Saturday Anime Review – Log Horizon & More

Alright, so it’s a day late, but I’m still keeping the title of Saturday Anime Review 😛

LOG HORIZON – THE OUTLAW AND MITHRIL EYES

The pain of waiting on Log Horizon to resume has subsided (now it’s just the week long wait between episodes) and so it’s a little easier to be objective instead of just plain giddy that the episode is simply on.  I’ve watched the first episode again to make sure I didn’t miss anything and I have to say there are a few weaknesses in there.  It feels like things move along a bit quickly, just throwing out mentions and expecting the audience to just go with it.  From my understanding the season isn’t quite following the light novels in terms of tone (the light novels having more mystery vibe that’s already somewhat given away in the first season).  That said, I suspect there may be some aspects that aren’t delved into to get things moving along.

What’s more jarring is the differences from season 1 and 2 with the change in the animation company.  Marielle and Demikas in particular look rather different from the previous season with the way their hair is drawn.  With lines missing to detail the strands of hair, it looks more like there’s a bit of a dread lock feel to them. Kanami’s new design is even more jarring.  I’m caught up on the background: how Kanami moved from Japan to Europe, contributing to the Tea Party’s dissolving, and created a new character on the European server (and her side story is apparently going to be presented this season as she’s making her way back to Japan from what I understand).  So it makes sense for her character to look different and I dig the Tifa vibe; heck, the comic I’m working on features a busty monk gal of my own, but the animators just went a bit overboard with her size to the point it looks awkwardly drawn.  And that’s saying something when anime fans disagree with an increase in bust size.  Hopefully the little we’ve seen of her isn’t just the first pass and she’ll be more reasonable as she’s featured.

There’s also a few scenes where the animation just seems less detailed somehow.  There are others where it looks fantastic and on par with season 1, but overall I’m not entirely sure I like the new studio.

We get introduced to a new character as well – Tetra, who doesn’t look like she belongs in Elder Tales with the outfit designs from season one.  The magical girl genre injected into the fantasy genre is rather out of place and her outfit doesn’t seem like what you’d see based on our experience so far.  But, if adventurers can wear pretty much a black tutu and a top hat in Eorzea, I can’t really complain about the diversity in outfits in Elder Tale!  At first I didn’t like her much, or at all, but the way she rode Naotsugu’s shoulder when she was tired and randomly popped up from inside his armor just to pop away again was pretty funny!  I’m hoping the two become something of a comic duo with Tetra being a pest that aggravates Naotsugu.

Speaking of Naotsugu, I really liked seeing the developments with Marielle.  I rather liked how Naotsugu had scenes showing small signs of affection towards her in the first season rather than being blatant. The “open pervert” being afraid of her forwardness when they first meet, then later bringing her food, and when she’s exhausted just sitting nearby and waving the fan for her was a nice development.  In the time since the first season, that’s apparently grown more as the two are talking via telepathy on a daily basis while Naotsugu is on his secret mission with Shiroe.

As for the main story, it’s still true Log Horizon style with slow development. We’re building towards a full scale raid, which we saw a glimpse of in the first episode.  We’ve also had a final scene suggesting Shiroe dies at some point, experiencing his first death (as does Akaktsuki apparently).  I’m expecting this is going to be a fairly big deal based on what William Massachusetts told Shiroe.  When you die, you experience the weight of your failure and after experiencing that repeatedly, a lot of players couldn’t face it anymore. Combine that with the loss of memories of the real world, and death may have more weight than they’ve believed.

Either way, since Shiroe and Akaktsuki apparently die and meet prior to their respawn at the Cathedral (some assumptions there) on Christmas Eve, I expect we’ll see this raid story arc resolved by end of this year, about 14 episodes into the season.  Kanami’s story will be mixed in there some, I think, so we’ll see what the second half of the season holds!

SWORD ART ONLINE – DEBRIEF

If you’ve been keeping up with Sword Art Online II but didn’t catch episode 14.5 yet…don’t bother. It’s completely a recap episode. I got irritated and fast forwarded towards the end to see if at least something was added on the end, but nnnnope.

That’s two disappointments with SAO this season.  The last episode was somewhat annoying pulling the threat of sexual assault at the end, which felt awkward and out of place.  I really felt like the episode should have culminated in a heavier focus on Kyoji wanting to kill Shino and respawn with her in “the next world” to be together.  It would have been a much better emphasis on his psychosis and break with reality.  It would have been moreso if they Kyoji had more clearly a member of Laughing Skull himself and, after the SAO incident, desired to live in a world like that again with the real world being boring after the excitement of a life of adventure and combat.

Ah well, we’ll see how things go from here.

WELCOME TO THE NHK

This is one I’ve heard about repeatedly as being a top notch anime worth watching and I just have never gotten around to watching it.  It’s been in my queue for a long time, but I finally got to starting it.

Based on the description and the little I’d heard, the first eight episodes are not at all what I expected.  Conspiracies aren’t a factor (yet) at all.  I’ll do a full review of the series when I finish it, but I have to ask….how does one become a NEET?  Anytime they’re brought up in anime, the focus is that they don’t have a job, and aren’t in school or training, yet they seem to still be able to pay rent and splurge on manga, trips, video games, or whatever they want.  No work, but still able to spend at will?  Yes, please.

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