Hello Blerders and Nerders! Welcome back to the Nerd Zone! I hope you are enjoying the new look blog site! For those that do not know, I’ve started a new job which requires me to travel 75% of the time so I’m not in one place for too long. It’s been hard sitting down and writing while trying to get used to my job and responsibilities. Now that I am a little bit more acclimated to my job and schedule, I’ll be trying to get back to a regular schedule of posts.
For those of you that watch anime on the regular, I’m sure you have heard of Sword Art Online and Log Horizon. Even if you don’t watch anime regularly, you would have heard of Sword Art Online. I’m not talking about the most recent Sword Art Online series since I haven’t watched that one yet. I’m referencing season 1 and 2.
Sword Art Online wasn’t the first “trapped in a video game world” anime series in the least. If you watched anime in the late 90s/early 2000s then you know about dot.Hack/sign which I will do a post about later. But Sword Art Online kind of “revived” that genre of anime. It didn’t really go anywhere but it became popular again after SAO premiered and it was welcomed. For those who have not seen this anime, here is a short synopsis:
“In the year 2022, Kirito (the main protagonist), a solo player who had the luck-of-the-draw to play the beta version, and the many other players of Sword Art Online (SAO) are trapped inside of a game, unable to logout; the only way to live is to win. Death in-game means death in the real world; tampering with or prolonged power outages to the NerveGear, the gear that simulates in-game character control by redirecting brain signals, also means death. To win means to defeat the final boss on the top floor; out of the original 10,000 players at the start, two years later, over 6,000 remain with 26 floors left to clear.” Source.
When this particular anime dropped, I was intrigued. It was awhile since I had watched the full .Hack/sign series so I welcomed a new “trapped in a video game” scenario anime series. Sword Art Online starts out sort of slow so it gives you the perception that it would be appropriate for pre-teens. The characters are bubbly and you start it like your starting a video game. But it escalates very quickly with the intro of death being permanent if they die in game. That particular plot point was surprising to see in a seemingly kid appropriate anime series. That little wrinkle kept me interested and I kept watching.
I instantly became curious about how Kirito and company would adapt to their new predicament and leave for the real world. Throughout the first season, we experience how some characters accept or reject the serious situation their in. Have you ever played a RPG? Think of Final Fantasy online but in anime form. I say that to kind of describe the character development that happens throughout the season. Character gain levels and exp like they would in a real RPG. They use master skills/talents that are beneficial for both combat and non combat. Clans are formed and teamwork is encouraged to help get everyone back to the real world. For awhile, the characters seem to live normal lives within the game. They learn to make the virtual food taste like food, get married, go on pointless adventures…until they realize that this world isn’t real…again.
The latter half of the first season focuses on the survivors getting through the last levels to ultimately fight the creator of game. It comes down to Kirito and Asuna to defeat the last “boss” which is a pretty cool interaction. As I said before, this wasn’t the first “trapped in a game” anime series I’ve watched but I enjoyed this series more than I thought I would. Honestly did not think I would like this series but turned out being pleasantly surprised. If you have never watched anime before and would like a mild intro, then I would suggest Sword Art Online. It sort of has all the elements of a typical anime that you would watch over various series. Adventure, story, interesting characters, magic, death, and of course, the plot twist.
Now Log Horizon came out around the same time that Sword Art Online, maybe a little bit after. It isn’t as popular as Sword Art Online but to me, it’s just as good if not better. Here is a short synopsis for Log Horizon:
“The story takes place in a universe where 30,000 Japanese players and several hundreds of thousand players worldwide are trapped in a fantasy online game world called Elder Tale. For these players, what was once a “sword-and-sorcery world” is now the “real world”! The main character is a male named Shiroe who teams up with his old friend Naotsugu and an assassin named Akatsuki as they try to survive in this new world” Source.
Essentially it’s a similar scenario as in Sword Art Online but the difference is that players don’t die for real when they “die” in this game. They respawn like many games but they lose something else…I won’t tell you though, that’s for you guys to watch and see. I enjoyed Log Horizon a little bit more than Sword Art Online because of the characters and the overall world. The characters are very relate-able and watching them grow throughout the series is very pleasant. Unlike SAO, Log Horizon goes a little bit more in-depth with the overarching plot and character development. Watching the characters and those around them grow is a gratifying experience that you really don’t get with SAO. You become more invested in what’s going on within the show. Also, there is essentially stories within the story and it keeps you guessing and thinking.
Out of the these two anime series, I enjoy Log Horizon a lot more than Sword Art Online. Is it the more popular one of the two? Not at all. What about you? Have you watched either of these two anime series? What do you think and which d you prefer? Let me know in the comments! Until next time…Nerd Out!