「夜啼鳥の唄」 (Naichingeeru no Uta)
“Song of the Nightingales”
Well, probably not the ending we were anticipating, but arguably the ending we needed. Much like Log Horizon has done in the past, this season left off with some belated understanding, plenty of explosions, and even more hints of what’s to come down the pipeline. While the future is inevitably going to take some time to realize in anime form (given not enough source material exists yet for another season), at least we know it won’t be focused on the trials and tribulations of winning over Shiroe’s affections. Well, mostly; Minori may have lost, but no guarantees Akatsuki is the one who has Shiroe’s attention, not when Kanami is still in the picture. Who will prevail in that fight? No one knows, but I do know I’m looking forward to seeing more Log Horizon in the future. Now let’s get onto those final impressions!
It would be remiss of me to say this season of Log Horizon wasn’t one of my most anticipated winter shows. This series always held a prominent place in my anime repository, whether it be due to the enthusiastic isekai story at work or the focus on lesser explored isekai aspects like politics, economics, and even methods of returning back home. Log Horizon’s third season easily carried on this tradition, and while not fully immune to certain faults, definitely did better than it could have.
Much like the previous season romps, Log Horizon’s strength is its RPG trappings. More so than even SAO this is a series which just gets the game format, whether that be in terms of strict mechanics and quirks like levelling and grinding or in more amorphous aspects such as the development of strong and long-lasting friendships. This season especially continued playing to this, and though arguably nowhere near topping last season’s raid arc with Shiroe and William, did quite well in condensing its similar material to reduce the sense of déjà vu and boredom. It may grow tiring after a while seeing similar explanations of raid mechanics, party setups, and other RPG miscellanea – but at least they were appropriate infodumps, particularly for helping to solidify the development of Minori and the other kids.
Where Log Horizon did stumble, however, is the same place it has stumbled before: story. I cannot deny the first half of this season was preferable to me over the second, in part because I think this series always does better with politics and subterfuge than with quests into the wilderness. Whether dealing with Minami, internal problems in Akihabara, or just how to keep a bunch of restless otherworld transplants from descending into anarchy, something was always at work which helped to keep things moving, energetic, and most importantly, suspenseful. In comparison side-stories like Kanami’s (and Krusty’s) Chinese adventures and the comings and goings of Log Horizon’s junior members lack a similar sense of intrigue; they have their moments, but whether down to lack of narrative grounding, the specific characters involved, adaptation rushing, or the base cheesiness of the setting, just don’t have the same impact the Shiroe-focused events have. Make no mistake, this side of Log Horizon isn’t actually bad, but it can prove off-putting when you’re here strictly for the literal worldbuilding.
In the end though Log Horizon pretty much did as Log Horizon does: those who dislike it won’t be switching opinions, those who love it will find plenty more to enjoy, and one way or another it’s unlikely this will be the last we hear of this series. It may not hold the same sense of awe or audience interest as the first two seasons once did (largely down to those author tax troubles), but this is one isekai which I will always look forward to seeing more of and I hope that more is indeed what lies in its future.