My Most Anticipated Anime is “Log Horizon”

LogHorizon

I do not normally write hype posts, but this time I cannot help but to do so. It becomes especially ironic since I earlier this month wrote “How Expectations Can Make or Break Anime”, in which I point out that I normally try to have low expectations so I am not let down.

But in this particular case I cannot help but let my expectations get ahead of me. The reason for all of this is Log Horizon, a new anime about people being transported to a video game world.

Virtual reality is something that has always fascinated me ever since I first heard of it. I imagined being able to discover and explore virtual worlds as if they were our own. You could wander about, touch, smell and hear everything around you. It would be like being transported to another reality.

This fascinating has always been with me, especially today with Oculus Rift and other similar VR-headsets being created as we speak. How will it feel to use them? With a video game properly made to work with virtual reality, will it feel as if you embark to a new land? As if you are one with it?

As I think of all the possibilities I cannot help but feel overwhelmingly excited about what the future holds in store for us.

HackTwilightBracelet

.hack//Legend of the Twilight

Now let us jump back in time to the year 2006. Back then there was this manga called .hack//Legend of the Twilight being released here in Sweden. The story centered around, you guessed it, virtual reality! The story took place in the MMORPG “The World”, something which only made me enjoy it even more thanks to being a fan of video games.

Reading .hack//Legend of the Twilight was extremely fun as it did so many things right. It poked fun at virtual reality while also showcasing what a wonderful addition it could be to video games. Especially the latter really hit home, with our main characters leveling up, meeting other people, taking part in unique competitions and festivals in a way games never had, and still have not, done before.

Exploring zones to find a cure to a dying pet? Experiencing a tanabata festival? Or only walking around in the main city hub? For the first time ever with a medium I felt like I was there. The series perfectly captured what makes video games, and specifically MMORPGs, fun. It also made me long for such an endearing MMORPG as “The World” to become a reality. I wanted it, no, I needed it.

However, since .hack//Legend of the Twilight also wanted to tell a story and not only be about playing a video game, it ultimately decided to leave that aspect in favor of something more serious. A later entry in the franchise called .hack//Quantum sadly also followed in this manner.

Slightly let down over how two .hack titles decided to not fully focus on the lighthearted side of VR-video games, and without finding another series to satisfy my hunger, my love for the “genre” somewhat died.

SwordArtOnline3

Sword Art Online

Eventually the year 2012 came around the corner and this popular franchise Sword Art Online was about to be animated. There was some buzz before it aired, much due to the original light novels being fan translated and hugely popular in some internet circles, but it never got to me. I only looked at Sword Art Online as any other anime.

Then I watched the first episode.

Boom.

My love was rekindled.

With a great start, Sword Art Online seemed to be exactly what I had wanted. First of all the VR-headsets, called Nerve Gear, were much more exciting than the ones featured in .hack (which, from what I recall, only were normal headsets plus a gamepad). Nerve Gear actually “connected” to your body and stimulated your senses, providing an extremely real experience. Just thinking about the possibilities made me drool.

In addition, the fact that the players were trapped in the game opened up many opportunities to tell an interesting story. What if people simply stopped playing and decided to live their life in the virtual world? Perhaps we could see how the community teamed up to beat the game, or maybe even fight each other? And why not follow different types of players, such as forgers and knights? Not to mention the possible character drama…

Sword Art Online could have been a .hack that was slightly more serious, but still retained the fun. It could go places. But it decided not to do anything of what I mentioned above. The series merely briefly touched upon them, ignoring every little bit of potential in favor of breaking its own video game rules and having shallow characters. It was, mildly put, a shame and a disappointment.

LogHorizon2

Many tears later and we enter today, fall anime season year 2013. Log Horizon, a new anime about merging reality and video games, will air. At first I was not excited about it. It did not seem bad, but I could not bring myself to hype it because of my previous disappointments.

Then I came across an image from 4chan of all places. To sum it up here:

– The characters are not “trapped” in a game. Rather, a video game world has become the real world.

– It does not try to be grimdark. You die? You are resurrected at a town. This is used for comedy effect.

– The main character is a mage, aka a support role, and does not try to steal the spotlight. Nor is he perfect at everything.

– The development focus lies on the main character’s party members and not only the main.

– It is not a harem.

– Focus on MMO politics and economics.

LogHorizon3

Color me interested, to say the least. If this source is to be trusted, Log Horizon might be able to nail both the fun and the more serious moments. The little footage released sure looks fine at least. Overall, it almost sounds too good to be true.

But naturally there is some cause for concern. The largest reason is the original novel creator being Mamare Touno, the author of Mayouu Maou Yuusha. The anime adaptation of Mayouu Maou Yuusha felt very dull, with one-dimensional characters and a focus on politics and economics that became too much towards the end, especially when the anime explained those parts poorly.

Hopefully this will not be the case in Log Horizon, or at least the anime might present the themes in a much more captivating way. Let us hope.

Log Horizon can possibly be the anime I have long dreamed of. So, please, let that be the case.

If all else fails, we will at least have a protagonist who is a mage.

And we all know mages are the best.

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26 thoughts on “My Most Anticipated Anime is “Log Horizon”

  1. Silvachief says:

    While i’m personally a melee guy, I find myself looking forward to Log Horizon after reading this post. It will be interesting to see just how much it focuses on the game aspects, considering .Hack just happening to take place in a game and not really taking advantage of its setting.

    I haven’t seen Sword Art Online yet either, so i’m looking forward to marathoning it after my exams ^_^

  2. ZakuAbumi says:

    As an interesting (and obvious) side thought: Virtual reality anime have that very alluring thing about them – escapism. I guess we can all agree that online gaming is fun. Certainly not all online gaming but the vague virtual reality stories, unclear even on a combat system you could potentially dislike (press space – wait for the monster to die – it might drop a rare item but chances are loooooow for that – repeat that hundred times to proceed to the next level) but will never find yourself to due to a lack of information, are sure to make it look like fun. And boy, isn’t the idea of an alternate reality to explore with fun comrades a thrilling thing? Franchises like GTA have proven that yes, players can care about supposedly trivial things like the surroundings and get the will to explore them. And hey, let’s not forget that this is so little like real life – it shares a few of the concepts we believe to be true like that you have to work to earn money – but yet never makes them a hassle to deal with. You kill a few monsters, you’ve earned yourself a whole lot of dinners for the next few days. Good food, tasty food? You bet! You keep doing that for a few days and there’s your house you’ve bought already (per click, not by singing a dozen of way too complicated contracts)! Accomplishments, accomplishments and even more of them day-in, day-out and you didn’t have to do all that much for it in the first place! Compare that to dull real life where any street looks just like the next one (exploring! fun! not!) and you have to torture yourself through a job you hate 8 hours a day your entire life long just so you can keep up doing exactly that and maintain a status that’s basically “working, surviving, earning yourself bits of fun. Wash, rinse, repeat.”, followed by alzheimers and if not, depressing thoughts on what the fuck you actually ever managed to achive and suddenly, being trapped in a virtual reality sounds like a really cool thing!

    With all that said, I do get where you are coming from and entertainment media can do some interesting things with that – thoughtful commentary too! The key word, though, is execution. SAO got that tempting idea too and basically delivered a pandering wish-fulfillment scenario. Don’t like real life? Yay for online gaming! Everyone’s in trouble? You’re DA MAN and best at everything! Problems only exist so you (and only you~) can get rid of them! You’re (of course) brilliant at online gaming? That gets you all the chicks! Hah. Talk about soulless trash.

    Aaaaaaaand this is where Log Horizon comes in. It probably won’t end up as the same thing SAO was – heck, it’s going to air on NHK E of all things. Not to mention it looks a whole lot more focused on, you know, actual online gaming and while it does have cute girls, it doesn’t have a whole lot of them – and enough dudes not just used as hateable rapists trying to steal your waifu. Not to mention the things said /a/non listed.
    But. But. I’m not getting too optimistic here. Not only does it look like standard fare, there’s also the Maoyuu author lurking in the shadows, willing to drown you in the ever-so-compelling storytelling of arrows on a map pointing towards something, followed by an explanation that somewhere, something (apparently meaningful and relevant) has happened and yet you can’t give a rat’s ass ’bout it. Works even less in a visual medium, something that’s supposed to be about showing, not telling. And while some of the prospects do sound rather good, execution is what it boils down to and a few sentences on something tell you little to nothing about it. Not to mention, hey, how credible and trustworthy are fans of a source material? Remember Medaka Box, Deadman Wonderland, OreImo, several other classics and ironically, SAO too? Awesome anime, right?

    It still does look kind of interesting – certainly not among the top things I’m looking forward to but hey, I wouldn’t be into all this shit if I couldn’t get my hopes up for a new and shiny season over and over again!

    • Marow says:

      I don’t have much to add to what you’ve already said, except that what you wrote was interesting. It’s a bit ironic how in video games the biggest hassle becomes easy as pie, while still having a lot of fun. I wonder if “gamification” would make reality feel more engaging?

      there’s also the Maoyuu author lurking in the shadows, willing to drown you in the ever-so-compelling storytelling of arrows on a map pointing towards something, followed by an explanation that somewhere, something (apparently meaningful and relevant) has happened

      Not to mention, hey, how credible and trustworthy are fans of a source material? Remember Medaka Box, Deadman Wonderland, OreImo, several other classics and ironically, SAO too? Awesome anime, right?

      Don’t do this to me 😦

  3. higgsbosoff says:

    “I’m the white mage. And nobody fucks with the white mage.”

  4. lazyusagi says:

    when i read that it would be like Sword Art i got disappointed but im still gonna watch it. 🙂

  5. Overlord-G says:

    You enjoyed Sword Art Online (to an extent) so that’s the main reason I predicted you would get hyped for this one.

  6. Haseo says:

    I really liked this honestly. There is something I would like to mention that might peak your interest. As a long term .Hack// fan I can tell you the story is much more in debt, and that Legend of Twilight is rather light compared to the rest of the series. I say that because there’s a total of 7 games that go along with the story line. Really, Legend of Twilight was that uneeded side anime for fun. I HIGHLY recommend looking into .Hack//G.U. It’s a trilogy game series and it really pulls you in. It gave me everything I wanted for this genre and honestly, the character development is to die for. Not to mention some of the plot twists.

    There is a lot more to .Hack that people don’t know about. More animes, manga, novels. It’s such a wonderful series and each and every one of them ties in together and blows your mind. That’s really the best part about it.

    Besides that, I’ll try giving Log Horizon a chance. SAO impressed me with the first three episodes, then only went downhill for me. So I’m hesitant on trying this one out. Hopefully, it’ll be an entertaining anime.

    • Marow says:

      Glad you liked it!

      .hack//G.U., huh. If I had owned a PS2 at the time, I would’ve tried them, but now it feels a bit of a bother to find the games. Good to see you enjoy them, though >_<'

      .hack sure is a big franchise.

  7. Moomba says:

    Reading thoughts by various bloggers, it seems like Log Horizon is going to be another of those shows with extremely divided opinions. Those who play MMOs enjoy it, those who don’t choose to ridicule it.

    I think it has a lot of potential, especially if it stays away from the drama SAO loved to focus on, but the first episode didn’t entirely blow me away. It got me interested as an MMO player, as someone who also loved the .hack franchise, and as someone who was disappointed by SAO – but having been disappointed by SAO in the long run, I find it hard to get too hyped, even if it sounds promising.

    Maybe it’s a strange thing to say, but the anime that has always felt to me like the greatest realisation of the ‘MMO’ genre wasn’t even an anime about MMORPGs at all – in my opinion, Druaga no Tou handled everything that makes an MMO quite excellently.

    • Marow says:

      You’re right about that. Some really like it, some really dislike it. It’s weird, really, and much of the criticism confuses me considering how other anime escape similar criticism without a hitch.
      Sure, you don’t have to love it, but despise it? To me, it’s mind-boogling.

      Haven’t seen Tower of Druaga, but I do know of it. Hopefully you’ll enjoy Log Horizon just as much 😀

      • Moomba says:

        For a while now, it’s seemed to me that if a single anime is recieved really badly within one particular genre or style, everyone wants to try and force the same sort of reception upon anything that follows in a similar vein.

        Log Horizon may not have blown me away yet, but I still have high hopes for it and I certainly don’t see anywhere near as many glaring flaws as some others have pointed out. So far it doesn’t seem any more ‘generic’ or ‘cliché’ than any of the other recent fare.

  8. […] wasn’t going to watch this show, but thankfully Marow managed to convince me with his post. Despite the silly and somewhat worn look it’s pretty much what SAO should have been. And […]

  9. erihppas says:

    As someone who has read all the light novels of LH, I can only tell you that this anime won’t disappoint. In fact, the anime seems to make nice, meaningful improvements (Remember the rat boss scene on ep 3? Yeah, that’s not in the book!). Shiroe won’t be stealing the action spotlight, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be badass. I’m still pondering whether if the anime would be taking its own route or following the light novel though; as of this written comment, the anime has released 4 episodes… which is equivalent to 1 book already.

    As of to date, there are 6 books published. Book 3 and 4 is equivalent to an arc. 4 books per anime?

    • Marow says:

      Oh, I thought Log Horizon was finished? 😮
      If the first four episodes covered one book and there are six book at the moment… perhaps they’ll cover them all? It will be 25 episodes long after all.

      Neat that they added the boss!

      • erihppas says:

        It isn’t. Just realized I haven’t read the 6th book, ack! But based on the built-up on the 5th book, I doubt it’ll end fast. They seem to be touching on state-by-state politics now! o.o I don’t think they’ll be covering all, though, but based on the OP and ED animations… I estimate 4 books. :3

        But yeah, there’s actually a lot of explanations and descriptions in the book. It’s actually pretty long-winded, but the anime simplified most of the scenes. It’s funny how everyone splits the expository job in ep 4~ XD Ooooh, looking forward to ep5!

  10. […] My Most Anticipated Anime is “Log Horizon” […]

  11. […] Sword Art Online aired two years ago it left me disappointed and frustrated. As I’ve written before, the idea of focusing a story around video games and virtual reality is one that has […]

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