Wednesday, December 10, 2014

VR Media Impressions (12-10-2014)

Sword Art Online 2 - Episode 22

Those Feels....

As expected (I read the LNs and hints) this episode dropped some emotional bombshells on us and cleared up the reasons why the Sleeping Knights guild have been as cautious as they have been with explaining their deeper motivations and letting Asuna into the mix. The explanations took up the vast majority of the screen time, spending most of the time either in the "real" world or in subdued instances of VR. I found their explanations rather interesting for quite a few things, especially the Medicuboid. It gives a bit more insight into how the NerveGear's Full Dive tech works canonically and while I didn't really catch too much of the information, it's more or less as I expected it to function so hasn't really changed all that much. It's a good basis for the ideas being presented from the standpoint of a world where microwaves work the way they do, but it still isn't going to prove to be of much help us here in this corporeal.

Alas, it's not really the tech talk that really kept me engaged so much as their presentation in unraveling Yuuki and the Sleeping Knights' story. The story behind Yuuki is very tragic if you ask me considering that it was the result of a medical incident that is rather rare in the modern era and 1st world countries (less than 1 in 2 million if I recall correctly). Add in the familial situation in the matter as well and it really makes Yuuki's position something easy for us to sympethize with, especially in regards to the excellent use of her elder sister in the anime intro being an example of the way those repeated minute and a half long segments can have an impact on the experience. In total, I found that the the episode really managed to capitalize greatly on the build up they made, surpassing even my expectations by taking advantage of an element I usually don't expect to see used to any particular benefit.

Log Horizon [Season 2] - Episode 10

Rousing speech, now when are we getting some plot?

I have to say, this episode really didn't grab me at all. To get a grounding for just how little it grabbed me, I have a tendency of skipping through when I'm watching anime. I don't like to sit around doing nothing while on the computer so I tend to skip ahead while watching anime and such involved narrative programming. I can tell how much I enjoy a show typically by observing how often I skip ahead. If I don't skip ahead at all, I can tell that it's because I wanted to savor the experience to the best of my ability. The first viewing I did of Sword Art Online, Fate Zero, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, No Game No Life, it's usually a hallmark of a show I can deem great when I can keep myself from skipping ahead almost at all. Some shows can even stand repeated watch through under these circumstances like No Game No Life, others can actually suffer from rewatches like Sword Art Online while having had initially massive impacts. The rewatch value isn't to important to my decision of if a show has been good, but usually, if I'm skipping ahead on the first watch through, it's not a good sign. 

Why am I going over this? Mainly because I probably only watched about 4 minutes of this episode of Log Horizon at most. Expectations can damage even the greatest of works, but I can't completely deny them their place. I came into this episode with a semi open mind, but with the desire for some plot advancement at the forefront. Instead, I got a full episode long pep talk to hint whats coming up next. This week's episode of Log Horizon did nothing for me and felt like padding, highlighting overall Log Horizon's actually worsening overall pacing this season compared to last season. While last season felt rather slow very often in terms of delivery, it never failed to eventually deliver on what it was building up in time to prevent it from dragging on. This season so far feels like it's using the strategy of most anime and is using it's budget and pacing on a few really strong episodes only to then go and add padding in the middle to make sure we don't forget the show exists. I understand the media hardship that can go behind creating regular content, I've tried to do so with my channel and can see the results rather clearly using my view count, but I'm not going to allow that to excuse Log Horizon. Failings are failings, understandable or not. Saving the earth can be hard, but if it's not saved, sympathizing about the trouble isn't going to solve the problem. I really hope that Log Horizon can spend the next few episodes really delivering or at the very least obtain a more stable pacing because at the way things are now, I have a feeling it's not going to live up to last season's promise.

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