A speech leads to an expedition leads to a war. There are no grunts among adventurers, Lenessia. They’re all specialists, and they’re very, very good at what they do.
A Sense of Theatre
There is more to being a leader than being the best at what you do. Real leaders have to be good storytellers, able to tell their people what needs to be done in such a way that they want to follow them, even if it’s hard or dangerous or the benefits are uncertain and distant. Shiroe proved himself capable of that with one of a tyrant’s greatest weapons – a sense of theatre.
Notice how, with a snap, he turns the lights on above and illuminates himself with dark light from below. He was acting as the voice of selfishness, so he painted himself in ominous light (literally), both conveying the gravity of what he was saying while subtly insinuating that it’s not the “right” thing to do. Then Lenessia comes out, and the spotlights are on her! She is illuminated like an angel, and in armor that makes her look like a goddess of war. So there Lenessia stands, flanked by two of the most powerful adventurers in Akihabara, and she makes her plea. After all that, Lenessia didn’t have to give nearly as good of a speech as she did to move the audience. Shiroe set her up for a slam dunk.
It’s a good thing that Shiroe is using his evil mind for good, because he would be ridiculously dangerous is he went full tyrant. Well, more so than he already is.
Let’s get this out of the way – Lenessia’s speech wasn’t as great as Meido Ane’s speech in Maoyuu. Honestly though, the comparison is unfair. How is Lenessia supposed to compete when Meido Ane basically gave birth to Liberalism all in one go? The DNA that made that speech so great was still on display here, and from Shiroe’s sense of theatre to the words Lenessia spoke, it delivered.
It’s a fantasy of sorts, the idea that a politician – and a princess is a political figure, even if she doesn’t always realize it – would get up on stage and tell the truth. She openly admitted that the People of the Land were thinking of using the adventurers to defend themselves, and that it was disgraceful. Then she asked anyway, because she still wanted to save the people of Eastal. And she was rewarded for it! That’s the other side of the fantasy – that a politician will not be punished for telling the truth, because as much as we like to think they wouldn’t be, they frequently are. They tell the truth, we answer openly back…that’s the dream.
And what a dream it was! When their weapons thundered against the ground, their war horns blew, and they cheered for the hime-goddess who had captured their hearts…chills man, chills! This is it, this is the scale, this is the kind of thing I love to see! Rousing speeches, armies on the march, the fate of nations in the balance! This is one epic story right here!
Adventurers Are Specialists
The Cowen family are fast on their feet. First it was Lenessia, who realized another strength of adventurers – not only are they free, they’re smart. They understand tactics, they can all read, and they’re all very smart in the specific ways that their profession demands. Where Eastal has nobles, peasants, and soldiers who do nothing but fight, every single adventurer is a specialist, many times more dangerous than a Person of the Land of equal level would be, even discounting their inability to die. As one who identifies primarily with the adventurers, it gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling that you get when your nation does something great. They may be vicious, battle-crazy bastards, but they’re our vicious, battle-crazy bastards, and they’re very good at what they do.
A Pact & a Treaty
The other sharp Cowen was the old man himself. He finally realized that the adventurers of Akihabara are too powerful to be absorbed into Eastal – if they were, they would upset the delicate balance they’ve set up, and besides they have a completely different system of governance. They shouldn’t be treated as a new city to be absorbed into Eastal, but a neighboring nation…and if that’s so, it’s better that they be allies. A non-aggression pact and a trade treaty are excellent first steps.
Two points here, both about Michitaka. One: He is a smart guy, in that he knows when to pass things off to someone even smarter. Henrietta, go! Two: His laziness came in handy. When Henrietta was pressing too hard about the inherent inequality in their defensive capabilities, Michitaka lightened the mood by basically saying $@%& it, we can’t decide anything else now anyway. One thing at a time, Henrietta. Or better yet, just make Shiroe deal with it when he gets back!
A Thousand Strong. This Is War!
This is it, this is what I loved about old school late 90’s / early 2000’s MMORPGs. I primarily played Everquest from that era and World or Warcraft (vanilla only) from the next generation, and though I enjoyed raiding in WoW (back when I had the time for that), leading 40 people into battle was nothing like working alongside 100+ in the average raid in EQ. That wasn’t even necessarily for a special raid, that happened all the time! It’s that feeling of working alongside so many other living, breathing, thinking human beings that made them grand. WoW only ever came close to that during the big events, but even those weren’t the same. Scripted isn’t the same. It’s the events like the ones we saw this episode, where everything is driven by the players and so many of them are working together that really got my blood boiling. And this was that, but 1200 players strong!
Then there was Krusty’s final line: “Kill them all.” That’s what’s so great about a story like this. We can cheer to that! We can get excited! Even in a world where the game has become reality, the goblins are all infinitely respawning demi-humans who are bent on destroying humanity and all near-human creatures, and I do believe that means killing them is okay. That’s the glory of video games, when you can go on a rampage and not feel a lick of guilt. Even here, we can revel in it. Let the war begin! These goblins are screwed!
Looking Ahead – Protecting Someone
If you don’t have a bad feeling about next episode, you probably should. Protecting someone, even if they have to die? Guuuuuuhhh!
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Shiroe’s sense of theatre + Lenessia’s stirring speech leads the adventurers to a war they’ll happily fight. It’s event time! #loghorizon 18
- Daaaamn, Soujirou attracts a harem quickly. Someone kill that man, he’s a danger to us all. Also, I’m shamelessly jealous!!
- Another thing I liked was how lively Akiba has gotten. It really feels like home now.
- I like the little details, like how Lenessia’s armor apparently only shows her legs because she’s tall. It’s a bug, not a feature…but it’s one I like!
- Even the PKers have jobs now. See what I mean about the little details?
- I want to be squeezed so hard by Marie-nee I can’t breathe…
- So apparently twelve adventurers are going to be guarding Lenessia during the battle. Suuuucks! They get stuck on NPC escort duty while everyone else gets to have fun. And she’s only what, like Lv 12? Hopefully her pathing is good, otherwise she’s going to–oh, right. She’s a human. I forgot. Too many games, too many games…
Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: I can quit anytime, so I don’t have to, Admiration & those who try, Dogfights, battleships, & sword fights, and Combo counter update – It’s going well, it’s going not so well. My current combo counter: Editing chain, 22 days long. Writing chain, 5 days long.