Log Horizon: Lost Child of the Dawn

By Mamare Touno and Kazuhiro Hara. Released in Japan by Enterbrain. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Taylor Engel.

While Log Horizon is well known for its large cast, and has featured chunks showing us the viewpoint of other characters, there’s no doubt about the fact that Shiroe is the star of the series. He’s the planner, the blackmailer, the one who achieves things for the best. And yes, he also dithers and frets, mostly due to his non-outgoing nature. Still, we’ve become fairly comfortable that a new volume will have us getting inside his head again. But this volume shakes things up a bit, as Shiroe (along with Naotsugu, I assume) is away for the entire volume, off on a secret mission. And with Krusty and his group also away on a mission, Akihibara is, with the exception of the harem leader Soujiro, almost entirely female this time around. And that’s definitely a good thing.


The lost child in the title is Akatsuki, who gets the bulk of the narrative this volume. She’s still reeling from the revelations from the last volume, and the absence of Shiroe is not helping matters. Akatsuki is naturally shy and introverted, and even though gaming is, as she’s said, a way to be something that isn’t yourself, now that they’re actually IN the game, it’s still hard for her to interact with others. And that’s actually affecting her growth as an adventurer as well – she’s never done raids, and so hasn’t gotten any of the elite weapons and other loot that drop only during those group activities. She knows this, but can’t move past that wall she’s achieved, and it’s coming out as a giant pile of self-hatred. Fortunately, Shiroe has asked her to watch over Reynesia, as have several other guilds, which leads her to be forced to interact with others. Less fortunately, a murderer has come along to force her to change or die.

Of course, Log Horizon doesn’t have permanent death, but they do lose memories. And death also hurts. And, well, the idea of an unstoppable killer walking around at night is just scary. The climax is the best part of this book, as we get to see a lot of the characters we’ve come to know over the last few books (as well as some new ones, like Rieze, one of the subcommanders of Krusty’s group showing off their strengths and also showing off the character development for Akatsuki: you need to be able to ask for help, and you need to be able to accept that help from others. Akatsuki learns that, and is rewarded by being the one who gets to deliver the final blow (as well as a really cool new sword, which is nice as well.) Meanwhile, Reynesia is busy learning the opposite message: sometimes you can’t push things off onto others, but you have to take responsibility yourself. She’s maturing into an excellent leader.

Those who watch the anime of this series may be a little startled. Not only is it only the Akatsuki plot, with Shiroe absent, but the anime added a lot of comedy and a lot of extra scenes (the book ends very abruptly with the end of the murderer – the anime expands on the mentioned pajama party afterwards). But that’s the benefit of different mediums. Those who enjoy Log Horizon’s action and drama but feel that sometimes it’s a bit TOO light-hearted can revel in the angst-ridden monologues many of the characters have here, most of which didn’t make it to the screen. I think next time we’ll find out what’s up with Shiroe and have a book from his perspective, minus the Akihibara crew. But for now let’s rejoice with Akatsuki.

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