My first review for Japan Curiosity was Log Horizon Season 1 Part 1 some 15 months ago, so I was looking forward to returning to the series with MVM’s release of Log Horizon Season 2 Part 1, which came out earlier this week on both DVD and blu-ray. Unfortunately, my excitement was short-lived, due to an underwhelming season so far. While season 1 was produced by Studio Satelight, Studio Deen took over for season 2. Despite this, both director Shinji Ishihara and writer Toshizo Nemoto are still on board for this season.
“It’s been six months since the event that trapped thousands of players in the online game world of Elder Tales and the situation is far from secure. The People of the Land are engaged in open warfare against the Goblin armies of Zantleaf. Minami spies are infiltrating the populace. And even with the support and guidance of the Round Table Alliance, the cost of sustaining the city of Akihabara is causing the entire infrastructure to teeter on the brink of collapse. With winter coming, Shiroe and his companions are forced to consider their options. Should they stay in Akihabara and attempt to weather the oncoming storm? Or should they gamble on missions to other portions of the world in search of new sources of valuable treasure? The launch of another series of raids will test old alliances while new ones are forged, as the adventure continues in the second season of LOG HORIZON!” – MVM Entertainment
While season 1 of Log Horizon focused heavily on the politics of the Elder Tales world, this time around the focus seems to be more heavily on generic action, such as raid battles, with little of interest actually occurring throughout this half-season. Of the 13 episodes contained within, only one or two of these episodes was actually of interest; the episode in which one of the main characters dies, and thus experiences loss of memories, for the very first time was easily the highlight of a very mediocre selection of episodes. Aside from that episode, nothing of interest really happened, in contrast to the first season which was nothing but interesting developments.
I’m not entirely sure why this season of Log Horizon went the route it did, but it’s clear that it’s now supposed to be a poor man’s Sword Art Online. This is truly a shame, as season 1 easily blew Sword Art Online out of the water. Those buildings that were purchased last season require substantial funds, funds are raised by defeating monsters, and not enough monsters exist. Shiro’s plan to raise the money needed involves recruiting allies from around the world to take on a boss protecting the source of the world’s money earned from defeating monsters. I’ll admit though, seeing William Massachusetts from the Silver Sword Guild make a return was a pleasant surprise. Rather than follow this story throughout this collection, we are forced to, instead, watch another plot strand back in Akihabara, in which someone is Player-Killing within the city; Sword Art Online did it better.These two stories are actually taking place simultaneously, a fact that isn’t immediately apparent, having had one play out before switching to the other. Both of these stories do conclude by episode 12, leaving an episode for some mind-numbing boredom, what appears to be, filler. The primary positive aspect of this collection of episodes is that the relationship between Shiro and Akatsuki does advance somewhat, in possibly the only interest-gripping scene included.
The subtitles are yellow, as is to be expected, though white is used for on-screen translations, primarily of the game’s interfaces. The release includes both the original Japanese audio, and an English dub from ADR Director Kyle Jones. Audio and subtitle options are locked, and can only be changed from the menu. The English dub continues to suffer from all of the problems that plagued the first season dub, notably that it sounds so forced, and, in fact, every Sentai Filmworks Kyle Jones dub I’ve had the misfortune to hear suffers from this. Despite that, my boredom had intensified so much by the final disc that I opted to watch the dub for the final three episodes just so I didn’t have to expend any effort reading subtitles for every line of text anymore.
Log Horizon Season 2 Part 1 is disappointing. Unlike the first season, focus is shifted to a more action-heavy anime – a fact that has destroyed that which made Log Horizon a brilliant anime. If I wanted to watch a “trapped in an MMORPG” anime with a focus on action, there’s already plenty of series that do that well; Log Horizon has forsaken its best aspect in order to cement itself as “like Sword Art Online”, and, in doing so, resulted in an anime that is a chore to watch. While season 1 was easily a must-watch anime, season 2 isn’t worth watching unless you’re really a die-hard Log Horizon fan.
Once again, the textless opening and ending included as extras are redundant, as they are also spliced into the episodes – basically, there are effectively no extras.
Log Horizon Season 2 Part 1 is, unfortunately, a disappointment. I really enjoyed the first season, but the shift in focus to a more action-heavy anime has destroyed that which made Log Horizon a brilliant anime. If I wanted to watch a "trapped in an MMORPG" anime with a focus on action, there's already plenty of series that do that well; Log Horizon has forsaken its selling point in order to cement itself as "like Sword Art Online", and in doing so resulted in an anime that is a chore to watch.