When I reviewed the first Log Horizon book, I mentioned that were a few plot concepts that were set up in the next book in the series – a general malaise filling Akiba, along with the state of food in the world – and in turn a new discovery by Nyanta related to that. With the second installment of the series, the book dives further into that, and shifts genres somewhat.
In the previous book, we learned that while living in the world of a MMO – the titular game “Log Horizon” has it’s perks – you can’t die, you’re living in a land of fantasy adventure with phenomenal powers, there’s a lot of things that suck. For starters, the food – all of the food, tastes like ash. That’s not a misspelling of “ass” – food simply doesn’t taste like anything.
Further, the fact that the game is no longer really a game has put a crimp on things as well, with various bad actors causing problems throughout Akiba – though nowhere as bad as they were in the North in the last book. So, Shiroe, Nyanta, Akatsuki, and Naotsugu have to work together with several of the other guilds to put together a plan to save Akiba – a plan that (without getting into spoilers) based on the fact Nyanta has discovered how to make food taste like food, and which requires a lot of money, and will require the unity of the majority of Akiba’s guilds.
The narrative is great, with author Mamare Touno, who also wrote Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, doing a great job of building up the economics of this world. After the last volume was a conventional adventure story, this gets into more of his traditional fare of a (for lack of a better term) a fantasy economic thriller.
This arc generally played out the same way that it did in the anime, though the anime tells the story in a much more compressed fashion than the book does. Also, some of the character traits in the book are much more exaggerated in the anime. For example, Naotsugu makes less risque jokes, Henrietta’s obsession with Akatsuki is less creepy, and so on.
As with any good light novel, it also tells a mostly self-contained story, with a few hooks set up for future works: we learn that the People of the Land – the NPCs – are now self-aware and sentient, Shiroe has started his own guild (the titular Log Horizon), and we learn a little information about the group that Shiroe and Naotsugu were part of – the “Debauchery Tea Party”. And there are still some lingering mysteries that the series can get into: How did the players get caught in this world, why were they brought here, and how can they get back.