「それぞれの祝福」 (Sorezore no Shukufuku)
Be honest, you knew how this foray into political machinations was going to go. Shiroe losing? At one thing he’s quite gifted in doing? Please. At least Log Horizon was nice enough to keep the tension high throughout because even I had to doubt once or twice if he could pull it off. First lesson in politics after all is that nothing should be taken for granted.
Much like real world (democratic) politics, in the end the battle between Eins and Shiroe came down to impassioned speechmaking – and speeches we certainly got. While my dislike of Eins is firmly on record, I have to give him some credit here; the guy clearly cares deeply about seeing his fellow Adventurers find purpose and meaning in their current lives and provide the People of the Land a sense a peace and prosperity. He may be tragically wrong about how his method would play out in practice – i.e. being at the beck and call of a higher master and perpetually at risk of being dragged into outside conflicts – but his heart was (and is) in the right place. Shiroe too understood this, for by providing Eins with access to Yamato’s bottomless money pit and the ability to modify zones, he’s effectively acknowledging that Eins can do good wherever he winds up. It just won’t be through subtle coercion of Akihabara’s Adventurer residents.
As for Shiroe, well, the results speak for themselves. Once again Rayneshia steals the show through an on-the-spot speech that voiced similar aspirations as Eins, yet with the backing of some Shiroe machinations. This was a shrewd bit of politicking because it played right to the paradox of politics: people often vote through emotion and rhetoric, but logic and details are what is actually being fought over. Acquiring Regan and the Kunie clan was effectively Shiroe’s answer to Eins’ Saiguu family backing for example, giving the Round Table a similar degree of stature with the People of the Land. While both aren’t equivalent to the Saiguu family, they are closer to a Person of the Land’s everyday life and thus acquire a greater amount of practicality in the Person of the Land’s mind. After all, the Saiguu family may invoke a sense of overall legitimacy and stability, but Kunie clan support indicates monetary stability and Regan’s involvement suggests safe and sagely counsel – and these latter points are more immediately applicable in everyday life. By itself such support might only equal that of the Saiguu family, but top it off with some additional Adventurer involvement and the implicit risk posed to the Saiguus by reactivating Akihabara’s Fairy Gate, and it’s not hard seeing why the Round Table came out on top. Never doubt the power of bespectacled megalomaniacs, they have a habit of getting what they want.
Going forward, however, it’s less Akihabara and more isekai China as we return to the adventures of one Crusty and the fun-seeking Kanami. It’s anyone’s guess just what’s in store for this detour, but rest assured both are bound to get into a little trouble.