Log Horizon: Go East, Kanami!

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

We continue our tour of the Elder Tales universe, with this volume not even taking place on the Japanese server for the most part. Instead we take a look at a group in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, to be precise) and their attempt to move slowly east so that they can swim to Japan (which seems ludicrous, but remember, adventurers). The reason to swim to Japan is quite a clever one: the whole disaster that caused the players to get caught in this world happened before the expansion pack had actually dropped… except in Japan, where they got it by virtue of the time zone. The group is led – sort of – by Kanami, a name that has come up quite often in previous books. The former de facto leader of the Debauchery Tea Party, she’s more a force of will than a leader. That said, it makes sense that of the main cast of this book, she actually gets the least attention – she has no character arc, being basically perfect.

No, instead, the main character for this book is Leonardo, who dresses like his favorite American hero, silly as it may seem, and says “Cowabunga” during desperate attacks. And is named Leonardo. But it’s OK, because this is a frog, not a turtle. Which makes this OK! Seriously, the mind reels at how much Touno wanted to use Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles here, and the serial numbers aren’t so much filed off as covered over with see-through tape. Leonardo is actually a New Yorker, which is refreshing, and we get a passable idea of what his life was like in the real world before this (he seems to be a computer nerd). Here, he’s a very competent assassin, though he’s still not quite invested in their current situation, and has trouble seeing the People of the Earth as anything but NPCs. A lot of this book is showing him the error of his ways, including a subtle romance with Coppelia, a girl with a mysterious past.

The Log Horizon anime did a good job of steadfastly putting each book on the screen… with the exception of this book, which got short shrift, getting only one episode devoted to it. As such, if anime fans wanted to know which one they had to buy to get more details, this is definitely the one. There is the usual endless discussion of game mechanics, far more than almost any other LN in a game world bothers to do, but there are also some very cool battles. And we get more insight into what exactly is happening, and how the People of the Earth and its denizens are reacting to it. Lastly, I was very amused by the occasional mention of the series’ big bad, Indicus, the smug maid who’s using Nureha as a puppet ruler. Every time she’s mentioned, it’s in a “My friends… and Zoidberg” way, showing that almost nobody can stand her. I expect a confrontation between her and Shiroe soon.

This volume didn’t blow me away like the previous one did, but it’s a rock-solid volume of Log Horizon, and fans of the anime will absolutely have to get it. And remember, this Leonardo likes SUSHI, not pizza.

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