January 31st, 2016.
Points on a Journey
You know what stood out to me that was relatively subtle in this episode? You know how Manato said they all have weaknesses, and a party is about working together and covering one another’s weaknesses? The same was true for the goblin party that ambushed them. Just as they tended to scout goblins and delivered a sneak attack before everyone jumped in, so the goblin party had an archer who delivered the first strike before the others intervened, and they had a tank, and when that tank/bruiser proved too large and cumbersome to follow our merry band of adventurers, a more nimble member followed them.
The goblins are just trying to survive, and they too have their own parties, and bonds of trust and help.
The other big moment this episode was Yume discussing her dream, where Ranta, in a typical anime-watcher fashion went, “I’ve sat here listening to this, so this better have a point!” But the point is spending time together. I’ve mentioned before how the show this most reminds me of is Log Horizon, in terms of pacing, and how “padded” it feels, and this episode and sequence cemented it. The real focus is on spending time with the characters. The pacing, the amount of space and time that the scenes are given to breathe, to inhale and exhale.
It’s a journey, but here it isn’t actually about where you go, or what you do with it, but the time the journey gives you to spend with others. And yet, it doesn’t at all run counter to my immediate thought after Manato’s death – “And?” or “The real question is, what will they do with it?” Yes, we spend time with the characters, and it doesn’t need to have a point, so the question is subtly transformed, how will the other characters react to it? How will they keep on going? And what, if anything, will the show try to tell us through Manato’s death, and the others’ reactions to it, beyond, “We rise to the challenge when we must (as Manato who didn’t see himself as a leader had), and life keeps going”? Perhaps it won’t, because the point is to spend time with the characters.
P.S. When Old Priest opened his mouth and I heard Nakata Jouji (Fate’s Kotomine Kirei, Log Horizon’s Nyanta), I couldn’t help but chuckle.
P.P.S. Who decided to enter the Hardcore MMORPG server, without revives? This isn’t the D&D I grew up with! :P