「クリスマス・イブ」 (Kurisumasu Ibu)
“Christmas Eve”

The serial killer’s identity and methods are revealed, but that doesn’t mean taking him down will be easy.

Stolen Armor

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.

Scary Souji

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

Random thoughts:

  • 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.

Full-length images: 19, 20.




    1. There are 2 arcs happening at the same time as based from the light novel, and the anime is doing a good job or rotating the scene.

      Personally I find the action and fighting to be cool and nice since it hard to image it from LN. (=w=||)

  1. I recalled a movie that had a tale where Santa, Satan’s only son, lost in a bet and was forced to spread holiday joy but later “all bets of off.”
    Now “santa,” just came back from the gym, became a master of the Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū, just took some of Hody Jones’ ES drug, and now wish to punish all good children. Now the only question if this Santa is possibly a “robot,” from the distant future, with a sleigh ready to rode on X-mas.

    I am shocked, did the princess had an imaginary friend?
    It took her that long to figure out her personal ninja was there. *sigh* Krusty, when are returning, you princess is waiting for you.

    For some reason, he looks familiar. Is this the return of Battousai the Manslayer?

    Overall, it seems nice to see the next episode with Akatsuki but……….please don’t let this be the Soul Society T_T

    1. From the look of it, what we (or at least I) didn’t consider was time. I assumed you resurrected immediately, but if you have to spend some time in this other world, considering why exactly you suck … that would wear on you after a while.

  2. Fortunately in LH death is not as grisly business as in the original SAO…
    Still it hurts to see Akatsuki in pain!
    At least I hope she will get something out of this adventure (teachings?).
    I believe that after Lenessia delivers to round table her news, and with little brainstorming the adventurers will find a way to stop rogue NPC.
    Spealing of Lenessia, I admire how she rises above her all-too-human (despite NPC) weakness and does what she cosiders the RIGHT THING.
    Can’t wait to see Crusty back with her – or , for that matter, Akatsuki with Shiroe.
    Also, the cloesr look at the resurrection mechanics might shed some light about the nature of change that has been wrought upon the game by Apocalypse?

  3. You seriously don’t want to mess with Soujirou’s girls. Read the West Wind Brigade side-story manga for more examples of people who tried making that mistake. Heck, Show Spoiler ▼

  4. Lots of interesting bits here and there, especially with our (now confirmed) Person of the Land going about killing without repercussions. Probably the most intriguing bit about it though is how the murderer is a member of the Kumui clan, the same one Shiroe is currently baiting to solve the Round Table’s financial troubles.

    Two things here, first is that the Kumui clan appears to not be united and could have fractured along sectarian (i.e. guild) lines; it’s probable the murderer is an agent of the clan members supporting that big bad threat to the south in last season’s wolf girl. Second is the ability of Landers to actually hurt Adventurers even when in town. It might not be the most practical means, but the armour (and Rudy’s little soul switch) shows that Landers not happy with the current political order do have options to counteract agents such as the Round Table; Lenessia’s words about not understanding the Adventurers have the potential to serve as foreshadowing as much as world building IMO.

    Without a doubt though looking forward to this week’s episode, the process of death and resurrection is one of the few areas currently not well explored in Log Horizon. Top that off with some more wonderfully structured character development and I’m game. Hell, maybe this time Shiroe and Akatsuki will stop talking past one another too, there’s always the chance 😛

  5. I honestly didn’t expect Shiroe to go down without more build up, and the meager glimpse we got into the boss battle

    This is the second time we have been teased with that boss battle.

    Show Spoiler ▼

  6. I’m trying to figure out why the killer is able to change his stat screen to look like a Samurai adventurer (thus the other adventurers’ confusion of why guards weren’t showing up). I know Nureha has this ability, but not sure why the killer would also. Maybe because he’s of the Kunie clan?

    1. To be fair, People of the Land have classes too. Though when they mentioned that he wasn’t in a guild, I was thinking he was an adventurer until they said otherwise. Guess we’ll find out more soon.

  7. I think its far more important to explain what Overskills/Teachings are first Stilts. Show Spoiler ▼

    Stilts edit: Spoiler tags mother%#&*@, use em!

  8. Don’t hate me for mention him, but Soujirou is basically Kirito done right.
    He has the skills, twin swords, the harem (xinfinity), the looks? but he has depth.
    Angry Kirito seems like a puppy compared to momma bear Soujirou.

      1. Depends on system Kirito wins in his virtual world because it is programed to have him win. In the real world of Log Horizon Kirito was a dedicated gamer who worked hard to learn and buff up but so did Soujirou so give Kirito a while to get used to the new system it could be a even fight. (the world of Log Horizon is real even if done on a AI with all the players and NPC’s also AI, the key is people in Log Horizon have to relate to the world like a real one there is no computer access. I think more likely a alternate reality that like many anime people use pop up screens to work magic and do things.

    1. What depth? He’s happy shallow happy go lucky and shallow angry bear. His romance interests are shallow too (and innately cannot be developed due to the nature of his character).

      I like the character, but he isn’t deep at all.

  9. For the nature of Overskill/ Teaching, as a non-English speaker, I find the original kanjis easier to understand. The terms is rather vague; the ambiguous nature probably contribute to how one can acquire it. Perhaps deliberately.

    初伝 = (begin) (saying) = shoden
    中伝 = (middle) (saying) = chuuden
    奥伝 = (inner) (saying) = okuden
    秘伝 = (secretly) (saying) = hiden

    Haven’t seen the kanji for the last rank (haven’t read any LN), but

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Maybe it’s just me, but everytime I hear somebody on screen says kuuden and the subs reads Teaching, I always get a little “Eh, that doesn’t click” at the back of my head. 😀

      1. That is not exactly true, as furigana describe the pronunciation and 口伝 is clearly pronounced as kuuden by Shiroe and the others. Overskill is an alternative name and as such shares the kanji spelling with 口伝.

      1. Ah, I got influenced by too many martial arts flicks, apparently. 😀

        Show Spoiler ▼

      2. Imho a closer (if somewhat literal) translation of 口伝 would be “Oral Transmission”, which may be why it has been translated as “teachings” by unknowing subbers.

        Not sure why Mamare chose this term, but maybe it was along the lines of “I can tell you how it’s done, but you have to learn it for yourself~” XD

        Random Comment
      3. Teachings (the word itself, not how it’s used here) do not have to be oral. You can be taught by reading, watching, and many other ways. So to immediately think of this word from the original Japanese seems weird. Also weird in that the translation does not include the fact that there are “lower level skills” as you mentioned. The Japanese term makes it seem like it’s the next step up from the previous skill level. Akatsuki even thought this too in her reflections. Whereas the way the term is used here is more of a “limit break”(the closest gaming term I can think of, from older Final Fantasy games) super move.

    1. What’s worse (IMHO) is the anime fails a lot to keep the drama of not being skilled enough, being owerpowered in an unfair fight and the bad taste of failing even trying your hardest. This last scene ahould have shown the pinnacle of Akatsukis’ uneasiness and lack of power, which is the leit motif of the arc.
      Same with the first murder scene: Show Spoiler ▼

  10. This time on Log Horizon’s Christmas Carol: both of the protagonists die horribly! Even scary-mode Souji snuffed it. Merry Christmas, for everyone!

    I suppose it’s a good way to amp up the stakes though, and I can’t wait to see Akatsuki taking samurai’s ass down in revenge (but hopefully not before some more Shirou & Akatsuki moments in that afterlife thing). I also wonder what kind of effect this samurai guy will have on the long run. Because you can bet that a lot of People of the Land in Log Horizon would love to have a way to stomp adventurers into submission, and I wonder if this crazed nutjob is being used to test the grounds by someone higher up. The fact that he’s from the well-connected and shady Kunie clan isn’t helping matters.

    And I can never have enough of whining Lenessia.

  11. Shirou dying Show Spoiler ▼

    Soujirou is a Master Harum Master in that he carefully like a good parent keeps his treatment of all his girls as equal as possible never admitting a favorite. Plus a Master Harum Master does not tollorate someone harming his family.

    Stilts edit: Spoiler tags added

    1. maybe not a bad idea on the spoilers probably should spoiler guesses but I was just making a educated guess from what happened in the scene plus raid experience. Not read the books. And this not from any chat I read.

      1. Ah, okay. You said it pretty authoritatively, so I tagged it. It’s not a bad idea to spoiler tag guesses though, if your being right might spoil the fun for others. Mark them as such if you do so.

      2. @about Raid. You’ll be surprised when you see what it actually happens. You can’t imagine it right now yet.
        PS: I regret now spoiling the show myself with the novels. 🙁

        @Soujiro: He’s just pissed at someone daring to touch his propert… ehm… girls. That’s how a real Harem Master is.

  12. I still don’t quite understand Souji’s anger; with adventurers resurrecting from their death, I can’t understand why Souji is so mad (One of his guild members was “murdered” so I can kind of see how dedicated Souji is as a leader, but the raw anger feels unnecessary when the murderer is not really killing anybody per se but more in the sense that he’s disrupting the peace in the city).

    For Akatsuki though, I feel so bad for her, since she’s starting to lose her confidence, especially when she hasn’t appeared in many fights so far ( and that one scene when she saw the synergy between Shiroe and Nyanta against Demikas). I hope that Shiroe and Akatsuki can have alone time, which seems likely judging from the preview, and Akatsuki can let out all her feelings; I respect Akatsuki’s loyalty and admiration towards Shiroe, but because of that, it doesn’t seem like Shiroe and Akatsuki are getting closer in terms of mutual understanding. In other words, Akatsuki and Shiroe’s bond is still in its beginning stages, and the next episode is the perfect opportunity for it to grow.

    1. There’s something more to simply killing in Elder Tale where life is no more transient. This is another theme of the anime. How do you deal with a monster like that, you can’t stop no matter what? Not even death can save you from torment anymore. (remember the Hamelin arc?) Adventurers were supposedly the most powerful guys out there, but now there’s a new boss in the city, and, you know, he’s insane. What if that monster decides to run amok and kill everyone, say Lenessia and other people of the land for a change? And you adventures can’t even give a f…

    2. For Soujirou, it isn’t about the death, but about the pain. If someone beat one of your friends up and left them writhing in pain in the snow—even if they were very and obviously careful not to kill them—would you not be angry? Souji gets a bit scary about it, but it’s understandable. Someone all but tortured his guildmate. Bastard needs to go down.

      1. I can see that; even when they don’t die, one of his guildmates experienced death, thus why he’s angry. I think its because of how its portrayed that I don’t understand since his expression is so extreme and he really cares about his guild’s welfare, so he does have plenty of reasons why to get so angry.

    3. You are speaking more from a “video game death” standpoint than actual dying and revival.

      For example, take waterboarding, which is simulation of being drowned, and its psychological effects.
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Here’s what a commenter wrote regarding last episode’s fight.
      Show Spoiler ▼

      In essence, just the “process” of dying is in of itself traumatic the way she experienced it. I guess I can understand if she got a bullet to the head, immediately blacked out, and returned to the church without even feeling numb. But generally speaking you experience a long, painful death if you’re getting cut with swords over and over until you die from loss of blood. The human nervous system is designed so that heavy wounds inflict tremendous amount of pain.

      1. Unfortunately though, we don’t really know how dying is felt in the Log Horizon universe. Additionally, the person who was murdered did not suffer any traumatic backlash so there’s a need for more information to how much of a consequence occurs when someone dies and respawns. I was actually talking more about Souji’s perspective and his reaction to one of his guildmate’s deaths, because the murderer did not torture her, but directly stabbed her and left her to die, so I was actually discussing if Souji’s response to the situation was appropriate given that the person who died is okay for now (and just a side reference, Nyanta explained sometimes how respawning can make people overconfident, like how Touya wanted to catch the murderer even if he died, so we have to factor in how likely people will be traumatized when there is the guaranteed chance you respawn at the cathedral). I’m sort of going into a tangency but how death affects the adventurers is still open to questions since we don’t fully understand how it affects their bodies (kind of like how in Alfheim Online, there was a clue to how pain was felt through the display of some sort of range system that regulated how much pain a player felt through certain parts of their injuries).

      2. @Baubo: It’s not just the pain or death. These themes have been already explored plenty during all of the series. What’s new now is the awareness of one’s own limits. If you read the novels, you know about Kyoko’s death. She’s a warrior and yet she was taken out so easily her own self confidence was shattered. The incident with the murderer is such a foe so strong that catch any Adventurer not ready for the task and so they start loosing confidence.
        Death means little to adventurers now. Despair and loss of hope are a major threat now to Adventurers lifestyle.

        @Dualash: We do know one side of dying. It’s scary and painful, but it’s not the end. For the other side, let’s speak about it next week. And about Soujiro he just want revenge against that ass who dared touch his friend.

  13. Wow. Nyanta’s little speech not only hit the point, but did so in a relatable way to us viewers. Humans simply tend to forego and take for granted special treatment as time passes by. Tohya, as an aspiring tank , must not take the matter of dying lightly because the rest of the party expects him to do his job.

    And that was some sensible reasoning as to why the Royal Guards don’t appear to prevent the in-town fights here. Clearly the system allows an NPC fighting an adventurer simply because it is allowable in the first place! (e.g. a Royal Guard detaining adventurers PvPing in town)

    This is the great and relatively sane storytelling that LH continues to deliver week after week. Souji’s anger, on the other hand, came a little out of left field. There were hints on his over-protectiveness over his guild members here and there, but I still found it a little shocking. Meh, minor nitpick.

    Needless to say, I’m pumped up for next episode! We’re getting the Shiroe x Akatsuki moment we’re missing since the start of the season. Yay! 😀 Also, isn’t it weird that I find Evil Santa Claus https://randomc.net/image/Log%20Horizon/Log%20Horizon%202%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2020.jpg
    scarier than this guy from another show? LoL, I don’t think so 😛

  14. Sojirou fell down abandoning his scary serious face and putting on a smile while imparting his “final” words to Akatsuki about the Overskills/Teachings. I don’t know if that was described in the LN, but if it was really the case then maybe he felt satisfied that he at least experienced his first(?) death while fighting for his dear comrades.

  15. He’s a mama bear, and if you harm his family, he will end you. And angry bears are scary.

    Well, since you are quoting tropes, I thought I may as well correct you slightly, since there is a related trope for male characters. Papa Wolf

    1. Oh, I wasn’t actually quoting tropes there. I was talking about actual bears, lol. Male bears tend to kill cubs, so they’re not a good example. Plus I didn’t like the father/daughter imagery of using “papa bear” (since all the girls are lusting after Souji), so I swapped it.

  16. Oh! Finally all of the buildup is paying off. I tried to suppress the urge of commenting in earlier episodes cause of spoiling danger, but now the time is ripe.

    You see now why the ‘weird behaviour’ of those three (main) characters? It was not just love issues or playing hikikomori. The matter here is about self esteem and finding one’s own role in society. Akatsuki had always felt out of place, and so Lenessia and Shiroe too, in another way.

    And about next week’s teachlings. They’re not just your boring shonen-esque powerup to beat the seasonal boss. Oh no! It fits right in all the theme of ‘finding one’s own power and personal growth’ things. Just stay tuned.

      1. I don’t think adventurer could die by falling off great heights though, as shown by Shirou in that Moria dungeon (first season anime).

        More like Naotsugu and Tetra got themselves blast off the cliff and unable to rejoin the fight within any reasonable amount of time.

  17. Finally caught up… on this show. >_> Anyway, as someone who’s not into playing MMORPGs, I have to say that I do like the series better when it isn’t so hyper-focused on that. Definitely enjoy watching Akatsuki’s personal trial (though admittedly I am little biased here since she’s one of my favorites. Definitely shipping Akatsuki x Shiroe). Nice character depth and development. Other than that, can’t say much due to spoilers, but as I noted before, I’m finding S2 adaptation sub-par when compared to the first season – and it’s not because of the different character designs.

  18. So Akatsuki has this important information on the source of the killer’s power and once she appears on the scene… mentions none of it…

    I know Shiroe is the brains of the group but a simple “Hey, see that fancy armor? It’s super powered NPC armor that’s probably indestructible!” could have been useful here.

      1. Actually I think it would have been helpful information since if Souji’s group had known the murderer had over-powered NPC armor, then they could conserve their strength and either retreat to formulate a plan or stall him without using up too much of their skills. Plus as they were wondering why the Royal Guard did not appear, it would also let them know that they would need to evacuate nearby residents and retreat, since they clearly could not take on the murderer for long enough.

        As a side note though, I see that there are gaps of exposure between the murderer’s armor, can they target those areas to deal damage towards him or is does his armor protect him all around?

      2. @Dualash

        Not enough time.

        By the time Akatsuki knew the crucial information, Souji’s harem already engaged Murder-Santa for some time. She only came to rescue after Souji engaged in one-on-one fight with the Murder-Santa.

        And it is not like Akatsuki is known for being a good communicator anyway (She refuse to speak at all during her MMO days, albeit for different reasons), so it is totally in-character for her.

        And Souji DID warned his girls about the Murder-Santa being stronger than him, so his harems were already fighting on ‘conserve strength and retreat’ mode from the get-go, and STILL got totally trashed to the point that they cannot even escape by themselves. Yes, the Murder-Santa is really THAT strong.

  19. Great show and great coverage … thank you Stilts for covering this, because of your awesomeness i followed this show and it was definitely a good thing that i did. I marathoned season 1 till this episode in 2 days 😀
    As for the murderer thing, i believe that Kinjou is responsible for it as a revenge against Shirou blackmailing him and forcing him into a bad position to disregard their clan’s ancient rules (in case he finished the raid).

  20. Well, in other words. With Episode 6 airing we put the feet of storytelling into a new World. because until now it was only after match and tell it all in the OP. I am impatience how Episode 6 will rise the Sun in the New World


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