Posted by AidanAK47 on 21 June 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World

This looks to be the weakest episode of Re:Zero to date which does seem to be a trend when it comes to the arcs of the series. When looking over these twelve episodes I have come to find that the weakest episodes of the series are the first episode of an arc which does make sense when you think about it. Subaru’s first runs are often fairly uneventful and it does highlight a weakness of the series in that Subaru really doesn’t have much of an objective. When an Arc truly kicks off Subaru is suddenly given an objective to break the loop and survive beyond it but when he succeeds his motivation returns to protecting or wooing Emilia. For the style of story Re:Zero is telling it requires groundwork to be laid down before the plot can begin in earnest so the story must be carried by it’s comedy and antics which are clearly not its strongest suits. It also doesn’t help that upon introduction Re:Zeros characters do feel very stereotypical, evidenced by a number of characters introduced in this episode whom are trope heavy in regards to first impressions. That said my first impressions of the characters of the second arc was much the same and Re:Zero managed to make them much more interesting as the arc continued.

We have a number of returning characters from the first arc and quite a number of new ones. Two standouts are Priscilla and her very dark souls design inspired bodyguard called Al. Priscilla is cocky and seems to believe that everything in the world works out in her favor. Whether this is just a misconception on her part or something with some degree if truth is still up in the air but if it’s the latter she should prove to be quite interesting. Al I find interesting mostly due to his design which does feel like a reference to Dark Souls. Many have made jokes claims about comparing Re:Zero to Dark Souls because of his very narrative nature being similar to the Dark Souls mechanics of repeatable facing death until you get the tools and knowledge needed to progress. I have heard that he should prove to be quite an interesting character and some information was present in a manga scene the anime skipped which boosted his significance greatly. Though I will refrain from revealing it as it is very likely going to be show in a later episode. The butler at the beginning whom Subaru spoke with was also intriguing as he was able to recognise that Subaru has gone through life or death situations, though this perhaps him overestimating Subarus worth as Subaru didn’t actually live through those situations. Felt is back and much as expected is a candidate for the throne or Dragon priestess as they refer to it. The reveal was fairly predictable as Felt kept getting mentioned as the episode continued.

Rem has certainly warmed up to Subaru but I must admit that I am worried that she might be a victim of a little thing I refer to as “Light novel heroine” syndrome. This is when a particular girl has the story focus on them for a specific arc or volume of a light novel to the degree of a main heroine. However once the arc is completed and the girls problems are solved then she is tossed to the sidelines to which she will be damned just be a rare pointless camo now and then. By far the biggest victim of this syndrome is Index of the Certain Magical Index series, whom despite the series being named after her, is only relevant to the plot in about 2 of the 24 light novels and likely still is irrelevant even in the new series of light novels. So far Rem is tagging along but I do hope that he plays a more significant role besides just an unimportant side character. The manga of the series at least showed her being more proactive than here as a scene was omitted when Rem comes to save Subaru from the bandits in the alley. It’s understandable why it was omitted but still rather a pity as it truly was a great moment for her. Either way even when put on the sidelines she still manages to steal the show…or perhaps that’s my own bias speaking. I am actually starting to wonder why Emilia was made the main heroine. Well there are special IF chapters which detail what would happen if Subaru got together with Rem so those could be used as a simulation of Rem being the main heroine.

Subaru got admittedly annoying here as while I know his mannerisms are a front to hide his insecurities, he can still get a bit overbearing. I also think he is misunderstanding his role here. This is a rather interesting  concept as Subaru actively has to force inself to get involved in important events. Normally a protagonist is automatically included in any important matters to the plot but due to Emilia’s objections, Subaru is finding himself getting pushed away from the royal selection which is no doubt involved with the next incident. We have a clash of white knight complexes here as Subaru is forcing himself to get into more dangerous situations for Emilia’s sake while Emilia is trying to keep him uninvolved in order to protect him. This is the first real crack in their relationship as the two clash when it comes to their objectives. However Subaru doesn’t quite get that he is not the person who saves the day but as was pointed out at the start of the episode, he is the one who sets things in place for the hero to save the day. But Emilia doesn’t quite get that having Subaru around is a valuable thing as the more he knows the better prepared he is if things go wrong. I do think it’s rather odd though for Subaru to be so intent to involve himself even when it clearly hurts Emilia to do so.

~AidanAK47~

2 Responses

  1. Avatar Jojirius says:

    Without spoilers, let’s just say that your worries about Rem are unfounded, and she will do fine.

    I think one big weakness for the anime is that they try to do continuous transitions between scenes. The plot could move a lot faster if they didn’t try to give every moment several more seconds than necessary – during Emilia & Subaru’s rather odd argument about listening to promises, for example, the awkward pauses hurt a lot. Subaru just kind of standing there with no response also makes his decisions weirder – it is implied in the light novel and explicit in the manga that due to the breakneck pacing of the ceremony, he never really gets a chance to answer Emilia even if he wanted to. In the anime, it looks like he has plenty of time to get at least a few words in, but is just speechless.

    The clashes in the anime are weaker as a direct result of how the animators chose to interpret the scenes. The old man Rom-jii just shows up, talks a bit, and then leaves, whereas in the light novel and the manga their dialogue ends up being a lot more poignant.

    Subaru also looks more dopey in the anime. A lot of exposition that he realized by reasoning through it in the manga is fed to him by other characters in the anime. For instance, Priscilla straight-up threatens to murder Subaru if he is too stupid to understand why she is going to the palace, and a sweating Subaru realizes that she must also be a king candidate. In the anime, she just laughs and tells him.

    In general, I think that with light novel material, web novel material, AND manga material, it is inexcusable that the anime interpretation of the events was so lazy, but it is possible that real-life restrictions cut into the time they had to use creative cuts, angles, and more evocative voice acting.

    Suffice to say that I highly recommend you read through the manga instead? Every single character appears significantly more competent, and the plot’s pacing makes a lot more sense.

    • AidanAK47 AidanAK47 says:

      I think you are being way too harsh there.
      In regards to your first point, that feels highly subjective. You could just as well interpret Subaru didn’t really know how to explain why to her as it does take more than a few seconds to formulate a response regardless of how smart you are.

      In the second and third points, concede in regards to that. I did prefer it when Subaru figured out that Priscilla was a queen candidate and the chat with Rom was a lot better. But it’s clear these two were cut out due to time constraints. They got to cover the third arc after all. I don’t think Subaru is being portrayed as dopey though, at least on what I have seen.

      On the third point, I would also like to say you are basing this completely on the manga(Unless you know Japanese.) Manga’s do have a tendency of taking some liberties at time with the source material and chances are this adaption is aiming to be closer to the light novel than the manga is pretty high. Though it’s possible it’s the same in the novel and was cut out due to time.

      I have read the manga up to the same point as the anime, hence why I was sad they left out the Rems awesome scene beating the bandits half to death. I would prefer to experience the story though the anime rather than the manga as while the manga does have it’s strengths, I prefer the anime. Of course I will be reading the manga up to each point the anime reaches.

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