Japan is the capital of the world when it comes to anime and manga, with its wide range of releases, but when you take a light novel series, another variation of the manga, and want to create a full-length movie future around it, well that takes time, let alone effort. Thus, at the 2015 Dengeki Bunko Autumn Festival, this announcement was made that infamous popular anime series, Sword Art Online, now in its run of two seasons, would be made into an animated full-length movie. But that was not all, all of the main staff, including the voice cast would all return. The film itself takes places after the anime series second season run Sword Art Online II, and it would go on to be titled Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale.
The film itself having a run-time of 119 minutes, is quite the adventure with that even time length, but it isn't just the time that was presented but the music as well, pop singer LiSA whose work has been with the Sword Art Online series before, returned to write and record a new song that is now the film's theme song called "Catch the Moment", that was also turned into a music video as well as single of course. But the rest of the film's music works was composed by Yuki Kajiura who has also done her share of music work with this series. As previously said, everyone returned to make this creation take place and form.
As for the premiere's it was on a touring cycle of sorts, going across Japan, Southeast Asia, and Germany, on February 18, 2017. But it kept on trailing ahead and made its way across the pond to the U.S. of A of course! The U.S. premiere took place on March 1st 2017, at the historic Grauman's Egyptian Theater. Tickets for this event being sold in the fall of 2016, selling out in no time! In fact, the day of the event, fans gathered long before the premiere even opened any of its doors'. Door's referring to its merchandise store opening its doors at 5PM with the main doors opening around 6:30PM, and the screening's doors being open as the crowd was let inside, between the 6:30PM to 7PM time frame. As everyone outside was heading inside, they were carrying bags of gathered merchandise, a lot of them buying out the scale figures of the characters, while other's picked up the other assorted merchandise ranging from t-shirts, buttons, wall scrolls, soundtracks, and much more.
But there was disappointment once inside, the concession stand was sold for the night, while the VIP, VIP being the front and center mind you, were treated with treats and drinks. So fans who was hoping to munch on some sweety goodness was opted out. But don't fret the VIP did include some special guests, including those all the way from Japan, original story writer Reki Kawahara, character design concept artist Abec, character design and chief animation director Singo Adachi, as well as editor/producer Kazima Miki and producer of Aniplex Shinichiro Kashiwada, and last but not least the director himself, Tomohiko Ito! But of course that was not all a handful of the English dubbed cast, who takes the Japanese language version of the series and film and turns it into an English language adaption, was present to witness what their characters would face, along this all new adventure!
So then what about the adventure, that is Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale? Well as mentioned before, the events that take place do happen after the first and second seasons, but the story itself is all new storytelling, Kirito, Asuna, and their friends begin playing the new game called as Ordinal Scale or OS for short, much different than the previous games they have played before. As this new game doesn't have a full five function but is instead using augmented reality done with the device called the Augma. In this game players get ranked according to their achievements and the players with the lower ranks end up with disadvantages in duels against other players and foes such as creatures and monsters that pop up in the somewhat real world setting, as is this augmented reality game play set-up. But Kirito and Asuna and company find out that while a lot of these creatures and monsters may be fun to battle against their is a familiarity with them, as they appear to be the same monsters as those from the first game they played Sword Art Online, from the world of Aincrad. More can be said about what happens, but that would take all of the fun out of it, as the gang faces much more than just battles and friendships, but so much more, that you just have to take it all in and see what happens next, for the films and perhaps the series as a whole? Just saying for now that stick around for an after credits scene that may surprise you.
After the movie's screening a guest panel with Q&A was presented with the Japanese crew, director, designer, producers and the sort, gathered to sit down, addressing questions sent in, as well as from the fans in the seats, listening in, enjoying their responses; and the Japanese crew enjoying our reactions from themselves, and the film itself of course, being surprised at certain parts in the film.
All in all Aniplex and Eleven Arts had done the distribute and release of the film for the U.S. terrain, while the rest of the world received similar treatment. In short, this film will be released in due time come March 9th 2017, with all new fans and old fans alike, diving in to witness this telling tale, that will bring back the old memories, and create all new memories, that all of the SAO community will endure for many years, if not repeated times, seeing this, over and over again.