An uneven second season it may have been—at least compared to the more reliably stellar first—but the final episode delivered a finale worth it all. Log Horizon accepts your quest!
Shiroe-style Raiding To The End
Perhaps my favorite thing about this season was how much they finally delved into late 90’s / early 2000’s style raiding, or as I’ll always think of it, EQ-style. The entire arc with Silver Sword was great, but this was perhaps the single best raid encounter of the series because it was so FAST. From learning that Shiroe was tanking to the final strikes by the original three (were those the attacks they used in the very first episode? Nostalgia!), it was only half the episode, which never gave us enough time to pick at defects or get too complacent. It was BAM BAM BAM, and it was good throughout. I unabashedly cheered when they took the baddie down.
It was also a great example of Shiroe-style raiding. I’ve seen healer tanking a lot, mostly in PvP, but Enchanter tanking? Brilliant! Which was made especially so since Mana Channeling is a skill we’ve seen used many times before, so it didn’t feel like an asspull. The same is true of Shiroe figuring out that the “random” AE was actually targeting the top five on the threat list, and managing that so the raid could survive the attack. Would most people notice that on a first attempt? No, of course not. But they could, and Shiroe has been established as exactly the kind of guy who would. It was all a great tour de force of Log Horizon’s nostalgic-style of raiding and RPG combat.
The Reason Kanami Is Here
Kanami is a tricky character. She has every appearance of a Mary Sue, and could easily overpower the main cast. So how do you use her? This is actually a great example of how to do it. First, keep her away from the main cast! If she were to appear in Japan, she would probably steal the show. It could work, but it’s a risk best attempted later in the game. Second, use her personality and ideas to push the other, more interesting characters to attempt Kanami-like things. Going for the third option—connecting the worlds—is exactly what we all want to happen (yay!), but Shiroe isn’t the type to pursue such an optimistic, idealistic path. It takes a dose of Kanami to push him to doing what only he and his friends can do—the impossible.
Also, Kanami has a kid!? This Kanami? I hope the kid’s father was a mellow guy, otherwise she’s going to be a terror when she grows up, just like her mother.
Krusty, You Son of a Bitch!
Having Krusty appear at the last second was a great way to tease at a loose end that would have been aggravating had it been left completely hanging, while leaving us on a cliffhanger that makes us want more. Touno-sensei, you son of a bitch! I guess Misa’s weapon operated like a Fairy Ring, and apparently, Misa’s arm is still alive (ew, albeit good). The question is, will Misa or Rieze come for him? Though I may put my money on the third option: Lenessia. She misses her monster in glasses, ufufu~.
Looking Ahead – Final Impressions Below
There was no sequel announcement, but that was expected since the material they’ve been adapting hasn’t even been officially released yet (it’s from the web novels). Finale impressions on the second season below.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – The best raid encounter of the series wraps up with some shockers: Kanami has a kid, & Krusty is alive and well #loghora s2e25 END
- Naotsugu and Akatsuki’s combination attack was so cool! It’s also another sign that, while Akatsuki was worrying about how well Shiroe, Naotsugu, and Nyanta could cooperate early in season one, now she can do that with them as well. She’s one of the team.
- “My eyes are drooling!” Oh, Demi-Demi, you’re so tsundere for your hanayome-san.
- Loved the former Tea Party member’s reactions when they realized that Kanami was on the other line. Even Nyanta was like “DAFUQ!?”
- Nureha developing a spine and sticking up to Indicus was a bit abrupt (though not without foreshadowing, we just hadn’t heard from here in a few episodes), but damn did it feel good.
- Just join Log Horizon already, Serara. You spend all your time with them anyway. Plus, they need a Druid.
- My money is on the alligator, even if that giraffe is going to be one helluva strategist one day.
Much ink has been spent on the deficiencies of Log Horizon 2. The art wasn’t as good, the pacing was off, the script writing wasn’t up to par, their budget was non-existent. All true, to a degree. The art never bothered me that much, nor the animation—this has always been a more cerebral exercise, and while ufotable-level animation would have been awesome, its lack never stopped me from watching. The pacing and script writing were more worrisome, but with the exception of the ill-considered Kanami
arc episode, it was all pretty good. And honestly, I’m not sure what else they could have done without more episodes, because this last episode wouldn’t have worked without at least one Kanami-focused episode.
I felt this season didn’t have as many of the highs of season one, which was partially a sad thing, partially inescapable—how do you top an example of hydraulic despotism (in the creation of the Round Table) which would have made Paul Atreides proud, or the sterling sacrifice and world-breaking rescue of Rudy?
The Abyssal Shaft raid was a good attempt, and William Massachusetts’ speech on why they raid, why they played this game at all—and took pride in it!—was like an anthem to hardcore gamers, both present and future. The Maidens of Watermaple and their battle against Nelreth provided some much needed Akatsuki character development, and it actually precipitated changes that endured up to the finale episode. The newbie arc … was not that great, though I appreciated the Isuzu focus. And this last arc threw the focus back on the world stage, which is where Log Horizon is at its best.
So yes, the second season wasn’t as good as the first. This is the squishy middle of the story, and while occasionally that nets you an Empire Strikes Back, often you just get a Temple of Doom. Rumor has it that Touno-sensei is planning Log Horizon to be 15 volumes in total, which feels right if the focus will remain on connecting the worlds from here on out. Since we’re adapted up to volume 10 now, they means another two cours to finish it outs … cours whose source material isn’t written, and which may never be greenlighted.
I’m optimistic. It appears that NHK is using Log Horizon to pull more people to its station, so maybe in a few years we’ll get those last two cour, either all together or split into two more seasons. Normlly I wouldn’t bet on it, but the fact that the second season got greenlighted at all gives me hope. It will be a while though, whatever happens, so until then, it has been a pleasure talking about 50 episodes of Log Horizon with you. Please join me in this coming season for more anime fun!
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now available in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel short story. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Sheet music, Wage Slave Rebellion is officially in print, From LEGO to author, and RIP Sir Terry.