As a casual MMO player, I was pumped when I heard about “Sword Art Online,” a hugely popular anime about people getting trapped in a videogame. It seemed like a dream come true – an action-packed anime with such an uncommon premise.
I was so wrong.
Watching through “Sword Art Online,” I found myself immediately seated next to countless others on the “Sword Art Online Hate Train Express.” With a messy plotline comprised of massive time skips, rape scenes, random threesome romance arcs, incest and Mary Sue protagonist galore, I quickly grew to dislike the anime. Hoping for some improvement in the story, I watched through the whole first season, regretting my life choices every step of the way.
I had almost lost my faith in MMO-themed anime after my tormenting experience with “SAO,” until I saw “Log Horizon.” The premise sounded similar; random MMO players trapped inside a game. After a lot internal debate and a few shoves from my boyfriend, I decided to give it a shot.
I’m glad that I did.
This show is wonderfully wacky. It’s like taking the entire player base of “World of Warcraft” and trapping them inside of the game, and BAM you have “Log Horizon.”
Why would this show be any good if you describe it that way?
Well for one thing, this anime has a cast of characters who are all given the chance for a well developed personality. There isn’t this foreboding dark undertone like with “SAO” because characters in “Log Horizon” have infinite lives – just as they would in a videogame. And the plotline is understandable for anyone; MMO player or not.
The show begins just as “SAO,” does, showing players trapped in a game, but from thereon the stories are completely different. The characters in “Log Horizon” realize that there isn’t much they can do about the situation and begin to set up governments and live normally in this world.
Where’s the draw to this anime then? The characters can never die so where’s the interesting or crazy caveat?
The catch is that you get to enjoy the political intrigue of the world itself and explore the growth of the characters as they adapt to creating their own lives in this new environment. The characters aren’t in constant mortal peril and the female cast doesn’t become smaller and smaller every episode like in “SAO.”
Also, the writers spend the time to explain the mechanics of the MMO world clearly enough that people who haven’t played one can easily understand what’s happening. As the viewer, you can honestly get a feeling of just what it’s like to be trapped in that world with them.
Every episode of season one was a refreshingly comprehensible adventure, and season two has yet to let any of us down.
Kaitlyn Peltzer is a junior English and criminology major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.