What kind of a title is LOG HORIZON? I mean, really? I'll do you the courtesy of not describing what it makes me think of, but it's certainly not something you want associated with your show. But does that same crappy imagery extend to the show itself? Is it possible for the show's quality to wipe it away?
The other thing that LOG HORIZON does is invite comparisons to SWORD ART ONLINE, the other show from this fall in which nerds get trapped in a real-world version of the MMORPG they play. And that, unfortunately, is where LOG HORIZON bottoms out.
I appreciate that we're plopped right into the middle of the action in LH, and the fact that they really push out the exposition, but everything about the show is just a watery, less substantial version of SAO. The world is less interesting, dialogue is flat, and even the colors are less vibrant (less lush greens and more earthen browns).
The show doesn't have characters so much as it has, well, logs--lumps carved to seem like people. They matter of factly discuss the differences between their new world and their old one as if this was something that occurred with regularity. Yes, they hint at development buried deep in the bowels of the show's future, but most of this first episode is about characters making superficial judgements about each other. This does not bode well for the show's originality, as these are all archetypes we've seen pass through these same movements over and over again.
Would I recommend SWORD ART ONLINE over LOG HORIZON? Depends. If you found SAO lacking in action or too slow you may prefer LH, but SAO's first ep established a deeper world with greater depths to swim in. As for myself, I place LOG HORIZON as a firm number two to SWORD ART.
You can watch LOG HORIZON's first episode, entitled "The Apocolypse," here and decide for yourself!
Matt Murphy is a freelance nerd who has contributed to many nerd websites. You can reach him by going to where the light meets the shadow, by sending out zeta-brainwaves or by following him on Twitter @Murphix.