「クリスマス・イブ」 (Kurisumasu Ibu)
The serial killer’s identity and methods are revealed, but that doesn’t mean taking him down will be easy.
Notice this guy polishing the armor back in episode one? Looks like he’s the root of all their problems. This is classic system exploitation, something which reminds me of how villains tweaked the system in PSYCHO-PASS season one. It explains not only how good he is, but why the Royal Guards aren’t deploying—to them, one of them has already deployed.
The stolen armor brings reason to the rhyme of why someone would bother to murder immortals. It’s not about the deaths, though they still suffer the pain and bleed out in the snow, which isn’t fun. No, it’s to show that the adventurers cannot stop him. They seriously consider abandoning the city for a time, or turning off the grid. If the Round Table can’t stop this killer, it will undermine everyone’s faith in them, the city, and the very idea of the systems they placed their trust in. This guy truly is a terrorist—it’s not the deaths, but the reaction in the populace that matters. How quickly they can stop him and how the people react will determine who wins. I still put my bet on Akiba though. No matter how powerful he is, justice will prevail, and society will break him down and go right on trucking.
I do wonder if Kinjou is on the up and level. He goes to apologize to Lenessia, but I wouldn’t put it past the Kunie Clan to let a set of Defender armor get stolen to see what the adventurers (and Lenessia) would do. I don’t trust him yet. Not until he starts throwing out finger guns with Naotsubro, at any rate.
Soujirou has finally exhibited a side that’s not terribly attractive. Scary Souji isn’t a badass anger, the kind that makes you go “Hell yeah!” when a stoic action hero busts down the front door and starts lobbing grenades. It’s just straight up scary, the kind that makes you step back and go fuck … what is this guy capable of? But that’s good, because just as with Akatsuki’s jealousy, this makes him more relatable and interesting because he’s not some perfect pretty boy hero. He possesses some measure of darkness as well, and though it’s righteous and aimed at defending his friends, it’s no less scary for it. He’s a mama bear, and if you harm his family, he will end you. And angry bears are scary.
Lenessia’s Tiny Shoulders
Telling Lenessia and Akatsuki’s stories in tandem has been a good fit. The themes play off each other well, though until I hear exactly why Shiroe wanted Akatsuki to guard Lenessia, it will feel a tad too convenient for my tastes. This time Akatsuki clearly draws strength from Lenessia, whose strength she respects despite her low level, and who is dealing with such heavy things despite being so young. Not without some trouble! I loved it when Lenessia was whining, though the pacing was off when it took her so long to realize she was talking to Akatsuki. At least another adventurer knows her true self though, and they can draw strength from each other.
The Meaning of Overskils
Watch carefully, listen carefully, wish strongly, and keep thinking about what you have to do. Continue to train, without giving up. It’s pathetic how little of an explanation that is. But this is the entirety of the Overskills.
It’s still not clear what the Overskills are, but if I had to guess, I’d say they’re semi-unique skills that are acquired through great practice, diligence, and homing in on the thing you want to do better than anyone else and immersing yourself in it utterly. (Spoiler tags if you’re going to comment on that, LN readers.) This is, in fact, how it works in real life—the greats are not gifted with that which makes them so exemplary, and no system can bestow their skills upon them. Only intense, insane, even fanatically hard work can bring them to the height of skill and the minor epiphanies that make them the best in the world. That’s how I expect Soujirou got his Divine Eye, because he wants to protect his comrades above all else.
Which means that Akatsuki is ripe with potential for an Overskill of her own, because she’s intently focused on being a first-rate ninja in the service of her lord. That peculiarity is what opens her up for greatness, if she can only put the pieces together. But not before taking a dirt nap. Ohandbytheway, Soujirou and Akatsuki losing? Great storytelling. It’s in defeat that characters are forged, and Akatsuki has some forging to do.
Looking Ahead – The Empty Beach of Meaningfulness
Evangelion and Lag-Rin references aside, it looks like Akatsuki is going to be doing some character forging next week. I honestly didn’t expect Shiroe to go down without more build up, and the meager glimpse we got into the boss battle—though it it did help to raise the tension of Soujirou and Akatsuki’s battle—didn’t give me the gravitas I wanted. But no mind, because I want to see what will happen when the two reunite beyond death’s doors. There’s been a criminal lack of Akatsuki x Shiroe this season.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Akiba is zeroing in on the killer, but that doesn’t mean they win. Also, first post-Apocalypse deaths for Akatsuki & Shiroe #loghorizon s2e5
- Nyanta rightly guessed that Tohya was only so ready to fight (and possibly die) because it wouldn’t stick. Which is understandable, but he’s also right that you lose something when you take special treatment for granted … you’re no longer grateful for it. When rising from the flippin’ dead becomes mundane, you’ve done something wrong.
- Snarky bitch, saying Merry Christmas after the kill. I can’t wait to see him go down.
- Reminder: Next week’s post (episode six) will be published on Monday, and possibly the one after it (episode seven) as well. Thank you for your understanding.
Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Worth doing, You’re not good enough, Win conditions, and Flawed genius. For book updates, please sign up for my mailing list.