Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table ?
Even if it seemed like a long shot, Reyneshia's triumph in the election was something of an inevitability. After all, the ending theme has more or less been showing us the answer right along – if Eins had one, the chances of Reyneshia working behind a desk were pretty slim. At the end of the day, however, it wasn't really a showdown between the princess and the duke, but rather between Shiroe and Touri, the powers in the shadows of the throne.
That Shiroe is significantly less shadowy in his position in many ways explains Eins' loss. He's never made any statements about fading into the background if Reyneshia as the face of the New Round Table was the de facto throne-sitting member of the party. The Round Table always was and would continue to be a group effort, and as anyone who ever participated in a group project in school knows, even if you're working together, the workload isn't evenly divided. None of the Round Table group, including Reyneshia, has any aspirations towards the monarchy, and ultimately that's what they made clear during the pre-election speeches: Shiroe not only spoke alongside the princess, but he also let everyone know that it would be group effort with experts called in to keep things moving as smoothly as possible. Yes, it was a genius move to involve Regan and the Kunie clan, figures with legendary reputations among the People of the Land, but what it was really doing was standing in stark contrast to the speech given by the other side.
If you were listening (or reading the subtitles as the case may be) carefully, you'll have noticed that there were a few very careful loopholes being created by the other faction. Words like “never unreasonably” were bandied about, which carry the implication that if someone could come up with a reason why Akiba should be governed by the Senate that could be twisted into sounding “reasonable,” there's a decent chance that they'd take it. But equally striking is the fact that everything was being laid solely at Eins' feet as the primary governor of Akiba, while making it clear that his elevation to the nobility was done at the grace of the prince of another kingdom. Too much power in a single place isn't a great plan, but too much power in a someone who could be framed as a puppet ruler (or turned into one; Eins is sweet, but he also doesn't seem to be the firmest of purpose and is easily discouraged, his withdrawal from the original Round Table notwithstanding) is even worse. It was perhaps unintentional, but still abundantly obvious that Eins would be a functionary of Touri's governing body back in the other kingdom, and that may be what Shiroe was truly preparing to campaign against.
The fact that the Round Table put on the better show is also an undeniable factor in their victory, slim though Shiroe says it was. Not only did he facilitate the opening of the transportation gate as a surprise, he also had the first people through it be Adventurers on griffins, which makes for good spectacle. Follow that by bringing out the near-mythical Sage of Mirror Lake, a person everyone, Person of the Land and Adventurer alike, had heard of but few had ever seen, and then having a Kunie take the stage, and the whole thing started to feel like a magical show the likes of which is rarely seen. But it also sends a very clear message to Touri, one that says, “You may be royalty, but these are the cards I hold and the powers I can call on at any time. Do you really want to challenge this?”
That Touri gets the message loud and clear is as obvious as the fact that neither of the other two members of his team do. Even if he didn't know about the Senate's use of the gates to invade another territory (and who am I kidding, he definitely knew), Shiroe's strategic opening of the Akiba gate functions as a warning. He's saying that Akiba isn't going to just sit back and be taken over, although Touri may have read that as a more overt and imminent threat than it was intended as. Whatever the case, his withdrawal was a smart move, both for him and for Eins, who, while not precisely persona non grata in Akiba, would certainly find it uncomfortable to keep living there, though that begs the question of what will happen to the rest of Honesty as a guild.
In any event, we're not going to find that out next week, because we're shifting over to Krusty on the Chinese server. I'm a bit concerned that they're going to cram the entirety of novel eleven into one episode. That'd be a shame, because there's a storyline in there about one of the People of the Land that deserves more of our time.
Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table is currently streaming on FUNimation Entertainment.
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