Veteran gamer Shiroe and other players have been trapped in the world of the online game Elder Tales for six months. The once chaotic city of Akiba has regained its everyday hustle and bustle following the formation of the self-governing organization Round Table Meeting. The earthlings, who are originally from the game world, have gained the trust of Shiroe by waging a defensive war against the Goblins in Zantleaf Region. This has led Princess Rayneshia of the Cowen family, the highest-ranking Earthling Aristocrats, to live in Akiba.
It's almost winter and the Adventurers are thinking about what they're going to do and what their goals are in this other world. Will they remain in Akiba or go to the city of the West? Or will they travel to the land of the North or another faraway country? The opinions of the Adventurers begin to diverge. What adventures await the members of the Shiroe team in this second series of Log Horizon?
TL;DR: A disappointing second season that feels like the director & script writers had no idea where Mamare Touno is planning to go with the story of Log Horizon, so just adapted enough to pad out the 25 episode run time & hope that the audience figures out how it all connects together themselves.There are some good episodes & it explores interesting ideas (or brings them up, at least), but ultimately they don't add up to 25 episodes worth of content. Don't bother unless they announce a third season, & even then you'll probably be better off looking for an abridged version on youtube than watching all of this.
There are times when one wonders if the scriptwriters for a show & the author of the source material being adapted ever talk to each other. When series, particularly longer series, feel like they're becoming increasingly unfocused as the source material begins to run out, you'd think that the script writer & author would work together to at least come up with a framework for where the story is going so the adaptation knows what to focus on without deviating too much from where the author plans to go with their story. Sadly, it seems in Log Horizon 2's case, either nobody knows where things are going, or nobody is communicating it. (note this review assumes you've seen LH1)
Remember how LH1 ended with a climactic battle against the goblin king's forces whilst also revealing a new, human threat in the form of Nureha, guild leader of Plant Hwyaden who seems as powerful a mage as Shiroe? Well it seems the author or script writers forgot, because none of that really matters in LH2. Instead, LH2 focuses on three events that all feel like they're setting the ground for something big, but they don't know what. First is a mysterious player killer in Akihabara, somehow able to get around the zone's rules against combat between players. Following on from that (although both events occur at the same time) Shiroe seeks to deal with the financial problems the round table are facing by leading an epic raid on an El Dorado mine where all the world's gold is alleged to come from. These things concluded, the characters finally get around preparing for the prospect of war by...sending the younger guild members on a fetch quest so they can make magic bags.
All these stories continue Log Horizons rather enjoyable combining of a fantasy adventure setting with MMO rules, & the interesting ways they come together. The first story arc occurs against a backdrop the sudden & destabalising event of all the flavour text for the games many items suddenly becoming real, resulting in, among other things, Crusty being sucked into apparent oblivion by his weapon. Other issues not raised in LH1 are explored, including the idea of mortality & what it's actually like for the adventurers to die & how different people are responding to their being trapped in this new world. We meet characters that we wouldn't expect, such as a Chinese farmbot & Shiroe's alt character Roe2, who also seem to have come to life. Friction between the People of the Land & adventurers continues & we also, finally, start getting a hint at why the players of Elder Tale were sucked into the game in the first place.
Unfortunately, LH2 tends to skip over the more interesting parts while doing very little to try & tie everything together. In LH1 you had a real sense of progression between the different story arcs. Things started with everyone just getting used to functioning in this new world, which led to the Akihabara adventurers trying to better organise themselves, which led to their becoming diplomatically involved with the nearby PotL kingdoms & so on. There's no such sense of one thing building into another in LH2. Each story just kind of happens & ends with no real apparent impact. We're told it's impactful, sure. But the point is we don't see it in the same way you could in LH1.
It doesn't help that LH2 is full of what can only be thought of as filler episodes. LH2 is adapting two less novels than LH1 did (3 & 5 respectively), & it really feels like they're trying to spread less content over the same number of episodes. One particularly egregious example comes in the El Dorado raid, which involves returning Silver Sword guild leader William giving an episode long speech that boils down to "I'm a sad loser irl, but in Elder Tale I feel important." The raid itself is actually quite enjoyable, as it's fun watching Shiroe & the adventurers reacting to a raid zone that has been designed specifically to be unbeatable. The ending is a massive anticlimax, though.
LH2 also has an annoying tendency to introduce interesting ideas only to ignore them. The aforementioned Chinese bot character just sorta shows up for a bit before wandering off. Kanami, the tits & fists former leader of the mythical Tea Party shows up completely at random, first in a story one of Plant Hwyaden's leaders is telling another which gets cut off with a convenient "I don't know what happened after this" just as his story (which is the most interesting thing to happen in LH2 up to this point) was in danger of running into two episodes.
Adventurer mortality, & how adventurers see images of their real life in the time between dying & resurrecting, is touched on on a couple of occasions, most notably in the form of the Odyssey Knights; adventurers who seek out death so they can briefly glimpse their past lives before returning. Unfortunately, all the Odyssey knights are really used for is to let Touya give a boyscout speech about the importance of living. What the characters actually have to say about the subject is equally disappointing, the writing not being nearly up to expressing the complexities of the ideas being discussed.
Conversely, LH2 is happy to waste a lot of time on things I have no interest in. The magic bag fetch quest takes up something like eight episodes, almost all of which is spent just watching the kids of Log Horizon wander about being happy as Izuma learns to be more confident in her musicianship. We apparently only have five minutes for the round table to discuss ideas like how to deal with adventurers who can't cope with being trapped in Elder Tale, but there's time for an entire valentine's day episode. Considering the apparent impending war that was teased at the end of LH1, everything in LH2 just feels like it's trying to fill time & hopes you don't notice that for most of the season nothing really happens to progress the story.
Speaking of romance, LH continues having some of the most awful relationship writing in anime. Nyanta, everyone's favourite middle aged furvert, continues to groom little red moeblob Serara, which the other characters seem to find hilarious & sweet but I find disturbing & painful to watch. That oh so funny not-love triangle between a NEET (Shiroe) a shutin (Atatsuki) & an under-aged girl (Minori) continues to rear its ugly head as well. Oh & in case you thought the flirting between Naotsugu & Marie was too normal, worry not; for now there is Tetora, an idol who takes a liking to Naotsugu. This is apparently hilarious because Tetora is actually a guy but Naotsugu is the only character who doesn't realise. I guess it had to be made weirder because the relationship between Rudy & Isuzu has greater prominence in LH2 & there can only be room for one "normal" relationship.
Planet Hwyaden is a group that LH2 also completely fails to integrate into the story. Remember how Nureha seemed like she was going to become the antagonist of LH2? Well somewhere between that & the start of LH2 it seems something important got lost, because she is now the boot-licking bitch of some elf member of the guild, literally eating dirt off the floor. It strikes me that it would be quite an important piece of information to let us know how she went from one state to the other, but LH2 doesn't seem to think so.
Indeed quite what Planet Hwyaden are supposed to be doing in LH2 isn't clear. At first they seem to be built up as an example of how adventurers have responded to the challenge of organising themselves in different ways, taking a more authoritarian approach to governing than the more mercantile oligarchy, round table of guilds in Akihabara. But as the season continues & the supposed showdown between the two recedes into memory, it feels like they just become a stand in for whenever the show needs a bad guy. That is until the final arc pretty much completely abandons the idea of war between adventurers in favour of a new enemy, at which point one wonders why Plant Hwyaden were introduced at all.
Beyond that, I feel compelled to voice one personal gripe I have with LH, that being the continued degradation of Atatsuki as a character. It seems so long ago now that she started out in LH as a shy but pretty badass ninja. One of the things I didn't like about LH1 was how her development through the season felt like she was more & more being pushed into the role of the longing lover watching from the shadows. LH2 continues this with gusto, to the point that Shiroe can unironically say "you're starting to become quite the ninja" like it's not a massive insult. Between her & Nureha it's almost like the writers find the idea of powerful women as important characters too hard to comprehend.
It was perhaps a bit of a surprise to see LH2 come only a year after LH1 with the same number of episodes, given the comparative lack of source material to draw from. In addition to this, it kind of feels like LH2 either lacked the time & resources of LH1's production, or at least it doesn't seem to have been as well managed. Studio Deen don't have a Stirling reputation among anime fans, & while I can't say LH2 looks bad, it does feel a bit lackluster compared to LH1 (at least as I remember it), particularly towards the end where it feels they hadn't accounted for the action scenes that the story called for. Occasionally characters do go noticeably off model during combat or when viewed from an odd angle, which is always fun to spot. But given that LH is not as action focused as a lot of fantasy shows of it's ilk, one can forgive it for the the most part.
LH2, then, is another example of a second season that struggles to maintain the momentum of the first. Stuck trying to stretch less material over the same episode count as LH1, it feels like the writers just grabbed whatever they could out of the books with no real idea of how it all fits together in the grand scheme things. Had they been able to wait another year for more books to be written, or gone with a 13 episode length instead of 25, I think they could have told a more focused, concise story that felt like it was worth picking up after LH1. As it is, unless & until they announce a third season I see no reason for anyone to watch LH2. Even then, you'd be better off just reading the cliffnotes or watching an abridged version than sitting through all 25 episodes.read more
Having finished the entire second season here are some of my opinions on how this season turned out. I have assumed anyone reading this has watched the first season.
Story: 6 (Fair)
The first half of this season focused in a lot more on the element of MMORPG raiding and immediately the pace of the show slowed down. With each episode covering usually two different scenarios within the world for our beloved characters to face. Overall I would say that if you're a big MMORPG player you'll connect with the characters more but if you're not then it will just leave you confused. By the second half we were given with a valentines day filler episode and an enjoyable Kanami episode to give an idea of what's going elsewhere in the world. Then the kids' arc... similar to the last season there was an arc to develop the younger members of Log Horizon and that was done pretty well. But here it just felt like they didn't grow much but rather helped reinforce their own ideals and morals in addition to giving very little back story to their lives in the real world. Overall it didn't add much to the story, however the inclusion of a certain character and introduction of another certainly helped but left me clueless as to their purpose of being there. However after that arc the story seemed to pick up but then felt drawn out with the addition of what felt like filler episodes. And then the final two episodes..... Oddly these felt like some of the more enjoyable and entertaining episodes of the entire season with elements left over that pointed towards a direction the story would take. This was what annoyed me the most since I enjoyed them so much I wanted a third season.
Looking back the same plot threads which were started were left unfinished (mainly because the anime has caught up to the source material therefore a third season is a long way off). The story followed a very heavily focused ''raid'' element and a few filler episodes. Overall enjoyable but with the filler episodes and poor pacing I give it a 6.
Art: 7 (Good)
I would give the art style a 7 because obviously there was a change in studio and possibly budget was an issue. In the end I got used to the changes. Animation was again not great but better in some places than others, the finale seemed to be where they did a better job at least.
Sound: 7.5 (Very Good/Good)
The OST for Log Horizon didn't change and since I enjoyed the first season OST as well, I didn't really have any gripes with it for the second season. Voice actors didn't change and the new seiyuu I felt fit their roles.
Character: 7 (Good)
There were quite a few introductions to new characters we had never really met aside from cameos and then some from the weird jungle of the anime rainforest. I enjoyed the new characters and they were extremely entertaining but the development of the characters were rather disappointing compared to last season. We're still left with a question of, 'What are they trying to do within the world.' We also got a little taste as to who the ''villains'' of Elder Tale are but their inclusion to the story was very minor.
Enjoyment: 9 (Great)
Even with the flaws of this season I still enjoyed it and being an MMOPG gamer I think it helped. I know many who would find this season to be a huge disappointment compared to the first season but considering what I suspect as being budget changes and a new studio I can see why. Comedic elements were still entertaining for me and the action and characters were still enjoyable.
Overall: 8 (Very Good)
With the inclusion of my own enjoyment I gave it an 8. A third season doesn't look likely to be soon because the LNs have now been caught up. I felt that maybe there wasn't enough material from the LNs to make a second season. Let's just hope they receive a better budget and have more material to work with for a third season.
This is my first review I have done and any constructive criticism on how to better write my reviews would be welcomed. read more
(This has been adapted from my reddit thread. Spoilers ahead!)
Something that Log Horizon 2nd Season does that is somewhat strange is bring us into another world. Not just a new world in the sense that the anime represents such a fiction, but a world within another. The people of Elder Tales experience this world and discover what anyone would: that perhaps their place among it isn't right. This feeling of not belonging is something that is found not only within our own lives but within the anime as well. Indeed, in more ways than one.
Log Horizon 2 begins pretty much where the first season left off. There are still problems to be solved within the world they inhabit, with the "Villain in Glasses" doing everything he can to alleviate their worries.
This second season of Log Horizon moves away from the political subterfuge that the first season capitalized on for a somewhat simple reason: this is the continuation. The anime already has its setting, the characters, and a wide set of rules in place and therefore opted to focus on an actual narrative as opposed to using the politics as a vehicle for everything that was going on. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. And this is because Log Horizon 2 refuses to do anything with any of the outcomes or plot lines that it follows and establishes. For example, it brings up the idea of item effects becoming true -- a rather neat development. But why this is the case or ways in which this affects what is happening around them are left unexplained. A more prominent example is the civil war that occurs between the People of the Land and the Adventurers. It sounds like an interesting route to take, but is never looked at seriously and even discarded by season's end. This rational can be found with nearly all of what Log Horizon 2 has to offer -- the "Geniuses," the Odyssey Knights, Roe 2, Kanami's events, training the People of the Land, death on the moon, etc. -- and only serves to make the plot seem incoherent in execution.
In order to have some kind of order, Log Horizon 2 splits itself up into essentially four different arcs: the Akatsuki arc, the Money arc, the Kids arc, and the Moth arc. Furthermore, each is categorized into two (given) themes: the first two are about "rising once more" while the last two are about "running with friends." And for the most part, this kind of separation works in the show's favor. Akatsuki's arc showcases her struggle, her need to prove her worth not only to the people around her, not only to Shiroe, but also to herself. She gets beaten, learns from her mistakes, and even perishes at one point. But that doesn't deter her resolve; rather, it bolsters her fortitude and allows her to rise to a new level both in body and in spirit. The Money arc, in a similar fashion, follows Shiroe, Williams, and Williams' guild as they fought over and over, never giving up or in. They band together to beat the impossible, which acts as a nice segue into the anime's second half and second motif; the notion of camaraderie. The Kids arc demonstrates the need to understand and nurture relationships between both the people you love and those you may not even know. And the Moth arc clearly depicts the idea that one almost never has to deal with everything on his or her own. That is, there are people around you who are able and willing to provide the support you need; you just need to ask.
Log Horizon 2 also manages to maintain a thematic presence between its respective arcs, too. And it's what was talked about in the introduction; not feeling like you belong. There are those times when it is difficult to understand the situation you are in or finding yourself questioning your own mindset, so you begin pondering what exactly the issue is. Log Horizon 2 does this for each of its partitions: Akatsuki wonders why she cannot be by Shiroe's side, Williams talks of finding solace in the gaming world, the kids witness a group of people who despise their position, and inkling feelings of wanting to return home loom large over many Adventurers. This kind of development is natural, especially in regards to that last point; literally being in a foreign land can cause any number of mixed emotions. But what each segment teaches is that it isn't so much worrying about belonging, but how you manage such a predicament in the first place. Which is what the previous themes aimed at doing; rising to the challenge and relying on the people around you. By following these two routes, belonging stops being an issue and starts being an afterthought. It doesn't happen instantaneously -- the Adventurers prove that finding one's place is a difficult process -- but when you do find that peace of mind, great happenings almost always await.
Unfortunately for Log Horizon 2, the art and animation is severely lacking.
The art for the show, despite the world being so open and free, is filled with rather boring locales. Muddy caves, plain cities, and leafy forests are normally seen, but nothing is extraordinary. The real detriment, though, is the show's often distracting lack of quality. There are numerous occasions where characters are either malformed or given disproportionate features, causing their designs to be lacking in detail and attention.
The world within the anime lends itself well to interesting character designs, and therefore that is what's given here. Shiroe's signature white cloak, Akatsuki's ninja outfit, and Tetra's idol attire are easy examples of fun designs that fit the show's mood and provide the audience with the sense that these people really are just playing a video game.
Actual animation, though, is mostly below average. Many of the fights are given still frames or reduced actions that do not come off as appealing. And since a lot of what goes on within the show is dialogue between the characters, where only mouth movements are found, it only helps to accentuate the lack of animation during the battles that occur.
Log Horizon 2 is an anime with a large cast, almost too large for its own good. It isn't able to adequately peer at every character individually and instead sets its sights on two. One makes sense and the other is interesting: Akatsuki and Isuzu, respectively.
Akatsuki is a servant first and ninja second. As such, when she is left behind by her master, Shiroe, she feels conflicted. She cannot seem to understand why she has been delegated to such a role; that her place at Shiroe's side is almost unneeded. She feels completely weak, and when she is defeated in Akihabara it only helps to reaffirm this type of thinking. Yet, it's exactly what she required: within the dream-like world she meets up with the person she calls master. While there she learns that it isn't because she is weak that she was kept from fighting alongside him and the others, but because she is so strong, that only she could take up the task given to her, that Shiroe wanted her to remain at home. Upon reviving, she trains her heart out, and with the aide of those around her, she excels to new heights. She earns a special "Teaching," protects the town, and most of all, is confident now more than ever in the abilities that she always had.
During the second half of Log Horizon 2, during the Kids arc, the show actually chooses Isuzu of all people to really focus on. Her class as a Bard isn't just coincidence; her characterization reveals that, in the real world, not only was her father a renowned musician but she had taken up the guitar as well to follow in his wake. But she laments of her father's lost fame and of her own inadequacies as a guitarist. She feels that what she has to offer isn't worth much of anything, especially if the person she always looked up to, someone better than her, was always pushed to the side. But as Rudy, her close friend, describes to her, it isn't about being good or bad at whatever you do that counts. As long as you try, that you give it everything you have without any regrets, is what truly matters. For his people are not capable of creating the tunes she can; she is to them as her father is to her. Meaning what she can do is not only worthwhile but unique, more so than she ever thought possible. And with this newfound vigor, she does what she can for the people around her, supporting them in the way that only she is capable of doing.
What both Akatsuki and Isuzu demonstrate, besides their respective developments, is something that many of the characters experience throughout the entirety of the season. And that is the notion of self-esteem. Having the confidence to do what needs to be done -- to get up when fallen, to rely on your friends, to do what is right -- doesn't always come naturally. For many people, it's a difficult feeling that isn't inherent and must instead be "taught" to those that don't have a lot of it to begin with. This occurs with the former two ladies. But there are also those who lose it after having acquired it -- Shiroe experiences such a dilemma near the end where he doesn't fully believe in the path he has chosen. Touya holds his ground against the suicidal knights, Nureha stands up for herself, and Demiqas swallows his pride to help the very man who humiliated him. Having the confidence to perform certain deeds can be difficult to obtain, but once it is found, and as the characters of the anime portray, it brings with it its own brand of goodness.
The OP for Log Horizon 2 remains the same, which is a wise decision. It's catchy, it's fun, and it's the database; it is literally Log Horizon's signature sound. The ED is fine, utilizing cute singing, a simple beat, and dainty piano playing. It can be quite catchy itself, especially with the ending "la's" that are used.
The rest of the soundtrack remains more or less the same from the first season as well. It contains uplifting battle tones with hard guitar, drums, and choirs -- the "Main Theme" is both the best track for this example and the best track that the show has to offer. It also uses mysterious tunes during explanatory moments, slow guitar playing during sadder ones, and flutes during the nonchalant times. It's a nice OST that captures the mood of the anime quite well.
As far as voice-acting is concerned, those involved give around average performances. A special shout-out goes to Yukiyo Fujii as Tetora for her cracking voice while speaking.
I found myself not quite enjoying what this one was doing, mostly because it transitioned away from the politics and tried too hard to bring in as many different elements as it could. On top of this, many of the battles weren't very impressive to see despite them garnering so much focus. Furthermore, while the Kids arc was nicely executed, it was still quite boring to watch unfold.
The only characters that I had a fun time watching were Leonardo (the turtle) and Tetora (the idol). The former was just a really cool dude while the latter was always having fun, looking to bring a smile to both me and everyone else in the world. Leonardo hardly got any screen time, unfortunately; he was placed in the same spot as Nyanta -- really cool but underutilized. And Tetora couldn't always be around to bring about the laughs.
Log Horizon 2nd Season attempts to continue what its predecessor started. Unfortunately, due to an awkward story, shoddy animation, and boring segments throughout, this tale seems to still be questioning its own sense of belonging.
Story: Fine, thematically strong but coherently weak
Animation: Bad, low quality art style, good character designs, below average actual animation
Characters: Good, Akatsuki, Isuzu, and the rest find the confidence to fight
Sound: Good, great OP, good ED, good soundtrack, average VA work
Enjoyment: Bad, lame fights, boring arcs, and only a few likable characters
I've watched the entirety of both seasons of Log Horizon and found the first season very enjoyable. It wasn't without its faults, but I felt that it made much much better use of its premise than Sword Art Online had, and avoided many of the character pitfalls that plagued SAO. However, I have to say that season 2 was a MASSIVE disappointment.
There are several story arcs throughout the 2nd season of Log Horizon, but the lasting impression that they left was minimal. The story arcs for the vast majority of the season feel like they carry no importance at all but even worse, they progress at a snail-like pace. Episode after episode of filler were shoved through the season while the main story arcs seemed to be shelved for many episodes without mention before being returned to.
However, the season does tackle one of the problems that I thought was glaringly missing from the first season: the attempt to return home. However, this particularly story arc feels rushed because it's so short in comparison to all the filler episodes that came before it.
Another part of the story I had a massive problem with was when the show handed itself off entirely to the kids. This is my opinion, and some people may disagree, but I believe that the children in the show should be complementary characters at most. However, one story arc followed the children going on a quest by themselves for several episodes without any lookback at the others.
I thought the first season of Log Horizon didn't look like anything special but I thought it was still very solid artwork. Some of the monsters looked really good and the action was great. While all that still remains for the most part, for some reason, many of the faces look very different. Nyanta, Serara, and several others look quite different from season 1 or even the first half of season 2. It may not be enough to be a deterrent, but it is quite noticeable.
Other than some characters looking off, the action was pretty solid, and the raid bosses looked great. Some of the copy & paste for the hordes of creeps looked meh but that's understandable.
Not really much to say here. Music is fine and voicework is fine as well.
This is another part where I feel that season 2 falls short of season 1. It not only introduces many new characters, but also tries to retain every single character from season 1. This results in them really struggling to develop some of the characters meaningfully. One of the new characters, Tetra, doesn't really seem to have any characteristic besides obnoxiousness.
Also, of the villains, only one gets really significant screen time and explanations as to her motives. The motives of the other antagonists are left unexplained and it just seems like the show is struggling because it has too many characters.
This was a personal thing, but I really loved Log Horizon season 1. I felt that it was everything SAO could and should have been. However, this 2nd season took a massive dip in quality. There were just too many story arcs that were unimportant and so many filler episodes just left me bored and uninterested. Also, there were way too many characters being introduced without proper development.
Very very disappointing. There were some bright spots and the very early parts of the 2nd season really lived up to the 1st season's quality, but then it takes a massive dip and becomes a boring snoozefest of endless filler episodes.read more
Choosing the right class in an MMORPG is crucial. Apart from being permanent, it will also determine the journey you're going to take throughout the game. Quite the pressure right? But how about in Log Horizon's Elder Tale? How will you decide your class inside the game's virtual world?