「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.
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
- 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.