Log Horizon 2 – Anime Review
Synopsis: After struggling to survive in a new environment, Shiroe and his friends have managed to restore order to Akihabara. After six months with the team gaining the trust of the many guilds in the area, they must now prepare for a tough winter ahead. (Official HIDIVE Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Log Horizon was a pretty explosive hit, airing less than a year after the unstoppably popular Sword Art Online. While Sword Art Online has never really gained critical favor, Log Horizon managed to pose itself as the ‘smarter’ version between the two, gaining enough of a following to justify a second twenty plus episode season. Log Horizon Season 2 (Or Log Horizon 2 as HIDIVE and Crunchyroll call it) picks up very shortly after Season 1 ends, although it doesn’t directly address the dangling plot threads teased in the final episodes. Instead it opens with a much more dynamic story as Shiroe leads an assault on a new, secret, and powerful dungeon in an attempt to prevent the adventurers from going bankrupt financially. Log Horizon 2 offers the same intrigue, drama, and action that made up the best parts of the first season and this acts as a strong opening for the second run.
Linny: What’s praiseworthy about Log Horizon is that despite being more technical and thorough with its depiction of MMORPG gaming, it manages to keep itself entertaining and approachable for newcomers or those unfamiliar with that style of gameplay. It achieves this by keeping its story entertaining on a more universal level and also explaining the more technical aspects without turning them into a boring instruction manual like lecture. Compared to other shows with a similar premise, Log Horizon makes good use of its RPG mechanics and the second season also manages to mix in real world/life issues with RPG world problems. A potentially problematic feature, however, of Log Horizon’s second season is that it develops a tendency of following minor characters, featuring entire episodes focused solely on them. This means better established main characters disappear for several episodes at a time and could frustrate viewers who prefer the original main stays over the newer cast/minor characters thrust into the spotlight.
Tom: A fair number of smaller characters from Season 1 get a lot more face time this second go around, like Tohya and Minori, the kid duo. That’s both good and bad. For some it’s actually refreshing to have them in the spotlight for once rather than everything coming back to Shiroe all the time. Unfortunately when the show chooses to focus on the twerps it really loses its edge. The story stumbles and drags on as the kids, Tohya, Minori and their little bad of tykes, go through their own character growth, which is not nearly as exciting or interesting as Shiroe or the rest of the main cast. Whereas stories focusing on Crusty, Akatsuki, or Isaac are interesting, the twerps remain an insanely boring diversion. It gives the show an uneven quality, bouncing between thrilling and attention grabbing one week and mindbogglingly uninteresting the next.
Linny: This season vastly expands the cast of characters with new additions whose personalities range from interesting to unremarkable. Some of them bring a lot of energy and life to the show and may even leave you wanting more. Others bring the show to a standstill. Going back to this season’s tendency of having story lines for all sorts of characters, it gets extremely frustrating when a lot of these side stories end up feeling pointless, boring, confusing or worst of all, left entirely unresolved. It makes the story telling chaotic and disorganized thanks to the addition of so many random side stories, running the risk of making the show lose its charm and intrigue.
Tom: Despite these frequent missteps there’s still a lot of charm that makes up for it. Entirely self-aware as to how catchy the first opening was, Log Horizon 2 keeps that opening instead of doing the traditional change out in favor of some other pop song to promote. There’s also plenty of really interesting twists, turns and revelations peppered throughout the season. This includes learning more about the world Shiro and Co. remain stuck in, and the ways in which this strange MMO type world actually works. Ultimately the show redeems itself from the periodic focus on the uninteresting twerps with a strong final three episode arc. Unfortunately, the ending itself feels a bit loose, especially considering there’s been no major follow up since Log Horizon 2’s airing.
Linny: The ending is definitely another major fumble as it lacks impact. There were a couple of interesting reveals but ultimately none that would leave viewers gasping in shock and clamoring for a continuation. It may have been better if the show had ended on the cusp of an epic battle as an intimidating boss battle can be adrenaline pumping and tension creating, building my interest in yet another outing, even if this last one was weak in places. Speaking of battles, Log Horizon 2 offers a fair amount of impressive combat sequences sprinkled throughout its run, which could be where MMORPG newcomers/non players end up a bit lost as they involve a LARGE amount of in game lingo, but they’re also a visual feast and should hopefully retain their attention nonetheless. Overall, Log Horizon 2 is, at best, a decent follow up to the first season. It’s not perfect and wanes when compared to its predecessor. While it boasts of great dungeon battles, it suffers from meandering side stories, episodes focused on less charming side characters, humdrum reveals and an ending that’s in danger of killing the desire for more Log Horizon. That said, it should still be worth a watch for people who took to its more methodical and faithful approach to life in an MMORPG, still offering up a tale that embraces its setting and manages to weave human emotions with in-game drama.
Tom: It’s hard for me to lavish praise on Log Horizon 2 when the quality varies so much episode to episode. Any focus on Tohya and Minori falls flat, but otherwise remains top form in its ability to weave an engaging narrative through the hardcore usage of MMO terms, game play and concepts. Log Horizon 2, like the first season, remains the ‘smarter’ version of Sword Art Online, feeling like there’s more meat to the plot, developments and well constructed characters. It’s not perfect, and this second outing borders on a step down from the first, but overall stands as something I can recommended to people who find Sword Art Online’s concept interesting, yet thin.