Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Log Horizon (Rogu Horaizun)

This will be my first official post going under my new blog title, design, and URL. I'm pretty happy about everything, really. I've kept my NERV (Neon Genesis Evangelion) page background because it really has become a staple to me, but everything else has changed. Except for the content. I'm a bona fide NWA (Nerd With Attitude) and I will keep bringing the best in edgy nerdiness to you. 

Today I shall review the Fall 2013/Winter 2014 anime Log Horizon. The reason I chose to view that show at this time of all times is because the anime I had previously finished was the rather epic Sword Art Online and I really wanted to watch something that might be similar in terms of content. 

Log Horizon certainly is similar in terms of "gamers stuck in a game where they can't logout" setup, but the two shows are actually as different as they can be in terms of style and theme.

There's no doubt that Sword Art Online was a full-blown action/romance anime that focused on one character in particular. The pacing was fantastic, the romance was heartwarming, and the action was everything for which an action anime fan could hope. It was epic beyond epic and quickly developed a fervent fanbase and a set of fervent detractors. 

Log Horizon is completely different once you throw out a few basic startup tropes. So different that it will probably please a lot of the people that disliked Sword Art Online

The first thing you might notice is that Log Horizon actually focuses on a much larger cast of characters and teamwork is held in higher regard. I think anime fans who are also gamers might like this approach more since they'll understand that you can do much more with a good group than you can do solo. Log Horizon also has a lot more humor and it doesn't take itself as seriously as Sword Art Online. This is neither good nor bad, but they are differences I noticed and I imagine that fans who don't like one show will probably like one of them but not the other or vice versa. Personally, I preferred Sword Art Online

Another change is that the main character of Log Horizon (although initially told to be a solo player) is actually more of a strategist type of character that actually works better in a group. Kirito was the badass solo fighter in Sword Art Online with a serious attitude and possibly a sister complex in vein of Eren Yeager from Attack on Titan, but Shiroe is a completely different character.

Shiroe rarely fights since he is more of a strategy type of person, but when he does fight it is almost always to give support to others. He works better from the shadows and he is often misunderstood as a villain because of his unwillingness to be public. The creepy way he wears his glasses and smiles probably has something to do with it, too. Of course, few people really know just how positively he has affected the lives of everyone in the town of Akihabara. I rather liked that part of the story. Sometimes your heroes should be the guys that stand in your shadows and don't hog the glory. Am I right?

Around are some fairly neat and interesting characters like Akatsuki, Naotsugu, Nyanta, and Minori. Akatsuki is the typical loli assassin character that we've come to know so well. Nyanta is a bit more unusual. Oh, we've seen Nyanta's type before in anime, but not as often. Cat people who can fight with two swords just aren't that typical. 

There are plenty of other characters, too. Like I said, Log Horizon has a larger cast and focus than Sword Art Online

Since Shiroe doesn't fight and he is the more analytical type he will often give long inner monologues to the audience about how the former-game-world-now-real-world of Elder Tale works and things like that. He's very thorough, too. That's one thing I didn't like so much about this series. The time spent giving explanations could have been put to better use.

And if you haven't guessed it then I'll go ahead and tell you that this anime is not action-centered. There aren't any signature fights like there are in One Piece or Attack on Titan. There are some cool scenes and moments, but nothing that would make me recommend this to action anime fans. 

This anime is just so much more laid back, but it isn't quite deep enough in the characterization department to be put in the same category as .hack//SIGN

So who would I recommend this anime to? Well, I'm not sure. I mean, if you just love anime about gamers trapped in games then this would certainly be what you'd want to watch. Otherwise, I'd say that maybe it'd be perfect for folks who like slice of life with a bit of humor and even romance thrown in. The pacing isn't very fast and the delivery is rather tedious, though. Normally tedious information can be delivered if the pacing is quick enough as was the case in Sword Art Online, but oftentimes it didn't feel like anything else was happening in Log Horizon other than information delivery. 

The second season of Log Horizon coming this Fall should help in the action and character development part. I hope so, anyway. The final few episodes of Log Horizon were when things were just starting to get really, really interesting to me. What I'd like to see more of is Shiroe's past, too. I want to hear more about his time spent in the Debauchery Tea Party more than anything else. 

Anyway, that's pretty much all I have to say as far this anime is concerned. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I thought I would. Of course, I probably chose a bad time to watch it. Watching anything game-related after Sword Art Online is not recommended. But for all I know I could have the same thought now about Sword Art Online if I had started Log Horizon first. 

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