Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 1 of
Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table ?
How would you rate episode 2 of
Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table ?
There's definitely a fine balance to be maintained when bringing back an ongoing series after so long. Largely, I think Log Horizon is pulling it off, giving us new information and reminders of what came before while still advancing the story. The trade-off is that episode two is mostly a series of info-dumps and recap information, but I'm inclined to think that was the better plan than making episode one follow that route. Mostly that's because we got the chance to dive right back into the story with the two politically cataclysmic events as soon as the series (re)started. Once that was established, going back and looking at what led up to that point feels less like a chore to get through.
Those two significant events are, of course, Honesty's grievances with the Round Table and Reyneshia's upcoming (and apparently non-negotiable) marriage. Both stand to have very serious and immediate consequences on both a political and a social front for a reason that only Rudy, a former Person of the Land, really understands: Yamato is still a land ruled by the monarchy and nobility. Kings and dukes aren't just figureheads in this world, something that's very much in the realm of historical fiction for most of the Adventurers. When Rudy explains to Shiroe and a few other guild leaders that the People of the Land in Akiba see themselves as refugees, the Adventurers are visibly shocked – as far as they're concerned, the People of the Land are no such thing; they're just people who have moved to the city. But under a system of government that relies on the whims and alliances of a very few highborn people, the idea of a city governed by an autonomous council is frightening and strange to the People of the Land, and they neither entirely understand nor trust it. Thus the appointment of someone with a title they do recognize – and therefore more fully of their world – gives them a sense of security. It almost doesn't matter that the new duke is an Adventurer because of his noble title. Although I'm not sure that they are aware that Eins is the Duke of Akiba. That could change things.
What's troubling about the whole situation from our perspective – one that Shiroe is almost certainly partaking of – is how closely linked Eins' elevation to the nobility and Reyneshia's arranged marriage are. Both, we learn in episode two, are coming directly from Westlande, a different region with roots in several wars hundreds of years ago. Westlande is home to the last scions of royal blood, and it is into this family that Reyneshia is supposed to marry – and it's also them who granted Eins his title. Whether that makes Eins' title “legal” in a land ruled by a different family may be something to keep an eye on; possibly this is all based around a joint effort to assert dominance over the Adventurers, especially with Krusty's disappearance, since his relationship with Reyneshia may have been seen as an obstacle to arranging her a marriage. Regardless, two things are certain: someone is making a major power play and Eins has very little idea what he's just done.
Fortunately, these two episodes may be all we need of this kind of information-based storytelling. That'd be a good thing, not because Log Horizon is dependent upon action – I'd argue that part of what makes it appealing is the balance of world-building and adventure – but rather due to the fact that episode two basically featured a lot of people sitting in various locations and talking. We needed to know all of this stuff, and after the years-long gap there weren't many options for getting it to us, but it isn't quite as exciting as it could be. But we do have a few things to keep an eye on going forward, not the least of which is that Indix (formerly Indicus) is clearly up to no good for exactly no good reason beyond her own twisted joy. That means that Plant Hwyaden is also on the verge of fracture, and that could very well be why Westlande is making its move now – if both Adventurer organizations can be torn apart, they may be the ones best able to profit. Let's hope Reyneshia really has learned to stand up for herself, because, along with Shiroe, she may be the person best placed to do something about the impending upheaval.
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