Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table ?
I have to admit that I was hoping for better from this episode. I recognize that I'm very likely being directly influenced by having read the novels available in English, but even without that, it still seems likely that others will find the Elias/Leonardo fight underbaked when compared to other aspects of this episode. If nothing else, it's an enormous waste of potential. Think about it: Elias is the most recognizable character for players of Elder Tale. He's on the box art, the promo posters, and, no matter what server you're on, he's a part of most of the major quests in the game's main storyline. To get to meet him, actually meet him, is likely a highlight for many of the Adventurers, something we get a smidgeon of in his interactions with Leonardo. Elias is the hero all of the Adventurers are encouraged to aspire to be in the game, and if Kanami doesn't have the sort of personality that acknowledges that (and Coppelia has something else going on that may or may not be dealt with in the show that keeps her from hero-worship), Leonardo most certainly does.
What we're missing, therefore, is the body of the fight between hero and fan. Leonardo has been beside himself at getting to actually work and travel with his in-game idol, and to see him be warped by the Genius masquerading as Youren is like seeing his childhood dreams of heroism be shattered. Their fight, therefore, is Leonardo's way of trying to break Youren's hold over Elias and to bring him back to himself, and in the novel, we see this from both Leonardo's perspective and Elias' as he's trying to work through the implications and complications of the Adventurers becoming real parts of his world. Chief among those is the fact that Elias now sees his inability to do more than bring down someone's HP by 90% as a curse. In the game, of course, it was designed that way so that the player got to kill the monsters, but now, with Elias the sole surviving member of his Order and the world changed in ways that don't entirely make sense to him, he believes his inability to kill is some sort of horrible restriction inflicted upon him. Garnish this with a dollop of survivor's guilt, and Elias is all too easy for Youren to lead astray.
Leonardo does eventually break through to him by explaining Elias to himself in a way that the elf himself never thought of, or at least lost sight of: it's not a curse, something cast upon an unwilling victim, but a choice, and one that Elias made himself back in the day – a choice not to kill anyone. As Leonardo sees it, Elias' “inability” to kill makes him all the more heroic, someone who could do great harm but chooses not to, always at the last moment taking the high road. He's not reprogramming Elias, he's giving him insight into how many of the Adventurers always saw him and allowing him to make a choice once again – the choice to accept himself. We do get that last part, which is absolutely the most important piece of the storyline, but it lacks the impact that it ought to have had, especially since Elias, in game terms, is far more important a character to the Adventurers' worldview than Reyneshia.
That conversation does, however, dovetail nicely with Krusty figuring out how to find the needed loopholes in his status ailment in order to survive his fight with Youren and to take her down. (Although he may have a wriggling bit of her still…?) Recalling what Shiroe told him about contracts and how Rudy was transformed from Person of the Land to Adventurer, Krusty is able to see the gaps in the curse Youren and the Genius calling herself Queen Mother of the West (an ancient goddess in Chinese mythologies who pops up in anime from time to time, which is why you may recognize the name) slapped him with. That he decides (or discovers, it's not quite clear) that he can regenerate MP by sacrificing memories says a lot about Krusty as a person and how for him living in the game world is more free than living in the real world. We don't know much about his previous life, but as of this episode we know that the wealthy family he belonged to didn't care much for him as an illegitimate son and that when Kanami notes that he seems more relaxed now that back in the days of the Tea Party, it's because now he doesn't live under the fear of “bothering” anyone. Giving up memories of that life, therefore, is perhaps less of a sacrifice than it seems, because the life he's living now is better for him than that other one in many ways.
And now he's ready to kill a goddess and come home to Akiba. Will Shiroe and Co. meet him halfway? Shiroe's cooking up something, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's at least preparing to help Krusty take out a Genius.
Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table is currently streaming on FUNimation Entertainment.
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