Log Horizon – Episode 2: The Battle of Loka

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Impression:

Log Horizon. The reason this second episode (and the series in general) appealed to me is because of how true to the MMO genre it is. For the longest time, I’ve been waiting for a real ‘video game anime’, .Hack became boring, Sword Art Online was epic… for all of about twelve episodes and Log Horizon… Log Horizon looks like it’s going to be the anime I’ve been waiting for all this time. Perhaps I’m being overzealous, perhaps I’m being naive – it’s only been two episode after all – but I think that Log Horizon has potential and episode 2… Episode 2 is, I think, the beginning of an epic journey… probably

In episode 2 we learnt that Elder Tale is, first and foremost, not a killing game… at least, not for the time being anyway. In a way, I think this makes the show… ‘better’, considering what it is. Log Horizon isn’t going to be the action thriller that Sword Art Online was (yes, I know I’ve mentioned the forbidden ‘S word’ twice now…) and I think that, as long as it doesn’t try and become something it isn’t, it’ll be a great show. Episode 2’s plot center’s mostly around the idea of PvP and the issues that come with it. What makes this anime interesting is the main characters thought processes; even though they can’t die, they’re still not happy with the idea of people running around ‘killing’ other players. Now that their real world is this game world I suppose it’s only natural for them to feel the same way in this new life as they did in their old lives – killing is wrong; killing for fun is even worse. This whole ‘players picking on players’ dynamic also mimics real MMORPG behavior, I myself having been subject to the bullying of other, more experienced, MMO players… I think it’s nice that they’re incorporating mechanics like that into the series and I can’t wait to see how they further utilize other MMORPG mechanics in the future.

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I wonder if being burnt alive in the game hurts…?

And, I suppose, that brings me to my next point… why is no one freaking out? I understand that this is meant to be more comedic than other shows of it’s genre but why is everyone fine with being trapped inside this game world? All they’re worried about is how bad their food tastes. I might have understood if there had been a time skip between them being trapped and the story arc but there wasn’t, it feels almost as if they’ve glossed over that aspect of the ‘realism’ and moved strait onto the pervy jokes and the cute ninja’s. Lazy writing? Perhaps. A missed opportunity? Definitely.

Now the one thing that the show has definitely gotten right is the tactical battles, fights being more team work based than long wolfing. It’s interesting to see a main character who isn’t a complete and utter bad ass (that’s not to say Shiroe isn’t a bad ass, he just can’t do much on his own is all…) and instead must rely on the strengths of his team to get him through each battle. We saw a glimpse of this in episode 1, that battle however being won by Akatsuki’s ultimate ninja bad assery, but in episode 2 we finally get to see Shiroe utilize that brain of his and I loved it! Each and every moved was planned out to almost perfect precision and… well… I guess I can’t wait until, firstly, they f*ck up and, secondly, their group grows larger. I mean, seriously, can you imagine Shiroe working with an entire guild to win a battle? They’d be unstoppable.

On a side note… have I mentioned that OP? It’s amazing. That is all.

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Well he’s f*cked.

Let’s discuss info dumps… episode 2 was full of them… and I didn’t mind. Now I realize that this will be a massive turn off for some people who came in search of epic battles and cute loli’s, but I think that it’s actually pretty interesting (most of the time). I think that, unlike in Sword Art Online, understanding how MMO’s work and then making a mockery of them utilizing that to it’s full advantage is going to be one of this shows most important features and also it’s main selling point. It’s a vital part of the experience and it brings the MMORPG world to life… that and it’s also funny to think about where MMO horses appear from… Magic.

And, finally, Serara (did I spell that right?… Google says I did). I didn’t understand at first why Shiroe and his team would be best suited to travelling all that distance and I suppose I shouldn’t have been too surprised when he pulled a griffon out of his back pocket, but it’s nice to think that Shiroe and the team are going on an epic adventure… that said, I’m worried. Mamare Touno’s other work (Maoyuu Maou Yuusha) didn’t fulfill it’s full potential because of bad story telling and somewhat lackluster story arcs. Will Log Horizon fall victim to the same fate? I can’t help but feel as though there’s nowhere for this show to go, I mean, just what will the overlying plot be? Are they going to be trying to get out of the game? Or are they going to fly around the land helping little girls for 25 episodes? Great though these two episodes have been, I can’t help but wonder… will Log Horizon fail to live up to all the hype? Only time will tell… and the light novels… the light novels are always a good source of information.

To conclude, Log Horizon episode 2 was much better than it’s predecessor but I can’t help but wonder if the shows story is what’s going to let it down. It’s got the comedic aspects and it’s got the tactical battles, but the plot – the plot’s the most important part! I suppose we’ll have to see how this current story arc pans out before I can make a judgement, but for now, I’m loving me some Log Horizon.

Chris

I'm just a normal guy, chillin' on the internet in search of a place that I can call my sacred hang. What more can I say?

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3 Responses

  1. Wanderer says:

    “And, I suppose, that brings me to my next point… why is no one freaking out? I understand that this is meant to be more comedic than other shows of it’s genre but why is everyone fine with being trapped inside this game world?”

    Did you somehow fail to notice how large portions of the population ARE freaking out, panicking, and/or falling into absolute despair about their situation? We just aren’t watching them, because a show about someone who falls on a heap on the ground in despair until he starves to death and then revives at the cathedral, where he lays around in despair until he starves to death and revives again isn’t exactly interesting. We’re watching a show about the people who have chosen to not be angsty. Sure, they don’t know why they’re there, how they got there, or how to leave, but their situation could be worse. They’ve chosen to keep moving; keep living; keep going forward.

    We’ve had TEH DRAMA and TEH ANGST in other shows like this. I think we’re better off without having main characters drown themselves in it in this one.

    • Chris says:

      …My excuse for missing such an integral part of the episode is that I was tired when I wrote this. I apologize. Haha, that aside, firstly, thank you for pointing that out and, secondly, I wasn’t really complaining as such about the lack of tears and trauma I just wondered where at least some of it had been… but again, my oversight appears to have rendered that complaint invalid :/ Here’s to a lack of angst!

  2. Noc says:

    I was already enjoying this anime at episode one, so ep two just made it that much better. I loveloveloved how they explained the classes and various skills! They really made it feel like they were in a game, and so naturally at that. They’ve fiiiinally made a MMORPG anime that’s perfectly suited to my tastes! And the OP is a~maaaa~zing! I could hardly be happier.

    I remember hearing several characters freaking out in the background of episode one, but it’s not really specified how much time has passed since then, and since it’s been established that no one is in any real danger (for now?) I suppose that’s why everyone’s calmed down for the most part. I’m not sure how it’s done in the LNs, but in the recent manga release it shows Shiroe’s physical, IRL body magically disappearing, and then he wakes up in the world of Elder Tale. So it’s like they’ve all been transported to another world where they can’t die, have all the means to survive, and their only real sources of grief are homesickness, boredom and bland food. Their physical bodies aren’t sitting at a computer dying of malnutrition or anything, ha. So I don’t think there’s a big need for mass hysteria at the moment.

    As for where the story can go from here, I believe that the NPCs (People of the Land) are actually real, breathing humans in this world, so I’m particularly excited to see some more interactions between them and the ‘Adventurers’. There may be some exciting battles if the OP is anything to go by, too- like, don’t these games usually have some kind of overarching big bad to overcome? In a game setting these things usually stay stagnate until you’re ready to face them, but this is a real world where time flows and new things happen every day- an evil monster won’t just sit around waiting for people to come kill it, he’s gonna be making plans and wreaking havoc whether you’re ready or not. I’m looking forward to seeing how our heroes handle such a situation.

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