「ワールド・フラクション」 (Waarudo Furakushon)
Some of the world’s secrets are revealed with the discussion of the world-class magic World Fraction. Three times the world has changed, and there are consequences to dying after all. And to think, Shiroe was a living legend all along.
For an episode full of exposition, this was probably my favorite episode of the series so far. This was world building done right, laying out the answer to a ton of the question that we had been wondering about, and a bunch we didn’t know to ask but were fascinating to hear about. The entire saga of the three World Fraction spells was fascinating, and I didn’t expect the world to have gone from such a magitech golden age down to its present state. No, that’s not right – we had see what looked like moss-covered wind turbines and and interstate highways, so that was wel foreshadowed, it’s how the demi-humans came into being that I was surprised about.
Mythology, that’s what this was, and the Lord of the Rings fan in me loved to hear it. Hearing about the fall of the Alvs and the six bent princesses, the Luquenje and their simultaneous (but unrelated) quests for revenge really grew the world for me. It gave it depth and a history, bringing it to life by showing that there’s more there than that which directly relates to our protagonists. This world has been here for a long time, and its people have been living their lives long before our heroes got here. It makes them feel small, but it’s a good small. It means there’s a big, wide world out there for them to interact with, and I can’t wait to see that go down.
The Legendary Archmage Shiroe
One of the fun things about playing an RPG is that you get to become a legendary hero. Zelda, Final Fantasy, the Tales series (not to mention all the Western ones)…when you play these games you become the One True Hero, and it’s you who gets to save the world. In MMORPGs this is a trickier proposition, but if you’re a young’un with a lot of free time then the challenge of becoming a well-known adventurer among even other well-known adventurers is an exciting one, because there’s no guarantees, and a quest you might fail at is always the most fun. Oh how it would be, to be considered a legend for your exploits…
Turns out that Shiroe is exactly that. Due to the difference in time between Earth and Elder Tales – two hours on Earth equals a day in the game – Shiroe’s eight years of playing the game became 98 years of solo adventuring, earning him the classification of Archmage and making him a legend in his own time. It’s hard to enunciate why I find this so fascinating, but I guess it’s because instead of Shiroe being respected for his high level, his experience, or simply because he’s an immortal adventurer at all, it’s like all that time he spent playing the game actually mattered. That’s wish-fulfillment to a bunch of MMORPG-playing nerds if I’ve ever seen it.
Losing Your Memories, Forgetting Your Past
Just as some LN-reading commenters have been gleefully hinting at for a while – seriously guys, chill out. I know you’ve read them, that’s cool, just use those spoilers and stop hinting at stuff! – dying isn’t the 100% no-repercussions get-out-of-death-free card that it once seemed. (Ignoring the EXP penalty, which was reason enough to avoid dying.) The discussion of psyche and anima was interesting for two reasons: 1) Because it explained both what we see in the world and how it linked up with the game in a way that made sense and was internally consistent – that’s hard to do, by the way – and 2) Because it justified the newly-found repercussions of death in both the world and game logic, and that’s really hard to do. It made a lot of sense that some information (the player’s memories) would be stored in the psyche while other information (EXP, level, etc) would be stored in the anima, and with them together now…
More to the point, I find the repercussions of death here to be more…well, more to my taste than what we saw in the first arc of Sword Art Online. I’m not bashing SAO here, this is merely a preference, because while the in-your-face oh-my-gods-we’re-going-to-die-forever terror of the death game was effective, it wasn’t very subtle nor especially clever. This, however, is. You’ll keep resurrecting, and you’ll still be you, but your memories of the real world – or even of your friends and guildmates in this world – could slowly disappear. This isn’t the sudden dramatic death, it’s like the early onset of Alzheimer’s in people far too young to be experiencing it (not that anyone should). Personally I find that death has become a cheap plot gimmick, it’s used too often, but the idea of slowly losing your memories and forgetting those who are important to you… *shudders* It’s not frightening, not exactly, but it is unsettling. This could have serious effects on the balance of power in the world, and I think Shiroe was wise to not spread the word immediately. How to deal with this requires some thought.
“Call me Rudy, Miss Isuzu.”
The newbies were handled well again this episode. A delicate hand is best here, because too much time spent on them would be annoying and take away from the more interesting world building – and in fact, I cried out in frustration when the scene switched from Shiroe’s group to the newbies. Fortunately it switched right back, which shows they’re doing it right. They know where the story is really moving right now.
As for what we did see from the newbies, it mainly had to do with Isuzu x Rudy. More correctly, it had to do with Isuzu realizing that Rudy is a ridiculous showoff, yes, but he’s also an earnest hard worker who doesn’t want to drag his team down, even if his own personality quirks don’t always let him be honest with what he’s feeling. More simply, watching those two interact was a treat, and Minori noticing when Isuzu called Rundel Haus “Rudy” was…I’m not sure. Does she realize that they can become more than just teammates, that they can become real friends? I hope so, and I think so.
Looking Ahead – Stand Up, Minori!
I don’t know what good waiting for the afternoon to enter the dungeon will do, other than simply letting them rest up and do something different, which are valuable in and of themselves. Whatever the case, it appears that Minori is finally going to stand up and take some kind of leadership role (or at least organizational/strategist role) in the party. I do look forward to these five becoming a stronger group and better friends, just don’t skimp on the world-building exposition, alright? I still want to know more about that third World Fraction. It’s kind of a big deal.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – The mythology of world-changing magic that created adventurers & helped Shiroe become a legend. Also Isuzu x Rudy too kawaii #loghorizon 14
- The action-class, combat-class, operation-class etc. etc…up to world-class magic was an odd way to think of it, unless you think about it in conjunction with the magical classes. For instance, a combat-class nuke. I think it would have to be fluid though, because sometimes a simple action can have far-reaching effects, as many an assassin has found out. Though perhaps I’m thinking about this too much… Though then again, I like it that this show makes me want to do that!
- Humans created the werecats and others? No different than on Earth then, they just had the tools to do a proper job of it. I’m still waiting for one of the Race of Ritual that no one ever plays to show up. (No spoilers, LN-readers!)
- Akatsuki thinks she’s been crushing on a 98-year old man, hah! That’s okay Akatsuki-chan, I’ll take you. I’m even taller than Shiroe, if that helps.
- Restoration magic can work on People of the Land. I don’t know if that’ll end up being important, but to my eyes that’s huge, at least for the People of the Land. They have a way to dodge death too.
- The heavy EXP loss penalty adventurers face is another hint that Touno-sensei played Everquest, though I guess Elder Tales didn’t have Cleric epic weapons that could bring people back to life with 96% experience restoration at no mana cost. Hah, suckers!
- Note: Please be careful with spoilers. If you’ve read the LN and know what’s going to happen, make sure to use spoiler tags aggressively (and to clearly and in a non-spoiler manner label what the spoiler is about) when you’re commenting so that anime-only watchers don’t get the surprise ruined for them. Anime-only viewers might also consider using spoiler tags for guesses that most people may have missed, in case you’re right and others would have preferred to maintain the suspense. Thank you.
Full-length images: 16.