「夜明けの迷い子」 (Yoake no Mayoigo)
“A Lost Child at Dawn”
The episode started out slow and obtuse, only to hit us with one of the most touching moments and two of the most stunning revelations of the season.
Rieze, Akatsuki, the Beach of Stolen Memories, and a Slow Start
The first two major sections—Lenessia’s discussion with Rieze (Murakawa Rie), and the enigmatic real life and death-beach scenes with Akatsuki and Shiroe—were something of a slog. On the former, this is the first time we’ve really met Rieze, and the whole conversation, including Rieze’s prominent participation in it, came a little out of left field. I think it’s because the themes around Lenessia this season never fully crystallized. I’m not sure if that’s a source material or adaptation problem, but I feel like her issues kept slipping away from my mind, because they were never presented that well. That’s a symptom of the slight lowering in adaptation quality this season. It’s still good, and I’m still enjoying it—the dip isn’t that much in the grand scheme of sequels—but I keep noticing it. I feel like Lenessia’s themes needed to be conveyed better.
As For the whole Akatsuki and Shiroe bit, I get it. They’re on a mysterious, cryptic beach. I’m just not sure what the meaning was. There was no “aha!” moment, no grand revelation, and things like them cutting off part of their hair were shown and then passed on by without explanation. If that was foreshadowing, it needed to be more subtle, because having it shown so prominently begged for answers, or at least begged that the questions should be stated. It smacked of a “meaningful” scene that didn’t convey any grand meaning, so it ended up feeling pretentious.
The World is Getting More and More Real
Then the episode got compelling, fascinating, and downright awesome! First was the announcement from Roderick. Where before I was slouched in my chair, this made me sit the fuck up. The trifecta of all adventurers becoming able to make simple foods, flavor text becoming real, and the actual continent getting bigger is … wow. The ramifications of these could be huge! Take the continent growing—that makes it sound like Elder Tale, which was based on the Half Gaia Project, is becoming as big as Earth. Add in the how gender swapped players are gradually becoming more like the bodies they inhabit—so had Akatsuki stayed in her male body, her personality would be affected and her voice would be getting lower—it sounds like the world they’re in is getting more real by the day. It makes me wonder if they’ll eventually lose enough memories to become full denizens of this world, and that there might soon be things that could kill adventurers forever. The Apocalypse isn’t over, and the World Fraction is still going on. Damn.
Akatsuki’s Dependency, and Finally Making Other Friends
Whereas Lenessia’s themes this season have somewhat eluded me, Akatsuki’s snapped into place crystal clear this episode. I have a fondness for characters who are more than just love interests—I want them to be full characters in their own right, who may happen to be romantically attached to someone. In this, Akatsuki was always lacking. Whereas Shiroe pursues challenges and goals for his own reasons, Akatsuki’s were always centered around Shiroe, and it makes me go “Come on girl! Get your own life!” Though her roleplaying a loyal ninja hid it well.
Then right here, it clicked into place. She’s been dependent on Shiroe. She loves him to be sure, but she was putting it all on him, and not allowing herself to grow closer to anyone else—she hasn’t even made any other true friends since they became trapped in this world! Akatsuki was half a character, but not because Touno Mamare just wanted her around as Shiroe’s love interest. No, her dependency was a hurdle she needed to get over, and she’s finally realized how it’s crippling her. She needs to be her own person! She needs to do the things she wants to do because she wants to do them, not just because Shiroe wants her to! And with this, she finally has. She decided to pursue the murderer and help Lenessia because of Lenessia herself, because she saw the princess trying hard, and that’s remarkable. I truly did tear up a little bit, when I realized that Akatsuki was a deeper character than she’s ever been shown so far. Excellent. She may be cute, but I prefer her as a rich and complex character rather than a mascot and a love interest.
Looking Ahead – Krusty, Noooooo!
The double whammy of Akatsuki’s realization and the world changing would have been enough, but we got to see a consequence of that changing world as well. Flavor text is real, and it can kill. Could it be possible that something can actually kill an adventurer now? Probably not, probably not … but maybe. The world is changing, and that little bit of uncertainty makes it all work.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – A slow start segues into an expositional bombshell & long overdue development for Akatsuki. This story’s still got it #loghorizon s2e6
- They were right about evil santa being in the sewers. Looks like he didn’t get out of that last battle unscathed, and I guess People of the Land don’t have health regen anymore. Not sure whether adventurers do, though given the kinds of MMORPGs this is based off of, probably not.
- I do like how the character art when they’re showing their real selves is more realistic … in theory. The problem is they slide a bit too much into uncanny valley, and I just like their game character designs better.
- Stilts note: Episode seven’s post may be delayed until Monday as well. Sorry for the inconvenience. This should be the last time for at least a few weeks.
Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Save it for your daydreams, Storytelling is subjective, Delusions of importance, and Only once. For book updates, sign up for my mailing list.
Full-length images: 34.