「腹ぐろ眼鏡」 (Haraguro Megane)
“Villain in Glasses”

Now that’s how you sell the promise of a dream for a lot of cold, hard cash.

Selling What They Already Want To Buy

I’m a marketer by profession and have done a fair amount of sales, and let me tell you this – it’s far easier to sell someone something when they already want to buy it. That sounds obvious, but think of how often companies try to sell us all crap we have no interest in. Partially this is a targeting problem (advertising casts a wide net, so you always catch some people who aren’t in your target market), but mostly it’s because it’s intellectually lazier to try to sell what you have to whoever is in front of you rather than seeking out those who already want what you’ve got. It’s also a lot less effective.

In going into the negotiations with Shopping Street 8, the Marine Agency, and the Roderic Merchant Guild, the advantage that Marie and Henrietta have is they know exactly what the others want (profit), while the three merchant guilds don’t know what Shiroe and the Crescent Moon Alliance are up to. That enabled Henrietta to coach the situation in terms that made her opponents think what she wanted them to think, and it enabled her to craft her pitch into one she knew the others would be receptive towards. Making them think the Crescent Moon Alliance is after a big quest, using Shiroe’s name and the Lv 85 ingredient in the pudding to further their misconception, and then making them think they’ll be able to cash in on Crescent Moon’s recipes if they pay up…she basically sold the potential of unspecified future profit based on misconceptions and half-truths (though never lies!) for 4.5 million in cash. Well played.

For my money though, the pièce de résistance of the whole thing was how they invited all three guilds. By talking to them all at once they were able to play the three off against one another. For example, if one of them wasn’t interested or wanted more time to think about the deal then the others would happily snatch it up at their expense, which would make the first party feel like they lost out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Henrietta and Shiroe were able to leverage this loss aversion into the three guilds all piling on to invest in the Crescent Moon Alliance’s plan, all without giving them the time to do their due diligence or even really think the deal through too carefully. They were put in the hot seat and all three of them took the bait. That was some masterful selling right there.

Picturing Thoughts

One thing I really liked was how they pictured character’s internal thoughts. It’s always a bit tricky to portray thoughts in a visual medium like television, which is one of the reasons why characters so frequently talk out loud – you can’t get all those nice non-verbal clues when the character is just standing there stone faced thinking at themselves. Not that this isn’t occasionally done – I remember the DEATH NOTE anime freezing the screen and delving into character’s thoughts all the time – but I liked how the little purple thought-avatars let us both hear their thoughts and see non-verbal clues as well! A nice little trick, and one I’d like to see more often, especially when someone like Marie-nee is involved.

Scary Shiny Glasses Fetish

This show seriously has a fetish for glasses, and scary shiny glasses (trope!) in particular. There’s Shiroe, Henrietta, Roderick (Terasoma Masaki), Krusty, and I’m sure there will be more as the series goes on. What I most enjoyed was Shiroe’s notoriety, and how people actually refer to him as the Villain in Glasses! I like a protagonists willing to use coldblooded and ruthless (but still moral) schemes to achieve his ends, but it’s a hard character type to execute on, so kudos once again to Touno-sensei for managing it. Shiroe is my kind of villain!

Minori & Touya Come Alive

We delved into why Minori and Touya got involved with Hamelin – desperation and fear, mostly – but for my money the part I liked best is how they’re starting to stand on their own two feet. Mind you, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them seeking and accepting help from Shiroe – despite Minori’s earlier thoughts to the contrary, they deserve to be saved as much as anyone, and more than most. That Touya and now Minori are trying to become more like Shiroe and look like they’ll be trying to escape Hamelin on their own warms my heart. The timing is a bit odd, though. Not that they would only now be getting the courage to do it – that makes total sense – but that they’re going to try to break out on the same day Shiroe is planning to save them. Still, if they can meet Shiroe halfway that will be a fine moment indeed. I look forward to seeing them fight for their freedom.

Looking Ahead – The Council of Akihabara

I’m unbelievably stoked for the negotiations next episode, which is probably a super lame thing to say, but I don’t care! This series is turning out to be the good parts of Maoyuu without the adaptation decay and the potential of Sword Art Online without all the One True Hero nonsense, so even when it’s all talking I enjoy it. Especially when someone in glasses gets scary. Go Shiroe go!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Henrietta sells dreams based on misconceptions for 4.5 million cash. This show is like #maoyuu without the adaptation decay #loghorizon 08

Random thoughts:

  • Ceiling Akatsuki is adorable. I want my own lurking legal loli assassin! *pouts*

Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: On writing fast, writing well, One short story, one week – buzzer beater, Writing challenge – one short story, one week, and Novel update: editing & short stories.

Full-length images: 33, 34.

 

Preview

85 Comments

  1. Shiroe as a fellow member of the glasses nation I would follow you to the ends of the Earth! This magnificent bastard is awesome, I wouldn´t want to be in an army opposing him!.

    haseo0408
  2. I watched all 8 episodes in one sitting, this show is really quite good.

    Now all I want to know is what they are going to do with that cash.

    The other thing I want to know is if we are going to get more fight scenes. This game economics / negotiating thing is interesting, but I enjoyed the strategic fight scenes a lot more.

    Finally — I sort of want to see a quest from the new expansion. 😀 I know this show is not about that – but they have been dangling the new expansion thing quite a bit already (and other than a giant mouse, there hadn’t been any development on that front).

    Ori
      1. Probably Noah’s Sphere or Noah Sphere or Noah’s Pear? Or Noah’s Apples? maybe Bob’s Orange? Or John’s Grapes? Oh, wait!!!

        BTW, Noo (No-oh) means forehead in our language. LOL

        Ungas123
    1. Oh yes there will very much be some epic battles because —

      Show Spoiler ▼

      About the quests from the new expansion tough, that possibly going to be in the still-not-confirm season 2. That’s because —

      Show Spoiler ▼

      LGM
      1. Future Happening! Warning Major Spoiler, though you can see and watch them in the OPENING SONG, Still click at your own risk
        Show Spoiler ▼

        YEAP!! 20+ Episodes.

        Ungas123
    2. If you really can’t wait, then you could probably check out the LN versions of Log Horizon.
      Some translator on the web did a marathon on translating Vol 2 – Vol 4,
      and BakaTsuki picked up his work. http://bit.ly/1bLUncT
      On comparison, currently the episodes are in Volume 2-ish story.

      If considering the rate of adaptation & episode allocations,
      I’m guessing you might spoil yourself until Episode 20 if you do read until Vol 4.

      Techim
  3. Log Horizon: Where .hack//SIGN(lengthy character dialogue in an MMO) meets Spice and Wolf(Economics!). And I’m okay with that.

    As someone who studied in marketing and economics, its a treat to watch our heroes play the major economic powers. Shiroe really is a genius, he started with a small business of personal friends he knows are kind and loyal, then use them and his own reputation as a trump card to gain an advantage in negotiations.

    One advantage I did notice this people had over real-world marketing. They have telepathy! The internal chat really helps when discussing terms and conditions.

    Also, I’m perfectly okay with the anime’s megane fetish because I have one too.

    fragb85
    1. While they can call one another, I don’t think that’s what they were doing in this episode. There was no sign of anyone but Minori accessing the chat system, plus the other players may very well realize if they were doing that. No, I’m pretty sure they were doing it the usual way, save with great skill and aplomb.

      Stilts
  4. There’s two things here that I felt the anime had left out that I found people that only follow the anime should know:

    1. It was brushed off even in the novels – but apparently the brother of the twins, Tohya is wheel chair-bounded in the real world. That’s why he looks especially happy walking & running at the beginning.

    2. The reasons why Shiroe never contacted the twins is easy; he himself aren’t actually better off much at the beginning either & then everytime he saw them they look ok.

    Why Tohya never try to call out towards Shiroe is never explained much in the anime but what the novel say is;
    – His sister Minori were kept in the guild room to keep him loyal, he can’t do anything that might bring up suspicion.
    – As far as Tohya knows, Shiroe is a nice enough guy that helped them train when Elder Tale as still a game, now that Elder Tale is very much reality would Shiroe actually went out his way to save a couple of kids he never really knew in real life & risks crossing with some very sketchy people? Since Tohya had already be burned once, it is logical he hesitate to call for help.

    LGM
      1. yah.. info like that gets lost in the adaptation and make the characters more real..

        example: I noticed Tohya jumping around and I thought “ok that guy a little dumb or just plain stupid” .. now that I know he cant actually run and jump, much less walk in RL his reaction makes MUCH more sense.

        Inanis
    1. Yeah, the LNs do a much better job of showing that the twins and Shiroe really just didn’t know each other that well.

      The anime makes it seem like they were really good friends and they’re just being weird by not calling each other. The books show very well that they were just fond acquaintances really. And it plays up the fact that half the reason tohya and Minori like him so much is he reminds them of life before the apocalypse.

      KaleRylan
  5. this is a re-post of a comment I did on the last episode, since my brother say no one might give attention to it as it is the last comment I move it here, if its not ok to do this please just ban this comment:

    —————————–

    I had went thought a lots of comments from the Log Horizons review posts & there’s a lot of complains of why there’s no lvl 91 yet but no real counter point of it anywhere so here my point of view of why there’s no lvl 91 yet:

    To go from lvl 90 to 91 it is reasonable to expect one had to kills quite some numbers of monster that are lvl 90 or higher. & it should be even more of a grind-fest if one only kills monsters that are lower leveled.

    Now, try to recall all the monsters that the lvl 90 main casts have faced, how much level are they? 30~60? How much XP those monsters can really give? You probably need to kill like thousands or even ten of thousands of them to get to lvl 91.

    “Then what about those warrior guilds?” You might ask, “They must have make quite a progress right?” Not so, remember, at the start of the event – all players are teleport back to their main starter cities of five. More importantly town teleporters are now unusable.

    Even if the players are doing their best to try & grind their way to lvl 91, with the starter level monsters around their cities? That going to take a while. “They could go to the higher lvl training grounds by foot?” Yeah right. Did you played any MMO or even something like Diablo? Now imagine walking from the starter area to the max level areas, yeah, don’t think so. Didn’t you saw how the main cast went from one starter area to another starter area in the anime. That take them weeks from here to there & back. & that with flying mounts.

    Not to mentions maybe they know where’s the lvl 85~90 monsters are but how the hell they would know where’s the lvl 90 & above monsters areas are located? Remember, no Internets & dlc/extensions previews anymore. They would need to actually find the new contents area by foot – since clearly there’s no new portal gates opening anywhere.

    & MORE IMPORTANTLY, this is all based on the fact that the players are already comfortable at fighting & killings monsters for real. Which is almost certain most of them aren’t. At least not enough to fight monsters with equal levels.

    Did you play Call of Duty or Teamfortress 2 before? Try imagine yourself standing there gun in hand running & shooting. Getting shot, blow & burn for real. The pain & shock might very well scar you. Now try imagine going dungeoning for real – seeing most higher levels monster are in dungeons more than open spaces.

    Dark corridors, alone in the dark, very much so surrounded by monsters unseen. The horrors that you might get eaten alive – even if you can respawn. Think Dead Space or Diablo but real. How do you expect normal people with no war background to do that?

    LGM
    1. The following will be talked about in the show at some point so read at your own discretion.
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Longhaul
    2. To add on to Longhaul’s points, it was already explained that you only gain experience at lvl90 by killing lvl85 and higher mobs. These are highly lethal mobs that require parties to kill apparently and since there is a penalty on dieing (xp and item loss) not many people are willing to try leveling.

      This game is hardcore ^^

      oatmeal
  6. And it looks like next week we will get… EPIC NEGOTIATING!

    This week was just the pre-negotiation to the real negotiation where Shiroe outsmarts everyone.

    I actually feel kind of torn. On one hand I find myself kind of wishing that a bit more had happened in this episode. I like everything that did happen, it just feels like we’ve been taking a bit of time getting to where we’re going with this setup. On the other hand, I remember Maoyuu, which tried to cram so much progress into so small a space that it ended up cutting out many of the key pieces that held that progress together as a coherent whole. I would put up with almost anything to make sure an adaptation doesn’t do that to itself again.

    Wanderer
    1. Agreed. I like it when things are a bit snappier – I mean they stopped to explain what a quest is, was that really necessary? – but that risks going too fast and either not having a good stopping point for the episode or pulling a full Maoyuu. I’d rather it be a bit slow than rushed.

      Stilts
      1. I agree with this. This is one of those episodes that I think is going to be great on a later marathon session. A lot of great setup and world-building that helps establish some side-characters and add more depth to soon-to-be main characters.

        But as a single episode a week thing? You’re left kind of going ‘well that was fun, but now I REALLY want next weekend to come faster.’

        KaleRylan
  7. Ooooh, lovely negotiation, it is like I watch Kyoukaisen again, I can really feel the tense. Blogged by Stilts, it doubles the fun.

    Some minor difference with novel, but their improvization like talking chibis is really a good idea.

    kyurenjo
    1. I know, right?! I was getting Maoyuu and Spice and Wolf vibes from the negotiations here, but the ones in the preview were already giving me Kyoukaisen flashbacks. When they were negotiating in the Fairy Queen’s throne room came especially to mind.

      Stilts
      1. Kyoukai is a fabulous show to be compared to. I always really like shows/fiction that has a well-realized world to anchor the action. Smashing is good, but smashing for a PURPOSE is better.

        KaleRylan
  8. I love all the ways shows have come up with to interpret the inner monologue periods from text. Pauses or slowmo periods seem to be the most popular, but this way wasn’t too bad either with either ‘side’ almost communicating with their thoughts.

    At least its not a silly way of doing it like a certain stretched out teachers room.

    Longhaul
  9. Economics is one thing, but the promise of diplomacy next episode has turned on the giddy school girl inside of me. Nothing more salivating to political buffs than the chance of subliminal messages, backstabbing, and the internal workings of a particular social structure.

    It still leaves open the question of what the cash is meant for, but since purchases of buildings have been elaborated on, it’s clear still that it’s meant to buy some form of real estate. Who knows, maybe the purchasing of real estate is meant as a trigger for a new quest(line). Anything is possible really as not enough hints have been dropped so far.

    As an aside the voicing of character thoughts is also not all that uncommon. For anime Shonen series in my experience use this heavily for fight scenes, especially Hunter x Hunter. The key is making it bond seamlessly with the action both before and after. Most examples are passed over because they don’t really “fit” into the screenplay, they either are out of place for the character in question (ex. your typical jock engaging in complex strategic thought) or cause the viewer to have a hard time suspending reality (Like in DBZ-esque shows where certain actions have only a split second to perform, yet the episode spends 2-3 minutes analyzing those actions, leaving some unable to suspend their perception of reality due to the differences in time). Death Note and Code Geass are two of the better users of this method as the action is not as fast paced as other shows (allows for a sense of “realism”) and the characters are both naturally introverted (you therefore expect Light and Lelouch to spend more time in their heads than out of them). It’s why it worked so well here in Log Horizon, nothing was being decided in the blink of an eye and the victor was determined both by how well they controlled the flow on information and how well they manipulated their opponent’s analysis of the leaked information. It was a battle of minds and wits, allowing for the voicing of the character’s thoughts to take centre stage.

    Pancakes
    1. Very true, and good examples as well. It takes a certain deliberate pacing. Compare this or Death Note to the best fight scene from last season’s Prisma Illya (if you watched it, you know the one) – once that fight started there wasn’t much in the way of dialogue or explanations, you just leaned back and let it wash over you.

      If you’re going to have a slow pace you can explain, but if you’re going fast you’d better go fast. It’s mixing the two that doesn’t work.

      Stilts
      1. I watched Ilya, but I have internal debates on what fights are ‘best’ due to favortism. Still, excellence on all fronts. The animation of type moon characters has only gotten better with time to all out amazing.

        Are you referring to the last battle? Either way, it is an excuse for me to marathon Ilya 🙂

        Drasca
  10. Nice episode IMO. They’re really trying to pump out as much cash as they can with the food preparation knowledge. Fooling the other guilds into thinking it was for a quest seems a bit pointless(then again there isn’t anything else to suspect what are people gonna do with 5 million MMO in-game currency).

    So 1.5 million from a guild, 3 guilds each is equal to 4.5 million, plus the liquidated sum of 500k from Crescent Burgers equals 5 million.

    Wasn’t that a bit shorter than what Shirou demanded?

    TheMoondoggie
    1. He was specifically asking for 5m gold. Wait and see how he’ll use that trump card of his next ep at the round table meeting. He’s indeed a Haraguro Megane. He’ll soon becaoe a real Devil.Show Spoiler ▼

      Ungas123
  11. Just when I thought they’d be spending more time (episodes) getting ready for Shiroe’s grand plan, Shiroe suddenly tells Minori that it’ll be tomorrow (next episode)! Time to beat the crap out of those bad guys.

    On a side note, I like how they referenced the Round Table from King Arthur’s tales. It seems to me that the other leaders invited are too prideful and won’t accept being lower than someone else in the hierarchy but using the Round Table System (everybody is equal) solves it.

    I hope we get more screen time for Umeko and Akatsuki. More cute clothes for the win.

    The Story You Don't Know
  12. I’m unbelievably stoked for the negotiations next episode

    Well considering how you deconstruct the negotiations in Horizon II, it wouldn’t be surprising that these negotiations will tickle your fancy. It is always nice to deconstruct these scenes as you get an understanding of how nefarious and under handed some people can play.

    Shadiic
  13. I think they left out a little bit of Henrietta and Maruelle’s back story as well as the reason why Shiroe wanted Henrietta to head the negotiations and not Marielle.

    In real life Henrietta is an accountant who works for her father’s company. So she has experience in dealing with businessman while Marielle is…a rich girl mooching off her parents.

    Dark
    1. I think they left that out because really, by their appearances & their past actions anyone can see that-

      Marielle – A leader that have a motherly charisma that are…well, innocent?

      Henrietta – 2nd in power in the guild that looks like she’s more then catable to be doing everything that the leader does & be better at it except being charismatic pleasing like Marielle.

      LGM
    2. They’ve already mentioned that Henrietta is an accountant with an MBA or something to that effect, and Marie-nee’s personality (and flightiness) have been made abundtantly clear, so it wasn’t necessary to delve into their back stories further. The reason was already clear.

      Stilts
  14. Hahahaha! Awesome! This episode reminds me why I loved Spice & Wolf and Maoyuu so much. You dont need murder or combat to make a gritting thriller. Deception, Manipulation and Domination at its finest

    Ginobi47
  15. I find the whole Minori and Touya incident to be a bit stupid, they play the game before and they got to lvl 19 with shiro’s help, so they should have some sort of knowledge how this game work. So for them to feel helpless and confuse of not knowing what to do when they first got into this world then got involved with Hamelin seem a bit farfetch to me. At least when they first got into this world they could just look at their friendlist and call for shiro or someone else instead of walk around alone and this whole mess with hamlin would not have happen. Sorry to say I just can’t find any sympathy for these two. If they were a newbie like lvl 1 and just started then yes I can see how they got into this sort of trouble but for someone who play this game and gotten to lvl 19 already, is very unlikely or they just plain stupid.

    Andy
    1. you know that the game world is now reality to them right? so now they have to face everything face to face
      instead of hiding behind a computer screen like what you’re doing right now, if they get attacked by monsters they feel pain and they’re kids most importantly.

      just imagine your self being kidnapped and sent to some island full of scary stuff, what would you do then?

      I don’t think their situation is stupid at all

      lol
    2. A few things:
      1. Japanese cultural mindset is something along the lines of, “don’t bother other people with your own problems”, especially if you aren’t close. Sure, Shiroe taught them some stuff, but they didn’t know him for that long and didn’t want to bother him without even trying on their own.

      2. As lol said, knowing how a ‘game’ works is different from actually living in that world. Sure, I can teach someone how to click on skills, use hotkeys for key items, maintain aggro, and effectively chain skills, but that doesn’t translate to actually wielding a weapon to combo those skills while keeping monsters focused on you. Looking at a monster on a screen that’s twice your character’s size isn’t the same as staring in the face of that same monster.

      3. Lots more PKers to worry about after the Apocalypse, something they probably didn’t know when they first left town, causing them to lose most of their stuff. They probably should have used the bank, like Shiroe told them, but if you aren’t expecting PKers and you can easily handle the monsters in the area, it’s easy to forget/be lazy.

      4. I would still consider a lvl 19 player really weak, considering the level cap was 90 pre-expansion and the likely exp scaling for levels. Serara was around the same level, and the only reason she wasn’t captured by Demikas was because her future neko-husband happened to save her. She also already had a guild, so she had people to depend on.

      SK
      1. Agreed, mainly on 1, 3, & 4 (the ability to fight without worrying about dying still makes people being scared in combat not work as well for me). Especially #4…even on old school MMOs you could get to the equivalent of Lv 19 in a few days of hard playing / a week or two of lighter playing, and considering they probably stumbled around for a bit before they happened across Shiroe and may not have been playing with him all the time, they didn’t have a super long time to form a strong bond with him. Enough for him to be worried about them, but not enough to overcome SK’s point #1.

        I do admit that it’s irksome – we tend to like characters who take an active role in their lives rather than the ones who wallow in angst and won’t try what it’s clearly possible for them to do – but it does have it’s justifications. Plus it looks like they’ve gotten over their passivity, which is great.

        Stilts
      2. Dying is not the only thing that stops humans from just fighting non-stop. There’s plenty of people that, while they may enjoy games, would never fight ever in real life. They don’t want to hurt people, they’re scared of blood, they’re bad in crisis situations, etc.

        Speaking as someone who HAS done a fair amount of fighting in my life, some people just aren’t good at it.

        Oh, and the LNs (I just read up to the part the anime is at, decided I didn’t want spoilers) give their timeline exactly. Shiroe met them on their first day directly out of the tutorial quest basically. He then played with them for one week, and at the end of that week the apocalypse happened. So pretty much exactly what the anime implied, but it just gives pretty exact numbers in the books.

        KaleRylan
    3. I just decided to read the LNs up to where the show is (started to go ahead but decided against it). They do a much better job of explaining some of the stuff with the twins. And basically, the answer is very simple. They DON’T know Shiroe that well, and they’re both really embarrassed to ask a near total stranger for help over a problem they made themselves.

      They both really like Shiroe and had fun with him but that’s the extent of their relationship. And most of the reason they like him isn’t because they built a strong relationship, it’s just because thinking of him reminds them of life before Hamelin.

      KaleRylan
  16. At this point, although its a little late, I’m quite surprised how they begin to become immersed into the game that now merchant and crafting guilds are going for profit in the game; its kind of interesting how despite that in a game, they adapt in a way that it feels like they are continuing their regular lives (granted that life now has monsters and fantastical skills at one’s disposal). Now, I’m really going to be curious as to how Shiroe is going to save the kids.

    random thought: Will there be any appearances of Soujirou’s guild because I’m really curious as to how his harem looks animated…

    Dualash
  17. It was a good episode, but not much really happened. We got the kids angsting over their situation (which IMO was a bit of a waste of time) and the deal with the merchant guilds… and that’s about it. Hopefully it’ll all come together next week.

    Hochmeister
    1. Perhaps take over the City, as Owner of the Buildings. So that he can his Rules and Laws (Permissions to enter Buildings or interact with NPC). Perhaps he can flag some “Enemys” as PKler, just raise the “in Battle/combat inside City walls” flag, and the NPC City Guardians will do the Dirty Work, cunning?

      Germanguy
  18. I almost gave up on this, but the good stuff happened so I’m good 🙂

    I love me some politics and negotiation and what have you. War of words are more interesting than war of weapons. They tend to be more dramatic and carry more importance to the situation than blood wars. The standoff between Samon, Mahiro, and Yoshino in ZnT comes to mind.

    J-Man

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