Uncovering the Glitches in the Writing and Focus
Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night, while possessing a charming allure, encounters a few glitches in its writing and focus. The most significant plot hole in this movie lies in the fact that it overlooks the potential consequences of including even a single Korean player in SAO, which would have resulted in the end of this death game within six hours. If you have doubts about the plausibility of this claim, just consider Diablo III and its own experience.
Set in a Not-So-Distant Future
Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night is set in a not-so-distant future where a cutting-edge technology called the NerveGear has become widespread. Similar to the Valve Index, this device allows individuals to immerse their consciousness into virtual worlds. One such world is the newly released MMORPG, “Sword Art Online,” which turns out to be a malevolent trap designed by its developer, Kayaba Akihiko. Players discover that they are unable to log out of the game, and if they perish in the virtual world, they will meet the same fate in real life.
An Analytical Approach
Assuming that you are already familiar with Sword Art Online and the source material upon which this movie is based, we will focus solely on the cinematic adaptation and its merits. Comparing the two would extend this review beyond the length of a college essay, and it is unlikely that you stumbled upon this review by chance. So, let us explore the movie and evaluate its standalone qualities.
A Noob’s Journey
The film revolves around Yuuki Asuna, a player who is, by gamer standards, a complete novice. She neglects character customization, revealing her real name as her username a decision that would attract unwanted attention from countless online stalkers. Nevertheless, her lack of knowledge about the death game she finds herself in makes her a relatable protagonist. Asuna’s own struggles with combat, navigation, and weapon selection resonate with anyone who has experienced the disorientation of entering a new gaming world.
A Guiding Presence
To assist Asuna on her perilous journey, she is accompanied by Mito, her friend from real life. Mito not only excels at gaming but also served as a beta tester for Sword Art Online. This makes her a valuable ally who can share tricks and tips with Asuna. Their friendship feels authentic, and Mito’s strong desire to protect her friend from harm adds depth to her character. She serves as a guide, taking Asuna through the game’s intricacies, akin to a seasoned gamer leading a friend through a captivating Let’s Play video.
A Unique World with Familiar Mechanics
What sets Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night apart is its captivating world. The concept of a game world turning into reality carries an inherent appeal. Who hasn’t dreamt of stepping into the shoes of their powerful online avatar and exploring a virtual realm? This movie envelops the audience in a fantasy world seamlessly integrated with video game mechanics, such as debuffs and menu windows, which players readily recognize. It offers a fresh twist on the traditional fantasy setting by leveraging the familiarity and immersive allure of gaming. The underlying dark edge of the premise, where death in this new world is a genuine threat, adds an intriguing and suspenseful dimension.
Relatable and Sympathetic Characters
While the characters in Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night may not possess multiple layers of complexity, they remain relatable and sympathetic. Both Asuna, who navigates the game without a clue and solely desires survival, and Mito, who is driven by the ardent wish to keep her friend alive, evoke empathy from the audience. It would have sufficed for the movie to focus on these two characters’ pursuit of clearing the game. However, around the halfway mark, a new character enters the scene â€“ Kirito. This inclusion deviates from the original source material, where Asuna and Kirito were the primary protagonists propelling the storyline.
An Incongruous Blend
This discrepancy presents the movie’s most significant flaw. The narrative struggles to seamlessly merge the Asuna-Mito and Asuna-Kirito storylines, resulting in evident seams where the two tales are joined. Individually, each narrative thread holds its own merits. Kirito’s slightly different yet appealing relationship with Asuna adds depth to her character as the story progresses. However, Mito’s presence diminishes, and her story with Asuna feels muddled as a consequence. It is worth highlighting that Kirito and Mito never share a genuine interaction throughout the entire story, further exacerbating the lack of integration.
A Shift in Focus
Furthermore, towards the end of the movie, Kirito’s character receives additional development. While this wouldn’t be an issue if he were the dual protagonist alongside Asuna, his delayed appearance â€“ not until an hour into the film â€“ and sudden prominence disrupts the cohesiveness of the narrative. As a result, Asuna shares the center stage with not one, but two protagonists, diluting her role as the main character. Even from the perspective of a viewer entirely new to the franchise, this lack of focus remains evident, regardless of their familiarity with the source material.
Unleashing the Potential
Does this film fail to deliver? Not necessarily. Its production value shines through with dynamic animation and action sequences that breathe life into the world of Sword Art Online. However, it is the realization of the movie’s untapped potential that proves to be the most frustrating aspect. With a few tweaks to the story, it could have been a truly exceptional cinematic experience. Perhaps entirely veering off in a new direction and focusing solely on Asuna and Mito, or finding a more seamless way to integrate the original source material while remaining faithful to it, would have resulted in a more coherent and satisfying outcome. Unfortunately, the current blend feels akin to attempting to enjoy both fried chicken and chocolate simultaneously â€“ each individually delectable but failing to complement one another when occupying the same mouthful.
In summary, Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night presents an intriguing premise and captivating world filled with recognizable gaming mechanics. While the characters may lack depth, they elicit sympathy and relatability. However, the narrative suffers from the incongruous blending of the Asuna-Mito and Asuna-Kirito storylines, impacting the overall cohesiveness. Despite these flaws, the film boasts impressive production value, showcasing visually stunning animation and exhilarating action sequences.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night a standalone movie or part of a series?
Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night is a standalone movie, adapted from the light novel series “Sword Art Online Progressive.”
2. Can I enjoy the movie without prior knowledge of the Sword Art Online franchise?
Yes, the movie can be enjoyed by both fans of the franchise and newcomers alike. While some familiarity with the Sword Art Online universe may enhance the viewing experience, the story is crafted in a way that is accessible and engaging for all.
3. How does the animation quality compare to the original Sword Art Online series?
The animation quality in Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night is of the highest caliber, featuring dynamic visuals and breathtaking action sequences that bring the virtual world to life.
4. Are there any standout performances from the voice cast?
While the voice cast delivers commendable performances overall, Tomatsu Haruka shines in her portrayal of Yuuki Asuna, effectively capturing the character’s vulnerability and determination.
5. Will there be more movies or episodes following Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night?
As of now, there have been no official announcements regarding future installments. However, considering the popularity of the franchise, it is possible that fans may have more Sword Art Online content to look forward to in the future.