「カナミ、ゴー！イースト！」 (Kanami, Gou! Iisuto!)
“Kanami, Go East!”
There were interesting parts, but mostly it’s an episode full of Kanami-related infodumps that fails to flesh out any of the characters, save Kanami herself.
Tell, Don’t Show
One of the cardinal rules of storytelling is “Show, don’t tell.” That means that if you want the reader to know Kanami is genki, you don’t say “Kanami is genki”, you show Kanami doing genki things, and trust your readers to make the connection. As a storyteller, the temptation to tell instead of showing is always there, because it would be soooo much easier, but the good writers always take the time to show us everything, and really draw us into the tale.
Log Horizon can be wordy at times, but most of the time it’s still showing rather than telling. This episode was a long example in the opposite. It feels like the director said “We need to introduce all these people as quickly as possible and get it over with,” which, as the characters in the Saekano premiere said, is not a great way to introduce a story. They spit out so much information that I barely had time to process it, which is sad because I was interested in a lot of it. Take Elias Hackblade (Hirakawa Daisuke), a well-known NPC progenitor. Why he’s still active when all the other progenitors are gone (including the Izumo Knights) is of maaaaassive interest, but it was glossed over and barely commented upon. Ditto with Coppelia (Igarashi Hiromi) … we barely had enough time to meet her and realize that she’s a little odd before it’s revealed that she’s a gold farming bot. An episode or two to let us get to know her before that reveal would have made it mean something. As is, it’s just another piece of exposition they felt compelled to get through.
American Mutant Ninja Frog
The one who came out the worst was Leonardo (Sakaguchi Shuuhei). While Elias and Coppelia had something compelling about them from a world-building level (the progenitor, the gold farming bot), Leo is just a guy. I got a laugh out of his love for the thinly veiled TMNT expy (trope!), but his “struggle” with helping the others was introduced and resolved too quickly to work. Then there’s the time he’s shouting parallel this, parallel that, Parallel Plot something, and it was all incomprehensible in context. (If you want to know what we missed, a handy guide/spoiler can be found at Log Horizon Fun Facts. Good collection of info all around.) Which is a shame because I want to like the guy who yelled “Cowabunga!” and tackled two geniuses (they’re also apparently important later on) off a dragon and killed one, but it was all over as soon as it started.
About the only one who gets away from the episode with any real characterization is Kanami herself, and a little for KR. From her plan for attacking the nole army to having recruited Elias for her party—which is basically like traveling around with Firiona Vie or Thrall—not much time is spent with Kanami, but through everything that happens, we know who she is. We knew beforehand, granted, through everyone else’s reactions and memories of her, but this episode emphasized it all. That’s showing instead of telling. To bad she’s the one who needed characterization least of all.
KR & Kazuhiko – Not So Evil Antagonists(?)
As for KR, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the council of Plant Hwyaden aren’t evil per say, and might not even be antagonists to Shiroe and the Round Table. Or at least, some of them might not opposed to them. KR comes out of this episode looking like an enigmatic and interesting fellow, more interested in seeing what Indicus does when Kanami reappears than having her back, whereas Kazuhiko has apparently been communicating with Shiroe behind the scenes for some time. Having some dissent among the leaders of Minami is good, I think, because it’s only natural that there would be some dissent when they’re going all fascist/corporate takeover of every guild in the cities they control. Log Horizon isn’t a story for one-dimensional characters, so this fits it better.
Looking Ahead – Back To The Newbies
I’m glad we get to go back to the newbie group with Minori and the others. I enjoyed their growth a lot during the first season, as bumpy as it was at times, so a quest with them should be fun.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – A back story infodump on Kanami & her party. Mishandled, but now it’s over. Yay? #loghora s2e14
- I liked the reason why Japan is the key to everything this time. Usually it’s some contrived reason that boils down to “The author is from _____, and likes his or her country the best”—something which anime shares with other forms of popular entertainment, ex: Hollywood movies and America—but here it makes perfect sense: They’re the only ones who got the Novasphere Pioneers update because they’re the east-most server, and it was rolling out at midnight. Which doesn’t make sense since I’d think the Oceania server would get it first, but maybe they’re on Jakarta time? At least it doesn’t come down to “Japan/America/UK/wherever-the-author-is-from is the best, because I say so!” for once.
- If Novasphere Pioneers didn’t launch for all the other servers, does that mean only the adventurers on the Japanese server can go past Lv 90?
- You can tell Leo is American because he has blond hair. *facepalm*
- Kanami is like Shiroe, in a way. If most people said they wanted to attack an army with four people, the appropriate response would be “Lawl, no way,” but with Kanami and Shiroe, you find yourself going “Well, maybe…” Though for Kanami it’s for more personality/guts reasons, while with Shiroe you assume he has a plan. Because he always does.
- But seriously, who farms gold on a cleric?
- Hello, Londark. Long time no see.
I wrote a book! My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info) My personal site has also moved. Last four posts: I can’t believe it. This is really happening!, Lessons from the Dresden Files: All alone, Mind meld, & Interview with Little Red Reviewer.