Side stories don't save this so-so volume.

Log Horizon: The West Wind Brigade Volume Five Title: Log Horizon: The West Wind Brigade
Genre: Fantasy, Action
Publisher:  Kadokawa Corporation (JP), Yen Press (US)
Creators: Mamare Touno (Original Story), Koyuki (Artist), Kazuhiro Hara (Character Design)
Translator: Taylor Engel
Original Release Date: May 23, 2017

What started out as a fun opportunity to tell side-stories in the Log Horizon universe has quickly become a slog to get through. The story’s problems typically rest firmly in one of two areas; its overly heavy dependence on relying on the main Log Horizon story to advance any storytelling and its unfunny, heavily raunchy “jokes.”

When this series began I hoped that it would allow the reader to see “behind the scenes” if you will, either offering a different take on some of the main events (which it did by showing how the West Wind Brigade specifically reacted reacted to The Catastrophe) or by showing completely unrelated stories that would help further the series lore and setting (and considering how much Log Horizon loves its backstory this wasn’t an unreasonable idea). Sadly almost every major event is directly tied into the main Log Horizon storyline which I’m already familiar with and bored by seeing it retold yet again. Even stories which have the potential to break away, like seeing how it was the WWB that tested out the new appearance reset potions and others, flopped due to the series ugly humor (and the characterization of previously established characters, like Roderick from the main series, are heavily skewed in an unflattering way). The chapter on the characters building a new bath in the WWB guildhall, with multiple, plot lines about constructing peeping holes, might be the series most off-color chapter to date, which is a bit of a feat!

I’m disappointed in this series. There were half a dozen ways or more to make a spin-off series interesting and yet West Wind Brigade has become the crudest form of comedy. I’ve started to wonder just how the work is split up in the creation of this series, light novel author Mamare Touno is credited with the “original story” while Koyuki is credit with the art and no writer is specified. “Original Story” is a vague term in English and again the inconsistent characterization, in a series that isn’t labeled as a gag comedy or anything similar, makes me wonder if Touno is truly writing this series as well or if the impetus lay with Koyuki. Regardless, my patience is wearing thin with this series and I hope that the next volume cools it with the coarse set-ups.