Nyanta joins the party, followed by a ferocious battle to make their escape.
Dangerous Friends List
It’s often said that information is power – and as a marketer I can tell you this is unequivocally true – but this episode threw the matter into stark relief with a function of MMOs that we all take for granted: the friends list. It’s no stretch of the imagination to say knowing where your friends are and instantly being able to communicate with them is a powerful ability, but I never considered what mischief could be wrought with it because, well, you can usually just un-friend people, or at least those aiming to PK you are on the other side, in modern MMOs at least. This is based on older MMOs though, so it’s very realistic now that the cost-benefit analysis of PKing has been flipped on its head. I appreciate that they’re re-imagining how MMO functions would truly effect a world like this.
Chief Nyanta is a Badass
Chivalrous, paternal, responsible, insists on RPing a were-cat’s nyan~s even when he doesn’t have to…I didn’t expect the furry character to be as awesome as this, nor did I expect Shiroe to call him “Chief”. What’s that about, I wonder? It probably comes from Nyanta being a sempai in the Debauchery Tea Party, though I’m sure the reason will be revealed shortly. I must say though, my favorite characteristic of Nyanta’s (other than his cat-speak) has to be his quiet, adult confidence. He was confident in Shiroe, confident for Serara, and confident he could beat Demikas without a doubt…I just can’t help but like a guy like that. That and his style. The guy has style for days.
Explaining the Mechanics
Explaining things during combat is tricky because it risks arresting the action with too much talking – the combat version of explaining the joke, basically. I think it works relatively well in this show though, since all the character’s abilities are based on an artificially created system that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to intuit on our own. Maybe we could guess that Monks attack quickly (though not necessarily the low cooldown), and the green aura did a good job of conveying that Serara’s Druid heals are HoTs (heal over time), but it would have been hard to easily portrayed the debuffing aspects of Nyanta’s attacks without putting debuff markers over Demikas’ head…and then they would have had to explain what those meant anyway. The path they took worked well.
Related: Swashbuckler is the perfect class for Nyanta. Not only does it have all that style, but being fast and having those team-helping debuffs on his attacks fits him perfectly nyaa~.
Team Shiroe vs Team Demi-glace
It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, goading the power-mad antagonist into a 1v1 by pissing him off, but I enjoyed Shiroe’s rendition. Getting his name wrong was an especially nice touch, if only because it’s a favored tactic of mine. There was also a really nice moment when Shiroe finally started to act, not to mention a cool “Aha!” moment when Akatsuki realized that Nyanta and Shiroe rode the Thorn Bind Hostage recast time to get a crippling 9K+ attack flurry that took out Demikas before his healers could react.
What I don’t understand is why it took so long for Shiroe to act. He let Naotsugu and Nyanta get beat the hell up and encouraged Serara to repeatedly heal them (despite being over 70 levels lower) when there was no visible reason why he couldn’t have acted sooner. It raised the tension, but I prefer tension flow naturally, and this wasn’t as natural as previous battles. The only reason I can really think of was that Akatsuki wasn’t in position to assassinate all the casters, but if so then some indication would have been appreciated, such as a cutaway to her dashing out of the city or something. Either that or – and this is far more likely – the battle was intended to be a lot faster but they wanted to end the episode on the most natural high point, and there just wasn’t enough material to stretch it out without pacing problems arising. If that’s the case I would have preferred a little anime original material to flesh out the battle by a minute or two, like showing Shiroe cast more than just the one spell. Just an idea.
Shiroe, Naotsugu, and Nyanta’s teamwork borders on the prescient. I’m all for really good teamwork not requiring a great deal of coordination – I’ve been a part of that when I’ve gamed with some of my friends in the past – but combined with the oddly strung out pacing of the battle it ended up edging into unrealistic.
Which is why I’m conflicted over Akatsuki’s own conflicted feelings about never being able to coordinate like those three can. First of all, bullshit – if they can do it, you’ll be able to do it after fighting with them more, Akatsuki. Past that though, their level of coordination was so high that I’d be surprised if anyone could ever reach that, including them. What I really liked was that Akatsuki is so concerned about being a good member of the team. She once said that Assassins traveled alone, but she’s really invested in this team now. She’s not going anywhere.
Looking Ahead – A Shocking Secret
It’s the food, isn’t it? I’m almost certain that’s what the shocking secret is, that Nyanta knows how to make food taste like actual food, but I got a laugh out of realizing that, and I’m sure the character’s reactions will be fun to see. A slower-paced episode…it’ll be interesting to see how they make good plot use of that. There’s a lot that still needs mulling over, so I’m sure they will.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Demikas goes down, Serara escapes, and Nyanta joins the party. Back to Akiba we go! #loghorizon 04
- I just realized…with the Half Gaia Project, does that mean each player only gets to visit a small part of the game world? That’s lame! There are probably some good dungeons over in Elder Tales Europa or Britannia or whatever they call the other continents.
- I’m surprised that such powerful skills like Sneak and Silent Move are found in a secondary class rather than Assassin proper. Either way, Akatsuki was smart to take them. I’d think they’re practically required for an Assassin to get in those clutch opener backstabs.
- Too much roleplaying, Nyanta. Also, back off, Shiroe is Akatsuki’s.
- Technically, I’m pretty sure a rapier would snap like a twig on Demikas’ armor, but hey, fantasy RPG logic, amirite?
- Even Serara’s healing abilities are adorable.
- Naotsugu’s tank abilities have such a wonderfully visceral feeling. Anchor Howl, Castle of Stone, boo-yah! Chills every time.
- Boo yah, Serara got the killing blow! That oughta be worth a level or two, right? Which would make her 21 in a party of 90’s. So still useless, for now.
- Obligatory Akatsuki being kawaii moment. D’aaawww!
Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: I’ve never regretted any of them, Great stories make you stop…and just feel, The subtle sexism of not killing female characters, and It’s all about the characters.