「ゴブリン王の帰還」 (Goburin Ounokikan)
“Return of the Goblin King”
As risk, fear, and what is right war within the adventurers of Akihabara, Minori stands up for what she believes in and shows her growth.
The Goblin King
First of all, let me just say that the whole Return of the Goblin King event actually sounds really fun…if this was still a game. It has stakes, and the rewards were apparently good, and it comes around frequently enough so that if you miss one you’ll have another chance before long. But what I really liked was that the mistake that led to this was so believable. They got so busy trying to make a place for themselves in the world and they haven’t set things up with the People of the Land yet, so it just snuck up on them. It’s kinda like when Naotsugu and Nyanta admitted that they forgot to add the other high-level players to their friends lists. Sure it ended up making them feel dumb, but it’s a very believable dumb when you’re not really that close to someone (yet). It’s those kinds of mistakes that really work, even if the Goblin King event did come out of left field. All the better, since it came out of left field at the characters too.
The other thing I really like is that the scale has just gone up to a new level. I enjoyed this show more when it was at a city or regional level as opposed to the dungeon crawling, and suddenly we’re at a regional or perhaps game-wide level. I could not be more pleased! This opens up the possibility of some huge battles, and by the sounds of it that very thing will be happening soon. Once again, could not be happier…I like my stories big and epic, and this is building into an especially impressive encounter.
Risk & Fear
“And failing to act, for fear of the risk, is no different than a living death. No matter what world you’re in.”
I cannot agree with Krusty’s words enough. If you’ll pardon my tangent, the ideas of risk and fear are extremely interesting to me. So many people – not in just the fantasy worlds I so love, but in the mundane Earth we all live upon – let themselves be paralyzed by fear. They balk at risk, never even considering the few intelligent risks they could take to radically improve their lives. Crappy jobs, shitty relationships, situations that ought to be untenable, yet are endlessly endured because they’re familiar. People balk at risk as a matter of course.
I wholeheartedly believe this is wrong. Taking intelligent risks – and sometimes even stupid ones – is what makes life worth living! Without putting yourself out there, without stepping up and fighting even if there’s a harsh price you may very well have to pay, isn’t living at all. Here Krusty shows his maturity, because while the younger and more inexperienced Shiroe became unsure at the thought of people paying a price for his decisions, his decisive decision-making being curtailed in the process, Krusty stood up and proclaimed that they must fight anyway. That’s the maturity of an adult right there. Krusty shines again.
The Newbies’ Resolve
As you all no doubt remember, I had some cross things to say about the newbies last week. I was not, let me reiterate, saying I don’t like them – I merely didn’t like how they were being used. This week I very much liked how they were used. They brought the youthful naivete that got the ball rolling on defending Choushi. In fact, it was the high-level players that I was a bit questionable on, since they were holding back from defending Choushi even though they (I’m assuming) hadn’t heard about the risks of death yet. In the absence of that, what reason is there to not defend the town? Other than the EXP penalty, but that’s totally worth it if you are saving lives and (you think) you’re risking nothing else.
What the newbies realized is something that adults frequently forget in the hustle and bustle of doing the “correct” or “smart” thing – you don’t need a reason to help someone. You do it because it’s the right thing to do, and that’s the only reason you need. Now the doll (trope!) wasn’t a particularly subtle way to get across the gravity of the situation, but it was effective, and by that time it was clear. I very much liked that the newbies were willing to march off and fight before even that.
Marie-nee’s Guilt, Isuzu’s Worry, Lenessia’s Gloom, & Minori’s Resolve
It’s sad that I have to mention this because it should be the rule rather than the exception, but the female characters in Log Horizon truly are outstanding, as this episode showed. Marie-nee’s guilt over the whole invasion shows her large heart and the responsibility she feels for everybody, though I personally couldn’t help but squee a little bit when it was Naotsugu that got her smiling again. Isuzu was clearly worried about Rudy the entire time, and her near-panicked concern from him…well, I just have to give props to Matsui Eriko for the excellent acting job. She really brought Isuzu’s fear to the fore.
But female characters being strong because of their relationship with a male character can happen even in stories that fail the Bechdel Test. A better example is Princess Lenessia who, though she has certainly been influenced by Krusty, isn’t acting solely out of concern for him like Isuzu is. She’s not (only) a maiden in love, it feels like she’s really preparing to stand up and grasp the freedom and the purpose she desires. Best of all though, is Minori. I still feel like sections of the newbie’s growth were skipped (lost in translation, really…I’m told they were in the source material), but the effects of that growth are clear, especially in Minori. She has no real romantic interest, she’s not an accessory to some guy, she’s her own character, and she stood up at the end and came up with a good, Shiroe-level strategy. If they can’t defend the town, what is there to do?
Easy: attack. Offense is the best defense, and the goblins can’t attack the city if they’re all dead. I got chills when the ED was playing and Minori unveiled her plan. She has grown so much.
Looking Ahead – Princess Lenessia Stands Up, Up, Up…
Speaking of growth, it looks like the lazy Princess Lenessia is going to stand up and do what she wants to do to help the world. Freedom truly does take resolve, and I look forward to seeing Lenessia show hers.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Risk, fear, & doing what is right are the name of the game as the Goblin King rises & Minori stands to fight #loghorizon 16
- Serara is such a kid, d’aaawww!
- Adventurers are free. They don’t need permission. If anything encapsulates why I find the idea of adventuring so wonderful, it’s that.
Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Unveil an actuality, Stupid monsters, Don’t break the chain, and Nerds & the miracle of human consciousness. My current combo counter: Editing chain, 8 days long. Writing chain, 0 days long.