Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale US Premiere

Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale US Premiere

The US premiere for the Sword Art Online the Movie: Ordinal Scale was held on March 1st, 2017 at the Grauman’s Egyptian theater in Hollywood California. There was a red carpet event before the movie premiere to which Reki Kawahara (Author of Sword Art Online), abec (Original Illustrator of Sword Art Online Light Novel), Tomohiko Ito (Director of SAO anime/movie), Shingo Adachi (Chief Character Designer of SAO anime series), Kazuma Miki (Editor), and Shinichiro Kashiwada (Aniplex Producer) along with the English voice cast attended. Fans were able to take pictures of the guests and also had a chance to buy exclusive merchandise from the Aniplex store. For the premiere, Aniplex invited cosplayers to dress up as the favorite SAO characters. We found out that work on the English dubbed version of Ordinal Scale is currently underway and Aniplex is planning to have it released on DVD soon. In addition, the complete season 1 blu-ray box set will be available from Aniplex as well, so make sure to add that to your to-buy list! The-O network Online along with several other media outlets got the opportunity to attend a press conference with the production cast before the premiere. Check out the entire Q&A right here first!



Questions asked by The-O Network denoted in blue.

Interview may contain movie spoilers! Read at your own risk.


Where did the augmented reality idea for the ‘Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scale’ story come from since it is an original story and not from a light novel?

The idea for the this work came up from the end of season 2 back then SAO the novel was finished yet so in order to wrap up all the other loose ends we decided to come up with this style of storytelling

For ‘Sword Art Online’ you been able to take into different media i.e light novels, anime, video games, and now movie how challenging is it for you guys to go into a new media try out new things and see what works for you. Being able to take it to a different level with different styles of animation and storytelling since as you mentioned before that the novel was not finished yet for season 2.

Reki Kawahara: In terms of new stories from here on thats for me to continue writing and I believe I will be delivering new novel in 2017. In terms of new media to challenge on from here on I think VR will be the next challenge.

This question is for Reki Kawahara. You wrote a couple of original episodes for the TV series those were original screenplays/stories and you wrote the screenplay for this movie which is also a original story. how do you find the process different writing screenplays Versus writing novels?

Reki Kawahara: One difference with a screenplay you don't get to depict what is going inside the character's head I found that to be somewhat of a challenge. now however for a screenplay you get to play with very concrete events and that was a different challenge that was fun to pursue.

T-ONO: This Question is for Tomohiko Ito. You have directed both seasons of ‘Sword Art Online’ and now the ‘Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scale’. Where there any hurdles or challenges going from directing a series to a movie?

Tomohiko Ito: One thing that is very different is the length for the theatrical movie we had a two hour production to make as for the 30 minute TV show there is quite a predictable pacing that I can work with and that is not present with the movie. Also for a production of a TV show after each episode we can talk it over with the staff and go over an interative process but that is not present with a movie, so staff communication was another challenge.


I noticed there was a difference in the animation between the SAO series and the movie was there a reason behind this? For example it looked more smoother and more CG involved.

(all laughs) We had a better budget for the movie. When you compare the production of a movie to the TV show we may have a two hour length in the film but if you compare that to the production intensity that we can do given the schedule we can put much more resources per minute of film. Especially since about 40% of the movie is action oriented we can deploy a lot of very talented skilled animators to the production that really reflects in the quality of the film.

One of the big changes for the movie was going from virtual reality to augmented reality, what made the decision to take it into a new level of reality?

To put it briefly compared to the TV world I wanted a new angle of storytelling besides that there is a duality of worlds where in the TV setting the characters flesh are lying in a bed with their nervegear on while the adventure takes place somewhere else. That has always bothered me so for this story I wanted something that gave much more presence a solid flesh into the characters.

This question is for Shingo Adachi. You are the chief animation director I wanted to know how many of the film cuts you supervised directly and if you were able to draw any cuts yourself this time?

Shingo Adachi: I don’t have specific counts perhaps I supervised two thirds of the cuts, but for trailers, promotional videos and commercials I pretty much supervised everything also I had a hand in drawing key animation. I did work directly on many retake cuts especially because of that I had very little involvement in doing key animation from scratch. Except for the ending of the movie where Kirito goes to visit Asuna's house and meets her mother that part was requested by the director (Tomohiko Ito) for me to draw so on that part I drew the key animation from scratch. But for posters and stills for Ordinal Scale I supervised pretty much all of them and I saw the serial number go up to ninety so if I include all the unnumbered ones I supervised or drew at least one hundred posters and stills. But I tend to think that the bulk of my real work is to come up with all the promotional material so that there will be theatergoers to watch the film because no matter how great a film director Tomohiko Ito makes if no one is at the theaters there will be no one appreciating it so I tend to think my real work is coming up with promotional appeal for the film.

T-ONO: This question is for Reki Kawahara. Now that you have seen your light novels go to a TV series and now a movie now looking back is there anything that you change or prolong in Sword Art Online TV series?

Reki Kawahara: If I had known ‘Sword Art Online’ was going to be animated I would have made Iancrad perhaps ten times as long and given a more detailed description of every single level. However I think ‘Sword Art Online’ got to be this much loved and popular globally due to the diversity of the game world that each of the characters go to the elven worlds, the gun worlds. So in retrospect I am sure that each of the arcs were written in the right amount.


You said before that you had interested into making a VR videogame and you still have a new season coming out would you be interested in going back into another movie?

It would all depends on the fan support worldwide. Some of the future potential plans for ‘Sword Art Online’ are as you said Virtual Reality content and in the United States Skydance Studios are interested in making a Live Action version of ‘Sword Art Online’. In order to continually attract the attention of fans and creators alike we need to continually come up with new content and deliver.

This question is for Tomohiko Ito. Your last TV anime series Erased aired in Winter 2016 where you working on ‘Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scale’ and ‘Erased’ series at the same time? If so what was your schedule like and are you okay?

Tomohiko Ito: The production of ‘Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scale’ was completely in parallel with the ‘Erased’ Series. To give a timeline Mr Kawahara was working on the plot and screenplay for Ordinal Scale, he came up with a plot draft around Febuary 2015 and the final draft of the screenplay was finished of September 30th of 2015. As soon as the screenplay was finalized that's when the storyboard work started. There was another director who worked on the Ordinal Scale action scenes who was also working on ‘Erased’ so both of us we had dual work working on these projects that were parallel to each other.

T-ONO: This question is for Abec. When illustration the characters for the light novels was there any characters that were hard to illustrate or did you find one gender harder to illustrate then the other?

Abec: The hardest character to illustrate where the main characters Kirito and Asuna there was a lot of over thinking going into them also they would change appearance a lot such as becoming elves and such. So I had to come up with designs that would still remain consistent in their characters but still be them.

Kirito has always been the lead of the story is there a chance in the future that we might get a story arc where Asuna is the lead?

In the novel version ‘Sword Art Online Progressive’ about half the stories the main character is Asuna so if there is ever a chance of getting ‘Sword Art Online Progressive’ animated we will see much more Asuna oriented stories.

Leading into that there is a lot of content for ‘Sword Art Online’ that goes into ban but doesn’t make it to America because of its popularity is there a chance that we might see its content make over stateside? Such as the Progressive novel and some shorts.

The main story arc is published through Yen press and I am told the numbers are pretty good so I am sure that having good numbers on the main arc would lead to progressive light novel getting translated, it’s a bit more difficult to predict what might be the story for the short stories that were printed in periodicals without being put into novel form. But digital edition would be a great way to get the short stories to get published and translated so that hold promise for the future.

This question is for Kazuma Miki. You wrote a book titled ‘Omoshirokereba Nandemo Ari’ [If it's Interesting, it Can Be Anything], in that book you talk a lot about how important it is to cross promote light novels with television, video games, and films. Now ‘Sword Art Online’ has all of that including a live action hollywood adaptation coming up, I was wondering what in your professional opinion what is the most important for the long term longevity of the franchise?

Kazuma Miki: To me there is a definite answer to that it would be the original source of all the stories and that would be the light novel Mr Kawahara writes hundreds of stories and I think it’s our task to come up with cross media promotions so that the novels are best known to the world. I think the multimedia production is the way to promote the story so that there is much more exposure to everyone so that everyone can talk about it by saying how great or dull it is. Also a multi media development works because if we animate ‘Sword Art Online’ that reaches a different audience such as the American anime watchers who may not have have access to the light novels.

T-ONO: This Question is for everyone if they had the chance to log in as any character and play any world from ‘Sword Art Online’ who would they be and what world would they play?

Shinichiro Kashiwada: I would like to stake my life so I would play in Aincrad

Kazuma Miki: same for me I would go straight under Heathcliff so that I could manage to survive

Shingo Adachi: Since I can fly in ALFheim Online I would choose that world instead

Tomohiko Ito: I would choose GGO [Gun Gale Online] since it’s not easy to shoot guns in Japan I would love to try in that world

Abec: For me it would be ALFheim Online since you do see depictions of characters such Asuna and Kirito getting together and doing homework together I believe aside from being able to fly this is the world that would let you do this. Also in the world of Ordinal Scale I think you get not just face a PC screen but do other tasks such as draw art and draw pictures.

Reki Kawahara: For me I would Ordinal Scale I need the exercise.

One of the biggest thing that you did for the worlds in the series was that you put mythological stories in the background Aincrad was European, ALO was also European, Gun Gale Online was gun stories will Ordinal Scale have a story behind it?

For the Japanese theatrical program book the whole inspiration and mythos for Ordinal Scale was in text so I was wondering if we had anything like that for US premiere and I been told we do not. So one of the science fiction style mythos behind Ordinal Scale is we live in a multiverse and there is an invasion of monsters from multiverse worlds into our world and that draws onto something that resembles Dr Strange in tone there.


Ordinal Scale takes place shortly after Sword Art Online season 2 and introduces a new game that uses a new augmented reality technology where the game map is superimposed into the real world (think Google Glasses with Pokemon Go). Players are free to roam the city and go abouts their normal lives as they play this game. Soon, Kirito and his friends realizes that something is amiss when old monsters from Aincrad, the world from Sword Art Online where him and his friends were trapped in, began showing up in this new game. Slowly it becomes apparent that encounters with these monsters induced strange side effects amongst the old SAO survivors and Kirito once again, has to set to save his friends. What special ties do SAO survivors have with this new game? Are players lives in danger like back in SAO? Can our heroes discover the cause before it is game over?

Sword Art Online the Movie: Ordinal Scale will be playing in theaters on March 9th, 2017 so look for a showing near you here.


Last modified on Thursday, 09 March 2017 11:12
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