'Log Horizon' Season 3: Light Novel/Manga Enough For Anime's Third Season -- Is Mamare Touno's Story Canceled?

News about the Log Horizon Season 3 release date is wanted by many anime fans, but will author Mamare Touno's vision ever be fully adapted? The good news is that there is now enough source material from the light novels to create a third season of the Log Horizon anime. The story might also be close to reaching an ending. The bad news is that the writer's legal problems are rumored to prevent Log Horizon Season 3 from ever gracing fans' TV screens.

The story started life as a web novel series that was eventually published by Enterbrain (the English translation is handled by Yen Press and Log Horizon Volume 10 is scheduled to release on February 27, 2018). The series also spawned multiple Log Horizon manga series, with Volume 10 of Log Horizon: The West Wind Brigade scheduled to come out in Japan on November 9, 2017. That spinoff is expected to end in 2018 with Volume 11.

The first anime season covered the events of the first five volumes of the Log Horizon light novel series. The second season covered volumes 6 through 10. There are differences between the anime and the light novels, with some being fairly minor, while other changes removed foreshadowing. Some fans felt that the pacing of the second season was rushed since Volume 9 was squished into a single episode.

As of this article's publishing, Enterbrain has only published the 10 volumes, with the most recent, Homesteading Of The Noosphere, having been released back in September of 2015. But author Mamare has continued to release the web novel volumes online. Log Horizon Volume 11 is called Krusty, Typhoon Lord, Volume 12 is named Collapse of the Round Table, and Volume 13 is titled Nightingale's Song. Volume 14, Twilight Orphan, is halfway complete as of August 31, 2017.

None of the English fan projects have attempted to translate the new web novel volumes that continue the story where the anime left off. There are fan translation projects for the books, but they stopped in 2016 with Volume 8 when Yen Press announced the official English translation of the Log Horizon light novel series.

The good news is that Enterbrain recently announced that Log Horizon Volume 11 of the web novels will be edited into an official light novel. Publisher Kadokawa has officially confirmed that the new light novel will be released on March 20, 2018.

Log Horizon Season 3 Will Be The Ending?

Way back in 2013, Mamare answered many questions in a discussion which took place on 4chan. Besides discussing in-world mechanics, sexy heroines, and his favorite waifu, the author revealed that he planned on ending the story with Log Horizon Volume 15.

"I intend to make Log Horizon a 15 volume series, with some small things on the side," Mamare said, according to Crunchyroll News. "I should be able to complete it with your support."

Of course, Mamare may change his mind about ending the story in 15 volumes. Since making that statement, he has integrated side stories into the main plot, which probably lengthened the overall story. The author's official website and TRPG Twitter account provide weekly news updates, so anime fans should follow the author to see if he announces his intentions in 2018. But for the sake of argument let's assume he sticks with his original plan.

Based on Mamare's prior progress rate, he tends to write a web novel volume within several months and then take a short hiatus. Assuming the author's hiatus from August ends soon, that means Volume 14 could be done in the first half of 2018. Volume 15 could be completed in the second half of 2018 if the writer pushes himself.

What does that mean for Log Horizon Season 3? If an anime studio produced the third season with only 12 or 13 episodes, then the web novels provide enough source material right now. But if the intention is for the third season to provide a two-cour season with 25 episodes, then everyone will need to wait until the author finishes Volume 15.

Log Horizon Anime Shiroe and Akatsuki
Anime fans want to know what happens to the relationship between Shiroe and Akatsuki.

Mamare Touno In Prison? Rumors Claim Log Horizon Canceled

The elephant in the room is whether or not Log Horizon Season 3 will ever be greenlit. There is a popular rumor which states that the personal problems of the author may play a deciding factor. Some fans have even claimed Log Horizon was canceled completely since the author was allegedly in prison and no one wants to be associated with criminal behavior.

While the rumors go too far, the reality is almost as bad. Mamare's real name is Daisuke Umezu and in 2016 he was found guilty of tax evasion for neglecting to file about $1 million in royalties income for a three-year period. According to Anime News Network, the author was placed under house arrest for a time, but he eventually paid back his taxes in full, including any fines.

The rumors are false since he's not in prison, nor were the manga chapters or web novel chapters noticeably delayed during the time period of his house arrest. The biggest repercussion was the huge time gap between the light novels being published, with Volume 10 having been released in September of 2015 and Volume 11 scheduled for March of 2018.

Sentai Filmworks is the licensor for digital and Blu-ray/DVD release, while Satelight animated the first season and Studio Deen did the second season. None of these companies have stated whether they'd be willing to do Log Horizon Season 3. The reason the tax evasion is such a big deal is that the primary producer and financier of the Log Horizon anime is NHK, the government of Japan's national public broadcasting organization.

However, it's not like the author has been blacklisted completely. The last messages from the NHK's Log Horizon Twitter account expressed the desire to return some day. The various Log Horizon manga continue to be published by Enterbrain with Mamare credited as the author. Since Enterbrain started publishing the web novel series again in 2018, the only unanswered question is whether or not NHK will allow for Log Horizon Season 3 to be produced.

Log Horizon Season 3 Release Date

As of this publishing, the anime producer NHK has not announced anything official about the Log Horizon Season 3 release date, although this article will be updated as soon as the anime sequel's premiere is confirmed. However, there can be reasonable speculation about when, or if, the Log Horizon Season 3 air date may occur.

The major issue is scheduling during the current anime boom. Some anime studios have admitted to being booked up with anime projects for years in advance. Toei Animation producer Joseph Chou claimed in 2017 that "nearly all the studios are fully booked until 2020." Planning an anime project takes time, so even if Volume 15 is finished in 2018, the anime is highly unlikely to begin production in the same year.

If Log Horizon Season 3 ever happens, then there will need to be a financial incentive. The Blu-ray of the first two seasons did just okay, but not good, averaging 4,026 and 2,438 in sales according to Oricon. It's considered conventional wisdom that an anime needs higher than 3,000 to be renewed for a new season, although this business model has changed drastically in recent years due to the influence of Netflix.

The Log Horizon anime continues to be popular on Crunchyroll, so the series could be a target for streaming platforms. Netflix and Crunchyroll/VRV/Funimation have been fighting over the exclusive rights for original series in recent years. Netflix alone is dropping $8 billion into original content, including many 2018 anime series. Perhaps it's too much to hope for, but perhaps they could pick up Log Horizon Season 3?

[Update: January 30, 2018] Added news about Log Horizon Volume 11 and updated related information.