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Log Horizon Season Two: Part Two – Review

log-horizon-season-2-part-2-cover-image-01Achievement breeds complacency, and complacency breeds comfort. Comfort in one’s self, comfort in one’s environment, comfort in one’s situation. Is there anything wrong with justified contentment? Not at all…unless that sense of security forces you to entirely lose sight of what’s most important. In personal lives, what’s most important is only that to the individual, and so bursts of rest, respite, relaxing, and serenity are only small breaks in the road to ultimate accomplishment, but when the lives of many rely on your ability to stay on path, divergence or delay simply isn’t an option.

It has been some three years since Shiroe and company were “teleported” to the hybrid world that is partially like their own but mostly like an in-universe MMORPG titled “Elder Tale“. For a majority of our time with the series, we have followed as the character cast developed a society wherein which they could exist relatively care-free so as to, one day, have the opportunity to focus on escaping this new reality wholeheartedly. After years of struggle, it looks as though the pseudo-civilisation they have constructed for themselves is still under constant threat. The next step is one that, until recently, had been abandoned, but it is one that can no longer be pushed to the wayside: Returning to their world.

A special thank you must be extended, once again, to Madman Entertainment whose constant support has allowed us to review Log Horizon from it’s very first home video release to it’s most recent.

Having cleared the Abyssal Shaft, the members of the raiding party have returned to Akihabara to consider their next options.

First, though, there’s an unexpected lesson in history as the founder of the Debauchery Tea Party, the legendary Kanami, resurfaces with an extremely peculiar entourage and some even more stunning revelations about connections to the outside.

But the ramifications of this will have to wait. With new political situations brewing between the Guilds, Shiroe sets Isaac to the task of training Maihama’s knights while the younger members of Log Horizon are sent out on what should be a simple quest.

Collecting the materials required to make a magic bag, however, becomes much more difficult when ogres and nightshades get involved!

Fortunately, the junior team is about to get a jolt of fresh blood… in the form of a Vampire! The action escalates and the world gets even wilder in the second thundering collection of LOG HORIZON – SEASON 2! – Madman Entertainment

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As a series continues, it must also expand. The most rapid path to monotony is stagnation, but with the development of any story come directions that can make a great series terrible, and a terrible series great. The unfortunate reality of many stories like Log Horizon is that, eventually, an attempt is made at shedding light on the mystery of the characters’ combined situation and, more often than not, it simply does not turn out well. Log Horizon, as mentioned, does indeed take a confident stab at clearing some of the mist that surrounds the series, but it does not do as well as I had hoped.

Instead of directly revealing the truth of the world, Log Horizon uncovers a vague way for the characters to “leave” it. This, in turn, brings a level of obscurity to the story that I never expected from it but, as a result, leads the story on a path that seems truly unlike itself. It introduces new types of characters that directly influence the story, but that don’t make enough sense in the context of what had already been developed in previous arcs. This, as mentioned, turns Log Horizon from a reasonably realistic series, something that I found to be it’s most sizeable asset, and forces it to become strangely unbelievable.

It may have it’s fair share of obnoxious characters with one-dimensional quirks, but for ever one of them, there’s another that is truly well-rounded. While certain developments took away from what I considered to be the series’ strong points, there were others that gave me great insight into it’s more grounded side. The most disappointing element of this release is that the audience was forced, for the most part, to follow a set of characters that truly weren’t as interesting as they could have been. Still, for some latent reason, Log Horizon remains very much enjoyable.

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Log Horizon has never been a series notorious for it’s visual presence. Like few Anime based upon Visual Novels, Log Horizon doesn’t awe with it’s aesthetics, in fact, it is an Anime made up almost entirely by fixed images interlaced with heavy dialogue. There are few combat scenes, which is peculiar for a story based upon a combat-heavy MMORPG, so only very briefly are we given the opportunity to experience this series’ visual quality at it’s greatest. For the most part; Log Horizon is visually mundane. Still, character designs are quirky, delightful, and subtle. Many Anime of this kind tend to lean towards busier character designs, but Log Horizon instead chooses modesty, and it works heavily in their favour.

The series’ soundtrack is of a far greater quality than it’s visuals, so if optical aesthetics do not do enough to please the audience then it’s auditory presence should. As one would imagine; all of tracks that appeared in past releases have, once again, appeared for this and that’s fine considering how well-placed music in this series truly is. Every track used accentuates scenes in faint ways, once again adding to the subtle excellence of this series’ individual elements.

Where the auditory component of this series falls flat is with it’s English voice over dubbing which is, for lack of a better word; lacking. While the main few protagonists have wonderfully-performed dialogue lines, there are many sub-characters who rely on outdated internet humour and paper-thin personality traits expressed through half-arsed interactions with others as the basis of their being. As you can imagine…this doesn’t work out well.

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Across my time as a critic of this series, spanning four releases telling the story of both seasons one and two, I have said a great deal of good about Log Horizon. Over time, though, it has developed in ways that I have found to be unsatisfactory, especially considering it’s sturdy foundation. The fact of the matter is that, at the end of it all, I am still compelled to recommend Log Horizon to any Anime fanatic who is looking for an alternative to something like Sword Art Online or, for that matter, anything of it’s type. I still do consider Log Horizon to be one of the better “Digital Fantasy” series’ I’ve personally experienced, but that does not mean it is without it’s gradual deterioration.

There’s a great deal to be excavated from the depths of Log Horizon; those of you out there who are more inclined to search for the positives and overlook the negatives will find that the second season of Log Horizon has much to offer, but it is only when you begin to properly pick it apart that you realise it is not the series it once was. There are a substantial amount of obvious chips in the armour, and  striking at them will prove that it is no longer as durable as it once was.

Log Horizon, though, has this bizarre presence that demands for it to be enjoyed despite how much it seemingly does wrong. Regardless of it’s wrongdoings, it is a series that will remain on my recommendation list, albeit under countless others. This is, however, a review and I am of the opinion that a piece of media can be technically lacklustre but also remain a worthwhile experience. I say this because many of my most beloved Video Games, Anime, and Manga can be grouped into such a definition. One must understand that anything, good or bad, can be enjoyed but when it comes time for a cross-examination such as this…it may not make it out unscathed. Log Horizon is very much worth the time, even as it’s second season comes to a close and things begin to fall apart.

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

Grade: C+

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