「ロカの遭遇戦」 (Roka no Souguu-sen)
“The Battle of Loka”

It’s confirmed – this is not a death game. The combat is damn good though, and any feeling that was lacking in the premiere came through better this episode.

Fighting Like a [Good] MMO

One of my favorite things about fantasy action – and about good MMORPGs in particular – is the strategic elements that can arise. When it’s a one-on-one fight (regardless of genre), it’s largely a tactical affair – there are certainly strategies that can be employed, but a single strike can turn the battle. The more combatants there are in the fight, though – and the variety in their abilities, positioning, skill levels, and all the small tactical movements they make – make for a richer and more varied experience. That’s why I’ve always been a fan of large-scale conflicts with loads of characters – I know, you’re all surprised – and Log Horizon is already showing us some of the same.

This episode we learned for sure that this is not a killing game, but fortunately the combat hasn’t slacked off for it. Part of this is probably because the characters can never quite be sure – personally I wouldn’t go running around buck-naked and chain-dying to low-level mobs, for fear of dying right as the cathedral stops resurrecting people. Perhaps that’s why Akatsuki and Shiroe showed reservations about killing other players, and Naotsugu was so angry that players were turning to PKing for, basically, the lulz. It’s a strange situation, where characters who know their opponents will (probably) be resurrected have more qualms about killing than many characters in other stories do when they’ll stay dead, but it speaks to their origins as gamers rather than soldiers or true adventurers. It also speaks to their kindness.

I got a bit distracted there. As for the combat itself, I liked the strategy that Shiroe and the others employed, because it used elements the characters were known to have – or it was reasonable to expect they had, because an Enchanter having crowd control and debuffs and a Guardian (tank) having a forced taunt are not unusual among MMOs – along with the situation they found themselves in to triumph over a numerically superior force. There were no ass pulls, basically. Especially well done was the conservation of detail, and how it all made sense after the fact but was constructed so as to make us unsure as the fight unfolded. The best example of that is how Akatsuki disappeared for most of the battle, only for it to be revealed that she snuck away and eliminated the finger-wigglers lurking in the woods. This could have even been a bit of an ass pull itself, if it weren’t for that opening spell that couldn’t have come from any of the enemies who revealed themselves. Mind you, the PKers were stupid to leave their fragile casters in the woods when they could have brought one out and left a meleer hidden with the other, but so be it, people aren’t always strategic geniuses. It cost them this time, and I enjoyed watching Shiroe & co’s victory unfold.

An Excellent Team

Speaking of their fight in the forest, these three are already showing themselves to be an excellent team. This is largely a function of their personalities, and having picked classes that fit them well. The main element is Naotsugu and Akatsuki’s trust in Shiroe, because all major decisions and strategies flow through him, and he shoulders this responsibility well; that, by the way, is the second element, because if it weren’t for Shiroe’s selflessness and his duty-bound – if somewhat moody – nature, they wouldn’t be able to function nearly so well so quickly. The other biggest reason is that they picked classes that suit them well – Naotsugu is big and loud, but kind-hearted; Akatsuki is soft-spoken and swift, and has the deference of a ninja; and Shiroe is always looking out for his friends like a true support. I have to say, though – it’s a good thing they found Akatsuki, because otherwise these two guys would have been hard up for some DPS. A pure tank and a hard support? They would never die, but they’d take forever to kill anything!

Even better than this was what Akatsuki and Naotsugu did in the Crescent Moon Alliance guildhall. While Shiroe, having already figured out the best course of action, was vacillating over whether they had a right to do what he knew they should, they quietly gave him the support he needed to do what was right for them. Not only do they fight well together, those two know what Shiroe is thinking without him having to say anything, just like Akatsuki did back in the forest. It warms my heart to see a team like this.

A Listless Life

What’s the point of life? I don’t mean to get too heavy on you, but there’s actually some parallels between the players’ dilemma and the lives all of us lead. It’s easy for them to earn basic food, shelter, and protection while they sleep – just as it is for most of us to get the necessities – but what’s the point of it all? I’m talking about something beyond keeping themselves entertained, though that’s important for some people if they’re going to turn to PKing when they get bored. No, what Shiroe and the others need is something to work towards, something to make their new reality into a game once again – just as each one of us needs the same, even if our own lives are more serious since we don’t get free resurrections at need. Just because it’s serious doesn’t mean it’s not a game.

I guess what I liked here – aside from the excuse to go off on a philosophical bent – was that the emotion some viewers found lacking in the first episode came out better here. It’s a worry less about death – that worry was quickly removed, though I do agree that it was somewhat lacking before previously – but in how to live and what it’s like to kill. Log Horizon remains a fairly lighthearted affair – or rather, it’s an adventure rather than a drama – but the feelings are coming across better. Not of despair, but anxiety and depression; emotions far more similar to those we deal with in our real lives than the unbridled terror of the death game.

Off On An Adventure With Blushing Akatsuki

If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I’m loving this show. Understand that I’m not trying to be objective in this; I’ve admitted to not caring about that before, and I’m not about to start playing the uptight critic now. I love fantasy adventures! Of every genre I’ve ever read, watched, or listened to, this is my favorite, and I can say that without hesitation because fantasy adventures are what I write. If I seem overly excited to you, please bear with me. I hope it continues for the show’s entire run.

This is why I’m so happy that they’re off on an adventure to save their stranded ally. Related side note: I wasn’t sure for a while why Shiroe thought they were the best people for the job, but I like how it was eventually revealed that it was because he and Naotsugu had Griffon whistles, meaning they could get there faster and fly right over many of the obstacles. This highlights a tendency this series has already shown multiple times – last episode in how Shiroe tripped on flat ground long before it was explained why, and this episode with Akatsuki’s mid-battle disappearance and this – of not explaining itself until it is natural to do so. I like this! Many authors – myself included – have a tendency to want to explain things immediately, for fear that the reader will get confused and annoyed and put the book down–or more correctly, get disgusted and think we’re bad writers. Fiction authors are an insecure lot. Touno-sensei, though, has repeatedly shown that he will explain what’s going on in time, when it’s important and natural to do so. I respect that a lot.

More importantly, blushing Akatsuki! I’m a romantic, but I prefer romances like this that build slowly while there are other things going on, and a dose of Akatsuki and/or Shiroe blushing once or twice an episode does my heart good. They’re so adorable!

Looking Ahead – The Mines of Moria Depths of Palm

Next time it looks like we’ll see more of their adventure, as well as some delving into Shiroe and Naotsugu’s past with their old not-guild, the Debauchery Tea Party. By the way, am I the only one that feels like “Debauchery Tea Party” isn’t a name people should be looking back on fondly? It does fit the normal (i.e. terrible) naming sense that most MMORPG guilds / groups ascribe to, if a bit more creative. I’m waiting for the Brothers of Blood or another guild like that to pop up. I’ll laugh my ass off!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Strategic combat & excellent teamwork gave me the warm fuzzies, while their anxieties drew me in. Off on an adventure we go! #loghorizon 02

Random thoughts:

  • It’s a nice touch that they need to practice their skills, but holy heck, Akatsuki is good. She may be good enough as is.
  • Speaking of emotions, I liked how Marie was still all over Naotsugu, but I didn’t believe it for a second. This time it was even clearer that she was trying to hide her worries by acting all genki, and that she was not alone.
  • The combat dynamic between the protagonists and the PKers was interesting for another reason; it showed none of the crowd control “balance” of recent MMOs. Putting that healer to sleep for so long felt like a throwback to late-90’s / early-2000’s MMOs, not the recent ones that always make CC against players shorter (or hard to stick at all) because being CC’d forever makes paying customers rage. I wonder if that’s how Elder Tales always was, or if the rules changed when they all got sucked into the game? Personally, I’m going with the former.
  • Akatsuki kneeing Naotsugu in the face will never get old. Moar!
  • Don’t piss off Shiroe, Marie-nee. Always be kind to your supports. That’s how everyone stays alive.
  • Anyone else think the soundtrack is pretty good in this? I usually don’t notice such things, but it was powerful during a during a part or two. Though that may just be my fondness for adventure stories coming through again.
  • I apologize for the late post, but as I mentioned last week I was off at a giant beer festival all weekend, and that doesn’t leave much time / sobriety for blogging. I’ll get these posts out on Saturdays like usual from now on. Trust me–it’s hard for me to wait to watch this show after it’s out. I enjoy it too much!

Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Beer does the spirit good, Convenient, The four levels of consuming art, and Realism in fiction is overrated.

Full-length images: 19, 21, 25.




  1. My friends had told me that it’s being shown on NHK E-tele and to my surprise, I’ve found out that it is an Educational Broadcaster! It may sound funny but I still don’t get that a Public Network, especially an Educational network, would air such anime….

    Anyway, Wonderful episode! I really love the anime right now and shipping Shiroe and Akatsuki….

    1. Hard to say what’s the underlying reason, but keep in mind that IIRC, Strike Witches Season One received an award from the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs as ‘wholesome family entertainment’.

      1. Well, most of Strike Witches (at least the first season, since that’s all I’ve seen) was actually pretty wholesome in plot and characters. If not for all the cameltoe and ass-shots…far fewer people would have watched it XD

    2. Two things :

      1. NHK, in the past, had created documentaries about MMORPGs, as it has been a part of Japanese Culture. Besides, aside from anime, MMORPGs are raking so much money for Japan. I once saw an article which suggests that years from now, MMORPG would have taken over the Anime Industry in terms of revenue and sales . I’m thinking that they are trying to help Japan’s MMORPG market to get a boost by encouraging Future animators and Graphics artists to produce their own MMORPG games.

      2. RATINGS. NHK E-Tele is the lowest rater among all Free to air networks in Japan because it focuses on Educational and Docu shows. Just to give you a clear picture of how low rating NHK E-Tele is, WOWOW has 2 million subscribers in Japan while NHK E-tele covers 100% of Kantou Region alone (Almost 99% of Japan). But press releases from WOWOW had stated that they have almost Double the figures of NHK E-tele on Primetime and Golden Time slots. NHK E-tele had previously filled in Animes on 6:00/5:30 PM slots on weekends because it is a good pre-programming to boost their primetime shows.

    1. I thought I recognized that familiar style used in the show’s soundtrack. I just can’t get enough of Takanashi’s works, including Heartcatch Precure and Fairy Tail, which are nothing short of superb. He also did the soundtrack for Fantasista Doll last season, which is one of the reasons why I watched it, and it was definitely well worth it. I look forward to this latest work.

  2. While I enjoying the characters, action, and accuracy to MMO games, I’m troubled by the lack of actual conflict. They seem to just be spinning their wheels at this point.

    Still gonna watch it, just hoping a long term goal will come up sooner rather than later.

    1. I think that’s the point for the moment. The thing about MMOs – much like real life, I might ask – is that there’s no stated goal; the players have to decide on their own goal in order to have a way to “win”. Right now the gamemasters (if they even exist anymore) haven’t given them a goal, so it’s up to them to decide on one on their own. They’re still getting there, and probably need to learn more about their changed circumstances before they can properly decide on one.

      1. This is a complete misunderstanding of the term ‘conflict’ in a literary sense. Conflict is just some form of struggle. Internal/external, violent/nonviolent. The nature is almost completely irrelevant. If something is happening that has an uncertain outcome, you probably have a conflict.

        And the search for a goal or meaning is a COMPLETELY valid choice of conflict in a piece of fiction, and actually a really common one.

        Also, I don’t get where anyone is mentioning a lack of conflict in this show. SOmething like 40% of the whole show so far has been action. What people seem to be frustrated at is not the lack of conflict (since that’s silly, there’s a lot of conflict), but rather the lack of a clearly defined endgame and goal.

        And no offense, but that’s a weird complaint. Clearly the show is about the search (slow or fast) for answers to all those questions. Why are they there? How did they get there? What should they do there? There are plenty of good questions for the show to explore as it goes on.

      2. I guess it could be construed as a show without clear conflict so far, which is true to a degree, but I personally find that to be refreshing. As with the other elements I pointed out, Touno-sensei doesn’t feel like he has to lay everything down on the table for us ASAP. He’s taking his time and introducing such things gradually.

      3. Considering that they established that everyone comes back to life and seem to be doing fine within the game, what do they have to lose by NOT looking for a goal? Plus no one seems to be that attached to their real lives so far. Basically there doesn’t seem to be any actual threat. If that’s the case, how is there a conflict?

        Yeah, there were the player killers, but they’re more an annoyance than anything.

        Sorry if I’m asking so many obvious questions. I’m just trying to understand this story. This is my first exposure to it, so I have no idea what to expect or think.

    2. I’d suspect the initial arc is to a) establish the setting and allow the characters to figure out their place in this world now as they also b) slowly leak out what happened to the Debauchery Tea Party while c) getting around to introducing a villain/rival group (perhaps a former member(s) of said not-guild), to drive the story forward from a conflict standpoint.

    3. Can’t label anything as slow after watching Haibane Renmei; show still kicked ass. You couldn’t get a slower burn if you wrapped a potato in foil, buried it in the ground and wait it to cook from the heat of a nearby porphyry. Gah, I’m spouting geology again.

  3. No death, no tangible thing to fight for; really makes me wonder where this is going to head since i’ve heard it’s to be 2 cours. I will guess though that the reason why they are stuck in the game and the nature behind the Elder World expansion will come up pretty soon. Personally, i’m looking forward to teh uberz BOSS fights

  4. Anyone else think the soundtrack is pretty good in this? I usually don’t notice such things, but it was powerful during a during a part or two. Though that may just be my fondness for adventure stories coming through again.

    I’m with you. There were a few spots in the previous episode where I felt it was particularly good as well.

    The combat dynamic between the protagonists and the PKers was interesting for another reason; it showed none of the crowd control “balance” of recent MMOs.

    I hate “balance” in RPGs. Game companies even insist on bringing it over into single player RPGs. To me, it feels like another way of saying “make every class identical.” Heaven forbid anyone has a different experience from anyone else, after all! Maybe it’s just me, but if mage throws a spell that blows up an entire area, I kind of feel it should do more damage than if a fighter whacks someone with a chunk of metal. (Offensive) mages are supposed to do more damage and have more diverse capabilities: that’s what magic is there for!

    …Pet peeve. Sorry.

    1. That’s one of the things I’ve always liked about fiction, or, say, old school D&D – they can make all the classes / characters different while also making some noticeably less powerful, if that’s how it works out. I understand completely why this doesn’t fly in video games though.

      That said, I totally agree with you in some areas, particularly that crowd control thing I mentioned. Sure, maybe it should last forever, but in all the MMO PvP I’ve played in the last 5 or so years everyone just said screw cc’ing because it was easier and more efficient just to kill the enemy. What’s the damn point of having cc spells if you never use them!?

      Well, PvE obviously. Still, it annoys me.

      1. I loathe PvP in MMOs. It can be fun for a while, but always seems to degenerate into mindless zerging. Given the low rewards, this seems like a mostly PvE game – and without any “sides” mentioned that you can earn faction/honor/whatever points for, or serious looting of player corpses, it’s kind of surprising that it is there at all.

        I find balancing and designing for PvP makes character classes far less interesting. I played a psionicist in Vanguard which wasn’t unlike enchanters in this game – I could mez one enemy, distract another, mind control a third to attack a fourth and turn what would’ve been a wipe into a managable battle. Such a class wouldn’t be included in a game designed around PvP.

  5. In some ways this is worse than a death game, because death is some some sort of scape from the prison that is the game, now they´re completely at the mercy of game´s rules and the food doesn´t even have savor, that´s HELL people!. By the way, Akatsuki-chan is so kawaii!.

    1. Very true. In death games like SAO, BTOOOM, Danganronpa, and even Mirai Nikki the characters were trapped in the game, but they new (at least some of) the rules and have a shot at getting out. Here they’re totally trapped and don’t know how to get back, so while the danger is less stark, it’s far more insidious. That’s why they need to figure out a goal for themselves, and hopefully one that has a shot at getting them out of there…or at least making the food taste good!

      1. This is something I think a lot of posters I’ve seen aren’t appreciating about this plot. In the darkest of situations, knowing the rules and knowing the way out (no matter how dangerous) is an INCREDIBLY powerful morale booster.

        The SAO victims always knew what they were heading toward, and that would have been an immense help in staving off despair. It’s hope, and hope is everything.

        This situation is the opposite. As far as they can tell so far, they’re in very little danger, but without any idea what’s going on or even much idea how to start looking despair would set in VERY quickly. Because there is no hope, and the more game-y nature of what they’re stuck in (as opposed to a death game that ends up forcing them to treat it like real life) would just add to the feeling of being trapped. Of this not being real and just taking away from days you could be living out in the real world.

  6. My working theory is that if Crescent guild sent away all their big players that would just result in that town turning into the town they’re trying to rescue people from. Shiroes team isn’t a guild (yet) are all high level players and can move about as they please more easily and their collective actions have less impact on the society as a whole.

    Mr Halfawake
    1. Possible, but there’s no reason to think six Lvl 90 players would somehow fail in their quest once they got to the city while three Lvl 90 players would succeed, especially with the (somewhat) forced equality brought upon by similar levels. Thus, I see three options:

      1) It’s the journey Shiroe thought they would fail on, while the three of them were more likely to succeed because of their Griffons. This is the most likely one, since we were given reason to think it during the episode.

      2) The Crescent Moon Alliance isn’t very strong, and some of their high-level members aren’t even Lvl 90. This is unlikely since at least two of the CMA members we’ve seen so far were stated as being Lvl 90, so it’s reasonable to expect at least one more and probably at least four more would be max level as well.

      3) The Crescent Moon Alliance isn’t very strong, in that they’re not nearly as well geared as Shiroe and his fellows. This is possible, especially in light of some of the rare items that Shiroe and Naotsugu have pulled out, but so far those have been auxiliary items (an appearance-changing potion, the griffon whistles) instead of regular armor. Without much reason to assume this, I don’t think we should.

      That’s why I’m putting my money on #1.

      1. I think it’s actually a combination of 1, 2, and 3. Keep in mind, the two lvl 90 players we’ve seen in Crescent Moon Are their leaders, and both of them are support classes. While Shiroe shows us not to underestimate support classes, there’s only so much they can do without similarly leveled offensive players to handle the actual fighting, and right now there are only 19 members of their guild online. I actually wouldn’t be at all surprised if Marielle and Henrietta actually were the only top-level players in the guild who were online at the time of The Apocalypse.

        As for equipment, while the rare items they’ve shown have been side-items, keep in mind how our heroes got them. Akatsuki was shocked to see the griffon-whistles, because it meant Shiroe and Naotsugu must have completed an incredibly difficult raid; possibly even an event. Those two are not just high-level players. They’re high-level players who have been playing for a long time, and who have accomplished things that shock even other high-level players. I think odds are that any former member of Debauchery Tea Party is going to be among the elite in this game, and they would be far better suited to handling things than you could judge just by looking at levels.

      2. “The Crescent Moon Alliance isn’t very strong” can also refer to that they are not good at pvp and not accustomed to kill people in the game like Shiroe’s group does,
        Since they have a high change to encountered with PKer when they reach the city, they have to PVP with or kill those PKer in order to escape from they city.
        The guild leader looks like a soft and kind person so that when the times comes when they need to kill people in games, she may not be able to do it eventhough the player gonna respawn after they was kill
        Also people who die in this games is not only lose thier exp, money and item, they Show Spoiler ▼

      3. @ Wanderer

        You’re probably right. I tend to focus on #1 because it’s the one we have the most evidence for, but we do have some of #3, and your inference on #2 is valid.

        As for their equipment though, remember that though I think Shiroe has been playing, Naotsugu hasn’t logged in for two years prior to getting trapped in the game. Based on even an early 2000’s rate of gear progression, his armor and weapons should probably be crap by now. That’s only if they’re still getting stats based on their armor, of course.

        @ pai

        Your point about their personalities is even better, and one I hadn’t – though I probably should have – considered. Nice one!

        Also, watch the spoilers you -_-

      4. Sorry about the spoiler lol, because i think its not spoil since i didn’t make a specify what it is.
        Also I think Mariel doesn’t have comfidence in her team, that’s why they didn’t dispatch the rescue team and have to wait for a long time then make a dicision.
        and at the begining of the episode in the guild’s room, Mariel look at Shiroe like she want to ask Shiroe “to rescue the girl”, but later she may change to request for him to “take care of the Guild instead” because she don’t want to bother him to travel for 425 kms thats totally a big task to ask a favor from someone.

      1. Hmm, seems this MMO is more like Conan with no default “Underwear” if you take all your armor off. Seems a throwback to older RPGs as well, I remember a few that were Shitagi-less back in the late 90s.

  7. Akatsuki X Shiroe <3

    well I did enjoyed the episode. the discovery that is not a death game was good. cause it did create some sort of frustration on the players(like those PK), yet not that "melodrama" like SAO.
    the battle was a good strategy show and did the job and again reveal the detailed MMORPG world.
    yet in terms of story, LH must be more sharp. yes there is a good adventure and stuff but what the main course events…the "goal" is still floating somewhere in the middle of the adventure (which again is nice so far).
    I love the stuff of Akatsuki and Shiroe!

  8. Now rather than being an MMO they took the Fantasy-World approach. I guess they aren’t really interested with elaborating the MMO-game feel and abandoned it.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    In anycase the show perfectly demonstrated the basic three-man party: A tank, a dps/h-dps(damage per second) character and a support-type. If played right, it can take on teams with more people. This is something that SAO cannot do due to lack of magic in it’s first arc and characters, since the main character tends to go solo.

    1. Umm… did you watch the episode? The whole first half of the episode was spent elaborating on the class/subclass system, and then the combat system and party roles, via a fight. Then the second half of the episode basically explained to us the shape of the world, and explained what travel methods were available in game, from the various teleports to what mounts are available.

      This was an incredibly thick exposition episode about the MMO systems. It just managed to hide it in the action. Which to me is a sign of a well done exposition dump.

      1. Yes I watched the show, but classes aren’t restricted to MMO themed animes. So even with the explanation of Elder Tale’s class system it still failed, for me, to feel MMO-ish.

        You’re right, it started overlapping now. There’s a reason why, according to Croos. But I can’t say there because of spoiler reasons.

        Anyway, it still feels weird.

      2. What non-game MMO has classes? And I don’t mean a knight and a wizard, I mean hard-coded classes. And Sub-classes?

        I mean yeah, you can argue that it looks like fantasy tropes. But that’s because fantasy games are DESIGNED to mirror fantasy tropes. That’s the whole point.

        What are they missing that you think they need in order to be an MMO anime. We’ve already seen pretty much every MMO trope that was ever in SAO. Was that also not an MMO anime to you?

      3. I guess they lacked “game interface”. Just like SAO, the only reminder that it is an MMO was the occasional health/mana bar and the inventory and status menu. SAO failed to feel like an MMO doing that and Log Horizon is starting to be.

        As for anime with classes or sub-classes there’s one I can think of and it’s based on a real MMO. But that isn’t the point here. Implied or not, and you said it yourself, FANTASY GAMES ARE DESIGNED TO MIRROR FANTASY TROPES. And we are seeing only fantasy tropes here and not much gaming tropes.

        Now if I were to make an MMO anime, I’d use the floating health bars, such as in SAO, as much as I can when I put the scene in the MC’s, or his allies’, POV. I’d also use “target marks” and magic circles. And I would use them as much as possible, if I can I’d spam the show with it.

      4. Those gaem interface are everywhere … but only in the character’s vision. Heck, even we viewers got some, like those status whenever a character or place is introduced. I really don’t undesrtand you comment since we did all those HP bar and target marks and what not. We are viewers not players, there’s no need to spam (and spam is negative word for a reason, remember?) and by what we don’t need. Overdone, it would clutter the scrren and feel annoying.

      5. Salbazier, they are using game interface, but it isn’t as much as so it’d feel like an MMO. More often than not, any trace of a gaming trope is shown very sparingly.

        So now it’s more fantasy than MMO.

      6. Well, I do not see why it is ‘sparingly’. We see them often enough already. Maybe not all the time but there is no need for that. Gaming trope exist a plenty (use of terms like tanks, whitle-summoned steed, loot-dropping monster). What trope do you think needs to be added?

      7. I see what you mean about the interfaces and whatnot being less prevalent than in real MMOs – I keep health bars / floating names on at all times, and of course we can always see our own HUD – but I very much prefer it this way. There are enough reminders of the MMO architecture to keep it as an MMO-based game while letting us sink more into the immersion by not always having them clouding our view. It also makes the characters feel more like they’re IN the story, which of course they are.

      8. @Salbazier: Well they’re not fighting monsters all the time, so I’d say that part of “sparingly”. I see what you meant about their usage of the word “tank”, but while that word is a gaming term the relationship and role between knight and mages had been like that for years: knights take the front lines, mages at the back.

        Summoning a ride is more fantasy than a gaming trope.

        @Stilts: I see what you mean about that but that’s just it: more focus on the story = less reminder it’s an MMO. Can’t there be a way to totally balance the two: while we get to feel the fantasy, the world building and the characters we would also be always reminded that it isn’t their reality and it’s an MMO.

        I think the best appeal of an MMO anime is that you’d long for that world, you’d wish “man wouldn’t it be nice to have a game like that?” That it’s make you feel like you want to play and get involved in that same world.

      9. I’ll agree to disagree, because I think the allure of an MMORPG anime is to take a world that we’re all familiar with – the fantasy MMO – and tell a good story in it. I don’t need it to remind me every second that this is an MMO, because the story is what matters; otherwise they would be better off actually making an MMO instead.

      10. @Stilts: Then this should have started as a fantasy anime instead, rather than saying “this is an MMO fantasy anime” when they are just going to focus on the fantasy world instead and leave the MMO elements/game tropes scattered here and there just so they could say “It’s an MMO”.

      11. Thing is, I think most of people do get the MMO feel from this. I don’t mean to disparage you, but so far you seems the only one who feel this is just ‘fantasy anime’. And I really don’t get how you can feel that when we are told and shown so many game elements already. Well, taste and opinion differs obviously. But saying ‘this should just normal fantasy anime’ is ignoring us who enjoyed and appreciative toward LH’s MMORPG setting. And really, that was a silly comment, considering ‘trapped in MMO’ is the show’s premise and the irremovable basis of many of its plot elements. You as much as said ‘Log Horizon should have never been written’ and that was an out-of-the-line comment only deserved by the most terrible of shows.

      12. @Salbazier

        I am very critical about this show. It claims to be an MMO anime and yet they just jumped into the fantasy and character background. Where are my full class descriptions? Where are the race descriptions? Sub-class descriptions? Equips descriptions? Weapon descriptions? Complete skill descriptions? Stats descriptions? Stat growth per class, who eats mana like pancakes and which class is impervious to physical attacks? Everything that could be attributed to MMO, that only concerns the events that happened, were just given a vague explanation in this episode. That’s not enough. They actually should be done with these explanations by episode 3.

        You just don’t jump into the fray like that, especially to something related to RPG games. Unless you’re SAO, which doesn’t concern just one game so it’s forgivable, they really should elaborate things before they start.

        Log Horizon WILL fail in the MMORPG part if it doesn’t explain the things I mentioned above.

      13. I want to know those too! But, I’m watching a TV show not playing a game. I don’t need to know everything about the setting before started watching and too much infodump is actually detrimental to the narrative. Many fantasy stories have very deep magic system and setting information but rarely they, if ever, explain everything at once. They explain it when it make sense narratively or necessary instead. This is not just something that happens in fantasy, pick up any science fiction or alternate history and see if they explain everything from early on. MMORPG features are no different than any elements of worldbuilding, it is something that should not be infodumped but explained intermixed into the narrative and step by step as needed.

        I’ll grant you they have a least put one or two more sentence about what sub-class is and how it works though.

  9. Oh well, so much to like!
    First, not too much drama (dying is not permanent – and definitely not fatal in RL), yet plausible (bored people turn to crime easily) conflict that sets up our friends for adventure.
    Second, as an average when it comes to manual, but quite tactically thinking pvp-er in my own games I definitely acclaim clever use of all the crowd control and taunting abilities by our heroes. Akatsuki eliminating threats while remaining completely out of sight is a hallmark of a succesful stealth class player!
    Third, epic flying mounts. This is a bit personal, but I will never forget the first time I got off the ground into the haunting alien sky over Outland!
    Fourth, and final – blushing Akatsuki is too cute! Omochikaeri!

  10. I just want a super dark,(not WTF is going dark like .hack//sign) well done, Sword Art Online or another stuck in MMORPG anime. Like a Fate/Zero SAO. That would be nail biting and AMAZING.

    1. Well, this is not that. Not at all.

      Not to be mean, but that’s like going into One Piece and commenting there’s not near enough straight gore in it. It’s just unrelated. Obviously you’re welcome to your opinion, and if such a show existed and was good I’d watch it. It just… has nothing to do with this show.

      1. What he said. I don’t disagree that your idea could be entertaining, but this doesn’t appear to be it. I’d enjoy the show for what it is if I were you, rather than being disappointed for it not being what you’d prefer. Improper expectations kill enjoyment.

  11. so happy for the battle in this series. This should be the kind of battle an MMORPG had (for group fight).

    Akatsuki keeps being one of the main reason I keep watching this series.

    and Shiroe… for some reason I keep forgetting about him, his character is just too generic…

    1. I love Shiroe. He’s the complete opposite of generic. In any other show every, Akatsuki’s character would have been the hero, or MAYBE Naotsugu. To have the mage, and not even an attack mage but a support mage, be the hero is pretty unique in anime. And I love that the play him up as the man with the plan.

      It’s actually a much better way of making an MMO anime hero than just trying to have a god character like Kirito. No offense to Kirito but MMOs are specifically designed so that characters like him don’t exist. He’s a walking impossibility of his setting. Shiroe on the other hand, is the exact kind of badass that CAN exist an MMO. He knows the game, he knows his class, he knows how to make people work together. He has a plan, and it works like magic.

      1. Aye. The only way to become more powerful than anyone else in an MMO is through cooperative play. Shiroe (and to a degree, everyone he works with) are pursuing the only reasonable MMO way to become as powerful as Kirito bullshitted his way to – by working together.

      2. Urr, I feel like a fanboy commenting like this, but there is some sense in Kirito’s overskill considering how the games he played are set up. All were games that put a lot of importance in individual skill and have exploitable features that need a lot of skill to use (and where debuff hardly matters compared to direct damage). Log Horizon just have a game setting that look more like MMORPGs IRL.

      3. As far as I remember, Kawahara said that most of SAO Aincard’s systems were loosely based on early 2000s Korean MMOs like Ragnarok Online and Lineage 1 and 2, where yeah, levels and grinding and gear meant a LOT. In that respect, I dont think Kirito’s “power” is THAT unbelievable (in Aincard, not Fairy Dance). He’s a kid that was really good at grinding, getting drops, grinding money for enchants/gear, etc. I’m sure everyone knows some extreme player like that.

        In today’s MMOs, even if you’re all max level, think about the difference between ppl with top tier PvP gear vs anyone that hasnt put in the time to grind battleground points or crafting mats or w/e is required for the top gear. Those top pvpers are “god” like in many respects.

        Not trying to compare, because i too, believe that these MMO animes should be viewed separately in their own light and perspective. Hopefully this doesnt become a breeding ground for haters to come vent.

  12. Yup, yup, yup. This is amazing ^^

    It always to see a character touted to be a strategist/tactician to actually show strategic/tactical competence. Shiro definitely did here. Notice what he did with those Electric Fuzz. I bet the ‘blinding light’ thing is not at all part of the spell’s intended gameplay effect. It’s unlikely that it would mean much when you are viewing the game through a computer screen. In another word, he adapt to the situation and create new use for the spell on the fly.

    Also, their opponents were stupid. Apparently this is not the kind of game where you can see the class and level of other players, in which they really should be more careful in choosing targets. But I guess, smart thinking is just not the kind of thing you can expect from people who jump to harassing other people as first solution to ‘I have no purpose in life’.

    1. True on both counts, though on the latter, if they were all Lvl 90 (which I assume they were) then they still picked a 6 v 3 fight. It woulda been smarter to attack them during battle or something when they were weakened, and I would have brought all my power to bare instead of thinking I could win a 4 v 3 (or 4 v 2, if they never saw Akatsuki), but it doesn’t seem quite as unreasonable as it seems.

      1. I’m not sure if they are lvl 90 considering their poor show of competence (didn’t aware there is no heal forthcoming, not leaving melee-er with the mages like you said, forgotting Anchor Howl, dismissing a a debuffer (seriously this one – if they have experienced enough, they should be aware that enchanter Thorn Bind and Sleep))

      2. We saw the level of at least one of the PKs, and he was 82. Assuming the others were similarly leveled, they were aiming a bit high, perhaps. Of course, with (what they thought were) 3-to-1 odds, they still might have been able to pull it off if they’d functioned better as a team, or if Shiroe’s group had not functioned well as a team.

        I have to say, though, their tactics were pretty familiar to me. While I’m not really into modern MMOs, I have seen a number of D&D parties who believe that “support” means “we have a healer” and that’s it. They otherwise fight pretty much entirely as individuals who just happen to be in the same area. Concepts of drawing aggro, protecting the rest of your team, crowd control, buffs, debuffs, etc., thet go through fights hardly thinking of or using any of that stuff.

      3. Agreed Wanderer. Most players – and I’m not immune to this after the second beer when I’m screwing around – take support as “someone who lets me do stupid shit!” and hollers at them to bail them out while going about doing their own thing. Teamwork is a luxury rarely seen in many MMOs.

      4. Coming from the non MMO fantasy RPG side, I didn’t think the PK parties abysmal performance was so much “not appreciating” or “taking for granted” support characters, but simply no idea what so ever about the concept of tactics. There was barely any coordination, and no planning. Really, once you get to mid to upper mid levels and higher, 95% of the time the first thing you do is take out the enemy’s spell caster(s) while at the same time make sure your own keep standing. I would think that’s a fairly common tactic.

        However, I can see how in RL MMORPGs the more “boring” classes are taken for granted. Healers, especially, unfairly viewed as walking health potions. Debuff mages, however, I would think would garner at least some respect b/c there always seems to be some high-level boss with crazy resistances making him/her/it unbeatable without a lot of debuffing. Not sure if this qualifies as “support”, but can’t think of an RPG which doesn’t almost literally require a thief (or a character with thieving skills – i.e. trap detection/disarming, lock picking, etc.) Certainly that’s the case for any Bioware game.

      5. I disagree. Commonly healers are far more venerated because they allow the DPSers to do stupid shit and keep on trucking, while debuffers–actually, let me put it another way. Active support characters – of which most healers are – are beloved because it’s obvious what they do to support others. Passive support characters – especially debuffers, since their effects are far less obvious than even buffs are – don’t get the love because it’s not clear what they’re doing each time. Of course, sometimes it’s obvious when you lack them, but I think they’re far more likely to be taken for granted in general.

      6. @Silts” …since their effects are far less obvious than even buffs are – don’t get the love because it’s not clear what they’re doing each time.

        Ah, here’s where the difference comes into effect. Even if I’m playing a 6 character party, I definitely know everything each character in the party does (and of course why it was done). I guess there’s no “announcing your attack” or spell/skill popup with MMOs. In that case, yeah, I can see your point. BTW, when I said “debuff” I really meant “battle support” which includes party buffs/dispell harmful effects and non damage AoE type stuff like paralyze, sleep, slow, etc. In that respect, I would think other players would notice an enemy being frozen or rendered harmless. Hope so at least!

        Fair enough. Thought I might join in the discussion, but seems there are more differences than I expected b/t fantasy MMORPG and “just” fantasy RPG even if the RPG game is designed around party play.

  13. Oh, I forgot. I hope we will see equally tactically-competent opposition later in the series. I’m sure we all could do with tactical battle that actually look like they are using tactics instead of playing Xanatos Roulette

  14. Does anyone else think that Akatsuki might actually be a ninja in real life (or at least a member of such a family)? I don’t think it is a coincidence that she didn’t call herself an assassin while making pledge, that she is so hardcore about her class and that she wears kimono in the part of the OP where, I take it, she and another girl are shown in their real life clothes.

    1. Probably not. Shiroe already stated that she’s a hardcore roleplayers, and she herself already said that part of the reason that games are fun is because you can be something other than who you are in real life. It might also be a defense mechanism of sorts, to deal with the situation she finds herself in by slightly divorcing it from her real self.

      Probably she just loves ninjas though, and always wanted to be one. Now that she has a chance, she’s taking it.

  15. It’s common knowledge that anything composed by Takanashi is pure gold! I absolutely hated Fantasia Doll but i was able to power through it with it’s awesome music :).

      1. You share the same opinion as with some others I talked over the internet, so I’m gonna quote to you what a Final Fantasy main character once said about such things that I quoted to them:

        “That’s escapism. Can’t you see? It’s unhealthy.”

  16. I love this anime for 3 main reasons

    1. Its an fantasy adventure MMORPG. Im a sucker for those types.

    2. Akatsuki. Enough said.

    3. The support-type players are finally getting the recognition they deserve! In all MMORPGs that i’ve played, i always take up the support class coz nearly 99% of the time, people want to swing their pointy stick at something. Offense is not going to keep you alive at a boss battle ya know?

    1. I’m a nuker by trade, but I’ve played every role in many games (and sometimes multiple roles / characters at the same time!), so let me say this – any player who doesn’t take care of and value his or her supports is an idiot. When I was a raiding guild leader back in my younger days, I showered my healers and supports with praise. They’re the friggin’ stars, as far as I’m concerned.

      1. He probably plays the role of a complete tank. His subclass either focuses on dmg/def, def/regen or pure defense. That skill he pulled off in the episode seems similar to Ragnarok’s Provoke skill, which is a must for MVP tankers.

  17. -I’m still chuckling on the food situation…
    –(How a sandwich and an origini can both taste like stale crackers)

    -the shipping flag’s being raised more often for Akatsuki and her crush on Shiroe.

    -the analogy for SAO being execution and Elder tale being a prison is not that far off
    –SAO having a solid goal of having the players reaching 100th floor w/ death being permanent
    –Elder Tale w/ no permi death but no (apparent) goals being announced

  18. this anime keeps on surprising me… the details on jobs and skills are a wow!!! (more detailed than SAO anime) akatsuki? nuff said… she is a adorable loli that i wouldnt mind getting jailed in this game as long as im with her.

    and this anime is going for like 25 episodes? i’m definitely hooked. goodbye SAO.

    anybody with me wanting to see the original tea party? shiroe is pretty much badass OP strategist… and it already gave me a hint that those in that tea party are badass OP as well

    1. Interesting! And not really spoilery (at least in a plot sense), so that’s appreciated as well. These classes really scream “EQ1” to me, including the lack of any truly designated ranged physical damage (archer) class. I like it 😀

      By the way, there’s a prostitute subclass!? Who roleplays as a prostitute! Wait wait–don’t answer that. I don’t want to know.

      1. well considering theres another post up there that shows a 4 koma manga where Akatsuki being completely naked it’s not a surprise to have that kind of sub classes which makes this MMO an 18+ then

      2. @Stilts: By the way, there’s a prostitute subclass!? Who roleplays as a prostitute!

        Assassin + Prostitute = Kunoichi character class. At least that’s how it works in some video games/VNs. Now as for actual role playing… probably better off leaving that part alone.

        While not as surprising as prostitute, LOL’d a bit a “vampire” as a sub-class. Never knew that was a formal occupation.

      3. Well, in EQ1 there was Paladin

        Well, more a Fighter with a Bit of Cleric spells. Shadowknight was his counterpart
        Yeah, in every MMO a Wizard/Sorcerer is just a Arty with two Legs

        Mage could cast a Pet (Magic based Summoner)
        Druid could cast Animal Pets (nature summoner) oh, and they where the “Planes/Taxi”
        Shamans was the “Speed Buffer” or “Slower” (could summon a Wolf or Dog alike pet)
        Enchanter was for the Mob control, but of course Speed caster, Mana regen caster (Cleric’s best Crack friend) and Magic debuffer and so on
        Ranger, good in Range Attacks with Bows or so, but with the right equip the 2nd Backup Tank…

    2. Well at least the novel/manga/written version puts it into greater detail than the anime did. This is the type of info I was looking for! They should explain it like this in the anime!

      Now if only they get into stats, status effects and skills(a comprehensive list and guide plus levels) I’d be perfect!

      1. I think it would be better if they put those in the BD bundle. That way the BD would be at least useful rather than just showing extra scene.
        And yeah like Stilts said “its still episode 2”. 🙂
        Show Spoiler ▼

      2. @Croos: I can’t wait for the BDs, that’s too long. They should devote at least an episode explaining in full detail classes, skills, stats etc. How would we know they won’t just pull some bullshit? Like “Oh no, we are trapped in a poisonous swamp! I just got the right spell for this…” That feels like Deus Ex Machina in a form of a skill we never heard about before.

    3. MWAHHAHAHAHAHA! I’ve been waiting for a comment like this! Now it’s time to do the customary IF-I-WAS-IN-ELDER-TALE-WHAT-CHARACTER-WOULD-I-BE ritual! I shall now commence daydreaming!

      Character Name: Mille-Feuille (if you see this name in WOT, odds are that’s me)
      Sex: Female (note: I am Male IRL so i find no joy at watching a guy for hours on end)
      Race: Dwarf (if it looks loli-ish like the Elins in TERA) or Elf (if loli-dwarf is not ment to be)
      Class: Cleric (seriously? a healer with an insanely high defense? Im in heaven!)
      Sub Class: Alchemist (though the Prostitute did catch my attention…..)
      Weapon: Sword and Shield

      Finally got that out of my system. Now i can rewatch log horizon in peace

      1. Well good luck getting trapped inside the game with that body.

        Here are some tips.

        You’ll probabily enjoy exploring your new body but will likely getting tired of it after two weeks of self-satisfaction.
        Good luck peaking at the girls bathroom. That is if there is one in the first place.
        Do your best in masquerading your oh so manly voice to blend in with the other girls if they’re GIRL that is.
        Oh, and try finding a good hiding spot from those group of PedoPKers who doesn’t give a sh*t about your voice.
        And lastly, I hope you will be able to make the best use of your prostitute subclass. lol

        Just visit
    4. Marie might be a Cleric but probably has a War Priest or an Undead Hunter sub-class. The fact that she destroyed a surface portion of a wall going genki on Naotsugu. While Henrietta is a Bard with a high probability of an Accountant sub-class

  19. Senjou sucked though. I watched like 5 eps and then stopped, and not one of those I did watch was good.

    As for this, I did not like Episode 1 because it’s a lot of work memorizing names and roles and backstories of characters. I liked this ep much better; it focuses on the main group (of three right now) much more.

    It fails a bit in suspension of disbelief as I don’t believe 3 max level characters could ever beat 6 other max level characters regardless of any conditions (such as class matchups and player skill). But I have never played any MMORPGs so I don’t actually know.

    1. Kyoukaisen is a light novel series that was considered impossible to adapt before Sunrise managed to do exactly that. Even still it is not a series that was well suited to it due to the size and complexity of the plot, themes, and characters. That Sunrise managed it in any shape or form is a blasted miracle, much less pulling it off for two season. What it really has is a high learning curve, which is why I wrote two huge posts to help people get into the world. While I won’t claim that level of external explanation is ideal, nor for everyone – which is why I’ve never ranked it in the best anime I’ve seen, even if I love it dearly – that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s actually a great series, just highly niche. Doesn’t matter though, because you don’t need to tell a story for everyone, just enough people to make it successful…which Kyoukaisen does, and then some.

      But diversions aside, a previous commenter noted that at least one of the PKers was not max level (the leader was 82, I believe they said), so it’s possible they weren’t all max level. Also, gear matters a lot. When I was a raiding guild leader in vanilla WoW (yes yes, king of the nerds, moving on) and they first released PvP, I could regularly kill 2-3+ people because my high end gear was so much better than most other people’s.

      If Shiroe, Naotsugu, and Akatsuki have better gear (likely), are higher level (possible), and have better teamwork (undeniable), it’s very much likely they could win, especially if this is based on late 90’s / early 2000’s MMOs, where the difference between a geared character and an ungeared character was even more pronounced. For example, my raiding druid (a leather-wearing healer-caster) in EQ1 had as much HP and armor as some non-raiding warriors (tanks) when I played. And a fully raid geared out main tank warrior? They could get so much HP that the spell Complete Heal, which was designed to heal such a ridiculous amount of HPs that it would completely heal any character, actually wasn’t a full heal to them anymore.

      Basically, gear is a big deal, especially in the era of MMO gaming Log Horizon is based on.

      1. oh, yes. in my EQ time i played first a Paladin. But switched to Cleric after a years reboot. But with the Reboot i joined a Raid Guild. And naked i could only cast 3 Complete Heals. But at the Time i end the Game, i could done 7 CH’s, thanks to Mana Boost Stats of the Gear. i even was 2nd best Erudite Healer (WIS), while Erudite was best as Caster (INT)… So much to Gear

        And, our guild at that time, was some kind of “Raidleader” School. We had our own Class channels to coordinate the Action, and the “Raidleader” could build up of our own Experience. So in case the Raidleader was out of Action, we have many “Backup” veterans, that fill his Spot

        oh, yes. that was wonderful times… 8 Hours Raids, where 2-5secs can ruin the Raid, with 1-2 Hours Corpse Recovery Raids (At that time Summon Corpse was not build in yet)

  20. Exposition, more exposition, even more exposition. While SAO was stupid and aggravating this one is just seems like to try to be as boring as possible. At least the griffon scene kinda made up for it.

    At least I’m relieved to know that unlike Kirito, teamwork will be mandatory for Shiro and co to progress. And Akatsuki is cute and endearing, unlike Asuna.

  21. Episodes 3:

    hehe, yeah. i even dont liked the “false” friends, that just pretended to be your friends, just for you “Power leveling” them, or get the “shortcut” way to Top gear.

    The most forgotten, that these Top Players, was Lvl 1 too. They gain their know-length trough experience or self learning. Where do you think came these “Power leveling” or other “Raid” Guides? Someone put their Sweet and Blood into this first. So no wonder why they was Top Secret or Guild Secrets


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