Twos, threes, fours, fives …

How important political decisions affect Akatsuki.

Log Horizon 3 2 is full of exposition and conversations as the situation for Akiba gets worse. Eins is withdrawing from the round table (I thought he did that last week) and plans to create an Akiba government. Meanwhile, evil Intix refers to him as a figurehead for whatever nasty things she has in mind. Eins’ motives are good in spirit–he wants to protect the people of the land, who are flocking to Akiba to enjoy the relatively classless environment there, and he has their support. And Rayneshia’s planned marriage to Touri will help relations with, er, Westlande, I think. Again, my plan is to absorb as much of the backstory as I can while focusing on the important thing–the characters we’ve grown to love over the past two seasons. Also I keep an eye on motives. Only Intix seems really bad. The nobles are working for their own ends. Eins and others have altruistic motives, if dubious plans. So, what part of this situation is going to collapse first? My guess is that Rayneshia will refuse to get married. That might set some dominoes falling …

Rayneshia has made up her mind, and she brought her posse.

Yeah, one little meeting can accomplish a lot. Shiroe meets with Eins, Malves the idiot, and Rayneshia’s betrothed Touri, where Eins announces he wants Shiroe in his government, though I like Touri’s comment that they couldn’t have Shiroe hanging out on his own, plotting things … Shiroe, not liking the idea but under the assumption that the Round Table was a thing of the past, looks about to accept when all of a sudden Rayneshia shows up in round table clothing, a visual statement as to how she feels about all of this. There was an earlier scene where she got a cryptic message from Krusty about being upset about the things you lose, you see … Anyway, Rayneshia has the best line where she talks about being in a place she wants to be, and that is NOT back in Kyo with Touri, though he doesn’t seem like an overly bad sort. In fact, much of this happening is him trying to avert a war between east and west. In short, everyone has good intentions. So, Shiroe decides to hold an election for it (oh god I don’t want to hear the word “election” for at least another six months …). It makes me wonder if DDD’s intention to restructure and form a hub of groups, PotL included, isn’t going to work in the Round Table’s favor. And so the intrigue goes on, but I’m more impressed by Rayneshia going against her family, sort of, and duties to toss the marriage aside.

It looks tense, but nothing much is going to happen here.

Now on to the fours and fives. Tatoeba Last Dungeon mae etc., after setting up a “serious” confrontation between Marie and her father, possessed by Abaddon, shifts straight to comedy as she realizes that since it’s a demon lord, Lloyd can interfere without violating whatever sacred oath it is about human conflicts, so it’s run-away time!. It’s more or less funny. Selen’s “I’ll have Lloyd rescue me while I’m in a state of tasteful nudity” bit was pretty good, since the demon can’t lay a finger on her. Less funny was Lloyd’s complete ignorance of the situation, accusing the possessed Merthophan of being drunk and the king like a debauched cosplayer. That’s the big drawback of the series so far: Lloyd is so pure and innocent and the others won’t tell him what’s going on. I wish they bloody would; I’m sick of the purity. Anyway, story arc 1 is in the can, Lloyd’s in the school, and we can now get into a regular routine.

For healing practice you need someone to heal, right?

That routine is the same as the same story arc: introduce new characters (Mena, Phylla, Rol and Zol), immediately have them interact in unexpected ways (Zol with Marie, Phylla with Lloyd), with lots of gags (healing practice) and confusing bits that don’t have much to do with the main story(magic sword)–the annual inter-school tournament. Besides that, Riho, that cool character who in the first arc was stuck on the sidelines making side comments, finally gets some attention, as her artificial arm is actually sucking the life out of her and Zol put it there so she could remove that magic sword from the stone, which Lloyd already did, at the cost of her life. Well, now she doesn’t have to die, right? I guess it will intensify the tournament, since the winner gets that sword. But the oddest bit was Zol, coming out of nowhere, getting her ass kicked (by Phylla, who’s on the bad guys side but seems pretty cool), running away to her love Marie to learn she has Lloyd to fawn over now, and is comforted by … Shoma?! This is a straightforward fantasy-comedy for younger viewers but some bits come out of nowhere.

Satsuki appears (the thing that looks like a shaggy lampshade).

Ura Sekai Picnic 4 starts with … not really a fight, but a misunderstanding when Sorao tells Toriko she believes Satsuki is gone for good, and Toriko takes it as a “you’re deserting me as a friend” comment. But Satsuki mysteriously appears as a pic in Sorao’s cell phone, and Kozakura is dragged with Sorao into the other world in a situation involving weird people at her door … and I didn’t get that at all. Toriko thinks she finds Satsuki, Sorao actually finds Toriko, in the nick of time, and in the end the mystery is no closer to being solved than before. We get some Sorao life history, interesting stuff, and Toriko gives a speech about how fear is how the other world connects with the visitors. … I get that Toriko and Kozakura are both looking for Satsuki in their own way, but I’m beginning to think that Satsuki didn’t really exist as a human being and they’re being lured away. The theme character, the middle-aged man who tries to warn outsiders to stay away, is kind of wasted on the characters. Apart from Sorao no one wants to stay away. Oh, what was the deal with the other Sorao, and the plants? The show may never tell us.

Episode 5 brings us something new. First, the weirdness came to the girls before the girls could get to it. Innocently gouging themselves at an izakaya, the waiter babbles some weird things, after that they step out and eventually wind up in the otherworld, at night. The other new thing is they are rescued from a big mechanical thing and some flying faces–by American marines who found themselves in the otherworld while in the woods training in Okinawa. They’ve been there a month, with some casualties, and with no clue how to get out. You’d think the disappearance of a marine unit would be some sort of news in the real world, but whatever. To add to the fun, they set up camp at Kisaragi Station, and a quick search will give you the story of that urban, or rural legend. I did, and it seems the show is just appropriating the name and the mystery behind it. The original has no horned giant or mechanical monsters. This is a two-parter, so we don’t entire get how the dynamics between a a bunch of marines and two girls is going to work, except that it’s clear the marines don’t quite trust the girls, so that could be fun.

Of course she caught it. You think this show would be so mean to Nadeshiko?

Back to Yuru Camp 2 episode 4, so meandering and meaningless that I would normally be angry about it, but this is Yuru Camp so I cut it some slack. Basically the girls talk about their holidays, eat the souvenirs (well, Aki does), and spend the money on usually camping things. Oh, and Nadeshiko acts as a tentpole for a while. And nothing seriously wrong happens, in fact, when something looks like it’s going to go seriously wrong, you just know it won’t, and you’re right, like when Nadeshiko nearly drops the fragile kerosene lamp she’s been obsessed with for months and had just bought. You know she would catch it. The show wouldn’t do something so mean to her. And even when it gets predictable, like the OTHER thing Nadeshiko bought with her part time job money, the way the present it is often so nice that you smile anyway, and now I’m talking about Nadeshiko sneaking her sister’s gift into her car while the closing credits play. Still, the episode was even more aimless than usual, so I hope they get back to some actual camping soon.

Aki being evil.

Episode 5 has a twist: this time it’s Aki, Aoi, and Ena doing the camping. We’ve never seen these three on their own before, especially Ena. So off they go to, er, one of those five lakes around Fuji-san, sorry, didn’t catch the name. But on the way they have the inevitable stops at a camping store, grocery store, and of course an onsen, where they kill time, glomp deer mascots, and basically act silly. Aki’s in charge of the trip, so there’s always a potential for disaster, but true to the show, everything mostly goes right. The hammock cafe is closed and they can’t actually camp on the cape, but they catch the right buses and have a good time, and they haven’t even set up their tents yet, or tried the experimental hammock thing the saleslady showed them but was hidden to us. Something to look forward to, and I don’t even go camping.

Damn, that IS impressive.

I’m a Spider, So What? 4 drops the boring humanoids with their petty isekai intrigues and spends all its time with our hero as she starts by lamenting how she was forced to run away again (well, it was a dragon), through a long, exciting fight with an army of monkeys, to triumph and a ton of leveling up. What makes it wilder is that the monkeys are brighter than the other monsters and can work as a team, and soon she’s cornered by dozens of them. We don’t think much about valor or desires to become stronger for most of the episode, the poor thing is simply trying to survive, using her newly acquired poison skills, incredibly lucky leveling timing which healed her right when she was too damaged to fight–twice, and just as important–guile. They might be smart for monsters but she is smarter, and while she hasn’t managed to live much better, she’s alive and quite formidable now. My question is: how big were those monkeys? Were they teeny or has our heroine grown? Guess I’ll find out soon enough, except next it’s lava time!

And if not for a side bit of the luckier kids, it would have been the second episode in a row where the only voices we hear are Aoi Yuuki and the skill management system. Which is fine with me. Ms. Yuuki has continued her stream-of-consciousness narration, hopping from fear to determination to pensiveness to triumph back to fear, without a misstep, and I’m nowhere near tired of it yet. This time she tries to cross the lava in the middle section, fails, levels up a bit, and gets some success, also finding a monster that actually tastes good! She also picks up some unpleasant-sounding skill sets, but she’s past caring about that. However, it might be important later, as at least one of the other kids, the religious nut Hasabe, wants to kill anyone with a “Taboo” status. That Fei the cute little dragon has this title is the show’s nod toward the dull and predictable side of isekais, and that Julius will have to defend her at one point, ho hum. But of course, so does our heroine. More interesting is that she is moving up to the middle level, and Julius, for reasons unknown, is coming down toward it. We might get a first meeting soon.

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