A certain criticism has loomed over this series from its very inception. As the series continued people have asked the question “How can Subaru brush off his horrific deaths so easily?” Today we have the answer to that question and that answer is that he doesn’t. It’s been building incognito in the background all this time but finally Subaru’s deaths have begun to affect him. And it hit him hard. The Subaru of this episode was a fairly broken guy who has little of the happy go lucky meta humor of before. This actually proves that his meta jabs are a kind of coping mechanism so he can help bury his traumatic experiences. But those things are still there and we even see him having nightmares of his previous deaths. The straw that broke the camel’s back was likely Rem’s confession that both her and her sister were just pretending to be friendly with him which I say isn’t quite the truth. Maybe this time around as Subaru was more distant but I do think they were more genuine with him in previous loops. However they don’t remember those loops and that’s what truly destroys Subaru. To him Ram and Rem are people he’s known and bonded with over a month but to them he’s no more a stranger. The pure utter frustration just wells out as Subaru vents his despair at her despite knowing that she has no idea why. All before his throat is ripped out by an unseen attack later revealed to be Ram.
We have learned a number of things this episode. One is that the main reason Subaru is killed by Rem is because he has the smell of the Jealous Witch around him. This smell seems to be only perceivable by Beatrix and Rem, it angers Rem greatly because a group known as the witches cult did something unforgivable to Ram. This may be related to Ram’s ability to manipulate air which seems like really dangerous magic. Looks like there is one area Ram excels at better than Rem as she certainly is the most dangerous of the two. The smell seems to grow stronger with each loop which does explain why Rem only started killing him on the second loop but this could also be because of another thing we learn. As Emilia is confronting him, Subaru decides that he doesn’t have to go through the loops alone and is about to confide in Emilia. It makes sense as many in a time loop situation find someone who believe them and thus help escape the loop. Bill Murray had Andie MacDowell. Okabe and Kurisu. Though Homura is an exception. Just by having someone to listen can really help out victims of this particular scenario. However as it sadistically turns out, Subaru can’t tell anyone about his power. Anytime he attempts to, a hand will appear and threaten to kill him. It’s likely that it’s a clause of the curse he was given that should he tell anyone then he will die for real. So Subaru must bear the weight of his power alone which is unbelievably cruel. Why Subaru was given this power is still unknown but now we have a prime suspect of who gave him his power. The Jealous Witch, Satella.
This time around it looks like Subaru gets closer to Beatrix who sticks with him out of guilt at first but looks to have become attached to him. Due to Subaru making a deal with her to protect his life he then survives to the fourth day. But due to a strange turn of events, Rem dies of the same curse that killed Subaru. I truly applaud the voice actress of Ram for that wail of grief because that was soul shattering. By this we can be certain that the curse that killed Subaru in his sleep is not related to the sisters. But why did they target Rem instead of Subaru? It’s possible that the killer knew that Ram would in turn target Subaru because he’s the most suspicious person in the mansion but there is another aspect to this. For one, Rem originally went to town with Subaru in previous loops. One could assume that Rem went alone to town while Subaru holed himself up in the house. So could it be that something in the town hit them with a curse? I don’t want to suspect the dog bite as it’s a little too silly but it is the most suspect action that happened in the town. The mystery here is who is killing Subaru with that curse? Roswell looks to be out of the running as I don’t think he would kill his own servants. Beatrix looks to be in the clear as well so who is left. Honestly despite him having an alibi, my money’s on Puck. I get the feeling he’s not quite as fond of Subaru as he lets on and Beatrix did state that a death during sleep could be induced by either her or Puck. The only major problem with this is Puck’s time limit.
This episode’s finale is Subaru attempting to kill himself in order to fix things but finding that forcing your body to commit an act that goes against every biological functions instinct isn’t nearly as easy as fiction made it seem. Plus the fear that “Return by Death” won’t activate this time as there truly is no guarantee that it has unlimited uses. Even I question whether it will still work when Subaru kills himself instead of being killed by someone. As it seems that while having nightmares Rem and Ram held his hands and calmed him down. Thus he decides to save them both and return once more. Having found his resolve, Subaru manages to commit the most bravado suicide I have seen so far in anime. I would like to bring up how great it is that white fox sometimes cuts out the anime opening and ending to fit in more content. Normally that is a thing reserved for finales or opening episodes but here they have had a number of episodes were no Opening or ending played at all and instead we were just given new content. It really shows that White fox are putting real effort into this adaption and I certainly hope they can keep up the high level of quality. I can safely say this was the best episode of Re:Zero to date and I am solely waiting on the next episode. I just hope it doesn’t pass by as fast as this one did. That’s a truly annoying aspect of a great show. Time makes it feel so short.