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Log Horizon Episode #05 Anime Review

5 min read

Log Horizon Episode 5
Log Horizon Episode 5
Turns out, cooks can cook. Who knew?

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.

The Review:
So, at some point, we know that Shiroe is gonna form Log Horizon, from which the show (and the light novels its based on) derives its name. So, we’ve been building towards that, right? We’ve learned about the world, seen the dangers posed by both game and players alike, and been introduced to some honestly enjoyable characters.

But this week’s episode? The one that last week’s preview told us that Nyanta had some shocking revelation about the world that’s become home to Shiroe, Akatsuki, and Naotsugu?

Was about how being a cook allows you to make real food.

No I’m not joking.

There’s also some lead up about some young players Shiroe helped to mentor at one point who are in a crappy guild that abuses its members that’s oddly reminensent of Oliver Twist. But yeah – cooks can make food ya’ll.

If I sound bitter or even a little angry, that’s because I am. I normally give a series a few episodes to get warmed up, to start by giving us the groundwork and then building on it. But Log Horizon, as it stands, is fleshing out incredibly small details about the world which have no real significance on developing any sort of long form storytelling. On their way back to Akiba, Shiroe and co. learn from Nyanta that if you’re a cook of high enough level, and actually seek out ingredients for food instead of generating it from the in-game menu, that the food will taste real.

The also tell us finally that Nyanta was a part of Debauchery Tea Party with Naotsugu and Shiroe, and Akatsuki somehow feels inadaquet because she hasn’t known and adventured with these guys for years. Which…makes some sense somewhere maybe kinda? But not really.

There’s a point where they highlight that the NPCs of the world are acting a little differently, and they have a surprisingly in-depth and involved conversation with a farmer and his grandchildren when they take shelter from a storm. Now that could at least have been somewhat interesting – NPCs becoming somewhat sentient? Learning? What does that mean about big bad villains in the games lore? Alright, awesome – if that’s what’s happening, then sign me up! We’ve got a fantasy anime on our hands now…

…but it’s not even really mentioned except at the beginning of the episode and nobody in the party blinks an eye at it. So, guess we’re out of luck there. Shiroe also just happens to remember two children he helped to teach the game to that he saw briefly at the start of the series, and wonders whats happening to them, while conveniently we see that they’re being abused by the guild they sought refuge from their brave new world in and exploited to gather treasure or create items. The lead-in for next week’s episode is how Akiba is becoming corrupted and how the weak are being prayed on, and if our hero is going to stand up and do something about it or not.

I’m just gonna go on record now and say that more than likely, probably, maybe, he will. And it might even involve him finally founding Log Horizon. But we’ll have to see.

In Summary:
What’s so maddening to me about all this is I actually love the world of Log Horizon. As a long time game and table top player, the idea of classes, sub classes, and skills, and the way those all work together, really is exciting to me to see. They don’t really flesh these things out as much as they have in this show, and I was really hoping that those would play a more significant role in a story about this strange world. But they really just are serving as fluff to fill out fight sequences, even though the episode in the Mines-of-Moria-like-dungeon was actually pretty sweet.

But a revelation that is “here is why you should check in next week because we’re going to tell you something important” that boils down to “being a Level 90 cook is the boss sauce” is actually a bit repulsive to me. They have developed a rich world, with a lot left unexplored, and have a lot of directions they can take the story, but right now they almost feel like they’re not quite sure what the show should be about. The coincidental nature at which Shiore thinks about the two children and then they’re introduced later in the episode just feels ham-fisted and completely forced. While the first few episodes felt organic and the mystery of Debauchery Tea Party and the strange world of Elder Tale were alluring at first, they’ve done their best job to push those things to the side so Naotsugu can make pervy jokes just so Akatsuki can knee him in the face before asking permission. Which has happened every single episode so far.

And while it may be cute and even actually entertaining initially, it’s really sad to see something that had some much potential for me so quickly lose all of its momentum. I’m going to keep watching each week though, but right now my hopes are not high for this series to salvage itself.

I really do hope I’m wrong though.

Grade: D+

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Intel Alienware laptop, Windows 7, 25” HP2509m screen at 1920×1080 resolution

3 thoughts on “Log Horizon Episode #05 Anime Review

  1. Food with taste will be a lot important soon…

    You only need think what a bunch of EVE players can do with that information in Log Hor world….

    Because potatoes will change the world…

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