— The OP sucks.
— Well, it’s the start of a sequel, so as always, the story will take its pretty, little time to recap a bit of the first season. We’ll also reintroduce the main characters. Y’know, for all the people who have decided to start watching now… or people who just don’t have very good memories (c’mon, the first season just finished airing earlier this year). This is all old information for me, however, so I’m just going to doze off until something new happens…
— As for Shiroe, he’s in deep negotiations with a clan that controls the flow of money in this world (they do other things too). The Kunie Clan can’t help him, however, thanks to some ancient treaty. What’s the Kunie Clan and why are they here? Exposition time! A lot of exposition, actually.
— The gist is that the Round Table is quickly running out of money, but at the same time, they’re worried about Plant Hwyaden. It’s still recap. I’m giving the show a bit of a leeway since it’s the first episode, and I’m sure the anime wants its viewers to get their bearings, but again, old information doesn’t interest me. Hell, the episode is almost half over and all we’ve done is recap, reintroduce the show’s characters, and feed us exposition.
— I wouldn’t eat a catman’s special feast. I bet there’s cat hair in everything.
— When people complain that the special feast is all pumpkins, Nyanta informs us that pumpkins are full of nutrients. Do you really need nutrients in this world?
— But I think this scene is an example of how Log Horizon often drops the ball. What makes the show different from its ilk is the attempt to discuss politics, alliances, how to govern an MMO city come to life, etc. Sure, it’s the writer’s schtick, but at the same time, you won’t find this in many other shows. And of course, this stuff might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s still the one thing that sets the anime apart from other shows. So why not play to your strengths? The problem, therefore, is that we often cut away from Shiroe to see these fluff scenes where his friends are enjoying themselves. These scenes aren’t funny or amusing. They’re just boring, and thus, they feel pointless. Instead of a tight narrative that forces me to pay attention or lose track of Shiroe’s careful maneuvering (in theory), the pacing gets bogged down by the need to have these light-hearted scenes that feel all too slice-of-lifey for my tastes.
— Aaaaand now I’m watching Akatsuki and Minori compete for Shiroe’s attention. Ah, I had almost forgotten about that. Again, this mini love triangle is not what makes Log Horizon unique. If anything, it only serves to make the story feel more generic and bland. Back to the political machinations, please.
— Finally, Shiroe makes the big announcement that he must leave Akihabara… buuuuuut because someone might be spying on them, he won’t tell his guild why just yet. He won’t even tell them where he’s going. Welp. Everyone seems rather cheerful and upbeat except for Akatsuki. Shoulda rolled a guardian instead of a sexy ninja, huh?
— Regan looks old to you?
— Again, Shiroe asks the Kunie Clan for help, but some ancient treaty bars the latter from assisting the former. So Shiroe reveals that he knows all about the world’s source of money, where it’s located, etc. If the Kunie Clan won’t help, then he’ll just go straight to the source. My first thought was, “Wouldn’t this just cause massive inflation?” But the money’s just going to back to the game anyway to pay for upkeep and such, so it’s a money sink anyway you look at it.
— Kinjou counters, however, that this is just stealing. Shiroe agrees, and as such, he hopes that by putting it all on the table, the Kunie Clan will want to avoid a confrontation. Naotsugu later speculates that Shiroe’s strategy is a mistake. Kinjou is all about secrets whereas Shiroe wants to reveal everything to get people to trust him.
— Anyway, Kinjou stands behind the ancient treaty excuse. Lots of questions are raised, but none are really answered. What’s this ancient treaty? What does Shiroe intend to do with the money aside from some vague notion of changing the world? All we know is that the Kunie Clan doesn’t lend money… ever. I guess their job is to make it disappear. Again, money sink.
— ‘Cause these aren’t really banks, which might be confusing to people who don’t play MMOs. When the average person hears the word ‘bank,’ they think of a profit-making institution. Yeah, real-world banks store your money, but they do so many other things. So many illegal things, too. In MMOs, however, you simply visit “banks” to safely store your money. And unlike a real bank, MMO banks don’t really do anything more than that. They store your money, then they give it back when you ask for it. Nothing more, nothing less… on the surface, anyway. The idea here is that the Kunie Clan do other things, too. They just don’t do typical real-world bank stuff. Rather, they do stuff with the money that don’t involve the adventurers whatsoever. But we don’t quite get the full details just yet, ’cause we soon see that…
— …Shiroe failed. Kinjou had challenged him to meet the Kunie Clan at the place where money appears and disappears. Unfortunately, you need a raid to get there. Shiroe couldn’t depend on the Round Table, so he had to get help from elsewhere. All we learn from the ending, however, is that he couldn’t trust said help enough, so as a result, he failed. There are some scenes of Shiroe in the real world, which was sort of a nice touch, especially considering how dying means he’ll lose some of these memories. I’m curious to see if the story will take a darker turn. So far, Log Horizon has dealt with some serious topics, but at the same time, there hasn’t been a whole lot of serious consequences. As the stakes get higher, will Shiroe continue to put himself in danger? And will his need to accomplish his goals in Elder Tale come at the risk of losing his memories of the real world? Then again, you have to wonder if they even want to get back to the real world anymore. It doesn’t seem as though there’s any urgency on that front.
— We see Shiroe run into Akatsuki in that place you go after you’ve been killed. I guess she also failed that mission he had assigned her right before he left Akihabara. Of course, I want to know what had happened to these two, but judging by the previews for the next episode, that’s not what we’re going to get…
— Truth be told, the first episode was a bit all over the place until it finally settled into the main storyline in the second half. There was just too much recap for my liking in the first half of the episode. The economic disaster storyline has potential, though. I’m kind of interested to see where they go with it. Really, Log Horizon‘s strength lies here. I know Akatsuki has lots of fans, but her little bout of depression as well as her competition with Minori… eh, I couldn’t care less. I know she feels she doesn’t understand Shiroe as well as she wish she–… sigh, I really don’t care about her character, so I’ll just stop there. Sadly, I don’t expect the show to drop the show’s primary heroine any time soon.