By Mamare Touno and Kazuhiro Hara. Released in Japan by Enterbrain. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Taylor Engel.
It’s been a long time since the last volume of Log Horizon – almost a year. It may be even longer till the next volume as well, as there’s no sign of it in Japan. That said, this is a big volume for fans of the series, as it’s the first volume that has not actually been animated. As such, it will prove to be entirely new material. Appropriately, it focuses to a large degree on Kanami’s party, who were the subject of the 9th book (which was adapted the least by the anime), and have now reached the equivalent of Mongolia. But as you may have guessed by the title, the other major participant in this volume is Krusty, who is having memory issues but is not letting that stop him from living the easy life, as he’s essentially in the game equivalent of heaven being waited on by cute animal person servants. The book’s main thrust has a scheming villainess try to pit the two parties against each other.
The book mostly succeeds, but it is worth noting, once again, that there is a truly ridiculous amount of gaming chatter and discussion in these volumes, and that it can quickly get tedious, especially when you’re in the middle of a large battle. Classes, levels, aggro… I don’t really care. But someone cares, and that someone is Elias, who we get to know a lot more about in this book. From the last book, we know that he labors under a curse that means he never gets the last hit in – he can’t be the one to kill the monsters. Of course, since Log Horizon was a game, and he was one of the bigger NPCs, it makes sense. The players make the big kill. But here we see how this weighs heavily on him, and also how his party seems to have been broken, and possibly killed, simply by hinting at their very nature – Elias, throughout the book, seems to be shying away from thinking that he’s just an NPC in a game.
So it’s pretty easy to get him to go all out against Krusty, who’s perfectly happy to have people think he’s a villain if it gets him a good fight. We get a lot of Krusty’s own background from Earth here too, and it fits with his personality to a T. Krusty really can’t stop Elias, especially given he’s dealing with his own curse. Kanami is there to be Haruhi Suzumiya and not much else. I like her, but she’s completely at peace with everything about herself, so is terrible at this sort of thing. And Coppelia is still pretty much monotone. That leaves Leonardo, still a frog and not a turtle, to deliver the big verbal cooldown speech to Elias. I won’t spoil it, as it’s easily the best part of the book, and made me smile quite a bit. When Log Horizon isn’t pouring verbiage into its worldbuilding, it can be pretty heartwarming.
We’re almost entirely in ‘the China server’ this volume, with only one chapter back in Akiba to show us that Raynesia’s noble friends are all getting engaged, which I suspect means that an arranged marriage is in her future. Her noble friends also think she’s in a relationship with Krusty, which she’s not. In the next volume, whenever that may be, I suspect we’ll be headed back to Shiroe and company. Till then, enjoy this look at what it means to be “cursed”, and how to resolve it.