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In 2026, a new machine called the Augma is developed to compete against the NerveGear and its successor, the Amusphere. A next-gen wearable device, the Augma doesn't have a full-dive function like its predecessors. Instead, it uses Augmented Reality (AR) to get players into the game. It is safe, user-friendly and lets users play while they are conscious, making it an instant hit on the market. The most popular game on the system is "Ordinal Scale" (aka: OS), an ARMMORPG developed exclusively for the Augma. Asuna and the gang have already been playing OS for a while, and soon Kirito decides to join them. However, they're about to find out that Ordinal Scale isn't all fun and games.
Going to keep this review spoiler free. To make a clever analogy, Sword Art Online is similar to an apple that looks fresh on the outside but is all rotten inside. If you have ever heard of the "Rotten Apple" theory which states that one rotten apple can ruin an entire barrel, that is what I am afraid of. Anime series similar to Sword Art Online will spread like mold in an old house, resulting in lowering the current set standards for a "good" show.
Intro: Unfortunately the very premise of the show makes it hard to take seriously. A new innovative game "Ordinal Scale" is created and people are crazy about it until sh*t hits the fan and Kirito must save the day.
Story: 3/10 The story revolves around Asuna and Kirito's group of friends battling Augma as well as Asuna's and Kirito's romantic relationship. The story is more of a way to connect and insert action scenes rather than progressing with the characters. To compare SAO:Ordinal Scale's plot with the previous series I would say that Ordinal Scale is better but as the saying goes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. With that being said, the story is still boring, predictable and borderline ridiculous containing numerous plot holes, plot armor and having a simplistic idea that is poorly executed. Ordinal Scale is a failed mix of comedy, drama and romance but it does have great action scenes that keep attracting viewers. The story brings nothing new to the table, it is mostly the same old repetitive SAO plot but a bit different and a bit more enjoyable with the only redeeming factor being its pace. Even though the story itself is nothing special, the pacing is pretty good to be honest.
Characters: 2/10 The characters are poor, one-dimensional, clichéd, generic and utterly annoying, there is not much to say that can redeem them. Ordinal Scale features lots of survivors from SAO and I liked seeing them again, just a bit of nostalgia.
Kirito is the same overpowered guy that can defeat anything and anyone if he gets serious. All the girls still fall for him even though he has no charisma or an intriguing personality nor is he particularly intelligent. In Kirito's defense, I suppose being a hero in a life-or-death game can make most people grow to respect him and maybe "love" him.
Asuna is the same as always, a generic damsel in distress that is constantly seeking attention and constantly irritating me. Asuna does have some good moments throughout the show but that is not nearly enough to redeem her character.
Shino Asada, a generic character from the ALO/GGO series. I liked the fact that she respected Kirito and Auna as a couple even though she had feelings for Kirito therefore not creating further drama.
The only character I liked was Eiji, a bad-ass player who is top ranked and has a cool air about him, won't go into details due to possible spoilers.
The villains are clichéd, generic and imbecilic. We have seen these type of villains many, many times before in the previous seasons of Sword Art Online or other low tier anime series.
Animation: 10/10 The overall art and animation is great, fluid with nice design and colors, just what you would expect from a 2017 anime production. The fight scenes are very well choreographed, fluid and engaging. The animation does have some glitches but I am compelled to overlook them.
Sound: 7/10 I personally did not like the OST, they used some old SAO music and some new and not very good songs. The overall sound is pretty good but nothing memorable or to brag about.
Enjoyment: 2/10 After finishing Sword Art Online Ordinal Scale I was left with a "meh" feeling and a bad taste in my mouth. Having Kirito wear his old "black swordsman" uniform was a sore sight. There are some good battles and nice scenes but they are not nearly enough to make this a good watching experience.
Overall: 4.3/10 Unfortunately Sword Art Online continues being the malignant tumor slowly eating away at the good anime production. The poor plot and generic characters can not be overlooked even though the animation and sound were very good. If you are the typical SAO fan you will love this movie but if you did not like the SOA series you will not like this. If you are ready to waste 2 hours of your life, I recommend giving this a try since it is so popular.
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