I’ve always had mixed feelings about Japan’s idol industry, and AKB0048 First Stage [Satelight, 2012] is kind of the perfect review of everything I find enchanting about the system and everything I find terrifying and troubling about it. Like many anime shows that heavily feature music, I seriously believe in the unitive and uplifting abilities of music and, perhaps even more than just music itself, performance. Having been a part of a show choir for three years in high school and one year in college, the similarities between idol performances and show choir performances have always struck me. (Don’t know what show choir is? Here’s a video of a nationally renowned high school show choir from California.)
So, the trouble comes when I have to compare the affection for the past and resonance with my own experience generated by these shows to the dark side of the industry such shows sometimes tackle, but often gloss over. But before that, have some tunes!
I must say, I am quite grateful to Log Horizon for plowing through the break between seasons, as doing so meant that it got done before the majority of the other shows from this Winter 2014 season. Being able to knock out at least one review before the end of season rush, even just one, is a huge help. So, thanks to NHK for keeping Log Horizon going. You’ve made my job easier.
Log Horizon had the misfortune to be broadcast just a few seasons after the preeminent MMORPG-based show of the decade, Sword Art Online, (and that’s a fact, whether you like it or not). For me, they were different enough to not really bear any true comparisons, but I would say that Sword Art Online is the superior of the two, for all its flaws. Log Horizon gets a 6/10 from me, and its comparative ranking can be found at the Ongoing Rankings Page.
EDIT: For anyone coming into this review, make sure that you read the edit at the end of the post first. It will give you a bit of an update on my more current thoughts on the series before you read through the entire review.
Consider this a sequel to “How Not to Do Endings.” Except, this is much, much worse. Spoilers ahead. Ranking undetermined at this time, as I decide how angry I am. When it’s up, you can find it here.
White Album 2 is based off a visual novel and, while set in the same town and referencing some of the characters from the first White Album, is basically not linked at all. For any hope White Album had of getting a potential watch from me, that’s a good thing.