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Log Horizon Season Two: Part One – Review

log-horizon-season-two-cover-image-01There is little difference between that of a good storyline and that of a bad storyline, but it’s success lies within it’s delivery and just how believable it can be whilst still managing to pique audience interest and flare the imagination.

Whilst Log Horizon is a series, like many others, that has characters teleported into the world of their favorite video game, having to survive the perils of constant hoard combat and quest completion, it is unlike those that came before it in the way that it is heavily deep-rooted in the realm of reality. Intellectual, mature, and yet light-heartedly fun-loving, Log Horizon is, arguably, the pinnacle of it’s sub-genre…though many will choose an alternative like Sword Art Online instead of it.

Madman Entertainment have just released the next for of the two season series, this time bringing the first part of season two to retailer shelves across Australia and New Zealand. I must extend a special thanks to Madman Entertainment for their continuous support and, once again, the opportunity to review the latest release of Log Horizon.

It’s been six months since the event that trapped thousands of players in the online game world of Elder Tales and the situation is far from secure. The People of the Land are engaged in open warfare against the Goblin armies of Zantleaf. Minami spies are infiltrating the populace. And even with the support and guidance of the Round Table Alliance, the cost of sustaining the city of Akihabara is causing the entire infrastructure to teeter on the brink of collapse. With winter coming, Shiroe and his companions are forced to consider their options. Should they stay in Akihabara and attempt to weather the oncoming storm? Or should they gamble on missions to other portions of the world in search of new sources of valuable treasure? The launch of another series of raids will test old alliances while new ones are forged, as the adventure continues in the second season of LOG HORIZON! – Madman Entertainment

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Log Horizon is, funnily enough, known for being one of the more realistic takes on a “video game prison” storyline, and it very much allows you as the audience member to dive into most situations alongside the character. The suspending of disbelief isn’t as hard to accomplish when watching through Log Horizon which has it’s characters tackling big issues in startlingly mature and intelligent ways. The story basis for the beginning of season two is the accumulation of large quantities of gold after Shiroe begins to notice that something akin to land tax is siphoning the collective savings of the Round Table Alliance. This inspires him and his crew to take on a perilous raid which, if won, will mean not only financial stability for those living within the walls of Akihabara’s borders but equality across the board, even including NPCs of the game.

The start of the season feature dual storylines that are experiences alongside one another: The first is the raid in which I’ve just described, and the other is set back in Akihabara as it is attacked by a player-killing NPC. Of the two, it is Shiroes storyline that rises above, but that’s not to say that Akatsuki’s time in the spotlight is anything to laugh at. Regardless of the storyline’s individual quality, I was quite a fan of getting the chance to experience two separate storylines unfolding at the very same time. Often I find myself shying away from any story that involves too many sub plots simply because I feel that it muddies the water. Log Horizon chose to feature only two parallel adventures and took the time to develop them as much as possible, something I wish could be seen in countless other series’ of it’s type.

Perhaps the only downside to Log Horizon’s season two storyline is the addition of certain characters that are, for lack of a better word, gimmicky, and only appear for the sake of comedy…to which they fail on all counts. Apart from the odd side episode wherein which the girls of Akihabara must make chocolate to try and win over their loves, the start of the season was written fairly tight, leading off on a cliffhanger that has me even more interested in the next release.

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Visually, Log Horizon doesn’t take too much of a step forward from it’s first season, in fact, it may even take somewhat of a step backwards. For whatever reasons, be it budget limitations or otherwise, season two featured a great deal of stagnant scenes wherein which there were little examples of character movement. I understand that this series is quite dialogue-heavy and it is frivolous to break budget animating simple talking scenes, but I felt as though the payoff from said scenes was not worth the time trying to retain budget. When it came to the combat portions of certain episodes, I wasn’t necessarily impressed by the visual quality of it’s action. Countless times throughout the thirteen episodes featured in this release I found myself disappointed by the lacklustre animation quality, expecting for there to be some sort of sizeable spike when it came to scenes of this type.

The soundtrack is much the same as it was in the first season, so in regards to that nothing much has changed at all. The same could also be said about the English dub if it wasn’t for more recent character additions only introduced in the second season. For the most part I found dialogue to be witty and charming, but there were a few key characters who were, as mentioned, only introduced for comedic purposes and did not have what it took to land jokes in ways that would have been fitting. Instead of being received as the new goofy member of the character cast, I found myself wishing that such inclusions never took place.

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Thankfully Log Horison Season Two Part One only played host to a small selection of negative features, with the positive taking the spotlight throughout. During these events, the audience was informed about death within the game, and the price one has to pay when resurrecting. Through these we were also given the opportunity to see realistic character growth in members of the series not just connected directly to the main characters. Sure, the animation quality wasn’t as good as it could have been, and certain characters only worked to cheapen the experience, but surrounding those poor portions of the series was a great deal of good. Monologues that inspire the audience, interactions that prove there is light even in the darkness, lessons about perseverance and dedication, Log Horizon had it all and nothing could take that away from it.

Log Horizon is a series that prides itself on realism, and it is able to make us, the audience, believe that things of this calibre are possible because it evolves within its own fictional borders, never straying from what it knows is right and what it knows is accurate. THIS is what makes Log Horizon a fantastic story to experience, and it is the inverse of this that makes other Anime almost unwatchable. Log Horizon knows exactly what it excels at, and makes a point of getting bigger and better with each new arc. Log Horizon is an Anime that is incredible hard to dislike, so it’s easier just to sit back and let it all in.

Purchase Log Horizon Season 2 Part 1 through Madman Entertainment’s online store by Clicking Here.

Grade: B

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1 comment on “Log Horizon Season Two: Part One – Review

  1. I think this release is just as good as the previous collections, although I hear the next part suffers from a dip in quality. The new characters didn’t bug me. Tetra made me laugh at the very least.

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