The Continental Alliance’s annual conference is about to begin, but with one new change... the Round Table is invited, and Shiroe has been chosen to represent the Adventurers in this court of nobles!
The Round Table has been established as the governing body for the Adventurer-filled town of Akiba, and over the past two months swift reform has begun as former MMO players begin to prepare for the long haul with little idea of how to return home. However, the rumblings of Akiba both politically and economically have triggered a wave effect on the politics of the native non-player characters’ own governments. One day, an invitation arrives for the Round Table to attend the conference of the Continental Alliance of the nobles that make up the free states of Eastal. The Round Table accepts the invitation, and Shiroe is sent as representative along with several others, including the D.D.D. and Marine Organization guild leaders Crusty and Michitaka.
How Was It?
Log Horizon is a series that has interested me from the beginning because of its surprisingly unique take on the ‘trapped in a game’ sub-genre, particularly due to its world building. As I mentioned in my review of the previous volume, the establishment of the Round Table in Akiba to govern the now-immortal players was a clever and fascinating approach to the beginning of the primary story. This volume, however, took this element and then posed the question, “How does this new governing body effect the world of Elder Tale?”, and the way the book went about answering this question was quite effective.
Log Horizon doesn’t technically take place in the world of Elder Tale as the players know it, and thus non-player characters have come to life and many elements such as cooking can be manipulated further than previously restricted by the game. While this concept is itself intriguing, its usage has continued to be more and more creatively applied as the series has progressed. In particular, this volume focused on the political situation the creation of this new government has caused, as many kingdoms run by NPCs (now called People of the Land) already have a pre-established balance of power that has now been upset. Shiroe realizes that a potential war with People of the Land would be disastrous, especially considering the ridiculous power and immortality of the Adventurers, and thus the Round Table decides to accept the invitation from the nobles to their Continental Alliance conference when it is offered.
Throughout the volume, the story flipped between two story lines, one focusing on the lower-leveled players and their attempt to learn teamwork over the course of a training camp, and the other focusing on the political and economic challenges faced by Shiroe, Crusty, Michitaka, and the other Round Table representatives attending the conference. The differing stories worked well in terms of world building as each had their own unique offerings with one focusing on combat and dungeon strategy (in other words, classic MMO information) while the other focused on the history and present politics of Elder Tale. That being said, I did feel that the story with the lower level characters was far less interesting as it was hard to identify with their struggles or feel suspense since many of the other characters have long since surpassed similar trials.
Much like previous books in the series, each chapter is broken up into several segments, with every one switching between different characters’ perspectives. For a story with such a large cast of characters, this felt to me like one of the best approaches to giving quality time towards developing each individual member of the cast. That being said, while it is true that the thoughts of characters pertaining to individual situations were made available to the readers, I feel like many of the members of the cast are still a bit one-dimensional and on the occasion characters (especially during the side-story with the lower-leveled Adventurers) are written as a bit too melodramatic for my taste.
As I mentioned before, the key point of intrigue in this volume is the exploration of the nobles’ political maneuvering, which includes explorations of individual members of the People of the Land as well as their medieval European-style culture and the effect the Adventurers have had on the status quo. New inventions and materials created by Adventurers are in high demand, and many of the nobles see an opportunity to strike up deals with the new city-state at the conference. These elements are handled quite well and make this volume very fascinating to read for world-building fans. However, while the present concerns are most prevalent, the underlying history and even a potential hint as to how the Adventurers got trapped in Elder Tales pop up as well and also make for some interesting reading.
Log Horizon has ramped up its world-building this volume, building on previous advancements to further explore Elder Tales. As the focus has shifted from the effect of the world on the Adventurers to the effect of the Adventurers on the world, the politics of the People of the Land have come into play in a big way, and author Mamare Touno executes this idea excellently. If you enjoyed the previous volume, or even if you had slight reservations about where the series would go next, I can assure you that it continues quite effectively.
Log Horizon Vol. 3: Game’s End Part 1 was published by Yen Press on November 17th, 2015. Authored by Mamare Touno and illustrated by Kazuhiro Hara, the series is currently ongoing and published by Enterbrain. The series has receive a two season anime adaption from 2013-2015 and volume 4 will be published in English on March 22nd, 2016.
Date of Publication: November 17th, 2015
Translator: Taylor Engel
Author: Mamare Touno
Publisher: Yen Press