It’s pro-level raiding time with Shiroe and Silver Sword, and a long-due turn from everyone’s favorite wrathful monk, Demigl—I mean, Demikas.
True Friends, & Comrades-in-Arms
Expanding on the themes from last week, this episode featured more than just William admitting that his guildmates were his friends. Which was touching, truthfully. I see no shame in holding the people you’ve met online as your friends. If they’re your only friends, yes, perhaps that’s something to work on. There are some things that cannot be replicated through a game, connections you can only make with those you’ve met in person. But here’s the thing—they’re in person now! They may be in what they used to think was a game, but they’re there, so there’s certainly no shame in treating these people as their friends now. I think this is one of the last vestiges of “This is a game” thinking wearing off from the members of Silver Sword. They’re becoming denizens of this world, and closer for it.
But more interesting to me was the talk of comrades-in-arms, and how there cannot be hate between them. Which is true, to a point—an incompetent comrade, even if you fight alongside them, can easily be hated. But would they really be a comrade-in-arms? Between Shiroe and Demikas, there is increasingly, if not affection—certainly not affection—at least respect. From Shiroe buffing Demikas to Demikas pulling out that Covering ability that sucked in all the AE damage, the hatred is melting away. And Demikas equipping a Shiroe to kite the Shadow Vanguards? Awesome!
The Boss Positioning To Win It All
In retrospect, the solution to their boss dilemma is pretty simple, and it’s the default tactic that I myself, in my past life as an MMORPG raid leader, used myself—if extra mobs come, offtank them! Doesn’t matter if they’re raid bosses, just shove a tank on them and lock them down. Focus fire one down, rinse and repeat, good night raid encounter. Barring any funy mechanics, it’s a solid way to go about it.
Shiroe’s plan was simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s all in the execution. Naotsugu and Dinkuron have to position the raid bosses at opposite ends of the room and then position themselves so the healers could get in range to heal them without being in attack range anymore than necessary. The support members and ranged DPS have to constantly tweak their positioning to stay out of range. And if their attack areas overlap, they’re screeeeewed. Add in the AE healing and/or attack neutralization abilities they were using to recover from Ibrahabra’s AoE attacks, and they were showing exactly how a pro guild does it—like a well-oiled machine, even when it’s the first time they’ve fought a boss this way. That doesn’t mean it’s their first time attempting something like this, not by a long shot.
Smarter Than Meets The Eye
The biggest and most interesting wrinkle was the appearance of the Shadow Vanguards. First of all, I have to ask—why aggro Luseat at all? It doesn’t seem necessary, unless they were going to have to aggro it anyway in order to get close enough to open the gate, in which case moving on.
The appearance of the Shadow Vanguards, and Shiroe’s hypothesis of how they came to be, is the latest in a long line of troubling portents about the coming death(?) of the MMORPG way of life the adventurers so love. That doesn’t feel like a mechanic—that seems like what a thinking, feeling being would do to exploit its own abilities in unique ways when someone goes through a door it can’t fit through. So the troubling question—are these raid bosses sentient? Can they be talked to? Are the adventurers, by killing them, committing murder? Heavy questions for an MMORPG anime. I wonder if we’ll get answers anytime soon.
Looking Ahead – Kinjou, and the Gold of the Kunie Clan
So if they could just run past all the bosses, why did they have to fight them at all? From a character perspective, it feels like they were trapped in MMORPG thinking once again, but from a narrative perspective, it’s a bit of a letdown to have the do all that work, and then Shiroe goes off to face the final boss alone. Note that I didn’t say fight—I don’t think Shiroe is going to fight Kinjou, or at least not much. Talk at, certainly, but not fight. But while the raiding (and the Shiroe death it caused) were almost certainly required to make Shiroe able to talk to Kinjou, him being yanked away in the middle of the battle feels frustrating. A Demi ex machina, if you will. Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week.
Either way, it sounds like we’re going to hear what Shiroe is really up to next week, and I could not be more excited. Log Horizon is, strangely, one of those series that’s almost better when everyone’s just talking. I’ll be interested to hear what Shiroe has to say.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – It’s raiding time Silver Sword battles two bosses, only for a Demi ex machina to deliver Shiroe to … Kinjou!? #loghorizon s2e11
- Demi-Demi has a Noto Mamiko waifu? And she’s sarcastic? Kill him. He must die right now. SLAY THE HERETIC!
- One of my favorite things about this episode was learning (or being reminded) what all these abilities did. Fortress Stance, Covering, Force Step, Mana Channeling, Sequoia of Life, Karma Drive… what can I say? I’m a massive nerd like that.
- Of course, the middle of a battle is when Tetora tells Naotsugu that she’s joining Log Horizon, so she can play with him. Naotsugu is living the guardian dream—a cleric on both arms!
I wrote a book! My first book, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available on Amazon now! (More information) You can also check out my personal site at stephenwgee.com. The last four posts: Sneak Peek: Wage Slave Rebellion prologue, Action Politics—a FREE short story, Wage Slave Rebellion is available NOW!, and Welcome.