“Even if we have nothing to do, there’s no reason for us to be pathetic too.”
What They Say:
One day, while playing the online game Elder Tales, 30,000 players suddenly find themselves trapped in another world. There, eight-year veteran gamer Shiroe also gets left behind. The trapped players are still alive, but they remain in combat with the monsters. The players don’t understand what has happened to them, and they flee to Akiba, the largest city in Tokyo, where they are thrown into chaos. Once proud of his loner lifestyle, Shiroe forms a guild called Log Horizon with his old friend Naotsugu, female assassin Akatsuki and others.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This is the episode I really feel that begins to set Horizon aside as just as “Follow the SAO formula” and make it’s a show that I think people will really enjoy. The city of Akiba is becoming restless as more and more instances of PK (Player Killing or Player Killers) begin to crop up and venturing outside the city isn’t safe. Our heroes encounter one such group, but they are able to dispatch them rather easily. One of the parts of this episode I liked, and hope continues is Shiro explains a lot of the world to the audience, and it’s clear that the novels that this anime is based on had a lot of thought and depth put into the world building. Along with the 12 basic classes that everyone can choose from, there are a number of sub-classes that allow players to make their talents unique and find a niche that they enjoy playing. Akatsuki, for instance, is an Assassin-Tracker, and she has abilities that allow her to scout easily, as well as sneak up on the unsuspecting ambushers and dispatch them with ease. Along with this, Shiro explains a number of simple abilities that both he and Naotsugu use during their fight that add a nice little touch to the world building that so much thought was put into.
We also learn a significant amount more about the world and the game of Elder Tale. Elder Tale is build to resemble the world but it uses the Half Gaia Project to measure distance, so if going from point A to point B is 700 KM in the real world, in Elder Tale it’s only 350. But since the players are moving around in real time, it’s still a great distance to cover for traveling. The increase in PKs also has the added benefit of answering the one question everyone has had on their minds since they woke up in the game – when you die in Elder Tale, you would be resurrected at the Cathedral, mimicking RPGs of old, and it appears that this still holds true for the players trapped in the game. Even though, getting killed and losing all your stuff sucks!
The cliffhanger of the small girl being chased is answered, as it’s a member of Shiro’s friends guild, and she had gone to the city of Susukino, which was the last major city she had visited. She has gone missing and is under the protection of someone or someones, and Shiro offers for his group to set out to Susukino and bring her back safely. The episode ends with our heroes soaring high in the sky over the world of Elder Tale, heading towards the city.
One of the most interesting points that is brought up in this episode really speaks to the horrors of being trapped in a game. Sure, you can fight monsters, get fat loot, and be a Level 726 Badass of Badassdom – but what do you next? You’ve slain the dragons, you’ve gotten the cool stuff, and you are without a doubt one of the strongest people in the world. So when you wake up, what do you do? The food has no taste, and there really isn’t a system in place it seems for people to do things like acquire land or develop and peddle a craft to fellow players, so what do you do? That’s the major question Shiro and his friends find themselves asking – some people are turning to PK, and many remain in Akiba and the other major cities, hoping things just kind of fix themselves.
So what do you do?
For Shiro, he decides that helping those in need, like his friends and their stranded guild mate in Susukino, is what he and Akatsuki and Naotsugu will do. It’s difficult to imagine waking up in the safety of the major cities and not really having anything to do. In fact, if you think about it, it’s downright terrifying. Sure, there’s battling monsters and the like, but in the end, you’re not progressing your life, or yourself. Shiro even fields the question, “can this really be called living?”
But Shiro’s decision to help his friends speaks to the quiet but benevolent nature of his character as shown in episode 1, and I’m personally very excited to see where he and the others go from here!
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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