Posted on 20 September 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World, Reviews by AidanAK47

I will be the first to admit that this is very much a biased review as I have come to love this series very dearly and will now proceed to devour every piece of entertainment related to it that I can find until the day a second season is confirmed. The story involves a boy who is suddenly transported to a fantasy world while shopping and follows his adventure to save a girl from a gruesome fate. However what makes this different for the usual fare is that our protagonist has no magic superpowers or special abilities besides one. When he dies he returns to a point back in time and can use his new knowledge to guide things to a better outcome. With this the story follows the Subaru’s tale as he goes through time loops till the point when he can make things right. All the while dealing with the heavy psychological scars of suffering death time and time again. As you can tell Subaru is the one with the most focus and also gets the bulk of the character development for the show.

His transformation is a fascinating one which makes him one of the more interesting protagonists to come out of anime in a while. Subaru is flawed selfish character which differentiates him from the heroic white knight he wishes people to see him as. It makes him remarkably refreshing when compared to the heroes of these kinds of stories as he is unmistakably human. Subaru usually doesn’t truly fight the villains he faces but instead helps and guides those who can defeat them. The story can get quite dark as Subaru deals with some pretty heavy PTSD and a world that is outright cruel and unforgiving to a normal human being.

White Fox did a great job in bringing this story to life though the art style could be better and when compared to the animation powerhouses of Ufotable or madhouse it does fall short. But it gives the fights of the series the dynamic movement and focus to make action exhilarating. Presentation overall is marvelous and adaption of the source isn’t perfect but is pretty good nonetheless.  The music deserves special mention as the staff aimed for a more cinematic feel to the sound and it really shows. The thing that really makes the best moments of this series hit hardest is the music playing at that time. Though equal praise can go to the voice actors who just did a great job throughout.

One particular standout choice when adapting this was to on several occasions cut out the opening and ending to put in more content. As a result the opening and ending of the show is not often used but in exchange we get over an extra episodes worth of content from the series. As sparingly used as they are, the opening and ending do a decent job of showing what the show is about and the songs are serviceable. Animation remains fairly consistent throughout the run with the director compensating for what drops in quality there are with atmosphere and suitable use of still frames.

Despite my praises for this show I will admit that there are a number of things here which could not to be to anothers liking. I do adore this show but it is far from perfect and if some cannot find enjoyment in it I can at least see why. For a few examples, the main heroine of the show remains a fairly bland one dimensional character for this season and for the most part is completely overshadowed by the female cast of the series second half. As the series continues she seems to assume a role of a plot device to keep the story moving forward. Subaru’s meta jokes can be rather annoying and can grate on a viewer’s nerves. As well as Subaru’s general attitude which can border on obnoxious at times. The villains of each arc while serviceable and likeable to extent lack any real character depth and have motivations that range from gleeful sadism to just performing a job.

When a story arc of the series ends the series feels rather directionless up until the point that Subaru starts looping again. Despite the series going to great lengths to show Subaru as an average human being with no superpowers, the story still cheats and has him perform some clearly superhuman feats such as welding a club his own size with one hand and performing some ridiculous midair acrobatics. This is also the question that the story tends to veer away from is the matter of Subaru’s past and more importantly the family he left behind in his old world which is never addressed or elaborated on.

Due to the adaption cutting out material it can seem at times that Subaru is pulling solutions out of nowhere. The level of sadism the plot pushes on our protagonist can get a bit too much, particularly during the middle part of the series. This sadism is offset by the times when Subaru gets his act together and suddenly everyone is praising him which can feel disingenuous on the author’s part. Moreover even if the story does aim to go against the trends of standard Light Novel storytelling, it still does rely on standard tropes for the fountain of the cast. Therefore the cast that doesn’t get developed can be a bit run of the mill, a primary example being Beatrix who by all accounts is a pretty standard tsundere loli. Subaru also appears to be gathering a harem of girls by series end. Lastly the entirely of this 2 cour series feels only to be a prologue of a much grander story to come which at this point in time may not be animated. Yes if you dislike this series I can at least get as to why that may be but even if the reasons above are not contributing factors, the story is of a kind of love it or hate it quality.

That said if you do take a liking to it then it will have you hooked from start to finish. Re:Zero uses a lot of cliffhangers leaving you scrambling for the next episode and has a very addictive quality about it that can make episodes breeze by in what feels like minutes to the viewer. Characters may start out stereotypical but quite a number of them become absolutely lovable by the shows end. The battles in the show feel high stakes as with the nature of Subaru’s power allows the possibility that everyone can die at any given moment, giving battles a tension not seen often in stories. The cinematic feel can lead to some truly outstanding moments with the end of episode 15 being a massive high point. Re:Zero is a story that starts good, becomes very good ten episodes in and by episode fifteen it becomes great. I do think that this will be an anime to be remember and one still recommended years from now.

It ends with a fairly decent conclusion but it is true that this really needs a sequel to truly make use of the plot points brought in it’s last episodes. Even if you hate it, you must admit there is a reason this show is as popular as it is and when it comes to over excited new anime fans, which would prefer they be throwing at there friends claiming it’s is the pinnacle of anime? This? Or Sword Art Online? An anime where you have to work and suffer to earn your happy ending? Or an anime where everything is handed to you, you are praised for being super special and important for no reason? I know which of the two I prefer and I say instead of a new SAO movie we just pump out two more seasons(Or more) of this. I don’t care what needs to be done to accomplish that, get on it White Fox. Good work, keep it up, I look forward to buying the Blu-Rays and Rem is best girl. I will accept no debate on that last matter. Good day.

Posted on 19 September 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World

Well it’s over and what a ride it was. Betelgeuse is defeated, everyone is saved and Subaru gets to confess his love to Emilia to leave the series off on a hopeful note. Only thing that would have made it better is more Rem but let us be frank, there is never enough Rem. I did wonder just how Subaru was going to stop Betelgeuse from possessing his body but the way he did it was the ultimate way to take him own. By bringing Sattella out while Betelgeuse was possessing him, he gives Betelgeuse a chance to meet the witch he so desperately loves only to have Sattella herself reject him. He’s crushed, the person he has adored and worked for all this time bashes him out of Subaru like batting away a cockroach. What little sanity Betelgeuse had left is surely gone now but what I find most interesting is the words he shouts to Subaru as he chases him in his new demonic form.

“I haven’t forgotten a single moment of all the things you did for me. Even if you have forgotten.” This words sound oh so very familiar. In fact they sound exactly like that of what Subaru said to Emilia. To a strange degree, Betelgeuse’s and Subaru’s objectives may indeed be the same. Though Subaru wishes to save and repay Emilia. While Betelgeuse wishes to save and repay Sattella. Perhaps Betelgeuse is also someone who was taken from his world and thrown into this one. He may have even had return by Death at one point as he speaks of Sattella not remembering him. Perhaps what Subaru is going through right now is some sort of rite of passage for an Archbishop of sin. Perhaps he is pride after all.

While Subaru’s intentions are for the best, I feel he is being somewhat rude to Emilia in how he planned to keep her out of this as much as possible. It goes to show that he has not got over his issues yet but it is surprising that Emilia took being deliberately removed from the equation so well. Even setting her up with the kids to insure that she didn’t do anything reckless. I seen it a bit in the last episode as well where Emilia seems disappointed in the fact that everything had already been worked out without her involvement. But it seems that any misgivings will not be addressed in this finale. As finales go this was somewhat predictable but not unwelcome as Subaru is given a last minute mission to reach emilia before the bomb he forgot about in the last run explodes. With Betelgeuse chasing after it gives Subaru a moment to shine before the end.

Particularly like that Otto redeemed himself for his actions before and even the oil he bought is put to use as Subaru uses it to set Betelgeuse on fire. Still it was interesting that Subaru kept sidestepping telling Otto what exactly was chasing them as he likely remembers what Otto did before to save his own hide. Subaru save Emilia and confesses his love to her with admittedly some words he outright stole from Rem’s confession. Got to admit that was a really scumbag move to use the words of the girl you rejected to snag the girl you wanted. But C’est la vie. They went overboard on the brightness at the end that it was near blinding but still it’s a good note to go out on.

Overall I see this a very solid ending though I do see there is those lamenting that White fox left out the full ending of Arc 3. Having spoiled myself on what exactly that is I wholeheartedly disagree as if they did go with that ending I would have had to buy a plane ticket to japan, visit White Fox and hold them at gunpoint till they made a second season. This ending at least gives Subaru a happy finale for now and while there are loose story threads at least if this turned out to be the only season of this show we get then this makes for a fitting end. Plus it’s not a filler ending so I believe White Fox can pick up right where this left off with no trouble. So we get a satisfying ending that leaves room to make a sequel so all and all I believe this to be a perfect end point for now. A second season is pretty much guaranteed considering the popularity of the series but when we get it might take a while. After all Attack on Titan is still waiting on it’s second season. For now I would like White Fox to confirm that a second season is planned. It’s highly likely but just having the confirmation would put my mind at ease. Though one thing we can take into account is just what Re:Zero’s success could mean for the industry as a whole.

Chances are that more web novel adaptations are coming our way and there’s even one about to be announced for a Knight’s & Magic web novel series.(Not confirmed but they said they have an important announcement and whenever something has an important announcement, it’s an anime.) Considering that web novel is pretty much trash that doesn’t make me too happy and this does have me concerned that an abundance of utterly terrible web novel adaptations are coming. I mean I wouldn’t turn away a Rising of the Shield Hero or Mushoku Tensei adaption but let me say if you think light novels are horribly written self indulgent power fantasies then web novels are going to be so much worse for you. I hate that a good show like this could lead to a worsening effect on the industry as a whole and thus garner unjust hatred towards this series. Let us hope that is merely pessimism speaking on my part and that doesn’t happen.

Posted on 12 September 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World

Things seem to be wrapping up as things approach the finale and one of my previous assumptions turns out to be correct in that Subaru died last episode and his “save point” was updated to the point after the White Whale. This really does show that this curse doesn’t just randomly decide where to bring Subaru back to, but it feels calculated. Decided by another entity, namely the jealous witch. Speaking of her we learn of the reason as to why the witches cult is after Emilia and it looks like they plan to test whether she is an appropriate vessel for Satella. However what is interesting is that even if Satella rejects Emilia’s body the witch will still be reborn in some fashion in the future. Given that Puck has frozen over the manor(Or if his contract is true, the world.) in all of Subaru’s previous loops, it’s safe to say that Satella rejects her body as a host.

Perhaps this is merely because it isn’t the right time as I believe Satella really did bring Subaru to the world to protect Emilia till the day she takes her over. On that note Emilia has a small moment as Subaru incognito helps her recognize that the children don’t hold the same animosity towards her as the adults do. Even with this I can’t help but notice that right up to the end of the series she has been a rather flat character. I have heard tales that might change in the future but as of now I see Rem as the true series heroine and Emilia as more of a plot McGuffin.

When I see Subaru succeed it fills me with conflicting emotions. On one hand it’s a great payoff to the long journey of agony he has gone through to reach this point and is is quite satisfying. However when the story turns like this then it edges towards becoming the generic Light Novel setup that it has actively avoided. It is a somewhat silly worry of mine but I know of how fast a story can slip into the trappings of this particular genre and end up derivative. The common main fall factor is when the protagonist gets god modded and thus the remainder of the story becomes a string of battles to show how amazing the main protagonist is to other people. That’s why when I see Subaru succeed and everyone praise the hell out of him, I worry that the story may take a turn into wish fulfilment power fantasy.

But then I remember that the author is a complete sadist and the chances of that happening are quite slim. I will admit that the author has done a great job of setting the tone as in this episode everything goes exactly as planned. Thus because everything is working out it leaves the viewer with immense suspicion that something is going to go wrong. Because we have been here before and last time punched us in the gut. As Subaru leads everyone to a complete perfect victory I had a small part of my mind preparing for the story to stab me right in the heart. The problem is I have no idea as to when the attack comes.

Subaru did remark about how terrifying his existence must be to the witches cult and honestly he has a point in that regard. We know what he has gone through to get to this point but to anyone looking from the outside, Subaru is some random person who showed up out of nowhere and knows your every move. I interests me as to how this will affect Subaru in the future as he is given off the impression that he is some master Tactician and earning massive respect from the people he is leading. What makes this troublesome for him in the future is that he cannot possibly live up to that respect without abusing his “Return by Death” which is ultimately a gift from the final endboss of Re:Zero. When it comes time for him to face Satella then he will be at a massive disadvantage as Satella is most likely not going to let him repeat till the point where he can beat her.

But that is a conflict for another day. This day has Betelgeuse being rightly bewildered by Subaru’s ability to see through all of his plans with little effort. This looks to be the end of the demented psychopath which I admittedly took a liking to despite his crazy act being ridiculously over the top. I think the turning point was when I stopped looking at him as a menacing villain and more see him as a evil anime Jim Carrey. Then his whole act just became rather charming. There were some animation blunders(Namely one point were Julius’s mouth disappeared) but the action in this episode was fairly solid and we have a nice lead into the climax of the series.

Well it’s been a long glorious ride of ups and downs but we finally reach the end of Re:Zero. The next episode should be the last unless there is a 26th episode I am uninformed about. The big question is just how White Fox plans to wrap this all up. I don’t think it is unreasonable to assume a second season is guaranteed as this show has been immensely popular not just in Japan but outside it as well. However I have said before that an ending can change everything when it comes to a show. A bad ending is the thing that can change a shows impression from “great” to “very good”. There are worries that the ending will be rushed to accommodate for a lot of material at the end of the arc and there is the question of this last episode being able to provide a satisfying conclusion while leaving room for a sequel.

The absolute worst case scenario would be the series ending on a sequel hook as that would be cruel beyond measure to wait for the light novels to gain enough material for another season. There enough of web novel material, that’s for certain but I highly doubt they will go ahead with a second season using that. My wish is that we leave this story with a nice temporary sendoff that leaves us happy and patient enough to wait for a sequel. But let us remember, this is Re:Zero. Where suffering is the name of the game and nothing goes according to plan. I can hardly predict what cruel machinations Tappei Nagatsuki has awaiting us poor unsuspecting viewers but I can say that my Sundays will be very lonely from now on without this show. This year’s winter looks to be cold indeed.

Posted on 5 September 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World

With another week gone I get my fix of Re:Zero and yet again I have to wait a week to sate my need. The cliffhangers really kill me on this matter as I am leave hanging till the buzz from the last episode runs out and then it gets me again. To future anime viewers, know that you did not have to suffer as an ongoing watcher of this series has and the joy of being able to marathon a show without the wait in between weeks. Quite honestly I don’t know what I will do when this show ends two episodes from now as I cannot binge on the source material and it appears the anime has finally caught up with the light novels. Looks like production of the light novel has sped up with volumes coming out monthly but to gain the amount of material needed for a second second would take a year at the least. I am concerned over just how this series will conclude if there’s another volume of material but I think White Fox won’t trip up at the finish line.

Anyway it appeared the cliffhanger of the previous episode has been defused pretty fast as Ram mistakenly though Subaru betrayed them only to be convinced otherwise within a minute. The letter Subaru sent them which was supposed to explain the situation was just a blank piece of paper which makes me question if Subaru made the boneheaded mistake of misplacing the letter or if someone in the mansion intercepted it. Both scenarios are equally plausible though it is an unfortunate coincidence that a blank letter in this country is a symbol of the messenger deciding to cut off communications. This tradition seems like it could give rise to a lot of misunderstandings as I see it but well the mistake of sending a blank message is rather rare. The village looks to be pointing the finger of blame directly at Emilia for the witches cult coming to attack and what makes this interesting is that despite it being blatant racism, they are not wrong. Emilia really is the reason that the village is going to be attacked by the witches cult. It’s not her fault, that is for certain but it’s hard to deny that if she wasn’t there then no one would be in danger at all. As a matter of fact, the main cause of all of these events that have lead to everyone dying is Emilia herself. The mabeast incident of the village is a matter for debate but Emilia really is the one drawing these events. Which points the direct origin of all of Subaru’s suffering being Emilia herself and perhaps the very reason Sattella has brought Subaru here is to keep Emilia alive till the time she can serve Sattella’s purpose

Ferris and Julius got a bulk of the screentime this episode which is reasonable considering how the episode ends. Ferris is still leaving people in doubt about whether his claims to be a boy is really true but I like that they made it that there is more to him than his trap gimmick. For you information I will let you know that when the merchant witch’s cult member blows up his cart, he did technically kill Ferris with the blast. However Ferris’s healing magic is so overpowered that he can reconstruct his body even if it’s destroyed. Yep, in Re:Zero even the white mage is twenty times more powerful than our protagonist. Still to give Subaru due credit, it was very smart of him to use the Mabeast’s of the forest to take out one of the fingers. At times I really can’t tell if Subaru is smart or stupid but maybe he works better in the moment. It’s nice to see him almost make old mistakes only to have someone give him a push in the right direction. That was a problem with Rem in general. She stood by Subaru’s side but she always went along with whatever he did, rather than provide the kind of support Wilhelm and Ferris have been giving him. But it’s likely the Subaru of those episodes wouldn’t have taken the hint like he does now. Julius also reveals that he is the one who saved Subaru twice by putting him under the protection of one of his spirits and does point out that Subaru does seem to have a high affinity with them. Despite his introduction being typical of the kind of villain in a Light novel, he proves that he is actually a good guy. I applaud that as I find those one shot weak villains to be a poor excuse of empowering the protagonist.

My theory from last episode looks all but confirmed as a number of Betelgeuse’s pop up to attack Subaru and co. I really have to give credit to the number of voice actresses who act out his mannerisms to a great degree. I may not know Japanese but there does seem to be a lot of talent in this series. The end of the episode was brutal in that just when you think everything is fine and maybe this week won’t have a cliffhanger, we have the series throw a gut punch. I was well on my way to believing this was Subaru’s successful run and then this comes out of nowhere to prove that no matter how much Subaru accomplishes, he can still have it all undone at any moment. Well I do think that the remaining episodes are not enough to do a run through of the White Whale again and I think two possibilities exist here. One is that Ferris will find some way of reviving Subaru without Betelgeuse coming with him and the other is Subaru’s save point being moved up to after the White Whale is defeated. Number two seems the most likely as undoing the events of the White Whale and Rem’s confession would be a bad move.

There is just far too much character development there to just do away with. Likely the save point will be before the first attack on the witches cult as that is the point Subaru could make the most use of his knowledge. Still this does put him in a bad spot as simply killing Betelgeuse isn’t going to stop him from possessing his body again. There could be other factors that allow Betelgeuse to take control of someone, with the gospel being a big factor. However if what allows Betelgeuse to take control of Subaru is just the smell of the witch then I don’t see how Subaru can beat him without getting possessed. There are likely more conditions for Betelgeuse to meet before he can possess someone as it is odd that he didn’t choose to take over Subaru on his first death. Perhaps the choice of who he can take over is not up to him and he simply goes into a random person who happens to have the smell of the witch. Though one thing that seems apparent here is that the witches cult is not operating under Satella’s instructions and seem to be acting in what they believe to be what she desires of them in order to earn her love. What is in store for the climax of this series is still a mystery to me but while I doubt it will be completely conclusive, I at least hope it ties up the particulars of this arc and doesn’t leave a cliffhanger for a next season. A week is something I can put up with but making me wait over a year for a continuation of the story would truly be slothful.

Posted on 29 August 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World

Well the battle against the witches cult has started and…ended. I didn’t quite expect my words in the last episode review to turn out prophetic as Betelgeuse and his minions are taken out so quickly and anticlimactically considering how much this arc has built them up to be the main villain. Through Subaru seems to share my concerns as things go too smoothly that even he is suspicious. This feeling is throughout the first half of the episode as the white whale taught us that when things are going too well then there is a gut punch coming up. I commend Subaru from learning from horror movie tropes and inquiring as to whether Betelgeuse is really dead after Wilhelm chopped him in half. Prompting the little animal girls to incinerate his body to ashes. Despite this it seems Betelgeuse comes back in the form of his follower which is a girl who has his unseen hands and his rather eccentric mannerisms. However it isn’t long before he’s cut down by Wilhelm yet again and props to the clever idea of using falling water to allow Wilhelm to see the hands. Subaru and Co dismissed this as this girl being the true sloth archbishop and the first man was a proxy or the possibly that all members are the archbishop.

I however have my own theory that Betelgeuse doesn’t actually take to the field himself and instead sends his followers and has the ability to possess one of them. It fits with the sloth theme in that the sloth archbishop stay home while controlling others from afar and it leads me to have an interesting thought. When Betelgeuse number 1 got immensely aggravated with Subaru, he started convulsing and blood came out of his eyes which suggests that his body is breaking down. I think it’s possible that all of Betelgeuse’s spasms and erratic moments may actually not be because of his personal insanity but rather because Betelgeuse’s control of the body lessens as he gets more emotional. Thus in these moments the original owner wrestles to gain control of their body. So the biting fingernails, the arching of his back, the self inflicted harm is all the screams of someone trying to remove Betelgeuse’s dominance. There is a question of whether Betelgeuse himself has an original body or is some kind of spirit jumping between bodies. Though this is all just purely speculation.

So it seems that the cult of the witch recruits people by sending out a gospel to those suitable and it’s uncertain as whether this gospel brainwashes people into joining or it contains information that encourages people to. Betelgeuse made a particular interesting comment when he said that the gospel did not mention Subaru at all which seems to suggest it’s some sort of book foretelling future events. Which might explain as to how it could get people to join, after all if it states that the Jealous witch will take over the world or enact some sort of judgement day then people would prefer to join the side that doesn’t get slaughtered in the future. He also insinuates that Subaru is Pride once again and considering that Subaru picks up the gospel it may very well be something to come into play in later arcs. It’s nice that despite apologizing for fighting Julius, Subaru still has a petty grudge against him. As I said before you don’t put a bandaid on trauma and call him cured.

Subaru came close to falling back into a stupor after getting four people killed in the cult attack but Wilhelm managed to keep him focused by telling him to fight and be strong. This speech will likely act as determination for later and I like how when Subaru said he needed to get stronger WIlhelm interrupted to say that he doesn’t need to get stronger but instead be strong. This seems to suggest that what Subaru needs is not physical strength but instead mental strength. This is true as it’s is not Subaru’s job to beat the bad guys but instead to lead the right players to the right places to get the job done. In this the only thing stopping him is his own mental fortitude. When you have the power to try again infinitely then victory is certain. It’s just a matter of how many times you can bring yourself to try.

Our episode ends with Subaru separated from his group with a grim looking Ram looking down on him. The nature of this twist confused me on first seeing it as it seems to suggest that Ram was betraying him. Though considering previous loops and Ram’s history with the cult this is a nigh impossibility. However whether Roswell is a member of the cult is another matter entirely and Ram would obey his orders, regardless of what they were. In fact it is odd that he tends to disappear when the witches cult is about to make a move. He didn’t seem to be present when Puck froze the manor and if he was then taking out the cult members would have been an easy task. In fact taking into account the combat potential of Emilia, Beatrix and Ram it is rather odd that they lost to the cultists. Possibly because Subaru caught them off guard that they didn’t have time to put up a real fight but I still think that with how easily they were killed by Wilhelm and the others that they is likely something else at play here. Perhaps Betelgeuse was only one part of the group coming to attack the manor or there is another enemy to deal with in this arc. WIth three episodes left I think Re:Zero has something entirely different planned for it’s season finale.

Posted on 22 August 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World

I didn’t think I would be saying this again but here it is, if this was the end of the series then I would consider it a satisfying ending. Sure there would be loose ends left hanging but the level of conclusion to this particular dilemma would leave me content with the series. But this certainly isn’t the end and we have the battle against the witches cult coming up which admittedly were put out of my mind once the whale showed up. Wilhelm turns out to not be dead as the old man cuts himself out of the whale and has likely earned a place in any fan’s top list of badass anime characters. We even got a conclusion to his flashback where he trained to a level to take Theresia’s sword saint rank and confessed his love for her. I for one am surprised at having such an attachment to this small side story for Theresia only showed up last episode and yet this love story hits harder than many anime devoted to the very concept. In words, this was powerful and the image of Wilhelm declaring his love for his wife after taking revenge on the white whale just makes my heart well up with emotions I thought long whittled down from years of anime watching.

I have heard some argue that Wilhelms desire to take the sword from his wife’s hand was somewhat misogynistic but I feel that is greatly misinterpreting his intent. From what I understand it, Theresia never wanted to be a sword Saint but was forced into it because of her family. If anything Wilhelms efforts were to give his wife the opportunity to be what she really wants to be by taking her inherited mantle from her. Quite frankly this episode was a compilation of great moments fighting the whale. From Crushes speech, Subaru’s daring gamble and even him and Rem having a moment after it was all over. Looking over it I can only see it as just satisfying and perhaps this is the relief that after several loops of Subaru failing miserable we are finally at the first success. Thus this looks to be confirmed to be the last loop of the series.

Still to bring up two bothersome aspects I must point out that Subaru’s gamble was more on the ridiculous side. I appreciated the Gainax callout with Subaru doing the pose many would recognise from Gurren Laggan.(Or if you are really savvy, GunBuster) but I really do think that what he did was something an ordinary person couldn’t accomplish on their first try. I mean he jumped on a ice projectile and jumped off and landed perfectly on the whales horn, not affected by wind resistance in the slightest. I know this is really something you should just say anime logic and leave it at this but come on, this is pushing it. The other thing mainly has to do with something that was left out of this episode and was in the original source material. You see apparently in the last scene Rem was supposed to make it out that she was injured with the tree fell and thus it was made out that she was dying. Subaru then starts confessing that he loves her just as much as Emilia and whatnot before Rem reveals that she was pulling his leg. I actually am rather glad this was left out as it does make Subaru’s declaration of loving Emilia somewhat flimsy but also because this seems to suggest that Re:Zero is going for something that a lot of Another world/reincarnation web novels go for.

That being, Polygamy. In the examples I have read the other world aspect is used to justify polygamy which in turn is really just a convenient way of giving the ultimate wish fulfillment. After all, why choose one waifu when you can have all the waifus? The first time I encountered it in a story I was rather fascinated as I hadn’t really see a story deal with it and ultimately it’s better than have the protagonist remain indecisive even till the end for fear of angering the fanbase. However in other stories it really became a means to show off how godlike amazing the main character is and how he doesn’t need to have just one women, a allurement which just makes me want to retch. I say by now it would be folly to claim that I am not a fan of Rem but even so I am not fond of the idea of Subaru gathering a trophy set of wives. I prefer it that girls be more like Crush here, who admits that his actions pulled her strings a bit but ultimately sees him as a comrade. An important factor that this story needs to keep in mind is that Subaru should not obtain the perfect protagonist status that has caused many another world/Reincarnation story to fail. It would make the stories efforts to portray his weaknesses ring insincere and hollow.

I did wonder as to how Subaru was going to deal with the witches cult and my guess that the army would be fairly devastated by the whales attack seemed on point. However it looks like Subaru has gained a large amount of allies with this feat, the most important of which looks to be Wilhelms loyalty which considering his battle prowess is no small matter. Honestly I think that old man could take them all down before Betelgeuses brain has time to tremble.Though after a battle such as this I wonder if the Witches cult can provide a suitable climax to the series.

Posted on 15 August 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World

“For a rat, Poison. For a White Whale, a harpoon. To our Honorable Dragon we are, Shitbags”

The above was actually the first time the white whale was mentioned in this series, way back in the second part of episode one. This was the password Felt said to gain entry to Roms shack. The first line makes me wonder if there is a rat mabeast giving the kingdom an equal amount of trouble. This was a pretty great episode. So much so that I will even forgive the music at the start of the episode blatantly robbing part of the Melody of the Chrono Trigger Theme. Todays episode focused on the battle against the White Whale and on the past of Wilhelm who was likely channeling the spirit of King Bradley from Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Wilhelm when it came to fighting but I certainly wasn’t expecting him to jump on the thing and slice it up in what could be considered completely ridiculous yet strangely awesome at the same time. Goes to show that in this universe everyone is truly ten times more powerful than Subaru.

Even an old man, or more specifically an old man’s wife make Subaru seem like average Villager A. The flashback to Wilhelms younger days honestly would make for an interesting story on it’s own and there is a extra novel detailing how he and his wife meet and fell in love. Still the small scenes give us a decent idea of what exactly happened and I quite regret that Theresia is dead seeing as she is quite likeable. I wonder if it’s going to be a thing from now on for Re:Zero to make every side female character deeper and more interesting than the main Heroine? Emilia, you are going to need some serious development to catch up here.

We have the reveal of not only Wilhelm’s wife but Satella the jealous witch makes a brief but long awaited first appearance. When Subaru tries to tell someone about his power in order to draw the White Whales attention, Sattella appears over his shoulder with only her lips visible. She mouths the words “I love you” before disappearing. Seems she’s quite taken with Subaru but that’s likely not a good thing. It’s been pointed out previously in the series that if the Jealous witch takes an interest in you then it will only lead to bad things. In this case she isn’t just interested in Subaru, she’s outright enamored with him much to Betelgeuse’s dismay. White Fox have taken the costly move of not resorting to CGI to animate the white whale and I certainly thank them for it. CGI is still recognised as such no matter how well it is done and will truly never quite match the level of a 2D animated object.

The animation of this episode was quite brilliant and the fight was exhilarating with a nice exchange of blows between both parties. At first I was worried that the White whale would go down without much of a fight considering how much of a beating the army were giving it. But they managed to show just why this thing is so dangerous once it summoned its fog. It was similar to a raid fight in an MMO as all members of the army jumped into to attack in waves. The more damage they inflicted on this thing, the more dangerous it gets. Summoning the fog to hide, blasting people out of existence, making people go insane with it’s roars and pulling out it’s final and most dangerous card by episodes end. This thing knows how to put up a fight and I certainly would love to give it a fight in Monster Hunter if they ever made a tribute to it.

The beginning of this battle started off with such hope and perhaps I should have seen that this being Re:Zero, things were going far too well. At episode’s end it makes me wonder if this is a dead end for Subaru and he may need to come back to this battle with new reinforcements. Perhaps he needs Priscilla to give him a hand and maybe Felt can manage to get Reinhart to join the faye. Fairly certain he could make short work of this beast but as Wilhelm pointed out, his wife shouldn’t have been killed by this creature if it was only this strong. He’s right in that regard as based on how much Wilhelm was ripping it apart, his wife would have made short work of it. But then the answer comes with the episode’s cliffhanger. That there is not a White Whale but instead White Whales.

Considering that the army threw everything they had and couldn’t even kill one this truly doesn’t bode well for Subaru. Even Wilhelm is out of the running now but something tells me he isn’t dead quite yet. That whale swallowed him whole and I think he would be able to cut his way out. So once again this series leaves me thirsting for more as we get a new ending sequence that likely won’t be put to much use in the last few episodes. In fact we managed to get an opening and ending in an episode for once which is good yet somewhat disappointing. The next episode likely will end the battle with the white whale but one must wonder how much trouble the Witches cult after this will give Subaru seeing as the White Whale most likely wouldn’t leave anyone ready to help take them down.

Posted on 8 August 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World

I certainly am glad that we got positive Subaru back, he’s finally getting on track and using his head. Now that he is not acting like an insane madman, things are going well. Too well in fact. This is somewhat of a personal gripe but I am not too fond of just how fast things are working out. The past episodes made the crisis facing Subaru into an insurmountable task and yet with a few logical moves everyone that belittled him in previous loops is suddenly looking at him with respect. All the praise Subaru is getting almost seems like an apology to the viewer for the excessive suffering and to me it feels a little patronising as well as cheap. I think giving a few scenes with Rem and Subaru brainstorming a plan could have remedied this issue and made Subaru’s sudden wit less out of the blue. For one the anime leaves out a very important detail which left likely others as well as myself confused. Before Crusch mentioned that Subaru has no power to promise anything to her and yet here he is making deals with mining rights with both Crusch and Anastasia with no trouble. What was left out is that Rem wasn’t just at Crusch’s house to help with Subaru’s recovery but was in fact given right by Roswaal to negotiate for help as he suspected that the cultists would come to attack his manor. When Subaru asked Rem for help she gave him the right to negotiate thus allowing him to put forward mining rights as a bargaining chip.

Wilhelm got some development here as we learn he has a deep seated grudge against the white whale for killing his wife. I am wondering if some Moby Dick symbolism might come into play here and possibly lead Wilhelm to his death. It seems he’s not the only one affected as a number of knights seem grateful to Subaru for giving them an opportunity to strike back at the White Whale. You may be asking how they can have a grudge if the White Whale erases people’s existence but that is another detail unfortunately left out of the anime adaption. Apparently if the White Whale eats you then it erases your existence, however if it kills you then it just takes your name. Hence why Crusch said during her speech that the number of graves that they cannot even inscribe with names will only rise. Hence the reason why Wilhelm’s wife is only referred to as “that master swordsman” who wasn’t Reinhart as I initially thought. Rem continues to prove herself to be the best female character, and while you might think it presumptuous for me to declare that I have heard news of Rem body pillows being delayed due to overwhelming demand so perhaps that sentiment is shared by many. Still seeing her have moments with Subaru is always heartwarming though worrisome as she has essentially become the pillar of his mental health. If she falls in this battle then I see Subaru falling fast with her. Also her getting jealous over a ground dragon getting close to Subaru was quite funny. Yeah…I may be fond of this character a little too much.

The last scene with the white whale showing up was excellent as they even managed to make the silly ringtone of Subaru’s phone feel foreboding and grim. Some funny trivia about that ringtone is that apparently there was a big argument over which ringtone Subaru’s phone would have and it was resolved by the studio buying the exact model of his phone, looking through the default ringtones and recording it from the phone in the studio. The ringtone itself is the opening theme of “A Dog of Flanders” anime TV series made in 1975.(Link to opening here: Considering the ending of that anime, this could be a rather foreboding sign(The Dog of Flanders ends with the boy and his dog freezing to death in a church. Considering episode 15…) Distorting it the moment the whale came on screen was also an excellent choice in showing just how the army was reacting to the creature. I got to say that it is quite a feat to make a giant flying whale look like a genuine terrifying threat. They have built up the fight quite nicely so i think we might be in for a spectacle next episode. However the question is that if the white whale is killed, how does Subaru plan to get Crush and Anastasia to take on the witch’s cult afterwards?


Posted on 1 August 2016 with categories: Currently Watching:, Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World

I suppose I will start by saying that according to word of mouth, this episode was a complete 1:1 adaption of the source material. Meaning that every line of dialogue, every action is exactly the same as the source material. For an adaption that is quite a feat but in ways it can be a detriment. There are those who believe that as long as an adaption stays as faithful as possible then it will just be as great as it’s source material and truthfully I thought this as well before. However there are many other factors to take into account with an adaption and if it doesn’t adapt the source material for a another medium then the results can feel lesser. I think a perfect example of this is the Watchmen movie, which if you disregard it’s changed ending, is a very faithful adaption of the comic. However despite this it’s considered a weak movie and a disappointment to its source material. Why? Because reading something and watching something are two entirely different experiences. From the New World is a good anime example of something which is hindered by it’s original format as it’s exposition heavy and to me feels like a journey to find the next thing to spout more exposition. For a book that’s fine, but for an anime it’s painstakingly slow and cuts away one for the greatest assets of a visual medium. The ability to show someone a story instead of telling them one.

You may wonder why I am talking about this but I want to try and explain why this episode gave me a mixed response. From a narrative standpoint I like what was accomplished. Subaru looks to finally be snapped out of his rut and this marks the starting point of his long awaited redemption. I certainly am glad for that as if his issues continued further than his character would become completely unsympathetic. However I feel the journey to his revelation was all too long and while I am hesitant to use this word as I feel it is rather harsh, this felt somewhat…contrived. I admit I am certainly not fond of drama where characters recite perfectly a long seemly previously arranged upon script and shout till some sort of revelation. It at often points just feels like a story beating around the bush till the point where it’s reveal could have the most dramatic gravitas. This is why I lost so much patience with Kiznaiver, as an adult i have come to value my time. Thus I have less patience for a show that is evidently wasting it. I feel that some of this conversation was somewhat redundant, yet at the same time it felt necessary. It’s confusing for me, basically I am trying to say that I think this whole thing could have been handled in a manner that would have made it less…dialogue dependent I suppose.

The bulk of the episode was focused on a single conversation between Rem and Subaru but there was some interesting aspects before that. Subaru died once again by Pucks hand but Puck mentioned quite a number of interesting things. One was that his contract with Emilia details that if she dies then he will end the world. For such a saintly figure like Emilia that’s a rather grievous claus to take up, makes me wonder just why she agreed to it. This means that Subaru didn’t just save Emilia in the first arc, he saved the world. Puck also refers to the white Whale as Gluttony which does fit. Does this mean that cardinals of sin need not be human? Upon facing down Betelgeuse he means that he would need at least half the dark hands of Satella to take him down which does seem to suggest that Puck faced Satella at some point. Finally Puck did what everyone did and pointed out just how Subaru had failed.

So having just been told off by the entire cast what solution does Subaru come to? I honestly thought he was starting to get it when he talked before putting forward his proposal. But then he says he wants to run away with Rem. She of course rejects him on this offer but for those interested there is indeed a If story written detailing just what would happen if she accepted his offer. Thus after a long twenty minutes of talking does she convince Subaru to try to fix things again with her fully supporting him all the way. One thing I am concerned about is whether this “fixed” Subaru for good. I have said before that I don’t think Subaru’s problems are something that can be brushed aside with some pep talk and a forehead kiss. It such be a long process of fixing his issues and considering that there is more arcs to come it’s possible that will be the case. If Subaru is essentially going to toss aside all his mental hangups and become a perfect hero then his downfall these past few episodes will feel very cheap. You need to carry that weight with you Subaru and you yourself have shown to be aware of your failings.

I want this to be a bandaid for Subaru’s problems, not a solution. Much like Emilia’s lap pillow in the previous arc, this should be a temporary fix to get Subaru on the right track. I really did like Subaru acknowledging his screwups in the previous episodes and one thing he said that really struck a chord with me was him saying that before coming to Lugnica, he did nothing. That felt like a real jab at those who self insert characters were created for. His claims about being empty almost felt like a meta moment of him coming to see his existence as some self insert light novel protagonist. I also have quite a bit of respect with him for putting it out that he loves Emilia and flat out rejecting Rem. Again that certainly seems to be a trait of light novel protagonists to lead on other girl’s affections without pointing out that they already have someone they care for.(Isn’t that right, Kirito?) I wasn’t quite happy with this at first but I did read an interesting opinion about Subaru falling for Emilia in the same way that Rem fell for Subaru. In that they were both saved by those they desire. Well before this gets any longer I might as well wrap this up by saying that Subaru it was good that you told her and that you are absolutely goddamn insane to reject such an embodiment of pure perfection that is is Rem! Bloody hell.


Posted on 25 July 2016 with categories: Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World

While I did enjoy this episode and think that some interesting things have been brought up, I must admit that even my patience is starting to run out. I blame this mostly on the fact that I am watching this weekly instead of binge watching it all as the progression in these episodes has slowed down. This is part of the problem with adapting something which wasn’t tailored to be shown in portions over weekly periods. While I see value in the characterisation and failing of Subaru, at this point his redemption is long overdue. The level of suffering he’s going through has gotten excessive to the point of reaching torture porn status. I am certainly not above the primal pleasure of tragedy, it is something that I was looking forward to after all, but I am not in favor of it when it halts progression. That’s what is missing here as I watch Subaru fumble around and make mistakes.

At the moment Subaru is like a child with a shape puzzle in that the solution is there but instead of stopping to think, he just shoves random shapes in and gets further frustrated when he doesn’t get a result he was after. Of course I don’t think that Subaru should immediately become a perfect being and start making all the right moves as that would defeat the purpose of his downfall here. Subaru’s problem is not something a happy ending can immediately fix and requires time. What I need is for him to start getting on the track that gets him close to solving this, even if for the wrong reasons. Instead of running around in circles I need him to start taking steps in the right direction, so even if he hits another bad end then at least he has made some progress on resolving the matter. If it takes him the entire second cour to start doing this then I can’t say I would look fondly back on this.

This episode be get a big introduction the the White Whale whose powers are quite terrifying. It seems that those who fight the white whale are removed from everyone’s memories and even have their existence completely wiped from the world. What makes this especially terrifying is that the Whale has erased Rem who was practically main heroine at this point and she now no longer exists. The impact of this detail was somewhat removed for me thanks to some youtube commenter spoiling it in an unrelated video so Mister commenter I say you can sincerely go to hell.(Why do people do that, it’s such an ignorant thing to do.) Now I fear that even if Subaru does die and respawns at the apple stand then Rem could still be erased from the world. I would like to believe that such a development would be far too sadistic to include but considering the writers intense desire to make Subaru suffer as much as possible I think it’s a high possibility. Even if that were the case I at least am confident that she wouldn’t be removed from the story completely as the opening hints at a confrontation with the White Whale. Speaking of which one of the most surprising things about this episode was that it had an opening. I actually forgot that this show had those considering their lack of usage, well it’s a good opening and those singers were paid for a reason so why not.

I don’t blame Otto for kicking Subaru out of the carriage as his words wishing for Subaru to die likely echo the fan base’s sentiment at the moment. His words about how he and Subaru were weak are also things Subaru needs to hear. Though I must say that he mentioned something quite interesting in that a Master Swordsman faced the White Whale and died. In this series there are two characters with the title of swordsman. One is Wilhelm and the other is Reinhart. Considering that Reinhart has been considered away on business for a while I have a firm suspicion that he was the one recently killed by the whale. Part of how Subaru fixes all this could do with him helping Reinhart defeat the whale to get him in debt to Subaru. With that he would have the leverage to ask him to defeat the witches cult. There was also the matter of Subaru trying to make a good move of warning Emilia even at the cost of his own life but the curse killed Emilia instead of him.

It’s possible that the curse actually only affect those he tells and the first part is a warning. Or the Curse was being malicious at this moment to let Subaru know that even if he steels himself for death the curse won’t be bypassed so easily. I like the second option as it suggests that this curse isn’t some kind of automatic function but rather someone who is watching Subaru and threatening him. In his case the obvious suspect would be the jealous witch. Her attachment to Subaru may have grow as well seeing as he can now see Betelgeuse’s power when he couldn’t before. I suppose I shall close this post out by saying that it was nice to see Beatrice again and she certainly had a great moment where she refused to kill Subaru. From her words it seems she has gone through a rough time in her life and at least begrudgingly cares about Subaru. Maybe next week some closure is coming, like Betelgeuse getting impaled on one of Pucks icicles for example.


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