon Flamel

Tetsuya Kakihara/Ricco Fajardo as Lloyd Alwyn

Yuki Yamada/Megan Emerick as Chloe Sevegny

Yukiko Yao/Ryan Reynolds as Greg Hastuck

Yuko Hara/Kristen McGuire as Beach


Catch the newest magical academy series from the studio behind World Break: Aria of Curse for a Holy Swordsman!

Once known as the Black Master Swordsman, Kanata Age has fallen in favor with the people of Misutogan after a harrowed battle against the Devil Beetles. Deemed a traitor, he has earned the scorn of his peers and classmates. Kanata is happy enough to fade into the background, until one day he is asked to become the teacher of Fireteam E601 aka the F’ed up Fireteam.

Rico Flamel, Lecty Eisenach, and Misora Whitale make up E601 and have yet to see a single victory. But it’s hard to work together when your team is made up of a self-proclaimed goddess, a coward, and an incapable leader. Not to mention when they mistake him for a pervert. But, Kanata must take these three failures and turn them into winners. Will they trust the man known as a traitor? Or is there more to his story that he just forgot to mention?


Back in 2013, writer Yu Moroboshi and illustrator Yuka Nakajima created the Japanese light novel series “Kusen Madoshi Kohosei no Kyokan” (which translates to “The Instructor of the Aerial Combat Wizard Trainees”).

With a manga adaptation serialized on “Monthly Comic Alive” since 2014, a 12-episode anime series adaptation was created by Diomedea and aired in Japan from July through September 2015.

The series takes place during a time where humanity was driven off the land by magical armored insects forcing humans to live in floating cities in the sky.

To protect humanity, wizards fight the insects with magic in mid-air.

In the city of “Misutogan”, Kanata Age was known as the “Black Master Swordsman” of the elite S128 Team.  But because of circumstances, he was branded a traitor because he stopped going on missions and has received a bad reputation and no longer part of the elite team.

Kanata has now been assigned as the instructor of Fireteam E601, a team that has suffered 100 consecutive defeats.  Can Kanata turn this team around and get them to winning?  And what is the true reason why Kanata stopped fighting on missions?

Fireteam E601 consists of:

  • Misora Whitale – Misora is the leader of Platoon E601.  She has very good speed and stamina but because of her impulsive attitude, she is not good at giving orders nor is she good with her weapon.  Misora wants to be a sword sorcerer to honor her late mother.
  • Lecty Eisenach – A close combat fighter who is great with her weapon but because she is too shy, lacks confidence and can’t look at people that she doesn’t know, it prevents her from becoming an effective fighter. So, as part of her training, Kanata has her working at a maid cafe to develop her social skills and confidence.
  • Rico Flamel – Intelligent and a great sniper but she is narcissistic and calls herself a goddess and doesn’t feel that she should be a team player nor should she practice.  This prevents her from being a good fighter but Kanata must find a way to develop Rico’s will to fight and be a team player.

VIDEO:

“Sky Wizards Academy” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9). Animation from diomedia is good as character designs are well-done, art backgrounds are also well-done and detailed.  Mechanical designs feature good shading and CG looks good.  The anime series is colorful, vibrant and I found no compression artifacts or any problematic issues with this Blu-ray release.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Sky Wizards Academy” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. The series for the most part features crystal clear dialogue and music. The English dub has the edge with its 5.1 surround soundtrack but both voice acting for Japanese and English are well-acted.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Sky Wizards Academy – The Complete Series” features the following special features:

  • Chapter 1 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Tia Ballard (voice of Misora), Dawn M. Bennett (voice of Rico), Megan Shipman (voice of Lecty) and Joel Mcdonald (voice of Kanata).
  • Chapter 7 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Alex Moore (voice of Freon), Chris Guerrero (voice of Real) and Megan Emerick (voice of Chloe Sevigny).
  • OVA – Lecty, Animal Caretaker – (24:30) Featuring an OVA (only in Japanese with English subtitles) about Lecty discovering and caring for a Garuda chick that she names Tweetie, a chick that absorbs magical powers and the Sky Wizards are wanting to destroy it.
  • Promotional Videos – Japanese promo videos for “Kusen Madoshi Kohosei no Kyokan”
  • Commercials – Japanese anime CM for “Kusen Madoshi Kohosei no Kyokan”
  • Textless Opening and Closing Song
  • U.S. Trailer – Funimation trailer for “Sky Wizards Academy”.

EXTRAS:

“Sky Wizards Academy – The Complete Series” comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version of the series plus a slipcover.


Fireteam E601 is considered as the worst wizard team in the academy.

Misora is a team leader than doesn’t know how to use her weapons, Lecty is an excellent weapon user but too shy to engage her enemy and Rico is a narcissist who is an excellent sniper but can’t get along with anyone.

And someone needs to turn this team around.

Enter Kanata Age, once dubbed the strongest Sky Wizard of the elite Platoon S128 until after a major mission, he decided to never take part in any more missions.  Because of his refusal to take part in any missions to fight the insects, he has been dubbed a traitor to all wizards.

While his friends Chloe and Lloyd of Platoon S128 still support their friend, many don’t.  But when Kanata is assigned a new job and that is to be the new instructor of the terrible Fireteam E601, can Kanata Age find a way to turn this team around and make them one of the best Sky Wizard team?

The anime series is quite entertaining and action-packed but some may find the storyline to be quite simple as Kanata tries to teach these three to work as team and find ways to use their abilities.  And of course, it also has a harem vibe as each of Kanata’s students has a crush on him.

But with only 12-episodes, the series is easy to follow and for the most part, fans will find this series to be enjoyable, fun and full of action.  And no doubt, there is a lot of potential for multiple seasons, considering the storyline is ongoing in Japan.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is vibrant and colorful, while lossless audio is very good, primarily for the English soundtrack having a 5.1 surround track, while the Japanese track is 2.0 but both are well-acted.  As for special features, you get two audio commentary and the OVA episode, plus promotional videos, commercials and more.

Overall, “Sky Wizards Academy – The Complete Series” is an anime series that is easy to follow, is a lot of fun and fully of action.  If you enjoy magical academy anime series and are looking for an anime series with a shorter duration, “Sky Wizards Academy” is worth watching!

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