「ライブがはねたら」 (Raibu ga Hanetara)
“When the Concert Ends”
Adventurers are change, whereas People of the Land aren’t fully formed people.
The People of the Land’s Forty-Two
Log Horizon’s original conceit—thousands of gamers trapped in a fantasy MMORPG—occasionally blinds us to another side of their new world’s equation. While usually we focus on how the adventurers are coping with and shaping their new reality—and rightfully so, since they’re the ones we most empathize with—there’s the other half to consider. The People of the Land have seemingly been brought to life by the Apocalypse as well, but not fully. I keep forgetting that.
Take music, and the much alluded to “forty-two”. The People of the Land were gifted by the gods with forty-two songs (the game’s soundtrack, I assume), and that’s it. That’s why, back in season one, the People of the Land orchestra was playing the Elder Tale theme at that banquet; it wasn’t a funny coincidence like when a character sings the OP or ED in most shows. They only had forty-two options, and that was probably the grandest of them all.
That’s … horrifying, when you think about it. I kept thinking that, even if the People of the Land aren’t superhumans like the adventurers, they were basically normal people, and the reasons adventurers kept doing so many awesome things were mostly societal. Compare modern Japan to a medieval-style fantasy society, and it’s no wonder that they’re more liberal (people choosing their own jobs, no nobility, etc) and more technologically advanced (recreation rather than pure invention, etc). But that’s not it, is it? The People of the Land are bound to the old shackles of the game more tightly than the adventurers apparently are, to the point that they can enjoy new music, but even after hearing it, they can’t create it. It’s not the idea, and it’s not the will, there’s just a block in the way. Perhaps that’s why Rudy couldn’t be Isuzu’s drummer. The music she had him trying to play wasn’t one of the forty-two, so he could only fail.
Though, if what we learned earlier this season about monsters beginning to train, perhaps this too could change…
“What do you want to do with you life?” is a question that’s been mined by plenty of fiction over the ages, which I would complain about if it weren’t such an eternal question. (At least, in our modern day where what we do with our lives isn’t predetermined by our father’s trade. Perhaps it’s not so eternal, but it’s likely here to stay.) Uncertainty isn’t one of the most attractive attributes on a character, but Isuzu had what I think was a healthy (if somewhat dishonest) view of her music: she was doing it for fun. Which is fine! Look, you know me—I like to write, and I’m relatively bad at taking things easy (blogs anime for 3+ years, wrote a book, etc). That doesn’t mean I don’t think writing (or playing music) just for fun isn’t valid, though. For some people that’s exactly where they want to be, and that’s absolutely cool.
I was struck by what Isuzu said about her father. When Rudy asked if he gave up when his debut didn’t turn into a long-lasting thing, Isuzu said no. He couldn’t stop. Mark my words: that phrasing is important. He couldn’t stop. Not that he wouldn’t, he couldn’t. Of course, technically he could have, but the hole in his life would have been profound. So he made a change. He took on a new role that would allow him to keep playing. It reminds me of a recent Zen Pencils comic, The Calling. Sometimes you don’t have a choice. Sometimes there’s something you’re going to do, hell or high water.
Isuzu strikes me as the same, and when confronted with the truth of the People of the Land’s music, it brought it into stark relief. To the People of the Land, adventurers are change. Their freedom is dazzling, so much so that sometimes, they need to look away. It can be exhausting to stand beside people who are so very alive. We all know this intellectually, that we’re better off than others, but when confronted with someone right next to you who feels that way? It’s hard to lie to yourself after that. I feel like Log Horizon might be Telling instead of Showing a bit too much lately, which isn’t the best way to tell a story, but that one struck home for me.
It’s easy to mistake Tohya for a goofy kid, but he’s already experienced some shit in his life, and he appears to have as good of an eye for people as his sister does, at least from time to time. Him calling Dariella out for her fake smile was ballsy, especially given his nascent crush (probably) on her. It was also absolutely correct. I was struck by two things: how her voice immediately went from happy-happy Dariella to bone-chillingly cold, and how much taller Tohya looked after that. I don’t know, maybe I was just underestimating the boy, but how he took charge of the situation at the end was a good sign for his own future.
Looking Ahead – Telepathy Bye-Bye
My first instinct upon hearing that Shiroe wasn’t hearing from Nyanta anymore (once I was done giggling at Akatsuki’s feminine skills), was “Something got the best of Nyanta!?” But then he would have just reappeared in Akihabara, so that wouldn’t have done it. Minori’s guess that the mobile shrines have something to do with cutting off their telepathy is probably right. On the Odyssey Knights, this is all I have to say: just because they’re doing good doesn’t mean they’re right, nor does it mean they’re doing it for good reasons. I expect next week will bear that out.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – People of the Land aren’t complete people like Adventurers are. While Isuzu begins writing music, WYVERN ATTACK! #loghora s2e18
- I really like the idea of the auto-translator, and of some things being lost in translation. It’s like the translation rings from Outbreak Company—not only does it tackle and neatly solve a common inconsistency in fantasy of this sort, but they actually consider how it could work in use.
- When Isuzu told Rudy he could go back to his room, I was screaming “HUG HER RUDY, I SWEAR TO GOD!” Which he shouldn’t have done, to be honest. He should have respected her wishes, exactly like he did. But it would have been sweet maaaan let me dream ;_;
- Let’s talk more about Akatsuki’s feminine skills, ufufu~
- Stilts note: Expect next week’s post to appear on Sunday or Monday again. Thanks for your understanding.
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info) I also published a FREE sequel short story. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Vemödalen, My lost job, and the beginning of my travels, Feedback from family, and Be the best you can be.