Log Horizon: Season 1 Part 1 (2013)

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Released 11-Mar-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime More…-Textless Opening (1:28)
More…-Textless Closing (1:37)
Trailer-x 4 for other anime
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 321:30 (Case: 325)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Shinji Ishihira
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Takume Terashima / Mike Yager
Tomoaki Maeno / Andrew Love
Emiri Katou / Jad Sexton
Yumi Hara / Maggie Flecknoe
Ayahi Takagaki / Shelley Calene-Black
Misaki Kuno / Hilary Haag
Jouji Nakata / Jovan Jackson
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Yasuharu Takanashi


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Elder Tales is a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) that has hundreds of thousands of players worldwide. Then, with the release of an expansion pack, over 30,000 gamers in Japan alone suddenly find themselves within the game in a post-apocalyptic world where ruined cities are covered in vines and mosses and the hulks of cars lie beside roads upon which no traffic moves. Experienced gamer Shiroe (voiced by Takume Terashima / Mike Yager), a mage in the game, finds himself in the city of Akihabara; he can use his skills and special abilities but cannot log out. He quickly discovers that his gaming friend Naotsugi (Tomoaki Maeno / Andrew Love), a guardian, is also in Akihabara and the two meet Akatsuki (Emiri Katou / Jad Sexton), a high level assassin.

     Elder Tales provides a medieval sword and sorcery world where players (termed Adventurers as opposed to the NPCs (Non-playing Characters) called the People of the Land) band together in guilds, although Shiroe has always declined to join a guild, preferring a loose association of friends, and he declines now to join the Crescent Moon Alliance led by Guild Master Maryelle (Yumi Hara / Maggie Flecknoe) and Henrietta (Ayahi Takagaki / Shelley Calene-Black). However, he and his companions agree to rescue Serara (Misaki Kuno / Hilary Haag), a low level druid of the Crescent Moon Alliance, who is trapped in a lawless city far to the north. They succeed with the help of the cat-man Nyanta (Jouji Nakata / Jovan Jackson) and return to Akihabara, which is where the story of Log Horizon, after 5 preliminary episodes, really gets under way.

     Shiroe is concerned that there are no laws or moral codes in this world and that Akihabara has become a society where the stronger guilds determine the rules while the powerful (or higher level) prey upon those who are weaker. For example, Shiroe is aware that the low level twins Minori (Nao Tamura / Luci Christian) and Tohya (Daiki Yamashita / Greg Ayres), whom he had mentored in the game, have become the slaves of a rather nasty craft guild and he is determined to rescue them. Shiroe also discovers that the internal rules of this world are not the same as those in the game. For example, the NPCs, People of the Land, who exist in the game only to provide information, in this world have backstories, ideas and aspirations of their own. As well, it is possible for characters to construct things, such as steam engines, that did not exist in the game. Shiroe is determined to manipulate the rules of this world to create order, peace and security for the greater good and with this in mind creates his own guild “Log Horizon” and enlists the Crescent Moon Alliance to help. With their backing Shiroe invites selected guilds to a round table conference where, after some Machiavellian intrigues, the majority agree to become part of the city ruling council.

     While order has been established in Akihabara, Shiroe is aware that some sort of compact will need to be made with the People of the Land. It is therefore opportune that an embassy arrives from a powerful confederation of NPC cities, the Eastal Lords, inviting representatives of the Round Table Council to a ball and conference where they meet the powerful Lord Sergiatte (Shinpachi Tsuji / Marty Fleck) and his lazy and spoiled granddaughter Princess Lenessia (Mariya Ise / Emily Neves). This set of 13 episodes ends with Shiroe, Akatsuki and a few others in various meetings with the Lords as both sides try to learn more about the other while Shiroe also tries to uncover the secrets of the world.

     Log Horizon creates an extensive RP world. There are a huge number of characters, some of whom come to prominence for a few episodes, and in many episodes there is a lot of exposition about how things work in the world. However, there are on-screen identification captions and the characters are generally distinctive enough to know who is who. As well, the world is not too dense and the first story arc, which introduces the main characters, their skills and the world, is a rather straightforward journey / adventure so you can just watch and go with the adventure without thinking too much. The anime then settles into more of a political and world-building story as Shiroe embarks on his master plan. There are battles using skills and abilities which are loud and colourful but they are secondary to the main themes. Log Horizon is also jokey and light-hearted. No player can actually die, those killed being resurrected in the Cathedral, there are running jokes about the cat-man Nyanta saying “purrfectly”, “pawpurse” or “furrinstance” and the girl obsessed and somewhat thick Naotsugi is frequently kneed by Akatsuki when he is about to say something rude.

     Log Horizon is now into its second season and is up to 50 episodes. This release, Log Horizon: Season 1, Part 1, contains the first 13 episodes that aired on Japanese TV between October and December 2013.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Log Horizon is presented in the original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a nice looking anime. The lines are strong and there is a lot of variety in the backgrounds with green, ruined cities, ornate guild halls or dark forests. The colours are generally bright and rich, with some vibrant blues, reds, yellows, plus nice greys in some sequences, while the blacks are solid and shadow detail fine.

     The English subtitles are in a clear yellow font unless more than one person is speaking when subtitles in a white font appear simultaneously on the screen. The subtitles are not burnt in when the Japanese dub is selected so they can be removed for Japanese speakers. I noticed only a couple of minor grammatical errors.

     The layer changes, disc 1 at 95:51 and disc 2 at 84:53, created slight pauses at the ends of scenes.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Audio is a choice between the original Japanese or an English dub, both Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps. I listened to some of the episodes alternatively as the audio and subtitles can be changed on the go with the remote.

     Both tracks are surround encoded and have similar effects, although the Japanese seems slightly sharper. Dialogue is clear and the rears used sparingly for music and ambient effects such as rain, while there are louder effects during the action scenes. The sub-woofer added some bass to the action.

     The English voice cast were fine although I still prefer the Japanese.

     The music by Yasuharu Takanashi is varied and effective.

     This is anime so lip synchronisation is approximate in either audio track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The extras, as such, are on the second disc.

Textless Opening (1:28)

     The opening song without text. However, I should note that the opening of episodes plays without text anyway.

Textless Closing (1:37)

     As with the opening, there is no credit text with the closing song anyway. After each episode finishes there is a credit crawl.

Trailers

     Trailers for One Piece Film: Z (1:49), Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (1:51), HAL (1:23) and Silver Spoon (0:42).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Our Region 4 release of Log Horizon: Season 1, Part 1 is the same as is available in other regions. Buy local.

Summary

     Some anime series are dark, complex and morally ambiguous; Log Horizon is not one of them. It is colourful, entertaining, light-hearted, straight forward and if this first set of episodes has a message it is about co-operation and working together to create a better world. Which is not such a bad thing.

     Log Horizon: Season 1, Part 2 has been released and will be reviewed shortly on this site.

     The video is good, the audio fine. The extras are not extensive but are the same as available in the US.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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