OK, give this show a chance. The problem with “Log Horizon” is that it starts out EXACTLY like “Sword Art Online”, in that you have these people with this Virtual Reality, totally immersive headgear, playing a game (in this case “Elder Tale”) and 30,000 are online when the newest upgrade patch is put in and now are trapped in the game. They refer to the incident as The Apocalypse and they are stuck, with at least no immediate way out.
After this blatant establishing shot, the show decides to take a differing approach to things. One of the ‘benefits’ explored (if you could call it that), is that when you die in the game, you are reborn, so you aren’t completely erased from existence (although even that creates problems). It’s just that you are in this game with absolutely nothing to do: quests are bland and there is a huge amount of Player-Killers, bored to tears as there is no goal and rather than sit on my GCI butt all day, I might as well make things hard for others.
Kai Shirogane (glasses in the middle), called Shiroe, had a reputation among other players, most notable the “villain with glasses”. He was a stunning tactician for the Tea Party Brigade (a non-guild guild where people just had themselves a ripping good time). With his friend Naotsugu Hasegawa, (hulking dude sitting down), Atasuki (far right ninja and assassin) and Nyanta (cat), they decided to do something with the game that the original approach would not allow: transform this into a living, breathing society. This turns out to be far harder but, ultimately, more rewarding, than merely searching for treasure.
They also discover the expansion pack has changed the dynamic of the game and previous non-playing people (called the People of the Land) now interact with everyone. This causes a degree of problems, as they are still computer programs and subject to hacking.
Shiroe forms Log Horizon, the name of his guild, and proceeds to make things better, with the help of his friends. They defeat the Goblin hordes, make treaties with the surrounding kingdoms and best an internal attack from someone bent on their destruction.
One you get past the SAO portion of it, this becomes a very intriguing show. What if you could really make your own society? The only question I have is what happens when they are freed from this ‘prison’? What happens to this world that they have made? Shiroe is a really well-defined character, as we see him go through his machinations in getting what is best for all. Yes, he could have been a dictator, but he used his abilities to help all, so, despite what you think of him, he really is a decent guy.
He is uncomfortable in romantic situation, and shies away from them like a vampire and garlic bread, but the ladies all adore him, especially his ninja aide. There are some goofy moments, to balance off the fight sequences, which are staged well and kept at a minimum. The Goblin King Arc was done quite well and did not drag on endlessly.
If you like the sword epics or just want to see a good show, I recommend this series highly.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Does a good job with it)
Plot 8 (Even with its opening)
Pacing 8 (Solid)
Effectiveness 8 (Work very well)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 4 (A similar show would be “Gurren Lagaan”)
Overall 8 (Really held my interest)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Always think 20 seconds ahead.