Transported to a new world based on a video game – this has been a recent trend in manga and anime the past few years. Multiple works deal with the issue of players being transported to the world of their game now becoming their reality. Let’s tackle one of them now – it goes by the name Log Horizon. This light novel was written and created by Mamare Touno and first published in Enterbrain in 2011. There are over 10 volumes currently written with more on the way, including multiple manga and spinf-off manga and other works. Log Horizon originally takes place in modern day Japan, where players of the old yet still popular MMORPG Elder Tale get transported into a new world which combines reality and the Elder Tales video game. Players now have to fight for survival, learning the rules of this new strange world, and trying not to let the entirety of the world fall into chaos.
Our protagonist is Shiroe, a level-90 enchanter who has been playing Elder Tales for years. Shiroe begins to assemble comrades and alliances to try and form order in the chaos that is the world they now are trapped in. The series is written in the third person, mainly focusing on Shiroe, but occasionally shifting the narrative focus to other side characters. Mainly the focus of the story is the developments and interactions between the characters. For instance, a big part of the story revolves around the group Shiroe once belonged too. These characters are introduced throughout the series, and they each have connected back stories and relationships with the other characters as they come in. The best example for the story would be if World of Warcraft players suddenly got sent to a world that was like W.O.W.
Imagine all the tensions and history that would be between the different players as they interact. These could be people who have constantly argued, people who hate each other, people who know each others’ histories and families. To further complicate matters, all transported players retain their Elder Tales character’s skills and traits. Essentially, when transported all the players have become a mashup between their real selves and their game characters. The caveat is that the abilities and skills that they have now require more technique and focus than previously. What used to just be a mouse click, now requires focus and planning. Battles and small skirmishes now are quite literally fights for their lives as the players have to learn the rules of their new world.
Besides the battles and survival aspects to their new world, the players must have to work together to keep each other safe. The issue is that people will always be people, and everyone looks out for number one. What is there to do when people only think of saving themselves? This is what the players have to deal with. Disorder, thievery, slavery, abuse and other crimes are now everywhere in this world. Shiroe and his comrades have to tame this lawless world, and they do so, or at least that is how it appears. Like in reality, fighting does not just happen with physical actions, and there are many times in Log Horizon where brain beats brawn. The twists and turns of the series are fascinating and thrilling at times.
In the end, the world of Log Horizon feels organic and relatable. While something like this happening is unrealistic – the way that the characters act are realistic in various ways. The human condition remains the same, no matter the world, and no matter the scenario. Watching Shiroe and his band adventure is a real breath of fresh air, and watching them encounter and solve problems is thrilling. This is a must read. Go read it.