For Log Horizon, the stakes aren't quite death of course, but they're still something. A lot of it is a loss of freedom. Just look at when theySOA lowered it's stakes considerably making the levels of drama feel off. Started in a medieval fantacy game where you could actually die. To one about fairies that has respawns.
Also had a bit of that Japanese style oataku incest that keeps me away from The Irregular at Magic Academy. Even though I think SOA did the whole "not blood related so it's OK" thing.
Log Horizon however doesn't seem to have as high a stake. It does the whole "Stuck in a game" trope much better, in SOA it's set up in such a way that they may as well just made it a full in fantasy story.
On an unrelated note what's the deal with Fairy Tail? I seem to hear good things but I found the first episode to be rather rubbish. It hardly set up it's characters and seemed to be rushed.
All I remember was two guys fighting then some badass king wizard mo fo vaporizes a little talking cat thing for wearing a cape, only to be killed by who I assume is the protagonist. It all happened so fast I couldn't care about what was happening to watch the next episode. Was it his pet? Friend?
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went to take the druid girl from Demigas' guild that's holding an entire city to their will. If it went wrong, she would have stayed captive and been treated awfully. Or again, look at when what'sherface blue wolf girl tried to ruin their city's prosperity through using the people of the land. If they failed there, the city would have become far less than it was.