By Andy Hanley.
Every light novel that enjoys sufficient success to continue beyond its first volume faces a single, pivotal problem – how do you take the core concept and then build or improve upon it?
This is particularly true in the case of Sword Art Online. Its original tale of a virtual reality where death within the in-game world of Aincrad also meant death for real, was a perfect distillation of fantasy MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) trappings with a long-held unease about the encroachment of technology. Continue Reading
Another week has gone by and that means it's time for your latest edition for the Anime Limited Newswire!
~ First of all this coming Monday sees the release of Space Dandy Season 2 on both Blu-ray Collector's Edition and DVD Collector's Edition. We posted a big preview unboxing preview of what we feel is beautiful set and perfectly encapsulates everything we love about the series. If you haven't checked out our unboxing you can read it HERE.
With Space Dandy Season 2 being out this Monday, over the past week we've released a few preview clips. You can check them out below.
~ We've had some great content here at our blog recently. Here's a summary for those of you enjoy a good read:
~ In case you missed it last week our most recent podcast featuring Stephanie Sheh (the voice of Sailor Moon) is available now and be heard HERE. You can also find details on how to get hold of the podcast through iTunes and whatnot in the same link. We're hopping to be recording the next episode of our podcast within the next few weeks, so stay tuned for that!
~ For those of you planning to come to the Glasgow leg of Scotland Loves Anime in October, there is a Season Pass available for the weekend. This entitles you attend all seven screenings with the Scotland Loves Anime Pass, plus a special screening on Monday 5th October available to pass holders only. There's only 60 of these available and are available now from the Glasgow Film Theatre site HERE.
Looking at our simulcast lineup for this season as a whole it stands at:
The Heroic Legend Of Arslan (continuing from last season)
Aoharu x Machinegun (aka Aoharu x Kikanjuu)
Castle Town Dandelion
Blood Blockade Battlefront
Episode 19 of The Heroic Legend of Arslan is available to watch HERE.
Episode 7 of Aoharu x Machinegun is now live at Viewster. Watch it HERE.
Episode 7 of Castle Town Dandelion is available to watch HERE.
Episode 7 of GANGSTA. is available to watch HERE.
Episodes 7 of Chaos Dragon are available now on Viewster HERE.
The first 11 episodes of Blood Blockade Battlefront are available to watch at Viewster HERE. The air date for the final episode has not been set yet.
Durarara!! Limited Edition
A big wave of replacements were sent earlier this week. Please note we have quite a bit of backlog of replacement requests to work through stemming from the past couple of weeks of being at events and such, but all UK applicants as of Tuesday should have received a confirmation of applying for replacement discs email. (International applicants can expect their confirmation email before the end of the week.) If you have questions or concerns about your replacement request please feel free to email Jeremy on Jeremy@AllTheAnime.com
If you have yet to apply for replacement discs please follow all the guidelines HERE.
Here’s the list of upcoming events we’ll be attending. More specific information will be posted closer to the events themselves.
MCM Scotland Comic Con, 26th-27th September
Scotland Loves Anime – Glasgow, 9th-11th October
Scotland Loves Anime – Edinburgh, 12th-18th October
MCM London Comic Con, 23rd-25th October
MCM Birmingham Comic Con, 21st-22nd November
And so with the above information in mind here’s the most up-to-date version of our release schedule. (We will of course continue to update this in each and every Newswire accordingly.)
24th August: Space Dandy Season 2 [Collector’s Edition] (DVD, Blu-ray)
24th August: Space Dandy Complete Season 1 & 2 Set (DVD only)
14th September: 009 Re:Cyborg (Collector’s Edition Blu-ray/DVD combi)
21st September: Sword Art Online II: Part 1 (Collector’s Edition Blu-ray/DVD combi, DVD)
28th September (TBC): Tokyo Ghoul Season 1 (Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, DVD)*
28th September: Fate/kaleid liner Prisima Illya (Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, DVD)
OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2015
26th October: Ping Pong The Animation (Blu-ray, DVD)
26th October: Sword Art Online II: Part 2 (Collector’s Edition Blu-ray+DVD combi, DVD)
2nd November: Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad – The Complete Collection (DVD)
16th November: Samurai Flamenco: Part 1 (Blu-ray **subtitle-only release**)
30th November: Fusé: Memoirs of a Huntress (Collector’s Edition Blu-ray+DVD combi)
30th November: Mobile Suit Gundam: Part 1 of 2 [tentative title] (Blu-ray)*
[TBC December] Mobile Suit Gundam: Part 2 of 2 [tentative title] (Blu-ray)*
7th December: Full Metal Panic Ultimate Edition [Season 1 + Fumoffu + The Second Raid] (Blu-ray)
7th December: A Letter To Momo (Blu-ray, DVD)
14th December: Sword Art Online II: Part 3 (Collector’s Edition Blu-ray+DVD combi, DVD)
14th December: Gankutsuou: The Count Of Monte Cristo (Blu-ray)
21st December: Gundam: Reconguista In G Part 1 (Blu-ray **subtitle-only release**)
We should be able to confirm specific dates soon. Also there is a possibility there might be a few additions to the lineup.
By Andy Hanley.
It is the year 2022, and virtual reality has become the new must-have accessory for gamers everywhere. But this isn’t the kind of technology familiar from our own present. Rather than simply a headset designed to place a virtual world in front of your eyes, this is the real deal – a system that can create an entire new world not just through your eyes and ears, but through every sense in your body, including touch, taste and smell.
As a loner with a fascination with such video games, 14 year-old Kazuto Kirigaya is at the cutting edge of this technology, having landed himself a spot as a beta tester for Sword Art Online, a virtual reality role-playing game. SAO deploys the latest version of NerveGear, a brand-new VR headset which uses FullDive technology to completely immerse the player in the game world.
When Sword Art Online launches fully, Kazuto (under his online moniker of Kirito) is amongst the 10,000 players lucky enough to pick up a copy of the limited edition and join the game on its opening day – although that luck very quickly runs out, as Kirito and the rest of the game’s players find themselves unable to log out and return to normality.
Although it’s initially assumed that the problem is just a particularly egregious bug in the game’s software, this mere inconvenience soon turns into a nightmare as all 10,000 players are summoned by Sword Art Online’s creator, Akihiko Kayaba. Rather than appearing to explain this glitch, Kayaba is on hand to explain that it is, in fact, a feature – there is no escape from Sword Art Online until its players clear all 100 floors of Aincrad, the world in which the game is set, and what’s more, death within the confines of the game or any other attempts to disconnect will see the user’s brain literally microwaved by their NerveGear headset, ending their life.
In a world that is suddenly terrifying and filled with danger around every corner, the result is absolute chaos – two thousand players die within the first month, before a makeshift society of towns and guilds begin to form around the survivors. Some seek the safety of areas where they’re free from monster attacks (or, even more worryingly, the phenomenon of “player-killing”, where some murder their fellow players, aware that they will die in the real world) while others seek to clear Aincrad’s game world and thus bring the nightmare to an end as quickly as possible.
Kirito, however, remains determined to stick to his guns as a solo player. This decision is cemented by a brief foray with a guild which ends with his precious new-found friends cut down before his very eyes, and further bolstered by the growing distrust and outright hatred many harbour towards the game’s beta testers, or “beaters” as they disparagingly come to be known.
Kirito’s plans change once he meets the beautiful yet deadly “Lightning Flash” Asuna. Although he initially butts heads with this vice commander of Aincrad’s biggest, most powerful guild, a mutual respect soon grows, before turning into friendship and, ultimately, love. As their relationship deepens, furthered by the pair’s “adoption” of an Artificial Intelligence named Yui as their own virtual daughter, so it causes more issues with the Knights of the Blood Oath of which Asuna is such a vital component. For her part, she wants to quit the guild, but some guild members want to remove Kirito’s interference in their vice commander’s life. Others seek to leverage Kirito’s substantial skills by adding to their ranks.
Heading up the drive to recruit Kirito is none other than the guild’s commander, Heathcliff, who incites the battle to decide Kirito’s future. Defeated, he has no option but to join the guild and do their bidding, which ultimately takes us to Aincrad’s 75th floor and a shocking revelation – that Heathcliif is, in fact, Akihiko Kayaba himself. In the vicious showdown which follows, Kirito cheats death to defeat Sword Art Online’s creator, thus freeing his fellow players from their virtual prison of two years while Asuna somehow also avoids her deadly fate as Aincrad crumbles and Kabaya vanishes without a trace.
From Aincrad to ALfheim Online
Two months after the end of the Sword Art Online incident, normality is restored to most of those who survived their two-year ordeal – most, that is, aside from a number of people who remain comatose despite the fall of Aincrad, Asuna included.
The reason for Asuna’s state remains unknown, but Kirito gains access to photographic evidence which shows her alive and well – albeit locked away in a cage. Foul play is clearly involved, as confirmed by the announcement that the head of research for the group which now controls Sword Art Online’s servers, Nobuyuki Sugou, is engaged to be married to the unconscious Asuna in just one week. Given that Asuna’s father is the CEO of the group, it seems that Kirito has no way of fighting this decision – at least, not in the real world…
The truth of Asuna’s condition resides within one of the online virtual reality games that have sprung up in the wake of Sword Art Online, using the same basic NerveGear technology but with the deadly lock-in safely removed. The image of an imprisoned Asuna seems to come from an online world known as ALfheim Online, which means that it’s time for Kirito to once again immerse himself in a virtual reality, albeit with only one life seemingly at stake within its confines.
It may not offer the prospect of actual, real-world death to its players, but ALfheim has challenges of its own for Kirito to grasp, not least the ability of players to fly at will and game mechanics which encourage killing other players as a valid means of advancing in-game skills. Luckily for him, a chance meeting with a fellow player named Leafa allows him to get to grips with the game and its world, including the World Tree that makes up the centrepiece – an architectural giant which dominates the world, the traversal of which serves as the main goal of the game.
It’s at the top of this World Tree that Asuna is held captive, and given that Kirito can’t simply fly up there even with the powers at his character’s disposal, it instead takes all of his skill and ability to find another way to reach his incarcerated girlfriend. With Leafa and her friend Recon offering their own skills and knowledge in spite of Kirito’s continued desire to work alone, our protagonist unexpectedly finds himself with a small party to work with him towards his goal.
What proves even more unexpected for Kirito is Leafa’s true identity – she is, in fact, Suguha, his own cousin, and sister in all but name since his adoption by her parents. Having been left distraught by Kazuto’s “disappearance” into Sword Art Online, Suguha had a friend guide her into the world of ALfheim, in which she quickly became immersed.
The route to enter the World Tree is filled with quests and obstructions to be overcome, slowing Kirito’s progress, while Asuna herself isn’t entirely passive in her situation as her attempts to escape lead to the realisation that the 300 players still unconscious from the end of the Sword Art Online incident are being used for mind control experiments by the new owners of the servers, and more importantly by Nobuyuki Sugou himself.
It’s Nobuyuki who ultimately serves as the “final boss” in the battle to rescue Asuna, using the powers at his disposal given his position as “Oberon” within ALfheim Online. However, Kirito has some powers of his own, provided by Akihiko Kayaba himself. These powers removed the limits on pain felt within the world and gives Oberon a taste of what it really means to fight.
Kirito’s victory grants him possession of “The Seed”, the starting point of Sword Art Online’s virtual world, but Asuna’s real body remains in danger despite his victory in ALfheim, leaving our hero with one final skirmish with Nobuyuki in the real world before the travails of Sword Art Online can truly be put to rest, and new worlds born from the World Seed now at his disposal.
With virtual reality gaming provided with a new golden age as a result, there are umpteen new virtual worlds to explore and tales to tell – a fact which brings us neatly to the beginning of Sword Art Online II…
By Meghan Ellis.
Does the idea of a near-future romance sound like something created especially for you, or was that just me? If the answer is a resounding yes, then you should check out Hal. Anyone familiar with the girls’ comics sub-genre in Japan will almost certainly recognise the character design, carefully created by manga creator Io Sakisaka, of Ao Haru Ride and Strobe Edge fame. Sakisaka’s trademark fluffy-haired, starry-eyed youths are more commonly known from these series, but Kurumi and the titular Hal are anything but the school-going, innocent students that inhabit the pages of her other recent works. Continue Reading
The time has nearly arrived! We're just over a week away from the release of Space Dandy Season 2 in the UK! We'll be releasing it as a Collector's Edition DVD and Collector's Edition Blu-ray set from 24th August. This post is designed to tell you (and show you) everything you need to know about our release. So let's get onto all the details you wanting to know.
We can confirm that on day of release HMV branches across the UK will be stocking both the DVD and Blu-ray versions of this. Of course you’ll also be able to order it from the likes of Amazon UK and other online retailers as well. Continue Reading