I mentioned previously the I wanted to write about Re Zero, but I never could decide on exactly what I wanted to write about. I considered talking about why I liked the show, waiting until it finished airing to write a review, and even whether I should try writing a fanfiction about it. In the end I decided to just use this post as an excuse to talk about the show.
So it seems that Re Zero ended up being pretty popular, and it’s pretty easy to imagine why. For me personally the show was the most enjoyable non-sequel anime I’ve watched in a while. It was already my type of show so I went into it knowing I’d probably enjoy it, but I never expected to like it anywhere near as much as I did.
Anyway I’ll talk about the story arcs one by one, so there will be spoilers. I won’t go into that much detail so it should just be general spoilers and nothing major, but if you haven’t seen/finished the show yet and still plan to then I recommend to not read any further.
First arc (eps 1-3): Not really much to say about the first arc. It does a great job of showing us exactly how Subaru’s ‘Return by Death’ ability works as well as introducing Subaru and Emilia and what type of people they are. Also Felt is great.
Second arc (eps 4-11): The second arc’s pacing is a bit different than the first arc (which makes sense since its much longer and introduces a lot more characters). But anyway, when I first was watching this arc I didn’t it as much as I liked the first arc.
I started watching Re Zero around when episode 7 aired which was also around the time that heaps of people started posting fan art of Rem and Ram (or at least when I first noticed it anyway). But when they first appeared I didn’t really initially get the appeal of either them or Roswaal and just passed the fan art craze off as an aesthetic thing like Hestia was. (Not that any of that matters though since I had warmed up to basically all of the new characters by the end of the second arc anyway.)
One of the best parts of the second arc was that unlike the first arc where Subaru knew exactly who killed him the whole time so he knew what he had to avoid to keep everyone alive, in this arc he has no idea who kills him, or even how he dies for the first few deaths so watching him trying to figure out everything (as well as making guesses for myself) was pretty fun.
Third arc (eps 12-18): The third arc was by far my favourite arc, (and as far as I understand it, most other people share this opinion). Subaru gets Emilia to allow him to travel to the capital with her and the royal election(?) starts. When I first watched episode 12 my initial reaction was that becoming ruler was dumb and that an arc about helping Emilia become ruler would be really boring (although Felt showing up again was cool).
Due to various reasons I took a break from the show after that episode (not because I didn’t like the show) and didn’t get back to it until episode 23 had aired, which actually turned out really good because it allowed me to marathon those episodes.
Anyway this arc was great. It features some of the best character development that I’ve seen in a while (or at least it resonated with me personally). Watching Subaru fall into despair because of his own selfishness and powerlessness was really well done. Basically starting with the argument between Subaru and Emilia. Emilia wants to know why Subaru couldn’t just do something as simple as resting until he is completely recovered. Of course it would be easy to understand Subaru’s thought processes if she knew how much effort he had put into keeping her, as well as Rem and Ram alive. But he isn’t able to say that, instead he snaps, and vents his frustration out on her by saying things which he shouldn’t have said. The best part about this is that nothing he is actually saying is wrong (its very easy if you think about it where he is coming from and why he says what he says), of course it definitely isn’t right either and it comes across as him looking like a terrible person.
At this point Subaru tries to keep saving her regardless of whether she wants him to or not. But this isn’t easy and he ends up facing a threat that is too big for him to handle alone no matter how many times he tries. After realising this, he tries to get influential people to help him out but of course they have no reason to help, and because of the way he goes about it it’s no surprise that they don’t want to help him.
Disgusted with everything, Subaru tries to do everything by himself once more, which just leads to him meeting with an even greater sense of powerless and despair, and that leads him to give up completely and suggest to Rem that she run away with him. And then we have Rem’s confession scene, which is honestly great. In my opinion it was the prefect way to end the arc and give Subaru the push he needed. (This scene is now my favourite confession scene in anime, the previous being the one at the end of Horizon season 1.)
Final arc (eps 19-25): This arc deals with fixing everything which Subaru couldn’t deal with by himself during the previous arc. While I personally didn’t like the episodes with them fighting the giant whale, this arc is still great. Lots of characters get important screen time, Subaru gets to make up with Emilia for a satisfying ending.
There were a few things in the final 2 episodes that I was a bit unsatisfied about (I would have personally had things going a bit differently after episode 23 ended for example). But overall it was a good ending to the show.
Now obviously Re: Zero’s story doesn’t end where the anime ends. Just looking at the characters that haven’t been properly explored yet there is still so much to look forward to. Beatrice, Puck, Priscilla/Aldebaran, Ram/Roswaal, Felt/Reinhard, Satella and the dragon should all be important later so it’s easy to see that the author has lots more planned. And that’s not even considering that they still have to decide who gets to rule (not that the outcome matters it’s more about the candidates themselves and their backers).
That turned into a bit of a rant, but it’s easy to tell I liked the show. Everything just worked for me. The characters were great, the story was interesting, the soundtrack and voice acting was perfect. I even started reading the original web novel (I want to read the published light novel version at one point as well but I’ll start with the web novel). I’ll probably write about that at some point, but don’t expect me to be done anytime soon.
Let me know in the comments what you thought about Re Zero. (Spoilers are fine as long as they are from the anime and not from the web/light novels.)