Log Horizon Episode 8 Notes

November 23rd, 2013.

Where the Plan Advances! An Inch… (Also Musings on Helplessness)

So, food is being sold, money is being made, but it’s not enough – money isn’t the goal, and I’m not sure it’s even the means, for Shiroe’s plan. I do hope Shiroe Lamperouge takes something from Lelouch, however, and speeds up the plan. What is the stage 2? Well, asking for people to help, spreading Shiroe’s influence, getting more people on board with the exciting new venture.

Shorter Asides:

  • Interesting, Roderic, the leader of one of the two biggest mercantile guilds is essentially an NPC – but it makes sense, all the NPCs also gather and craft items :3 He’s a “Person of the Ritual”, which is a player-chosen race.
  • Synchronized glass-pushing strikes again! When you’re so close to someone that their voice echoes within your soul at all times, hee hee.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Mercantile Negotiations – The Great Con:

  1. Seeing what people really think as they make their plans – to be frank, this is all very basic, but it was amusing, especially the use of “tense music” to make us feel this is exciting. It made me think of Spice and Wolf, where we usually only saw what people were thinking later, Maoyu which was also more simple in these issues, but did actually require you to know some concepts, and Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, where we’ve often heard explanations, but things had been very complex when it came to mercantile negotiations.
  2. This reminds me of that British television show about people who perform sting operations and swindle people out of their money – people will believe because they want to believe. But this is hardly “a deal too good to be true.” – They will receive nothing until the challenge is complete, but well, most such cons rely on putting trust in others, which is the catch.

2) The Downward Spiral of Helplessness:

  1. Minori is the embodiment of who Shiroe wants to save, who he wants to change – people who feel lost and powerless, and are awaiting to be saved, they’re waiting for someone else to come and do something. Shiroe, he plans to save all these people, but he knows that means mobilizing them to help themselves, in the end, and to help others.
  2. But see, this is depression, especially in fiction – not only can you not help yourself, but your inability to help yourself means you also turn away from others offering aid, and then you can help yourself even less. That’s the downward spiral of helplessness and loneliness – the wall between you and others only grows. Outbreak Company explained it well this week in the context of shut-ins.
  3. “In this world, if something matters, keep it in the bank.” – How will we keep our friends and happiness in the bank though? I guess that’s why people imprison themselves in the cities, they commodify themselves and others, such as Hamelyn had done to them.

Post Episode Notes:

I’m sort of conflicted, but I know this is because I’m watching this episode weekly – could this epiosde and the last one had been condensed into one episode? Almost certainly. Could the last two episodes and the next one been condensed into 1.5 or 2 episodes? Again, almost certainly yes.

There’s very little that actually happens in these episodes. I’m not talking merely on the actions that happen/plot events level, but we also don’t have much more insight gained into characters, or more world-building. So for now I consider these episodes to be atmosphere episodes, who let us enjoy the characters, as we slowly feel them more.

You can see it in the mercantile discussions – the inner-thoughts and explanations by Shiro and the others weren’t really necessary, as things were quite basic and there had been no real disagreements/conflicts. So what was it good for? For us to enjoy the characters’ personalities and discussions. The one point reinforced here was how Shiro will not permit lies. The other thing is that the music tried to sell us how exciting it is, but again, lack of real conflict or depth in the negotiations stopped that :3 – So, atmosphere episodes!

The children did give us a spiel we know, and one that works – one needs to accept themselves before they can accept others, and if you feel so weak you can’t help yourself, it’s hard to accept others’ help as well.

I do hope, very strongly, that having obtained the money, Shiro will let us know what the plan is next week, rather than ending it with “Now that I have everyone’s agreement, it’s time to get started on my real plan!” – Enough. I enjoy these episodes, but you can stretch these minute advancements only so far, let us see what’s up, let us see things moving forward – isn’t that the whole deal Shiro, that sitting in one place without advancement is bad? Don’t let the show end up there :p

Until next week.

Return to the Log Horizon Episodic Notes page.

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