「ひび割れた翼」 (Hibiwareta Tsubasa)
Is murder really so bad, when you’re going to resurrect anyway?
Akatsuki’s Jealousy, Akatsuki’s [Lack of] Confidence
To deny one’s emotions, even when they’re ugly, is the height of foolishness—and so it is with characters as well. It’s fun to see stories starring unshakable characters, such as this season’s Nanatsu no Taizai. But for my money, I prefer heroes who have the same human foibles that we do, while still remaining admirable. Akatsuki’s jealousy is a great example of this. It’s completely understandable that she would be jealous of Minori, who seems to get along with and understand better—and is of more use to—her love (Shiroe) than she is. That this jealousy is strong enough for her to speak ill of Minori, and in the next breath to berate herself for those ugly feelings, is both understandable and admirable. She remains better than many, and a true adult despite her size.
The root of it all is Akatsuki’s lack of confidence. She thinks she needs to be of use to Shiroe, when that’s not necessarily true. She’s trapped in her own self-concept as an assassin, loyal to her lord, and a servant who cannot be of use to her lord is useless. But that’s not what she is! She’s Shiroe’s comrade, his friend, and perhaps more, and none of those require her to be of use to him. But she feels like she must, and her lack of confidence cripples her—and the fact that she really doesn’t seem to be able to do much for him doesn’t help matters. The accusations we aim at ourselves hurt all the more when there’s a measure of truth to them.
The part that makes the whole thing even more bitter? It’s likely that Shiroe really does need Akatsuki’s help, and plans to help her acquire the strength she desires soon (I’m willing to bet she’ll receive some gear from Nyanta’s Roderick purchase, though once again, use those spoiler tags people. I’ll find out when the anime tells me). It’s a lack of communication that has her twisted in knots … but an understandable one, given Shiroe and Akatsuki’s personalities, and the communication problems that they’ve long exhibited. All while she just misses Shiroe. Too many feels *sniffles*
Lenessia Culture Shock, Lenessia’s [Lack of] Confidence
Last week’s preview was a bit misleading. I came into the episode expecting this grand revelation that Lenessia didn’t understand the adventurers like I thought she did, and what’s more, she may not even be trying—she may have given up! Nope. What we had here was something familiar to us Earthlings, but unfamiliar to the People of the Land: culture shock. Lenessia now lives in an entirely different culture than she’s used to, and the tools she was equipped with to deal with her own society—high-class etiquette, for example—are useless here. She has culture shock, but to a people mostly limited to horse-levels of travel, she doesn’t even know what that is.
But as with Akatsuki, Lenessia is made admirable because she realizes that the adventurers aren’t a monolithic group, and that even if they belong to the same culture—in their case, Japanese gamers—they’re all different. Where she founders is in thinking so highly of them that she doesn’t feel she can call herself their friend. Which is once again, understandable but misguided. I’m not used to praising misunderstandings that aren’t for comedic effect (I miss you, Nozaki-kun et al), but here it is, twice in one episode.
Henrietta’s Abandoned Love
Henriette is easily one of my favorite characters—for her scary shiny glasses, making Akatsuki cosplay, teasing Marie about Naotsugu, and her scary fangirling about Akatsuki. And those are just the comedic parts! She’s also wicked smart as well.
Which saddens me, because she is still in fact nurturing something of a crush on Shiroe, one which she is determined to leave one-sided. And not without reason—she can see as plain as day that Akatsuki (and almost certainly Minori) love Shiroe as well, and she loves Akatsuki (not that way, you pervs), so to step in the middle and try to steal Shiroe doesn’t seem like something someone like Henrietta would do. She’s stuck between a rock and a hard place, so while part of me wants to say “Go for it!”, I can’t see her doing it. But I don’t want her to give up either. It shows the weakness of the harem setup treated realistically—a lot of people are going to end up disappointed. And sorry, but this isn’t the kind of story where any reasonable person can hope for the harem end—I have too much respect for these characters to wish that upon them.
Looking Ahead – What’s a Little Murder To an Immortal?
Generally speaking, murder is bad. I hope I’m not saying anything too audacious when I say that. But how bad is it when the victim can resurrect? It should probably be discouraged, but slavery, kidnapping, and rape become a lot worse than murder when murder is a minor inconvenience. Which makes me worry for Soujirou’s guildmate, because they’re treating this attempted murder as a big deal. Perhaps Evil Santa Samurai has figured out not only a way to stop the Royal Guards from showing up, but making death stick. All I know is use those spoiler tags, people.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Akatsuki’s & Lenessia’s troubles and misunderstandings are reasonable and understandable. The good writing continues #loghorizon s2e4
- I like how it’s all the women who are making the girls cosplay. Not that I’m complaining!
- Some of the pacing this episode was oddly slow—for example, during the Nyanta/Roderic conversation, or when Marie tripped. It felt like they were padding a little bit. Not bad, but a bit.
- Stilts note: Expect the next two posts to be released on Monday. I’ll be out of town for the next two weekends. Thank you for your understanding.
Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Flawed genius, Steal like an artist, Between novels, and From me to you. For book updates, please sign up for my mailing list.