The pen is mightier than the sword. It always has been, but Shiroe’s pen is powerful enough to tell the world how it should be. Then there’s more berserk Krusty, Marie-nee x Naotsugu, and Isuzu as well. Wow, what an episode!
Anima & Psyche
In fiction, problems like Rudy’s death are best when you can get most of the way to an answer by yourself with the information they’ve already provided. Between what we learned about anima (HP) and psyche (MP) from Regan, and what it meant about revival (both for adventurers and People of the Land), we could get part of the way to the answer ourselves. Rudy needed both HP and MP, and since his body hadn’t disappeared, his anima had clearly been restored. Then Shiroe used his mana channeling ability to force MP back into Rudy’s body, giving him the juice to power his mind. Yet he didn’t wake up, and here’s where the show takes the leap that was both brilliant and yet not exactly what I expected.
Shiroe Rewrites The Rules of the World
In truth, it was no surprise that Rudy didn’t die. It just wouldn’t have felt right, not after all the development he has gotten and the tone this story has. Yet as is often the case, and it’s more how he was revived rather than if, because of what it reveals about the world and how our heroes can interact with it.
First, zombie Rudy. Totally didn’t expect that! Though since I can think of multiple games where characters have items or abilities that do exactly that, fair enough. The brilliant leap was how Shiroe took the lesson learned with Nyanta’s cooking and applied to to his own Scribe skill. In short: Nyanta’s style of cooking works because the players have the skill (by game rules), but they do the actions themselves, allowing them to circumvent the game’s base rules and do something (make food taste good) that they couldn’t do otherwise. In the same way, Shiroe has the skill and items (by game rules) to write contracts – The Fairy King’s paper, ink from the Time Dragon’s eye, and his Lv 90 Scribe skill – which he used to circumvent the game’s base rules and do something he wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.
That’s the dry way to put it, and why it makes sense. At a more basic level, Shiroe just told reality to shut the fuck up and do what it’s told. He just rewrote the rules of the reality on a whim! Not only that, he wrote the contract such that Rudy would remain an adventurer even if the contract was broken, i.e. Rudy failed in his duties to Log Horizon or left the guild. Not only did Shiroe just make reality itself his personal bitch, but he did it in the most honrable way possible, such that Rudy is not beholden to him in the least. I…wow! If there’s anything Touno-sensei’s writing tells us, it’s that words are far more powerful than weapons, but Shiroe takes this to a whole new level. Fuck yeah!
Berserker Krusty, Shirtless Krusty
As if that wouldn’t be enough for most shows, this episode gave us more. First, shirtless Krusty. Eat your heart out, ladies! (But back off, ’cause he’s Lenessia’s.) In all seriousness, the extra helping of battle-crazed berserker Krusty was awesome, and it served to wrap up the biggest obstacle of the goblin invasion, serving to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion. Plus I expect these two ladies will start appearing more often now, given the prominent position they had here. I’m all for more characters after all the amazing ones we’ve gotten so far.
On The Moonlit Beach
But there’s more! Like any proper Kyoukaisen fan, I prefer lots of OTPs (trope!) to the more frequent harem situation we find in most anime, so when they take the time to show Naotsugu and Marie-nee on a moonlit beach together, with Naotsugu kindly fanning Marie after a long battle, plus that atmosphere at the end… Well, needless to say my shipping sense are going nuts. Go for it, Naotsugu! (Or let’s face it, Marie-nee. She seems more like the purser in this relationship.) You’ll be so adorable together!
An Adventurer’s Resolve, Minori’s Resolve
But they weren’t threw yet. There’s still more! First of all, backing up, I like how they took the time to note how Minori has never asked Shiroe for help before. She has asked for knowledge or training, but it’s always been so she and the others can help themselves. Pointing this out first thing help show us how serious the situation was if Minori was finally asking for Shiroe’s help directly, as well as how much Rudy has come to mean to her.
Past that though, Shiroe talked about an adventurer’s resolve. When adventurer is used simply as a synonym for player, this is silly – adventurers don’t necessarily has resolve, though the high-level, high-performing ones certainly do. In this world they find themselves in, though, adventurers are another thing entirely. They’re not just normal people who decide on a life of adventurer – only Rudy has managed to pull that off, and only with a lot of help, a lot of luck, and Shiroe shelving the rules of the universe under “Fiction” in his personal library. No, adventurers are his people, and it’s only those who have the resolve to keep fighting that are fit to be his nakama. When Shiroe gave that speech, when he denied Rundel Haus the easy way out of death…chills. So many chills.
A Date in the Cathedral
AND YET THERE’S MORE! While Rudy made the remarkable journey of going from insufferable buffoon to a crowd favorite, Isuzu has had no shortage of character development as well. The women of Log Horizon are strong, so her marching into the cathedral and telling Rudy that he can never do something so stupid ever again…it was so uplifting and touching and d’aaawww inducing all at once! Isuzu has finally figured out how to best deal with Rudy. If he’s going to be a silly dog, better to treat him like one and be his “master”, ne? Ufufu~, and also d’aaaawww!
Looking Ahead – Akatsuki & The Waltz
One of the downsides of a large cast of characters – though I consider it a worthwhile one myself – is that sometimes, characters don’t get as much spotlight as we’d like. Akatsuki has been laboring under that as of late, but it looks like next week will rectify the situation! She’s unsure, and there’s a waltz mentioned in the episode title… I know I say this every week, but I cannot wait, I cannot wait!!
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Shiroe tells reality to shut the hell up & do as it’s told. Meanwhile, relationships advance as the goblin invasion falls! #loghorizon 20
- So Shiroe’s role is to grant the dreams of selfish women, eh? Or one selfish woman and a lot of selfless ones, in this case.
- Bonus points for Minori, who realized Rudy was a Person of the Land as well. Seriously though, only people as dense as Tohya or as trusting as Serara wouldn’t notice after all this time, I feel. Minori wouldn’t be Shiroe’s protégé if she didn’t notice something like that.
- Most of us once disliked Rudy, and now he becomes an adventurer not because he wants glory, but to save people. Damn, that’s awesome. Screw it – Rudy avatar ENGAGED!
- I wonder what Rudy being an adventurer means for him vis a vis Earth? I still assume they’ll get out of here eventually, so I wonder what that’ll mean for him, as well as his relationship with Isuzu. Lenessia too, for that matter. Though if reality threatens to break up my ships, there’s always Shiroe to tell it to sit back down and shut the hell up, hah!
Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Mental domination, I never get to read my own work, I’m that guy, and Unexpected directions. My current combo counter: 36 days long.