After Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova ended, two movies were released. The first of which is Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova DC, and the second of which is Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova Cadenza. The first movie serves mainly as a super-condensed retelling of the original story, whereas the second is a new story, which brings the story to a close. With that said, let’s get on with this pesky first movie.
The movie starts off with a new scene with the Fog, which shows us the sinking of a ship and with an unknown mental model. We are then shown Iona’s “birth” as the song Blue Snow begins to play. The song continues on through the opening credits as we watch Iona travel to Port Yokosuka. The song itself is melancholic, and reflects upon Iona as she discovers throughout the course of the anime what it means to live.
Ars Nova DC is a movie that condenses the entire story told in the anime. As such it skips over a lot, and suffices to give us exposition, and internal monologues as we’re shown scenes summarizing certain story points. These monologues, delivered to us by Iona, are existential in nature and give her more characterization, which isn’t a bad thing. This does not at all justify what is lost in this “re-telling” of a 12 episode story in an hour and six minutes. Character development is lost. Action sequences are sped through and simplified. Emotional moments are butchered.
Fortunately, the last 39 minutes are made up of new material. This serves to set up the plot of the next movie, Cadenza. We’re shown the effects of the story’s conclusion, introduced to new antagonists, and treated to a new battle sequence. The movie then ends on a bit of a plot twist, followed by a cliffhanger. If you’re interested in Arpeggio of Blue Steel, it’s best to watch the whole series, followed by the final 39 minutes of this movie. In all, Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova DC is a hour long re-cap episode, with what I like to call “Episode 13” thrown in at the end.