- What it’s about: One day, players of the long-running MMORPG Elder Tales wake up to find that they’re now living in the game world itself, with the same skills and abilities as the characters they once created. With no explanation forthcoming or any apparent avenues for returning home, where do they go from here? The series follows master strategist Shiroe as he forges a community of “player characters” and NPCs alike, and attempts to come to grip with the new reality.
- Why you should watch it: Log Horizon takes a slightly different approach to the increasingly common premise of “Living in a virtual world”, focusing more on the macro-scale elements than on individual battles. The early episodes showcase the basic mechanics in typical video-game style fights, but from there the show continually ramps up the scope of Shiroe’s actions from interacting with individuals, to groups, to guilds, to a city, to a nation. Expect plenty of politics and scheming along the way. At the same time, the series remains very light-hearted, with a lot of self-referential humour and slapstick comedy. With a decent soundtrack and fluid animation, Log Horizon is a treat to watch.
- Caveats: This isn’t Sword Art Online. While there’s action in almost every episode, it’s not the primary focus. There’s a heavy dash of over-the-top cutesiness thrown into the mix, so if you’ve got a low tolerance for that, steer clear. Finally, bear in mind that Log Horizon is broadcast on a “family-friendly” network. It’s never going to get grimdark. For the same reason, the show tends to spoon-feed its revelations to the audience.
- Themes: Community. Leadership. Pushing glasses.
- Similar works: The closest parallel is Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, another show by the same author about economics and politics in a medieval fantasy world. If you’re looking for more devious plotting, try something like Code Geass instead; its protagonist is forced to make much tougher choices than Shiroe does in his kid-friendly world.