Yuki Kajiura Explores Making Music in Sword Art Online

Recap of Sword Art Online 10th Anniversary Special Program Composer Yuki Kajiura Panel from Aniplex Online Fest

Sword Art Online is commonly known for its action-packed episodes, an incredible range of characters, and rampant drama. However, the series is most reputable for its soundtrack and background music done by the talented Yuki Kaijura. At the Aniplex Online Fest, Kajiura dives into the behind-the-scenes of her music creation and provides an incredible perspective in anime music.  

When she was first presented the series, Kaijura thought it had a cute artstyle. But after reading through the dense light novel material, she found a different kind of depth in the story and fell in love with it. Kaijura has always been a gamer and had her own dream of seeing a full-dive game released during her lifetime. To work on Sword Art Online meant fulfilling both her interest in the series and her dreams. 

For the main Sword Art Online franchise, Kaijura is often requested to make broad theme music and background music with vague guidelines. Many of these pieces end up being rather subdued and dispersed throughout the episodes due to time constraints. Conversely, anime films are typically two hours long and allow Kajiura to gradually build tension in the fight scenes with her soundtracks full of resounding crescendos and vocal inserts. 

When it comes to creating specific insert songs or elements for anime films, Kaijura generally uses a technique known as “film scoring” — a method of producing music with finished visuals. However, for the song “delete” in Ordinal Scale, this wasn’t the case. Kaijura was “given black and white storyboards drawn in pencil.” Based on these prototype visuals alone, she created a piece that exuded a haunting and almost alien-like ambience. She didn’t realize how well the scene was put together until she saw the movie in its completion. 

At the end of the panel, Kaijura expressed that she would feel extremely blessed if anyone has felt even a little bit motivated or inspired by her music. She hoped to continue working with other shows in the future and be inspired to write more music for shows that she loves. 

Aniplex of America previously announced Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld Part 2 will begin streaming 11 July on Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hulu, and HiDive.

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