The biggest surprise from the new season of Log Horizon is that Database is still here.
In my many years of ogling at cutely animated girls, never have I seen a sequel use the same opening song as the original, especially not in a two-cour broadcast show. I am yet uncertain what to make of that. There are three possibilities in my mind: first, the production could be running behind schedule (which is supported by the relative lack of promotional material before the premier) and the opening was cut out to save time for more important things. If that is true, it is possible that a new opening song could be inserted in later episodes, or in the Blu-Ray release. Second, the team could be running low on budget, and cut the opening to save money. This makes less sense considering that they had to make the animation for it anyways, which is possibly a larger part of the cost. Finally, the Log Horizon crew may have decided that they found perfection with Database, and that there was no need to meddle with an already flawless creation. While I entirely agree with this sentiment, it does seem a little lazy.
As for the actual show (which should usually merit more analysis than a minute-thirty jingle, but that’s not how I roll), it continues where the first season left off, both in tone and in story. Three new major plot elements were introduced: the system behind the gold currency and the family that runs it, the fact that the Round Table is trying to beat the United States of America’s debt ceiling, and occasional foreshadowing scenes involving Debauchery Tea Party’s old leader. The first one, involving currency, is something that is almost always hand-waved away in MMORPGs, and it is interesting to see the way the rules are interpreted in the more fluid world of Elder Tales. Coupled with the several other unresolved plotlines from the end of the first season (Shiroe’s harem, Crusty’s princess and the monarchy to the west), Log Horizon has set up a slew of exciting plots to disentangle this season. The author, at least, has proven himself capable of taking these elements and making an awesome story out of it. Let’s hope he delivers once more.
The major criticism levelled at this episode seems to be animation and art. With the change in studio came a fairly subtle change in art style and character design, most notably, in the real life flashbacks and the plot. I don’t particularly begrudge them for changing style, considering the art team is entirely new, and given that the first season wasn’t particularly notable for its fluid animation either. The strongest points of Log Horizon are its character development and complex interactions, and the quality of the vehicle that portrays it is sufficient, if not awe-inspiring.
We have a thrilling six months ahead of us with Log Horizon, which is more than you could say about the rest of my turgid life.