Log Horizon is an anime where the players of a MMORPG, Elder Tale, find themselves waking up as their in-game avatars. While the summary might have some fans thinking of a certain 2011 anime, it’s better to enter this show without any preconceived notions. This show is extremely well done, and gives the ‘trapped in a game’ storyline its own unique twist. It took me a long time to get around to watching this since my anime backlog is horrendously large. School leaves no survivors. Also, let’s not forget about procrastination! Sweet, sweet procrastination. CoughI’mlazyCough.
But back to the point, I managed to finish the entire show in one day, binge watching from 11 pm at night till around 7 in the morning. Funnily enough, one way I rate how good an anime is, is by whether I manage to finish it in three days or less. Usually, a show that can hook me so deeply is more than average, in my humble opinion. Bonus points if it has more than thirteen episodes!
Log horizon is surprising in several ways, particularly, in how it tackles the subject of humans getting trapped in a virtual world. The fragility of the human psyche, in game-economics such as trading and the like, guilds and raids, the difference between surviving and living, as well as the exceptionally done arc on Non-Player-Characters (NPCs).
The pacing is consistent throughout. The second half might seem slow to others since the episodes leading up to it were all very intense and fast paced, compared to the later ones, which were slightly more relaxing. Other than that, there’s not much to say about the story without giving too much of it away, except that it’s pretty good!
My only gripe with the show is its heavy use of gaming jargon. While most of the technical terms used are explained later on in the show, like aggro or DPS, it’s easy to get confused since they are tossed around fairly regularly. Nothing a quick google search can’t solve, but lack of understanding might put the viewers off if they’re in an unforgiving mood.
The story follows the main character, Shiroe the enchanter and his ragtag party of comrades consisting of Naotsugu the tank, Akatsuki the assassin and several others whom would be better to experience by watching.
Unlike the majority of anime series which has the characters trapped in virtual worlds, the protagonist of Log Horizon is inherently different from your typical shonen wannabe. Since He’s an enchanter, an albeit squishy support class, he works in the shadows rather than on the front line. I think it’s refreshing to watch him in his element. Maybe, it’s because he reminds me that not every main character needs to be a hot-headed, harem gathering martyr.
Naotsugu is the comic relief, and he does a good job of it in my opinion. While some may find his ‘perverted’ remarks to be downright annoying at times, the show wasn’t oversaturated with them to the point where I’d skip over whatever scene he was in. As the show continues, Naotsugu eventually proves that he’s more than just that, getting a decent amount of character development and even some backstory. His dynamic with Shiroe, the parallel between his easy-going demeanour and the enchanter’s uptight one, is fun to watch. I like that he has a positive effect he has on Shiroe.
My feelings on Akatsuki is a mixed. On one hand, I found her to be badass. On the other, I found her to be annoyingly dependent on Shiroe. From the start of the show, it’s plain as day that the assassin has a crush on Shiroe.
That was a red flag right there, namely because it’s downright weird that she’s liked him from episode 1! I mean, sure, they might’ve had a backstory. But it wasn’t really expanded on much, and combine it with the many, many scenes of Akatsuki constantly tripping over herself around Shiroe in every other episode? It grated on my nerves after a while.
Thankfully though, she has proven to be a very reliable character, helping the party get out of bad situations, or elevating their chances of success with plans and the like. Her reactions to Naotsugu’s perverted remarks have always gotten a laugh or two out of me, which was something I really liked. Now, if only they could dial down the overly romantic vibes…
Visually, Log horizon is not very outstanding. It looks okay, but having good animation would’ve served the show better since it was set in such a fantastical world. It’s unfortunate, but not enough to hamper my enjoyment of the show. The intriguing story and memorable characters more than makes up for the lacklustre effects.
The opening ‘Database’ is extremely catchy and sets the tone of the first episode, and the episodes after that. I rarely ever skipped it, and when I did, it was only because the previous episode had ended on a cliff-hanger. The ending was pretty forgettable, in my opinion, but hey. We can’t win every time, I guess!
Overall, Log Horizon was an interesting romp through the somewhat usual story setting of people getting trapped in games. Like always, I’m just sad I didn’t watch it earlier. Reserve your judgements till after the fourth or fifth episodes, because dropping it might just prove to be really bad move.