「アキバ総選挙」 (Akiba Sousenkyo)
“Akiba General Election”
Ahh election season: posters; campaigning; behind-the-scenes coercion and manipulation. It’s truly the most fascinating of times, and Log Horizon is ready to share in the experience. And if said experience turns into total chaos down the road as these things are wont to do? All the better for us popcorn munchers.
After all the focus on Eins it’s nice we get a bit of Rayneshia time for a change, and we certainly got our fill this week. Compared the naïve dilettante selling his soul to the big boys, Rayneshia is the inexperienced idealist looking to better herself and everyone around her. This episode really highlights just how far she’s come: the girl is still aware of what she doesn’t know, but she’s now openly willing to stand up for what she wants and what she believes in – especially in front of those who at one time would’ve kept her meek and quiet. Mind you, Rayneshia had some help in finding her footing (grandpa in particular and guaranteed Mama Rayneshia is fiercely smiling inside), but that cannot take away from this being the moment through which Crusty’s adopted sister found her footing. Or is that future girlfriend? I guess we’ll know soon enough.
In more serious matters is the actual election, and oh boy does this further fuel my political addiction. While at face value this seems a relatively simple popularity contest, in actuality it’s a potent example of how these sorts of systems are can be gamed in advance. Just take Eins’ side, he acquiesced because any Person of the Land can participate so long as they reside in Akihabara on election day. Given People of the Land outnumber Adventurers three to one, Eins has the open backing of the spiritual leader of Yamato (this is the main reason current monarchs from the Japanese Emperor to Queen Elizabeth II never personally involve themselves in politics outside of constitutional duties), and Rayneshia rejected a betrothal to that leader, Eins sees it as a good way to achieve a mandate. If the numbers start tilting in favour of Shiroe? Not difficult getting additional People of the Land to enter the city or pressure dissenters via friends and family through public rumours and insinuations. Herd mentality is real, and few ever want to be on the losing side.
For Shiroe, however, tilting matters in his favour is just as easy, if slightly more complex. Eins after all isn’t particularly liked by his fellow Adventurers, and more so after doing the one thing he earlier promised to not do—i.e. accept a noble title. Likewise is Honesty, he has decent control and approval right now given the ascension of the guild to a notable position of authority, but what happens if something upsets that apple cart like someone single-handedly doing the task Eins originally assigned them? And subsequently claiming all the prestige, fame, and reward that should’ve been theirs? Unless Eins can provide something equivalent to his irritated members (which he cannot as his duke benefits are not divisible), nothing good. Couple it with the ability to bring in outside Adventurers for similar vote pumping shenanigans and you get a good idea why Eins himself considers the outcome a coin toss.
There’s everything to play for and no guarantees with Akihabara’s first election, and in one way or another, you best bet will prove surprising.