The Apocalypse; the day reality changed. Log Horizon Part 1 follows, primarily, a party of Adventurers as they adjust to their newfound life within a world based upon the Elder Tales MMORPG video game. Thirty-thousand Japanese Adventurers and many hundreds of thousands more around the world find themselves within this world. They have no memory of events after the latest expansion pack, Novasphere Pioneers, launched, or of how they ended up in this place. Reality is now very different to the life they all knew, with an emphasis on hunting, questing and politics.
The anime begins with Shiroe, an Enchanter, introducing the viewer to the world; he is shortly joined by self-proclaimed “Open Pervert” Naotsugu, a Guardian. Both are former members of the disbanded Debauchery Tea Party group. An assassin, and resident loli, Akatsuki soon joins the party after meeting with them in order to acquire a potion to change her appearance from that of the male avatar she formerly played as. Bewildered, in a world where death is not the end, some Adventurers have taken to killing other players to steal items rather than killing monsters.
The first quest of the party is to rescue Serara, a Druid, from Susukino. They choose to undertake this task to aid a friendly guild; Crescent Moon Alliance. Nyanta, a Swashbuckler Cat Man, and former Chief of the Debauchery Tea Party joins the party upon saving Serara. His subclass of chef allows him to create food with taste, something no-one thus far has been able to manage. A chef of the requisite level can create food with taste by cooking it by hand, rather than with the in-game menu system. Cat-themed puns in his speech become tiresome all too quickly.
With one guild capturing low-level Adventurers in order to sell their EXP potions to a high-level guild, Shiroe begins a massive game of politics. Using their food cooking methodology to gain reputation and 500,000 gold, three guilds are tricked into providing 1,500,000 gold each to help Crescent Moon Alliance and Shiroe accomplish a quest. This 5,000,000 in gold is used to buy the Guild Halls Zone, allowing Shiroe to blackmail the other guilds into agreeing to form the Round Table Conference. If a guild does not abide by the governance, they can be restricted from entering the Guild Hall, and therefore the bank alongside their base.
Around this point, Shiroe, with his party, forms the guild which is the namesake of the anime. It is discovered that People of the Land, NPCs from Elder Tales, have their own aspirations and personalities; whilst Elder Tales is the basis for the world they are now in, it is not the limit of said world. The game world merely provides the laws of nature that control the world. Adventurers can create new items by hand, just like the earlier discovery of cooking by hand. An economy is constructed upon this, with the nobles of the People of the Land from neighbouring towns taking notice and inviting delegates from the Round Table to ten days of negotiations and an accompanying ball. The Log Horizon Part 1 collection ends during this period.
The quality of the Blu-ray leaves little to complain about. Colours are vivid and rich, notably, the greens; a prevalent colour with many buildings in Akihabara covered with moss and other plant life. Line detail is consistently sharp throughout the collection, and abnormalities of living in a world where the underlying game functions as the force of nature look beautiful; characters can be seen in full colour with desaturated backgrounds on occasion. The subtitling is efficient, utilising yellow for the most part with white used for a second character speaking. The important elements of the status screens are subtitled; this leaves much unsubtitled at times. but not to the detriment of the viewing experience. On occasion, different fonts are used, reflecting the differing appearance of the Japanese characters on-screen.
The soundtrack is extraordinary, accomplishing a grandiose score that manages to somehow remain conservative so as not to overpower the VAs. This is true for both the English and Japanese audio tracks, included as 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks. Unfortunately, the English dub track, while competently communicating the scripted lines, does not effectively portray the raw emotion one can hear the VAs provide in the original Japanese language, feeling forced at times. In the English dub, the characters almost seem to have accepted their new world from the get-go, but the Japanese language track contains characters that affect their state of shock in how they talk.
The OP track, database by Man With A Mission ft. Takuma is a catchy rap-rock song that is sure to resonate with many. The ED, Your Song by Yun*chi, is an upbeat and fitting J-Pop song but manages to be more tiresome than the OP. The OP and ED remain the same for each episode, and are subtitled; odd-numbered episodes containing the English translation and even-numbered episodes providing the romanisation of the Japanese.
The release only contains two extras; a creditless OP and a creditless ED, standard fare. Unfortunately, these extras are redundant as the episodes already utilise the creditless versions. The Japanese audio track is mislabelled as an English audio track, but as audio selection must be done from the menu, this will not be an issue for most.
The few minor issues that this release contains do not really impede the viewing experience when watching in the original language, with each episode compelling the viewer to continue onward. The only real disappointment being that the English dub and its forceful voicing distract from the immersion. Regardless, one is sure to enjoy the world in which Log Horizon takes place; the quasi-cliffhanger at the end of episode 13 leaving the viewer desperate for more.