Review: Log Horizon

Hey, Kaushik here again to review another anime that finished just last season. This time it’s Log Horizon, a fantasy action show set inside an MMORPG. Like many anime series these days, Log Horizon is based off a light novel of the same name. The anime series, which went on for 25 episodes, ran from October of 2013 to March of 2014. A second season is already in the works, slated to be released in October of 2014. Since Log Horizon has been fairly popular, it’s often compared to another show with a somewhat similar premise, Sword Art Online. Rest assured the two are very different, for better or for worse. I’ll elaborate on just how it is different as we go through the show. Without further ado, let’s get to it~

Log Horizon Title

Log Horizon follows right on the heels of the incredibly popular Sword Art Online, another show about a group of people stuck inside the world of an MMORPG. This time the MMORPG is Elder Tale, and the scope is quite a bit larger than that of Sword Art Online. The world of Elder Tale is supposed to mirror our own in terms of size, and except for a few small detours, the story of Log Horizon mostly takes place in the town of Akibara. Or what would be Tokyo, if you were to correspond the Log Horizon location to the real world. The main character is Shiroe, a young Enchanter stuck in the world of Elder Tale with thousands of other players after an event known as the Apocalypse. A calculating sort of man, he’s most comfortable as a strategist, and throughout most of the show, that is where he excels the most.

Log Horizon Characters

One thing that’s clear from the beginning: the world of Elder Tale is quite fleshed out and much bigger than the show displays it. What’s nice about this is it gives the story a lot of room to move about and grow it continues. The scope of the show is somewhat small in the beginning, focusing only on the few main characters and some of their exploits throughout the post-Apocalypse world of Elder Tale.

Fairly quickly however, this changes and instead the show changes focus to a more big picture view of the world, as some of the main characters work to shape the outcome of not only themselves, but also large groups of other players. That isn’t to say Log Horizon loses its human element. There are still personal stories to be told, and some are quite touching. Still, I do feel that there is something lost in character exploration and development in the pursuit of a grand plot. There’s nothing wrong with either, though personally I do prefer shows that focus more on the characters.

Log Horizon Characters 2

That being said, I do enjoy the characters of Log Horizon. Many of the main characters are some of Shiroe’s friends from before the Apocalypse, particularly those of his allies from the infamous Debauchery Tea Party (odd name, I know). This was an informal gathering of some of the toughest players in the world of Elder Tale, who banded together to take on the toughest raids. The group has all but disbanded, but several faces from that guild show up throughout the course of the show (yet there are still many undiscovered ones, probably to be discovered in the future).

In addition, there are some newer people Shiroe meets in his journeys throughout the world of Elder Tale and in Akibara, including one of his closest friends Akatsuki. For an action show mostly centered around the plot. there’s a fair bit of romance, drama, and comedy. which are good for a show like this. It helps bring the characters back down to earth from some of the fantastical things they may be doing. Moreover, the characters themselves have strong personalities (in general) and these generally lend to an enjoyable watch.

Shiroe's 2 (rather one-sided) love interests, Akatsuki (right) and Minori (left)

Shiroe’s 2 (rather one-sided) love interests, Akatsuki (right) and Minori (left)

As far as the animation is concerned, I’m in a bit of a rut. It’s easier to tell the animation quality from the action scenes of course. The odd thing about the show is that as it goes on, there’s less and less action to animate. I don’t have any particular problems with the animation quality of this show, but it definitely is not amazing. It’s just about as good as most other anime out there. The art style is pretty cool, and the fantasy MMORPG setting lets the show kind of go wild with a lot of styles of character design, which you can see throughout the show. There are a lot of characters introduced in the show, and nearly all of them have their own unique style and character design. Still, they all conform to whatever kind of class they are, which is interesting to see.

I’m not a big fan of the music used in this show. There’s only one opening and ending theme in this series, which is somewhat rare in a 25 episode series. The opening theme is “database” by Man with a Mission, and the ending theme is “Your Song” by Yun*chi. I found both of these songs more obnoxious than fun to listen to, honestly. The BGM is a little better. I’m particularly fond of the main theme of the series, but beyond that I can’t say that the music in this show is all that great. Honestly it doesn’t affect my appreciation of the show very much; I still love it. Good music can definitely make a good show great, but I find that mediocre music doesn’t really hinder a show, which is the case in Log Horizon.

Pros:

-Great environment and world

-Interesting plot with a grand scope

-Still retains a strong human element in terms of characters and interpersonal relationships

Cons:

-The humor can be somewhat hit or miss

-The show shifts gears partway through from an action-based show to something somewhat more political in nature, which can turn some people away

Rating: 4.5/5

rating45

Miscellaneous details:
Studio: Satelight
Director: Shinji Ishihara
Writer: Toshizo Nemoto
Character design: Mariko Ito
Music: Yasuharu Takanashi
Original creator: Mamare Touno (light novel)
Original run: January 8, 2014 – March 26, 2014

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Kaushik

I write about anime and stuff. Giant robots are pretty cool, too.

Kaushik

I write about anime and stuff. Giant robots are pretty cool, too.

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