DVD Review: Log Horizon – Season 2 Part 1
02/09/2016 Leave a comment
We once again return to the digital world of Elder Tales to explore the new adventures that lie in await for the Log Horizon guild; but is it an adventure worth watching or one that should be forgotten? Well let’s take a look in our DVD Review of Log Horizon – Season 2 Part 1.
It’s been six months since the event that trapped thousands of players in the online game world of Elder Tales and the situation is far from secure. The People of the Land are engaged in open warfare against the Goblin armies of Zantleaf. Minami spies are infiltrating the populace. And even with the support and guidance of the Round Table Alliance, the cost of sustaining the city of Akihabara is causing the entire infrastructure to teeter on the brink of collapse.
With winter coming, Shiroe and his companions are forced to consider their options. Should they stay in Akihabara and attempt to weather the oncoming storm? Or should they gamble on missions to other portions of the world in search of new sources of valuable treasure? The launch of another series of raids will test old alliances while new ones are forged, as the adventure continues in the second season of LOG HORIZON!
The second season of Log Horizon attempts to spark new life into what was rather a mediocre show but while it ultimately starts off interesting it actually becomes a tiresome experience that ends on a rather comical high-note. Times are changing within the world of Elder Tales and while it may be for the better it’s not entirely the best viewing material and instead offers a two-pronged approach to storytelling with no clear objective in sight.
Log Horizon is a series which puts an alternate spin on the ‘trapped within a gaming MMORG’ genre as while .hack and Sword Art Online saw the players fight for survival in an attempt to escape the hell that has trapped them Log Horizon sees the players, known as Adventurers, take control of the land and rule it as a normal living environment. In any event it’s been several months since the event, known as the apocalypse, that trapped them within the game world and now the members of Akihabara have managed to create a peaceful working lifestyle within this place that they call home… or so one might seem.
The first minute of Log Horizon Season 2 showcases a variety of scenes throwing danger, distress and deathly battles directly in to your face but upon the ending of the opening title sequence (which once again uses the Database song) we are thrown into a peaceful environment with everyone safe and well. What exactly happened? Well it turns out this ‘1 minute pre-opening sequence introduction’ was nothing more than a taste of what to expect from this second season; a clever tactic if not a little bit deceptive. So what exactly is going off? Well it turns out the buildings that Shiro purchased in order to establish ruling of the city cost a lot of money and the only way to earn money to keep them occupied is to defeat monsters, of which not enough exist to create the money needed; as such Shiro formulates a plan which will see him attempt to obtain money direct from the source which turns out to be a special area where money of the world is stored and disrupted upon a monsters defeat.
In order to access this location however he must pass a challenge created by the protector of the source; which in this case is Kinjou of the Kunie Clan. The challenge presented by Kinjou is non-other-than a raid challenge containing some of the strongest bosses available within Elder Tales and in order to beat the challenge Shiro and Naotsugu venture around cities hoping to find strong allies to aid them on their quest; which coincidentally re-introduces William Massachusetts and the Silver Sword guild as well as an old enemy from the first season; Demicas.
This quest for allies also introduces new characters, such as the female (but actually male) character Tetra, and it’s a character introduction which adds some much needed comic relief to the series. With a strong team formed and a clear goal now in sight you would expect the series to progress forward with its objective; but instead we are thrown back to Akihabara to see another story unfolding; a story which sees someone mysteriously slaughtering players within city as well as Akatsuki attempting to overcome her own weaknesses and self-worth.
It’s a relatively bizarre way to progress a series, by building up one characters story and then immediately jumping to another, but the way it is meant to be viewed is that each of these storylines are happening at the same time. While Akatsuki is attempting to understand herself and become a stronger assassin – which in turn sees her attempt to take down the murderer – Shiro is leading the raid party with the guild deep within a secret and previously unknown location. Unfortunately however as these storylines are played out, in full, from one perspective it is easily forgotten that they should be happening at the same time which as a result some scenes and dialogue elements are seen twice; but from a different person perspectives.
Like I mentioned previously it’s a good tactic but potentially poorly executed; especially when the events are a tad boring. The only good aspect of these storylines were the character development within them; both Shiro and Akatsuki begin to understand their own emotions and backstories better; additionally with new characters being introduced, as well as old enemies reinvented, we get to learn more about their own personalities and traits rather than those of their role.
Of course this first half of Season 2 of Log Horizon doesn’t just end there; as with both storyline elements concluded we find ourselves with a single episode remaining – an episode which is nothing more than filler. It’s an episode which takes place on Valentine’s Day and sees notable characters trying to express themselves to the ones they have feelings for. It might sound painful to watch, especially when dubbed in English; but in actuality it brought the most entertainment out of the entire collection.
As per the previous DVD (and Blu-ray release) of Log Horizon the only bonus features are textless opening and closing songs on the first DVD disc which is, once again, disappointing when Sentai Filmworks have opted to use these textless opening and closing animations for each episode.
To be brutally honest you could say that no bonus features are included; which is a real shame considering the potentially in-depth nature that the story of Log Horizon offers.
Media: DVD 9 x3
Running Time: 1:44:04 (Disc 1 & Disc 2), 2:10:05 (Disc 3)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 480 (480p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 30 fps
Log Horizon continues to disappoint (me) with its relatively basic animation style, long-winded approach to progressing a story and its unusual way of not showing any adrenaline fuelled action. Sure enough the series may be aimed at a PG/12 rated auidience but even Fairy Tail, with its shonen styled family friendly action, manages to delivery impact during its intensive fight-scenes; to which alas Log Horizon does not produce. Thoughts of Log Horizon aside this Season 2 Part 1 release by MVM Entertainment, with discs mastered by Madman Entertainment in Australia, provides the first thirteen episodes of the series and sees a two-pronged-approach to telling a story.
We have the, albeit deceptive, introductory episode which lays down the objective of needing to find more money (for Shiro’s storyline) and to be better servant to Shiro (for Akatsuki’s storyline); but following on from this singular episode the anime spreads into two storylines. The first of which is from Shiro’s perspective of discussing business with guild masters and NPC’s before quickly shifting to Akatsuki’s perspective of stopping and a rampaging murderer and becoming stronger. Of course following on from this conclusion of self-worth the story switches back to Shiro to deliver the final blow of his storyline of concequring the raid laid out by the Kunie Clan and that’s not before finishing off with a comical ‘Valentines Day’ episode which – in my hindsight at least – is the best episode of the bunch. It’s worth mentioning that while Shiro and Akatsuki are the main ‘vocal’ points of these episodes the other members, and the younger generation of players, do get some screen time; but not enough to warrant your attention.
Two different storylines; two different perspectives and a filler styled episode is what you get within Log Horizon – Season 2 Part 1; and unless you are a fan of the franchise I doubt you’ll have much fun with it. Sure enough it’s interesting to see Shiro and Akatsuki become ‘closer’ (if you can call it that); but other than that there isn’t much really to see. This ‘lack of content’ also carries on to the discs; as while both English and Japanese audio is included (both of which have their merits) the only bonus material is textless songs and – as previously mentioned – the opening and ending songs are textless in each episode so it’s rather pointless including them as bonus materials.
Log Horizon – Season 2 Part 1 is a release aimed at fans of the franchise that wish to keep the story going; but from my perspective I just wish it would go somewhere interesting as so far it feels like a long road to nowhere.
Log Horizon – Season 2 Part 1 will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from the 5th September 2016.