This upcoming weekend we get to see Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night… So I’m inspired to write a new entry in my Anime Playlist series, covering the Sword Art Online franchise. I own more music from this franchise than any other non-idol series.
I mean, hit the jump and let’s dive right in!
Let’s just organize this more-or-less by the role the music plays… We’ll start with openings.
Crossing Field – LiSA
Sword Art Online OP 1
This OP is also something of a running joke in Jon’s weekly AMQ game… A player wondered aloud in the chat channel what it sounded like, and it turned out to be the next song played…
And anytime a LiSA song plays, one’s mind immediately leaps to SAO even though she has done other openings. Unlike, say, fripSide where you pretty much know it’s going to be something in Railgun franchise.
Courage – Haruka Tomatsu
Sword Art Online II OP 2
The opening for the Mother’s Rosario arc… I’ve always thought it a shame that Rosario comes at the end of the second season, and particularly that it comes after the relatively weak Phantom Bullet arc. (Let alone Fairy Dance!) By that point anyone who isn’t a fan has long since dropped by the wayside – and miss the best arc of the series.
And, as I’ve long said, if it were a standalone series… We’d still be discussing it today.
The OP sequence is also the only one with a clear narrative thread related to the arc’s storyline. It only becomes more poignant as the arc progresses. I near to wept once we learned what this cut represents.
Yeah, I know… I said this was going to be organized by the role the music plays. So, technically speaking, this should all be filed under BGM – background music. But since this is Yuki Kajiura, we could also categorize it as “awesome”.
Pretty much all the music in this section that I have comes from the Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale soundtrack. Since the OST is available on iTunes, it was a lot less work than going a’ hunting in other places.
We’d seen Puella Magi Madoka Magica Part III: Rebellion in a tiny arthouse theatre over in Seattle’s University District a few years before… (The same one we’d eventually watch Liz and the Blue Bird at.) Ordinal Scale was the first time we saw an anime movie at a full sized “real” movie theater. (The same theater we’ll be seeing Starless Night at.) It was one heck of an experience to watch it with a couple hundred other fans.
The Ordinal Scale versions are remixed versions from the SAO and SAO II soundtracks… And there’s some amazing live performances on YouTube, so I’m going with those.
She Has a Luminous Sword
I love watching this clip. Yuki and Kalafina simply bring so much power to the song. This is why I have two versions of this song – the orchestral one from the OST, and the live version.
I often think of this as the “SAO battle theme” because that’s where it’s often used… Particularly in this memorable scene.
There is, or at least was, a better version – but either it’s been deleted or my search-fu is weak.
And yes, that’s from the dub… I originally watched SAO in dub, and it’s one of the few I can comfortably watch in either sub or dub.
Let’s Join Swords
Not much to say about this one beyond it being one of SAO‘s signature tunes.
Last but not least, Swordland, parts of this are used throughout the series and Ordinal Scale. It’s quite possibly *the* signature tune of the entire franchise.
My favorite use of it is during Alicization – when Asuna strides forth to lead an army against the invading human players. Swordland plays quietly in the background, a callback to Lightning Flash.
Smile for You
You gave me words of kindness
You held me when I was lonely
Sad things happened
But together we shared
the joy of early spring
By the nature of it’s plot Ordinal Scale‘s soundtrack is unique in the franchise for having idol tunes. (A known weakness of mine.) This one, over the closing scenes, is IMO the best of them.
The video linked above is an AMV telling Yuna/Yuuna’s story… it’s pretty well done.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Are you looking forward to the movie? I sure am! Drop a comment, and let’s chat.