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  • Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Joined Dec 22, 2011
  • 33 / M

Log Horizon

Many say that a show should be judged based only on its own merits and not how it compares with others of its kind. Nothing can be more far away from this concept that Log Horizon, which will forever be compared to Sword Art Online. And rightfully so, since it came out so close to it, just to cash in on its fame and get money out of the starving for more SAOtards who can’t wait for another sequel full of harem, deus ex machinas, and super perfect anti-social gamers who help people because it makes sense.

So yeah, here we are again with a premise where people are trapped in a videogame. Only this time, death is not permanent, since you will just respawn in the nearest temple. You know right away it is not a grave issue, like SAO pretended it was before throwing in tentacle fan service. It is light conflict where the trapped players just try to get along, many of which don’t do that and just loot and pseudo-kill others for fun. Here is where our main heroes come in to save the day because… erm, because they are good people. Yeah, that is the whole conflict, some guys who are bored and do nasty thingies with no real repercussions, and some other guys who try to stop them because they have nothing better to do. That’s all there is to it, really. They try to make it seem more intriguing at points by mentioning how you lose some of your memories every time you resurrect, or how the NPCs actually have personality and are not drones. Despite those attempts, it still remains a comical and light fantasy adventure all the way.

The story is based on light novels by Touno Mamare, the guy who also wrote Maoyuu Maou Yuusa. He never tries to create a serious story, and loves to make parodies out of stereotypes. Despite the light approach, he still manages to have better characterization and immersion than SAO, since over there it was just some generic super perfect dude doing everything, while being surrounded by people who can’t do anything without his divine presence. Over here, you get teams of players, each one having a certain role in battles. Nobody can solo armies and big bosses like that asshole Kirito could; over here you need teamwork and coordination to win. Thus it offers a much better feeling of what MMO battles really are like.

Of course lots of things are still quite off in terms of realism. Many of the players don’t seem to know very fundamental powers even if they are at maximum level. Yes, you heard right, the main players are at max level since episode 1 and just raise their secondary classes, which have no real impact in their happy-go-lucky adventures. Thus nobody can be stronger than them in terms of statistics and it all boils down to strategies and teamwork. And since the heroes happen to excel in those elements, they are basically flawless and you are just watching them casually showing of their mental superiority as they overcome with ease all challenges. So all the fancy terminology they use during action scenes is just there to confirm their status as the picture perfect super team. Again, not exciting, but at least it is about brains over brawns. And they sure don’t try to make it seem like equipment or items play any role, since nobody seems to wear something that gives him extra durability, or does spells that the others even heard of.

Exposition is by far the weakest aspect of an already weak story, since everything is explained exactly when it happens, a thing which makes it sloppy. For example, they explain the game terminology in the middle of the battle, as if there is no other way to let the audience understand without rubbing it to their faces. Opponents and on-lookers will be stand still while the heroes are infodumping the hell out of everything, even for things everybody should have known in-series. It looks ridiculous when you see how all the strategies they use in battles are based on skills and spells the audience never heard of up until that moment. It does make sense after they explain it to you but it is by no stretch of the word smart; it feels like the author is just making them up as he goes along based on what the plot demands.

The characters are just ok for the type of style this show goes for, but are not deep or complicating in any way. They are easily defined by a few quirks and a simple mentality, which is usually there just for laughs. Thus we have the assassin chick acting like a slave to a bookworm mage, who is friends with a pervert paladin (talk about acting out-of-character). Any attempts the setting does in order to present a world where anarchy rules and people do stuff out of boredom is rendered useless when you see how nobody seems to care much about whatever happens. They act scared when someone is looting or killing them but that means absolutely nothing if you can’t really die or you just lose a few trinkets. They are all still defined by very well-established archetypes and fetishes, so you never feel like they are real people. They are fairly cartoony and goofy, lack backdrop stories or long term objectives to offer some openings for character development, and take it too easy considering their situation. So they might seem cool and funny at first, but down to it are very shallow and easily forgettable.

The one aspect SAO beats it at, but then again if you are watching a show just for the visuals and music, you really don’t care about what the show is all about. Not that they are bad; they are just ok, nothing fancy, better than most of whatever a small studio like Satelight can offer. It’s enough to get a good feel of a virtual fantasy setting but you are never going to be mesmerized.

It will never have the sales or popularity of SAO, just because it is easy going and without awesome production values. It will still be remembered as a better version of SAO, since it did a far better job at showing how online communities work, and how social skills and strategies are more important than grinding monsters out of screen, and then having time skips every 20 minutes just for the heck of it. I can even say how we were all expecting it to be a SAO clone instead of being hyped to the moon, and thus when we go to see something better fleshed out with less expectations, it ended up being an overall better experience. Log Horizon does not betray you, since it remains the same as what it shows you in the first episode. It doesn’t promise you to be a scary action survival before soon turning to a harem with tentacles, rape, and incest like SAO did. That is something quite respectable. Although it still isn’t exciting, so unless you are in for the comedy and the gaming terminology you will get bored of it very soon. I still consider the best of “trapped in a videogame” anime to be Hack//sign for down to it NOT being about videogames but rather about isolation and a critique on escapism through a fake persona. It might not have been funny or exciting, but it was serious and moody throughout its run.

And now for some excused scorings.

General Artwork 1/2 (okey-ish)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)

Voice Acting 3/5 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/5 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)

Premise 1/2 (easy going)
Pacing 1/2 (easy going)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 1/2 (some)
Conclusion 0/2 (incomplete)

Presence 2/2 (funny)
Personality 2/2 (silly but well founded)
Backdrop 0/2 (none)
Development 0/2 (none)
Catharsis 0/2 (none)

Historical Value 1/3 (better than SAO but that’s it)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little going on)
Memorability 3/4 (good for what it is but simply too light)

Art 0/1 (looks average)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 1/3 (feels simple and easy going)
Characters 2/4 (they are funny but not great in any way)

VERDICT: 4.5/10

4/10 story
6/10 animation
6/10 sound
4/10 characters
4.5/10 overall

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Gekkostate says...

Funny how all the reviews this guy submits he's usually bitching about some OTHER anime, and his reviews have no intellectual value what so ever, it's ALL opinions about how you hate EVERYTHING, if you're going to write a review on an anime, stay on track, no one cares if YOU like SAO or not, reviews are about facts expressed with a personal touch, not a "me me me, i don't like boo hoo hoo"                                                                                                              and you bitch about more animes than anything else, maybe you're just not an anime person, cuz i've yet to see anything positive or intellectual posted by you                                                                                                         re·view  (riˈvyo͞o/)to examine or assess (something) formally with the possibility or intention of instituting change if necessary, using the facts and evidence presented to you

Sep 4, 2014
TheAngelofDeath says...

I think the problem with this review is that you came into watching this show with such an extreme hateful bias towards SAO and believed that this would be a mimic of it that you subconsciously looked for a reason to hate most of the show. Thats a definate show killer I can say this because I have as well gone into a show with the mindset of it being absolutely horrible and throughout the show I can say that I only ever looked for the bad elements in the show. Even when something good happened I poked around at it until I found a reason to hate it. I enjoyed SAO when it first came out though mind you I had not seen any other shows like it at the time. So when I saw LH I instantly thought "a bad mimic" So I instantly put it as a "bad show" into my head and avoided watching the Anime for a long time. Eventually though my curiousity got the better of me and when I had cleared my head a few months later and watched it I found that SAO paled in comparison to it. I'm not sure why you brought up tenticle porn in this review as there was literally only 15 full seconds of it on SAO and absolutely no reference to it in LH, but once again that brings me back to my point about walking into a show with a bad mindset. Perhaps its not my place to say this but maybe your just not a fan of the genre all together? There are always going to be bad things in any Anime you watch both noticeable and not so noticeable. However its important to understand and decide whether these things (small in this particular case) carry as much weight as you think they do and whether or not they truely bring the show down in its entireity. I honestly believe if this came out before SAO you would be giving this review a much higher rateing than you are now. You've just been far too influenced by the Anime Sword Art Online to make a review about this Anime and are trying too hard to make them seem "almost" exactly the same. This is my opinion based off what I read about your review and what I know about both SAO and LH however I do believe that it holds much merit on its own, and I have done my best to remove as much of my own bias as it is possible for me to do.

Sep 1, 2014
deltaangelfire says...

Please take note that this review is based on (as of this comment) 3 of 16 episodes. Having watched and enjoyed from beginning to end, the quality of this show steadily increases and then skyrockets around episode 9 where the show finally really distinguishes itself from other similar titles.

At that pooint it becomes less of a one man story and you start to see it as more of a nation. Rather than comparing it to SAO or .Hack, I would compare it more closely to Utawarerumono.

Jan 18, 2014
Poio says...

Log Horizon most certainly delivers. As a long time standing MMO veteran I do agree it's lacking, but then again I also understand that the more experienced you are with this specific topic the less possible it becomes to fulfill your expectations. Not only do MMOs differ between eachother but they also evolve with time (my first one was purely txt based, imagine that). This series delivers on a whole different level than SAO:

- it focuses more on the game world aspect

- it does not revolve around a single character but rather tries to show what an in-game community is like and how they could affect the game world if allowed to bend a few rules.

The whole "trapped in VR" thing seems to be just the means to an end here rather than the base pillar of the plot - since the people are trapped they spend their lives there and as such they need to care about the world more. They cannot leave and so changes made to the game world are almost equivalent to real world decisions, although the scale is smaller.

I would watch both SAO and LH regardless of which came out first, only because they are so different there is no real place to compare. It's like comparing a plane with wind since they both move in the air under certain conditions.

Dec 18, 2013
yamirakuen says...

As someone who reads the light novels (you can't really call them light, though), I've to disagree with your verdict. The setting is way more elaborate & thoughtful than in SAO (which, in my opinion, is for kids). Yes, it's funny & ridiculous at times, but the plot is way more interesting than SAO. Try watching a few more episodes! They just started on the next arc, which is the most exciting part of the series so far (in the novels, at least. & so far the anime is pretty faithful to the novels).

Dec 16, 2013