Log Horizon Review & Characters - ‘We will change the world’


  • Episodes : 25
  • Genre : Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Game, Magic, Shounen
  • Airing Date : Oct 5, 2013 to Mar 22, 2014
  • Producers : Satelight, NHK, NHK Enterprises, Sentai Filmworks

Log Horizon Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)

Log Horizon follows players of the MMORPG Elder Tale who have been transported to a world that looks just like the game they used to play, with the same appearance and skill sets as their online avatars. After this event, referred to as ‘the apocalypse’ the inhabitants must come together in order to find out more about how the world functions, and how to build a functioning society within it. The story mainly follows the actions of our main character, Shiroe, a semi-famous player motivated to stop the inequities and abuses that have been occurring in the Elder Tale world.

Who does Log Horizon cater to?

Log Horizon offers enough in a broad variety of anime demographics. One of the intriguing things to note about the show is it was broadcasted on NHK educational TV, which is, true to name, a channel focused on cultural and educational programs. Log Horizon goes in depth into its world it’s no wonder it can be seen as educational entertainment for kids. There’s really a lot for all ages. I think Log Horizon doesn’t have a specific audience, and is one of the better fantasy shows to come out in recent years. However, I do think fans of smart, intricately written fantasy, as well as MMORPG players, will specifically find a lot of things to love.

What's so appealing about this piece of work.

Log Horizon is a consummately well-written show. Oftentimes, Log Horizon builds tension and drama over multiple episodes, giving hints at where the action might be going and what Shiroe, our Main Character, has up his sleeve before culminating in big game-changing reveal. If you want a well flashed out world, Log Horizon is definitely a show to consider. Where you could criticize Sword Art Online for making an MMORPG anime without any real MMORPG elements, it’s not the case with Log Horizon. Characters have to rely on MMO like tactics and a class/race system in combat.

Log Horizon Trailer

Log Horizon Main Characters List

Shiroe

Voice Actor :Takuma Terashima

Our Main Character, Shiroe, is a graduate engineering student at the start of the show. A Log Horizon veteran, Shiroe knows a great deal about the game and, has a great deal of success within it. He’s achieved a sort of renown amongst the top players for his intellect, and ability to think on the fly. He plays a support role in the game, focusing on buffs, debuffs and other ways to bring out the most of his allies ability. Shiroe is an exceptional tactician, able to think ahead of his opponent, and also has quite a bit of political cunning. Her's able to persuade multiple factions to see his side of things. Shiroe uses his many talents in good-hearted pursuits aimed at making the new Elder Tales a better place for everyone in it.

Akatsuki

Voice Actor :Emiri Katou

A ninja, or rogue type player, Akatsuki plays the ‘DPS’ role found in many MMO’s. With a strong knack for stealth. A female college student in the real world, Akatsuki played as a male character in the Elder Tale MMO. But after the Apocalypse, Shiroe helps change her appearance to look like someone who resembles her more closely. Akatsuki is fiercely devoted to Shiroe, and calls him ‘my lord’, partially because of her penchant for role playing.

Naotsugu

Voice Actor : Tomoaki Maeno

Naotsugu is a ‘tank’ in the MMO sense of the world. He plays the Guardian class which focuses on both attracting enemies to attack him and soaking up enemy damage while his allies do the majority of the damage. Naotsugu has been a stalwart friend of Shiroe in the game, and an important member of the Debaucherry Tea Party. Naotsugu is lively and vivacious, he’s also a bit perverted. This runs him into trouble more than once with Akatsuki. Still, Naotsugu is an important figure in the new world, and Shiroe would be lost in combat without him.


Contains Spoilers

Log Horizon Review

Log Horizon really shines when through during multiple arcs that often involve the characters trying to remedy some problem, or issues in the world. While subtly moving towards the solution, often having to get multiple people, parties and groups to get on board with the program in a world where everyone has their own unique interests. Fusing excellent storytelling, world-building, and writing overall, Log Horizon has a lot to offer in this ‘buildup-reveal’ cycle. The problem is that the show sometimes tackles problems with huge stakes for the world, and then goes into matters that have importance, but are nowhere near as crucial.

Without going too deep into spoiler territory, one of the initial ‘buildup-reveal’ cycles revolves around Shiroe forming a council of all the biggest guilds in the New Elder Tale, in order to provide a just and stable government. Many players, specifically young ones, were being taken advantage of, often being forced to grinding day in and day out for the purposes of getting materials useful in the game or crafting items. A huge plotline unfolds where in Shiroe and his cohorts start to sell ‘real’ food in the world. After the apocalypse, food in Elder Tales had no taste, except for specific ingredients.

However, Nyanta, a friend to Shiroe and crew, manages to make real food by going outside of the game’s command prompt, and instead cooking something as you would in real life. Because of Nyantas Chef Profession in the game being a high enough level, he can cook food that tastes as it is in our world. Shiroe exploits this by selling it in the new Elder Tales world, and raising enough money in order to buy the guild hall, which is where guilds meet, store items, etc. By doing this, he forces the guilds which took advantage of young players out, and forced the hand of the powerful guilds to the negotiating table.

Arcs like this are successful because it seems often; the world itself is at stake. It’s made clear that many players are in a position of indentured servitude, and even those not being taken advantage of so severely, many are unhappy and uncomfortable with the world as is. Shiroe and his allies turn this on it’s head and provide and just, reputable and representative government. With a scheme that is so clever and well-executed, you can’t help but admire Shiroe.

You see where he gets his nickname, “the villain in glasses”, although he’s not a villain, his ability to think his way through situations is so substantial it’s almost not fair. Unfortunately, the show doesn’t communicate this sense of high stakes through all its arcs. And this is where the show really suffers. You’ll really feel the weight of the high-low traverse through the middle and end of the series. Where you can feel like your slogging through something that’s trivial in comparison to what the show just dealt with.

But still, Log Horizon has enough to keep you coming back, even in the slow parts. Every episode is utilized, not just to drive the plot forward, but to examine critical facets of the world of Elder Tales. And how the new world the characters are living in has changed from the old game world. The show has a consistent internal logic that easily makes sense to the viewer. While there are things that seem like a plot convenience here and there, none of them are so glaring that they take away a great deal from the overall product.

One of the best features about this world and the writing behind it is it really understands and demonstrates how people would act realistically in this scenario. Also how the mechanics of the world switch from game Elder Tales to the ‘Real’ Elder Tales, after the apocalypse. The example of ‘real food’ we used before is a great example. Because if you had to eat bland-tasting crap for a month, and someone offered you something that had the flavor of actual food, you’d go crazy for it. It’s understandable why this was such a successful endeavor. Another great example of it is how NPC’s, called ‘People of the Land’ in Elder Tale lore, are treated.

They each have motivations and interests related to the lore surrounding them. And after the apocalypse, it’s discovered that the people of the land are not just mindless NPC’s anymore, but have individual consciousness, thus are considered full-blown human beings. Details like this are why I really loved every minute learning about this world. In terms of World Building, Log Horizon is an example of a show that does almost everything the right way.

Aside from our Main, Shiroe, they’re really aren’t many characters who consistently eat up a lot of screen time. Oddly, this works in the shows favor. One of the best things about Log Horizon is it’s ability to manage such a large cast of characters, without overly relying on too many clichéd archetypes. Having them all come off as organic and many of them quite memorable. That’s why it’s hard to go through a character run-down and not say something about the cast as a whole. One of the main appeals of this show is getting to know more and more about the huge cast of characters that make up the world of Elder Tale (add this part in the review, we would like to keep the character sections for main characters only)

The presentation offers a lot to like as well. While not having really flashy, over-the top animation, it’s never choppy or off-putting. Log Horizon is very effective in its use of color, however. Many characters have color patterns that are both pleasing from an aesthetic point of view, while also making characters easily distinguishable from one another. The character design does a lot to this effect, which is a good thing when you have such a large cast.

There’s actually an episode where many of the characters are in a “uniform” for a diplomatic mission. That’s when I started to ask ‘wait, who’s that?’, really driving home how good the character design was overall. The music also offers some nice moments, doing a good job of complimenting the mood of scenes throughout the show.

1. Guilds

Guilds are the primary political organs in the world of Log Horizon. Through Shiroe’s planning he effectively persuades the top guilds, both combat and merchant guilds, to come together to form a responsible government. Not just made up of the biggest guilds, some smaller guilds are admitted as representatives of the many smaller guilds in Log Horizon.

2. People of the Land

Former NPC’s, the People of the Land in Log Horizon think, feel and are really the same as human beings. The relationship between People of the Land and the ‘players’ (referred to as the Adventurers) becomes a crucial plot point throughout the series. We also see cases of interesting interactions and relationships between People of the Land, and Adventurers.

3. Log Horizon

Log Horizon is the title of the guild that Shiroe eventually forms. It’s both significant for Shiroe, as before the Apocalypse, he was more prone to solo play or informal parties. However, seeing the dire situation of the new world, he steps up and eventually forms Log Horizon. What’s significant is that Log Horizon takes on a number of young players, and fosters their development, including Minori who has the skill level and intelligence of a younger Shiroe.


Overall, Log Horizon is a very good show that does suffer substantially in terms of keeping you engaged and feeling like what’s going on is important, or at least as important as what happened. There’s a drop off in excitement level that’s pretty distracting through major parts of the first season. However, there’s enough to like about this show’s world building to keep you coming back for more. I can easily recommend Log Horizon to any anime viewer, especially those who have a penchant for the fantasy setting or like the ‘MMORPG’ premise.

CJL

Writer

Author: CJL

Long Islander who loves anime. Interested in politics, philosophy and also a huge fan of sports and video games. Just about any series can get me going if it’s done well. From cute girls doing cute things shows, to gritty-action or space-opera or mecha series. Comment on my articles, let’s get a conversation going.

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