Log Horizon (2013-2014)


Season 1

Log Horizon (2013-2014)

Director: Shinji Ishihara
Studio: Satelight
Starring: Takuma Terashima, Emiri Kato, Tomoaki Maeno
Episodes: 25

Over 30,000 players of an MMORPG find themselves trapped in the game world, but the rules have changed and a legendary strategist leads the push for the fractious adventurers to carve out a new life for themselves.

I remember hearing bad things about Sword Art Online but ended up liking it well enough. Well, I heard even worse things about this show and--surprise, surprise--I arguably like it even more. The only thing about the show I vehemently dislike is the OP. (I almost never skip OPs except by another viewer's request, but this is one of the rare exceptions.) Character designs are a bit on the bland side but there's a pleasant simplicity to it all. I'd rather it not look like Akatsuki had her bangs cut by a weedwhacker, but that's a minor thing. Of all the players trapped in a game world I've seen thus far, this is probably the most cerebral. Shiroe is a plotter much like Overlord's Momonga, which I prefer to SAO's Kirito just swinging his dang sword around and revealing new abilities whenever the plot needs it. The politics and negotiations remind me a bit of Spice and Wolf. Usually politicking in fiction is boring stuff, but I thought it was well done here. I can appreciate that you have the high-level stuff with the guild masters and then the junior adventurers for a frontline perspective and more of an audience surrogate. It's a fairly well-constructed setup for broader appeal. I thought the harping on the tasteless food at the beginning was getting old, but it becomes a plot point, so I'm willing to give it some leniency in retrospect. Some of the characters' quirks are played a little too hard. Naotsugu's perversion gets old, but it thankfully goes on hiatus for a decent stretch of the middle of the show. The romance elements work but border on typical harem nonsense. (The setup is believable and it's not played too hard, thankfully.) Also, there's something priceless about having Jouji Nakata portraying a character whose dialog is largely cat puns. SAO definitely looks better and I generally like the characters there more, but one of Log Horizon's strengths is that it really sets up the world and gives it depth. If you want more of a thinking man's trapped-in-game-world story, this is what you want. Give it a watch, but skip over the stupid OP. Living in the database, my foot.

Watch It