Hey! Are you a gamer? Do you love MMORPGs? Yeah? But are you sick and tired of playing MMORPGs? If so, then have I got the anime series for you! It's basically "Final Fantasy XI: The Animation!" Well, in all honesty it's "How to Play FFXI: The Animation!"... And it's kind of alright... I guess... Well, not really.
This anime, Log Horizon for you slower ones out there, is a sort-of sister show to Spice and Wolf and that Hero and Demon King Teach Medieval Politics and Economics Series. It's a "teach you something whilst hopefully entertaining you" show, but in Log Horizon's case it's only trying to teach you FFXI battle tactics and how to run guilds. Something that you'll never be able to use in your college history or econ classes, and something that if you've ever played an online RPG for even a half a day you'd already know how to do it. And if you haven't ever played an online RPG for even half a day then more than likely you won't give two shits about this show to begin with.
Any-hway, so Log Horizon goes a little something like this: One day, for some reason, everybody who was playing the online game know as Elder Tale *COUGH* FinalFantasyEleven *COUGH* got sucked into the game, kind of like Captain N: The Game Master, or Kidd Video. The game's teleportation gates between its cities are not working though, and so the Japanese players are all stuck in their in-game Japanese continent, and compelled to deal with all the non-playable characters who now have conciousnesses and desires of their own.
The show is basically about Elder Tale super-player Shiroe and his equally bad-ass, undefeatable, total cookie-cutter cohorts making sense of their new world order, and then doing their best to turn their (and the rest of the trapped players') fortunes around and try to win the real-life game that they're now forced to play.
That's really only kind of what the show deals with though. As I stated before it's truly about "How to play Final Fantasy XI." All the leveling, all the dungeon crawling, all the battle stratagem, all the items, all the... All the everything just reeks of FFXI. Cupcake used to play that game all the time, and she kept nudging me during the show saying "now in the game you'd throw your heavy knight into the front of the battle to distract the enemy and let them hammer away at him, while your ninja would pick off the goblins on the side, and your red mage would alternate between healing and throwing lightning bolts at the running cacti that might be attacking the rest of your party..." And low and behold that's exactly, I mean EXACTLY, what Shiroe does with his party in the show proper. Cupcake would also tell me about the guilds and how they work, the NPCs and how they pass out quests, and resurrecting and shit and then *BAM* the show would tell us exactly what she just said 20 seconds earlier.
After watching a few episodes, as an experiment, I just turned off the TV and had Cupcake tell me everything she could think of about the online world of FFXI. As you know, I'm a huge fan of FFI - FFX, but refuse to play an MMORPG (due to the fact that I would no doubt never stop playing if I dared to start... Know your weaknesses, I say), so I was unfamiliar with how poop goes down in those realms. So then, after she schooled me, we began watching again and everything she just explained to me (and I mean everything) was re-explained in a very straight forward textbook-like manner by Shiroe and his pals on screen. It then became rather tedious to proceed through another 20 episodes when I realized that the focus of the show was not on entertainment but on education, let me tell you.
Whoever came up with this story apparently just thought they were the top shit in FFXI and wanted to brag to the universe as a whole about their 1337-ness mad skillz. I don't know what to think about that. Log Horizon is just sort of "meh" in my book. The characters that we follow are the best of the best in their video game world — they are impervious to harm and brilliant tacticians who never lose. They are a mix of Superman and Batman and Green Lantern, and their only foes are Aquaman's lamest enemies' henchmen. What I'm saying is that there's just no real drama to this thing. Shiroe and his peeps are always right, their teamwork is impeccable, they're geniuses at battle strategies and economic warfare, and their HP and MP is so fucking high that they can have normal monster battles (or battles with average level players in PVP fights) wherein they don't even lift a shield to defend themselves for an hour of their opponents simply wailing on them, and they'd never lose more than 10% of their hit points. It's just boooooooring really.
And I saved the most obvious bit for last: the name. LOG Horizon. What the fucking hell were they thinking? It sounds like a show about a clenched-up sphincter, or like the name of a fecalpheliac-themed pr0n flick. That was the first thing in my head, and it's still the first thing that pops into my noggin every time I read the name or hear it spoken out loud. I don't remember it ever being explained in the show why Shiroe chooses this name for his wimpy guild, he just picks it out of his ass like-- Ohmygod... That's the connection, isn't it!? Okay, it does make sense to me now. Never mind.
I play games. RPGs. But nothing new and fancy and electrical. All these video game RPGs are for pussy geeks. No, I play old school D&D, and we DO worship the Devil when we play it! We are hardcore, amigo.
I remember that time that Joseph, I mean Tor The Vanquisher, found that ancient relic of the gods in that temple in the forest, and then he opened it and it was just a jar of acid, and so to keep it real I threw real acid in his face. I had to. It was IN THE GAME. That's how we roll.
Ah just don't like these shows that pull people from the real world into vidya games an' all that. It started back with Tron, which Ah watched when Ah was just a baby. Ah remember thinkin' that Ah didn't want to touch any of them computers for the world if they were just gonna suck me into them like that, an' then Ah'd have to wear those awful glowy clothes for the rest of mah life! Fuck that!
If Ah got sucked into Tron 2 though, that's a different story. Who doesn't like to wear skin-tight leather an' ride around on those sleek bikes like that? And Ah'd even get to hang out with the Big Lebowski when he looked like the Big Lebowski, and not when he was nothin' but a young twig of a man, like in the original.