At my recent adventure to AMKE, I was able to check out a new anime called Log Horizon. Many people in the viewing room kept saying how much it is like Sword Art Online which was the big hit anime of 2013. Some people would even walk in, look at a few minutes of the episode airing and say, “oh, dude…its exactly like SAO” and then leave as if it was not worth their time to watch. At the viewing, I was only able to catch about three episodes total, but upon coming home from the convention I started watching more. While there are certain similarities between the two anime, they are both very different mosters. Below, I am going to run through some of their similarites and differences and simply compare the two.
Premise and the Main Characters
The premise of both shows are very similar. Just like in SAO, people in Log Horizon find themselves trapped in what used to be just a game. This is, I think, where most people blow log horizon off as an SAO copycat. They would be, in my opinion, foolish to do so. The structure and style of both shows are completely different. The main character of SAO, Kirito, is a bit of a loner, and is even considered the strongest “solo-player” in SAO. He is also mainly surrounded by chicks which all….ALL have a crush on him….seriously…like almost every chick introduced in the series falls for this guy.
In contrast, the main character, Shiroe, does not paint himself as a loner and the very first thing he does in his new world is contact a long time friend and meets up with him.
Kirito of SAO is not particular smart. However, he was a beta-tester for the game prior to be trapped in it. This gives him a competitive advantage and allows him to level up rather quickly. You also get the feeling that, while he does want to go back to the real world, he prefers the gaming world around him and even considers it “home”. Kirito has strong resolve, solid morales, and a since of duty that he displays when he paints himself as a villain so that his party members can maintain order.
Its very clear, throughout the series that, if anyone is going to save the people trapped in SAO, it will be Kirito.
Shiroe, on the other hand is not a particularly strong player by himself, but is a world-class strategist. He was part of a legendary part, the Debauchery Tea Party, that beat many unbeatable quests with him as their master planner. As such, much of the plot revolves around Shiroe making moves and plans that are pretty amazing. He has nonisses using underhanded tactics and even gets the nickname “the villain with glasses”.
The major distinction, I think, between Log Horizon and SAO is the very nature of their perspective worlds. In SAO they use helmets, called NerveGear, that basically uploads their minds into the virtual game.
When they are logged in they are told by the game master that they cannot log out of SAO and any attempt to remove the nervegear in the real world results in the death of the person in real life. Additionally, if you die in the game you also die in real life. The only way to leave the game safely is to beat the game itself. As such, the people within SAO are constantly trying to level up and beat the game.
In Log Horizon, however, it is not immediately clear how they got trapped in the game and there is no way to get out, at least not yet. Additionally, if players die, they simple respawn at their hometown’s cathedral. Within the game then, they are immortal-ish. In contrast to SAO, players aren’t trying to leave the game,they’re simply trying to find a way to live in it. The game, then, becomes their actual reality. In fact, it is unclear whether or not if the game in Log Horizon is actually a game. This is because the game is actually changing… Lifeless NPC’s now have personalities, dreams, aspirations, a past and more. They even have their own society and are known as “people of the land”.
If you were to describe both anime’s in short, I would simply say that Log Horizon is an MMORPG anime for people who have played a solid amount of MMORPG’s while SAO is an MMORPG anime made for anime lovers. I like both anime’s personally, and I see them as very different. Both are enjoyable in their own way so long as you give them a chance!!!