Isekai is omnipresent in anime, and Sword Art Online gave the subgenre its current push. The popularity of this MMO-based series is enormous, and it is only going to grow as more installments are released. With course, it has its critics, but those who are tired of SAO could like another series.
Sword Art Online may be far more well-known, but Log Horizon undoubtedly has some of the same artistic influences. Despite this, it completely departs from the more well-known isekai and illustrates the reality of what life would be like in an MMO world. Here are some reasons why Sword Art Online's more well-liked cousin could be more appealing to individuals who are sick of signing in.
About what is Log Horizon?
Log Horizon is centered on a virtual massively multiplayer online video game called Elder Tale, much to Sword Art Online. Unfortunately, when thousands of Japanese people are accidentally transferred into the realm of the game without a means to get back to their regular lives, the popular past time swiftly turns into more than just fun and games. Shiroe, a former social pariah who is now playing the part of a strategist, is one of these gamers. He must adapt to this new environment swiftly alongside others like him in order to live in something that is no longer just a game.
2010 saw the debut of the novel series Log Horizon, which was later adapted into a large number of manga and anime series.. The anime didn't receive its third season until 2021, six years after its second season had aired. There's been a lot less spotlight on the franchise when compared to Sword Art Online, especially when it comes to adaptations. Nevertheless, the anime elevates itself above SAO by focusing on elements that the other isekai series completely overlooks.
Sword Art Online Fails in Worldbuilding Where Log Horizon Succeeds
Of the many criticisms of the initial Sword Art Online anime, one of the biggest was how vapid the storyline and characters could be. The world of the show felt hollow and like window dressing for events that made Kirito seem cool. With the world itself barely focused on, it made it hard to really raise the stakes in the series. These issues were fixed in the first Sword Art Online movie, but Log Horizon implemented great worldbuilding from the get-go. Unlike Sword Art Online, the focus of Log Horizon isn't on epic fights or the "cool factor," but rather on strategy, politics and creating a life in this new virtual world.
This makes the world of Elder Tale within Log Horizon far more alive and developed than Sword Art Online. There's a far stronger sense of adventure and comradery among the cast members, with each character's skills coming in handy for more than just throwaway gags or plot contrivances. This comes down to things as simple as cooking, showcasing how life in this new virtual world truly is a life. Likewise, the social divide between classes is another aspect of storytelling and depth that's sorely missing in Sword Art Online, at least in its earlier seasons. In fact, the amount of worldbuilding actually makes it closer to a show like That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime.
These concepts all combine into an isekai that, on paper, is quite like the genre's biggest name. Beyond this surface, however, Log Horizon has much more to offer from a story and character perspective, brushing aside convenient plotting and tropes for a story that's a much more realistic look at being "reincarnated" into virtual reality. The series' three seasons can be streamed through Crunchyroll.