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Light Novel: Log Horizon

This is our reality.

"Elder Tale" is an established MMORPG set in a post-apocalyptic version of Earth where magic and fantasy have grown over the ruins of the previous world. On the day that a new expansion pack was scheduled to become active, every single player logged into the server suddenly finds themselves within the world of Elder Tale. The game functions are still active and "death" simply revives the player at the last home point; but in every other sense, the world is "real" and has trapped hundreds of thousands of players within its walls.

With no indication of how or why this incident occurred, the players of Elder Tale must learn how to survive in this strange new world while they look for a way home.

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, Dragonshowl Mountains, focuses on Kanami: the former leader of the legendary "Debauchery Tea Party" player group. Finding herself in the game-equivalent of Rome (her current place of residence when the expansion became active), Kanami decides to travel back to Akihabara in the hope of being reunited with her most trusted friends and allies. The problem is that Kanami must make the journey overland, a distance equivalent to three thousand miles. On the way she gathers a ragtag quartet of travelling companions, experiences just how much Elder Tales has changed after becoming "real", and discovers what might be the greatest threat the world has ever faced.

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 do much to expand on the events surrounding the first few weeks post-Catastrophe. In contrast Chief Nyanta's Recipe of Happiness 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, which was followed up by two more in the wake of episodes 10 and 25.

A second season was announced at the end of the 25th episode, as is estimated to air during the fall season of 2014.

The rulebook for a Dungeons & Dragons-style tabletop RPG based on the series was released in March 2014, accompanied by a story of a session played using the rules by four manga authors — Ayasato Keiji (Beyond Another Darkness series), Murasaki Yukiya (Haken no Kouki Altina), Maruyama Kugane (OVERLORD), Shibamura Yuuri (Gunparade March: Another Princess). Set during the initial few days after the Catastrophe in the Ritorabure Islands (based on the RL Bonin Islands), four stranded Adventurers attempt to find a way to return to the mainland. On their way back they come across a mysterious Lander girl Nagi, and gets involved the incident surrounding her loss of memory.

Finally, as a general warning, this page covers tropes seen both in the anime and the light novels, as well as the various spin-offs. As such, fans of the anime (even those who have seen every episode) should be careful about reading through spoilers, as many reference plot points that have yet to come up in the anime. Consider yourself as having been warned.

Not related to Horizon In The Middle Of Nowhere.

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 Krusty's reaction to Marielle's invitation, which isn't seen in the light novel.
  • Adjusting Your Glasses: Shiroe does the "by the bridge" version constantly, usually combined with Scary Shiny Glasses. Krusty and Henrietta do the same, with Henrietta pushing hers up by the side. This leads to "Air glasses" scenes where people without glasses use the same motion to indicate 'sneakiness' or 'cunning'.
  • After the End: Elder Tale takes place in a post-apocalypse Earth. The server Shiroe plays in runs the Tokyo section of the world (specifically, Akihabara is the hub zone).
  • All Men Are Perverts: Naotsugu believes this with passion. See There Are Two Kinds of People in the World.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Amazon Chaser: Exploited by Shiroe in Episode 18 when preparing Raynesia for her speech in Akihabara. He specifically picks out a weapon for her despite the fact that she will not fight there. While "Beautiful Princess" has good appeal, "Beautiful Warrior Princess" is even better. Over a thousand adventurers agree.
  • Anatomy Of The Soul: See Japanese Mythology, below.
  • An Adventurer Is You: The following classes exist in the novel:
    • (Fighter-archetype) Guardian, Samurai, Monk.
    • (Rogue-archetype) Assassin, Swashbuckler, Bard.
    • (Priest-archetype) Cleric, Druid, Kannagi.
    • (Wizard-archetype) Sorcerer, Summoner, Enchanter.
      • Samurai and Kannagi class are Japanese server exclusive, with Western server counterparts as Pirate and Shaman.
    • Literally invoked as the players are in fact referred to as "Adventurers" by Elder Tale to distinguish them from NPCs who are called "Daichi-jin" which translates roughly to "Earthlings".
      • Translated in the anime as "People of the Land", while officially called "Landers" in book 7.
  • Arrow Catch: Rundelhous does this in episode 12, albeit unintentionally. When Minori warns him about other dangers nearby, he brushes it off and has his hand near his head. The arrow then gets caught by his fingers. In the light novel, he catches it ... with his head.
  • 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.
    • Played straight. Rudy, a lander, wished to become a heroic adventurer and he did so. First by pretending to be an adventurer and later the real deal thanks to Shiroe's magic.
  • Asshole Victim: The player killers that try to attack Shiroe's group in episode 2, and later on, the Hamelin guild. Due to the latter's abuse of lower leveled players, such as with Tohya and Minori, and other implied acts of crimes, no one bats an eye when Shiroe disbands them by preventing them from accessing their guild hall or bank vault.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Everyone. In both Real Life and the game, Naotsugu is a boisterous 'knight' and Shiroe is a beady-eyed 'wizard'. The only one who doesn't fit this trope is Akatsuki.
  • The Atoner: Once having nothing to do but to player-kill adventurers such as Minori and Tohya, a sub-set of the player-killer team that Shiroe and friends later curb-stomp in episode 2 become successful merchants. On meeting Minori and Tohya during the Scales Festival, they make a profound apology to both of them and send them on their way, loaded with free merchandise.
  • Attempted Rape: Just to show how much bigger douches than they already are in the main book series, some members of Hamelin try to do this on both Isami and Sara in the West Wind Brigade spinoff. They hint that this isn't the first time they've done this.
  • Awesome by Analysis:
    • Shiroe is able to utilize various tricks, spells, and tactics against the people and monsters fighting him and his friends when he studies who they're up against.
    • Minori is trying her best to follow in Shiroe's footsteps.
  • Badass: When you are living the life of level 90 mages and warriors, you become this.
  • Badass Adorable: Akatsuki; it comes with being a short and cute level 90 assassin.
  • Badass Army: The Akihabara Adventurers as a whole. While they aren't generally organized into a standing army, they still number upwards of 15,000, with almost half that number being Level 90. In comparison, most Landers don't go beyond Level 40, and even the other two Adventurer towns we know of don't even approach they're numbers combined.
    • Best shown during the 'Return of the Goblin King' arc, where a force of only 1200, under coordination of Shiroe and Krusty, was able to Curbstomp an army of Goblins that likely would have wiped out the Eastal Lords.
  • Badass Cape: Shiroe's white cloak emphasizes his stature as the Villain in Glasses and Strategist.
  • Badass Crew:
    • The Debauchery Tea Party successfully completed many quests and raids despite not being a guild themselves prior to its disbandment. They were so close with each other that even after years apart members of the group (such as Shiroe, Naotsugu and Nyanta) still don't need to speak in order to coordinate a well-timed, synchronised and perfect display of teamwork.
    • 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.
    • If that wasn't badass enough, during the above spoiler, Krusty led a 96-man team of Adventurers on a blitzkrieg straight into the heart of the entire tens of thousands-strong goblin horde, massacring almost every one of the goblin leaders in the process.
    • Minori's group becomes like this after the training camp. They performed very well in the defense of Chousin.
  • Badass Longcoat: The uniform worn by the Round Table Council's representatives to the conference with the League of Freedom Cities Eastal sports this.
  • 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.
  • Balloon Belly: Shiroe after the cake eating contest in episode 22. Although Akatsuki and Minori were with him, it seems neither one of them ate any, as they both seemed more interested in feeding him instead.
  • Battle Aura:
    • 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.
  • Beyond the Impossible: A justified case. "World Class Magic" is described as "magic that changes the laws of the world". In other words, one of the laws governing this setting allows for the changing of other laws. Shiroe's contract that transforms landers into adventurers is described as this kind of magic.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The Goblin King Arc features several, mostly the battle against the main Goblin force.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Shiroe does a non-action version of this at the end of episode 24, when he rescues the Princess from Lord Marval, just as he's about to force her to apologize for something she didn't do, possibly demolishing her reputation.
  • 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 the <Genius> monsters, as Kanami and her companions soon find out in her spinoff.
  • Bland-Name Product: The name Elder Tale itself is a combination of The Elder Scrolls and The Bard's Tale.
  • Blank White Eyes: Raynesia displays some in episode 13 while spending time with Krusty.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Because the anime airs on a family friendly network when enemies are defeated they die in explosions of light in place of blood, but the anime still manages to do this in a way that gives it a cool video game-ish feel. The Light novel on the other hand makes no attempt to hide this.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The theme song for the anime is bi-lingual, spoken in both accented English and fluent Japanese. Despite the accent, the English portion of the song is perfectly understandable. Despite this, whoever translated the theme song for the Crunchy Roll site subtitled one particular lyric in a very odd way. Specifically, "Crush the ones who compromise" somehow became "Crush the won't you compromise".
  • Calling Your Attacks: The characters try to play the game with commands at first, but then realize its faster just to simply call their attacks as they're doing them.
  • The Cameo: During the crowd shot of the adventurers gathered for Raynesia's speech, one might notice a party wearing wolf masks. These gentlemen happen to be Man on a Mission, the band who sung Log Horizon's opening song.
  • Canon Immigrant/Ascended Fanon: In an interesting case, the author liked various pieces of fanfiction/ideas from his fans and incorporated them into the series. Examples include much of D.D.D's background information along with guild member Alakshmi from the fanfiction D.D.D Diaries (who made a cameo appearance in episode 20 of the anime) and the names of the members of the Debauchery Tea Party.
  • Cap: Shiroe and friends are at the presumably maximum level of 90, pre-Noosphere. At post-Noosphere the level cap is now 100, as mentioned in episode 6.
  • Catfolk: Nyanta the Swashbuckler looks precisely like a cat, if said cat was a tall human.
  • Character Focus: Episode 13 spends the majority of its time with Krusty and Raynesia, who up until this point have had little screentime.
  • Character Death:
    • 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. They can genuinely die if their HP falls to zero and no one casts Resurrection before their anima fully dissipates.
    • Defied with Rudy who, on the verge of death, signs a magical contract created by Shiroe turning him into an Adventurer.
  • Cherry Tapping: In the anime, Shiroe and Nyanta reduce Demikas to 1 HP with relatively weak enchanted thorns and saber attacks. He is then killed by an impromptu staff strike from Serara, a druid 71 levels below him.note 
  • Chessmaster: Shiroe averts this, despite his nickname of "Villain in Glasses." He's more The Strategist and seeks the better for all, not for a specific personal end.
  • 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.
  • Cliff Hanger: Episode 19 ends on one, with Rudy's group surrounding him, and Isuzu revealing that he's a Lander and can't be revived.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Interestingly, both Akatsuki and Minori invoke this trope during episode 22 when both of them invite Shiroe to the couple's cake eating contest. Although he's allowed to bring both of them, they have to eat twelve whole cakes to win, and both girls also try to one up the other by feeding the cakes to him.
  • 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.
    • Michitaka has one in episode 11 after losing a Rock-Paper-Scissors game to Roderick and Charasin; the loser of which would be selected as the production guilds' representative in the Round Table Council's entourage to the Conference of the Eternal Ice Palace.
    • Happens to Raynesia a couple of times while spending time with Krusty.
  • Combat Commentator: Shiroe usually plays this role through his Inner Monologue, as befitting of The Strategist, but in episode 4, Akatsuki does this in her Inner Monologue as she figures out how Nyanta defeated Demikas.
  • Complete Immortality: The Adventurers are this. They do not age, and when they are killed, they simply respawn at a Cathedral. Ri Gan 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 Boat: The Ocypente, most notably because it's the first Steam-ship in the world, since steam power didn't exist in Elder Tale prior to the Apocalypse, built by Akihabara's Oceanic Systems Guild. It's also big enough to transport nearly the entire Akihabara Expeditionary Force during the Goblin King arc.
  • Cool Horse: The Griffins summoned using a legendarily rare flute.
  • Conspicuous CG: It's pretty easy to tell that the Goblins and Sauhagin are 3D models.
  • Corner of Woe: Maryele fell into one in episode 11 after being told off by Henrietta to not neglect her responsibilities as guild master and a member of the Round Table Council.
  • Cruel to Be Kind:
    • In episode 20, Shiroe seems like a complete Jerk Ass to Rundelhous when he first runs into the latter. However, the reason he did it was because he wanted to make sure Rudy had the conviction to continue living. Nobody was even sure if this would've worked, but Shiroe did what he thought would make for the best possible outcome. Fortunately for them, it works. A more lighthearted example occurs at the end, when Rudy wakes up in the cathedral, and Isuzu repeatedly hits him on the head and treats him like a dog, even having him give his "paw" to her.
    • In episode 25 he does it again, this time towards Reynesia. While it seems cruel to her at first, he was purposely acting that way in order to let Krusty and the other guild leaders of the Round Table look good and call out Malves on his attempt to make her look like a fool.
  • Cry Cute: Minori in episode 22 after seeing Akatsuki and Shiroe sharing a close moment together.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Shiroe and his friends deliver some to some random monsters in the first episode. They then do it again to a random Player Killer group who thought they had the upper hand in an ambush.
    • The PKers that went up against Soujirou and Isaac in the West Wind Brigade side-story face this, easily slaughtered after fleeing the WWB guild members.
    • Three raid bosses did this to Shiroe and the Silver Sword when two of them left their lair and intervened mid-fight.
    • The adventurers who aid in the goblin king event when Raynesia asks for their help. Due to a combination of more adventurers fighting, their higher levels in general, and the use of coordinated strategy and tactics between groups scattered far across the lands, they successfully defeat the horde armies.
  • Cuteness Proximity:
    • 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.
    • Exploited and weaponized by Shiroe during the Festival arc, by using Souchiro's legion of attractive fangirls to cool down the minor incidents and complaints happening around the city.
  • 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.
    • Minori turns into one as well when Shiroe learns of her situation in the Hamelin guild and vows to rescue her and the others trapped there.
  • Dances and Balls:
    • The League of Freedom Cities Eastal invite the Round Table Council of Akibara to one as a cover for information gathering and political/trade deals.
    • There's a second one after the first victory over the Goblin King as a celebration and more rank-and-file adventurers are present.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Monsters are slowly gaining more and more intelligence and are becoming this.
    • The seventh book is full of this. When Shiroe and the Silver Swords were fighting a raid boss, two different raid bosses from different parts of the same dungeon leave their respective lairs to come to its aid and curb stomped 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.
    • Kanami's spinoff trumps any example shown in the printed material so far, after it reveals the existence of the <Genius> monsters. Not only do they play on the pre-programmed limitations of the Ancients to either destroy or seal them, they abuse game mechanics to make themselves nigh unstoppable. Just to show how dangerous these things are, only two of them nearly overrun China.
  • Darkest Hour: The Landers were on the brink of collapse due to a 60 year Hopeless War against the demi-humans, until 240 years ago, a divine summoning spell was used which summoned the messengers of the gods; the Adventurers (or at least Beta Testers).
  • Deadly Euphemism: "I'll send you to the Cathedral!" is the worst you can say, since adventurers cannot permanently die.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Everyone was immensely relieved to find out that they can't be Killed Off for Real by being killed in battle. Unfortunately, that encouraged some people to become Player Killers.
    • 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. Krusty himself says this is a double subversion because he figures one would have to die dozens of times before the memory loss became an inconvience. Comparitively speaking, that's still pretty cheap.
  • Declaration of Protection: Akatsuki declares that she will protect Shiroe like a ninja protects her lord.
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming:
    • Since the Apocalypse, players are increasingly uncertain if the MMO world of "Elder Tale" is even a game anymore.
    • 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"
    • In-universe, both Adventurers and Landers concern themselves that neither side behaves as before. This has unfortunate outcomes later as Adventurers don't receive regular quests from the now-sentient Landers (and thus cannot guard against world events that can now become true disasters for Landers) nor are adventurers assured to gain game-standard equipment (such as their Bag of Holding).
  • 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.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: 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.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: The overall mood of negotiations between the League of Freedom Cities Eastal and the Akihabara Round Table Council. The Landers hope to Do Not Taunt Cthulhu and retain friendly association with the Adventurers. Fortunately for them, the Round Table Council have no dreams of conquest and desire to peacefully continue mutually beneficial relations.
    • During this period, the novels mention that in the army of one of the nobles, there are perhaps fifteen knights who are level 30. The rest are guards, mercenaries and other low-level Landers. Akihabara is host to fifteen thousand Adventurers, and half of them are level 90. Akihabara could dominate the entire continent with perhaps a score of Adventurers, if the Round Table was of a mind.
  • Diegetic Interface: The interface menus that are a staple of MMO's are seen by Adventures and can be accessed without casting a spell or wearing special gear.
  • Don't Think. Feel:
    • 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. This 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.
    • In the first episode, Minori and Tohya are seen wandering around around the same time Shiroe and Naotsugu run into Akatsuki. While many other characters that will show up later are also given brief appearances, the duo are seen at least three times, once while walking around, another while leaving for the outside world, and again when being recruited by Hamelin.
  • Easy Sex Change: It's possible with a very rare potion that's obtainable in an event quest, which is no longer available. 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.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: Tohya sees some goblins picking up a doll at a nearby settlement in episode 16. Recalling the little girl who owned it, and realizing her fate, he attacks the goblins with some help from Rundelhous.
  • 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.
  • Evil Counterpart: Minami to Akihabara. At the same time that Shiroe was trying to unite the major guilds and form the Round Table Council, Nureha was manipulating the Lander nobles and managed to purchase the cathedral, thus gaining full control of Minami. Every Adventurer in Minami were then forced to join Plant Hwayden. Having only one guild united the Adventurers of Minami and solved the issue of large/small guilds. The city closed itself to the outside world, to the point where even Shiroe could barely obtain any intel. However, this created a dictatorship and rule by fear, as the Adventurers are terrified of losing access to the cathedral. Minami is essentially what Akihabara could have become had Shiroe failed in creating the Round Table Council or had he chosen to solve Akihabara's problems in another way.
  • 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.
  • Experience Booster: EXP Pots. They double XP gained and remove the XP penalties from fighting lower leveled monsters.
  • Expy: The Goblin King is very remeniscent of Ganon.
  • External Retcon: The light novel doesn't detail how Shiroe and company learn about how death works, just that they had learned that you would respawn if you died. This is further explored in the West Wind Brigade side story, when Shouji is killed by City Guards. He's indicated in the manga as being the first person to die; the anime is unspecific about who it was but by all appearances the guy shown as being the first person to respawn in the anime adaptation was NOT Shouji.
    • The West Wind Brigade manga has a number of instances such as this. Enough, in fact, that the entire comic's status as hard-canon is suspect.
  • 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.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief:
    • Naotsugu (Guardian), Shiroe (Enchanter), Akatsuki (Assassin— not Ninja).
    • Back then during the glory days of Debauchery Tea Party, it was Naotsugu, Shiroe, and Nyanta (Swashbuckler).
  • Flavor Text: Interestingly, the various descriptions on items that was originally just miscellaneous background information is starting to become real. Blacksmiths find that they can write flavor text on new equipment. This leads to repercussions when a sword with the description that it belonged to an Ancient raid boss finds its hands on a Royal Guard, and Misa's Calamity Hearts description ending up being Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Prior to the big reveal, the anime did everything but say outright that Rundelhous is a Lander. This included flat-out showing it ( His name display was always that of a Lander), and simply saying nothing about it.
    • Due to Volume 6 and 7 of the light novels occuring simultaneously, events that occur in volume 6 foreshadows what will happen in volume 7.
    • The end of episode 24 essentially foreshadows the upcoming events of season 2.
  • For the Evulz: One reason for players who have taken up Player Killing; they couldn't get away with such an evil act in real life so here it is fun.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The game interfaces provides a quite a lot of information whenever they briefly appear on screen. In Episode 1 for example, Shiroe's griffon whistle is shown while he is browsing his inventory list. His friend list also contains quite a few Early Bird Cameos. More significantly, before Shiroe accessed his friend list, he scrolled past a status box which showed that the public zone he is in is available for purchase.
    • Another instance is during episode 14, when Minori and her companions were having breakfast, specifically the scene with Isuzu and Rundelhous, which displays their status. Isuzu's displays as "Human/Adventurer", while Rundelhous' shows "Human/Sorcerer" instead, and whats more the latter's status shows a different color to Isuzu's (green to Isuzu's blue). Also, Isuzu can't add Rundelhous to her friend list. This is a hint that Rudy isn't an adventurer at all, but a Lander pretending to be one.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • In episodes 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.
    • Another instance is Misa, Krusty's aide, quietly putting six spoons worth of sugar into her coffee during the discussion in episode 12, and looking absolutely delighted while she was doing so.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • : Nyanta. First in the anime to deduce how to utilize game skills to manipulate real life (though this is how combat is performed, it isn't shown that Shiroe makes this connection). The fact that he has demonstrated that game mechanics can be invoked by actually performing the task (cooking) while simultaneously demonstrating that real-life mechanics can be augmented by game skills (only high-level chefs can actually create recipes and food) is arguably reaching Reality Warper levels of Genre Savvy.
  • GIFT:
    • Since no one can die, some people take dickery to an unbelievable level. Brigandia guildsmen brutally kill everyone who try to leave Susukino. It's implied that they murder and rape NPCs like it's nothing. note 
    • 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 grieving low level players, slavery, forced confinement, murder, and rape should be made illegal without objection.
  • G.I.R.L.:
    • Averted 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.
    • Magus from the West Wind Brigade manga spinoff turns out to be one as well.
    • Alakshmi, a character from the fanfiction-turned canon novel D.D.D Diaries is also one.
    • During his time on the beta testing server, Shiroe had a female Summoner called Roe2.
  • Girls' Night Out Episode: In Volume 6 of the light novel, with Krusty/Issac off raiding the Goblin King and Shiroe/Naotsugu off on a mission to Susukino, the novel centers on Akatsuki and various girls of Akihabara as they deal with a crisis in the city.
  • Girly Girl: Cute and friendly girls who often think about romance are the key to solving a crisis that had Shiroe stumped. The random social disturbances in the Libra Festival, ranging from antagonistic merchants to domestic quarrels, can't be countered with any other means.
  • Going Commando: Much to the dismay of the Adventurers, underwear doesn't exist in Elder Tales. Once its revealed that players can craft items manually, a massive demand erupted over the manufacturing of underwear (especially among the female Adventurers). It got to the point where it became one of the most profitable profession with the average piece of underwear selling for the same price as a mid-tier magical item.
  • God Is Good: Implied. Automatic respawning in a cathedral has a "saved by divine grace" air to it.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Raynesia offers to go to Akihabara to ask the adventurers directly for help in defeating the goblin armies after talks between the nobles and adventurer leaders goes nowhere. Although she doesn't think anyone would seriously help, they're all smitten by her speech and looks, as well as being hyped up for a major event/quest in the game. As a result, practically everyone present volunteers.
  • Good Feels Good: Why Shiroe is helping the Crescent Moon Alliance; they're friends and he'd rather do good than player kill.
  • Got Volunteered: The Adventurers when the Round Table is invited to attend a conference organised by the Eastal League. To summarise, Krusty doesn't really want to be there because he's lazy but is volunteered by Isaac and Soujirou, Shiroe is basically ordered to go by all ten of the other representatives, and the crafting guild leaders have a best-of-eleven match of Rock-Paper-Scissors, ending in the other two saying Michitaka would be happy to go (while Michitaka himself is washed out of all color and apparently crying on the table).
  • Gratuitous English: Loads
    • The series name (and eponymous guild name) Log Horizon.
    • A ton of in game terms, cooldowns being referred to as "recast time" is common.
    • The theme Database is 3/4 english.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: All of the patrons at the cake eating contest in episode 22 look at Shiroe with envy as he's sharing cake with both Minori and Akatsuki. To make matters worse, both girls also insist on feeding him, causing him to think that fighting multiple raid bosses would be a less difficult situation than the one he's currently in.
  • Grew a Spine: Shrinking Violet Princess Raynesia's decision to appeal directly to the Adventurers for help.
  • 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.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Rudy gets the attention of the two dire wolves attacking Tohya along with a hobgoblin, since the three are too much for the latter on his own. The wolves do massive damage to him, but he also casts a large explosion spell which knocks both of them out of the picture. Unfortunately the damage was extremely severe to Rudy himself, and the group finds out that their revive and healing spells don't work on him.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: Akatsuki's face is completely red with steam rising from her head after Shiroe catches her secretly learning how to dance in episode 13.
  • Hopeless War: In the world of Elder Tales, the Landers were on the brink of collapse as the result of an endless war with demihumans. The reason is because demihumans just reincarnate after death, whereas Landers die permanently.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: After Elder Tales become real, people have trouble using their menu-activated skills in the heat of combat. Fortunately, Don't Think. Feel happens to apply.
  • Hub City: In Yamato, Akihabara, Shibuya, Minami, Susukino and Nakasu are the major cities where Adventurers operate from. Akihabara is the main Adventurer city of Yamato and the only one that remains stable. Of the others, being a newer city, Shibuya is all but abandoned, Susukino fell into anarchy with most of the population fleeing for Akihabara until the Silver Swords kicked out Brigandia and brought order, Minami became a dictatorship after Nureha purchased all the major buildings, including the Cathedral, and Nakasu's status remains unknown. In North America, the main hub city is New York City, which in the wake of the Apocalypse, fell into complete chaos.
  • 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.
    • Krusty when he's around Raynesia, especially when wearing his armor.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Adventurers look human to the Landers but they have alien thought processes, re-spawn like demi-humans, and possess superhuman abilities. There's also the fact that they arrived from beyond the skies after the second use of World Fraction, a world-class magic spell.
  • 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.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: Phantasmal-class gear, so rare that only one copy can exist per server.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: In-Universe. Shiroe notes that his and Naotsugu's avatars are spot-on in terms of facial features. He theorizes that this is true for everyone, but wonders exactly how it works for non-humans or Cross Players.
  • 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 Tales 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 Tales 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.
  • Japanese Mythology: The explanation for how the respawn and resurrection mechanics work is actually a very clever nod to Shinto mythology. Particularly, the "kon" (or "psyche") and "paku" or ("animus") are directly lifted from Shinto belief on the Anatomy Of The Soul.
  • Japanese Spirit: This trope is subjected to a Decon-Recon Switch in this series. Atypical of most anime, the main character is not an Idiot Hero or Book Dumb, and thus the story does not bend over backward to make sheer Determination the highest virtue possible. In fact, the Training Camp arc goes out of its way to demonstrate how fighting spirit and Training from Hell alone are a recipe for disaster. At the same time, however, it's still shown that Resolve (another of the three virtues of the trope) has its purpose, and that although strategy is absolutely necessary, there are times when you need to act. At one point, they even paraphrase a Samurai mantra which states that failure to act when necessary makes one no better than those already dead. Thus far, the Japanese Spirit trope is kept in delicate balance with actual pragmatism.
  • 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.
  • Killed Off for Real: In the first episode, Shiroe's group discuss whether or not this is the case now that Elder Tales is a VR. The second episode confirms this is not the case because a guy respawns in the cathedral like normal. However, any Lander whom dies is Killed Off for Real and can never be resurrected once their anima fully dissipates. But it doesn't mean you can't Take a Third Option.
  • The Leader:
    • Shiroe was formerly the head tactician of Debauchery Tea Party. After being trapped in the game he acts as the de-facto leader of his party and eventually becomes the leader of his guild.
    • Kanami acted as the leader of Debauchery Tea Party, leading the group all sorts of adventures in the name of having fun playing the game.
    • The Akihabarian Army that marches to fight the Goblin King's army is lead by a triumvirate; Krusty as the general, Shiroe as the strategist and Raynesia as the figurehead/morale builder.
  • Lethal Chef: Anyone who doesn't have sufficient levels in cooking.
  • Level Grinding: The reason why EXP Pots are valuable commodities.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There are more than two dozens characters in the opening, each have their own share in the story.
  • Loners Are Freaks:
    • While Shiroe has lots of friendsnote  and is sociable with everyone around him, he has an aversion to joining a guild. He eventually gets over it, though Log Horizon is still one of the smaller guilds.
    • 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:
    • Within cities, the powerful guard NPCs step in to punish any player who harms another. However, this only applies to actions that lower Hit Points, so things that simply cause pain don't count. Or sexual assault.
    • Being a minor guild of only four people (at the start), Log Horizon would ordinarily have been excluded from any conference involving the high-level guilds, but because Shiroe called for and organised the Round Table conference, that earns him a seat at the Round Table Council.
    • In episode 22, Shiroe is allowed by the organizer of the couple's cake eating contest to take both Minori and Akatsuki. Unfortunately this earns the ire of every other patron, particularly when the two girls insist on feeding him. On top of that, they have to finish twelve whole cakes (as opposed to slices that the other couples had) in order to win the competition.
  • Lord British Postulate: Not for an NPC this time, but one of the topics the conversation between Shiroe and Nureha go over is whether or not it's possible to permanently kill off an adventurer, who would just respawn at a cathedral anyway. While for Shiroe it becomes something of an intellectual exercise, for his companion it's a big deal as she believes that she's haunted by the spirits of the adventurers she blacklisted from accessing Minami's cathedral.
  • Loss of Identity: As time goes on, Adventurers are finding that they are becoming more and more like their avatars. GIRLs are starting to act more and more like their avatar's gender along with their voices becoming more masculine/feminine. This along with the loss of old world memories after every death means that eventually, all Adventurers will truly go native in Elder Tales.
  • Lost Technology: Many of the MMO aspects such as the banking system, Fairy Rings, Royal Guards, and the currency system are all ancient Alv technologies. No one knows how they work and they cannot be replicated. The entire Kunie clan are charged with managing these technologies, having sworn an oath to remain completely neutral and stay out of politics.
  • Love Epiphany: Minori realizes this in episode 22 towards Shiroe. Unfortunately she also realizes Akatsuki likes him too, after seeing her rubbing Shiroe's forehead in a romantic fashion. She runs off crying.
  • Love Triangle: Between Shiroe, Akatsuki and Minori. Brought up to Love Dodecahedron as Henrietta also shows signs of interest, and another woman seems very interested in Shiroe's actions thus far.
  • 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. The implications of this are earth-shattering, to say the least, and Shiro is keenly aware of it. For this reason, he's sworn to keep it an absolute secret.
  • Mighty Glacier: Naotsugu's job is to tank and have the enemies focus on him instead of weaker allies such as Shiroe and Akatsuki.
  • Mission Control:
    • Minori briefly acts as this in episode 17 for her group.
    • Shiroe's tactical tent in episode 19 featured a half-dozen girls performing this role for his real-time telepathic command and control network.
  • Mistaken for Gay: In episode 22, Minori tells her brother Tohya that she likes Shiroe. He says it was obvious, and says he admires him as well, causing her to assume he liked Shiroe this way. He immediately clarifies his position to her.
  • Moe: invoked Shiroe weaponizes this during the Libra Festival. To combat Lord Marves' plan to stir up social unrest and undermine the Round Table Council, he uses Soujiro's harem. "It's hard to cause trouble when you're surrounded by young girls".
  • 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 comfortable flannel pajamas rather than attend a stuffy meeting between nobles. Krusty's ability to manage her is in part because his sister's a NEET as well
  • Mundane Made Awesome: In episode 25, Minori compares the Libra Festival's Management to a dungeon raiding party. Granted, a lander noble was engaging in social sabotage and stirring up domestic unrest so it was something of a serious battle but when she says things like "I will defend the rear line when my life" and sets down to push papers, it sounds like this trope.
  • 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'.
  • News Travels Fast:
    • 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 Crescent Moon burger.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The flashback scene in episode 14 showing the log-in screen of the Elder Tales beta version reveals that it was released in 1998, and considering that the game has a 20-year old history, this would mean that this series is set in 2018.
  • Ninja: Akatsuki calls herself one, but technically she's an assassin.
  • Not a Date: Izuzu touring the festival with Rudy isn't a date, it's "walking her dog."
  • 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 raid drop sword flavored as containing the spirit of 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 manageable 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 when they received a VERY unwelcome surprise as the two other raid bosses within the dungeon had left their respective lairs to assist the one they were fighting. 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.
  • Once an Episode: Someone will adjust their glasses, or mimic the motion of arranging their glasses, despite not wearing any themselves. The total number of times this happens over the course of the series was, of course, tracked.
  • 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 'Homesteading the Noosphere' update.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: Due to the game becoming real, its possible to utilize strategies and twist the established game rules to do things people had never thought of before. Examples of this are the Overskills, which utilizes/combines class skills in such a way to create something entirely new, and the plan Rieze came up with to defeat the Murderer. Because Lugrias would increase his stats based on the number of Adventurers within a 50 meter radius, they could only fight him with a bare minimum number of people to avoid increasing his stats too much. Attacking him with long range spells is also not an option since longest range for spells is only 20 meters. Her solution to this? Lure him into the bottom floor of a multi-story building while her group is on the top floor (and thus outside the 50 meter radius), cast a bunch of ice spells, and let gravity do the rest.
  • Painful Transformation: Akatsuki's change in body model. She screams as if she's being murdered horribly!
  • 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 from the city bank, effectively cutting them off from their money and items and forcing them to leave for another city.
  • Pinned to the Wall: Happens to Rundelhous in episode 12 when his group encounters some skeleton archers.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Akatsuki is small (especially compared to Shiroe and Naotsugu), but deadly.
  • Player Killing / Player Versus Player: Shiroe thinks some players resorted to this in episode 2 because of the lack of a goal and anything better to do in the game.
  • 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 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.
  • Portal Network: It's offline, forcing players to walk through the game-world from one place to another.
    • This in turn necessitates the 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.
  • Power Armor: The Royal Guards are actually Landers wearing ancient Alv magical power armors. Their power can be adjusted and is currently at the equivalent of a Lv 110 Adventurer. However, they require tremendous amount of magical energy to even function, and each draws upon magical energies from a gigantic magic circle under each city. They are also specifically tuned for the magical circle of city, so they will be useless if any attempts to leave the city they're tied to.
  • Rare Random Drop:
    • 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.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Isaac of the Black Sword Guild and Krusty of the D.D.D. Guild, both of them combat focused guilds and members of the Akihabara Round Table Council. Isaac doesn't wear red clothing, but he does have red hair coloring and the fiery personality to match.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Invoked during episode 14. After Ri Gan mentions that Shiroe first appeared in their records 98 years ago, Akatsuki asks him if he's really that old. Shiroe understandably denies it, then remembers that time in the game world goes much faster than in real life, so the 98 years in the game equated to about a little over 8 years in the real world, which was the total elapsed time since he started playing Elder Tale.
  • Recurring Extra: The PK-ers Shiroe fights in episode 2 make multiple appearances, basically playing as representatives of average players.
  • Rescue Arc:
    • 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: Discussed Trope. After they are killed, Demi-Humans (ie: trash mobs) reincarnate into a new body but with no memory of their former life.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Shiroe is convinced by Minori and Akatsuki to enter a cake-eating contest with them, only to have his reputation in Akihabara worsen dramatically. When a restaurant punishes him for this (a contest for whoever can eat the most cake, top eight eating for free, results in Shiroe being given twelve cakes rather than cake slices), he quietly excuses himself, goes back to the guild hall, calls Soujirou and advises him to take his entire 64-person guild and enter the contest, just so they can win and get their money's worth.
  • The Reveal:
    • You can have food that doesn't taste like nothing, but you have to cook them while having a decent level in cooking. You know, just like Real Life.
      • Turns out to have farther reaching implications EVERYTHING you could do in real life can be done in game now if you can get the materials. You just have to be able to do it by hand.
    • Rudy's group finds out from Isuzu that he's a Lander. Isuzu knew about it, but was asked to keep it a secret from the others at the time.
  • Rousing Speech: Raynesia's appeal to the adventurers of Akiba is surprisingly effective; surprising even herself.
  • Run or Die: Played for Laughs in episode 12, after Tohya, Minori, Rundelhous, Serara, and Isuzu do this after they attract more monsters than they can handle. Rundelhous is hilariously still stuck on the wall when they start this. (In the light novel, he just takes the arrow to the head.)
  • Running Gag:
    • Naotsugu saying something perverted, causing Akatsuki to knee him in the face and then ask Shiroe for retroactive permission while Naotsugu complains about said acts.
    • Henrietta's vulnerability to Akatsuki's cuteness and, later, her unending quest to shove Akatsuki into adorable outfits.
    • Any character with glasses (namely Shiroe, Henrietta, and Krusty) pushing them up. This is so pervasive that even characters without glasses make the motion whenever they want to be seen as crafty. Naotsugu calls this "air glasses".
    • Isuzu thinking of Rudy as a golden retriever.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Unwilling to be Henrietta's dress-up doll, she runs from the scary lady to hide somewhere in the guild building. Unfortunately, the doors can't be opened and she is doomed to dress as waitress.
  • Secret Keeper: In episode 19, Isuzu reveals that she knew Rudy was a Lander. However, she was asked to keep it a secret from the others, because Rudy also claimed he was going to become an Adventurer like them, and thus be immortal. Unfortunately, he suffered some major injuries due to some high level monsters attacking their group.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Defied. When Rudy says that "[death] is a natural consequence of battle", Shiroe bitterly decries him for it and says that the point of being an adventurer is not to give up on living so easily, but to learn to do whatever it takes to survive.
  • Sequel Hook: The very end of episode 25 shows plot points that will figure prominently in the second season: the rogue Guard at Akiba, Demicas and William at Suzukino, and the source of all gold coins in Yamato.
  • Serious Business: Akatsuki in episode 22 regarding finding suitable clothing to wear while attending the cake eating contest with Shiroe. She initially considered Henrietta's advice, but goes against it and instead asks two of the merchant guild leaders for help instead.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Debauchery Tea Party.
    • See Tastes Like Chicken, below.
    • 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.
    • When Princess Raynesia tries to raise a volunteer army of adventurers, you can see four wolf-headed adventurers in the crowd, a reference to the band MAN WITH A MISSION, who performed the anime's opening song.
    • Speaking of Raynesia's speach, her name and armor is reminiscent of Valkyrie Lenneth from Valkyrie Profile.
    • During the pub scene with Nyanta and Serara, you can see Maou, Yuusha, and Onna Kishi on the left, along with a blue recolored Suguha.
  • 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.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: Volumes 6 and 7 of the light novels occur at the same time, from Akatsuki and Shiroe's point of view.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Unlike most anime where the theme of being trapped in a MMORPG (i.e. Sword Art Online, .hack) 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). Until the reveal that dying causes you to lose your memories.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses:
    • Shiroe, the mage-strategist and resident Enchanter, wears glasses.
    • Ditto Krusty, the leader of D.D.D., who's shown himself to be just as shrewd as Shiroe, albeit in different areas (Shiroe is better with long term, Krusty is better with short term).
  • Smurfette Principle: Maryelle is the only female member in the 11-member Round Table Council.
  • Sneeze Cut: In episode 8 after Henrietta commented on Shiroe's notoriety, the scene cuts to him sneezing, making him wondering whether it is possible to catch a cold in the new world.
  • 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.
  • Spanner in the Works: Malves Garitier attempts to cause disruption during the festival in Akihabara, by making the Round Table and Reynesia look bad with a lot of disruptions from the Landers. But thanks to Minori, Shiroe is able to figure out what Malves was up to, and with the help of several of the other Round Table leaders, calls Malves out on his bluff, and he ends up leaving in a huff after they come up with counters to everything he tried to complain about.
  • Spell My Name with an S: The update which transported the players into Elder Tale is often translated as "Novasphere Pioneers", a meaningless Word Salad Title. But in some cases, it is translated as "Homesteading the Noosphere", which the author confirms is a reference to this essay. In fact, the essay was the basis for the series.
    • Some of the names in this series in the Crunchyroll translations are transliterated differently from that of the original novels, most notably "Marielle" for Maryelle and "Lenessia" for Rayneshia.
    • The anime can't even agree on the correct spelling for Rundelhous. It's been spelled: "Rundellhous Kode" in the anime itself (his voice actor chose this name), "Rundel Haus" (BD 4), and "Rundellhaus" (BD 5). Of course, the light novel gives its own spelling: "Rundelhous".
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To Sword Art Online; No permanent death, no apparent goal, and a more lighthearted tone in general. Even the protagonists of both series are antitheses; Kirito of Sword Art Online is a solitary swordsman, while Shiroe is a magician who relies on well-executed teamwork. Also, SAO is largely Kirito's personal saga, while Log Horizon is the story of Shiroe and friends, the eponymous guild.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening reveals many spoilers from the original novels for the keen-eyed viewer. Examples include showing the Mare Tranquillitatis, Shiroe's young guild members, Princess Raynesia's appeal for a volunteer army, Rundelhous' "death" and the founding members of the Round Table Council, among others.
  • Standard Status Effect: Sleep, Paralysis, Plague, and Confusion exist in the game.
  • Start My Own: In episode 6, Shiroe decides to form a guild of his own.
  • Stat-O-Vision: Adventurers use their Diegetic Interface to call up information on another person's (or monster's) Character Class, health condition, power levels, specializations, and similar data at a glance.
  • 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.
    • Minori is Shiroe's apprentice in this regard. She practices his methods and emulates his Full Encounter Control.
  • Strategy Schmategy: The major antagonist of the Festival arc employs this by causing random disturbances throughout Akihabara. Shiroe spends hours trying to find a pattern in the chaos, and he's horrified when he realizes that no such pattern exists. Not having a strategy is the enemy's strategy.
  • 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 magic bag. 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.
  • Swashbuckler: Nyanta not only duel-wields two rapiers, but dresses in fine clothing and has no problem in politely questioning your parentage and/or combat prowess as he challenges you to fight.
  • 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.
    • In episode 16, Minori suggests that instead of protecting the town and trying to evacuate the citizens, they should go and attack the goblins before they reach the city.
    • Raynesia offers one in episode 17, after the lords and adventurers are unable to agree on what to do regarding the goblin invasion. She offers to go to Akihabara herself and ask for volunteers there.
    • Shiroe does this when faced with taking either Minori or Akatsuki to the cake eating contest for couples. He ends up being allowed to bring both girls, but they have to eat more cake to win the competition as a result.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: Played with.
    • Even if they look like a king's feast, all food tastes like Japanese rice crackers and all drinks taste like water.
    • 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.
  • The Team: Teamwork is crucial in Elder Tale.
    • Shiroe, an Enchanter, has abilities 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.
    • Izuzu's bard abilities are nothing special by themselves, but when used in combination with a tank and a mage they can be Simple Yet Awesome.
    • 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.
  • Team Shot: The final scene of the opening theme shows all of the current members of the Log Horizon guild viewing the sun over the horizon together.
  • 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.
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: According to Naotsugu, all men are either openly perverted, or closet perverts. He's the former. This dichotomy doesn't apply to women.
  • Those Two Guys: The PKers Shiroe's group curbstomps early in the anime make recurring appearances from episode 2 on.
  • Timed Mission: The "Return of the Goblin King" was a biannual event back when Elder Tales was a game. The goblin tribes spend a week deciding on their next king and the players have until then to kill the heir apparent. If they do, they score rare items and the goblins go back to bickering among st themselves for another six months. If they don't, then a goblin king is crowned, the goblin tribes are united, and the encounter rate for all goblin races increases dramatically. Because the adventurers were so busy trying to make the world livable for themselves they forgot all about it. An army of ten thousand goblins march to Eastal's capital in Episode 16 and a smaller, but still big, raiding party marches to a coastal town.
  • 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.
  • True Companions: Debauchery Tea Party. They have/had stronger bonds than most of the guilds. And then later on, the eponymous Log Horizon.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The story eventually splits into two distinct but interweaving plots; in volumes 3 and 4 of the light novel, the "A" story focused on Shiroe and the Round Table Council delegation's interaction with the Landers while the "B" story focused on the beginner players and their travails.
  • Undying Loyalty: Akatsuki makes such an oath to Shiroe in gratitude for the appearance changing potion.
  • Uneven Hybrid: There is lore about Elder Tale saying that since the Alvs had a very low population, and since they historically intermarried with humans they've basically become extinct. However Alv genes live on in Humans in the present day. Their genes are plentiful enough that occasionally a Half Alv will be born to a human family due to the Alv genes being recessive.
  • 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.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Thoroughly explored.
    • Because death is not permanent, 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: "Homesteading the Noosphere" expansion pack has turned Elder Tales 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.
  • The War Sequence: These were apparently available back when Elder Tale was still a game as so-called 'Legion Raids', which required upwards of 100 participating players.
  • 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 players may 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.
    • Rodrick delivers four consecutive ones in volume 6. He tells members of his guild that 1) According to their latest research, Adventurers are starting to be able to successfully cook/craft without the required skill. 2) Yamato (and likely the world) is slowly expanding and becoming the same distance as the real world. 3) Adventurers real life selves are slowly being over-ridden by their avatars. 4) Flavor text on items, which were previously just misc lore material, is starting to become true. All this indicates that the world is under-going a major change and they have no idea what may happen.
  • 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 of the Brigandia guild. 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.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Many of Souchiro's fangirls seem to be this. In episode 24, when Shiroe affectionately (and platonically) places a hand on Soujirou's shoulder, some of them react with confusion, some with jealousy, and some with pleasant interest.
  • 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 Naotsugu, where Shiroe points out that this is a distinct possibility since they didn't know if death still followed game mechanics at the time.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • The young adventurers get attacked by a swarm of demi-humans at the end of episode 15. Even the higher level players there are shocked by the sheer number of them.
    • Episode 25: Lord Marves uses a swarm of paperwork, unhappy merchants and domestic disputes to overwhelm the Libra Festival's management and stir up unrest. Shiroe's response is to overwhelm them with Soujirou's harem.

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