Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 3 of
Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table ?
If history, both ancient and modern, has taught us anything, it's that there is no perfect government. Needs change and ideas morph as societies evolve, and that includes worlds that were once fictional, like the one the Adventurers found themselves living in after their MMORPG became all too real. Shiroe's founding of the Round Table Conference was a really good idea at the time because it gave the frightened Adventurers a way to feel secure in their new reality, a place for them to hash out ideas and work together and feel like they had some power in a situation that wasn't inclined to give it to them. It was a pretty good deal, too, but in his attempt to impose some order and safety for everyone, Shiroe still managed to leave out one very important group from his self-governing body: the People of the Land.
In all fairness, that doesn't mean that he forgot about them or didn't care about them, but even when the Akiba established a relationship with the Cowen family, the Round Table didn't actually give them a seat at the table. That's something that started to stand out when we learned that Plant Hwyaden did include People of the Land members, while Log Horizon as a guild remained the only Akiba group to do so – and technically that was after Rudy was “rewritten” as an Adventurer. While it's not quite right to say that that's fully behind some of what's going on in this season, it's still definitely a factor, especially since Eins, having withdrawn Honesty from the Round Table, has gotten himself ennobled by the People of the Land and now aims to more actively govern Akiba than the Round Table ever did.
There are definitely some pitfalls there, not the least of which is the entrance of Touri Saiguu, the young prince Reyneshia's mother wants her to marry. But it's Reyneshia who really gets the most important move this week: she declares her allegiance to the Round Table as Akiba's governing body, which is very possibly tantamount to refusing the engagement her mom's pushing. She's also making a decisive statement that at least one influential Person of the Land stands with the Round Table, paving the way for more to join the group (and the guilds, as D.D.D.'s acting leaders say they'd like to see happen) while also rejecting the idea that the lands held by her family will easily, or eagerly, fall back under the control of the royal family down in Kyo. It's a very fraught political statement even without the mention of the election to be held next episode, and it looks like it marks the start of Reyneshia finally standing on her own two feet and refusing to be anyone's pawn any longer.
So yeah, this is another very political, very talky episode. It feels much less like recap material, though, and more as if we're finally getting somewhere in terms of major plot developments, which does take a bit of the sting out. What's most interesting is the implication Reyneshia's mother makes when she barges into the meeting between Shopping District 8 and Lord Cowen – that had Krusty married Reyneshia, none of this would have come to pass because an alliance would have been cemented between Adventurers and People of the Land. She really reminds me of an 18th-century queen manipulating events from behind the scenes as she uses the pawns she has available, which in her mind absolutely include her children, most specifically her daughter. Malves accuses Reyneshia of refusing to act as a young woman should – by which he means marrying who her elders tell her to – and that's definitely a mindset her mother shares. She clearly doesn't (let herself) give a damn about what Reyneshia may want, but now that the princess has spent time with the Adventurers and absorbed some of their culture, it's looking like she's not willing to play Good Meek Daughter any longer. If anything could provoke a conflict, this looks to be it, because her mom does not strike me as someone who is just going to let one of her pawns run off and transform herself.
One thing is clear from these three episodes: the Adventurers of Akiba need to get with the program and start involving the People of the Land much more than they have been in the day-to-day business of running the city. Because if they don't, they stand to lose the foothold they've established.
Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table is currently streaming on FUNimation Entertainment.
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