Manga Review: Log Horizon Volume One

Log Horizon Volume 1 tells the story of what happens when roughly 30,000 Japanese players of the Elder Tales MMORPG become trapped in the world of the game after the release of 12th expansion pack. This event has become known as “The Catastrophe.” The players don’t know how they got there, and there’s no way to escape. If someone dies in the game, they are simply respawned at a temple. The main characters seem to be located in the city of Akiba.

Log Horizon Volume 1
Written by: Kazuhiro Hara
Publisher: Kadokawa
English Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: March 24, 2015

Volume 1 has a strong focus on Shiroe, a young man who is an Enchanter in the game who has acquired the nickname, Machiavelli with Glasses. We also get to know his two companions, the female assassin Akatsuki and a guardian named Naotsugu. This volume does an excellent job of establishing these three characters and the interactions that they have with one another.

This volume also shows and explains the chaos, lawlessness, and danger that exists in the game world because of the fear the players have about being trapped in this world. The biggest danger that’s seen in this volume is the threat of Player Killers (PK). All of the chaos and danger is seen through the eyes of Marielle, Shiroe’s friend who is the head of the Crescent Moon guild. When Shiroe learns that Serara, one of the members of Marielle’s guild ended up trapped in the city of Susukino at the time of The Catastrophe, he agrees to take on the quest of finding and rescuing her. Naotsugu and Akatsuki accompany Shiroe on the journey. Their journey takes them through part of the dungeon and leads them to a fight with creatures in the game, which helps the reader to start getting a grasp of the world that exists within the game. The volume also takes time to explain some of the concepts that are introduced, for those readers who have no background knowledge of MMORPGs.

By the end of Volume 1, the reader is also introduced to Serara and Nyanta, a player with a swashbuckling cat avatar who has connections with both Shiroe and Naotsugu. Personally, I think Nyanta is a really neat character, and is quite the gentleman as he protects Serara from a guild that’s causing problems in Susukino. This volume ends with a battle of Shiroe and his group against Demiquas and his Briganteers in Susukino.

Volume 1 has a strong emphasis on establishing the characters and the world that they inhabit. This is understandable, since this is the first volume of the series. When it comes to the art, it perfectly captures the atmosphere of the game, as well as the uncertainty that the characters are feeling at this point in the story. Although, I have to admit that there are times in the volume where the drawings of the characters can be a little on the weak side because the artist isn’t using much detail on the characters as they could be, especially on the faces. Fortunately, the weaknesses in the art are easy to overlook as a reader becomes absorbed in the story and the action that’s taking place.

Log Horizon Volume 1 has a good start going for it, and it’s a good entry into the “characters becoming trapped in a game” style of series. Personally, I think of fans of such series as Sword Art Online, and the .//hack franchise will find something to like about Log Horizon.

The reviewer checked out a copy of this manga from the King County Library System

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