Log Horizon Season 2
The Search for Confidence
Warning: this review does contain a few vague spoilers.
The second season of Log Horizon (Log Horizon 2), or Rogu Horaizun, originally aired in 2014-2015, shortly after the first season. The first season proved the anime was willing to branch off the normal path video game world anime usually follow by focusing on the brilliant world and characters while focusing on strategy instead of action. That's all still there in this season of Log Horizon, but there are plenty of changes, too, which may either pull the viewer in deeper, or shove them away.
This series has always been big on making characters grow, or become something greater, but for some reason, so many characters get torn down so they could be built back up again. It would be one thing if it was just a character, or two, but a handful of characters get this treatment in season. Why? It seems to bind them together in a grand quest for their confidence.
We don't know why there's that sudden lack of confidence, but its there, and it needs to be resolved so they can continue the story forward. In ways, it feels like it's there only to slow things down so the anime doesn't blow past the novels, very similar to how the original Sailor Moon series did in the 1990s.
The problem is, these characters all appeared to have the confidence they needed in the first season, so why did they have to focus on this one character trait? Why not just fill the series with minor quests in which they obtained new abilities and weapons in a way that feels natural to a video game world?
This, I believe, is the largest flaw in this entire season, which has a huge possibility to push viewers away. The first season already gave these characters life, and allowed us to see and feel what they could do, yet so much of that was erased by this confidence quest that some characters feel ruined or completely new. Sure, the characters were better at the end of their quest, and the quests were fun to watch, but the sudden change to require them really broke things.
Instead, this season should have focused more on the new characters. There were so many new players and NPCs introduced that the series could have focused more on these new characters. We could have been shown how they fit in, what new abilities they brought, their new ideas, and relationships with existing characters. Hell, it could have even just focused on their lack of confidence so that they felt worthy of their new friendships. Yes, there was some of this within Log Horizon 2, but compared to the larger arcs surrounding the confidence of existing characters, the newer characters and the upgraded non-core characters felt more like a side-note. This is especially true for Demikas and Tetra, who could have been so much more with the proper attention.
The flaws in the character building may have held things back a bit, but the larger story arcs, and their raid quests, more than made up for them. The sporadic action of the first year drove many potential viewers away from Log Horizon, but this second season seems to fix that problem nicely. There are still a few smaller fights, but most of the content comes in the form of long raids and quests. Although, most is still told from the point of view of the strategist, not the fighter, which makes things feel more suspenseful, and slower.
Although, there are still a few odd problems with long dialogue scenes in the middle of battles which just didn't make any sense. Since most players have moved beyond it being just a game and more of it being their new life, I would have thought they would focus more on surviving first, asking questions later, but that isn't the case. This not only ruins the pace of a few major events, but also takes away from the immersion. In ways it almost feels like a soap opera at times. At least these odd broken battles are rare.
While there were certain parts in Log Horizon 2 that I felt could have been done better, I still enjoyed watching this season. With its unique characters, brilliant tactical view of the world and events, and intriguing story, this series is my favourite of this entire sub-genre. There may not be any announcement for a third season, as of this review, but with how popular this anime is, I fully expect one to come... eventually. With how far this anime is in the story, I suspect we may need to wait for the novels to catch up and provide the path for which the next season will follow. Maybe in another year... I hope.