May 7th, 2014.
No Luck, Only Knowledge.
I did it, I took screenshots, but didn’t take notes during the episode itself! Ok, let’s see what sort of mini-write-up I can concoct :D
1) Sora and Shiro are NEETs. You can take NEETs out of their homes (thus rendering them non-hikikomoris), but you can’t take the NEET out of the NEETs. Well, you sort of can, which is what Tet had done, by giving them a world which gives them what they were used to doing as NEETs, but only if they actually work for it. This world is the fulfillment of “Turning your hobby into your job.”
2) Steph then is the Anti-NEET. She’s rich, she has friends, she graduated from high-school, and she’s actually not vain and shallow, so they can’t slam her for that. Steph played the various nobles against one another. Whereas Sora only knows how to use brute force, she can use finesse, and no, not in a world with “known rules”, such as inside a game, but using subterfuge, empathy, and playing people against one another on a board where no one knows the rules, or can see it as a board. Just as Sora had done at the end of the previous episode, where he declared war on all the races to avoid having any of them come after Imanity.
BTW, Sora and Shiro are “rich” now as well, but they didn’t grow up as Steph had.
3) I know it’s a joke, but throwing it out there – Stephanie is a bitch, and we all know what Sora is speaking of when he speaks of being “fulfilled” here, especially with how the shot’s framed. Shiro with the panties on her head, bra as a muffler, and Steph’s shoes on her hands had been cute, though.
I do find Sora’s line interesting, “Being fulfilled is better than being decent!” is something only an indecent person would say! Also, technically, Sora could ask to become fulfilled if he wins a game, but it’s kept as a gag, which is why he doesn’t.
4) “The Animal Girl Kingdom is waiting, for me!” – That was amusing.
5) I liked how Sora used Stephanie’s cheat against her, into his monologue about the lack of luck. This is what our NEETs said in the first episode, about the real world: “The world is chaotic, unreasonable, and unfair.” They know that in the real world luck is very much a thing. If you fail, it’s not necessarily because you were bad, and if you succeed, it’s not due to necessarily having earned it and being better than everyone else – these are lies people tell, especially themselves, “I did it all by myself!” or even as a group. Luck and external factors plays a large part in our successes, and in others’ failures, though a psychological bias would have us attribute our successes to ourselves, our failures to luck, and the reverse for others.
But not in this world. Not in games. If you don’t know the rules of the game, then things may seem random to you, and then it’s truly up to luck. When you don’t know what cards to pick, or play, and play them randomly, then so is your chance of winning made random. Know the rules, and disable randomness. Sun Tzu would be proud of Blank – “The outcome of a fight is decided before the game even starts.” – Assuming perfect knowledge, and furthermore, assuming only one side possesses said perfect knowledge, then again, knowledge of a tie also works.
So, Sun Tzu? Sora and Shiro only start fights they know they will win. Of course there’s an element of hubris here, and there is an element of uncertainty as to what they don’t know of the other side, but the logic is sound. They’re not playing for fun, but in order to win. To enter a game you have no idea the outcome of? At best, it’s a gamble, as Stephanie kept thinking. But Stephanie’s situation had also shown us why it’s only “at best” a gamble – because the knowledge you don’t have, you must assume the opponent does possess it, and will use it to fleece you.
Knowledge is power, and in a game built and predicated on arbitrary rules, you may as well go ahead and figure things out first.
6) That Flugel sure sounded impressive, and then she opened her mouth. But appearances can be deceiving, just as they did with Stephanie ;-)