RogerBW's Blog

Sword Art Online Ordinal Scale 28 October 2018

2017, 2-hour film: AniDB, follow-up to 2012's Sword Art Online and 2014's Sword Art Online II. Two years after the SAO Incident, virtual reality is out of fashion as a new augmented reality game has become hugely popular. But Kirito reckons there's something just a bit odd about it.

He's right, of course. But on the way to finding out, there's some lovely material as the people who are sticking to the old games try not to worry or admit that it's less fun now that rather fewer people are playing. (As someone who was there for the death of USENET, I found this very familiar.)

Soon enough it's back to the battles for which this series is largely known; the script goes through some significant contortions to try to persuade the viewer that these really are problems which can be solved by virtual- or augmented-reality fighting games, and if it doesn't entirely succeed that just means that one has to be in sympathy with the story being told. It's been two years, and they're teenagers; they've changed a lot, and it's welcome to see a growing maturity reflected in their behaviour.

On the other hand, while the stakes seem high, there's no real progress or achievement: a menace appears, it's defeated, and things go on much as they did before. This would be fine for iconic characters, but previous parts of this series have ended with their characters in significantly different places from where they started; this one doesn't.

In the end this feels more like a dispensable side story than an important element of the overall narrative, which I gather is standard for films released in between series. Followed by season 3, Alicization.

  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 04:16pm on 28 October 2018

    I opted out of USENET when I changed job in 2000. The amount of spam produced by having to post with a visible email address had become intolerable. I know you could play games with multiple disposable email addresses for news postings, but that is effort and it wasn't worth it to me.

    So when did USENET actually die? I assumed it was still trundling along with a hard core of users.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 09:46am on 30 October 2018

    I'd say 2003-2004 or so. Yes, technically it's still running, but so few people are reading or posting that it's not a good resort for, well, anything really.

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