DVD Review: Log Horizon – Season 1 Part 1
10/04/2015 Leave a comment
We take a trip to Elder Tales and end-up getting confused and lost; but that aside what does MVM Entertainment’s DVD Release of Log Horizon – Part 1 have in-store? Find out in our DVD Review.
Elder Tales has become a global phenomenon, immersing millions of players in its online fantasy world. However, something goes wrong with the twelfth expansion pack. Eight-year veteran Shiroe and 30,000 other players suddenly find themselves trapped in the game’s no-longer-fictional universe!
Except it’s not even exactly the game they knew: things are 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 world view.
On top of that, the former Non-Player-Characters are now self-aware and working towards their own ends. This collision of the Elder Tale people and players 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!
Let’s be blunt; Log Horizon is simply another incarnation of the //hack, or to an extent Sword Art Online, franchises; whereby players of an online role-playing-game, or MMORPG for short, find themselves trapped within it and must fight to survive. While this may initially seem like the case log Horzion is vastly different and instead opts to follow the story in a new and rather unique direction – which is a good thing as it gives us a reason to experience it; although the pacing is pretty slow.
So what’s log Horizon all about? Well that’s hard to say at this point but in this first half of the series, which contains thirteen episodes, it follows the events of shiroe, a master tactician, as he tries to unify the land of Akiba into a peaceful nation with his allies Naotsugu and Akatsuki. This iconic team of three, which later expands as the story unfolds, is the main focus point and each character offers something amusing and unique to the series; which is more than can be said for the story and its pacing.
Why do I keep complaining about this shows pacing? Well it’s ultimately slow and quickly becomes a dull viewing experience – that is unless you like long drawn-out political talks between guilds and characters; as that’s pretty much what Log Horizon offers. Do we see any battles between guild members? Not really, Do we see any battles between characters and monsters? A litte but its not represented on screen and do we see anything being done from escaping from this trapped hell hole of a game? absolutely not; instead it’s all about creating a peaceful nation and building relationships with other nations through negotiations and political parties.
That’s not all; there is a lot of monologue and narration from shiroe explaining the rules, character classes and weapons types within the game; and this is before we get to the political talks within the guild hall. At first its informative and quite interesting but when it still happens on the eleventh episode you can’t help but ignore what’s being said and find yourself ignoring it completely – or at least thats what happened to me.
Mind you it’s not all doom and gloom; the first few episodes of this set, which see Shiroe, Naotsugu and Akatsuki travel to another city in order to retrieve a guild member for a friend, is pretty entertaining – and is obviously one of the very few highlights of the first thirteen episodes. Meanwhile later episodes intermingle between political talks round a table and a rescue attempt in another guild; it’s pretty fascinating but its nothing to get excited about. As mentioned previously the most interesting aspect of Log Horizon is the characters; as there is so much diversity to them; for instance Shiroe is always clam, collective and cool whereas Naotsugu is a gun-hoe pervert and often finds himself being kicked in the face by other characters; Akatsuki on the other hand may seem like a loyal ninja, but she secretly admires Shiroe and can be rather stubborn to admit her feelings.
This is just a sample; but characters in guilds – which shiroe often interacts with – even have their own comical charm; including one that has affection for Akatsuki – which brings some golden comical moments out of her. Basically the progression of the story and how it unfolds might be a bit slow and boring but the variety of character personalities – especially those constantly on screen – will keep you wanting to watch more and no doubt everyone will eventually find their favourite.
Unfortunately MVM Entertainment continues its ‘current’ trend of rather disappointing bonus content included on their DVD’s as the only selection of content on offer in Log Horizon – Part 1 is the opening and closing song in textless form.
What makes this ‘even more’ disappointing is that the opening and closing segments to each episode are already in textless form; so seeing these included as a separate option from the main menu is pretty pointless. In retrospect Log Horizon – Part 1 contains no bonus materials which is a real shame as at least other releases have had some form of bonus content.
Media: DVD 9 x2
Running Time: 2:53:07 (Disc 1), 2:28:23 (Disc 2)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps
Log Horizon is an anime that sees players of an online MMORPG, known as The Elder Tales, trapped within the game; however unlike //hack or Sword Art Online the story of Log Horizon isn’t about getting out or surviving the threat of death; it’s actually about creating a peaceful nation and living alongside the original inhabitants of the game world. It’s different, and not exactly what you might be expecting, but it throws a few interesting elements into a story we thought we knew too well; but unfortunately this is where the excitement of the show beings to end.
Shiroe, Naotsugu, Akatsuki and Chief, along with friends from other guild members, are the main protagonists of this story as we see them try to unify Akiba, the main hometown location for Japan’s game sever. That’s pretty much my take on what the first half of log Horizon has to offer; but to stir it up side-stories and altercations occur; be it the rescue attempt on friends, invitation to private balls or the beach party dressed as a training camp – there is something different onscreen, but the real story is the unification of the land and it does get pretty boring and drawn out – even during short bursts of viewing.
Although I may nag saying the story is slow there are a few positives to be had; for starters the visual and audio quality of this release is better than most other releases by MVM Entertainment; the same can be said for the subtitles as they are clearly readable and presentable; and this includes when the screen is filled even with on-screen translations for game menus. Even more surprisingly is that the English Dub produced by Sentai Filmworks is actually enjoyable, which was a big surprise for me; sure regular Sentai Filmwork voice actors make an appearance but they actually seem suited to the roles they have been given – which was the real complaint I had against their voice acting in the first place.
I guess the only disappointment with this DVD release, other than the pacing of the show itself, is the lack of bonus materials – as there is literally non. If you can stomach a relatively long-drawn-narrative with plenty of monologue and dialogue set-in a fictional universe of a videogame then Log Horizon is right up your street; however lets not forget this is the first half of the series and its sure to build-up to something exciting; but only time will tell. So is this a good release? Well in terms of a product then it is of ‘high quality’ (and of course we recomended getting the Blu-ray) but for viewing pleasure its a bit of a drawn-out-exprience.
Log Horizon – Part 1 will be available on DVD from the 13th April 2015; the Blu-ray version will be released a few weeks later on the 27th April 2015.