(Review contributed by Misya Danielle)
Log Horizon is a unique anime with the all too common theme of being trapped within a videogame world however this anime series puts a unique twist on the theme and adds in stronger elements of fantasy. The anime consists of a total of 50 episodes based on the original Japanese novel series and split into two complete seasons which were directed by Shinji Ishihara and licensed to North America by Sentai Filmworks, the first season aired from early October of 2013 to late March of the following year and the second season aired from early October of 2014 to late March of 2015. Considering when the anime was aired it doesn’t quite have the same level of artistic detail as we often see in newer anime and does not have much variety in its soundtrack but the anime is well done with what it has showing that sometimes more of everything in an anime isn’t necessarily what makes it so great. Where the anime lacks in detail it makes up for with the variety in the characters from their overall look to their personalities and unique abilities that contribute to the overall outcome of the anime. It can be said for certain that this anime is at no disadvantage to other series as it takes a common theme and turn into something new with its unique new point of view, a huge cast of characters each with their own goals, an immersive story, and a beautiful fantasy filled world turned into a new reality for the characters.
The world in which the story takes place was originally a popular fantasy themed MMORPG videogame named Elder Tale, the game was played worldwide by millions of gamers after its 11th update, while the game changes things worldwide the story primarily surrounds the many events that take place in the videogame’s version of Akihabara, Japan which becomes the basis for change within all of Elder Tale. After a major new 12th expansion pack which is titled “Novasphere Pioneers” is executed all of the gamers logged in at the time of its execution were suddenly sucked into the newly expanded world of Elder Tale. The gamers who become trapped in the videogame’s world are forced into the bodies of their own game avatars and must learn to adapt to their avatar bodies and survive in the dangerous world of Elder Tale, this chain of events becomes known as “The Apocalypse” to the many gamers trapped in this new version of Elder Tale. This new world is thrown into chaos immediately upon the arrival of gamers who are called adventurers by the now living none player characters known as “People of the Land”. Due to a lack of government and law to keep things in order many of the adventurers begin killing each other and the people of the land, during this time it is realized that adventurers cannot truly die and simply resurrect at temples but the same does not apply to the people of the land and a war with the people of the land becomes a possibility as their views of the adventurers become more pessimistic.
After the Apocalypse Shiroe who is a very well-known tactician and mage type adventurer quickly teams up with adventures Naotsugu who is a powerful and perverted tank character and Akatsuki who is a small ninja girl that becomes true to her real world form after taking a transforming potion. These three adventurers fight together to survive and bring a new balance to this world that is now their home. Shiroe later meets with a guild leader named Mariella to get more information and he and his friends are tasked with saving Serara who is one of the guild’s lower level members, this leads to them meeting Nyanta who is a very old friend to Shiroe. After seeing the disorder and lack of law during their task Shiroe and his friends work together to form a guild later named “Log Horizon” as well as the “Round Table”, the Round Table is a powerful group made up of some of the most powerful guild leaders who work together to form laws and keep peace between adventurers and the people of the land. One of the first tasks given to Shiroe’s newly formed guild is to save some of the lower level adventurers from a guild that is using them to gain power, Shiroe keeps in contact with Tohya and Minori who are two of the characters trapped by the guild and with their help Shiroe rescues everyone from the guild. As people begin to see how great Log Horizon is many adventurers seek to join the new guild each for their own reasons and Shiroe helps many of the lower level members become stronger through a variety of tasks., many of these lower level members become caught up in the dangers of the world and learn quickly to work together to get through each new battle.
The desire that many of the characters have to live peacefully in the world of Elder Tale rather than continuously fight their way out of it is the very detail that makes this anime so unique from similar titles such as .hack// or the first season of SAO, this unique new twist on the idea of being trapped in a videogame world is what makes this anime so charming and beautiful. The anime also features a variety of important characters who are each very different from each other but get along and contribute equally to the entire story, however some of these characters are people of the land which cannot exist outside of Elder Tale meaning that once the adventures escape they will no longer hold the same relationships with the people of the land. The attachment many of the adventurers begin to feel towards the people of the land contributes further to many of the adventurers wanting to stay in Elder Tale and coexist with the people of the land. Realistically Log Horizon is more accurate when it comes to how split up the amount of people wanting to stay in the world is, not everyone trapped in a videogame is going to want out of it and as people become attached to their new lives in the world the number of people that want to stay would continue to increase.
Log Horizon is a well-executed spin on the idea of being trapped in a videogame world and is perfect for those looking for something new and unique amongst the many been there done that titles we have been seeing in recent years. This anime will leave many of its viewers on their toes with its wide range of emotions and its immersive and quickly changing world, be prepared for many surprises and changing emotions. I highly recommend this anime to a variety of anime fans and especially to those who enjoy something new, and to those who enjoyed .hack// and SAO I believe this could become equally enjoyable if not more enjoyable than both series.
PROS: Unique, Memorable Characters, Interesting World, Pleasant Surprises, Wide range of emotions, Great mix of genres
CONS: Battles can get boring, Soundtrack lacks variety