Anime Spotlight: Log Horizon 2

Log Horizon 2 is the second season of the Log Horizon television anime series. Studio Deen produced the second season instead of Satelight; however, both seasons are directed by Shinji Ishihara. The series aired on Japanese television from October 4, 2014-March 28, 2015.

As of this writing, Sentai Filmworks holds the North American distribution license for Log Horizon 2.

The Log Horizon franchise 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 second season sees the Round Table in a dire financial state since the high costs of maintaining Akihabara has just about depleted their funds. Shiroe, Naotsugu, and Regan meet with Kinjou of the Kunie Clan to try to make a financial agreement. After Kinjou refuses to help, Shiroe plans to go to the source of the world’s gold that’s sealed away in the Depths of Palm. In response, Kinjou issues a challenge of clearing a massive raid blocking the gold source to prove their worth to the Kunie Clan. Shiroe assembles a raid party to take on the challenge.

While Shiroe is away, Akatsuki finds herself pondering on her lack of strength and wanting to acquire a “Teaching” skill in the hopes of improving her worthiness to Shiroe. While this is going on, someone is going through Akihabara and murdering people. At the same time, Crusty disappears without a trace while tracking down goblins.

The two main storylines come together with Shiroe accomplishing his goal and Akatsuki proving her worth when she helps to take down the mass murderer in Akihabara.

Next we see the younger members of Log Horizon, along with Serara, being sent on a quest to obtain materials for a special magic bag for adventurers. While they’re on their quest, they meet Roe 2 (who turns out to have ties with Shiroe), as well as Dariella (who is Nureha from Plant Hwayden in disguise). Isuzu and her musical abilities are also focused on during this storyline, since they are treating the trip as a performance tour as well as a quest. While in the town of Safil, a swarm of wyvern monsters attack, and the young adventurers find themselves taking on the wyverns as well as encountering the Odyssey Knights, a group of adventurers that is obsessed with returning to their own world. Tohya especially finds himself at odds with the Odyssey Knights.

The final story arc is set in motion when Roe 2 has Minori deliver a letter to Shiroe that gives some information as to how they may have ended up in the game and what they might potentially be able to do to return home. This includes the discovery of an abandoned broadcast building in Shibuya and having to defeat a raid boss there in order to have access to the broadcast equipment.

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 appeared that Studio Deen strove to keep the character designs as similar as they possibly could to the first season. While the new designs were very close, I could still detect some minor differences. And comparing what I remembered 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 was better than what I saw here. That’s not to say that Studio Deen was 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 saw from Studio Deen.

At first, I didn’t care for Tetra, one of the new characters introduced in this season. This particular character grated on my nerves for the most part, although I learned to tolerate this character’s presence by the end of the season.

One thing that Log Horizon 2 succeeded at was bringing back characters that had all but disappeared early on in the first season or bringing characters that had been hiding more in the background for most of the series out into the foreground. In both cases, the characters became integral to the story and received some much needed character development.

A group of characters that includes Kanami, Coppelia, Leonardo, and Erius, was introduced in Episode 14. Unfortunately, they basically disappear from the series until right near the end of the final episode. This kind of frustrated me, because I had expected them to play a bigger role in the series than they did.

My biggest disappointment in Log Horizon 2 was the fact that Plant Hwayden and most of the characters involved in this group really weren’t very developed during this season. And for the most part, they didn’t seem to play that big of a role. But with what was seen near the end of the final episode, it appears that Plant Hwayden could play an important role later on in the story.

At Episode 21, I had become concerned with the pacing of the story, because it appeared there were several loose threads hanging out there and I thought the final four episodes couldn’t even begin to wrap them up. At the end of the final episode, though, several of the loose threads had been taken care of. In the process, some of those loose ends that were taken care of opened a new loose end, but the episode was written in a way where a foundation was laid for the story to continue and the viewer didn’t feel like the series was stopping in the middle of a storyline.

There was no announcement about a third season at the end of Episode 25, so it doesn’t look like it will be continuing anytime soon. While it’s a little frustrating to know that some loose ends still exist out there, this season managed to resolve several of the larger loose ends that it had. From what I’ve heard, the anime caught up with the light novel source material, so perhaps at some point when the light novel has gotten far enough ahead, a third season could be considered. I’d definitely watch a third season if it ever happens.

Even with some of my pacing concerns for this season, I still enjoyed Log Horizon 2. I’m definitely going to miss watching this series every week, and I’m hoping to start picking up the first season on home video at some point so I can re-watch the series again from the beginning.

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