Previously on Log Horizon:
On a day dubbed “The Apocalypse” hundreds of thousands of players of the MMO “Elder Tale” found themselves trapped in a world exactly like the game. Seeing no way home, a player named Shiroe forms a group with two other players, Naotsugu and Akatsuki, as the the three try to make sense of this new world. Spoilers Ahead!
Shiroe, Naotsugu, & Akatsuki leave another meeting with the Crescent Moon Alliance where the discussed the recent string of PK’s. While leaving Akibahara after a training mission, the group is ambushed by a group of PK’s but make quick work of them. Later the group receives a call from Marielle who tells them that her group is planning a rescue mission to Susukino.
Log Horizon expands the world a bit more and explains more about the implications in this new world, but still stumbles in places.
The rules of death are explained in this episode and the survey says…it is of absolutely no consequence. If you die in the game you don’t die in real life, you can just be revived in the cathedral. Now while the whole “dying in the game” cliche is a bit old, it still at least establishes stakes and allows a window to care for the characters. Without death or something akin to it (like .hacks mind coma plot device) there isn’t much of a reason to care for anyone’s plight with no stakes, especially since we still don’t know what the characters left behind in the real world. Now if this will lead somewhere, like there may only be a set limit to revivals then that would be something to explore, but as of right now we have nothing.
We get a broad look at the scope of the world’s state during the PK discussion. As with all trapped in RPG stories, PKs increase in the game due to people not having to follow the same rules as society. We get a brief glimpse of a PK in progress, this is also the reason behind Shiroe’s group getting attacked. The battle is a bit short, but it does show off the groups skills against other players. During the battle subskills are explained, not going to in depth they are basically secondary skills used for characters. The battle with the PK’s is kinda short but its animated well enough.
As for the characters themselves we don’t get much in the way of development. Out three main heroes stay the same throughout, with the exception of Akatsuki who is starting to show feelings for Shiroe. This was set up in both the first episode and the ending theme of the show but it is still nice to see it developed a bit more. Shiroe also gets a moment when he’s deciding what to do about Marielle’s predicament, he initially doesn’t want to get involved but eventually acquiesces. This does help shed some light on why he doesn’t join larger guilds, possibly due to something that happened last time he played.
We see a bit more of the game’s world when the three embark on their journey. Here is where we get a some mystery about Naotsugu & Shiroe when they use an item only available after completing a difficult quest to summon griffons. Makes you wonder what other secrets are being hidden by the former members of the “Debauchery Tea Party”.
Despite a couple hangs ups “The Battle of Loka” is a better episode than its predecessor, by expanding it’s world and having better action scenes. While the animation is lackluster at times and the stakes being mostly nonexistent, the characters have better chemistry and the potential is still there.