Log Horizon – Episode 2: The Battle of Loka
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.
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.
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.