Well, besides the mediocre animation, there's the fact that they couldn't pony up the cash to commission a new song for the bard to sing....
"I didn't write it, it's just a cover of something I heard....somewhere."
I must say, though that her version of the closing credits is better.
Of course, if you're still watching this show, you are not doing so to be wowed by the amazing visual effects or score, both of which, while not incompetent, are mediocre at best. Rather, you're watching this show because the story and characterizations transcend all that.
I must confess that the dungeon crawl arc a few weeks back worried me. In their zeal to capture what it is like to do a multiplayer quest in a video RPG they were beginning to convey more of the tedium than the rewarding teamwork.
The flashbacks that took place during the cour were actually quite interesting, developing a couple of characters very well, and their difficulties in their endeavor conveyed a larger plot point, but it did begin to drag...However, at the very point I began to realize..."I'm sitting here watching someone else play a video game."...the show wrapped that whole plotline up. That they did so both unexpectedly and satisfyingly is a testament to how skill in storytelling can overcome material shortcomings.
Since then the show has been moving a mile a minute...in different directions simultaneously.
The sinister political and military machinations continue in Minami and our heroes in Akihabara are dealing with the fact that their city is now far less physically defensible (an unavoidable consequence of Akizuki and Lenessia saving everybody back in December).
At the same time, we also are introduced to an utterly new band of characters who are having a completely separate adventure from the main protagonists, but it can be assumed they are important....
"How 'bout we call ourselves...Checkov's Gunmen!"
It appears that Kanami, Shiro's gaming mentor and the exuberantly quixotic leader of his old band of adventurers IS in fact trapped in the game! Her real life job had taken her to Italy and she was online on the European Server when the "Apocalypse" happened, trapping her in the game as well. Kanami's class is Monk but she has traded in her miko outfit from the first season flashbacks for one that is optimized for fanser.. athletic support and freedom of movement. She's been trying to get to the game equivalent of Japan since being stuck in the game world and has cobbled together a small band of glorious lunatics including... ....an American, who goes by the name Leonardo..his character class is ninja and he wears a tur...frog costume because...reasons. His goals include finding and eating a pizza in this vast wasteland. Amongst his (theoretically) more attainable goals are leveling up, refining his skills, adventuring, avoiding kids, getting to the American Server, not getting involved in hopeless fights for a bunch of inanimate game sprites and getting up the nerve to have a real conversation with... Copellia, a cleric whose faith seems to value stoicism, cleanliness and French maid outfits. She is...a tad "off" but she is very good at her job. Copelia is unusually grateful to Kanami, not only for saving her, and teaming up with her, but for just treating her like a human being. Her experience in the game had previously been rather less positive than other players due to the fact that her background is not quite what she pretends. Finally, we have Erius Hackblade... ...Yes. Erius Hackblade. No. Seriously. That is his name. Before the "Apocalypse" caused all these people to get stuck in the game, he was an NPC, A major one actually, as he was one of the great heroic guardian knights of the game, and was on the original... box art. He seems to be the only one of the guardians who did not vanish in the Apocalypse. He's level 100, (the player limit was 90) and he has decided to hang out with Kanami because she has impressed him with her sublime combination of whimsy and bad-assery. (You. Go. Girl.)
This motley band of Knights errant are ambling from one adventure town to another with the stated goal of going to the same part of the world where most of the series takes place.
Meanwhile, those kids from the first season (that we had completely forgotten about) have reached character levels where, in order to level up farther, they really need to go on a particular quest*.
So... off they go, on a whole different storyline in a multicolored wagon going from village to village where they will be supporting themselves by having their bards sing for the locals. No doubt there will be mysteries to be solved...
"I Know! We'll name the band Those Meddling Kids!"
Saturday mornings are back!
So...Log Horizon has gotten rather schizophrenic in tone but it is meshing quite well in a three (or possibly 4) ring circus that I am enjoying the hell out of. The humanity of this show is truly refreshing.
The larger story that is coming together is looking to be pretty interesting to boot.
At this point, the overarching conflict seems to be the one forming up between Akihabra and Minami. This is a neat dynamic. The political entity that has formed in Minami has taken Hideyoshi and Tokugawa as their inspiration. This is natural given the tone and setting of the game as well as the demographic of the players. By stark contrast, Akihabara is run by a bunch of idealistic (but not idealogical) loons who have set their state up along almost libertarian lines using the 4-H Club method of governance. The closest analogy is probably Kanazawa or perhaps Venice. Note that they aren't anarchists, they need a government of sorts and set one up and have successfully managed trade and treaties with their neighbors...However, they have a disadvantage in that they don't have an actual standing army, or imperial infrastructure and their town is now not a magically enforced no combat zone any more...and Minami is.
With at least 10 episodes to go, there is plenty of time for this to fall apart, but at the 40 episode mark Log Horizon has maintained a remarkably enjoyable run.
* They need a magic bag to cary their stuff, otherwise they can't really carry all their high level equipment. If you play video games you understand this perfectly and give the authors points for actually dealing with encumbrance...If you don't play video games, it's a neat McGuffin... just trust us on this.
I'm still wondering if we will learn more about the "Apocalypse" that stranded the players in the game. Shiro has hinted that
he suspects someone or something of stranding the players. However, I do not recall him identifying the responsible party.
I am also curious that we haven't seen a great deal of anguish from the players about being trapped in the game (unlike Sword Art Online). Was something real bad happening in the real world, so that being immortal in the game world was preferable?
Posted by: Siergen at Sun Jan 18 21:59:07 2015 (r3+4f)
Part of the difference is that players were "trapped" in SAO, and explicitly told "if you die here, you really die"; they aren't just stuck, they've been told their actual lives are on the line.
Nobody knows quite what happened with Elder Tale - they weren't ever supposed to be "experiencing" it, as it were, so something metaphysical has clearly happened. Did they get physically sucked out of the "real" world and now Elder Tale is the world they actually live in, though by MMO rules? Are their bodies lying their comatose or are they just completely gone? Or even weirder, maybe their "originals" are still there, living out their lives, and they're just copies of the originals created by the World Fraction. (Or, if you wanna look at it the other way, maybe they were physically transported and then replaced with identical copies? Kind of a question of philosophy there.)
So it might just be a question of attitude. The SAO people are victims because they've been told they are victims (forget for a moment the idiocy of engineering a device that microwaves your brain if it's disconnected from the server - haven't these fools ever heard of the fiber-seeking backhoe?) Elder Tale people don't really know what's happened to them and are free to put their own spin on it, and since their situation is quite a bit more positive, that's how most of them take it.
We haven't run into anyone who's seriously bummed out about being separated from their real-world friends. That... may be a subtle editorial about the kinds of people that play these games. (Or more like, after the raiding guild, is it really still subtle?) But no kids who miss their mommy or anything like that...
Well the first few episodes had lots of people other than our heroes basically sitting around in despair. The first set of villains (the ones who were the big bad for all of 5 minutes and now run the sandwich kiosk) were pretty much nuts. There was some talk of the friends they had lost (Kanami was first mentioned then) and I THINK there was some mention of the kids missing their parents during the child slaver arc. However, Shiro and company did not sit around moping, they are the heroes after all. They picked themselves up, moved on went north to save the kid, vanquished the child slavers and decided to get their civics merit badge. It hasn't been dwelled upon, in part because this is not a story about sitting in a corner and sucking ones toes.
It cracks me up that she "modified" the lute to be strung and held more like an electric guitar. I'm not clear on how she managed to preserve and increase resonance with all that extra wood and extra neck, but I'm sure that bardic magic helps.
Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at Wed Jan 21 19:04:57 2015 (ZJVQ5)
I am watching the first series right now. Many questions have been (not) answered above, but the main point is that there was no prequel series called "Elder Tale" that sets this whole thing up. It was just a game that this world was based on.
Glad I did not waste any time searching for it.
No, really, I didn't.
Posted by: topmaker at Wed Jan 21 22:30:54 2015 (2yZsg)
Man, these Japanese programmers have real problems. It's like there isn't a single Immersive MMORPG that doesn't eventually permanently entrap its players.
Posted by: Mauser at Thu Jan 22 03:24:13 2015 (TJ7ih)