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Log Horizon Collection 1 (anime review)

Log Horizon collection 1Title: Log Horizon collection 1

Director: Shinji Ishihara

Author: Toshizo Nemoto

Studio: Studio Deen

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Nov. 25th, 2014

Format: Blu-ray / 325 Minutes / 13 Episode

Genre: Sci Fi, Fantasy, Adventure

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Synopsis:

Elder Tales has become a global phenomenon, immersing millions of players in its online fantasy world. However, something goes wrong with the twelfth expansion pack. Eight-year veteran Shiroe and 30,000 other players suddenly find themselves trapped in the game’s no-longer-fictional universe!

Except it’s not even exactly the game they knew: things are in different places, the portals don’t work, and if a gamer was playing an avatar who wasn’t a physical match for their real self… well, let’s just say that everyone who’s been playing is going to have to make some serious adjustments to their new world view.

On top of that, the former Non-Player-Characters are now self-aware and working towards their own ends. This collision of the Elder Tale people and players with seemingly impossible skills, abilities, and knowledge promises to be cataclysmic. Get ready for heroes to rise and new legends to be forged as Shiroe and fellow players Naotsugu and Akatsuki discover what happens when sword and sorcery becomes real!

Commentary:

My first impression of Log Horizon was thinking “Oh, no not another gamer stuck in the game anime”. As I settled in and started watching the first episode I began to see something I really didn’t expect. I saw a series that take the gaming world and leans on the structure of the game more than giving us a bunch of teenagers who run around and battle things just because. Log Horizon takes the concept one step further and gives a feeling that the story is still in the game with a little more reality for the players.

I think that the concept is taking the right view and allowing the characters to develop as the also discover their new reality and what they can do in it. There is also the aspect that the ancillary game characters the are not players take on personas and are given life is a wonderful way to add depth to the show.  With each episode we get to see these characters grow and develop as they become more involved in the world around them. They also discover that they have limitations to what they can do and also what they can be, but this just adds to the richness of the series.

Overall Grade: A-

Log Horizon has caught my attention with this first collection. I manages to paint the picture of a rich world that may be a prison for these players, but it also represents itself as a fully realized environment that can be both dangerous and rewarding. The show forces these new inhabitants to look at this reality differently and end up understanding that they have more and greater abilities than they thought. My trepidation that it would just be a ripoff of the popularity that Sword Art Online has is not founded and in fact I see this series as being superior in many ways to Sword Art Online. Too bad that it may never get the chance for the broader distribution that  would get in front of more people. If you haven’t see Sword Art Online yet and are interested by the concept of players getting trapped in the game then I would start with Log Horizon it is, in my opinion, a better series.

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