「変わりゆく戦場」 (Kawari Yuku Senjou)
“The Changing Battlefield”

An action-packed first half leads into a contemplative second half that delves into what makes Shiroe tick.

Don’t Tell Me The Odds

There’s a small line early on where Shiroe gives the odds of them beating Luseat of the Seventh Garden as 50-50. There are two things I like about this. First of all, odds of 50%, 30%, 20%, 10% (& etc) always sound more intimidating than the million-to-one chance, since we know those crop up nine times out of ten (trope!). The human mind isn’t equipped to deal with numbers as big as a million, but we can wrap our mind around one-in-ten, or in this case, a coin toss. That makes it feel more real.

Secondly, they’re decent odds going in are going to make them even more depressed next episode. As we all know from trying to pick the good anime when a season starts, expectations factor heavily into reaction—a highly sought after show that flops is much more disappointing than a low-expectation flop. Here they went in with relatively good expectations, and after two more raid bosses showed up, it’s looking bleak. Their original optimism will be a poison to them now.

Raid Tactics Done Right

The one thing I miss about MMORPGs is raid strategizing, though I don’t miss the timesink required. Allow me to indulge myself though. It’s impressive how quickly the Silver Swords adapted to the 90-second CD sword sweep attack, going from two insta-kills the first time to none the second. What I liked was how believable it was that they’d be able to do that, because they’ve proven their prowess in previous episodes, and even then, they didn’t get it right the first time.

That Evil Poison Root and the following spinning blade throw of doom was rough. I’m guessing it needs to be hidden from or out-of-ranged? Or possibly interrupted. Either way, it appears the poison makes Luseat temporarily ignore aggro, so that’s going to be an interesting one to see how they best. I don’t know the best plan without getting to test things out though.

Shiroe damn near stole the show when he realized the number of Shadow Vanguards that spawned from the armor fragments were equal to the number of people who had attacked Luseat in Black Knight mode. His solution was correct—have the highest DPSers do the damage while everyone else either buffs or handles the Shadow Vanguards. I did give thought to whether I would offtank or kite the Shadow Vanguards instead of killing them, because that would potentially let them burn down Luseat without him constantly healing. I don’t disagree with their plan as they did it, though … offtanking or kiting them could end in a rout if the offtank or kiter went down, whereas letting Luseat heal a little bit and then just burning that health away again is safer. They might want to revisit my plan if the arrival of Taltaulgar of the Fourth Garden and Ibrahabra of the Third Garden is on a specific time limit as opposed to another trigger, though.

Speaking of the raid boss adds (hax!), I have two hypotheses, one of which is the time limit one I mentioned above. The other is that any raid boss who was not defeated elsewhere (assuming Luseat is the final one) would join in on the Luseat battle … kind of a “Finish the whole damn dungeon!” tax. Or the encounter could be unwinnable, but I don’t believe that. Personally, I would have already probably already brought a Legion Raid (96 people) and zerged the fucker down, but I’m less clever than Shiroe, so I’m sure he’s got something up his sleeve to beat them. After they get over how terribly owned they got.

The Introvert’s Dilemma

Shiroe’s backstory was a little too much tell instead of show, though I don’t know how they could get around that with a character like Shiroe, who plays his cards so close to his chest. I was struck by how well he embodies the introvert’s dilemma. Shiroe clearly needs significant time alone, and it’s the more gregarious characters around by far. In his guildmates at Log Horizon and his other friends, he has found people who understand that, and are there when he needs people. When he was a little kid though, he was lonely without his parents alone, despite his introversion. I don’t think he would have been sitting at the dinner table chatting about his day. Likely he would have watched TV quietly or played in his room. Yet having them there would have abolished much of his loneliness. And that’s the dilemma—introverts need people, but we don’t always need them right here. We just need to be able to get to them when we’re rested up and ready for social time.

Not Good At Being A Child

Shiroe also struck me as someone who wasn’t very good at being a kid, though maybe I’m projecting. Now being an adult? He seems fairly good at that. But being unusually intelligent and withdrawn can be rough as a child, especially when you’re dealing with absent parents. It reminded me of a line from Ted in How I Met Your Mother:

You know what? I’m done being single, I’m not good at it. Look, obviously you can’t tell a woman you just met that you love her, but it sucks that you can’t. I’ll tell you something though, if a woman, not you, just some hypothetical woman, were to bear with me through all this, I think I’d make a damn good husband, because that’s the stuff I’d be good at. Stuff like making her laugh and being a good father and walking her five hypothetical dogs. Being a good kisser…

Maybe I am projecting, but the young Shiroe who became used to feeling like he wanted to die doesn’t feel like a soul well-suited for childhood. He feels like the type who would have loved to skip all that childhood stuff, but wasn’t able to. Now that he’s here though, he has to deal with the baggage from that childhood he wasn’t good at, and all those small failures he couldn’t avoid.

Lies and the Third Party

I’m not sure how I feel about Shiroe’s lies during his search for the third party. Look, Shiroe is effectively a politician, and no matter how much we howl about how politicians should be honest, that’s poppycock. Lies and half-truths are useful tools in the political game. They need to bring benefit with them, though, otherwise you’re just being a liar. Here, I don’t see the benefit aside from reducing the possibility of a leak, but what’s the damn point if Shiroe can’t even trust those closest to him? And they might see something that he’s missing. He accurately realized that he wasn’t worried about Minami, he was just running away, pushing them away for no benefit. I hope he comes clean with them, for it will make him an even better leader.

As for the third party that brought them there … well, that’s the central question of the series, eh? I’ll just leave that one as is and let the answer come in time.

To The Moon (Test Server) Again

When Shiroe first said the test server was on the moon, I thought he mean the servers themselves were actually located on the moon. If that’s the case, that’s @#%&*$ing stupid, though even if it’s just that the test zones were based on the moon, that’s a bit silly as a testing environment. Wouldn’t they want to test the zones players are actually going to play in? But I digress.

As for the scene itself, wasn’t there a part on the front we missed again? It would almost feel like a waste of time, save now we know what Shiroe was thinking about, and that he was drawing strength from Akatsuki in much the same way Akatsuki drew strength from him. I still feel like something is missing, but it was better the second time around.

Looking Ahead – Never Give Up, Never Surrender

You’re crazy if you think the Silver Swords and Shiroe are going to give up. Totally crazy. They’re going to whoop that boss and come how with all the gold. Believe it!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Action explode-y raid time leads to character introspection, with Shiroe as the subject this time #loghorizon s2e9

Random thoughts:

  • “One raid boss at a time. That’s the rule.” But this isn’t a game anymore, sir. I still think the Silver Swords will triumph, but there’s no guarantee anymore. Reality is under no obligation to give you a path to victory.

Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: The allure of magic, Import, don’t recycle, Impostor syndrome, and Save it for your daydreams. For book updates, sign up for my mailing list.




  1. Speaking of the raid boss adds (hax!), I have two hypotheses, one of which is the time limit one I mentioned above. The other is that any raid boss who was not defeated elsewhere (assuming Luseat is the final one) would join in on the Luseat battle … kind of a “Finish the whole damn dungeon!” tax. Or the encounter could be unwinnable, but I don’t believe that.

    Fourth option: This isn’t a game any more; there are no preset triggers involved in what happened; the bosses left their own zones and barged into Luseat’s by their own choice.

    And that’s the dilemma—introverts need people, but we don’t always need them right here. We just need to be able to get to them when we’re rested up and ready for social time.

    It’s astonishing how hard this is to get across to people, sometimes. We don’t like crowds, and we prefer to spend our free time not being bothered by people, but that doesn’t mean we want to be completely isolated and alone.

    When Shiroe first said the test server was on the moon, I thought he mean the servers themselves were actually located on the moon. If that’s the case, that’s @#%&*$ing stupid, though even if it’s just that the test zones were based on the moon, that’s a bit silly as a testing environment. Wouldn’t they want to test the zones players are actually going to play in? But I digress.

    The physical space in the world that was hosted by the test server is currently located on Elder Tale’s moon, is what I believe that means. Given that it shaped itself to match Shiroe and Akatsuki’s concepts of their lives before setting them on the ocean of memories, it seems the environment is very malleable, and would have been perfectly capable of reproducing whatever environment the devs chose to test at any given time.

    1. I meant, when I first heard it I thought they were saying the physical servers (the computers themselves) were located on the moon, instead of the zone just being patterned off the moon. To borrow an Everquest example, it’s cool if the Luclin zones are supposedly on Norrath’s moon, but if you tell me the Dell PowerEdge or HP Proliant DLs hosting the test server are on Earth’s moon, I’m going to be a bit skeptical, lol

      Really just a misunderstanding on my part, but an amusing one … as long as it was actually a misunderstanding.

      (I used to sell servers, in case you couldn’t tell, lol)

      1. So you actually sell servers Stilts? Then what in the world made you think for even a millisecond that the actual physical server was on the moon itself? What kind of game no matter how popular or how profitable it is would the creators think of putting its servers on the moon itself?

        I’m starting to doubt your sales tactics on selling those servers stilts, or maybe you know a server that can be operated on the moon? -_-

      2. @Areyoustupid

        First: Nice Trolling attempt
        second: Well, the Log Horizont Real World could be that advanced, that they have a City on the Moon? And there they have an Moon only Server because of the Ping/Lag?

        Remember, it is a Anime, not a real Life Documentation Film. There is always little Magic inside

    2. Moon server as meant in alternate Elder Tale world, not real one. It’s just a temporary safe zone where you put players before moving them again in an actual game zone. Yet another game mechanics.
      This is clever cause it could explain what happens to people who die in a zone where the Cathedral is banned. Say Minami for one. (just speculation not spoiler)

    3. Speaking of the raid boss adds (hax!), I have two hypotheses, one of which is the time limit one I mentioned above. The other is that any raid boss who was not defeated elsewhere (assuming Luseat is the final one) would join in on the Luseat battle … kind of a “Finish the whole damn dungeon!” tax. Or the encounter could be unwinnable, but I don’t believe that.

      Fourth option: This isn’t a game any more; there are no preset triggers involved in what happened; the bosses left their own zones and barged into Luseat’s by their own choice.

      Don’t they just need to get somewhere? It’s a convention of MMORPGs that you have to defeat the enemy where he is strongest (raid bosses) and that you can’t accomplish your quest without defeating all of them. Blitzkrieg doesn’t seem to exist in MMORPGs – or rather, not in PvE. Couldn’t they just penetrate the rest of the way, or have a small group proceed onwards while the bosses are distracted?

      1. Just sneak around, you mean? Could be possible. Of course, people like Demiglaze are here for items, not Shiroe’s goal, and people like William want to have exciting raid encounters, so I’m not sure they would be willing even if it was an option (the boss still might see them, and it might not be possible to sneak anyone who doesn’t have stealth past).

      2. I think the bosses are now intelligent free agents now so why not combine forces and be unbeatable. But they are intelligent so maybe they can be reasoned with so maybe negotiations in order?
        But I do think just like the Kunie clan the bosses do have a preset goal so there still might be ways to divide them and beat them as well.

      3. Do you really think that Shiroe the black heart glasses doesn’t have any ace up on his sleeves? Anyway I’d rather not spoil any strategy, but there’s been said in the anime too, that The zone under Palm resembled or were just plainly revamped form a former quest area. So the various raids were known and dwelling in well defined zones. But ‘something’ has changed from the last expansion (maybe) so those same raid are a little unpredictable now. The main problem is always the same, and not only Shiroe is aware now. The raid could have become unbeatable. because this is not a game anymore. Realizing this is a bit of a shock for everyone, remember Rieze last time?

  2. Actually it makes a decent bit of sense for the test server ‘zone’ to be on the moon. As a game coder myself, having a barren zone with few features and inaccessible to the players is the best place to test something’s basic structure without outside variables effecting it. That comes much later in the process 😛

    Also having a secret area only devs and admins can access is pretty awesome and most online games have them 🙂

    1. That’s true. I suppose it’d be good to have both (blank zones on the moon, and empty versions of all the Earth zones), I just thought it sounded silly without the latter being mentioned. Your point makes total sense though.

  3. it has been my attention for nobody brought the company created Elder tale Game
    literally they should behind this or the third party,the very system are hold by them they should get on somethng to made apocalypse

    1. Well in SAO it was the Lead GM that took the players as victims. Here i think it is a Virus hack that trapped all Inside the Test Server and are unable to Logout. or an Prototype Extension DLC that gone wrong. Database crash and merged into something that resembles the World now. No real boarders of NPC and Players

      Or some LAN Attack of an DEV. They are the God’s of the game, they coded all the lines

      1. Good theories. Ah but there is not function to suck people into their computers for this to be a computer problem. These people were playing the game using keyboard, mouse and joystick. Unless it is a alien AI computer on the moon they are talking bout with the ability to basically convert people to energy forms on it’s server.

    2. You get hint about that in this very episode. This so called ‘third party’ that Shiroe only is aware of as of now…

      Of course all the story is from the point of view of those trapped inside. We can’t know what happened outside. (And I doubt we ever will)

  4. Isn’t the raid zone limited to 24 people? They couldn’t bring in a Zerg even if they wanted to, which is why having 2 additional bosses roll in is a huge middle finger shoved in the adventurers faces.

    1. Wouldn’t it be interesting if a raid was not limited to 24 players now?
      For me, the changing world is fascinating! Preconceived notions are so much fun to explore in a show like this.

    2. I always consider Elder Tale a late 90’s / early 2000’s MMORPG, and the one of those I played the most at the time, Everquest, was NOT limited. I participated in many raids where there were actually two raid parties, the second one made up of extra people who would filter into the main raid party when needed.

      There weren’t even any instances at that time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are no instances in Log Horizon now (even if there used to be), because how much sense does that make if this is a realistic world? Though the newbie training arc back in season one may have proven that there are instances, not sure.

      Also, this world is becoming less of a game and more of a reality all the time. Even if there are instances and there used to be limits, they might not be in effect any more.

      1. The anime cut this out, but the reason the raid party is limited to 24 is because ReGan had to create special passes for each of them to enter, and he only made 24 (the number of a full raid). If any of them went back to Susukino or Akiba to get more people, Shiroe’s whereabouts would almost instantly be figured out, not to mention that whatever ReGan had to make for those passes may be in limited supply and they can’t afford to spend the time gathering more material.

      2. Ah excellent arbitrary programing rules are now just reflections of the actual world restrictions. So now of course the limits are not in stone and can be manipulated. In this case they were struggling to make a full raid anyway under the recruit locals only plan so no desire to bend the size higher.

      3. I was actually thinking about the fact that Elder Tale seems to have much elements of 90’s MMORPG. It occurred to me that they never really showed how the characters actually played the game before the apocalypse event. Did they played in normal current PC’s with screens? Did they used some kind of immersion device? Oculus Rift like? Maybe some of the likes of SAO? Since just after the apocalypse they didn’t seem very surprised that they where “in” the game so I asume the latter.

        I don’t know if this has been discussed before. Just wanted to know your opinion.

      4. @Projectnoa
        I didn’t read the first volumes of the novel, but I recall the fist chapter of the manga. I don’t know how much this is canon or what but I put this into spoilers.
        Show Spoiler ▼

      5. @projectnoa

        Elder Tale is a PC game, not a VR game. In fact we have already seen a few scenes with them in front of the computer. Hell, in the very first episode of the first season they had to get used to fighting face-to-face with mobs.

      6. So basically, they only had the materials to key a certain number of people for the raid. That’s bringing my struggles getting keyed for Planes of Power raids screaming back … and I don’t hate it, lol. Good times!

        And yes, Elder Tale is a regular PC MMORPG.

      7. @projectnoa: The anime cut this out too, but in the light novel passage corresponding to the Mare Tranq scene, Shiroe actually talks about how Elder Tale was a normal computer-and-mouse MMO, and notes how although there were virtual reality machines in the real world, they were still in development and it wasn’t likely that they could have put such a large number of people into such machines. Probably a reference to SAO to directly cut off that idea.

      1. Well, they need someone to lure him around, and some others to keep him alive. Or the person run in the heal range of the Main healers to get a heal… it is tough work, for the healers. Keep the Main Tank alive and have a eye on the Kitters.. Will not be easy on them

      2. Anon, is right, you generally don’t DPS a kited mob very much, since killing it isn’t the present goal. But only certain mobs (much less raid bosses) can be kited. If the kiter is constantly taking damage, they probably won’t be able to kite that mob because the healers will draw aggro off them shortly. The only raid bosses that could ostensibly be kited are ones where the kiter never needs healing.

        Offtanking seems more likely to me, and just focusing on one at a time, though if they’re as powerful as Luseat, that probably won’t work. Better would be figuring out why they come and either kill Luseat before they do or prevent them from coming. Maybe collapse the tunnels? Remember, it’s not totally a game anymore.

      3. Friendly fire among mobs almost certainly does not exist. I can’t think of any time that’s been enabled in PvE. PvP might not even be enabled between players in the raid instance, though who knows how well those rules work anymore, if they were ever in place at all.

      4. @nyanlol: It was only implied in the light novel and I don’t know if the anime kept that line, but yes. Friendly fire existed even when it was a game, which is why Rudy liked Orb of Lava spell; it automatically targets enemies and thus lowers the risk of friendly fire.

  5. Can’t wait to see how they manage to deal with 2 more bosses showing up in the middle of a fight, or just speed it up if it’s a time-limit as you suggest. Kinda curious how they would deal with it if the boss locations don’t reset and they end up having to face all 3 from the start though.

    As an aside, using the moon for test purposes reminds me of a certain VN.

  6. Shiroe’s lying about the true purpose of finding the third party makes sense if one considers that Shiroe may be trying to keep that party ignorant of his investigation. Considering the power needed to induce the Apocalypse, there’s no reason why that power’s wielder couldn’t choose to further hide himself away from prying eyes if it ever felt them upon himself. Personally I’m leaning more to there not being a third party and the whole Apocalypse existing as nihilistic probability, but one never knows; doubt the LNs have even provided a coherent answer to this question yet.

    Shiroe’s introversion is also fascinating as his backstory does nicely sum up the dilemma us introverts face. We like to be alone yes, but it doesn’t mean we detest all social contact. Us introverts prefer to engage on our own terms, giving equally what we desire before returning to familiar, solitary company. Probably the biggest hurt for introverts is when no one is around when we want to come out of our shells for a while, especially family. Without friends or family we simply retreat further into ourselves and put up ever larger barriers. Shiroe’s musing about his constant failings points this key bit out, as he’s always had opportunities to be more than he was, but they never came around when he felt a need for them so he simply ignored them. Like Akatsuki earlier it’s really good character development and not ill timed or misplaced either, probably one of the strongest parts of LG overall IMO.

    1. I actually test as an extrovert and defiantly learned to be one at times before major depression shoved me down. But I know the introverts pain as I have mixed type ADHD and contact with others can wear me out even now (I have to suppress the ADHD wanting to talk and talk and dominate conversation). Bullying and various things including a common ADHD side effect of not learning non verbal communication at 3-6 made me a introvert not out of choice. But yes the feeling that you want people around even if your not able to talk to them is a norm.
      I too was a adult in child’s body always got along with adults not children. I observe childhood is vastly overrated and with 50% being miserable as children the modern idea of childhood is a failure. The idea the the old and children would enjoy not having responsibility and work is wrong fantasy.

      1. Like Marinae (the other friendly Guild Master) that are friendly to Kids, like a Mother or Kindergarten, Nyanta give these Kids and others that seek guidance the Father role. Experience Wise Men, you could say. He backup Siore’s way to create the Guild, after all. he is a very trustful Person for him

  7. One boss at a time…
    Surprise, the rules have changed!
    If the encounter is unwinnable as it is, it is time to stop adhering to rules yourself…
    I wonder what brilliant solution will come Shiroe with, because I amd fully confident in his problem-solving abilities.
    Also, his childhood recollections seem very much like mine…

  8. Multiple raid bosses showing up…that brought back some bad memories. Though this time there’s no hunter pet or anything to blame for that. Still, hax. For all we know, that fight really was designed to be pretty much impossible. I know Blizzard did something similar early on in the Burning Crusade, when the newer raid content wasn’t finished yet: just make bosses like Vashj nigh impossible and just nerf her later! Or that was what people suspected anyway (the fight was broken regardless). It wouldn’t surprise me if it was something like that here. Either that, or the bosses just got smarter.

    And Shiroe’s troubles are rather recognizable as well as well characterized. Any introvert could understand the basic problems he has in his dealings with people. Even more so now that he’s in the situation he’s in – as a leader, and a well-known VIP in his own city-state. Still though, he really shouldn’t have lied. He should trust the people closest to him at least – might’ve spared Akatsuki some anguish too. Props to him for realizing that though.

    Also, in general, I kind of like how the issues and flaws the characters in this show face are rather low-key to begin with. You don’t always need some dead parents or love interests to give someone something to struggle with, even in a world such as this.

    1. Also, in general, I kind of like how the issues and flaws the characters in this show face are rather low-key to begin with. You don’t always need some dead parents or love interests to give someone something to struggle with, even in a world such as this.

      I hadn’t thought about that for a while, but agreed. Those old cliche traumas get tiresome after a while when simple ones we all experience work just as well … and better, sometimes, because they’re harder to move past when they’re one of the (current) fundamental building blocks of a character’s personality.

  9. Lemme just say how much I liked the IRL Shiroe (and Akatsuki, too, although we didn’t see her face much). It’s very rare, and it’s not like in SAO, where they’ve got avatars, and in IRL they’ve got the same faces anyway. We’ve got normal faces, normal eyes, normal hair (!!) here.


    He looks Japanese!

    And I can’t wait to learn mo4r about the third party. Magic IRL?

  10. Loved the detailed Raid tactics. I only got to run with a good raid guild a few times and the teamwork was a work of art. (they did not have room for me to join permeant and I quit the game in disgust with changes)

    I wonder if the people in opposite sex bodies are changing in to that sex mentally then it would follow that our elfs are becoming really elf, dwarfs really into dwarfs bunny people really turning into the bunny mind and so on. The probably have not spotted that yet as the people playing other races mostly role played that way so the change would be hard to notice except when one tried to be like they were on earth and found they no longer could stop roleplaying. Combined with the memory loss and in a few cases possible love with the natives I don’t see going back to their old lives is even an option anymore.

    This reminds me in our history people really did get blown off course or for other reasons stranded in a new culture with no good way to return. In many cases when chance to return home finally came they often chose to stay in their new land. Examples Gonzalo Guerrero stranded with the Mayans went native and helped his tribe fight the Spanish and died in battle he is a hero still in the local area. William Adams who is the inspiration for the book Shogun. Adams has holidays in his honor in a few Japanese cities every year and monuments to him. He refused chances to return to England or even stay with Visitors (I think he had gotten used to bathing) Adams is proof of you can never become a Japanese but you can be held as a hero to the Japanese. There are many, many more cases.

    1. Well, the MMO World they live in, are still working. No one shut down the Server Hardware, or we have her a little TRON World on an USB Stick 🙂

      So, yeah. there must be a 3rd Party, alone that keep this Server running from the Real World side

      1. *Mindblast*

        What if, this entire Anime is only there to entertain the Humans in Cryo Sleeping Pods on the moon? 🙂 Some kind of Life ship Server, and this memories they all have are just Data

        p.s. this is speculation of course

  11. Remind me of a emergency mission situation I encountered recently in PSO2, multiple boss appear one after another, at one one point my party along with others had to fight 4 bosses at once. Most ridiculous moment I have met in that game.

  12. My comment for episode 10 on the fly:

    Very good speak of the Guild Master. Now i begin to understand, why they took Crusty out of the Game. to give him the Show time they deserved

    I felt like him, until Real World Dutys began to eat my Online Time away

    Enough, i awaiting the blog entry here

    1. my enjoyment of our Guild First Kill’s or the Server wide First Boss Kill. or the Server Unique Drop and so on…

      But yeah, we used DP (Dragon Points.mostly Raid currency) to buy us our Loot


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *