That’s all I watched for the Winter season. Both were holdovers from last season, which says a lot.
Strike the Blood: Horror/Harem. Lot’s of cute, competent girls, and a harem center that’s not a useless dweeb, nor an arrogant bastard like Rogue Hero. There’s been no overarching story to tie everything together, but the background mysteries have been rolled out and/or resolved at a steady pace. It’s not overly compelling, nor completely original, but it is good, solid story-telling. The final arc was a bit transparent, and probably an anime original. It gave us a look at the main character’s future.
Log Horizon: The “not Sword-Art-Online” entry this year. That’s true, it’s not SAO… in that story, everything centered around how the players got trapped in that world, and how they worked to escape. Log Horizon is the exact opposite: next to no energy is spent on dealing with getting out or solving the mystery of how they got trapped there. it’s completely impossible, as the game was never a virtual reality to start with — it was a desktop system MMO, just like WOW or Everquest. Instead, the first arc or two deals with the fallout among players being trapped, their reactions, and learning the rules of the new world. Strange echoes of the game’s backstory are found in the world’s history, and eventually, a large faction of players are organized by Shiroe (the protagonist, called “the Strategist”) to become a political and economic power combining 21st century knowledge with a strange new world. Salamander-powered steam engines? But what used to be programmed “GameMaster events” are now threats to the whole world… and the final fail-safes to keep them from being overrun are gone. Yet this isn’t the story; like STB, it’s just one arc. If there’s any underlying plot, it’s how the players learn to organize a government and deal with NPC’s that aren’t NPC’s anymore. Frankly, the lack of explanation to the world change was a negative to me, as was the childlike primary female. The “older than she looks” trope is so overdone.