You Should Be Watching: Log Horizon

The year is 2016 and as always, I’m late to the party. The difference is that this party started in the November of 2013, and boy did I miss out! Of course, you already know that I’m talking about from reading the title of this article: the anime series Log Horizon!

We at Alt:Mag don’t endorse the apocalypse, I swear.

In an age where virtual reality is available to the masses - providing you have a spare £1000 lying around - it’s not unusual for media such as; anime, films and books to cover this amazing topic. Now everyone and their Nan is aware of the popularity of Virtual Reality devices such as The Oculus Rift in modern society. However, research has shown that virtual reality can in fact assist in alleviating the chronic pain that arises from arthritis. So maybe your Nan, or any other elderly relative should really be getting on-board with
this trend!

This is not the study, this is just an advanced way of playing VR games. 

The story of Log Horizon bears startling similarities to shows such as Sword Art Online and .Hack. The similarity between these series is that they are all centred around players becoming trapped in a video game! However, a big difference between Log Horizon and those shows is that the protagonist, Shiroe proves that the pen is truly mightier than the sword, using intellect to outwit and defeat his enemies. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good strong, stalwart main character. I grew up playing Final Fantasy and Zelda, and we all know you don’t get moodier than Cloud or quieter than Link. But what makes Shiroe stand out from the crowd is his use of logic. No, not Yu-Gi-Oh! logic. Realistic logic, based on the idea that games have rules and you have to use them to your advantage. Log Horizon combines a mixture of adventuring, player versus player combat and a level of social interaction vastly more complicated and realistic than what often occurs in real MMORPG's, but then again I'm a casual. 

 A true role model to us nerds, because he even has girls chasing after him, but like me, he’d rather do his work…. *sigh*.

So Log Horizon, for what it’s worth, is fairly old, as I said it initially aired in 2013. However, it’s definitely worth watching if you’re a fan of Sword Art Online, or even if you’re not. Now, that’s an easy thing to say because that means anybody and everybody, but… what I mean is, there’s a similar premise of being trapped in a game. Which is then treated in an entirely different way to Sword Art Online. The refreshing differences however are the story, which centres on Shiroe and his band of misfits actually trying to make the game world inhabitable for all the players, rather than fighting against all odds to win their freedom. Now this struck me as odd, because I certainly wouldn’t want to be stuck in a Fantasy world, rather than studying my arse off doing a Master’s Degree. Okay that’s a lie, I love my course, but I’d rather be a Wizard… or a Knight… OR A NINJA (like Akatsuki from Log Horizon)!

I’m glad someone doesn’t, it haunts me every day.

Yes the show has Mages, Knights, Ninjas, Bards, Druids, Samurai and so much more! It even has sub-classes and professions that the players can use to generally make their lives better, as you’ll see if you watch!
Now with a wide variety of characters, classes, sub-classes and so on, comes a vast array of character development throughout the two seasons. This development tackles ideals such as love, hate, honour, and self-doubt and in some ways even uses a lot of metaphors for ideas like depression within the general populace (of the show of course!). Unlike many shows that highlight their protagonist as a chosen one, this show challenges a lot of these ideas in an honest and upfront manner, while still remaining within the diegesis of the show’s world.

If I’m honest, I had a few days off and I binged the entire two seasons, and do I regret it? Heck no. I started watching it again a week later. Now I may sound like a fanatic, but this series doesn’t hold a candle to Naruto & Naruto: Shippuden (the simultaneous banes and loves of my life). However, I couldn’t recommend if more highly.
It is without a doubt, a very fulfilling watch, that brings together epic battles, genius stratagems and cute romantic scenes, in a believable and enjoyable way. It also does this while highlighting the goofiness of the characters and proving that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. 
All in all, Log Horizon brings together an interesting plot, wonderful visuals, intense adventuring and combat as well as a varity of believeable characters, and it does this in a way that feels fresh.

Overall, this series brings together elements of a variety of modern MMORPG’s such as Tera, World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (all of which are decent games, should you be interested in playing them). Not only does Log Horizon shine the light of ingenuity and originality onto a genre that is full of tropes, but it does so while providing comedy through believable characters, all the while surprising you at every turn!
Would I recommend this series to you? Yes. Would I recommend it to your Arthritic, VR Addicted Nan, who’s clearly cooler than I am? Yes. 

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