「アキバへの帰還」 (Akiba e no Kikan)
“Return to Akihabara”
It’s a game but also not a game; the more our heroes learn about the world of Elder Tales, the more real it becomes.
I have never in my life seen anyone enjoy a meal as much as this. Shiroe’s team either needs to make sure Nyanta never leaves them or make Naotsugu reroll whatever his stupid subclass is into Chef, because after a meal like this I don’t think they can go back to tasteless mush. What I found interesting was that cooking requires both the Chef subclass and cooking the ingredients like they would IRL. I had forgotten that Shiroe and co did try to cook the normal way back in episode three, so it makes sense that both would be required. For this and other reasons, the world of Elder Tales is increasingly looking like a real world with fantasy MMORPG systems laid over it.
The People of the Land
Speaking of, there were strong parallels between the food and the people of the land. Its been shown multiple times that the NPCs are acting a lot more alive than traditional NPCs should, including fear, varied conversation responses, detailed backstories, long-term memory unrelated to PCs, and, you know, acting like human beings. It’s interesting to put ourselves in their shoes and realize that what Shiroe said was right – it’s the PC adventurers that are the weird ones, not the People of the Land. Mostly this shows a lot of empathy on Shiroe’s part. No wonder he’s a hard support.
Seriously Serara, you’re not fooling anyone. Not that she’s trying to? She remains super cute though, and her rabu-rabu vibes bringing out some blushing from Akatsuki as well…woohoo, way to go Serara-chan!
But seriously, could they have not spent that whole journey power leveling Serara a bit? They’re a Teacher System but no Apprentice System? She’ll never get to stay with her neko-husband like this!
Worried About the Twins
Okay, I’m calling them out – here be some false tension. One of the problems with basing a story on an MMORPG is that a lot of the common MMO systems destroy basic narrative tension, such as the ability to instantaneously talk to any of your friends. That’s why they had to make it so characters could only add people to their friends list if they were in the same area, which I think we all agree is bad game design. Once again the communication system in particular has threatened the narrative tension, and this time it struck a decisive blow.
If you’re worried about the twins, Shiroe, why don’t you just call them! And there’s nothing standing between Minori (Tamura Nao) and Touya (Yamashita Daiki) contacting Shiroe other than pride or not wanting to bother him, though honestly that’s enough. It’s Shiroe being worried about them and not contacting them that rankles. As a storyteller I would have either given him good reason to not be worried about them – the two of them telling him they were alright perhaps, or seeing them having fun with their new guild (even if it turns ugly immediately after he sees them) – or not have him be worried about them at all. Yes, it’s in his nature to worry, but if he weren’t helping them right before the apocalypse then he could have easily just not thought about them until he came across them, much like with Nyanta. Poor communication kills (trope!), people, and this is one time where the ball was well and thoroughly dropped when it could have easily been run in for a touchdown. Or something. Sports reference!
Looks like next episode they’re going to be confronting the predation of lower level, weak adventurers by the high level and strong. That’s all well and good, and it’s something I wouldn’t be surprised to see in a situation like this, but I do wish they would confront that whole why-the-hell-are-we-trapped-in-this-“game” problem a little more. Actually, it’s not even that – I wish they would worry about it! Even just some occasional existential worry or consciously pushing the worry aside until they can do something about it would be fine. I’m still having fun, but I feel like that should be a bigger deal.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Food porn, beleaguered lowbies, & NPCs that are people too. Also, everyone knows you wub Nyanta, Serara. Give it up! #loghorizon 05
- The knee to the face is back! Man, Akatsuki was really harsh to Naotsugu this episode, from the continual punishment to his new names of Bakatsugu, Dekatsugu and more. Fortunately he still deserves it. Hilarious!
- Don’t ask perverted questions about middle school girls Naotsugu what the hell.
- Akatsuki with her hair down showing midriff hnnnng~
- I forgot to mention – on the Teacher System, I bet the reason why Touya’s party was having so much trouble is that Elder Tales was designed to give level-appropriate encounters, so if someone is radically higher level than the rest of their group then the mobs’ levels will be skewed upwards and the lowbies will get run over. Hence the Teacher System. That’s almost certainly why Shiroe dropped his level to play with them, and also so he wouldn’t one-shot things and they could earn some experience.
- Serara, I think you may have a problem. An adorable, adorable problem. Serara is adorable, is what I’m trying to say.
Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: My stance on piracy, The three main rules of storytelling, I’ve never regretted any of them, and Great stories make you stop…and just feel.