So tell me if you’ve heard this: “Boy gets summoned to a different world. Boy gains a special power. Boy goes on a journey to save the world.” It’s a premise that’s used as much as there are stars in the skies and it doesn’t seem that it’ll start getting old anytime soon. The question that I really have to ask in this article is that is Re:Zero any different than its past predecessors? Well you’ll be in for a treat once you realize that it’s more than it seems.
Re:Zero’s story starts off with its protagonist stuck in a life or death situation choosing which brand of cup ramen he should have for dinner. After making the final decision he would ever make in that world, Subaru Natsuki is then summoned by a mysterious force into a world of fantasy. While having a hard time adjusting to the change in location, Subaru is assisted by a mesmerizing girl with silver hair. In return for her actions, Subaru insists on helping her find an object she lost, an endeavor which eventually leads them to an untimely ending. From there, the story begins yet again.
I’ve written this review over again, because this series really exceeded my expectations. The “summoned into a fantasy world” trope has been beaten with a dead horse, and although this series’ approach isn’t exactly original, its characters really pick up the ball. I particularly love Subaru. He tries so hard to fit into the stereotypical main character role and fails at it, but that’s what I love about him. He tries so hard to live everyday to its fullest and will do whatever he can to achieve his goals, even while looking like an idiot. It’s that earnest attitude of his that really attracts me and the rest of the characters to him.
All the other characters are charming too. Emilia, a mysterious mage with part elf blood, is the pure heroine in “not so much” distress who can’t help but fall into Subaru’s odd pace. Felt, a thief loli, is dishonest and sharp-mouthed, but she’s not without her cute and bashful side. Puck, Emilia’s familiar, is the token bro-dude that can really connect with our buddy protagonist, Subaru, in a silly way. Rem and Ram, twin maids of Lord Roswaal, are as adorable as they are cruel and emotionless (in a comedic way). Their personalities are so unique and varied that each of them carry a certain charm, whether they be a knight in figuratively speaking shining armor or an assassin that gets off from cutting out bowels and intestines from her victims. All of the characters have been really fleshed out from the few times we see them, and what we see aren’t just people with 1-dimensional personalities. Most of them have their own backstories or secrets that really show that they’re more than who they claim to be. Like Elsa the Bowel Hunter. Sure, she likes to kill and rip out whatever is in your stomachs, but she sure loves a good fight too. I find it great that I can love such a cruel villain like her.
I’d go over every other character, but believe me when I say that they’re all colorful and great characters. I really felt a bond develop between the characters and Subaru as the story progressed, but when I saw all that progress get swept under the rug my heart got really heavy. It’s instances likes these where the series revolves around Subaru’s ability: “Return by Death”.
Return by Death is an ability that allows Subaru to go back in time to a specific time. The ability can only be activated through his death and the time he returns to is outside of his control. The only way he can move past the “save points” is if he can accomplish a certain task or survive through a certain event. Despite how convenient his ability might be, his relationships with people are set back a few steps or are even nullified. People he became friends with turn into strangers again. Promises he made with others were never made. Moments he’ll never forget never came to happen. Subaru usually suffers a painful and traumatic death every time he dies, but it’s the emotional effects of being the only who remembers anything that really makes me feel for him. He may be cheerful now, but will this ability change who he is later on in the series? Another question we’re also left with at times is “Who killed him?”. Mostly in recent episodes, there have been times where Subaru is unaware of how he died or who the perpetrator even is. The way that Return by Death can be more than just a simple ability and play a vital role to making the viewers think really makes it stand out among other revival abilities from other series.
White Fox studios has always been one to deliver quality animation, and their work has definitely paid off during the fight scenes. The animation is fluid in a sense where detail becomes somewhat obscure, but the special effects remain very true to how the characters’ actions are still eye-catching due to their flashiness. The transition of emotions conveyed on their faces, from hopefulness to expressions of intense pain or slight amusement to extreme pleasure, also really expresses to the viewers the intensity of the characters’ emotional state. It’s great that with great scenes of movement and action, we’re given a great musical accompaniment and sound effects. Almost everything about the production is top-notch.
Re:Zero isn’t very far from being the best series this season. With what we’ve been given so far, I’m more than thankful that this series is going to be 24 episodes long. The story is more than what you initially bargain for, the characters will grow on you, and everything will be really easy on the eyes. Re:Zero is definitely a must-see.
Where to watch Re:Zero: Crunchyroll