I dedicate this blog to comics in all forms, manga, autobio, superhero, art books, etc. And of course, since I need a challenge, I've decided that I'll read and write (short) reviews for 365 comics during 2015.
This seems to be another fad where in a short amount of time a bunch of series appear all involving kids getting stuck in a game world.
Games in general have long been a common subject of manga for example, Hikaru no Go, a series about a young kid awakening the ghost of a Go board and eventually rising to become a champion Go player, is a classic of the genre. Go ahead and read it, it's old, but a classic!
I watched the first and second anime series of Sword Art Online (which was originally a light novel series) and found it an entertaining, if not extremely original, show. The characters are all people who bought the newest VR gizmo and entered the MMORPG Sword Art Online, only to find that they couldn't leave. I enjoyed the interactions between the characters and the tension created between the two groups of newbie players and beta tester players.
This is my first time trying SAO in graphic novel format, and I gotta say, I was not impressed. I was looking forward to something that would expand the world of the anime, but as far as I could tell Sword Art Online Progressive Vol. 1 was just a re-hash of the two main characters from the series meeting in slightly (and I mean slightly) different circumstances, then progressing according to the same story line. And wasting a ton of pages on a bath scene seems a bit much even for a fan service heavy series (which this really shouldn't be).
As a reader I'm used to the books being better than the movies, but sadly, I'd rather re-watch the anime than waste my time on this manga version.
Log Horizon has a very similar concept to SAO, in fact, it also started out as a light novel series. Like SAO the main characters are people who became trapped in an MMORPG once a new version, the 12th edition, launched. Unlike SAO where players really had to worry about fighting since if they died in game, their bodies died in the real world too. In Elder Tales, the game of Log Horizon, players cannot die, if a player is killed in combat, they re-spawn just as they would normally in the game. There is literally no escape from the game, not even death! No one knows why they are trapped in the game, or how to find a way out.
On one hand the fact that no one can die really takes away from the conflict and tension of the series. What's the point in fighting, beating levels or doing much of anything if you have no idea how if 'beating' the game will do anything and no matter what level you are nothing can really kill you. Since the main characters were already high levels before they became their game avatars it lacks the training and leveling components
On the other hand it gives Log Horizon a desperate feel. The main character, Shiroe, goes on a quest just for something to do basically. Players squat around the cities dreaming of home, but with no idea how to log out, they just drift listlessly, hopeless. PKs (player killers) run rampant, killing for fun, forcing other players to serve them and abusing and torturing anyone who opposes them.
The art is standard, nothing great, but not terrible either. The story is truthfully a bit dull. The three heroes travel through a dungeon avoiding creatures and then face the boss. Shiroe is a defensive magic user, he uses his spells to buff his friends and hinder the foes. Very useful, but hasn't made for very exciting scenes thus far.
Lastly, Log Horizon, is kind of a ridiculous title. I'm picturing a river, with logs flowing down it, into the horizon. I wonder if there is a logging video game I could pick up? I've always wanted to be a lumber jack.