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Log Horizon Collection 1 Anime DVD Review

5 min read

Log Horizon Season 1 DVD FrontThis is what I wanted Sword Art Online to be.

What They Say:
Elder Tales has become a global phenomenon, immersing millions of players in its online fantasy world. In the flash of a second, however, something goes wrong with the twelfth expansion pack, and eight-year ET veteran Shiroe and 30,000 other players suddenly find themselves transported from behind their keyboards into the game’s no-longer-fictional universe! Except it’s not even exactly the game they knew: things are different in different places, the portals don’t work, and if a gamer was playing an avatar who wasn’t a physical match for their real self…well, let’s just say that everyone who’s been playing is going to have to make some serious adjustments to their new worldview. Add to that fact that the former Non-Player-Characters are now self-aware and working towards their own ends, and this invasion of strangers with seemingly impossible skills, abilities, and knowledge promises to be cataclysmic. Get ready for heroes to rise and new legends to be forged as Shiroe and fellow players Naotsugu and Akatsuki discover what happens when sword and sorcery becomes real in Log Horizon!

The Review:
Audio:
The audio sounds pretty good here. Both English and Japanese are only in 2.0, but my setup doesn’t support 5.1. Voices are crisp through the background noises and I never had any trouble hearing anything.

Video:
The video looks fine, or at least as fine as you can expect a DVD to be. Nothing looks particularly intrusively terrible

Packaging:
Sentai seems to have locked down exactly how they want to do their package, and it works for them. The front of typical promo artwork, the back has one fanservice shot. I actually really like the discs on these though, which feature landscapes / backgrounds instead of your typical character per disc.

Menu:
Typical Sentai menu with a like 30 second clip of one of the songs (the ending) playing over the bare bones selection of episodes, languages, and special features. Hey, at least it looks nice!

Extras:
Nunya except clean opening and closing.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I only watched one or two episodes of Log Horizon when it first started up. At the time, I was 10 months out from finishing Sword Art Online and the premises seemed so similar, I didn’t want to get locked into that again. Let me say this right off the bat: That was one of the biggest mistakes of my anime watching tenure. Log Horizon is everything I wanted out of Sword Art Online and more.

Log Horizon begins with Shiroe, Naotsugu, and Akatsuki trapped in the game they’ve been playing forever after an expansion; it’s a clear reference to World of Warcraft, but we don’t talk about that. The game becomes their life. It isn’t about escaping, but just dealing with what this is now. Log Horizon doesn’t bother with the real world because that’s not where the intrigue is. The intrigue is in the game and people running scared that they’re trapped in a death game (Sword Art Online) is merely a dream. If you die in Log Horizon, you’re merely resurrected. On the flip side, as they say, kidnapping and imprisonment mean something much more sinister now. Newcomers to the game don’t fear death, so to speak, but fear the life they’ve been put into.

The world in Log Horizon houses Adventurers—people like Shiroe, Akatsuki, and Naotsugu—and then there’s the People of the Land, which comprise a minority but very important section of the world. There’s interaction with these now-real people and a fight for their rights as sentient beings rather than slaves for Adventurers. It’s interesting that they even make mention of the People of the Land at all. In MMORPGs for me, these people are barterers, questgivers, random people to fill the streets and not make them look so barren, but they’re something more here. They’re something real and that’s interesting.

But Log Horizon also understands the real reason why we play these MMORPGs. For Shiroe before what they call the apocalypse, it was just as an escape. He has no friends in the world, just acquaintances. But the change in the world makes him realize what the very fact that it is a game has disillusioned him to: These people here are his friends just as much as anyone outside the game. And especially now that they’re stuck in the game, they have to stick together.

The greatest part about Log Horizon is the politics. There’s lawlessness in Akihabara, the homeworld to Shiroe et al, and Shiroe wants to stop that. There has to be a governing council of people willing to look after things that are less than virtuous. The lead up to this reminded me of Spice and Wolf and I love Spice and Wolf. It’s deceit that you can respect because, by and large, it’s for a greater good. And it’s just too damn smart not to.

So the dub is…not very good. Andrew Love as Naotsugu makes way too many inappropriate jokes and the everyone but the main characters are, at best, serviceable. Mike Yager is actually pretty good as Shiroe, but he doesn’t blow any minds. The true standout is Jad Saxton, who is not the best by virtue of her character not having that many lines. But the acting as Akatsuki is clearly the best.

The real problem is the script, which is stilted at worst and serviceable at best. Naotsugu’s “meme-y” lines are actually added in and, god bless Love, but he can’t save those lines no matter how much work he puts into it. Even the subtitles have terrible cat puns for Nyanta, which I suppose is deal-with-able over Naotsugu’s dialogue.

I couldn’t stand the script for longer than two episodes though and switched to the Japanese for the duration.

In Summary:
I’m glad I finally got around to Log Horizon, even if I’m almost two years removed from the anime’s original air date. This is more than a trapped in a video game story and it’s a lot better for it. Focusing on life in the video game world is much more interesting than focusing on trying to escape it. After all, this is a lot of people’s dreams and, in a way, a lot more wish fulfillment (without being disgusting) than Sword Art Online was. Unfortunately, halfway through the series isn’t a nice stopping point and I’ve ended up right in the middle of a storyline. Noooooo!!! Onto the next disc!

Features:
English 2.0, Japanese 2.0, Clean Opening & Closing Animation, Sentai Traiers

Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: B-
Video Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: B-
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: N/A

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: November 25th, 2014
MSRP: $59.98
Running Time: 325 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
PS3, LG 47LB5800 47” 1080p LED TV, LG NB3530A Sound Bar

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