Post Reply Log Horizon 2
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Posted 11/25/14
by Eclipsed_Oblivion

Ever since the exploding popularity of 2012's Sword Art Online, game anime have been on the rise, but mostly overshadowed by the series that ignited the phenomenon. Despite this, last year's Log Horizon took a completely different approach to the genre and was successful enough to earn a second season, Log Horizon 2. Log Horizon 2 not only logically extends the concepts established in its first season to develop new ideas atop a solid foundation, but its unusual focus on maintaining social cohesion makes for a slice-of-life series with enough intensity to create a well-balanced anime.

Similar to other game anime, Log Horizon 2's premise lies within players being trapped inside an MMORPG. Rather than survival, however, it focuses on the issues that plague the in-game city of Akihabara, forcing the members of the Log Horizon guild to split up in order to resolve these issues and maintain peace. While Log Horizon 2's switch in animation studios has resulted in a slightly different art style than previously, its core staff remains unchanged, resulting in a consistent story.

As a sequel, Log Horizon 2 does a fantastic job of developing its established elements to create not just an entertaining second season, but a logical one. Instead of accepting the peaceful city of Akihabara as an unchanging fact, the series considers several issues, including how to obtain the funds needed to sustain the city, as well as how to stop the crime occurring within it. This creates a greater sense of reality, as these are real-life issues that must be faced to maintain any nation-state. By avoiding idealism, it is also easy for us to invest in the characters' adventures, as they truly threaten the city's collapse. As well, these adventures force the Log Horizon members to separate so they can attack their challenges simultaneously, which compels them to work with others in ways they've never had to before. That the characters show new sides of themselves rather than regress or become stagnate is a highlight, especially as many characters that didn't previously interact now have relationships significant to the plot.

Significant to the plot and atypical for the game genre is also how, rather than survival, Log Horizon 2 focuses on maintaining a civil society and cohesion amongst the people. It's very politically oriented, focusing on strategies that must be implemented to best solve political issues, and there are plenty of fighting scenes to prevent monotony. Also atypical for the genre is the discrimination between the players and non-playable characters, who are prime characters instead of being delegated to the background. While discrimination was heavily explored in Log Horizon on a political level, this time it occurs between the everyday people and can be violent. While this may seem inconsequential since players cannot permanently die — they revive soon after — there are still consequences for dying, and they are further explored this season.

These moments of death contribute to some of the intense moments that mesh with Log Horizon 2's otherwise slice-of-life style, making for a well-balanced series. The series focuses much on everyday life and the seasonal festivities of a seemingly peaceful Akihabara, but such light-heartedness doesn't last; Log Horizon 2 also explores the nightly player killings that plague the city. As well, raids have become more important than ever, but this time they are a struggle for semi-survival — players may revive at the start of the dungeon, but the battles are still fierce, and supplies dwindle. These intense battles are intertwined with the emotional journeys of the characters, ranging from positive feelings of friendship and determination to more negative ones like self-doubt and fear. Such everyday elements inter-connected with moments of intensity give Log Horizon 2 a great balance of light and darkness.

Unlike its darkness, the lightness of Log Horizon 2 also seeps into its quality as a series; its logical development from the first season makes for a solid sequel while still being entertaining, and its atypical approach to the game genre allows the series to combine slice-of-life elements with enough spirit to create a well-balanced atmosphere. While watching the first season will greatly aid in understanding the plot, there has never been a better time than now to start adventuring with the members of Log Horizon.
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