Crunchyroll continues to bring anime to the big screen with the latest installment from the light novel stories of Sword Art Online (SAO). The latest, Scherzo of Deep Night, is set to hit US theatres on Feb 3rd subbed and dubbed, with the original voice cast returning for your favorite characters.
The world’s first VRMMORPG (Sword Art Online) became a game of death. Over a month has passed since 10,000 users were trapped inside the game world. Asuna, who cleared the first floor of the floating iron castle of Aincrad, joined up with Kirito and continued her journey to reach the top floor. With the support of female Information Broker Argo, clearing the floors seemed to be progressing smoothly, but…
Conflict erupts between two major guilds who should be working together – the top player groups ALS (the Aincrad Liberation Squad) and DKB (the Dragon Knights Brigade). And meanwhile, behind the scenes exists a mysterious figure pulling the strings….In a dangerous battle of death, there is an assault that differs from the threat, and it will involve Asuna and Kirito…!
Taking place 2 months into the launch of SAO, Scherzo of Deep Night dives into Asuna and Kirito working their way up to the 5th level of the game and facing PKers (Player Killers) in the game. Unlike the first film of the Progressive series, this one only adapts the 4th volume, and you can feel it in the pacing. At just 100 minutes, very little story progression occurs and what is done feels void of any connection.
One of the key selling points of SAO is the feeling of life or death and the fear that creates. There is a lot of emotion in the struggles and the idea that you could die in real life if you mess up in the game in the SAO world. This film seems to miss all of that emotion and the fear of death. While there was very little progression on that front, we do get to see some advancement of the relationship building between Asuna and her friend who deserted her previously and Kirito.
A-1 production is back to animate the film and as always they don’t disappoint. The soundtrack and animation continue to make SAO one of the best anime out there for a reason. As we continue down the Progressive line of Light Novels, which re-tell the story from Asuna’s point of view, a lot of the same story points are re-treaded or rewritten from the original series which can feel like the whole thing is a side quest versus any real forward movement to the story.
Still, the content is new, even if retold, and we get more awesome fight scenes to see animated. If you are a fan of SAO, this is certainly worth going to see, but it may be better to wait for it to hit Crunchyroll for streaming or to purchase later versus paying to see it in the theatre.