「ふたりでワルツを」 (Futari de Warutsu o)
“The Two of Us Shall Waltz”
A celebratory party that simultaneously wraps up a few loose ends and foreshadows the next conflict.
Lenessia & Krusty
I love how Lenessia sees right through Krusty, but Krusty can read her mind. Hah! In all seriousness, it’s good to see Lenessia coming to Akihabara, because that means our lazy Hime won’t be going away anytime soon. The dynamic between her and Krusty is just too perfect to lose. Oh, so now you want to dance this time, Krusty? Ohoho!
But what I found the most interesting from them was Krusty’s comment about how Lenessia herself seems to have a habit of ruining her own life of self-indulgence. I think Krusty knows what we all find out as we get older…that slacking off is fun when you’re young, and it’s always fun for a while, but people like Lenessia don’t like to stand aside and let something stupid happen when they can jump in and try to help out. She’ll keep getting herself involved, no matter what she claims she wants to do.
Isuzu & Rudy
Isuzu joining Log Horizon is up there with Log Horizon itself being formed in the realm of things we all saw coming a mile away. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the moment, though. Shipping her and Rudy is a bit odd, since she frequently bursts into laughter at his gentlemanly nature and totally ruins the moment, but I think it’s clear that she feels some measure of responsibility for him, so she wants to be around to make sure he doesn’t do something stupid (again). He’s her baka Sorcerer, so she needs to be in the same guild, ne?
Nyanta & Serara
Better yet was how Serara decided not to join Log Horizon. Admittedly, I kind of wanted her to do it, but I’ve watched the opening sequence enough times to know we’d have no such luck. But then again, what’s it matter? There’s no rule that says she can’t group with Minori and the others, and the Crescent Moon Alliance and Log Horizon get together all the time, as the final scene of the episode shows.
But to me, the best part was Nyanta’s reaction to Serara’s decision. Now, Serara’s crush on Nyanta is totally one-sided, and will remain so – Nyanta is a true gentleman, and Serara has many years before she even has the chance to become the kind of refined woman he would consider entering into a relationship with. (Guys like Nyanta don’t date; that’s far too casual for a man like him.) No, it was how much of a gentleman he was about the whole situation. He praised Serara, then asked her to dance…d’aaawww! I don’t know if he realizes that she likes him, but he’s a gentleman bar none. I wish I could be that suave while slipping in the occasional nyan~. I’m not sure I could do either.
The Magic of Minami
Whelp, I was wrong – it looks like someone else figured out that adventurers can create new world-class magic far more quickly than I expected. This came from the city of Minami (second from the left), where The Demon Festival of Suzaku Gate (another world event) took place recently. It was mentioned that a certain (single) guild rules over Minami, and this has my interest thoroughly piqued. Here’s why: I’ve always been of the opinion that sentient mortals – humans, in other words, or near-humans, as opposed to monsters or demons or living gods – are the best antagonists. Great fiction happens when not only do the protagonists have something to lose, but the antagonists do as well, and humans are routinely capable of more horrifying, sickening, and debased acts of cruelty than even the most creative monsters can cook up. And with a single guild ruling the city of Minami, it sounds like they’ll in some way be opposed to the adventurers of Akihabara, even if they’re only opposed as much as Eastal was for a while there. I sense tension on the horizon, even if a war between adventurers would be stupid in the extreme. For them that is, them all being immortal and all that.
But more directly, someone else knows. I don’t know who this blonde woman is, but someone other than Shiroe, the newbies, and Regan apparently knows that Shiroe created a new kind of magic, and that’s another thing I didn’t expect to happen so quickly. It’s interesting though, so I’ll allow it. Carry on!
Public Relationships, Reputation, & Shiroe’s Only Weakness
Great characters are flawed characters, and sometimes Shiroe seems like he doesn’t have any. This episode explored what is Shiroe’s single greatest weakness – public relations. Shiroe is terrible at managing his own reputation! This may sound silly, but as a politician – and that’s what Shiroe is now, and a borderline tyrant too – you have to manage your reputation or others will define it for you. Shiroe is an introvert, and one who isn’t interested in becoming more comfortable in social situations. But he needs to be seen! For a public figure, if people don’t see you, they’ll say whatever they want about you. He needs to be visible so that maybe, just maybe, they’ll see the real Shiroe instead of the caricature they create in their minds. This is something Krusty knows well, even though he’s far more terrifying than Shiroe. Krusty knows how to play the social game, even if Shiroe is much better at the strategic one. Krusty understands people.
Why is this important? Because sometimes reputation can mean everything when it comes to getting your way. I’ve heard of big corporate mergers that quietly fell through when one party learned that the other company’s CEO has a terrible reputation, and I’ve seen people with great reputations leapfrog those who are more technically skilled. This might seem unfair, but it’s not – humans put great stock in being able to trust who they work with, and that’s what reputation is. The core people of the Round Table trust Shiroe, but what of everyone else? By not managing his own reputation, Shiroe leaves himself vulnerable to abandonment, because they first time Krusty and the others decide they disagree with Shiroe, he’ll have little ability to continue furthering his aims amount a skeptical general populace.
As far as Shiroe’s reputation goes, it looks like Minori realizes it’s in the gutter. That clearly bothers her, and I’m curious as to why in particular. I figure it’s one of two reasons: either 1) she’s afraid that Shiroe himself is getting beat down by the things people say about him, or 2) she doesn’t like how so many other people have the wrong opinion of him. I guess it really depends on why she almost told Shiroe she loves him up on the rooftop. (I assume that’s what she was going for, of course.) It could have been because of #1, and she wanted Shiroe to know that not everyone thought about him that way, or she could just flat out like him, whether romantically or not. (Or rather, whether romantically, because we know she likes Shiroe as a person, mentor, and friend.) I guess we’ll find out more from Minori next episode.
Shiroe & Akatsuki
Finally, Shiroe and Akatsuki. So HNG~! Akatsuki’s concerns about being useless to Shiroe did make me realize one thing, though…so far, Akatsuki is a fairly flat character. (Hur hur hur…not that way you goobers.) She’s loyal to Shiroe, she’s tiny, she’s quiet, but we haven’t gotten into a lot of her internal motivations, and she hasn’t gotten the development of characters like Lenessia, Rudy, Krusty, Minori…lots of them, to be honest. I hope she gets more utilized in further stories as she becomes more of a strong Log Horizon-style female character. For now though, seeing Shiroe thank her and then finally ask her to dance was very sweet. Too bad they didn’t show Shiroe fail-dancing though. I would have liked to see that!
Looking Ahead – The Scale Festival
Next week looks like it’s going to be a loveu-loveu time as Shiroe takes Minori and Akatsuki out for cakii. I’m so jealous!
By the way, a heads up: I have a friend coming in from out of town next weekend, so takaii has graciously agreed to take over and cover Episode 22 for me. Please treat him as kindly as you treat me, and I’ll be back the next week for Episode 23. Thanks for your understanding.
Wait, does this mean I don’t get to write about the Shiroe-taking-girls-out-for-cakii episode? Damn! I’m so jealous!!
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – A celebratory dance that puts a bow on various relationships while introducing what’s to come #loghorizon 21
- Forgot one thing – Naotsugu and the others had a good point about not taking out the Goblin King yet. You don’t want to take out the leader unless you want the enemy to be thrown into disarray. In this case it’s better for the goblins to be organized (and therefore easier to defeat en masse) rather than rampaging chaotically across the countryside.
- Marie-san picked Naotsugu, ohoho~
- I think Rudy is the first guy to ever be pet-zoned. So congrats? At least you found a new way of never advancing in a relationship.
- These otaku adventurers. Seriously, those masks are creepy. Cut it out.
- Shiroe was smart to spread the memory loss thing as a rumor. Once everyone hears it and comes to terms with it, it can be confirmed without a panic…though the Round Table’s (and Shiroe’s) reputation takes another hit. See what I mean?
- Air megane!
Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Sometimes, the fluff is everything, Mental domination, I never get to read my own work, and I’m that guy. My current combo counter: 42 days long.