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An anime series emulating an RPG, that doesn’t usually turn out too good, but that’s because it doesn’t usually turn out like Log Horizon – exemplary of the genre, unexpectedly marvelous an anime it proved to be.

You won’t find a single whiny annoying soul among our main cast, moreover, they have the rare ability called intellect, a relic of main characters past.

Our main lead, Shiroe is an enchanter, more than that, a strategist. Someone who always thinks of his next move, always a step ahead, and in turn, is always reliable. A man who wouldn’t mind sullying his image and shouldering the burden to achieve his goal and for the sake of others. Admirable in what he does, he sets out to explore the mysteries, the ins and outs of this unknown virtual realm, and ultimately, a way to get back to his own.

Being based on an MMORPG, this is no one-man party. Accompanied by buff tanker Naotsugu, and super kawaii loli Akatsuki, this anime actually shows what it’s like to play a game like it, or more accurately, it portrays one appropriately for a setting in animation, not just a setting said for the convenience of the story. Here, we see a party in unity, knowing the whats and hows of what they are doing, utilizing actual gameplay mechanics and combining and complementing each others’ abilities for the most effective battle strategy.

If Elder Tale, the world of Log Horizon was actually a game, one would feel like playing it with its complex and interesting gaming mechanics.

They entered that phase for a while, until they realized, there was more to this world than just living it out like they once played it, actual humans are now in it, not just simple game sprites with players on the other side of the screen, there’s no definite society, it’s a world of chaos, and more than that, a world where there’s absolutely no more goal for a person in life. They have superhuman powers, they don’t die, and they have no laws to bind them.

It’s a boring world with no more motivation, causing many to go a despicable path of killing each other for loot and fun.

Suddenly, this anime becomes more than “what is it like for an MMORPG to be animated”, rather, it becomes more like what if society was suddenly thrust into the world of like said? Evolving from a simple to a much more elaborate premise. And now, rather than be aimless and look mindlessly for a path out of the world that isn’t even available yet, they press on a more important matter, on how to make this world into a place suitable to live in, and of course, a stable society.

Throughout meeting more people and laying that foundation, they come to find out a crucial fact, that the fundamentals of reality and this world is intertwined. Little things can make a difference indeed, through a task as simple as cooking, they find out that unlike the game they once played, they shouldn’t make things out of the menu like they always were, creation and doing tasks now involved them actually doing them, as long as they had the appropriate skill for it, leading to the biggest turning point.

Revealing the concept to everyone, and after that, along with several important figures, they come purchase a crucial building for their own to become the authority. But rather than some tyrant who controls the people against their will, instead as those who will maintain order and become authority figures, the Round Table, and forming eventual free-society.

Due to the discovery of the concept, everyone now has a thing to work on, either be it making a living, creating new things, or simply having fun with everyone at a guild of their choosing. And after our main one creates his own after staying guild-less after all this time, it seems as if everything is over and now they can all live in peace, however, that only counts to them in Akihabara – bigger things are transpiring outside this now serene world they have worked hard for.

With that, they set out more to learn more about this world of Elder Tale, with their technology continually improving, making the formerly thought mindless NPCs, the People of the Land, cautious of them, and being involved with them. They’re bent on finding out more information about them, and on the way, make peace and get along with them. Along with parties outside, Akihabara that doesn’t seem to share their view of a peaceful society, everything is far from over.

There’s still more to this world than meets the eye, an alternate world in which they were summoned, and makes them forget about their former world each time they “die” and be restored. And a way out is explicitly said by an ominous fox woman who visibly wants our MCs private parts at the very finale, although, there’s no way to verify if they even do get out and not just disappear into oblivion.

All throughout that, we see our characters refined, not just our main cast, but each and everyone of significance is given a chance to shine – like for instance, the novice team whose abilities are still developing, or those behind the frontlines that can only use their charisma or intellect. It’s a likable vast and diverse collection of characters that make the show what it is.

With slight romance on the side courtesy of cute assassin loli Akatsuki towards our main lead that doesn’t overpower the plot into a dumb dating sim, we get a right dose of it, and it turns out actually fascinating to observe how the two will develop. Although, it seems the main lead is about as interested in romance as much as the lead of another epic adventure, Ys, meaning0 not at all.

An anime that actually took its premise seriously, expanded it, and made it interesting to watch. It’s not just an anime where people clash whatever weapons they had like one would have probably thought about it. This actually has its plot in the right place and takes itself seriously, a likable MC who actually thinks and utilizes his setting to its full potential. With a second season already announced to air this coming fall, it’s definitely one to look forward to.

19 Comments

  • gargamesh says:

    http://dalian.7thstyle.com/2014/03/log-horizon-final-episode-review-seventhstyle-015-614×345.jpg

    Ryuuk from Death Note: “Why the hell am I here, why am I a pirate”

  • oneupdelux says:

    This is a SAO done right … screw that … it’s humiliating for log horizon to compare it to SAO

    • Seven says:

      gargamesh said precisely the same thing, that’s why I went ahead and removed any comparisons, there’s no comparison.

      • oneupdelux says:

        I feel guilty when when i make comparison of the 2 when i watch log horizon’s first episode

      • avatar flamestrike says:

        Yeah that’s pretty much correct. At first glance it’s easy to get caught up in the whole “stuck in a game” premise and compare the two. However the two shows go about the same idea in completely different ways.

        In SAO the setting of an MMO was more of a background for the characters, a plot device so to speak. In Log Horizon it’s more like the characters being transported into a fantasy world that just happens to act like an MMO. There’s much more focus on world building and deeper interactions. It’s a shounen fun little show vs a more serious developed show.

        Both are entertaining in their own ways, but they don’t aim to accomplish the same things.

    • lucarion says:

      Agreed. People who thought THIS was a rip-off and brushed it off when it first came out are probably punching themselves in the gut now. This is leagues better than SAO–there’s just no contest. LH even does the “romance” aspect better…and that was the part SAO tried to shove down all our throats.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree to this, Loli’s in this series are actually hundred times better .. Compare to A1′s Sekai Seifuku,

  • blackinred says:

    Log horizon really excelled in its development, from the simple mmorpg setting to the ‘change the world’ mindset, the relations between the great characters made it a whole enjoyable experience, even when there where no more than simple dialogues and explanations. Scenery and story composition showed how interesting this kind of series can be and music conveyed precisely what it needed. If animation would have been a little bit better,this series would’ve been a complete gem among this genre.

    Still I’m impressed how the direction and storyboard made this whole series this great, achieving this good, plotty and softly character oriented series.

  • triton6783 says:

    I think I made a huge mistake when I decided not to pick this up 6 months ago…

    • It’s never too late, you know.
      JUST DO IT.

      • triton6783 says:

        I’ll probably start it this summer before the second season starts.

        • domme008 says:

          Hmm, so is the second half just as good as the first one? A friend of mine watched Log Horizon, but said that he didn’t like the second half at all.
          But seeing how much praise it gets here I’ll probably try it anyways. The setting at least does pique my interest.

          • gargamesh says:

            He probably didn’t like it because that’s where the action scenes start dwindling in number, but as said in the article, the show was hardly about those to begin with.

  • realdrakeula says:

    I fell in love with this show ever since it premiered. Yeah, I was dumb enough to walk into it thinking it was simply SAO but with a loli assassin, but I quickly took that back. Log Horizon, at least the first season, got as high as my third favorite series, if I were to rank it. The writing is perfect while continuing to be so much fun.

  • liamash3 says:

    I enjoyed Log Horizon, and the way it displayed mechanics for MMO’s got me interested in trying them. Don’t suppose there exist any MMO similar to Log Horizon’s?
    I’m curious as to how S2 will be adapted, as I believe the author’s only written books 1-7, with 1-5 being adapted this season. He’ll probably write 6-10 during the gap between seasons…

  • masori says:

    The only sad thing about it was where and when it aired and because of that, the animators “glossed over” most the bloody scenes and cut out the more mature themes. But regardless of that, the important parts were kept, and everything still went smoothly.
    I liked Log Horizon for what it was and I feel bad for whomever dropped this series in the beginning. It’s a good series that doesn’t rely on action scenes to keep the audience entertained and uses the more strategic and intellectual approach.

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An Elemental Workshop.