These are simply my thoughts on Ordinal Scale. this is by no means a critical review of the film. I am a long-time fan so my opinions are biased
I had the pleasure of being able to watch the newest installment of the Sword Art Online franchise in a theater nearby. Previously, the only anime film I have seen on the big screen was the first part of Kizumonogatari which was a large turnout. On the other hand, I went to go see Ordinal Scale on a Sunday around midday so the theater was nearly empty save a few groups. This made for a great viewing experience because everyone there was respectful and didn’t use their phones or talk during the film which was greatly appreciated. The point of this blog was not to discuss the actual theater, rather the actual film as an experience. I will be mainly touching on how I felt about Ordinal Scale and a few thoughts about the film. I will keep this spoiler-free so no need to worry.
The film opens similarly to the first season of Sword Art Online. There is a bit of exposition making the opening scenes a bit slow when compared to the rest of the film. However, this was completely justified since Ordinal Scale was meant to cater to returning fans and new fans alike. It was a nice refresher since I first watched Sword Art Online back in 2013. The story only gets better from here. Once the exposition comes to a close the plot begins to unfold revealing a story that differs a bit from previous installments in the franchise, but still keeps the charm of the first two seasons. We finally get to see Asuna as well as other side-characters that were often overlooked finally get more screen time and a surprising amount of development. Kirito remains mostly the same so interpret that as you will. The animation was also stellar and the score by returning staff composer Yuki Kajura was a welcome part of the film. Overall, Ordinal Scale was beautifully presented from as visual and audio standpoint which made watching it a treat for the senses.
Aside from the surface presentation, what really sold me on Ordinal Scale was it’s latter half. In typical Sword Art Online fashion, the main conflict was a bit shallow but that doesn’t mean it was unbelievable. There seemed to actually be some emotional explanation towards the “villain’s” motivations. As a result of the main conflict, we got one of the best scenes in the entirety of the franchise. It pains me not to discuss the final climactic battle but I’d rather not spoil the fun and it’s impact on the viewer. When the height of the battle hit and the original battle theme began to play, tension left my body and a child-like grim spread across my face. I was overwhelmed with nostalgia, genuine tears of joy formed in my eyes and passion reignited in my heart. This was the power of anime. I left the theater with an extremely positive attitude and a longing to rewatch the film.
I first sat down to watch Sword Art Online in 2013 which was my first experience with anime, and my journey has led me here. My view of this film is heavily biased due to my personally connection to the series so my opinions previously stated are completely subjective. That being said, I’m a firm believer in the importance of taking away enjoyment from anime and Ordinal Scale is a great film for that. I’ll admit the probability of it being an average film, but in the eyes of a longtime fan it’s an unforgettable experience. I highly recommend that any fan of the previous installments in the franchise watch Ordinal Scale when it’s released on Blu-ray. That being said, I know I’ll be looking out for the collectors edition so long as it isn’t outrageously priced.
Thanks for reading, have a nice day!