Review: Log Horizon - Seasons One and Two
MAL Link: Log Horizon Season One - Fall 2013
MAL Link: Log Horizon Season Two - Fall 2014
This show was one of the earlier entries into the "Isekai" anime genre which has become quite popular.
Isekai is a genre that revolves around a normal person from Earth being transported to, reborn or otherwise trapped in a parallel universe or fantasy world.
Following one year after Sword Art Online, which was a huge Isekai anime hit, Log Horizon would cover a lot of the same themes. But, in my personal opinion, it would do it better.
Now, I enjoy Sword Art Online quite a bit. But Log Horizon blew my damn fool geek mind.
It took all the references and tropes of massive multi-player online RPG's like World of Warcraft and dialed them up to eleven. The attention to detail that Log Horizon takes in mining these RPG memes results in a wealth of Meta references and story situations that left me somewhat in awe.
Now, granted, I am clearly the target audience for a show like this as I play the types of games that the show is based on. If you aren't into online multi-player fantasy role-playing games like World of Warcraft, then Log Horizon may leave you wondering at times.
The Plot in a Nutshell:
A huge number of players from an Online Fantasy Role Playing game are transported to the world of their Fantasy Game. That becomes their new reality and they have to learn how to survive in it. They take on the roles and abilities of their characters from the game.
They also enter the world still in the social organizations they had in the game: The Guilds. Each of these guilds had different goals in the game, and now those goals spill over into this new reality.
The players also have to deal with the world's NPC's (Non-Player Characters) who are now much more complicated. These NPC's have their own lives and objectives and they are keenly aware that the 'Adventurers' (as they call the players trapped in the world) are not like them.
It all leads to some interesting story lines and conflicts between these various competing interests with their own agendas.
Log Horizon left me highly entertained. So much so that after I finished watching it on Crunchyroll, I bought it on Blu-Ray and watched it again.
Now granted, I am the target audience for a show like this. That said, there are plenty of Isekai shows in the same vein that are out now and they don't pull it off nearly as well as Log Horizon.
This show dives down into every RPG rabbit hole there is and keeps digging.
Guilds, Crafting, Dungeon Raids, Skill Selection, Class Selection, Quests, Player Housing and just Game Systems Design in general. I don't think it left a stone uncovered, and it was still bringing up fresh material at the end of Season Two.
There are a lot of characters in Log Horizon, and they are well presented with their various motivations and objectives. The dialogue and stories are often a lot of fun. One story in particular which followed a dungeon raiding guild really got me as I watched them struggle to figure out the Boss Patterns without wiping. Been there many times myself in Role-Play video games.
Weighing in at fifty episodes, where most Anime series are just twelve, Log Horizon is a huge, sprawling adventure of a show with many stories to tell.
I would say my one quibble with the show is the Animation. It's not bad, no. it's just they had A LOT of story to tell on a timeline and a budget and it feels a bit rushed in places. It never interfered with my enjoyment, though.
SCORE: 5 out of 5