© Touno Mamare • KADOKAWA / NHK • NEP

By its eleventh expansion pack, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game Elder Tale has become a global success, having a following of millions of players. However, during the release of its twelfth expansion pack: Novasphere Pioneers, thirty thousand Japanese gamers who are all logged on at the time of the update, suddenly find themselves transported inside the game world and donning their in-game avatars. In the midst of the event, a socially awkward gamer called Shiroe along with his friends Naotsugu and Akatsuki decide to team up so that they may face this world which has now become their reality along with the challenges which lie ahead. (Synopsis from MyAnimeList.net)

Wait… transported and trapped in a game? The concept certainly sounds familiar, as Sword Art Online will be the first thing to come to mind. But we won’t be talking about SAO, but about a relatively newer series called Log Horizon.

If you think Sword Art Online is better than this series and this series is simply a ripoff, think again.

 

THE STORY

The series is divided into 4 arcs. First is the Beginning of a different world or the Apocalypse, which introduces Game Elder Tale and how different kinds of players were trapped in a game. This arc also represents the gameplay every MMORPG should have, such as team dynamics and strategic approach on how you defeat mobs or even another notorious Guild.

The next one would be the Knights of Camelot, wherein Shiroe decides to create a Round Table Conference on how will the adventurers and the People of The Land interact and survive like they do in the real world.

The third arc is The End of the Game, wherein the group have to save the People of the Land (Non Playable Characters) by the invasion of the Goblin King around Akihabara and Eastal. This concept is similar to special events that occasionally happen in most of MMORPGs weplay.

The final arc of the season in the District of Akiba. This arc is somehow amusing and relaxing, and there’s little conflict happening here because this only focuses on the festivities around Akihabara.

 

One advantage here in this series is that death is not permanent, it feels like that your character died in an RPG game, and eventually you will respawn at some point. The story of the series itself, represents yourself as the character you are playing, teamwork and communication to others is a must in order for the character to survive. Every arc in this series has its own twists and turns that leaves viewers hanging, and the story has just the right pacing.

Sometimes you have to wait for the next episode to see what will happen to those characters. There is a little hint of romance in the series but it focuses more on the characters managing and surviving their new life in Elder Tale.

 

THE CHARACTERS

ShiroeAkatsuki

Let’s start with the main character Shiroe, an Enchanter. Before he was trapped in the game, he’s an introvert. Judging from his character from the game, he is an excellent Strategist because really likes to observe his surroundings before he can do things right. Although he has been called the “Villain with Glasses,” Shiroe doesn’t care about what other people say or think about him. He is simply doing his best to manage things up not only for himself but also for the sake of others as well. He gives useful advice to the people around him, whether a young newbie or a veteran player. He can also solve problems, whether in-game or personal. In addition, he’s considered as a veteran in the game since his level is High enough to guide the new ones.

There is also Naotsugu, Shiroe’s friend and a veteran warrior, yet a self-proclaimed “open pervert.” Although he’s a bit perverse, he becomes reliable when Shiroe needs him. Akatsuki however, is a female veteran Assassin. Small but terrible, she’s often shy at at times tomboyish. She calls Shiroe “Milord” due to the gratitude and kindness he gave her. Akatsuki is an all-time favourite assassin to most of the viewers because of her cute and petite body.

The siblings Touya and Minori are a Samurai and a Kannagi respectively. Both of them were helpless until Shiroe manages to guide them especially to Minori. They were able to improve their strategic tactics and skill as long as they’re with each other and their party. Last is Nyanta, a were-cat Swashbuckler, calm and composed when a crisis happens in Akihabara, and is also a good cook.

 

THE GRAPHICS

Usually the backgrounds, are full of Greens, this represent an apocalyptic theme in Akihabara, from its surroundings to buildings and cars, to show that the adventurers are indeed in a different world they lived in.

The Graphical User Interface (GUI) in the game is almost the same as Sword Art Online, however the information such as the user name, status, HP and MP and race is completely detailed.

Unfortunately, the armor, the weapons, skill execution to most of the characters are simple, it didn’t show every details and outlines. The drawing and the animation of mobs aren’t ferocious at all, and the People of the Land.

 

THE SOUNDS

The BG music of this series is just right. From funny antics to serious fights happening per episode, the music and the scenes blend together perfectly.

Shiroe’s VA is Takuma Terashima. He is able to execute his voice perfectly in a constant manner, always calm and composed like Shiroe should be portrayed in the series.

Akatsuki is voiced by Emiri Kato, who is also known for her roles in Madoka Magica as Kyuubey, Baka to Test to Shokanjuu as Hideyoshi, and Lucky Star as Kagami Hiiragi. As alway, the execution of her voice as an assassin is just right.

Aside from the main characters, supporting characters like Marielle voiced by Yumi Hara is a good match for her role as the motherly guild master.

This series has only one OP and ED themes each, which is unusual for a 2-cour series. The Opening theme “Database” by Man with a Mission feat. Takuma gets you more motivated when you listen to it. Same goes for for the ED “Your song” by Yunchi.

 

THE ISSUE BETWEEN LOG HORIZON AND SWORD ART ONLINE

For some reason, many people are hating this series due to their belief that Sword Art Online is better than Log Horizon. Take note that Log Horizon deals about how you use your mind when playing the game. Sword Art Online, on the other hand, focuses more on brawn as it features an overpowered boy who cheats.

Also, Log Horizon is all about teamwork and strategy to manage to win the game, for them to search to find a way back  to the real world. The characters in Sword Art Online, meanwhile, are trapped in a do-or-die situation.

One thing I dislike about the series is the way the characters push their glasses, which is especially evident with Shiroe who has a tendency to push his glasses whenever he strategizes, which makes him look like whatever he’s planning is nefarious.

Also, the series didn’t show how Shiroe became a Strategist and how did he found the game Elder Tale to be enjoyable before he was trapped in the game. I guess we will find out in Season 2 in a few months time.

 

OVERALL

It’s understandable for people to have different tastes when it comes to anime. But if you are looking for a series similar to Sword Art Online minus the emotional baggage, then Log Horizon is highly recommended for you. Even for a  2-cour season with different arcs, the stories in each of those arcs are well-executed.

Now the first season is over, viewers will have to wait a little longer for the arrival of the second season. It will surely leave you hanging because of the upcoming dangers the players of Log Horizon will have to face.

I recommend that you read the light novel the series is based from if you cannot wait to see what’s in store for the next season.

 

ART: 8.5/10
STORY: 9.5/10
CHARACTERS: 9/10
SOUND: 8/10
LIFESPAN: 8.5/10
OVERALL: 8.7/10

 

 


EDITOR’S NOTE: This blogpost was written by Apa Palma, and you may follow him on twitter at @chaotix37, & edited by Lorenz Baliwagan, and you may follow him on twitter at @PBNkapamilya.

The opinions expressed on this post does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Anime Pilipinas, its Editorial Team, and its Friends & Partners.

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Silent Riajuu but a Deadly Anime Enthusiast. Ecchi Harem fanatic, no questions asked. But very serious, and open-minded when it comes to anime discussions.