Log Horizon – Episode 5: Return to Akihabara
I almost felt inclined to call episode 5 ‘filler’, but, upon reflection, I’ve come to realize that actually this episode is just as important as a normal episode. Sure it lacks some of the more common feature associated with the show so far, namely a battle sequence towards the end, however it character builds and it asks questions and, if anything, that’s what this show is best at and therefore that is where it shines.
Nyanta, making food taste good again since episode 5. Let’s be honest here, the constant references pertaining to food and its tastelessness were always going to lead to this point; to succulent chunks of meaty goodness, covered in saliva, dreams and dysprosium. With every episode we’re learning more and more about the world and it’s various quirks – hell, even Shiroe’s learning a thing or two about his new reality. Character building aside, it’s the world that makes Log Horizon shine. Sword Art Online was never so much about the world as it was about the characters; Log Horizon in stark contrast likes to focus on the various mechanisms and skills within the well constructed world. Nyanta’s role is, arguable, a predominantly world and character building one, his character being used so far to passively evoke and details various elements of the game. This ‘new found’ way to make food taste good shows us that there is still much to be learnt and so we can only wait, and hope.
I don’t think I’ve ever noticed it before, but Log Horizon’s OST was especially excellent in episode 5. It suited the mood well, helping to make mellow moment serene and helping to keep comical moments jovial. The various pieces in this episode provided an excellent, if not perfectly subtle, quality booster, enhancing the episodes finer quality’s and adding a layer of depth that some anime lack and suffer for. For example, another show airing this season is ‘Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Comedy wo Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru‘ (or, Noucome… yeah, the title’s a bit ridiculous) – Noucome has a pretty terrible plot, being the quintessential rom-com that it is, however, I love it. The OST in Noucome is, in my opinion, spectacular, adding to every single scene and making me want to watch on. The OST is important like that, the very first piece in ‘The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya‘ hooked me on the show and from that moment on wards I was in love. It’s rather ridiculous really. What I’m basically saying is… Log Horizon’s OST is doing it’s job and it’s doing it well… consistency is all we can hope for.
In my last review I failed to look deeper, I failed to peer below the surface and wallow in all the meanings and details that I might find. However, I made sure to glean this episode for at least one relatable point and I found one. I did it! Log Horizon episode 5 offered a critical insight into what makes and human human and it reveals how truly multiplex humans are as a species. The People of the Land appear human now, possessing clear cut qualities that can be associated with a human mindset – memories, emotions, etc. However, it begs the question… just what are they? They can’t be human. All of the adventurers are people who played the game and were ‘transported’ into it. The People of the Land? They were there already. Are they simply intelligent life? Were they created ex nihilo? Questions, questions, questions… where art thou answers?
Touya and Minori – a saddening tale of two children (who look like they’ve been pulled directly from Digimon) lost in an odd world. Shiroe has been ruminating about these twins since the beginning of the series and now we’re finally receiving an answer to the age old question: just who are these bastards? Noobs; there’s your answer. The two of them are noobs who are out to there depth and joined a guild that they probably shouldn’t have joined, save for sheer desperation. I think it’s pretty obvious how Shiroe is going to go about helping them, and I’m not sure if you can call that a flaw, but I’m looking forward to it regardless. I just hope Shiroe isn’t going to create a guild full of noobs… f**k adventure Shiroe, create the world’s strongest guild, take over the world, pull a Lelouche and brings peace of the region… that is all…
Mundane realism – creating a balance, just how much ‘real’ is too much? I’m all for a realistic game ‘n all, but just how real do we want this fantasy world to be in which they ride griffons and… You know what? I’m not even going to discuss this until we find out what the f**k is really going on because, to be honest, I’m sticking by my viewpoint that they’re all way too relaxed about the whole situation. I mean come on! Sure, a few background characters have been freaking out, but what the hell? Shiroe is barely even talking about it? Stop talking about the joys of f**king adventures and start talking about life, the soul and the fact that the real world was probably wiped out in a nuclear attack, therefore dropping everyone in Japan into heaven which just so happens to be the video game ‘Elder Tale’… seriously though, what if Shiroe fell asleep at his desk and this is all his wet dream? Not cool…
To conclude, episode 5 was good. Not great mind you, I mean, I wasn’t blown away or anything (although I’ve come to aspect that from this show), but it’s good for what it is. Log Horizon is redefining a genre and it’s not really doing anything new, episode 5 simply extenuates that point.