Sword Art Online II Volume 3: -Calibur- review

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In an age where everyone can watch anime online with sites like Crunchyroll and Hulu, it’s a surprise for me to see Aniplex release the third volume of Sword Art Online II with only three episodes (especially since it only focuses on the less interesting Calibur Arc). Volume one and two both featured seven episodes each, completing the Gun Gale Online (GGO) arc. I really enjoyed how the whole thing came together via the action and story. Focusing on Kirito and Sinon, they have to overcome their past (which is what brought them together). After defeating Death Gun, solving the mystery of how he was able to kill two players in real life while inside the game was a pretty interesting turn of events, and the final battle was well done.

Calibur Arc is probably best summed up as a three-episode filler since it doesn’t add much to the series as a whole. It does feature Sinon now part of Kirito’s ALfheim Online party after converting her character from a sniper to a Cait Sith archer. The party decides to go after the legendary Excalibur (which made a short appearance at the end of the original Sword Art Online series), however, they get a lot more than they bargained for because if the quest isn’t completed in time, it could very well cause disaster to their hometown.

Movie Rating: 2.5/5 Atoms

NR 2_5 Atoms - C-

Video

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Sword Art Online II Volume 3: -Calibur- is presented in 1080p with a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. With Gun Gale Online, we had a much darker color scheme based off of an industrial world centered around shooters. However, we return to the much brighter world of ALO, which is based off of a mixture of Norse and Celtic mythology and features brighter worlds and different character designs that translate well on Blu-ray with sharp images and vivid light autumn colors.

While ALO features my least favorite design for the characters Kirito and Sinon, I really like how their avatars change in each game.

Video Rating: 4/5 Atoms

NR 4 Atoms - B

 

Audio

Sword Art Online 2 features dual audio options presented in Japanese PCM 2.0 Language and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Language. Both audio options are great to listen to, depending on your preference of the original Japanese audio or the added English voice acting. The bonus Sword Art Offline short features only Japanese audio.

Audio Rating: 4/5 Atoms

NR 4 Atoms - B

Special Features

Disc Specs:

  • Spoken Languages: Japanese & English
  • Subtitles: English & Spanish
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 widescreen
  • Episodes: Episodes 15-17 (3 episodes)
  • Total Run Time: 75 min
  • Number of Disc: 2 (1 Blu-ray Disc + 1 Soundtrack CD)
  • Rating: 13 UP

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The Sword Art Online II Set 2 Limited Edition includes:

• Original Soundtrack II Vol.2
• Exclusive Weiss Schwarz Collectible PR Card
• 24-Page Deluxe Booklet
• Postcard Set
• Illustrated case designed by abec (Original Character Designer)
• Audio Commentary by Creators and Japanese Cast
• Special Animation “Sword Art Offline”
• Textless ending
• Original Web Previews

You get the usual Aniplex extras in this set: 24-page deluxe booklet with character art, concept designs and episode synopsis, a postcard set, and a special illustrated case to house everything. You also get a soundtrack CD featuring 19 songs from the series, a Weiss Schwarz collectible card, and on the Blu-ray you get the normal textless ending, web previews and my favorite “Sword Art Offline” short, where Lisbeth, Silica, and Leafa run the show (instead of the usual Asuna and Kirito).

Special Features Rating: 4/5 Atoms

NR 4 Atoms - B

Final Reaction

I wasn’t too fond of Aniplex releasing these three episodes alone on a single Blu-ray. I would’ve rather seen it released together with the final arc of the series instead. With only seven episodes left, I would’ve loved to see everything packaged together with the upcoming Mother’s Rosario Arc (even at a higher cost and just have everything included). Personally, I love the bonuses that come with the LE, including the soundtrack, outerbox and postcards. Those alone are easily worth the extra $20 on top of the price; however, the $30 price tag for three mediocre episodes isn’t exactly my cup of tea.  

Overall Rating: 3.5/5 Atoms

NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

Sword Art Online II Set 3 Limited Edition – $59.98

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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.