Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

26 January 2016: I finally started watching Log Horizon

Well, Akatsuki does seem to be everybody's favorite character.

Log Horizon initially aired in the autumn of 2013. I didn't watch much that season, so I passed it up because it was another show about people trapped in a fantasy role-playing game world, a popular anime setting which still displays no sign of going away any time soon. Since then, Log Horizon has gone on for three additional cours and is now generally regarded as the proper way to do one of these shows. It's the title most detractors of Sword Art Online (such as this example) recommend in its stead. I'm much less critical of Sword Art Online than it probably deserves, particularly since I don't tend to disagree with arguments raised against it, but I do agree Log Horizon is likely a far superior work as a whole. I say "likely" because I've only seen the first quarter or so, and it could conceivably fall off a cliff later on, but also because its "objective" score is relatively low. (I suspect some shows are simply better as a whole than their individual episodes suggest. Shirobako is like that.)

Naotsugu and Shiroe
How is the viewer supposed to relate to characters
who aren't generic Japanese teenage boys?

One advantage Log Horizon has over most of its trapped-in-a-fantasy-game brethren is that its lead characters are adults. The Shiroe, Naotsugu, and Akatsuki trio in particular is quite strong and carries the initial episodes long enough to get the viewer interested. I was definitely more interested in the three of them than I would have been in a party of kids that suffered from way too much dead weight and/or assholes. (Hai to Gensou no Grimgar, I'm looking in your direction.) There are kids in this show, but thankfully, I don't loathe any of the ones introduced thus far. This is a fairly significant achievement in light of my tendency to despise anime children almost as a matter of principle now.

Asuna and Kirito
Show me a beautiful fantasy world and I'll
show you a guy who's sick of grinding it.

Still, Log Horizon is not without faults. I'm already tired of the recurring gag involving one of the female character's obsession with harassing Akatsuki because she finds her so irresistibly cute. The first cour also features two separate evil bands of fellow trapped players who speak only in stereotypically evil voices. I guess they're not quite as obviously evil as the obviously evil characters in Sword Art Online. At least these guys aren't going around raping other players. Hell, I don't think they're even raping NPCs. It's not that sort of show. I can wave off these faults, though. None of the negative components thus far are irredeemably bad. I do sort of hope I learn before the end of the second cour why all these characters are trapped in a video game, though.

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