OP Sequence

OP: 「database」by MAN WITH A MISSION feat. TAKUMA of 10 Feet

「大災害」 (Dai Saigai)
“The Apocalypse”

A sword-and-sorcery adventure in an MMORPG world. This feels exactly like what stepping into an MMO would be like, complete with a lightness of tone and an adorable roleplaying ninja.

The World of Log Horizon – The MMORPG Elder Tale

Since comparisons with a certain other show are flippin’ inevitable, let’s discuss the main premise and how this is different (and hopefully, better). The game our characters are trapped in is called Elder Tale, and it’s an established MMORPG with other 20 million subscribers worldwide, which is something like double the best numbers of subscribers I’ve heard World of Warcraft boasting. The story takes place after the launch of The Novasphere Pioneers expansion, and all of the characters are at the level cap (Lvl 90), so there’s none of that leveling up junk. Oh, and Elder Tale was not a virtual reality MMORPG, which you can tell because the characters didn’t initially have a clue how to fight from inside the game, because Shiroe (Terashima Takuma) talked about how different it was to fight monsters in front of you and keep an eye on the overall situation like this, and because they were surprised that they could actually touch the world. Oh, and apparently several hundred thousand players around the world were trapped in this game, though Log Horizon only concerns the 30,000 ones on the Japanese server.

This setup is a lot more conducive to enjoying the story for me. Why? Because humans are weird in that if you say “they’re brains are trapped in the virtual world, but their bodies are still alive”, we think up the countless ways they could safely disconnect them without clearing the game. SAO slipped into uncanny valley, where it was realistic enough that it could happen (make the game, trap them in) but not realistic enough to lead to the story that was told – they all probably would have been sprung in a month tops. This skirts the whole problem by making the reason their trapped A) unknown and B) probably akin to – or literally – magic. Humans are funny like that…give us a detailed and semi-plausible reason and we’ll poke holes in it, but say “it’s magic” and we’ll go along for the ride.

I also appreciate that they’re skipping the leveling up junk (leveling up doesn’t provide nearly as interesting story material as high-level raiding and group interactions do) and that “The Apocalypse” happened at the release of an expansion. That adds an unknown element to a familiar (to the characters) world, it means they can get the story up and running quickly, and it gives a good reason why people who have been away from the game for two years like Naotsugu (Maeno Tomoaki) would suddenly come back for a look. Also, that’s when I would suck people into a strange world if I were the mastermind behind all this.

A bonus: I like how they kept in game-like attributes like the guild hall full of doors and the food that all tasted the same (also, HAH! That was hilarious!). Without that we might go around thinking this world is real, but no, probably not. Some kind of magic or mass delusion or something else might have gotten them there, but it’s still an MMO world in the end.

Tone & Characters

Compared to other stories of its type, the tone of Log Horizon is noticeably light. Yes, they’re trapped in this game world, but while plenty of other players are sitting around in despair, it’s not played for drama, and the main characters – and all named characters, for that matter – immediately go about trying to understand the situation and figure out the rules of their new world. They’re proactive instead of angsty and scared, which I like. Drama is fine, don’t get me wrong, and they’re certainly taking this seriously, but I prefer a story that can lighten up amid a dire overarching situation rather than be all serious business all the time. More than a drama, this is an adventure, which is the kind of story I enjoy.

That said, I’ll understand it if the tone strikes you as odd at points. While I appreciate them minimizing the drama and angst, it does seem like they might have gone a little too far, to the point that many of the characters don’t really seem scared at all. It doesn’t personally bother me too much, and it’s a hard balance to make because angst is almost always annoying, but I’ll understand if it doesn’t work as well for you.

As for the characters, I immediately liked them. As I mentioned in the preview, I’m predisposed to like Shiroe because my go-to MMORPG class is caster/nuker, but I also like that he’s using his head and experimenting rather than sitting around and whining. Though then again, I also used to play leader/strategist when I was a younger MMORPG player (i.e. when I had far more free time), so maybe that’s just bias speaking again. I do count points off for him being weirdly wrapped up in not being a guild after this Debauchery Tea Party (what a name! I beat they’d kick Houkago Teatime’s butts) business, though I may withdraw that later on if it is justified. Naotsugu has the old open pervert thing going for him, and I always love seeing characters who are open with feelings. Ohandbytheway, I forgot to mention earlier but I like how the first person Shiroe contacted was a guy. Far more realistic than him suddenly swimming in the ladies.

And then there’s Akatsuki (Kato Emiri), who is marvelous. Another point for keeping this world consistent with the MMOs we know – she started out rolling a male character, and only converted to a female model once she suddenly faced with living in a radically different body than she was used to. If Shiroe is tripping because he’s a little taller (note: I’d be totally screwed, since you can hardly ever make a character model as tall as I really am! Orz), I can’t imagine how awkward that would be. Also liked that she met them because she and Shiroe had grouped together before, and she remembered that he still had one of those potions. A good job avoiding overly convenient storytelling (them just bumping into each other, etc) there!

Also, Akatsuki is both adorable, hilarious, and adorable. Her continuing to roleplay her ninja-class marks her as a bit weird but certainly endearing, and let’s face it, you can’t hate a girl so cute that even the girls love her. SHIPPING AKATSUKI X SHIROE, GO!

A Sword-and-Sorcery Adventure

I love sword-and-sorcery stories, and I think it’s a shame that we don’t see as many stories playing this genre straight anymore. Calling out spells and attacks has become passé, and while that’s largely fine with me, I like to see it sometimes. This one of those times I think realism in fiction is overrated. It’s just fun! The funny thing is that this is one of the better settings to play sword-and-sorcery straight, because the reason why spells and attacks work like they do is easy to explain – the programmers coded it that way. Like magic this would be a cheap tactic if it weren’t baked into the very essence of the story. That makes it work.

Looking Ahead – Rescue Time!

I like how they’re not moping around and immediately getting on with their first adventure. What I am most looking forward to in this show is the adventure vibe and the group dynamics inside an MMO world I’m familiar with, and to really get that we’re going to need to collect more of the party. Fortunately it looks like another member is about to join the fray. Should be fun!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – A sword-and-sorcery adventure begins. Good attention to detail, plays off MMO tropes, & Akatsuki is ADORABLE. A good start #loghorizon 01

Random thoughts:

  • By the way, I really like this OP. All the characters flying around, the action, the scale of events, the upbeat music…it all just gets me pumped up for some adventure, huzzah!
  • “There are two types of men in this world: open perverts who admit it, and closet perverts who won’t.” Confirmed. Naotsugu, you sage you!
  • That form changing does not sound fun. O.O is right, guys.
  • By the way, I didn’t talk about the animation because it’s good. Not great, but good. I do think the art style and color palette really suit the tone of the story though. It’s not giving me an eyegasm, but as long as the story is good then I won’t care a whit.
  • Wait, girls can’t be perverts? How sexist! Also, factually inaccurate.
  • Asking after she knees him in the face, HAH! Akatsuki-chwaaan, you’re the best.
  • Yes, apparently all shows with the word Horizon in their titles belong to me. I’m sure there’s a dirty joke in there somewhere, I just don’t see it.
  • NOTE: I’ll be out of town when this show releases next week, so expect the post Sunday night or Monday (more likely the latter). I’ll be back to the usual the week after. Thank you for your understanding.

I’ve made a change on my blog to focus more on storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing, so check it out at stiltsoutloud.com.

Full-length images: 09, 14, 18, 29, 39.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「Your song*」by Yun*chi

Preview

161 Comments

    1. Unlike you, I was so disappointed.
      Perhaps my expectations were too high, but it doesn’t have any of the tension that SAO had. Even if I give it the benefit of doubt and say it’s going for a “lighter” atmosphere, like what this blogger said, the characters are absolutely BORING.
      The MC is so PLAIN, his only saving grace is Terashi’s voice. If not for Terashi trying his best to bring the character alive, he would be unbearable. And the MC’s sidekick is so one-dimensional and boring, even Maeno’s voice can’t save him.
      The rest of the characters are a bunch of dumb lolis or loli-loving obasans. -.-”
      I’ll give it 3 episodes for the sake of Terashi, but I’m keeping my hopes low.

      shiemi
      1. i think the first mistake in that is u compare this with SAO as soon as u heard ‘trapped in online game’

        seriously, never compare something with a famous title just because its the same genre.Its like comparing every ‘fighting with power up’ genre straight to Dragon Ball. DB is awesome, but it doesn’t mean every other anime has to follow DB footsteps, if they did, we’ll have 20+ episode for every single battle and u’ll grow up way faster than the character did…

        Hayate
      2. “but it doesn’t have any of the tension that SAO had”

        The tension of being surrounded by girls?

        “The MC is so PLAIN, his only saving grace is Terashi’s voice. If not for Terashi trying his best to bring the character alive, he would be unbearable.”

        He’s a support type, an Enchanter not a super kakkoii dual-wielding swordsman.

        “The rest of the characters are a bunch of dumb lolis or loli-loving obasans.”

        Maybe it’s a way to “lighten up the situation?”

        Honestly, I’ve seen so much comments here and around the net that compare this to SAO that it’s just a copy-pasta. Just watch the show and if you don’t like drop it it’s just that simple.

        baseone
      3. I agree it’s less serious or thought provoking then SAO, but that doesn’t keep it from having the potential of being entertaining. The characters are rather shallow right now, but I guess that is fine if the comedy keeps making it fun.

        Znail
      4. Oh dear. So you’re saying SAO has a great tension in it??? It doesn’t even have a well-developed storyline and you’re saying it’s great??? I’ve studied creative writing lessons back in my college years and I can say that SAO didn’t contain a proper plot. It even do time skips for no coherent reason. I cannot say for Log Horizon though. Haven’t watched or read it yet.

        Pickled Cucumber
    2. Well, it is a “land” that most of us know. Many here has played an MMO (even me). Lets see how the Story unfold, and they dont make the same “logical” holes like in SAO, then i maybe become hooked

      Until know, we dot know the “Goal” of this Anime. In SAO we know it right from the Start. Lets see

      Germanguy
    1. Well, I was afraid that SAO would prove to be too much like .hack//sign, which revolved around a protagonist trapped in a virtual reality MMORPG yet it turned out to be completely different.

      This anime seems pretty different as well, so I guess I’ll follow it for a bit longer.

      Kizuna
    2. Well, the MC is a “Leader” type. a Raid leader. Not Guild Leader. A Raid leader knows to guide the Group in Battle. a Guild Leader hold them Together, he/she is the Leader, where Raid Leader is their General

      Germanguy
    1. Strangely enough, this OP tends to be a love/hate affair. Not sure way, save for perhaps the music being something other than your normal straight JPop affair…though I’ve seen those be fairly love/hate as well, so maybe I don’t have a point lol

      Stilts
  1. I find the OP badass.
    I like how the ED exhibits a light-hearted romantic theme.
    I find the battles awesome & lookin’ forward for more.
    I like how the protagonist is the ‘brains’ of the team.
    I find the romance & comedy cute.

    Overall: I like it. A lot. Definitely as good as expected 🙂

    Red HeartGold ZX
  2. It just wouldn’t be right if they weren’t stuck in a game . . . again. I’m in for this ride. It had just enough funny in it to keep me entertained. But that OP, it’s the reason why I skip a lot of them.

    Megas
  3. A lighter series than SAO, but as good as nonetheless. The question now will be what will keep them playing. Playing games is fine and all but being trapped inside one would probably bore me in a month or two without proper motivation, like death, to keep me playing. If rescue is possible or there is no immediate danger, I’d probably just build a home and laze around while the nerd lords finish the game and make walkthroughs that I could use.

    Now I know the novel, but never read it because I’m reading tons already. I don’t know how the story will sit for SAO haters and SAO fans but if I were you guys I’d hop into this while I leave my paradigms at home. Saying that this is better than SAO or is a rip-off of SAO is just dumb. It still episode 1 so anything can happen in the near future.

    Finally I ask novel readers to keep the discussions in the IRC and not here to avoid spoilers.

    The Moondoggie
    1. The comparisons are completely pointless to me anyway. You’re essentially comparing the premise of an entire story against the premise of an arc. Sword Art Online starts with the same basic premise, but the Aincrad part is simply meant as a building block for future arcs. It was never meant to be the be all end all of the story. Unfortunately, the worst arc was the second one and all the people that hyped it as if it was a gift sent from the heavens didn’t help at all.

      Which brings me to my point, between a story set entirely in one game and another that’s only partially, which would you expect to better portray the situation?

      Kuntzy
      1. I expect Log Horizon between the two to be able to portray the situation better. SAO has a broader focus. It’s like comparing grade school science to highschool Physics. When something puts it’s focus on a single subject/idea/plot it is expected to portray or explore it in more detail than one that just puts the same subject/idea/plot as part of the whole story.

        TheMoondoggie
      2. Exactly. One of the things that bothered me about the preview the show was what Stilts said in the preview for the show. The virtual world is only part of the setting of SAO. Here it’s everything. In essence, the first season of SAO is like a prologue since the overlying story of SAO is more about the lasting effects that the SAO incident had on the real world.

        Then you’ve got things like this:

        This setup is a lot more conducive to enjoying the story for me. Why? Because humans are weird in that if you say “they’re brains are trapped in the virtual world, but their bodies are still alive”, we think up the countless ways they could safely disconnect them without clearing the game. SAO slipped into uncanny valley, where it was realistic enough that it could happen (make the game, trap them in) but not realistic enough to lead to the story that was told – they all probably would have been sprung in a month tops.

        This is one of the biggest problems I have with a lot of the more scathing criticism of shows in general and that is that people have this weird way of thinking that their own common sense is absolutely correct. Sure, you can think these things up, but can you give absolute proof that any of it would work? It just seems like trying to find a reason to hate something to me. And then saying that magic with no explanation is better? I… I just can’t see that as solid reasoning… ever.

        I just think the comparisons should be kept at a minimum. Sure, they’re inevitable. That that doesn’t make them right in any way though. Especially when one’s opinion seems rather biased. That’s where flaming wars begin.

        Kuntzy
      3. That part where Stilts think that SAO players could be sprung out within a month, I don’t think that would have been possible.

        Sure they got lots of technology, but then Kayaba has more tech and wants to trap the players there. He created 100 floors of increasing difficulty. He also rigged the helmets the players use to play. He planned everything before hand and and pulled all the stops.

        If THAT happened in the real world, the death toll would have been bigger because the concerned parents of kids today(or at least a generation after ours) would have been full of hard-headed people who don’t care about things they didn’t understand.

        Common scenario? The dad/mom don’t understand, thinks it was all a silly joke and pulled the plug. The end, poor kid. IRL Asuna would not have survived, with a mom like that.

        TheMoondoggie
      4. It is silly to compare this show to SAO…but that doesn’t mean people aren’t going to do it anyway. That’s how we humans function, by drawing comparisons (telling ourselves stories) to understand things. Arguing against that is like arguing against my uncanny valley / magic point…you’re arguing against human nature. That’s how we’ve worked since we were sitting around campfires talking about our gods, and probably even before that. That’s humanity.

        And let’s not get into a detailed SAO discussion here, please. Eyes on the prize, gents.

        Stilts
      5. @Stilts

        Personally I feel the uncanny valley deal is wrong to begin with, but I digress.

        All I’m really saying is that this show should just be known as “Log Horizon” and not “that other MMO show that’s better/worse than SAO”. Like has been mentioned, .hack is a better comparison and even then, it’s still not quite correct.

        Kuntzy
    2. Indeed. Saying this is a rip-off of SAO is no different from saying SAO is a rip-off of .hack. There’s really no point to it really; if the story is good, then what does it matter that its premise is one that has been used in a different show? It’s not like there are a hundred and one other anime/manga/etc. that have this whole “trapped in a video game” business anyway.

      INFERTakuya
  4. Man, it’d have been great if that girl character stayed “trapped” into the male body right there instead of turning into yet-another-loli character.

    Yeah, yeah it’s not like it’s never done before, but similar to “Ranma 1/2” or “fullmetal alchemist”, having a character trapped into something completely different for the entire series (and not just one episode) is something I’d like to see more. It’s relatively untapped trope and it’s different from the “trap” (i.e. a girl-looking boy or a boy-looking girl thing) trope, mind you.

    This series doesn’t piss me off as much as SAO, a sentiment seems to be shared by many so far -but looking back the first 1st ep of SAO wasn’t that bad, actually.

    deathtogeneric/formulaicshows
    1. Man, it’d have been great if that girl character stayed “trapped” into the male body right there instead of turning into yet-another-loli character.

      If you’re going that route, I think it would have been funnier to have her morph into a completely different looking character – but still male (one of those the item works, but not exactly the way you want things. Run into that now and again in RPGs).

      As it is, I’m fine with the requisite loli. Helps balance things out between the two guys and she allows for some additional humorous moments.

      daikama
    2. I like that they did things this way to get a little more diversity on the main cast (and, ya know, open the way for rabu-rabu), but I also think it’d be really cool to explore that, either with a woman playing a male character or vice versa.

      Stilts
  5. A great anime, great characters and a wonderful story. Watching this episode reminded me how much I love the animes about knights and wizards, adventure and magic, medieval fantasy environment. Not bad to be primarily a MMORPG, the oddities and quirks of the game world lead to fantastic comedic moments. I would say that this world is a mixture of magic and science, but I admit it sounds crazy lol XD.

    Our protagonists are charming and funny. I wonder what will be the true appearance of Shiroe? I bet it’s as tall as Akatsuki. I think it would be right considering its small difficulty maintaining balance.

    I’ll be waiting patiently for his return aniki Stilts, Aye Sir!

    Shadow74
  6. For me the fact that the show doesn’t take itself seriously (note the line about “this only happens in fantasy novels”) is the best part. Very much JMO, but I think if you’re going to go the serious route, you have make things very plausible and on the horrific/massive struggle to survive (i.e. no hax powers) side, or you get a lot of what Stilts mentions – viewers questioning things.

    From my RPG (not so much MMO) experience, if you’re going to start at max level, mage is the way to go. So tedious playing one starting at 1st level (“OK, here goes my sole, hardly effective spell”).

    Naotsugu was great – suddenly trapped in a fantasy RPG game what’s the first thing you think of? Look for the (usually rare) female players of course! Priorities are important LOL.

    Nothing new, but still think having defeated foes morph into coins is funny. Very RPG. Wonder if it works the same way for items.

    RE: the food, I thought that was a subtle dig at said “other MMORPG anime” where food was a big deal (even though you didn’t need to eat in the game). In fact, taking into account much of what Stilts already mentioned, I was struck by a sense of “other MMORPG anime” v2. The creators took a look at what some (“other MMORPG anime” was/is popular after all) would perceive as flaws in that show, and dealt with a lot of them from the start. The no need to level up thing is a good example.

    Overall I thought it was a fun show to watch. I’m certainly in for another episode and hope they can keep up the humor throughout the season.

    daikama
    1. While Log Horizon was published after a certain other MMORPG light novel, I don’t think it was necessarily a reaction to it. It’s possible, but speaking as a fantasy writer I would find it very uncomfortable and unsatisfying to write something solely to show how another story didn’t do it properly. More likely Touno-sensei just got the idea and wrote it because he wanted to, either without having read SAO or despite it.

      Also, basing a story off an MMORPG isn’t exactly a revolutionary idea. Write what you know, ne? Not hard to picture how Touno-sensei came up with the idea for the story, heh

      P.S. The anime was likely greenlighted (and for 2-cour) thanks to SAO, though. That’s how the suits work.

      Stilts
      1. @Stilts: Just want to clear up a misunderstanding about my comment.

        First, you are correct in that I should not have presumed any overt/conscious derogatory meaning behind the difference in which food is treated between the two shows. I have no basis in which to make any any definitive statement that regard. That being said, my “dig” comment was solely meant toward food. FWIW, the way food was treated in SAO (“other MMMORPG LN/anime” not worth typing out at this point), initially struck me as very odd because eating/drinking were not necessary “in game”. Reading the SAO LN explained why that was the case in the story, but I guess seeing it treated in the opposite manner struck me more than it perhaps should have. Really not a big deal.

        Again, just to be clear, in no way whatsoever do I think that Log Horizon itself was created as some sort of “how to do it right” retort. However, I do think that it is very possible – perhaps even likely, that the author drew some lessons from the story’s predecessor(s) (not just SAO, but also hack//Sign) in very much the same manner you have posted that as a writer, you have learned from time to time what to do and what not to do from watching anime. Learning from others’ examples is a very commonplace notion.

        That sentiment was the reason behind the “v2” comment – as you put it, “skirting” some of the potential in-setting credibility issues found in previous works which used the same background setting by adjusting some specific details. JMO, but I think that’s a reasonable hypothesis. Even so, I do admit it all could be just some ideas the author had rather than anything consciously decided to have the aforementioned positive effect.

        daikama
      2. Makes sense! And I actually think it’s likely that Touno-sensei did read SAO (and many other similar stories), because writers are also readers and we tend to enjoy reading the same kinds of stories we write.

        Stilts
  7. It definitely looks good
    Love the character so far
    Love the OP too

    Action looks really RPG-ish compare to SAO

    Well it’s really good for episode 1 can’t wait to see the other episode

    ricz
    1. Indeed it is, as I mentioned in the preview. That’s one of the reasons I was excited enough about this show to pick it up…the Maoyuu anime might have flopped, but the source was good, so I knew this guy had the skills to (probably) pull this off. Looking good so far!

      Stilts
  8. I like how Shiroe (and the guild leaders too) kept his head on his shoulder, though that and the end goals for the expansion may turn this series into a catagory similar to SAO (once you get pass the Nerv-gear stuff and the difference in combat).

    -They aren’t saying anything about age of the characters at all (yet), but it’s very apparent of what we’re seeing here about the current party of 3 (and for a lot of characters in general):
    –a middle school girl
    –a working class guy in his 20s(?)
    –a post-secondary student(?)

    BTW, who does not like a loli in an anime?????

    info600
  9. So many comparisons of this to SAO but what about .hack// ? Because quite frankly Log Horizon reminds me .hack// in that it actually succeeds in presenting its premise correctly. And no, I don’t care what you everyone says about what came first, the point I’m making is that .hack// was able to engross me in its setting far better than SAO ever could. It actually feels like an anime in an MMO setting with an expansive world.

    Let me clarify, .hack//SIGN for example was a story about Tsukasa trapped in an MMO. By the end of the anime, Tsukasa story comes to an end but the MMO conspiracy is still present. This allows .hack to become an expansive setting, because now there will be even more stories with different protagonists and how they deal with the events of the setting. Granted, .hack is very difficult to get into being a multi-media franchise. But those geeky losers (like myself) who actually invested in it found a very intresting expansive world full of details on how the MMO started, the whole conspiracy and even stories set entirely in the real world and how it was linked to the MMO. It actually FELT like a world lived in.

    What SAO fails at to me is not because of Kirito, that’s only part of it. I could fill an entire essay on how much bile I have for the character but it wasn’t what I hated most. What grates me is that SAO is NOT about an MMO. Its about a single character who basically is so great that everyone and everything loves him…..that happens to be in an MMO. The side-characters are just there to be incompetent and make Kirito look good in comparison, the girls are just there to fall in love with Kirito, even the BIG BAD is there to praise how awesome Kirito is. The MMO setting is completely pointless because the narrative is restricted to one character. You could just change SAO to “Kirito is trapped in an alternate fantasy setting” and the narrative wouldn’t change at all.

    This is were Log Horizon succeeds at. In just one episode, I felt I could get engrossed in Elder Tale. It’s a world full of many different individuals all with their own personalities and stories. The colors are bright, the tone is fun and most importantly IT FELT LIKE BEING IN AN MMO. In fact, as a former MMORPG raider this anime is even more MMO-like than either .hack or SAO. I’m definitely giving this first episode a stamp of approval.

    Sorry for the long-winded rant. I just felt like I needed to get that out of my chest, since the SAO comparisons are getting ridiculous.

    fragb85
    1. You pretty much summed up my feelings as well. I hated a lot of things about SAO, and I feel the same way you do about Kirito, but the biggest pet peeve I had was people praising it for ‘it really feels like an MMO!’ No, no it didn’t. It was practically a generic fantasy world, where the game aspect was barely of any importance except to give a cheap setup.

      That’s where Log Horizon is already different for me. It looks like a game, and it feels like one. This first episode far better captures the spirit of the MMO’s I’ve played for years than the whole of SAO ever did. The feeling of adventure, the varied people you meet there, the self-awareness of the people in the game, it’s all there. Couple that with fun characters, a rather laid-back tone and an interesting world (post-apocalyptic Akiba?) and I found myself enjoying this episode far more than I expected. There’s always the chance it’ll crash and burn later, but for now, it certainly got my vote. Let’s hope they keep this up.

      Dvalinn
    2. Well, SAO which got an animation recently is a lot newer and fresher to people’s minds than .hack series which was famous in the early-mid 2000’s. But I agree that the .hack series would be a lot better comparison for Log Horizon.

      The Story You Don't Know
    3. I do apologize for feeding the SAO comparison fires, as much as I didn’t want to, but I figured it was best to approach it early because A) I knew everyone else would, 2) its had an anime adaptation more recently, making it the one people are more likely to have seen/remember (i.e. what The Story You Don’t Know said), and D) I haven’t seen any of .hack. Sorry! It’s on my list, but my backlog list is loooong, so I doubt I’ll get to it anytime soon. Not if so many good anime keep coming out ;_;

      Stilts
    4. I think, if I had only ever just watched the SAO anime and never read the LN I might have agreed with you a lot more than I do (except for hating Kirito ><, but then as a girl I might be.. ehrm partial ;P ). Anypony that has read the LN knows that the entire story of SAO is not really about pple stuck in an MMO, that's only what happens in the first novel and is basically the start of Kirito's story. The anime also made him seem wayy cooler than he is in the novels imo, especially when compared to the latest novels where is is by no means anywhere near the strongest.
      The whole story of SAO also touches upon existentialist questions, such as what it means to be alive and to be human (albeit in a format suitable for the LN audience). For me watching the anime was enjoyable because I knew the characters already and was already in love with the story. To get to see them move about before my eyes was a treat (even though they didn't always quite match up with the LN, I mean, Asuna is not so tsun-tsun. In the LN she is way more balanced).

      Anyhoo I will absotutely be watching Log Horizon (I mean helloo, megane-kun and kawaii chibi ninja!! ship, ship, ship!!. Even though I kinda want megane-kun to myself ;P ).

      Nat
    1. I’ve only seen him use nuke spells so far, so that’s what I’m assuming he is until further notice. It could be fun if he’s an EQ1-style Enchanter though. That’s what I always think of when I think of enchanters, heh ^^

      Stilts
      1. Pay attention to what his spells are actually doing rather than their look. The electric fuzz attack looked like it stunned the enemies and the nightmare sphere was pushing all the enemies against the ground. Easy to miss though.

        Xacual
      2. If you re-watch the scene, they were facing 7 briar weasels and I don’t think Shiroe killed any of them.
        Naotsugu killed 3 with his Shield Swing and another 3 with his Cross Slash. Akatsuki, being a high-level assassin, 1-shot the triffid. Not sure what happened to the last weasel 😛

        Karutaku
  10. I see no-one mentioned the usual ruin-the-fun type of people; pkers or just plain bullies. It looks like they forced the first two kids to leave the safe zone and are on their way to forcing the girl at the end to do the same.

    If I made a game that trapped people I would make it where a pker or bully would be turned to lvl1 with no equipment in a lvl90 dungeon. I just hate the people that suck the fun out of the gaming experience.

    I noticed that Shiroe and his friends gave up on finding out what would happen if they die in-game.

    rh75
  11. It was a pretty decent start and i sincerely wish that this one is not going to turn into SAO, which started out strong yet slowly degrading into crap when it dwell into lovey dovey waifu stuff, and by the time the imouto stuff in the second part kicked in, it became nearly unwatchable to me. That said, while this first eps wasn’t as strong as the first ep of SAO (due to its mostly lighthearted tone) i liked the fact that the main guy is a strategist type, preventing him from become a kick-ass super awesome gary stu. Both his comrades are very fun to watch as well (particularly the chibi ninja), and their bantering put a huge smile on my face. And please, please, make this one into a show about MMO done right, not the next wish fullfilment stupidity (SAO) or crappy psychological stuff (Hack/)

    Amiluhur
  12. Really digging the characters so far. Akatsuki’s dilemma was really interesting, because the game uses voice chat, she didn’t talk because she was embarrassed by the mismatch between her real voice and her avatar’s appearance– that’s interesting, and I kind of wish they had pursued that a little more than just brushing it off with a potion of “change your appearance.” They could have made an interesting mini-arc out of that alone. (But I guess the author has bigger fish to fry?)

    I can’t really complain about the appearance-changing potion, because I actually HAVE one of those in FFXIV on my main. lol. So points to FFXIV for the homage, I guess? Those potions are new in-game, and not craftable, either. Just like Log Horizon, it seems.

    The animation was kind of “meh,” but I’m okay with that. The story and how it’s been handled so far is good enough to overcome the budget art. And they can spend all of the extra money on making Akatsuki even more lethally cute, I guess. XD

    s_w
    1. Since it’s not mentioned in the anime and is itself a very minor detail, I’ll just explain where that potion came from for anyone interested.

      The novel mentions that the potion is one of those items that comes with those promotion events that JMMOs tend to have from time to time, the kind of events that promote stuff like another game (usually from the same company), anime or even regional events. The avatar-reset potion came from one such event promoting one of those less popular VAs.

      In this sense it’s a rare item, since that’s so far the only instance where one can acquire this (and iirc this event was held way back so only old-timers like Shiroe might have one, if they haven’t sold or thrown it away). On the other hand, most people tend to be pretty particular when making a new character that they’re serious about (aka not idle characters like mules), so there’s usually no need for such an item.

      That’s the reason why Shiroe wasn’t comfortable about Akatsuki expressing her gratitude. Sure, considering how rare it is nowadays (and if Akatsuki’s problem is more common than expected), the potion could have fetched a nifty sum. On the other hand, he didn’t think a simple act of generosity like giving her the potion was something that warranted her undying loyalty =3

      Random Comment
    2. Part of me does wish they had delved into this further…but I feel like that would have gotten in the way of the adventure & plot, so it was better as a throw-away joke / way to add Akatsuki to the party so they could move on with things. I do kind of wish they’d go into this further with ANOTHER character later on, time / pacing permitting.

      Stilts
  13. well, it was like SAO beginning, but we could really see some changes – much more emphasis on characters, a bit better comic touch and the world itself with details and stuff that really is MMORPG.
    if they continue with that, it can be very good anime.
    it was nice opening shot and I seriously intend to continue with that one.

    p.s
    same with Stilits, team AKATSUKI X SHIROE go! 😛

    thedarktower
    1. No! 😀 All my fellow writers keep enticing me into starting all these different shows, so if I’m going to be watching 30 anime a week, I’m taking some of you with me!

      Note: 30 anime is an exaggeration. Not by much, though.

      Stilts
    1. More like because SAO is the more recent. But it would be strange if there are only a few people here who remember .hack//Sign

      I mean, what’s the average age of posters here in RC? 18? 20? 22?

      TheMoondoggie
      1. @Magoiichi I know: it came about in 2002. That’s why I asked 18, 20 and 22: They’d be 10, 12 and 14 then.

        @Espada: The they’d be 4-5 yrs old when .Hack first came out.

        TheMoondoggie
      2. lol.

        Future Boy Conan is from 1978. Depending on his birthday, he’s 42 or 43 (Unless I completely f*cked up my math. I’m going off 4 hours of sleep here and I’ve been awake for 14. Feels bad man.)

        Kuntzy
      3. @Germanguy

        Well, I was close. I guess I also forgot to take into account the fact that we haven’t always had near simultaneous fansub releases for anime.

        @Moondoggie

        If you thought I was mocking you or something then I apologize. I just thought it was funny is all.

        Kuntzy
  14. I actually find this better than SAO (which I read and watched), but just by how they started up the series since I haven’t read Log Horizon yet. SAO was good but not that great, but given how many possibilities were out there I believe SAO could have done a lot better. Since this is of the same genre and relatively newer than SAO, I hope they don’t do the same mistake and expand the possibilities to make the plot a lot more interesting.

    I posted in this season’s preview that anime shows has gone downhill and I didn’t watch a single series last season, but I’m pretty happy about Log Horizon and Golden Time (though Golden Time’s OP was pretty stupidly full of spoilers).

    The Story You Don't Know
    1. Wisdom, my friend. Unfortunately working on the season preview forces me to learn about every show, and I always end up getting hyped for some >_< I'm glad this one (and some others!) haven't disappointed me, though!

      Stilts
    1. “Your Song” is the best ending song in this Fall 2013 anime lineup, IMHO. The lyrics fit Akatsuki’s character as she “has a normal day” and then “walks around with all the characters” as well. Beautiful. Light and catchy. I’m finding the mp3 download as soon as possible.

      jhpace1
  15. Doesn’t have the same tension or production value as SAO, but I’m a huge sucker for stories set in MMOs. Plus as many have said, it would be silly to compare the two. It’s like comparing either of them to .hack.

    Also, can we maybe have a MMO story that isn’t always a hostage situation? You can have a story with just them playing the game for fun, you know.

    Da5id
    1. I totally hear you. The huge entertainment potential of a show just about an MMO and its players would be an good premise in itself. Wacky hijinks in assembling a party, comedic character dynamics between a the Tank-Healer-Dps party and hilarious raid wiping(because raid wiping IRL is already ripe for comedy gold in Youtube). Makes me wonder why no one has made that pitch yet to any studio.

      If you want an anime sort of like that I would point out the OVA .hack//QUANTUM which I can loosely describe as K-ON meets .hack (because the protagonist Sora reminds me of Yui if she was a gamer). It basically spends one and a half episodes of Sora doing funny MMO stuff with her friends. My favorite scene was when Sora wipes out an entire raid completely by accident and then aggros the raid boss towards her. Unfortunately when the actual plot kicks in it takes a more darker and serious tone. The story is pretty good in itself but I couldn’t help but feel disappointed when there wasn’t more of Sora and friends wacky MMO hijinks.

      And to be fair to Log Horizon it seems to want to go in that direction so far. It practically said in its premise “We’re trapped? F*** it! Let’s go in an MMO adventure!”. Hopefully, it keeps this light tone and keeps the angst to a minimum.

      fragb85
    2. The only thing I can think is that when I personally think about writing a story like that, it doesn’t have much creative allure. It might be fun to watch/read, yes, but something that could be written from MMO forum posts…

      Yeah, just doesn’t seem that fun to write without a stronger plot. And you need someone to write it to get the story.

      Stilts
      1. Actually, there’s a lot you could do with a show where the players aren’t FORCED to play the game. You can balance the story between the characters’ lives both online and off, go into why they choose their particular characters (IE what someone does with the life, appearance and power level they’re born into and the one they can control), discuss the pros and cons of long distance friends or relationships, have some people who happen to be close physically or be acquaintances but only really MEET each other and/or become friends when they play the game together, make a couple individual stories out of popular glitches (the Corrupted Blood incident in WOW a few years back comes to mind), tackle the issue of hackers and hacker ethics, etc, etc.

        It’s basically a gold mine of story ideas, so I have no idea why no one’s tried it in full yet.

        Da5id
  16. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! I am glad that this anime is more similar to .hack than SAO. I mean, Ovan is still alive! There are actual classes that lean towards the traditional side.

    The Twilight Brigade is no more :/

    In all seriousness, besides the catchy “We’re living in the DATABASE, DATABASE” OP, what I liked about the plot so far is that our main guy Shiroe’s first thing to do was gather information. Also, I liked how he checked his friend’s list after checking if he could log out. It was cool how they mentioned the servers from other parts of Japan and how they can’t transfer. Plus, our MCs are at the max lvl so no unnecessary training time taking up most of an episode.

    My face when you can’t even take the time to admire the bishoujos

    Magoiichi
  17. I thought it was pretty fun. I liked that the main character was a strategist/mage rather than just a warrior or a wizard. And some funny bits like the food. And that they went meta and referenced all those fantasy stories about being trapped in a game.

    But the one thing that felt off is that no one bothered to *speculate* on WHY they were trapped. No one. Not the guild. None of the three party members. No random panicky person yelling “I’m just dreaming – i must have read too many light novels… why can’t I wake up?”

    That just felt utterly against human nature, even in a light-hearted show focusing mostly on the MMO element. (And yeah, I know this isn’t Sword Art. I’d be happy to have an approach where the characters decide “well, let’s just treat it as a game” – but at least someone should have talked about it and offered a few random theories (“UFOs” “Magic” “We’re all dead in gamers heaven”).

    Not doing that made it feel weird to me, the same way it would feel weird if everyone suddenly got superpowers or switched sex or something and no one wondered why.

    DP
    1. You have a good point. I’m tempted to say that they didn’t have time, but I feel it’s more likely that they did exactly that in the source material, but didn’t have enough time to put that in here. Though they still could have had people in the background talk about it or something without taking up too much time, so I dunno.

      Stilts
      1. As I recall, one of the background characters was shouting at an NPC about getting in contact with a GM. But that’s pretty much the closest they get to asking the question of how this happened.

        Krono
  18. I guess I am starting to like the series already. More adventure, less drama than SAO. And cute ninja 🙂 – and she’s roleplaying!
    If I’d been teleported into my latest MMORPG, assuming my main character would be involved, I’d be totally roleplaying witty gunslinger!

    ewok40k
  19. People need to stop comparing SAO with Log Horizon. There may be some overlap, but genearlly, pretty much every story will overlap with another some point thgoughout. And I like the fact that it started out as a more light hearted tone, because if anything, SAO built up so much tension on the first episode, that it kinda crashed and doomed itself afterwards by not being ablt to live up to the tension built in the first episode, so starting off light hearted may just be able to keep the audience more engaged.

    TrapMaster
  20. Rewatching, I noticed something:

    It failed to feel like they were trapped.

    SAO actually generates the “feel” of the problems Kirito faces, it actually felt that there are 10,000+ players trapped in. Log Horizon did make it felt it is an MMORPG BUT it failed to make us feel that something is wrong(they are trapped). They also failed to make us feel that there are millions of gamers trapped inside by just showing a few players and just putting it into mention.

    No roving armies scenes, no bustling cities scenes. They just flatly pointed out that they got 2 million people trapped inside.

    TheMoondoggie
      1. I meant in SAO. Sorry, wasn’t sure if you were referring to that or Log Horizon.

        But yeah, for this show, there doesn’t seem to be much tension or conflict at the moment. It’s more like “Well, this is weird…now what?”

        Captain Sunshine
    1. Yeah, there’s not much information about how they get into that world and other what-if questions in the anime, at least for now. I think they won’t tell much about that and will focus on adventure part, which I’m hoping more from this series.

    2. You’re not wrong, but it’s understandable. In SAO a malevolent voice from the heavens appeared and explicitly spelled out their slow, inexorable doom, whereas here nobody knows what’s going on. Uncertainty breeds fear to be sure, but it also allows for hope. For all they know it might be a glitch, or the servers were hijacked and the devs will regain control soon, or any number of other things. In that situation I’m not surprised to see many people not melting down, even if they are scared and are just trying to hide it.

      And I thought it was only a couple of hundred thousand people that were sucked into the game? Though it’s not like that’s not enough.

      Stilts
      1. This does feel very unnatural though. Imagine you were in an arcade, and suddenly all the doors were locked with no announcement to say what was going on. The first reaction you’d have wouldn’t be ‘oh well I guess I’ll keep playing then’, even if that is what you’d end up doing after a while. I’m not asking for them to fall down and burst into tears – just a little bit of tension would be nice. It’s okay to be more light hearted but then don’t bother to have them trapped if you’re not going to play on that dynamic.

        Tomer
      2. Sorry Stilts, it’s actually 20 million worldwide(it was mentioned near the end of the episode), but the focus of the story revolves around the several thousands inside(I hear 30,000 but I’m still unsure).

        TheMoondoggie
      3. Derp. Let’s try this again, using the anime.

        Total Players: 20 million
        Trapped Players in Japan: 30,000
        Trapped Players in other countries: “Several thousands”

        And I still think all of them are too laid back.

        TheMoondoggie
      4. @ The Moondoggie,

        What would panicking and running around like a chicken with its head cut off accomplish? They have no access to the code, no one has done the voice from the heaven’s route, and GMs seem to be gone. So far there is no over-powered player that everyone relies on, so what should they do?

        Sit around and do nothing, talk amongst each other and plan what to do, and play the game. Those are the only options given to the players. We are shown players that have chosen one of those options.

        Speculation is nice, but it doesn’t change the situation. Me if I was thrown into that situation would do what Shiroe is doing. I can adapt to situations quickly and calmly. Unfortunately, there are people that can not adapt to a sudden change.

        rh75
    3. They show it on others player in the city where everyone feel down and angst but protagonist party is calm unlike the other people and decide to continue to go on instead of feeling down and hopeless. If they over dramatic like in SAO it would be somehow totally tastless and boring.

      aaa
  21. inevitable comparison with SAO of course.
    degree of seriousness: .hack >> SAO >> Log Horizon == Yureka

    anyway, even though I can’t say I like Log Horizon from it’s premise (like .hack and SAO because of the conflict anyway), but support type MC and adorable heroine keep me watching this. hopefully this will be better over time

  22. I’m watching this anime for pure enjoyment, I don’t expect anything great. It’s fun, it’s entertainting, it’s relaxing and maybe they’ll show us something interesting. Who knows.

    Now. SAO failed to deliver epic battles (pls), interesting characters (their voices, ugh :|), unpredictable plot (ep 10 ROTFL), animating side stories instead of focusing on the main arc (WTF) etc.
    Those two anime are completely different (SAO = serious, Log Horizon = 4fun). Do not compare them, there’s no point in doing so. And I’m sure I won’t drop this one.

    Watching only Log, Kyoukai no Kanata and Gingitsune this fall, though as usual, I’ll watch some the other shows when they’re over.

    An_chan
  23. I got to ask something…something that the ep1 didn’t make clear – if someone dies in the game..is he dead in real-life too?otherwise..it’s a bit meaningless(?). though there’s still that mystery why and how did that happen to all of them…

    thedarktower
    1. It wasn’t declared yet.
      Unlike SAO which the GM actually appeared in front of them and saying “This are the rules here and that and you’ll die for real“.
      But in Log Horizon the GM I think would think “Go figure it out. It’s more fun that way“.
      That’s my speculation atm.

      1. Perhaps the Company did not realize it, until now. An System Vital Bug, non Critical System Crash Bug, and perhaps they are busy overlooking the New Expansion start results

        Germanguy
    2. I think the ending implied that when someone dies they are resurrected..
      *SPOILERS* “But it was only a game, to keep our minds off the fact that we weren’t even allowed to die”

      gustave154
  24. Don’t know why people are comparing this to SAO.

    Clearly it doesn’t have the same “feel”…

    Also, the first half of SAO was really well made, IMO, it’s just that they weren’t able to follow through til Fairy Dance (although given that FD is by far the worst SAO arc, it’s a little understandable).

    Hai, bandwagoning circle-jerks… there is just too many of them to have an intelligent discussion…

    As for me, I enjoyed the first episode immensely :3

    I came in without any expectations and found it very amusing although I don’t get the .hack//Sign comparison… Log Horizon doesn’t “feel” anything like .hack… This reminds me more of “Yureka” (Manhwa) or “1/2 Prince” with its more “laid back” setting with the team-ups and etc.

    ddadain
  25. To be honest… I can’t help but get a bit of a Dog Days vibe… Not saying I am relating the two, just more of a feeling.And I think I’m “falling in love” with this anime like how I fell in love with the first episode of Horizon (Kyoukaisenjou No Horizon). Got treated to a very colorful cast of characters and designs. I guess I can relate this to Dog Days as well, again with the colorful cast of characters.

    Finally, this seasons lineup of anime is killing me. First I see “KYOUKAI” no Kanata. Then I see Log “HORIZON”. I know I shouldn’t expect a third season of (KSn)Horizon until another 2 years but the anime titles are just killing me.

    Goodwill Wright
  26. IMO Log Horizon has more potential than SAO. I think MMORPG players, including myself, would appreciate this more. SAO brings an intense feeling for every battle, which I haven’t seen (yet) in Log Horizon, but lacks in the area of classes, skills, and strategies. Log Horizon, on the other hand, (if given a chance to expand its story) has the possibility to have story arcs while proceeding to its main plot. Anyway, Log Horizon has more freedom (story-wise). Damn! I want guild wars!

    aLpha
    1. “i want Guild Wars”…

      Better not, Guild Wars allows you to play Alone. And most of the Animes should need a Partner. Even “Fist of the North Star” came with a partner, even if Kenshiro? is One men Atomic Bomb Fighter

      I love the Team Play, i love the “Mob/Enemy Control” from the Enchanter. This class is best suited to be leader class. because you must have an Eye on the battlefield. Healers can be busy to watch the HP Bars of their Group, so their focus is somewhere else

      But thank “anime God”, that they have Griffons 🙂 So, we will see more then just a “Journey to save the Girl” in 12 or 24 Episodes? 🙂

      Germanguy

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