Category Archives: Log Horizon

Power Fantasy? Overlord Is Overpowering

Battle Maids or w/e

The question is, as stated:

Considering how much people bitched about the JSDF exercising overwhelming force against armies of chumps with swords, and how many viewers argued Kirito was overpowered in Sword Art Online, I wouldn’t have expected Momonga to get a pass. He’s constantly overestimating the abilities of his enemies and dismantling them with embarrassing ease despite handicapping himself time and again, yet nobody seems to have any qualms about that. My theory is that it’s because he’s really tall and speaks (externally, anyway) with an authoritative voice. That and being a big skeleton guy. I’m pretty sure Tony Robbins had a chapter on that.

The answer? Overlord differs by spinning the narrative towards what I call “world building.” Momonga’s unmatched prowess is not rooted in a sense of vulnerability. SAO and others are criticized because their narratives leverage their powerful protagonists through lenses in which mere mortals like me can sympathize with. (The fact that there is a damsel in distress and not some equally badass level one billion demon to pair with Kirito is all you need to address the feminist critique, although on those grounds Overlord fares poorly as well.) Momon, on the other hand, is a thorough lich, complete with all the leanings and quirks we have come to expect a lich who plays as a guy trapped from another world. At any given time throughout these first 9-10 episodes, he has no real skin in the game. Pun aside, Overlord stresses this by actually ignoring the “he’s trapped in another world and can’t escape” part.

Instead, we are invited by Overlord to learn about this strange new world ala Log Horizon’s styles. (Which, by the way, should share the same scrutiny about power fantasies.) It becomes world building as we learn with Momo-Boney-Goals or whatever he calls himself. We go on adventures with as much attachment as I do with my FFXIV character (who has been sitting in neglect for over a year). In other words, not that much. In that sense, we don’t really feel both the vulnerabilities or share in the same kind of delight of Momonga, as he crushes the truly worthless things beneath his left pinky toe bone. I guess in a way we are invited to take delight when scrubs are put down by something legitimate, but I think the schtik of Overlord is to exaggerate that gap so it becomes disfigured from what we’re used to: it becomes world building, to explain how things work.

GATE, in contrast, invite us to enjoy, celebrate, and watch it for precisely that gap. I would raise my hands when asked if a modern army machine-gunning 12th century footmen and knights on horses is a major reason why I watch the show.

In the story of Overlord we are not asked to pity or sympathize with Momonga, but more his allies, like the people who were slain ruthlessly after trying to befriend him. Or his pet hamster. If Momonga is God, then Overlord reincarnates him as a Coke bottle in subcontinental Africa; we watch it for the cast of characters around him and await what happens at the end. Or maybe Momonga is like the Mars Rover Curiosity and his foes are like rocks in front of a vaporizing laser? I’m grasping here.

PS. Hara is great in this, but I see where he’s coming from.

PPS. So-bin is good stuff.

Autumn 2014 Coverage

I haven’t watched everything I wanted to yet (this almost goes without saying these days), but here goes.

Shirobako – This show is by far my most favorite thing this season. Chalk it up to my aniota senses, but if there was an anime made for the anime otaku, this is it. It’s not to say non-anime otaku will not enjoy it, or that all anime otaku would, but I get the feeling for people who don’t just enjoy watching anime, but also the craft of it, it’s a special treat. It’s the memo our TV anime industry guys writing for the rest of us.

Rage of Bahamut – Mappa really pulled out the stops for this one. I really don’t like the main dudes so far but the show is really good overall. I did try out the mobile game some years ago (around the time when Kamiyama did those commercials). So far this is nothing like the game.

Vanadis – It’s another pulp swords & fantasy story, and it’s got both what I like and dislike about this category of anime from Japan. I’ll stick with it a bit but well-endowed valks only go so far in 2014. Chaika might be filling my quota for this.

Celestial Method – Solid show featuring the usual little girls and their CVs. The big hook for me is that Nansu takes the lead–perhaps the most capable of the Torahamo group. And I think as long as the story goes that way it will be a watershed moment for her in my book. Given the nature of the story it’s not for everyone, but it works for me so far.

Akatsuki no Yona – Solid show I would watch. Dropped after 1 ep because it’s not for me and I won’t have the time.

Amagi Brilliant Park – Kyoani male fanservice vehicle. If you think of the theme park in Amaburi like this anime, the entrance fee is validated when you see the four fairies do their schtik. Or whatever Bunta-kun’s actual name is. Or both. That said no simulcast means perpetual omo delay on watching this. It’s no Hyouka so I’m not holding my breath on the other stuff. Ayako doctrine x2 this season is a good thing.

Cross Ange – If the cavity search is to get people to talk about Cross Ange, it worked perfectly. I keep saying, though, that an anime which premise is sexy ladies riding transformable flying-bike mecha in skimpy outfits fighting dragons that shoot lasers and MIRV fireballs can not go wrong. Cross Ange dares me on this point, but I think it knows where it stands on things.

Twintails – Fun show. May help combat my lack of sentai intake; actually at this point there are no other draws for this besides that sentai angle and the usual seiyuu factor. Hearing Marei say lewd things is actually not that lewd? She’s really good at it.

G-Reco – I like it a lot, but not enough to keep watching weekly. Will try to catch up hopefully once we approach 1-cour, especially if I hear good buzz.

Gundam Build Fighter Try – Not as engaging for me on the uptake compared to GBF, and I have mixed feeling for the main character (the ero aspect aside). I even have mixed feeling for the other main characters, but the trio concept is novel. I guess I never really took to Reiji anyway. Still, the concepts and fight scenes are good, so I might stick with it. Having it on Youtube makes things easy.

[Insert complaint about FUNi’s website here.]

Your Lie in April – Good stuff, but short of sublime. At episode 1 it has not gotten my attention yet, at least episode 2 did better.

Log Horizon S2 – Despite the somewhat sketchier production values, it’s more of the same, which is good, because it was already good.

World Trigger – JUMP trigger warning more like.

Trinity Seven – Demon Lord harem high school concept with Harami lead is a sure sell. It knows not to drag its wet feet here so at least it’s passable entertainment.

Yuyuyu – Reminds me of Kyousogiga, which is a mixed blessing. Will stick with it till 3. Madokagellion is fine as is but I think it’s going to skew a little.

Girldfriend (Kari) – Fun fluff, seiyuu quiz. Say it with me everybody, CHLOE LEMAIRE.

Fate/stay night UBW – This is the version that hopefully would solve the “need to play the game to enjoy content” problem Type-Moon has.

Inou Battle – It’s true to the spirit of chuu2, and the way Trigger takes on a “sit in the club room all day” type anime is intriguing. Enjoyable, but ultimately a futile thing to try to watch. I’ll forge on a bit more at least.

Garo – It’s pretty cool on episode 1, but not sure if I can spare the time to follow. I suppose now as good as any.

Still to watch: Psycho-Pass 2, Seven Deadly Sins, Terraformars, In Search of the Lost Future.

Continuing on Chaika, Log Horizon, Ace of Diamond.

Shorts – Karen Senki, Yukarin waifu anime (I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying), and SeHa is AOTS.

PS. Real AOTY is the iM@S movie, right? Right? Having the ability to rewatch parts or all of it on demand is a power I need to wield more responsibly.

PPS. Real destroyer of my free time is SSA blu-ray OMG I can watch this all day (and I will)!

Truth in Reporting: Winter 2014 Report Card Meta Edition

I am watching them anime. Other than Buddy Complex being the most notable omission, I think I’m ready to roll.

I just want to take a minute to point out Miao’s thin slicing this season. It’s your formulaic ANN-style review trolling which is to say, it’s based on narrative truths that reasonable people find agreeable rearranged without sense (or all the sense, on the other hand). I want to just highlight it for that–this is a relatively “weak” season in a long time. I think part of it has to do with a general shift in late night TV anime. Just compare it with 2010 (or even 2011). But ranking it seems like a futile exercise at best, so there’s no symbolic gesture of not putting Nisekoi in the first spot.

FWIW, he called Wake Up Girls Movie an OAV.

New shows (and long-absent sequels):

World Conquest Zvezda Plot – I’m on the hook for this show. The magical reality unnerves me. It’s uncomfortable. It’s too good to drop. Its vintage too accomplish to expect a “turn off the brain and have fun” show. Except when I try to run this by the grey matter, it is giving me all kinds of warning signs.

Wake Up, Girls – My favorite of the season. I’m not sure if I like them as an idol group however, even if by all means the anime has done its job. I also like how they sneaked in that Tohoku disaster reminder in there. Also blogging over at Jtor.

Seitokai Yakuindomo 2 – I marathoned the OVAs or whatever they’re called just before episode 1. So I went in with a lot of feels and fresh memory. I wonder if this is why nobody licensed it, by the way–the book publisher must own the rights of episodes 13-18. Is this the new licensing hell (say hello to YZQ)?

Wizard Barristers – So far so good. Miss Piggy is a very nice touch. What kind of a man gets nicknamed Hachi Mitsu? A Honey & Clover dropout?

Witch Craft Works – I am glad to be able to lay my eyes on this show. The manga is a terribly boring thing but the anime is a blast to watch; the comedic timing and direction are great. It is fun also to see by how much can the anime exceed its source material. Manga usually is created by one person or a small team of people; maybe half a dozen even for some weeklies, plus some editorial staff. On the other hand up to ten times more people work on an anime adaptation. Odds are any anime production team have at least enough creative power and experience to do the same, simply because so many more people work on any given project, and the core creative team are made up of some or all fire-tested veterans. So what happens when a lame but popular manga gets animated? Speaking purely from a point of view of “animators are people who draw a lot” I think this is what actually happens.

Nisekoi – Similarly. Although it isn’t comedy but just well-executed character drama, see also Bakemonogatari. You know Shaft.

Sakura Trick – Surprisingly engaging in the yuri fanservice way. Not sure if there’s enough to keep me interested, because unless they escalate it’s all a little boring. And if they do escalate every episode, they would be spending half the episode kissing each other by episode 12. Not that is a problem I think.

ImoCho – Okay, it’s actually kind of fun watching the timid, confused and probably traumatized girl trying to climb out of it. I’m rooting for her. It’s also kind of fun watching an anime trying to depict this communication gap between the two step-siblings. I wonder which kind of boys would take note?

Nobunagun – Surprisingly fun to watch but I think this anime belongs to the 1990s.

Nobunaga the Fool – I would watch this if it was actually faster paced. Right now it’s like Horizon S1 eps 1-4, which is just kind of confusing, dreary, but minus the shock factor of huge balloon boobs and the trope pandering. Jeanne is attractive looking and all but so far she is not really a part of anything because the show hasn’t revealed anything that interesting. It’s gotta hurry it up before it loses all its viewers. Needs its clinching moment.

Space Dandy – It’s hard for me to watch–I canceled my DVR service some time last year so it’s week-late Hulu for me. On the other hand maybe it allows me to try watching it like a normal person, which is…I guess people my age group generally don’t watch Toonami. I mean, I don’t remember the last time I was watching cable TV on a Saturday night other than the Space Dandy premiere. Anyway, it’s okay, I’ll probably ride it out if there’s an easy way to watch it.

Noragami – I would be repping this hard if it was on CR. I guess I will give Funi’s EVS some prop for having actually a good enough lineup, but what can they do to earn back my trust? I guess they did have that great holiday sale. I suppose the worse I could do is pirate it, because it sure is better than not watching it at all, right? Maybe? I guess it’s important to note that I basically don’t buy shows I haven’t seen before (other than, say, Mardock Scramble, because I read the book).

Nourin – I can take it or leave it. It’s one of those shows that I would probably watch it if it’s on CR. I guess maybe next year or next sale, EVS or not. 

SoniAni – Kind of like, the show I would drop except if I don’t watch all these shows on EVS, I would have time for this. So I do have time for this. And it’s hardly the most horrible anime. It’s like the most model anime, heh.

Pilot’s Love Song – Same. This show is weird in that while watching it, I’m okay. But after I’m done watching that week’s episode I kind of regret the use of my time. Probably would dropped it a long time ago if not for said EVS issue since this is a CR show.

D-Frag – EVS problem but it’s a pretty okay show. Very “bro” I guess. I think the problem is that it’s a little to convoluted and if you miss the internal logic it’s not that fun to watch.

Chuunikoi Ren – 2chuu2koi as I’d like to call it, but this is a nice change. Much more interesting right off the bat than season 1.

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha – I’d pirate this any day.

Mahou Sensou – Dropped because I don’t have the time. Seems okay though.

Hamatora – Dropped because I don’t have the time. Seems okay though. Actually fun to watch in episode 2, if a little predictable.

Houzuki no Reitetsu – Good, solid comedy. Dropped because I got over my Dilbert phase back in the 90s. This stuff is kind of like remaking it for kids going into the workforce in this decade. As an anecdote, when I find some kid at work who falls into all of the usual Dilbert traps, I just sigh and “berate” him directly. Watching Hozuki is like a waste of time.

Saki – Magical girls meets mahjong, the “we don’t have enough episodes so we’ll compress all that we skipped between S1 and Achigahen in 3 episodes but now we can get down to business” edition. Also a Jtor item.



Ace of the Diamond – This is a pretty okay koshien baseball anime. Literally.

Samurai Flamenco – It’s still interesting enough.

Silver Spoon – Yep. One season is hardly a break.

Magi – Yep.

Gundam Build Fighter – This is the Gundam of our generation.

Tokyo Ravens – Okay.jpg

Log Horizon – Finally, story.

Golden Time – Dropped because I don’t really have the time and can’t really be bothered with that Ghost Banri stuff.


Enjoying them all. Even Pupa (whose OP has that “Fantasista Dolls” effect). I think Strange+ and Seki-kun are neck to neck.


And that’s all for now!

PS. Several blogs I follow waxed poetic on Space Dandy after watching the first few episodes. Basically they all say the same thing, like what I said earlier on. I guess the thing is, it’s just a TV show, like everything we’re watching, you can take it or leave it, and you certainly don’t have to watch everything. Only tortured fans of the medium would, beyond “a thin slicing.” As long as you’re mindful of the usual disclaimers (ie., judging books by covers etc) you are okay. It’s not about “right enough” but knowing what you are in for and getting things working for those purposes. And I think with that in mind, 11:30 PM is way too early for Space Dandy. Proper late night anime is like, 2AM! Imagine watching an anime about putting your arm inside a cow’s anus at 2AM…

Everquest and Log Horizon…

Mayako Nigo rendered

So the guy who wrote Log Horizon novels, who is also the guy who wrote the Maoyu novels, plays Everquest. As someone who used to grind out late nights during my undergrad days in EQ, there’s a feeling, like some kind of radar signature, when I watch Log Horizon, that immediately identifies that “these are the same feels.” I immediately knew that whoever wrote this also did the same things I did, ran the same nasty corpse runs I ran, suffered through the same kind of mental drains that I did camping for crap, and all that, in EQ. In that way, Log Horizon is intriguing to me. And maybe only me, who knows? I don’t know too many people into anime that was into EQ at all. Anyone?

I always thought the stuff EQ put you through is nothing unusual by “today’s” terms. While that was true in 2002 or 2006 or even 2009, I’m not sure if it’s true in 2013 terms. I certainly don’t know how EQ is these days, now that it’s a full F2P game. Basically, no games today is as torturous as those early day MMORPGs; subsequent games simply have done the same things without the needless and painful details setting things up that way. Still, in a lot of ways EQ is the root of all these serious modern, western-style, full-immersive MMORPGs (along with UO, to an extent). World of Warcraft is pretty much extensively based on EQ, at least at first (I’d say all the way up to BC/LK era). In fact I remember getting into internet arguments about EQ2 versus WoW in terms of which is more of a derivative of EQ1, back in 2003 or 2004 or whenever it was. I think it’s pretty clear in hindsight. And with Sony buying EQ’s owner over time, I wonder how much of it bled into FFXI and now FFIV. Still, derivatives or not, EQ was a special thing back in 1999/2000, in a lot of ways, good and bad. And as someone who used to play MUDs, EQ was transformative in the same way Doom was transformative–its first/3rd person view changed the way the game was played.

Everquest’s impact on me is to the extent that I still think EQ is the game that defined me as MMORPG player. In episode 3 of Log Horizon, it explains that whole explore-new-territory thrill. As someone who’s done it (to an extent), it’s actually not so much thrilling as it is looking outside your window and seeing the sunrise, realizing you spent the past 12 hours in front of a computer climbing, I don’t know, The Tower of Frozen Shadow or something. You got to the zone boss and it’s bigger than the three of you can take on, so you call it a day after a silly wipe. And also because you got class in a couple hours. I really do not know how you can recapture that sort of exploration and adventure vibes in today’s MMORPGs, simply because it’s, heh, gone too deep in the database. It’s like the feeling of running in the plains of Egypt all by yourself, knowing no other soul came within a stone’s throw from where your character is standing, ever, because there were maybe 10k players for ATITD‘s first 3 tellings, and the thing felt more like “Full Gaia project” than anything. No popular game will be able to give you that sort of an experience, in this day and age. What we measure as popular has entirely transformed.

The lack of writing on this topic seems to reinforce my half-baked feelings about how relatively few people experienced EQ as I have, or as Mamare Touno. It’s all tempered by people who may have familiarity with generic MMORPG as typified by WoW. But WoW is sufficiently far from EQ in terms of “feels.” It wouldn’t send me into nostalgia trip every episode. It’s probably the only reason why I’m still watching the otherwise generic adventure anime. Well, “otherwise” because everything GOOD about Log Horizon, except maybe the moe or otaku elements, are basically the EQ-ness of it.

So in a way, Log Horizon anime is a great glimpse as to what drove a lot of people to play MMORPG during the genre’s formative days. It’s both about the gravity of social critical mass but also that the gameplay experiences built enough immersion to make adventuring a real feeling. Watching it and experiencing it second hand from media is certainly one way to share an otherwise elusive circumstance that’s within each’s reach.

PS. Full dive into nostalgia: I level an Enchanter for a while in EQ. From back then (I threw in the towel in Velious), it feels like the guy who is spinning plates while your party is focus-firing the mobs down. I mean, you literally went up to each mob and apply timer spells in order of your cooldowns and how long each spell lasted. And you sit the rest of the time (as a means to replenish mana). Actually you even do the same to your teammates to refresh their buffs. Needless to say if you are chain pulling groups of 4-5 a pack it really is like spinning plates. Enchanters do all kind of other stuff as well, being a utility spellcaster class, but that was their primary function in battle.

I mained cleric in EQ. So far we saw that one cleric (Yay same class as Yumi Hara’s character) from the Cresent Moon Alliance. At least back when I was playing, clerics are really must-have for high end guilds; you can’t really raid without them because they minimize the impact of wipes, and provides by far the best heal-per-mana ratios. In fact, you can only really field as many groups as you had clerics, because it’s a raid size cap in essence. Typical planar raids in Everquest was meant for 9 groups of 6, so that’s a lot of people.

Since Log Horizon starts you off at the level cap, it’s not clear what and how leveling from 1 to 90 is like. In EQ, it’s really the main game since it takes so long to level and by the time you cap, well, you at least know how to play your class (unless you bought your character or something).

Also, Shiroe and team … play on a RP server don’t they. It would explain a lot; or rather, how do Japanese MMORPG culture play out? Is it anything like the west? I guess FFXI players can chime in.

And then there’s raiding. I never really got into the raiding part of Everquest, despite being on a handful of them. That’s a topic I think more people can get into better because the core of it hasn’t really changed much, even if the dynamics in EQ was different than other games, and the hoops you jump through varied from game to game.

There’s also a big divide between PVP and PVE. I think that much is true for a lot of other MMORPGs, and in terms of not just game mechanics but culture and attitudes as well. It’s not unusual for two players to duel but it generally play out in retarded fashions in EQ, as it’s more about manipulating things like line of sight or casting range, playing to the Yakety Sax as one melee character chases another (melee or otherwise) in a circle around a pillar or something.

PPS. Everquest is kind of a crap game today. Although I guess so few people play it you can possibly relive the experience Touno lived if you got a group together. With just 5-6 people leveling together, with the right class combo, you can actually go through the far majority of the game’s content.

Autumn 2013 Clippings And Thoughts

Haruka & Fenway Park

Yep, just random nonsense.

Kurogane on IS S2E1

Oh god, Germany is invading France again. [Gotta see the image to make this caption work]


Please let the entire episode next week be 24 minutes of Chiwa Saitou giggling.

j1m0nes on … panties?

This has GENERIC written all over its lovely little red checkered panties.

Sometimes reading blogs on these things I wish I had some kind of contraption that lets me slap someone on the head with a harisen. I mean, anyone who calls Yuushibu “low budget” LOLOLOL. It’s basically got the best animated boobies on this side of Gainax, at least at episode 1. I mean, take it from a pro:

[T]he series does seem to have quite a big budget, but here is the thing: you do not simply assign all of your inbetweeners to your boob shots.

I mean, alternatively, YOU COULD animate on the 2s for all your money shots. I don’t mind. Because no amount of budget can fix poor source material! You might as well spend it on something that is worth the while. Just to drive my point home, Chris B. rated episode 1 an A- and Kill La Kill a B. Although that is probably a pretty biased thing to quote and shows that first impression posts with a letter grade means about as much as nothing.

Kill La Kill: Has it gone Redline? You decide. It’s certainly not yet free-to-watch however (makes me think that this is just a ploy ala Little Witch Academia). It’s basically the one show most people enjoyed watching, even if it’s not necessarily their bag. I think everyone needs to realize this–it’s just not a show for everyone. Same as Redline! And it ain’t gonna save any industry.

Aint it cool?

Other first-episodes:

Log Horizon: Yawn, but not bad.

Kyoukai no Kanata: Yawn, but sakuga.

Coppelion: I’m waiting for the fanservice part of the thing to start, lol.

Nagiasa: TT. To its credit, it’s the most uncomfortable anime I’ve seen this season.

Miss Monochrome: She works at a Lawson, folks.

Golden Time: Budget harisen aside, did anyone pull the “hey the’re not high school kids” card yet in their blogs, because LOL.

So far this season feels overall more fun than last season, although last season was a pretty solid block without too many outstanding shows. Maybe we’ll get more than one or three this Autumn?