Sword Art Online II – Phantom Bullet Part 1- Limited Edition Review

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The first half of the Sword Art Online series was great. Using the idea of virtual reality games, the series focused on the fantasy Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online (VRMMO) game named “Sword Art Online.” It quickly turned into a “Death Game” where if you died in the game, you would die in real life.

As the series progressed, it gave the sense of danger, hope and despair as the people stuck in the game had no choice but to live within the game’s world and survive until the final boss was beaten. The second half is Alfheim Online (ALO), and it had a different feel from Sword Art Online. It never had the same intensity and urgency and focused too much on the characters’ issues including Kirito and his sister.

This time the stage has changed and Kirito finds himself in a world he isn’t familiar with. He enters Gun Gale Online (GGO), an action shooter game where Player vs Player (PvP) is normal and a contest is held to prove who is the best. To make things worse, his avatar looks like a young girl. The sense of urgency and intensity returns as Kirito is tasked to find the truth about a killer who may be able to kill players in real life from inside the game, and at the same time we look back into Kirito’s past and a traumatic experience he carries with him today.

The first few episodes start off slow and really doesn’t pick up until episode three, where Kirito meets Sinon and helps him learn the ropes of Gun Gal Online. Both of them have a traumatic experience that haunts them, and it slowly brings them together. They both have their own goals and must get stronger, and this causes them to create a rivalry to be the best player in GGO. For Sinon it might help her overcome her issue; for Kirito it is getting closer to the man known as “Death Gun” and his ties to a group of murders he once fought back in Sword Art Online.

Movie Rating: 4/5 Atoms

NR 4 Atoms - B

Video

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Sword Art Online II is presented in 1080p with a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. It was first simulcasted in Japan last year in January on Hulu, Crunchyroll and the Aniplex Channel, and the transfer to Blu-ray adds sharper images and brighter colors to create the multiple worlds you see in the series. In ALO you have brighter colors with worlds full of whites and greens in a forest, in GGO you have ruins and building in a much darker and shady tone, and in the real world you see a mix of each world brought together, creating amazing scenes and visuals.

A-1 Pictures did a great job on the character design and detail to every scene of the series including action sequences in the later half of volume one which transition smooth, including the switch from third person view to first.

Video Rating: 5/5 Atoms

NR 5 Atoms - A

Audio

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Sword Art Online 2 features dual audio options presented in Japanese PCM 2.0 Language and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Language. Both options offer clear and rich sounds which are important in a series that features heavy dialogue, powerful music to set the mood, and loud bangs in the battle scenes. It never overpowers each other, including scenes where even the slightest noise can give away enemy positions in military shooters.

The English dubbing for the series is well done, and while there were some issues with the highs, I spent more time listening to the series in Japanese.

Audio Rating: 4/5 Atoms                 

NR 4 Atoms - B

Special Features and Bonuses

Disc Specs:

  • Spoken Languages: Japanese & English
  • Subtitles: English & Spanish
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 widescreen
  • Episodes: 1-7
  • Total Run Time: 175 min
  • Number of Disc: 3 Discs (2 Blu-ray, Music CD)
  • Rating: 13 UP

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The Sword Art Online II – Phantom Bullet Part 1- includes:

• Special Animation “Sword Art Offline 2”
• Audio Commentary by Creators and Japanese cast
• Original Web Previews
• Textless Opening
• Original Soundtrack II – Volume 1
• Exclusive Weiss Schwarz Collectible PR Card
• 24-Page Deluxe Booklet
• Postcard Set
• Clear Blu-Ray Disc Cases with two sided wraps
• Package Illustrated by abec (Original Character Design)

While The Sword Art Online II – Phantom Bullet Part 1 features episode 1-7 of Sword Art Online II on two Blu-ray discs, there are some really nice added features including the audio commentary and Sword Art Offline 2. Sword Art Offline returns in SAO 2, set to mimic a new shows where the characters from the series are drawn super deformed (chibi) and takes a look at moments and scenes for the series and talk about it.

While the Limited Edition is an extra $20 from the regular Blu-ray edition, it does have quite a few extras that makes the set worth it including a bonus music CD which features 37 tracks, a 24-page booklet with concept art, character and episode synopsis, and a really well designed package which showcases Kirito in his GGO form and Sinon, who looks beautifully designed on the front and features Sinon’s Hecate Sniper Rifle on the back.

Special Features Rating: 5/5 Atoms

NR 5 Atoms - A

Final Reaction

Sword Art Online II is a nice change from ALO, including the interactions between Sinon and Kirito. This makes for a more enjoyable watch. It’s a funny choice he made by going into a shooting game armed with a light sword, which sounds like a lightsaber and a handgun. Since it’s his preferred fighting style, it takes many opponents off guard which is thanks to his godly stats from SAO and ALO.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

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Chris Del Castillo
Chris Del Castillo 2588 posts

Growing up Chris watched a lot of the original Saturday morning cartoons and developed a love for arts and animation. Growing up he tried his hand at animation and eventually script writing, but even more his love of video games, anime and technology grew.