Sword Art Online Calibur Review

As I am currently playing through the Sword Art Online Fatal Bullet game, I figured that I should finally go and wrap up one of the spin-off manga titles. This one shot is based on the mini Asgard arc and has always been known as a relatively weak story. Unfortunately the manga makes it even worse by adding in a ton of fan service so you can probably already tell how this review is going to end.

The manga starts off with Suguha letting Kirito know that some players have finally found out the location of the hidden sword Excalibur. The heroes had found it about a year earlier but because they were so slow the rest of the world caught up. Kirito has to form a group of 7 people in order to conquer this quest but it may prove more dangerous than expected. If the heroes don’t complete the mission quickly than the whole virtual game will turn from a happy fairy based one into an apocalyptic ice land. Fortunately Kirito is up to the task.

This is Sword Art Online so I should probably bring up the unfortunate fan service right away since we all know that it’s coming. The manga sets the tone for how this is going to play out right from the beginning as the very first panel on the first page is a fan service shot. The author even mentions at the end that he added more than usual. It is constant enough during the volume where it probably happens every chapter. Some of the scenes are totally made up for the manga and really don’t help the overall case. It really limits what the rest of the manga can hope to accomplish.

At least the general art looks pretty good. The characters are very detailed and this translates well into the fight scenes. The quality here is high so it’s too bad that this artist couldn’t have picked a better arc than this one. Of course, this manga also has to have a quick flashback to a certain scene in arc 2 just to fit that extra bit of fan service in. So, very solid art but it’s used for scenes that really don’t help the overall manga.

Fortunately Kirito is a pretty solid main character as per usual. He comes up with the plan to save the day and even uses a new skill that is game breaking. He is always surpassing his limits so it should really come as no surprise. Even when everyone tries to mess with Kirito like putting him on the spot by asking if he would pay for the meal, Kirito takes it in stride. He was happy to pay and comes across as a solid team player.

Klein unfortunately looks about as bad as ever. He is still a very desperate character who will try to ask out a computer program and he is also super weak. The guy doesn’t even work well as a comic relief character but he does help to make Kirito look even better. That always seems like the real reason Kirito keeps him around. Klein just can’t go one page without humiliating himself.

Sinon gets the biggest role from all of the heroines. Unfortunately the author uses it for the wrong reasons at times but at least her fight scenes are solid. Since her bow and arrow skills are double that of the usual max, her weapon is actually pretty overpowered. Her reaction times are likely second only to Kirito’s here so that is very useful as well. Considering that she has apparently had the account for a day (if I recall correctly) Sinon must have trained a great deal.

Leafa is around just to feel bad for the creatures getting destroyed by the other players but doesn’t do much beyond that. If anything she can be a little on the annoying side since she knows about the Asgard myths but conveniently forgets about them until right after the fight. Asuna, Lizbeth, and Silica don’t actually get to do anything. They are basically just here to fill up the party.

Then we have the main villain who is certainly a terrible character. He’s a very sketchy villain whose goals are terrible and so there is absolutely nothing to root for in his character. There is also the prisoner who has a big plot twist which does not help her character. That’s because her actions up until the plot twist are extremely manipulative and she was basically using the heroes. Certainly not a very nice thing to do if you ask me. Not that it would have been much better without the twist but the character was having too much fun with her role. The plot twist is pretty obvious but the manga does a good job with it since the characters are self aware about it. They all know the twist but decide to play along anyway. Even then they only play along because Klein essentially forced them into doing so.

I think the only positive change that the manga did was give Sinon an extended fight. At the very least I don’t recall that happening in the show. It’s not much, but it shows that the manga did something right. With the artist’s skills he/she should still do well in a future SAO manga provided they focus on fight scenes and not adding anything else that would be tragic for the manga’s score.

Overall, This was definitely not a good SAO volume and it doesn’t do this wounded franchise any wonders. It just continues to make the same mistakes that the franchise has always made. It had great fight scenes, but is bogged down by all of the fanservice. I’d recommend just sticking to the original Sword Art Online manga instead of checking this one out. You’ll thank me for it someday.

Overall 4/10


Phantom vs Kirito

This is a tribute to The Phantom. The Phantom does his bit in making the world a safer place but he isn’t very strong. He is basically just a human wearing tights and while he is stronger in the comics, you never see the guy going too far in the long run. He certainly isn’t ready to take down an opponent as skilled as Kirito. Kirito has more sword skills at his disposal than most people’s array of normal skills. His legend will continue to grow with this victory. Kirito wins.

Jack Sparrow vs Kirito

This is a tribute to Dead Men Tell No Tales. Jack Sparrow didn’t look very good throughout the film, but what else is new? He lets his guard down so often that just about anyone can take him down and his swordsmanship isn’t all that great. Kirito could take him down quite easily with the skills and experience that he has acquired over the years. The match won’t even be close and that’s why I almost feel bad for Jack. It’s back to the bar for him. Kirito wins.

Vaatu vs Kirito

Kirito is a powerful swordsman so taking on a shadow creature like Vaatu should be easy. Vaaty is no slouch when it comes to a fight so I’m not underestimating him, but Kirito is a lot faster and he’s also a lot more determined to win. Overcoming his fighting spirit is just not something that I see happening. He’ll keep chipping away at Vaatu’s HP until he’s down for the count. Kirito wins.

Kirito vs Heathcliff

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Heathcliff is a pretty powerful fighter since his defensive abilities are very overpowered and practically aren’t fair within the Sword Art Online framework. That being said, Kirito has been shown to be skilled enough to get past this barrier. His sheer speed and strength are simply that far ahead of the pack and Heathcliff can’t hope to block fast enough. Attacks will always get through a defense eventually and this is no exception. Kirito wins.

Kirito vs Sinon

Kirito is a skilled swordsman who has continually been outshining everyone through the years. It’s no exaggeration to say that he is one of the most skilled light novel protagonists out there. That being said, Sinon is an expert sniper and has no trouble dealing with opponents from afar. Kirito will have to move quickly to defeat her, but he has been proven to be up to this task in the past. Kirito wins.

Wyatt Halliwell vs Kirito

Wyatt Halliwell is a decent magician whose spells can cause the average mortal to take a step back. The problem is that his offensive capabilities aren’t very well developed yet and he hasn’t dealt with any opponent who had superhuman speed. Kirito could just run up and deliver a powerful slash to him. That would instantly be Game Over. Wyatt had a good run, but the loss was inevitable. Kirito wins.

Kirito vs Sumeragi

Sumeragi was a pretty powerful villain from Lost Song. His sword skills are certainly up there as one of the most proficient SAO characters. That being said, he’s still not quite good enough to take on Kirito. Kirito has taken on many powerful foes before including Sumeragi and he always comes out on top. Just as dangerous as Kirito’s speed and power is his drive to win. He won’t give up until victory is complete and 100% guaranteed. That’s just the kind of player he is. Kirito wins.

Kirito vs Silica

Silica isn’t really much of a fighter. She has a pet dragon which can help her in a pinch and just by playing the game for so long I’m sure she is at a reasonable level. That being said, Kirito was a beta test player of Sword Art Online and has been intensely leveling up for quite a while. I don’t think Silica would be able to catch him at this point even if she spent years training. Kirito was just made to be a sword fighter and his skills are at the human peak. Silica would get speed blitzed as soon as the round started. Kirito wins.

Kirito vs Asuna

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Kirito is on a roll and he’s not done just yet. Asuna is known as The Flash because of her blinding attack speed and she was one of the most powerful fighters in SAO. That being said, Kirito was at the absolute top of the game and she simply can’t beat him. They fought once and it was actually reasonably close, but Kirito’s battle experience and heightened reaction times will always grant him the win in the end. You need reactions like that to parry Asuna’s rapier. Kirito wins.