Re:Zero post

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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.)

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About FabledHunter

Novice Anime Blogger. ask.fm/AnimeAtaraxia

Posted on September 23, 2016, in Anime and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Honestly I stopped watching the anime after the first anime because I pretty much didn’t like the premise and what that would entail. It’s clear that every time Subaru goes back in time, the things he did don’t leave any sort of mark on the other characters, like at all. For me this totally killed any investment or anticipation because any developing friendship between subaru and the others becomes non-existent and not only that seeing the same scene over and over again despite Subaru dealing with the situation differently was in the end pointless to watch. In short there’s no feeling of resolution.
    Now I know a few more details from watching reviews by Gigguk and what you’ve mentioned in your article and it seems to me that ReZero is ultimately a romance anime and I don’t find a character’s love for another character a compelling interesting reason to continue watching an anime for me personally. And I didn’t like the fact that Emelia lied about her name and what she was from the beginning and then gets mad at Subaru for using that name when he re-meets her. Totally put me off Emelia, which then meant that I couldn’t care less whether emelia died or not which then made Subaru’s struggles all the more pointless.
    And apparently Rem was in love with Subaru ,_,
    Like I don’t understand the appeal of seeing a premise such as “you go back in time every time you die” play out. For me I don’t understand if it is enjoyable just watching these characters go about their scenes and the conclusion being Subaru gets the girl in the end which sets the real tone of what this anime was about in my opinion. Just a romance anime with a quirky premise with no real satisfying ending other than Subaru doesn’t die a violent death and he gets the girl.

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    • Thanks for the detailed response on what you thought about the series. I feel the reasons for why I personally enjoyed ReZero are so different from why other people either liked or disliked the show so this probably won’t help you much, but I’ll try clarifying/expanding on some of the points you brought up in your comment.

      First of all the premise of Subaru going back in time whenever he dies limiting his ability to leave any lasting impressions on any characters he interacts with isn’t quite accurate. Certainly it seems that way at the start and it can’t really happen any other way as Subaru is the only one one retains memories. So for at least for the first few loops where Subaru still hadn’t quite figured out what was happening that happening is sort of unavoidable. (It really doesn’t help that Subaru took way longer than it should have to realise.)
      Anyway after realising what was happening, since Subaru is able to retain memories of previous loops it makes it easier for him to develop relationships with other characters. And all he has to do to keep that is just to not die. Of course that obviously isn’t simple since Subaru having an ability which activates when he dies sort of forces the story to utilise it otherwise there would be no point in giving him that ability in the first place.
      After finishing each arc there is actually some sense of resolution since the story wraps up the main problems from that arc with Subaru finding the ideal solution (removing the threat without either him or anyone else dying), and the point at which he returns to after dying moving forward which allows he to keep all the progress he has made with other people so far. (Although it is pretty unrealistic in the sense that everytime his ‘save point’ moves forward it is always at the most convenient point place possibly plot wise.)

      As for ReZero being ultimately a romance anime I would have to disagree. It certainly does have romance as being important during the show, especially for some character motivations, but for me the show felt like it was more about Subaru figuring out the mysteries of the world and situation he was thrown into and later on (more specifically when he realises the world isn’t just about him) being a major influence on the world on a grander scale.

      The problem you had with Emilia getting mad about the name thing I can understand. It does seem rather harsh, but with the overall picture it makes sense and is actually very important story structure wise. When she first told him the wrong name it was on a complete whim because she couldn’t understand his treatment of her since she was used to being treated as if she was the witch. And when she named herself to Subaru not only did he not show any negative reaction, but he praised the name itself.
      So when he calls her by that name in the next loop its no wonder she gets mad as she has no memories of the previous loop while Subaru does. Not to mention she was called the name of the hated witch in a public area when she already has enough trouble with being treated like the witch due to her appearance.
      The most important part of this happening however is not just an insight into Emilia, but to let the reader now about the witch. The witch becomes a major character later in the plot so it’s essential to have foreshadowing earlier, so this event happening is quite important as the witch is rarely mentioned early on in the story.
      Also if it helps, although Emilia is still a major character, but putting aside Subaru’s motivations she becomes much less important a most of the story. So disliking her may not become much of an issue after a little while.

      As for the ending being just about getting the girl, I wouldn’t really worry about that too much. Certainly how they choose to end it in the anime that does seem to be what the ending is about, but it’s hardly satisfying on either a plot level or on a romantic level. I highly doubt what happened in the last 1-2 episodes happened in the source material. In any case it’s clearly not the actual end and there is much more to happen in the story in the future.

      Anyway not liking the premise is understandable, and with that being the case it’s highly likely you would still dislike the show ever if you were to revisit it. I do see a lot of criticism of ReZero and I definitely do see where people are coming from and have a lot of the same problems with the show myself, but for me the show just appealed to me overall so those things didn’t end up bothering me since I never really stopped enjoying the show.

      Sorry for taking so long to reply (as well as making the reply so long). I know a lot of this is probably obvious and I’m sure you already knew it but I had to put it in to clarify the context of what I wanted to say.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t worry about the long reply nor in taking your time to reply :)
    Actually you helped clarify a lot of things, such as putting the emilia being angry about being called that name by Subaru into context and that the anime didn’t come across to you as a romance anime, so I accept your take on the anime.
    I get that you can enjoy it despite seeing the same issues that people who dislike the anime have and hoonestly Gigguk was making this exact point that each anime will just resonate with a certain person more than others and it’s not based on objective points.
    If you think I still won’t enjoy the anime if I revisit has made me think I should definitely not revisit it 😂
    As you said the “saved points” are basically plot devices since they are placed at arbitrarily convenient points. This sort of forcedness really puts me off the story, but I also understand that if the story didn’t have this then there could be no realistic progress. Honestly a story lives and dies by our attachment to its characters.
    There’s a fantasy series called the Wheel of Time and honestly the world and magic in the story is phenomenal and I loved the characters (hated the female ones though) and I could keep reading and reading. The series has like 14 books in the series and I went ahead and got the first 11 books. I only got to the 7th book when my frustration reached a point that I closed the book never to open it again for years and still haven’t. The characters just didn’t react, think or do what I felt was reasonable in their situation and thereby the events started feeling fake. And I started to hate the verbosity in the book (Robert Jordan rivals Tolkien in that regard). In the previous book I had to wade through 600 pages of filler just to get to the literally heart-pounding war scenes at the end. I’ve never had a book actually make my heart beat faster, but when I started wading through the next book I started to resent his writng style because it felt like a gimmick: set up the end of the book in the previous few hundred pages before making a fantastic finale.
    There were other issues with the series for me, but I’ve grown to appreciate “realism” in anime, and I don’t mean non-fantasy, but when the characters are virtually human with superhuman powers, that’s when I enjoy anime most nowadays. So in theory I could watch a story about anything as long as the characters feel human and there’s something more to watch than just frames with color and lines. A good example of this for me is the chimera ant arc in Hunter X Hunter where each character has actual real feelings, in some cases they get so afraid they literally turn old; and The Wallflower where we see the struggle of one of the boys due to his beauty which I was so fascinated by because it gave me an idea of how a certain biblical character’s life might have been like (even though the wallflower has nothing to do with religion). Or even Sakamoto desu ka? where I was just fascinated with Sakamoto because (although this is not hinted at in the anime, they just portray him as super cool) he struck me as some kind of sage. Like if you pretend Sakamoto was an actual sage, a lot of the stunts he pulls in the anime are fascinating to watch with that in mind.
    I have my own way of viewing anime I suppose 😅

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    • > If you think I still won’t enjoy the anime if I revisit has made me think I should definitely not revisit it

      I obviously don’t know your anime tastes anywhere near enough to make a definitive statement on that, but I’ll quickly add a few things which might be worth mentioning here.
      。This doesn’t apply to me personally since I found the premise engaging right from the start but I’ve heard many people who ended up liking the show say they found the first arc really boring. So it is very possible that you might become more interested during the second arc. (Although if you still can’t stand the second arc then that would make it much harder since the second arc was 8 episodes long as opposed to the first arc being only 3 episodes.)
      。You mentioned you like it when shows have characters which feel ‘human’. Specifically in regards to ReZero, I would argue that to some extent the show is quite good at this. It may not be very obvious in the first half (although in retrospect there are plently of points to take note of), but in ReZero I think this applies to a decent number of the characters. But then again unfortunately there are also plenty of other characters which are the opposite and don’t seem very human at all so it sort of evens out. It also doesn’t help very much that the main villain (from the content that was covered in the anime anyway) didn’t really have much of a believable motive. At least the the plot itself was interesting in that part though.

      Anyway I agree with everyone having different shows that resonate with them as well as everyone having their own ways of enjoying anime. One of my favourite things about fiction regardless of medium is that every single viewer/reader watches a different show because being a different person with different views they will interact with it differently. Which is why I find reading other peoples thoughts on twitter or blogs.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Which is why I find reading other peoples thoughts on twitter and blogs really interesting.”
    Just thought i would finish your sentence off for you 🤣

    ok, so basically the big baddie is just evil just because? ReZero must been pretty cool to cover up this major lacking.

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