Log Horizon 2: Episode 1 – “Shiroe of the Northern Lands”

Log Horizon 2 is the second season of the Log Horizon anime series. Studio Deen is producing the second season instead of Satelight. However, both seasons are directed by Shinji Ishihara. As of this writing, Sentai Filmworks holds the North American distribution license for Log Horizon 2.

Log Horizon tells the tale of what happens when players of the MMORPG game, Elder Tale, mysteriously find themselves actually inside the game after the 12th expansion, “Novasphere Pioneers,” is added. The main character of the series is Shiroe, and he is joined by his two companions Naotsugu and Akatsuki. As the first season progressed, Shiroe helped to establish alliances between guilds by forming the Round Table, helped to introduce commerce and new ideas to the game’s world, and he even formed his own guild called Log Horizon which included many of Shiroe’s friends as its members.

Of course, not everything went smoothly. The Round Table found itself entangled in issues involving the People of the Land and the nobles, as well as taking on goblin forces that attacked and caused chaos.

The first episode of the second season opens with a post-Halloween festival being put on because they have too many pumpkins after the Halloween event where monsters drop pumpkins when they’re defeated. Through these early scenes at the festival, the audience is re-introduced to many of the various characters who were important in the first season. I was glad to see the story done in this fashion instead of spending several minutes recapping the 25 episodes of the first season.

But behind the scenes, we discover that things aren’t going as well as they seem. Shiroe meets with most of the members of the Round Table to inform them that they’re going bankrupt and he has been unsuccessful in acquiring money to help keep them going. In addition, we learn that Crusty, Isaac, Karashin and Akaneya are away to continue taking on the goblin forces at their camp at Seventh Fall. While the attack on the goblins is only mentioned in passing in this episode, I hope to see this become an actual plot point later in the series. So far, Log Horizon‘s track record for mentioning things and following through on them has been pretty good, so I’d be shocked if we didn’t get to see this at some point.

Shiroe makes the decision to go off on his own to do something, but won’t tell the other members of Log Horizon why he’s leaving. Naotsugu insists on going with Shiroe as his protector, and Shiroe agrees. When Akatsuki insists on coming, Shiroe tells her she needs to stay in Akihabara because he has something he needs her to do because she’s the only one who can do it.

Shiroe and Naotsugu retreat into the snowy mountains and hold a meeting there with Regan and Kinjou Kunie from the clan that runs the banks in the game. Kinjou refuses to help the Round Table with financing because it would go against an ancient treaty, and Shiroe is able to discern that an actual moneylender class does not exist in this world. When Shiroe says he intends to go to the Depths of Palm, where the source of the world’s gold is sealed away, Kinjou declares a challenge to Shiroe of clearing a massive raid blocking the gold source in order to prove their worth. Shiroe realizes he can’t approach the Round Table, so he decides he has to enlist other acquaintances for help.

The idea of an “ancient treaty” preventing the Kunie clan from providing financial assistance to the Round Table was brought up at least three times in the episode. I suspect that the terms of this ancient treaty will be important somehow with how much emphasis was placed on this treaty in the dialogue.

The ending of the episode kind of threw me off, though, because it seemed to imply that Shiroe and Akatsuki were killed at some point in the future while trying to accomplish separate missions. The dialogue seems to insinuate that this scene takes place on Christmas Eve. I don’t know if this is in reference to trying to get their missions done before Shiroe attempts to go to the Depths of Palm, or if this is connected to the raid at the Depths of Palm. Hopefully this will be cleared up in the series and we’ll get an explanation for it sooner rather than later.

With the change in animation studios between seasons, I wasn’t sure what to expect in regards to the animation. After watching the first episode, it appears that Studio Deen strove to keep the character designs as similar as they possibly could to the first season. While the new designs are very close, I can still detect some minor differences. And comparing what I remember of the backgrounds of the first season to what I saw in this episode, I have to say that I thought the overall animation of the first season is better than what I saw here. That’s not to say that Studio Deen is producing terrible animation, though. I’m just saying that the animators for Satelight seemed to put a little more effort into the detail and look of the series in comparison to what I’ve seen from Studio Deen.

Log Horizon 2 is off to an interesting start, and I hope that the overall story will end up being just as good as the story that was presented in the first season.

Additional posts about Log Horizon:

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