One day, Elder Tale, an established MMORPG with more than twenty million players across the world added a new expansion that turned the game into a Virtual Reality game without any of its player's knowledge. As a result, several hundred thousands players are trapped within the game and unable to log out. One of those players, a spellcaster and strategist named Shiroe decides to gather friends and allies to find a way to return to the real world by exploring the vastness of the game world.Log Horizon is written by Mamare Touno, who also created the Maoyuu Maou Yuusha light novels. It has been adapted into an anime series which began airing in October 2013. It can be watched legally on Crunchyroll, for people living in the following areas: North America, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, Scandinavia, and the Netherlands.Not surprisingly, the story has its own share of spinoffs, in this case a web side-story, and at least three different manga.The webstory spinoff focuses on Kanami's attempt post-Catastrophe to travel to Japan, overland, from where she was in Rome. On the way she picks up a quartet of ''unique'' companions, discovers just how much has changed in Elder Tales after it became "real", and a run-in with what might be thebiggestthreat the world has yet to face.As for the manga spinoffs, Honey Moon Log tells the story of the first two books of Log Horizon, except this time following the experiences of the members of the Crescent Moon Alliance, while West Wind Brigade does the same for Soujirou's eponymous guild. Both run in parallel with the main plot of Log Horizon, and does much to expand on the events surrounding the first few weeks post-Catastrophe. In contrast Nyanta's Recipe is a collection of slice-of-life vignettes focusing on, obviously, Nyanta's cooking, and the interactions he has with Akiba's other residents while he does so.The series is notable for prompting a surprise visit by Mamare himself to 4chan for an impromptu Q&A session with English-speaking fans. This was followed up by another Q&A session in the wake of episode 10, though this one was planned well in advance.
Log Horizon provides examples of these tropes:
Adaptation Expansion: Most obvious in episode 7, where a good chunk of the first half of the episode (the preparation by the Crescent Moon Alliance) had to be taken from their manga spinoff Honey Moon Log. In the equivalent chapter (chapter 3 of book 3), only seven very short paragraphs were devoted it.
Add to this the participation of Soujirou's West Wind Brigade in the Crescent Moon scheme, whereas in the light novel (and also in the anime), Shiroe asked him to send the invitations for the Round Table Council to the other guild masters.
In episode 8, we see Isaac and Crusty's reaction to Marielle's invitation, which isn't seen in the light novel.
All There in the Manual: A lot of the details on the state of the world of Log Horizon post-Catastrophe, particularly of the events outside of Yamato/Japan, could only be found at Mamare's site for the webnovel version, or from Mamare himself in the Q&As from the same site.
Ascended Fanboy: Averted. Many players have stopped raiding and adventuring, instead turning to production-style tasks. Even with little risk from death, having to fight the monsters with them in your face instead of on the other side of the screen is pretty damn scary for many people.
The Debauchery Tea Party successfully completed many quests and raids despite not being a guild themselves prior to its disbandment.
D.D.D., Black Sword Knights, Honesty, and Silver Sword all count, being major, dedicated raiding battle guilds. During the Return of the Goblin King event, a legion of Adventurers composed of D.D.D., Black Sword Knights and Honesty completely rolled through all opposition with razor sharp military-like precision.
Badass Normal: Landers may not be comparable to Adventurers, but those that reach level 60 are considered elites. Not only do they lack advantages that the Adventurers enjoy, they gain EXP 4x slower and they reached their level without dying even once.
Bag of Holding: Players above level 45 get the ability to acquire the "Dazanegg's Magic Bag" upon completion of a quest and with the right materials at hand. Said bag can store many heavy objects without adding any weight to the player, and this trait is carried over even after the Catastrophe.
Akatsuki develops a brief one in episode 3, when she asks Shiroe if he thought she was just a kid. He tries to dodge the question to avoid her wrath, unlike Naotsugu, who thought she really was a little girl in real life.
Shiroe developed one earlier, when Marielle told him that his scary face would repel girls.
Shiroe once again develops one during the Round Table Conference.
Beach Episode: Episode 11 has a brief one, with several of the adventurers arriving at a beach location partly to train, and partly to relax.
Big Good: The Ancients, powerful boss-class NPCs, who make up an in-universe coalition known as the Global 13 order of knights (with one order overseeing a single "server") as far as the Landers are concerned. The lack of presence of the local Order, the Knights of Izumo, during the events of the fourth book are obviously a cause of concern. What Shiroe, or indeed anyone in Yamato is unaware of is the fact that half of the Ancients have already been killed off, while the other half sealed by by the <Genius> monsters, as Kanami and her companions soon find out in her spinoff.
It happens but it's not permanent. If a player's HP falls to zero they'll respawn at the cathedral.
Played straight for NPCS/Landers.
Chick Magnet: Soujirou of the now-disbanded Debauchery Tea Party is very popular with women. This continues even after being trapped inside the game as he leads his own guild, the West Wind Brigade.
City Guards/The Guards Must Be Crazy: All cities have NPC guards that will spawn and punish players who try to PK within city limits. However, there are a lot of loopholes, in that players are allowed to harass other players and Landers without alerting the guards, and the moment you step outside the city gates you're fair game.
Color Failure: Both Akatsuki and Naotsugu in Episode 2 when eating the bland food while going to rescue Serara. This later become a Running Gag.
Complete Immortality: The Adventurers are this. They do not age, and when they are killed, they simply respawn at a Cathedral. Re-Gun mentions that Shiroe had been around for almost 100 years, and hasn't aged a day since. Justified because when Elder Tales was just a game, it received numerous expansions/updates during the past 20 years, each moving the game world's story forward. Some players like Shiroe had been playing for so long that hundreds of game years had passed by.
Cool Horse: The Griffins summoned using a legendarily rare flute.
Everyone triggers this for Guild Master Marielle, even Naotsugu!
Henrietta is normally The Stoic, but loses it when she spots Akatsuki and brushes her hair with a happy smile.
Damsel in Distress: Serara of the Crescent Moon Alliance is separated from her Alliance in a faraway town and attacked by Player Killers. Another player rescued her and Shiroe's group sets out to bring her back.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Monsters are slowly gaining more and more intelligence and are becoming this. When Shiroe and the Silver Swords were fighting a raid boss, two different raid bosses from different parts of the same dungeon left their respective lair, came to its aid and curb stompped the party, as each were individually balanced for an entire raid to fight. One raid boss even intentionally damaged itself to spawn additional monsters to join the fight.
Deadly Euphemism: "I'll send you to the Cathedral!" is the worst you can say, since no one can permanently die.
Subverted after Shiroe learns about the Spirit Theory. He hypotheses since Adventurers lose EXP when they resurrect, when Elder Tales became real, it translates to a loss of memories. This is proven true when Krusty, whom died twice since the Apocalypse, could no longer remember the name and appearance of his pet cat, despite his good memory. This leaves the terrifying implication that dying in the new world means gradually losing your memory of the old one.
Since Elder Tale hijacks all the players' senses, this happens to everyone.
Akatsuki takes it to extremes, where she never breaks out of her Ninja character!
Nyanta never drops out of his Cat-folk character!
Misa Takayama (Krusty's bard assistant) never drops her military shtick!
Deconstruction: Of MMORPGs. What happens if the players get transported into the game and it becomes real and they retain all their abilities/benefits as MMO characters? How would player nations change the political landscape of the world? Shiroe's response is to recreate society; government, economy, public safety, etc. "This is our reality"
Deconstructed Trope: When Death Is a Slap on the Wrist, then murder is seen as less severe. This leads to casual PKing and other crimes become greater evils. In practical terms, killing someone is no different from mugging since they respawn at the Cathedral with fewer items. When Shiroe starts the Round Table Council, he says that enslavement is comparatively a more heinous crime and so it should carry a heavier punishment.
There is no goal for the trapped players to strive for and there's nothing to do other than slay monsters for money to spend on food and lodging. Shiroe hypothesizes that the Player Killers are resorting to their acts out of boredom.
It's understandably difficult to input commands during fights in virtual reality, so the game allows the players to activate their skills via voice and/or motion activation. However, Shiroe points out that simply activating and using their skills properly are completely different, not unlike real life athletes needing to properly train and practice to succeed.
This is the case with food. Food bought from the NPCs or created through the game interface comes out bland and tasteless. However, actually physically cooking the food will have it taste the way it should. The trick is that you need a high cooking skill to prevent the food from instantly burning up the moment you try to cook it.
Drunk with Power: The worst Adventurers revel how they can bully the lower leveled, commit horrific crimes against defenseless Landers, and find ways to circumvent game system punishment. Instills a Humans Are the Real Monsters mood when it happens.
Early-Bird Cameo: Rezarick of the Black Sword Knights, Takayama Misa and Rieze of D.D.D, and other characters make cameos in the anime, most of them during the Round Table Council. Rezarick and Misa both get speaking lines before their light novel counterparts.
Easy Sex Change: Its possible with a very rare potion that's obtainable in an event quest, which is no longer avaliable. Later on, the production guilds figure out a way to create a weaker one, but it became necessary because they found out that their avatars are slowly overriding their real life selves.
Eldritch Abomination: Not encountered in the main story so far, but have made their presence known in Kanami's spinoff. Translated so far as <Genius> monsters, they have apparently been systematically exterminating or sealing off the Ancients (powerful Hero-class NPCs) in each "server". Kanami and her companion Leonardo manage to save Elias Hackblade, one of the Ancients and apparently The Hero of the Elder Tale metaplot, from being sealed by them. They're also apparently Genre Savvy, possess Medium Awareness, and are extremely creepy.
Encyclopaedic Knowledge: Shiroe's vast knowledge of the Elder Tale game helped a lot of people out, as he reveals in episode 3. Then he finds out that they mostly want to use him for his extensive knowledge of various parts of the game, and is one reason why he shunned being in a guild. But the Tea Party group seemed interested in him largely because they want to have fun adventuring together, which he seems to like.
Engrish: Between the Japanese audience and English audience, one has to wonder what they think of an opening where each side can only understand half of it.
Even the Guys Want Him: Soujiro. Dolce probably joined his guild for him. Magus, the mastermind behind the PKers and Hamelin, is also blatantly in love with Soujiro, even stating so in one of their confrontations.
Exact Words: Henrietta wasn't lying during the negotiations with the guildmasters of the three biggest production guilds in Akihabara: the Crescent Moon Alliance was undertaking an important campaign, the guild required a large amount of gold to make it possible, and the rewards at the end would be new recipes for food. It's not her fault that Charasin, Michitaka, and Roderick assumed it was an in-game quest, rather than a campaign, in the real-world definition of the word, to make Akihabara a better place. Also, the recipes were recipes ... just the literal kind, not the in-game menu kind.
Fanservice: Downplayed, in the anime. Being aired on NHK, even partial nudity is forbidden. The best you pervs can get is seeing cute girls in cute clothes.
The Fellowship Has Ended: The Debauchery Tea Party traveled together for years with the goal of exploring Elder Tales and having fun together. Shortly after Kanami and several other members had to leave for personal reasons, the group parted ways and barely talked to one another since.
Funny Background Event: In episode 2 and 3, Naotsugu's griffon could be seen trying to chew Naotsugu's head in the background while Shiroe and Akatsuki were having a conversation.
Game Breaker: In-Universe example. Later books introduce the concept of "Kouden", translated more commonly as "Overskill". For the majority of players trapped in Elder Tales, these are abilities that are rumored to transcend old class skills in use, giving them a near-mythical reputation. In truth, the so-called Overskills are existing class or subclass skills, just used creatively in ways the original game never intended before it became "real" for everyone. For example, Nyanta's way of cooking food with real flavor is considered this. Many of the book characters are confirmed to be users of these.
Genre Savvy: Shiroe and his friends discussed the similarity of their situation to fantasy manga and light novels, even considering the possibility of dying in real life if they lose their HP.
Since no one can die, some people take dickery to an unbelievable level. Brigadina guildsmen brutally kill everyone who try to leave Susukino. It's implied that they murder and rape NPCs like it's nothing. note The anime is aired on NHK, so nothing is explicitly revealed.
The major guilds within Akihabara uses the "it's just a game" to excuse their behavior and continue to do nothing about it. However, when Shiroe invites them to a meeting and blackmails them into seriously discussing about implementing law and order, they all agree that griefing low level players, slavery, forced confinment, murder, and rape should be made illegal without objection.
Subverted for the most part. Because Elder Tale mainly uses voice communication rather than keyboard, most players ended up making their avatar the same as their gender.
Inverted. Akatsuki is a girl in real life but she can't hide her unmistakably feminine voice, and quaffs a model-changing potion to have a more fitting appearance.
Played more straight in volume 7 with Tetra, who was a male who just so happened to be trapped in a female cleric avatar. Only Shiroe figures this out.
During his time on the beta testing server, Shiroe had a female Summoner called Roe2.
Girl's Night Out Episode: In vol 6 of the light novel, with Krusty/Issac off raiding the Goblin King and Shiroe/Naotsugu off on a mission to Suzukino, the novel centers on Akatsuki and various girls of Akihabara as they deal with a crisis in the city.
God Is Good: Implied. Automatic respawning in a cathedral has a 'saved by divine grace' air to it.
Henpecked Husband: To everyone's surprise, Demicas. For double the irony, his wife is apparently a Lander, the same people he and his guild abused indiscriminately during the first book.
How Do I Shot Web?: After Elder Tale become a VR, everyone runs into difficulty using their menu-activated powers. Fortunately, Don't Think. Feel has been programmed into the game.
Hub City: Akihabara, where the Guild Halls are located.
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Almost any adult male character will be this next to Akatsuki. The giraffe-suited summoner from the Black Sword Knights in episode 10 is also this compared to all of her male comrades (not just Isaac). Her giraffe headdress reaches most of the guys' chests. She herself is at their waists.
Humans Are Cthulhu: To the Landers. Unlike them Adventurers have automatic access to combat abilities and magic powers, regularly slay monsters for fun and profit, can harm other Adventurers and Landers, possess knowledge of a completely alien reality outside the game world (i.e. Earth), can innovate things never imagined before... and so much more. However the fact that Adventurers are effectively immortal and Landers die permanently, is the strongest awe and fear factor.
I Owe You My Life: Akatsuki is extremely loyal to Shiroe because he saved her from having to live with dissonant appearance.
I Shall Taunt You: In Episode 4, Shiroe keeps on taunting the Brigandia guild master Demikas by purposely mispronouncing his name ("demi-glace" and "delicious") to enrage him and get him separated from his main party. All According to Plan.
Istanbul Not Constantinople: The Japanese server of Elder Tale is named as "Yamato" and its five regions have their names derived from their corresponding regions in real life Japan. Ezzo Empire corresponds to Hokkaido (Ezo being the old name for Hokkaido), League of Freedom Cities Eastal corresponds to the Kanto region (lit. "east of the gate"), Holy Empire Westelande corresponds to the Kansai region (lit. "west of the gate"), Fourland Dukedom corresponds to Shikoku (lit. "four provinces") and Ninetail Dominions corresponds to Kyushu (lit. "nine provinces").
Instant A.I., Just Add Water: An unforeseen development in the wake of the Catastrophe, and no, this isn't connected to the Landers at all. Showcased through Coppelia, a Chinese gold-farming and real-money transfer bot that gained sentience when Elder Tale became "real".
Item Crafting: Players can craft items using a menu system to automatically produce goods based on their skill level. It is eventually discovered that players are not limited to the crafting items within Log Horizon's database, and can manually create their own inventions with their own hands. This leads to the discovery of cooked food with taste, and inventions like a steam engine, which is further refined by adding magical components, effectively creating Magitek.
Jerkass: If there's one constant across the novels and its spinoffs, it's that Hamelin is a guild completely composed of irredeemable jerkasses, and deserve everything that's coming to them. Funnily enough, the level of douchebaggery of Hamelin varies between media. In the main novels and Honey Moon Logs, they're shown as abusive perpetrators of child labor, while in West Wind Brigade they also apparently do player killing and sexual assault on the side. Add these together, and it's no wonder no one sympathizes with them.
Karmic Death: The player killers who try to ambush Shiroe and his group in episode 2 get utterly curbstomped by them.
While Shiroe has lots of friendsnote his friends list is massive and is sociable with everyone around him, he has an aversion to joining a guild.
Akatsuki shuns being part of a guild, though her reasoning is that assassins are lone wolves and doesn't have anything to do with social trauma.
Loophole Abuse: City guards will only punish players who've done physical harm to other players. However they ignore anything that doesn't count as "physical harm"... Like sexual assault.
Magic A Is Magic A: The Spirit Theory, which is an actual theory within the world of Elder Tales on how Landers permanently die and Adventurers/demihumans respawn. Shiroe uses this theory to develop a contract to give Landers the Adventurer subclass. He keeps this an absolute secret to prevent chaos that this revelation will bring from erupting in the new world.
Mighty Glacier: Naotsugu's job is to tank and have the enemies focus on him instead of weaker allies such as Shiroe and Akatsuki.
Money Spider: Defeated enemies very blatantly drop coins and potions. This becomes a plot point later on in the story. Where does all this gold come from?
Mr. Exposition: Shiroe does a lot of explanations on how the world works, as well as various spells and attacks used in Elder Tale.
NEET: Princess Raynesia, who'd rather spend her day in her room the whole day wearing pajamas rather than attend a stuffy meeting between nobles.
Never Say "Die": Played with. They talk about it at first but once they find out that perma-death is impossible, they only talk about 'sending you to the cathedral'.
Phantasmal-class items are incredibly rare items where only one exists per server. When someone obtains one, their name is broadcasted to the entire server.
The news of "good-tasting food" travels pretty rapidly with people coming from other towns and cities to try it out. One guy rushed to tell his guildmaster, only to find that the guy was already eating a cresent burger.
Ninja: Akatsuki calls herself one, but technically she's an assassin.
No Export for You: So far, only the West Wind Brigade spinoff has been slated for internation release. Everything else, meaning the other spinoffs (Kanami's side story, Nyanta's Recipe) are unavailable to read for Western followers of the series.
Off the Rails: Ever since Elder Tales became real, quests/monsters can go beyond their established roles and scripted events can lead to this.
In one incident, a cursed sword belonging to an insane Ancient raid boss found its way to Akihabara, where it was picked up by a Royal Guard and got possessed by said Ancient, granting it all it abilities. In the game, the boss gained HP based on the number of characters in the zone. The original method of defeating it was to escort all NPCs out of the zone in order to reduce its HP to a managable level. Now, because its in Akihabara with 15,000 Adventurers and thousands of Landers, on top of being a Royal Guard, it became unkillable and rampaged for days in the city before Akatsuki and the girls Take a Third Option and shut down Akihabara's Royal Guard system.
In another incident, Shiroe and the Silver Swords were raiding a dungeon and fighting one of the bosses and were shocked they realized that the two other raid bosses within the dungeon had left their respective lairs to assist the boss. Since each boss is individually designed for an entire raid to defeat, it quickly led to a Total Party Kill. One raid boss even intentionally damaged itself in order to spawn additional monsters.
Older than They Look/Younger than They Look: After the events of the Apocalypse, all the players ended up in the body of their game avatar, with the only thing retained being their real life face. This means it's impossible to judge someones age/gender by their physical appearance. However, most players made their avatar similar to their real body.
Akatsuki turns out to be in college much to the guys' shock.
Ontological Mystery: Before the series began, Elder Tale was just an ordinary, non-VR RPG. The players have no idea how they got stuck inside a real-life version with a broken logout button, but they suspect it has something to do with the anticipated Novasphere Pioneers update.
Persona Non Grata: Because it would be extremely difficult to punish any offenders within the confines of a city, the method that the Round Table Council uses to deal with people that violate the laws of Akihabara is to simply blacklist them and prohibit the people within the city from dealing with them, effectively forcing them to leave the city.
Portal Network: It's offline, forcing players to walk through the game-world from one place to another.
This in turn necessitates Serara Rescue Arc, since she can't simply warp from Susukino to Akihabara. Furthermore, the road out of Susukino is blocked by the Brigandia guild, the leader of which has serious beef with Crescent Moon Alliance.
It also supports Shiroe's plan for the Round Table Council. The Guid Building Banks are linked but without the Portal Network, traveling to a different guild building is difficult and certainly not practical.
Normal-Class: Exists for the sole purpose of either being sold to shops or are consumables like arrows.
Magical-Class: Common item drops. Can be found everywhere and can be purchased from Landers. Higher level players tend to view these as Vendor Trash.
Production-Class: Items created by other players. Depending on skill level, their power ranges from Magical to low-level Artifact-Class tier equipment.
Artifact-Class: Obtained via quests/dungeons/monsters.
Phantasmal-Class: The rarest of the rare is the Phantasmal-Class items, of which only one of each exists per server. These can only be obtained via raids (quests/dungeons/bosses that require multiple parties to complete). Shiroe, Naotsugu, Soujirou, Krusty, Issac, William, and Tetra are all known owners of Phantasmal-Class items. When a player manages to obtain one of these items, his or her name is broadcasted throughout the entire server.
Starting from Episode 2. Shiroe must rescue and escort Serara from Susukino to Akihabara (850 km in real life, 425 km in the game) so that she may reunite with her fellow guild members in the Cresent Moon Alliance.
After rescuing Serara, Shiroe transitions to freeing Touya and Minori from the Hamelin guild.
Respawning Enemies: Actually explained. After they are killed, Demi-Humans (ie: trash mobs) reincarnate into a new body but with no memory of their former life.
The Reveal: You can have food that doesn't taste like nothing, but you have to actually cook them while having a decent level in cooking. You know, just like Real Life.
Rousing Speech: Raynesia's appeal to the adventurers of Akiba is surprisingly effective; surprising even herself.
The core(?) of the Novasphere(?) looks like the Anteverse from Pacific Rim, complete with creepy alien critters.
In their journey to Susukino, Shiroe's party traverse the Palm's Deep.
The name of Hamelin, a guild notorious for luring and extorting unwitting beginner players, is a clear shout-out to The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
Kanami's spinoff is an extended reference to Journey to the West, except in reverse, with Kanami travelling overland eastward to Yamato/Japan. Indeed, her party's composition mirrors's Xuanzang companions, with Kanami herself filling the role as the monk.
Speaking of Kanami's spinoff, one of her companions is a walking and talking nod to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: An American two-sword wielding Assassin wearing a mask named Leonardo, who yells "COWABUNGA" as his battlecry.
In the West Wind Brigade's spinoff, Soujirou gets so excited about Elder Tales becoming reality that he briefly turns Super Saiyan.
Show, Don't Tell: Something that had to be done, as the long-winded exposition found in the light novels don't exactly translate well when animated. A good example would be the mechanics of area ownership, which Henrietta demonstrates in episode 7 by making Akatsuki helpless while she was within the Crescent Moon Alliance's territory.
So What Do We Do Now?: Most players are thrown into existential angst after realizing that they can't permanently die, let alone have any idea of what they should do. Some of them unfortunately turn to Player Killing.
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Unlike most anime where the theme of being trapped in a MMORPG (i.e. Sword Art Online) tend to be cynical, this anime takes this concept into the idealistic side. First, the protagonist serves as a Big Brother Mentor who prefers to work as a group or a team. Second, the mood is very light-hearted with more heartwarming and funny scenes (as opposed to Sword Art Online where there are more Tear Jerker and dramatic moments). Finally, there is no permanent death, meaning getting killed is really cheap (across from losing a few items and gold).
The Plan: Shiroe's plan to enforce order in Akihabara can be seen as this. First, to obtain the funds he needed, he sought help from the Crescent Moon Alliance, whom he trusted, to open an eatery utilising Nyanta's revolutionary cooking discovery. The eatery was an instant success and not only procured some funds but also attracted the attention of the large guilds. He then persuaded Marielle and Henrietta to negotiate with the large manufacturing guilds for an investment in the eatery in exchange for its secrets. This secured the funds Shiroe needed. Next, he seized the opportunity to call for a meeting among the largest and most influential guilds and proposed the formation of a self-governing council to maintain peace and order in Akihabara and appealed to the guilds through the benefits of doing so. When that failed, he revealed that he had purchased the grounds leading to the Guild Hall building, effectively granting him the ability to deny other players the right to access this vital structure. This forced the invited guilds to reach a compromise and the Round Table Council was established. It is later revealed that in case his previous gambit failed, Shiroe has yet another trump card in his sleeve. The Strategist indeed.
Start My Own: In episode 6, Shiroe decides to form a guild of his own.
Squishy Wizard: Sorcerers, Summoners, and Enchanters. The protagonist Shiroe also has this vulnerability, since he's an Enchanter.
The Strategist: Shiroe. He's an Enchanter instead of a Sorcerer, so no hurling fireballs or other direct attacks for him. He's so good at it that he doesn't/didn't need to establish a guild to make people do what he says: He was one of the leaders of the legendary raiding party Debauchery Tea Party, serving as their tactician and strategist.
Suspiciously Specific Denial: In episode 11, Shiroe asks Henrietta why she's with their group instead of at the training camp with the others. She claims to be heading to the meeting solely as an observer, but then he asks about the piece of blue cloth hanging from her basket. She claims that it's totally not a summer dress she intends for Akatsuki to wear.
Swarm of Rats: Shiroe's party encountered this while traversing through the Palm's Deep in Episode 3.
Take a Third Option: When Shiroe hears about one of Marie's guild members being stuck in a distant city, he contemplates the situation. She simply wants him and his friends to watch over the guild while she takes their strongest members out to rescue her. But he realizes that they wouldn't stand a chance out there between all the monsters and Player Killers out there. While he's hesitant to suggest it, both Naotsugu and Akatsuki are already set on heading out in their stead.
Ingredient items (sugar, fruit, etc) taste like they should but preparing them from the menu results in mush and cooking them results in the same. "Salty mush today, sugary mush yesterday".
A player that cooks for real and one possessing sufficient levels in the cook subclass can make truly delicious meals.
That's No Moon: Specifically, Shiroe learns that Elder Tale's moon is apparently the test server, at least when it was still a game. It's also a sort of temporary afterlife, as he only gets there after he dies.
The Game Come to Life: Everything looks real, but the pervading presence of game mechanics mixed in keeps reminding the trapped players of Elder Tale the game.
The Team: Teamwork is crucial in Elder Tale. Shiroe, an Enchanter, has abilites that weaken enemies and support allies but lacks any substantial offensive capabilities. Naotsugu is a Guardian and his abilities are based on defending allies. Both of them can only truly shine when they work in a team.
There are many guilds present in Elder Tale. Parts of the first episode show the various guilds scrambling to rebuild/reorganize and secure a base of operations.
Those Two Guys: The PKers Shiroe's group curbstomps early in the anime make recurring appearances from episode 2 on.
Title Drop: Shiroe's guild name is called Log Horizon.
Trapped in Another World: Technically it's just a game on Earth, but for some reason the players in this game can't log out, so they are essentially stuck.
Alternate Reality: Shiroe believes that rather than being trapped within Elder Tale - The Game, everyone is trapped in an alternate reality where Elder Tale is reality. This leads to the major guilds within Akihabara finally taking the situation more seriously, leading to the creation of the Round Table Council, implementing law and order and treating the Landers with respect.
True Companions: Debauchery Tea Party. They have/had stronger bonds than most of the guilds. And then later on, the eponymous Log Horizon.
Undying Loyalty: Akatsuki makes such an oath to Shiroe in gratitude for the appearance changing potion.
Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Reversed. Shiroe had played Elder Tale with Akatsuki for years, but never knew she was a girl in real life; her unexpectedly female voice shocks both him and Naotsugu. She uses one of his avatar-changing potions to replace her male-avatar-with-a-female-voice with something resembling her actual body. Naotsugu then decides she's very attractive.
Because death is not premanent, player-killing is common.
Because the People of the Land are NPCs, players enslave and rape them without a care.
Shops in games only exist to take the player's money, right? So why not bust the store and take what you want?
Virtual Reality: "Novasphere Pioneers" expansion pack has turned Elder Tale into one.
The World Is Just Awesome: When they finally emerge from the Palm's Deep, Shiroe's party is greeted with the sight of sunrise, which they view from a cliff.
Warp Whistle: Even with the Portal Network gone, Warp Whistle will still bring you to the last settlement you visit. This means that some people are stuck in frontier towns unless they are strong enough to traverse the wilderness.
Welcome to Corneria: The NPCs used to do this—a player is shown asking an NPC for directions and another flirts with her, but she just replies with the same welcome message. But they appear to have acquired emotion, memories, hopes, fears, and desires since the upgrade patch, and Shiroe notes that the playersmay be the strange entities in this world, given their immunity to death and video-gamey magic abilities.
Wham Line: Akatsuki delivers one in episode 3, when she tells Shiroe and Naotsugu that she is a college student in real life, despite her avatar's small stature.
Shiroe delivers one in volume 4 He tells a few members of the Round Table Council his theory on how the death system works in the new world, that you would not only lose just EXP, but your memories of the old world as well. The terrifying implications of this was confirmed by Krusty, whom died twice since the Apocalypse and could no longer remember details about his pet cat.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Some players believe the People of The Land are beneath contempt because they do not exist outside the game even if they do look human. Ironically, Shiroe points out that since all Landers have names, personalities, emotions, memories, and most importantly, can permanently die, it makes them more human than the actual players.
Log Horizon is probably one of the few series where this works both ways. As revealed in the West Wind Brigade spinoff, the Landers endured years of interacting with the hordes "inhuman" and "robotic" adventurers, and treated them as that. Which is why many of them are frankly stunned when the adventurers started acting like people to them.
Wretched Hive: Susukino under the rule a Brigandia. Murder and theft are common, NPCs are enslaved, and a violent marketplace is normal. Anyone that tries to leave is killed.
Wrong Genre Savvy: Nyanta's big revelation (see The Reveal, above) is gained from not thinking of things in game terms. Even Shiroe admits that he fell short in that regard.
Your Mind Makes It Real: Averted. Death only means you get teleported back to the nearest Cathedral and you lose some money and items. However, this is lampshaded in a conversation between Shiroe and Natsugu, where Shiroe points out that this is a distinct possibility since they didn't know if death still followed game mechanics at the time.