After Shiroe’s economic wizardry in the first season, Akihabara has a problem. Put simply, the Akihabara round table doesn’t have the funds they need to keep things going the way they have been. Shiroe’s solution to this problem involves an obscene amount of money, more than possibly exists.
Shiroe heads out on the mission without letting anyone know the full scope of his plans. He leaves Akihabara taking only Naotsugu and Regan with him. As a first step he sets up a meeting with Kinjou, a representative of the Kunie clan (also called the Sacrifice clan). With the help of Regan, the Sage of Miral lake, Shiroe has figured out that clan is responsible for the flow of money in the game/world. The source of the flow of money in Elder Tale is in a place called Depths of Palm, which is controlled /guarded by the Kunie. Shiroe had spoken to Kinjou as a pretense so that he could size him up before trying to get to the “golden whirlpool” that all the money in Elder Tale flows through. Before he leaves, Kinjou tells Shiroe that he’ll have to complete a raid in order to get the gold. Most of this setup is explained in the first episode of the season, but it’s a little hard to keep track of because the first episode jumps around through past, present and future. Actually there’s a few episodes that are out of time or overlapping as they depict incidents that are going on in different places at the same time. After you watch a few episodes, it becomes clear but upon first viewing it threw me off a bit.
Not wanting to tip off neighboring territories, Shiroe decides to ask distant guild for help. He seeks out, William, a former resident of Akihabara who had walked out on the round table when it was first formed. He leads the battle guild called Silver sword. They’re now based out of Susukino, the formerly lawless land that was liberated by Shiroe in season 1. Demikas, the man that Shiroe defeated, is also still there and hasn’t exactly forgiven Shiroe after their last encounter. Shiroe continues to antagonize Demikas by refusing to say his name correctly. Furthermore, William tells Shiroe that many members of his guild are hesitant to take on a high level raid because of the toll that dying takes on their morale. There’s also the rumor that people who die lose part of their memory, but William doesn’t believe that. Still, Shiroe is able to convince Silver Sword along with Demikas and a self proclaimed “galactic idol” named Tetra to join them on this extremely difficult raid. Even though Naotsugu and Marie are still sweet on each other, there’s lots of comic relief coming from Tetra teasing Naotsugu during the raid. Later, Shiroe would ask Tetra when he would tell Naotsugu that he’s actually a boy, but Tetra didn’t seem to be in any hurry.
While Shiroe and Naotsugu are away trying to complete the raid, Akatsuki is left behind (along with Nyanta) to oversee Log Horizon and Princess Lenessia while the rest of the round table kept Akihabara running. The city is in the middle of the holiday season with Christmas and New Year’s approaching. However, Akatsuki also takes it as a sign that she needs to make herself stronger. She hears about a set of skills called the “Teachings”, which could greatly enhance her skills. She also finds out that she could improve her own skills by completing a high level raid but the “Teachings” are a level above the highest known skill level. Akatsuki also has to learn to deal with her still budding jealousy of Minori. She wants to be near Shiroe always and realizes that Minori has the same desires. Ultimately, Akatsuki is ashamed that Minori seems to be handling herself and working harder/better than she is.
Akatsuki gets an opportunity to take on a high level opponent and take out some of her frustrations when a serial killer attacks Akihabara. The killer seems to be defying the rules of Elder Tale by attacking people in safe zones. He also seems to be using Royal Guard (aka Defenders) equipment, which was the equipment used by the powers that be in the game in order to enforce rules and keep safe zones. The entire town goes on the hunt for the serial killer. They point out the irony in having a serial killer in a place where people can’t really die, but they still want to catch him. The hunt is headed up by Souji, a guild leader with a kind of berserker streak in him. They discover that the killer is an NPC that took the armor, which allows them to be almost invincible inside the city. Kinjou tells Lenessia that they could disable the armor by cutting off the magic supply in the city, but that would allow monsters into the city for decades. Without Shiroe or Crusty around to help, Akatsuki and Lenessia decide to do their best to make it through their situation. The same night, the killer appears and both Souji and Akatsuki are killed trying to take him on.
Shiroe’s group struggles to get through the Raid. The whole thing is long and grueling and starts to wear on the adventurer’s spirits as well as their supplies. On top of that, Demikas spends half of the time running off half-cocked trying to destroy everything and not able to get over the insult of having Shiroe save him. Eventually, the raid party hits a breaking point. After wearing down one raid boss, they’re ambushed by two others simultaneously. The task of trying to take on 3 raid bosses at once seems like it’s too much for everyone. After an entire episode (Episode 10: Guild Master) of sitting around and contemplating the importance of being gamers, pushing forward, and following the impressive Shiroe, William manages to make a speech that gets everyone to pick themselves back up and charge into the fray again. Overall, the early part of the season talks a lot about what dying means to the Adventurers. Not only do they lose their memories, but it does wear on them emotionally. Not only that, but it can make some of them more reckless than they should be about dying. It is an interesting thing to think about, but I’d still recommend probably skipping episode 10, because that was just a lot of time spent sitting around and thinking about stuff.
When both Akatsuki and Shiroe are killed during their respective raids they are taken through a memory of their lives in the real world. Presumably, it’s the memory that they’ll sacrifice to come back. Even though they’ve been able to communicate using telepathy while they’ve been separated, the two take some time to talk and motivate each other to get their respective jobs done. This point (around episode 6) marks a break in the action for the series. During this break, there’s a random classroom scene where a professor explains that the Apocalypse is still occurring, and the world is still undergoing change. The three things they point out are that people playing as the opposite gender are slowly changing to match their chosen gender, the world is expanding, and that Flavor Text is starting to have real world effects. This change is demonstrated on Crusty and Sansa (his second), who are away from everyone else on a different mission. Sansa’s scythe suddenly envelopes her in a red light. Crusty switches places with her and is seemingly absorbed by the scythe, along with Sansa’s hand. This is something that seems like a big deal, but it basically gets swept under the rug until everything else is taken care of.
The clues about the changing Flavor Text, help the Akihabara party figure out that the murderer (a Person of the land) may have been by a cursed sword. They form a full raid party along with their own strategy of how to defeat the killer and destroy his cursed sword. Akatsuki also trains with the strongest members of D.D.D. in order to get stronger and find her Teaching. More than that, she’s learning how to open herself up to people other that Shiroe and not depend so much on him. Probably the best thing about this part of the story is that it shows how awesome some of the people are outside of Log Horizon. I particularly liked Rieze and Souji as characters. Eventually, Akatsuki ends up facing off against the killer and winning (along with the help of everyone else). She gets a new sword and her own Teaching (a clone attack called Shadow Lurk) out of it, along with the experience of a raid. However, the city’s magic is disabled in the process which will also likely become an issue later on.
Shiroe’s raid group has re-entered the dungeon with a new plan formulated by Shiroe that gives them a 15% chance of success. Things are going well, but they get surprised when one of the raid bosses starts damaging itself in order to trigger an ability. Thinking quickly, Demikas removes Shiroe from the battle and drops him off at the door of the dungeon’s final boss. When he enters the room filled with gold, he sees that the boss (a member of the Kunie clan) looks exactly like Kinjou. Shiroe begins by returning the Guild Hall and all of Akihabara to the Yamato Server. As he completes this action, all the money they spent flows back into the room. Kinjou is surprised by this and asks why Shiroe came all this way just to do that. Shiroe explains that his goal is to have Kinjou loan him the money to systematically purchase and return all of the purchasable land in Yamato. By doing this, Shiroe hopes to remove a major source of conflict between not only Adventurers, but Adventurers and People of the Land as well. Kinjou is surprised and thankful for Shiroe’s plan. To make things even better, the rest of Silver Sword actually manages to complete the raid, defeating the 3 bosses at once. With the raid completed, Demikas and Shiroe bury the hatchet…kind of and there’s a big party. Shiroe and Naotsugu return with Tetra (who’s asked to join Log Horizon) and arrive in Akihabara to see the rest of the guild awaiting them. Of course, the show’s also prepping for the next leg of the story by introducing some shadowy villains that will likely come into the light later in the season.
The first half of this season is kind of hard to follow. There’s a lot of time jumps and scenes that replay the same thing. Not only does it make somethings hard to follow, it makes other aspects of the show feel boring or repetitive. Still, there’s a lot of good action in this first part of the show. I think it gets stronger as it goes on, but since I don’t know if that will continue or lead to anything in the future, I have to grade it on what I saw. What I saw was something that was just better than average for a shounen anime.
Recommendation: Keep Watching
If you’re a fan of the show already, fight through the slow episodes. I think it’s worth it to keep up with the show and, as I mentioned, I do think that there’s a big upside to the story that they’re setting up.