Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Anime First Impression: Log Horizon

So what put me in the frame of mind to play WoW is that I caught and liked Log Horizon a new anime you can catch on Crunchy Roll, or Hulu.

Here is the thing I have always liked the set up of virtual reality gone wrong. Hell to this day the I consider the Matrix one of the most interesting well made movies ever.

That said it's not exactly an original.

My experience with this premise, being stuck in an MMO unable to log out goes all the way back to .Hack//Sign which I really really like. But as of late it's been cropping up again with .Hack//Quantum and Sword Art Online.

And mostly I'm going to compare this to SAO since it's incredibly similar in not only the premise but the plot, both .Hacks being about the characters trying to figure out what's going on and fix it rather than merely survive and make a way for themselves in the world.

While SAO was fun after turning my brain back on I realized Kirito, the protagonist is kind of gamer Marty Stu, most of the conflict of every episode coming down to when will these boners realize just who they're messing with and pee their pants.   The action scenes were good enough that I didn't really think about that during the show... unless they were doing weird romance crap. The second arc does not exist.

The point of that show really is seeing a nigh unstoppable bad ass version of yourself being the only hope of that world and while sort of stupid most of the time it works.

Again I know about the novels, but I feel Log Horizon is SAO done smarter. Yes in a way Shiroe, Log Horizon's protagonist is a Marty Stu as well but it also seems justified because he's a hero we don't get to see a lot of. He's a different type of hero for a different type of story. See the reason why people hold Shiroe in such high regard isn't because he's the strongest player, on the contrary he plays a buffing mage class and everybody knows how squishy they are. No he's the hero because he's smart, being a player who before the apocalypse was famous for understanding and utilizing all of the rule sets in the game to max efficiency and famous after because he catches on quicker than most how those rule sets have changed.

And that's mostly what the show is about because it's not just the rule sets for the game that have changed but for life. The major difference from SAO is that players are virtually immortal and the fact that death has no meaning makes everything else have little meaning. Shiroe's goal is to basically use the rulesets of this new world to restore some of the struggle that is life and keep the player base from devolving into eloi.

Doing this requires both he and the show to not only understand the game's rules but humanity's. Why do people do what they do? What motivates us as a species. Why do all of the systems and rules we have artificially constructed around ourselves exist?  Economics? Law? Politics? Artistry?

Those are really interesting questions.  I don't know if the show is up to the task of answering them but it has my attention.

Apart from that it's also interesting that the game in the show seems to actually have well defined rule sets. There are almost more than one player of any given class. So far at least it never feels like something they just made up to vanish away the conflict of the hour.  And if you play MMORPGs these rule sets will feel familiar and make sense. They actually describe and show party dynamics and what tanks, DPS and healers actually do.

Heck the game is basically Lineage II

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