Re:Zero truly wanted to be something. It shoots for the stars, it tries new things and throws the characters through so much torture and misery that the fantasy-world they are living in resembles more a hell. They boil in this hell, fuming with anger and regret, any shred of happiness they find fading almost immediately to nothing.
But Re:Zero isn't something. It reaches for its dear, dear life, but remains in the end wholly unremarkable shounen fare interested more in shocking the viewer with gore and theatrics than in telling a genuinely meaningful story. Re:Zero may not be terrible and irredeemable, but it certainly struggles
throughout most of its twenty-five episodes to demonstrate that there is more to it than this. What is there in Subaru's tragic story that the audience can take with them at the end? What does it want to say? Not a whole lot, to be sure. Re:Zero is ambitious in mediocrity, notable only for its perverted sense of drama.
(Minor spoilers will follow from here, as it is near-impossible to discuss an anime like this without revealing anything.)
I have seen many people compare Re:Zero to Steins;Gate in the months since its airing. This is a great disservice to Steins;Gate. Where Steins;Gate spent nearly half its runtime developing the setting and its characters before asking the audience to empathise with and feel for them, Re:Zero does so immediately and does not ever ask for consent. It never develops its setting in any meaningful way-- about all you know for the duration of the story is that it is generic fantasy-land where people hate witches and bad things happen all the time-- and it throws death and gore at the viewer from the very first episode, when nobody even knows or cares about who Subaru is. It is shocking to see major characters die within the first episode, to be fair, but it no longer feels shocking the second, third or eleventh time.
If there was any consequence to these events, it is immediately brought to nothing by the show's contrived gimmick of rebirth and time-travel. It doesn't really matter if someone does die, as time will conveniently bend backwards for Subaru's sake-- never to the beginning, and always to the last major event in the story. There is no cost and no meaning to anything that happens. Subaru's mistakes are immediately erased upon rebirth, and he can go on about his day with nothing but his own guilt holding him back. He is the God of his story and the world is his playground.
What Re:Zero does to compensate for this is killing its characters off in increasingly brutal ways. They will lose their limbs, be hacked to death by chains or tortured to the point where they no longer resemble a human being. It is violence without meaning, as artificial as can be, extreme and over-the-top to the point that it can almost at times resemble satire. Everything that could possibly go wrong does go wrong for Subaru and friends, long before you are given any reason to care about their fates in the first place. The fifteenth episode is easily the biggest offender in this regard as it is nothing more than one massive slaughterfest, intent on making you feel bad for Subaru and his many waifus, him screaming in rage and gurgling on blood like it is some sort of torture porn. It is entirely possible for fiction to contain elements of death and gore without it negatively affecting the story, and in some cases it is even necessary, as it is for stories focused on issues such as war. Death is an entirely natural phenomenon, and humans are evidently not above committing acts such as murder. The issue with Re:Zero is that its death and gore exists for itself. It exists to shock and enrage the viewer, rather than serving as a product of the setting or as a vehicle for more substantial themes. For some people, this works, and throwing a character through a hurricane of awfulness is enough to instil sympathy. That's great, and I don't hold any ill will against these people. If anything, I am envious of how easily they can feel emotion. What actually bothers me is how effortless this method of storytelling truly is, and the audacity Re:Zero has to pretend it is something profound and on-par with film, as it did in the credits of the fifteenth episode. Re:Zero is visceral and sensually striking, and yet ever so empty.
"Empty" can easily be used to describe the characters as well. Emilia, for example, exists as little more than a personification of the average anime fan's ideal woman, similar in many ways to Asuna from Sword Art Online, and lacking in any meaningful characterisation besides her occasionally getting upset at Subaru. It's even more baffling that Subaru chooses her in the world of romance when she has done very little to win over his affection or help him, aside from giving him a place to stay for a couple days. She may as well not even exist-- the only reason she even does is to create more senseless tragedy for Subaru.
Rem and Ram are much better characters, as they actually have legitimate characterisation, backstory and development over the course of the story. The issue with them, particularly Rem, is that this development occurs so suddenly that it feels more like a complete change in character than an extension of who they really are. Rem goes from hating Subaru's guts to being so completely in-love with him that she is willing to follow him to the ends of the Earth and sacrifice anything for his sake. To be fair, there is reason for this abrupt change in personality: Subaru is one of the only people who has ever shown her kindness, and he did so selflessly, on several occasions, without regard for his own safety. He does a great deal to win over her trust and respect. But the extent to which she loves him, especially when she was still cursing his name just a couple short episodes before, is so extreme that it feels less like a natural progression of her feelings and more a way to instil feelings of love in the viewer, to make her palatable to otaku, an ideal girlfriend of sorts, a "waifu" much as Emilia is. It is very hard to convince me that her feelings are anything more than a fleeting puppy-love when merely showing her a bit of kindness is enough to immediately turn Subaru from her most-hated person in the world to her most-cherished one. It feels fake-- it feels like a lie, as many things in Re:Zero are revealed to be.
Betelguese, as creepy a bastard as he is, is by far one of the most obnoxious presences in the entire show. He is there, presumably, to create a sense of horror, as he will bend his body in unnatural ways, chew off his fingers in anger and bleed from his creepy little eyeballs, among other things. In reality, he is so loony and ridiculous that anything he says or does feels immediately silly, destroying any of the supposed horror he was supposed to generate. See, the thing most anime get wrong with horror (and indeed even most fiction in general) is that a truly terrifying character is not a raging lunatic, but rather someone totally ordinary and conscious of their actions. Hannibal Lecter is scary. Betelguese is anything but. If you want me to feel scared, do so in a way that resembles a reality humans can actually relate to, rather than a fantasy made of the likes of ghosts and goblins and bowl-cutted priests who eat their fingers for no reason.
Most of the side characters are weak and one-dimensional as well, as they either serve as more empty harem material (with flat-out catgirls and lolis), are defined by a single-trait or catchphrase (as Beatrice and Roswaal are), or are there as a weak attempt to instil more horror, like the stupid kid on the carriage (whose name I forget because I was too busy being angry at his annoying voice and how dumb the scene was) who completely breaks character and turns into a raging lunatic in another shallow attempt to push the story in a dark direction. The one main exception is Wilhelm, whose backstory and motivations truly do feel meaningful and justified. It is just a shame that he is immediately thrown to the benches again once this backstory reaches its quick end, serving afterwards as little more than some old dude who is skilled with the sword.
This leaves our buddy Subaru. I think, without exception, he is the factor that determines one's enjoyment of Re:Zero. If you can put up with his utter stupidity, you will find it possible to empathise with the trauma he goes through and his mental breakdowns that follow. If you are annoyed and disgusted with his presence (as I regularly was), it will be virtually impossible to care about most of what occurs. Subaru is the difference between being a fan of Re:Zero and being someone who actively dislikes it.
In many ways, he resembles a typical shounen hero. He is hot-headed, makes frequent out-of-place jokes (which I never once found funny, by the way), and refuses to ever think things through in a logical process, preferring instead to jump into battles he cannot win or to lash out at innocent people merely because his pride and fragile ego are called into question by his own mistakes. He thinks he is the coolest dude in the world, that he can save everyone through his own power, and the mere presence of someone with more skill than him offends him right to the very core. He yells and cries on a regular basis and seems incapable of having a normal conversation with anyone. Subaru is a child, and without any doubt one of the more infuriating characters I have witnessed in perhaps ever. There were points in the story where his characterisation legitimately made me angry and made me want to stop watching the show. Some moments were honestly baffling, too, such as how he switches from being completely mind-broken during the events of the fifteenth episode to being totally normal (albeit with a desire for revenge) in the next.
I say all this, but the eighteenth episode is actually one of the best episodes of anime I have seen in quite some time.
Let me explain.
Where the first two thirds of the anime spent its time showcasing unnecessary gore, Subaru's stupidity and empty characters who exist for little more than space on hug pillows and other creepy merchandise, the eighteenth episode redeems the anime and gives meaning to all that has happened, even if it doesn't erase its mistakes. It is an episode dedicated entirely to characterisation. It is a single conversation where Subaru shows remorse for his actions, recognising all the mistakes he has made and why he kept making them. He understands that he is a deeply flawed, broken person incapable of saving anyone or indeed even himself. It is at this moment that Subaru becomes aware of who he is. And you know what? I stopped hating him as a result, even if I still fundamentally disagreed with his actions and his character. He showed himself to be a human being for the first time in the entire story.
I have great respect for scenes such as these. It's not often we get entire episodes dedicated to something as ordinary as a conversation. Re:Zero didn't need to use gore and death to identify its characters or make us care - it did so merely by giving Subaru a stage to speak. This leaves just one question: why didn't Re:Zero do this from the very beginning?
It's a bummer, as there was actually potential for a great anime. The pieces were there, and the writer and the staff behind the anime demonstrated that they had the talent to execute things in an effective and honest way. The music is excellent, complimenting Subaru's struggles without ever going overboard in sappy piano pieces and cacophonous orchestral pieces as many shows of its type tend to. Its visuals look totally fine, maintaining a consistent quality despite the longer-than-average episode count and abundant battle scenes, while the facial expressions, if occasionally a bit excessive, are undeniably effective at demonstrating the characters' pain and anguish. Re:Zero is very much a well-produced anime; you can tell that the people at White Fox truly wanted to create something special.
I think this is why, even if I was bothered by most of the things I witnessed during my viewing of Re:Zero, I don't think it is a truly awful anime. It may not be a good one, not by any means-- its mistakes cannot be so easily erased-- but I do think its consistent effort and its eighteenth episode do at least redeem it to the extent of being a passable anime. It's why you see me giving Re:Zero a mediocre rating in my review rather than a poor one. I dislike much about Re:Zero, but for that one episode, I was a fan.
I have a feeling I am in the minority here, as opinions on Re:Zero almost seem to be split into a dichotomy. It is the best anime ever made for some, a life-changing adventure packed with emotion, and for the rest, it is a pile of irredeemable refuse aimed at the lowest-common denominator. To be perfectly fair, I am far more critical of Re:Zero than I am supportive of it. Its issues are certainly more numerous than its good points, and having one great episode can only take things so far when the other twenty-four vary from terrible to merely OK. But I'll be damned if I said it wasn't worth putting up with all the nonsense to get to that one point in the story. I just don't know if others are nearly as patient as I am, and I do have my doubts that future material will ever come close to that level of quality again.
Chances are, you'll have a better time with Re:Zero than I did. Many anime fans aren't looking for anything especially profound or complex in their entertainment, and I do not say that to be arrogant or dismissive. It is perfectly valid to watch anime for its entertainment value-- I do it as well, and so does just about anyone who is honest with themselves.
But this is a review and not a fan-piece. I am here to share my opinions and to judge the anime with a critical, yet fair eye. Re:Zero has a great deal of issues when viewed under these lenses, and none of them are insignificant. No matter how emotional its copious amounts of death and suffering made you, it would be quite hard to argue there is much more value to Re:Zero than its spectacle. It is a master at manipulating the audience's feelings, and while it succeeds at entertainment and has one special little moment, Re:Zero fails at making the case that it is anything more than lavishly produced, yet cheap theatre.
From my perspective, we are living in a time where well crafted anime with a myriad of originality and detail are unfortunately being released at a frequently declining rate. Because of this, many in the anime community are constantly on the lookout for something new and creative. So naturally, when an anime like Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu airs, a show that boasts morbidly unique twists on the popular but overused fantasy/game world genre, it gains a lot of popularity and is generally well received in the anime community. However just because something is innovative doesn't mean that it is a
good show overall. No, there are other characteristics, such as a detailed plot and a well developed cast, that can elevate a show from being simply different to something great. So is Re:Zero a great anime? I honestly believe that it is.
And not just because there's a totally badass adorable maid in it who fulfills the desires of every man's heart (besides the romantically challenged main character who blatantly rejects her feelings for him. What a heartless monster).
I never thought that any anime would be able to effectively combine dark psychological elements with an upbeat fantasy setting. However the genius behind Re:Zero, Tappei Nagatsuki, was able to expertly mix the two seemingly incompatible genres together, and the results are quite impressive. The show begins with our protagonist Natsuki Subaru getting suddenly transported to a fantasy world after leaving a convenience store. Being an otaku who has probably dreamed about something like this happening to him for years, Subaru is naturally excited to be in this new world. However, to his dismay, Subaru quickly learns that he doesn't have any special abilities or powers. Or so he thinks...anyway, he encounters the beautiful half elf Emilia when she saves him from a group of thugs. Thus the two of them start their adventure. This beginning seems quite clichéd, however everything changes dramatically when Subaru soon finds himself dead.
Well, that was unexpected. The protagonist dies before the first episode even ends? Really? Well we soon learn that Subaru actually does possess a magical ability, called return from death. However this power only works when Subaru dies. When this skill activates, Subaru essentially travels back in time to a certain checkpoint to relive that part of his life in order to change it to a future in which he successfully completes a certain objective and lives. Being a fan of shows involving time traveling, I was excited to see where Nagatsuki was going with this, and I wasn't disappointed with the result.
I was initially worried that Re:Zero would end up getting boring with the protagonist constantly failing and traveling back in time to relive the exact same scenarios over and over again. However with each new life, the progression of the story alters, sometimes dramatically, and many new elements are revealed to Subaru which were previously unknown that help him to solve the problems he faces and move on. This kept the anime fresh and exciting since something different happened with each life. Also, with every passing arc, Subaru's situation seemed to become substantially more dire, which lead to an increased intensity in the anime that kept me constantly entertained.
One negative aspect of the show that I've noticed is that Re:Zero seems to rely and focus on Subaru's ability a bit too heavily. This consistent emphasis on return from death takes away from other things, such as the detail revolving around the royal selection. This is seemingly an important plot point, but it is significantly overshadowed by the constant focus on Subaru and his continuous retakes at life. The anime spends an episode or two describing the royal selection and emphasizing its importance in relation to the characters only to practically drop it and hardly mention anything about it throughout the rest of the anime. There are some other similar occurrences present in Re:Zero as well. This resulted in the loss of plot points that could have made the anime more well rounded.
The character designs are very lovely. They are usually rather detailed, especially their facial expressions and features during moments when their faces are zoomed in on. Vibrant colors also help to bring the characters and scenery to life. Unfortunately, like many other shows in the industry, the animation dipped in quality as the anime progressed. The most notable example would be the fight scenes. Those showcased in the anime's initial episodes were highly detailed and well executed. However some of the later battles seemed more sloppy and not as well animated. Also, the CGI used on some background characters was utterly appalling. Luckily the use of CGI is very limited in this show. But hey, at least the female characters still maintained their lovely features throughout the entirety of the anime, and that's what really counts, right?
I was excited when I learned that Konomi Suzuki and Myth&Roid would be performing the theme songs for this anime since I enjoy music produced by both of them. Overall, I think that the theme songs are rather good, with my personal favorite being the first ending, Styx Helix, by Myth&Roid. The soundtrack was successful; it played upbeat and relaxing songs during lighthearted scenes and transitioned to dark and distorted themes during psychological moments. Subaru's seiyuu, Kobayashi Yuusuke, does an excellent job at vocally expressing the character's utter pain and misery through his voice acting talents.
At first glance, many of the characters in Re:Zero appear to fall into generic character categories. However as the anime progresses, the cast seems to evolve from their seemingly average state into much more dynamic, unique, and sometimes even lovable characters.
Subaru surprisingly isn't some overpowered MC who can unexplainably beat every other character at practically everything. In fact, his only ability worth noting is return from death, which, while being extremely useful since it gives Subaru multiple chances at life, is the main source of his psychological trauma. Although he initially acts positive, Subaru slowly cracks and falls further into despair and insanity as the anime progresses. He is one of the few characters I've seen that, for the most part, actually acts like a real life human would in the dark situations that he finds himself in. Of course, this may mean that you'll want to punch him in the face sometimes when he acts all cowardly, stupid, and obnoxious, but you have to understand what the poor guy is going through. Plus he redeems himself in the later portion of the anime.
Emilia is a beautiful, kind, and lovable girl; in other words, the type that many view as great waifu material. However the thing that I like most about her is the fact that she, unlike so many other female characters like her, can actually live WITHOUT the male lead. During one point she actually decides that it's best for her and Subaru to go there separate ways. I find this to be rather admirable, since it shows that Emilia can be an independent person who doesn't need to rely on others. There's not much else to say about her since she hardly gets any screen time in the second half of the anime.
Rem surprised me the most out of all of the characters. In fact, I believe that she's much more developed than the "main girl," Emilia, and is simply a superior character. The first few times that we see Rem, she humorously makes fun of Subaru with the assistance of her sister Ram. However as the story progresses, we get to learn so much more about Rem. I don't want to spoil any particular moments, but I will say that she has a badass yandere mode where she slaughters practically everything with her spiked mace in an epic fashion. Rem also develops feelings for Subaru, who she becomes admirably loyal to and saves numerous times, that lead to some really adorable moments between the two. Rem is also super cute and she just looks stunning, especially when she smiles. The sexy maid outfit is also a plus. Re:Zero really showcases a rare gem in Rem, who is the best anime character that I've seen in awhile.
Re:Zero also boasts a strong supporting cast. This group of characters includes the cute and sarcastic maid Ram, the adorable and magical loli Beatrice, and the utterly insane and slothful antagonist Petelgeuse. While obviously not as much as the lead cast, many of these characters receive adequate development and possess unique personality traits that make them more likable and entertaining to watch.
This show combines the best aspects of different genres to create something that is very entertaining to watch. It has fun characters and settings that kept me entertained. I was constantly on the edge of my seat in excitement hoping for Subaru to succeed and tensely waiting to see the repercussions of his failures. Cliffhangers were effectively used at the end of multiple episodes that left me craving more, though they were a bit excessive. While some episodes focused on dialogue and lacked any "excitement," I still enjoyed watching them because they helped to flesh out the characters and gave me valuable insight on the characters' emotions, thoughts, etcetera. My main issue is that I feel like the anime peeked at around episode 15, and while the latter half of Re:Zero remained pretty good, it didn't quite reach the level of greatness that the mid episodes had. Nonetheless, this was definitely an entertaining anime from beginning to end.
Re:Zero impressed me. This anime wasn't afraid to take an overused idea and combine it with a myriad of originality that resulted in a very well produced show. While there are some minor errors (then again, what show doesn't have any flaws?), Re:zero managed to succeed at being both an unique and a well executed anime. This is a show that I would most certainly recommend watching.
"The only thing worse than dying once is having to die again."
That was the title of a wonderful email from Crunchyroll I received about a month and a half ago to advertise "Re: Zero - Starting Life in another World -". I ignored it at first, and simply carried on with my two shows of the season, Jojo Part 4 and Mob Psycho 100 (both of which I heartily recommend you watch). However, after a little while of my friends pestering me to watch this series, I sat down and put the first half of the first episode onto my TV.
Re: Zero starts off somewhat
stereotypically. A somewhat clueless teenager is mysteriously dragged into a parallel world through means unexplained whilst browsing a convenience store. My initial thoughts were similar to that of Sword Art Online, which made me immediately assume that this series may go in the same direction, with pointless character arcs and questionable writing.
Oh my was I completely wrong.
Our main lead is the endearing Natsuki Subaru, a teenage shut-in with initially very little character. Upon arriving in this new world, he comes to meet the silver-haired girl "Satella", who claims she is looking for something she recently had stolen from her. After Subaru agrees to help her, they wind up at the city slums... Where they are both brutally murdered.
It is at this point, Subaru returns back where he started. Initially believing he dreamt up the scenario, he runs back towards the slums to meet with Satella, where after certain events... He is murdered again.
Here is where Re: Zero starts to really shine. Subaru has the power to, as he names it, "Return by Death", where upon dying he returns back to a previous point in his time where he is safe to try things over again. Everyone he met during his last "life" forgets him, and only what he has achieved before he "resets" remains. However, Subaru remembers. He remembers all the times he's been killed, everything he may have experienced and everything that everyone he's met has no memory of.
Re: Zero looks in-depth at the effect this has on his mental state, which can lead it into the realms of being a psychological thriller. And it achieves representing Subaru's mind absolutely perfectly, in such a way that it's hard to sum up in words. The viewer feels everything Subaru feels, his shock and awe, his confusion, his sudden realisations, as well as his happiness when eventually, everything turns out just OK.
The show presents Subaru as more than anything else, being very human. He reacts to situations in a way you'd expect, and to some viewers, in that way that they would. That's not to say Subaru is the only character that gets developed. Other characters that are met later in the story have their own short arcs that link in with their backstory, even if it's one moreso than any of the others.
Re: Zero absolutely nails it's presentation of each episode. Each episode flows naturally, sometimes not including the show's OP and ED for extra effect (which on a side note helps to make the show very nice to marathon). Each episode ends with a "title screen" as such, of the episode's title, and why this may not seem like a big deal, it's small things like this that help to keep the show's atmosphere working, whether it's a happy sigh of relief, or a grim potential future rearing its head.
The show has two Openings and two Endings, all of which work well with the arc they air in. The first OP "Redo" by Konomi Suzuki is a visual spectacle, with flashy effects and hidden meanings that become more obvious as the show continues, all while giving a good grasp on what exactly Re: Zero may contain for people going in with no prior knowledge of the show's events. The second OP, "Paradisus - Paradoxum" by MYTH&ROID, while not as visually stunning as the first OP, has a chaotic nature to it that perfectly captures the feel of the arc it airs in. The first ED, "STYX HELIX", also by MYTH&ROID works well when played during an ending scene, however has little effect for the viewer when played by itself (though it's still a great song). The final ED, "Stay Alive" is performed by Rei Takahashi, the VA for "Satella", and like the ED before it, works far better when played during an ending scene. The show's two insert songs, "STRAIGHT BET" and "theater D" (both my MYTH&ROID) both work FABULOUSLY with the scenes they play in for bonus points.
If there is anywhere to fault the show, it is on it's character development "priorities" so to speak. A few of the side characters introduced appear to be getting developed at some stages, however never seem to get the equal treatment that some of the other side characters do. Aside from this, at times the character animation can seem somewhat sloppy, however thankfully this is very rare and never during prominent moments.
To end things off, Re: Zero - Starting Life in another World - is very much a spectacle - one that will keep you on your toes, make you smile, make you cry in despair and most certainly, one not to miss. Special mention for the show's main villain, who while being animated perfectly for his kind of character, also has an undoubtedly wonderful VA (that being the wonderful voice of Yoshitsugu Matsoka) who really nails the "insane" feel around the character.
Overall, I give Re: Zero a rating of 9.8 out of 10, with my own guideline of to watch it immediately if you haven't already. The series is available for legal streaming on Crunchyroll.
If you enjoy a series that likes to play with your heart and mind like a fiddle, this may be the perfect series for you. Enjoy.
WOAH, EDIT TIME!
Hey, this review's kinda on the old side now, and while I don't think R:Z is a perfect 10/10 show now, it's still a very solid watch for those that love Isekai or anime with darker themes.
Hi all, this is my first review on MAL. Please bare with me, but I feel like I should share my opinion on this and why I gave it the score I did. I wouldn't say I'm the most hardcore anime fan, but I have definitely seen my fair share of shows and am pretty much a typical anime viewer. I review anime in my mind pretty differently than others. Note, there may be a lot of extra information that is unneeded for this review, but I really want to put my perspective on this as much as possible. If you don't care, just scroll
down to the three hyphens.
Just to get things out of the way: this score deserves a 10 not necessarily for its metrics per se, but for the fact that for people who like anime in general it is a show that needs to be seen.
What I'm sick and tired of lately, which will probably never be stopped, is reviewers or fans comparing shows to other shows. It's a huge anime circlejerk that people are really adamant about. Honestly, it could be said about a lot of things. Video games are a very good example, but that's for another time.
Let's start off with my initial reaction. I usually pick a few shows to watch each season and continue from there. When I watched the trailer, I was immediately reminded of KonoSuba. It wasn't off putting, but I was just surprised to see an almost identical setting so soon. Of course, people are using 'isekai' as a description, but I never really heard of that until recently. Where a character gets transported into a world, etc...
I ended up only watching the first half of the hour long opening due to time constraints and it was kind of a "whatever" show to me. Big mistake. I took this for granted and ended up with friends on social media blabbering about the show weeks later. Around episode 14 or so.
I asked one of my good friends, who I'd actually say is pretty hardcore into anime (he's been using MAL for years and has a very strict rating guideline and watches almost every show that releases), what the concept of the show was. Remember, I didn't bother to look into this show at all. He basically just told me what happened at the end of the second half of the season premiere and I totally regretted my decision that night. I'm a sucker for that device- being able to start again or go into the past. I may have a bias on that genre (please don't look at my favorite shows... :) ), but this show executes it very well. I ended up binge watching until 15 and it was totally worth it. Since then, I've been trying to make the first thing I do every Sunday morning is watch Re:Zero.
Beginning with the story; it is wide and vast, but at its core a very deep, and emotional heart string puller. I'll say it here: I read a bit of the web novel a few weeks ago because my mind could not wait. I do like to spoil myself sometimes, but that's exactly what this show made me do. I did the same with Erased, and Shingeki no Kyojin. Why? Because there was so much information I wanted to know that I feel like the show could not explain with a few episodes left. And albeit it is disheartening that they exclude some crucial information regarding characters or story, it does not take it away from the show at all. That's why I said it is wide and vast.
At initial glance, it seems as a very typical "otaku/neet character gets transported into a different world..." (as mentioned earlier), but it gives it a twist with strong character development along the way, which I will explain later. Being able to "start again from zero" is a common trend recently, but I honestly will never get tired of it. We all wish to be able to time travel or start things over, and it fills my need by watching these shows. This executes the concept incredibly well. It's hard to talk about the story without the characters, because they really are the backbone than the story rather than the lore of the world.
The main protagonist is Natsuki Subaru, and it's very much his story. I hate him. I hate him a lot. Many people actually do, but it's not a bad thing. Why do we hate him? Because he makes horrible decisions and does things we do not want, at all. He is...very real. Many viewers and other anime fans like characters who have crazy magic powers, look super cool, wields some badass sort, or something along those lines.
There's nothing special about Subaru. He's definitely no Sora from No Game No Life. He also didn't have the luxury Kazuma Satou (KonoSuba) had being able take Aqua with him and join a guild/get a job.
We hate this guy. He's a crybaby and practically useless. However, that is what drives this show. We get to see him evolve into a better person. He treats his adventure like a game, and gets punished for it. We realize the struggle he goes through, and that is what we would go through if we were transported into a world like that. We play it off like a game that we see or know, but it's not a game, it's very real.
Subaru doesn't start off as some overpowered character that can trump the bad guys or continuously one-up them. He literally dies- over and over again. And he still doesn't learn his lesson until he deals with love. The love for Emilia. When it gets that deep, we're already attached. He'll do anything for her, and makes us feel the same way. Also, he doesn't automatically attract this "harem" that people seem to think he has. He earns it. He gave up blood and sanity to learn these people and they became a part of his life in this world.
For 25 episodes, we don't see the finish line straight ahead, but we wish we could see the course from above. Obstacles have been overcome, but there are a more to come, and some block in the roads as well.
There are many characters to love in this show, hell, Rem is already tons of people's waifu. What makes her that though? Her personality and determination is what all of us want, but not Subaru. She is everything to him, yet he stays faithful to Emilia. A lot of fans also have this as a reason to hate him; rejecting the perfect girl for someone who doesn't even feel the same way for him.
What is the fun if everything went the way you wanted? Of course- that's what we want in our heads, but not doing what we want creates tension, which is completely fine for this kind of genre. The last thing you want to think about is that it is a silly harem/comedy. It really isn't. It has twists, turns, loops, you shouldn't be wanting something, you should be wanting to know what direction is coming ahead.
Let's talk about the cast in general. It's great, just like I rated it. It's hard to find a perfect set, but they're close to being one. Everyone that gets air time, for the most part, has a developed background and importance in the show. They all mesh well together and have some sort of connection to Subaru. Characters that simply might be thought of "side characters", may have more than a meaning than you think. The feeling this show makes when Subaru gets so close to someone and have them dying off, and seeing them in a different timeline alive again is eerie as hell. You feel the realization that they were just dead- you became really close to them, and now you are back at the point where you just met them. There are some characters who get a decent amount, but are still unexplained in the show, but will be eventually...hopefully.
You want to look through the eyes of Subaru when looking at the cast, since this is his story. There are people you are going to hate and it's perfectly acceptable, because Subaru hates them as well. The same goes for being attached. That's why this is such a great cast. And People hating Subaru? That is fine too, because he shows that he truly hates himself throughout the entirety of the show. He wants to do better and you want him to do better, but keeps doing worse, and worse. He then realizes his faults, and so do we. When he develops, we develop.
People would say, why wouldn't he just do or say this? We need to realize that he portrays a neet or otaku and thinks it's a game. He thinks he can get away with what he knows about that culture, but is completely wrong. His method and thinking is not the same as ours watching. Being there is entirely different and that's the way he went through with it. He thinks he's Kirito, but obviously he's just a random neet stuck in a fantasy world. He doesn't have good social skills. He's awkward and cringey.
But his willingness to learn and his determination he promised since episode 1 is what makes him strong. He does get it over his head, way over his head, but he learns and realizes his mistakes, which makes him an amazing character. Not many characters these days accept their faults and mistakes. They're just already the best person in the universe and can overcome anything. We see why Subaru is able to do that in the end.
I can go over the other main characters or lead support characters just as much as Subaru, but I'm just going to shorten it here and say that Emilia is the X-Factor of the show. She pretty much preemptively decided Subaru's fate. I mean, she IS the main female protagonist. Rem and Ram help build his character, and I say this in the least descriptive way possible to keep this review shorter so I don't bore you with reading. They are the main support characters. And to make it generic, they support him pretty damn well.
The other characters, they beat him up (both mentally and physically), but he learns and builds from it. Every character he has a moment with is important to him. He learns to use his past knowledge about people to help him get through the world. They're not just people to him. As mentioned, at first, he completely naive, and we hate it, but we should stay in our seat and watch as his flaws become traits.
No need to get into too much detail about this. The design and visuals great, but the random CG background characters really take it away from me to be honest. Like especially when there are drawn background characters mixed in with CG background characters.
The character designs aren't anything to be in awe about. I mean, Subaru is in a track suit for Christ's sake. Emilia's outfit is cute, Rem and Ram are just in kind of skimpy maid outfits. I do like the outfits the knights have.
The settings and locations are incredible though, like the city, mansion, forest, and open fields. Great variety colors. I'm not too keen on art, but in the end, it's all great except the super obvious CG.
The background, fighting, and setting music aren't really memorable to me, but they're not bad whatsoever. There wasn't a time where I felt as if the music was off or anything, so it was just fitting.
However, the openings and endings I really enjoyed. At first I thought the second opening song was a little odd, but it really grew on me and I actually ended up wanting to watch the opening every time it came on, so that's good new. Myth & Roid is cool.
The second ending is fantastic. Like, when the episode would end and that song would play without the actual ending being played. It's kind of a slow and sad sounding song, so during intense moments it really brought out my emotions even more.
The voice acting, oh let me get started on the voice acting. So there's this bad guy named Petelgeuse/Betelgeuse. Just look up some clip and try to guess who the voice actor without looking him up.
-Yeah, it's Matsuoka. The guy who voices Sora, Soma, and Kirito. He does an AMAZING job differentiating his normal tone and voice. Even Subaru's voice actor does a breathtaking job. You can feel the anger, angst, and struggle with his voice. He's portraying an insane villain and has some crazy lines and phrases that are unforgettable.
Uh, maybe by this review and its score you can tell if I enjoyed it or not. :) I binged this show like 15 episodes straight and was wanting more every week. I could probably say I enjoyed it, a little. It's a ride that I want to keep staying on. Ups, downs, loops, turns, jumps, you name it.
With the individual scores, it comes to about a 95%, which I rounded up to a 10/10. So in actuality, this show is a 9.5. Absolutely nothing wrong with that.
However, the only thing I would have to say is that I'd only recommend this show for people who have already watched a few shows already. I wouldn't say it's a good first show to watch if you're just new into anime, as good as it is. You kind of need to have background knowledge of other shows. Even though I say not to compare, but to just be aware and see the difference it really has to other shows, or that it takes in different aspects and genres to create this wonderful show.
Imagine a show that repackages some of the most recurring themes in anime today and make it into a fantasy thriller. That’s what Re:Zero essentially is. Adapted from the novels of the same name, the show is more of a darker fantasy story than most people may be familiar with. It’s not exactly like a show where a character is stuck in a world and they try to find a way out. Or is it making a parody of the show itself. Rather, Re:Zero (Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu) is a fantasy thriller that has some delirious complexity.
Early impressions of Re:Zero may trigger viewers’ comparison
to series such Steins;Gate, Erased, or even the live-action movie, Edge of Tomorrow. What do all these have in similarity? It’s the idea of time travel. The ability to loop back from the present to the past is a fictional theme we’ve all heard of before. It’s nothing new and Re:Zero essentially portrays that with Subaru, the main male protagonist and his reset ability. The ability “Returns by Death” allows return to a “save point” after death with all memories intact of the original user. Basically, Subaru gets a chance to fix mistakes so that consequences can be avoided. The key word here is ‘chance’ as it’s not always guaranteed that Subaru can change the future. By adapting this idea, Re:Zero’s early plot developments shows how Subaru uses his ability to make a difference while trying to live his new life in this unfamiliar world.
From that world, we meet a variety of characters. One of the most recognizable character in the show is Emilia, a half-elf who has a mysterious origin. Her identity is similar to another infamous character in the series so others sometimes mistaken her for that. In the meantime, Emilia is a friendly girl although can be commanding and sometimes childish. The relationship between her and Subaru is important as they grow to understand more of each other. One of the important dynamics about their relationship is that Subaru acknowledges her as a good person. This feeling coupled with Emilia’s growing trust of Subaru establishes a bond between the two. Two other characters in the series (Rem and Ram) are also introduced whom Subaru gets acquainted with. In the later stages of the series, Rem shows obvious feelings towards Subaru that grows into love. Similar to Emilia, Subaru acknowledges Rem despite her shady past. And because of that, Rem grows to care Subaru as one of her closest friends.
It’s hard to really ignore the relationship principles of the show. Subaru forges many important relationships including a contractor, a female knight, and even a guy that once humiliated him in front of everyone. From the get-go, Subaru really isn’t a guy that is afraid to take risks. This sometimes leads to irrational decisions with disastrous consequences but he is also able to learn from his mistakes. In addition, Subaru is an idealist and firmly loyal to those he cares about. He is also clever and uses trickery (possibly from his real life skills) to get what he wants. On paper, Subaru is generally portrayed as a kind man but not afraid to show his tough side either. In essence, Subaru is the most “human” character in the show. He makes mistakes like humans do and tries to correct them. What I do find irritating about Subaru though is what motivates him for his decisions. This can also lead to other fans of certain characters they’ve grown attached to. Because let’s face it, Subaru has flaws and the writing of the series shows those flaws.
On the other hand, Emilia is a character that I find less appealing. Quite frankly, we just don’t know her enough and it’s hard to understand her in general. Her relationship with Puck and the other characters aren’t fully explored. Furthermore, her personality is hard to get attached to even as they are shown from pieces to pieces. To be honest, the female character that stands out the most in the show would be Rem. She has a background story that is explored including with her twin sister, Ram. The relationship development between her and Subaru is quite memorable as they risk their lives for each other. And furthermore, Rem has her own reasons to help others (in particular Subaru) that viewers will easily understand. Anyway, I think the point I’m trying to make is that between some characters, some just stand out than others. For instance, a breakout character in the show would be Wilheim as we learn in depth of his motivations to fight a giant whale. On the other hand, there are other characters that is just plain replusive such as Petelgeuse from the Witch’s Cult.
Despite the dark fantasy style of Re:Zero, the show still remains lighthearted on many occasions. As a light novel adaptation, you’ll probably find many standard tropes ranging from the generic jealousy of certain girls to childish antics of Beatrice. Subaru also tends to make himself look like a fool in front of others which can be irritating to watch. Still, the comedy of the show on most occasions is properly timed to balance out the darker themes. The fan service comes mostly from violence rather than the skin. In retrospect, Re:Zero deconstructs its fantasy themes and twist them into a darker direction. From an adaptation perspective, the show is faithful to adapt some of the most important elements. However, the series is considered incomplete as there are certain plot elements that are unresolved. The way the director adapted the series seems to focus as much as content from the source as possible while keeping the story credible and on point.
White Fox adapts the animation style and Re:Zero is mostly well crafted. The character designs gives the feel like they are from a fantasy world. Characters such as Emilia, Beatrice, the twin sisters, Felt, etc has their own unique presence. The monsters in the series such as the White Whale and Mabeasts also look intimidating. In fact, the Re:Zero world is something you’ll find in any fantasy tale with the lustrous landscapes, dense forests, or medieval-like castles. As you probably know by now, the series has a lot of violence so expect characters such as Petelgeuse and Elsa to showcase that. Most of is censored as White Fox goes out in attempt to make it credible. However, it’s still perfect although I heard the BD/DVD releases will feature more violence.
If there’s also something else that deserves recognition, it would be the soundtrack. The thrilling OST portrays well for a show that has such an eerie feel. The heroic moments and climatic segments are also made memorable with the show’s instrumental choreography. OP and ED theme songs are well crafted with the talent of the singers and producers. In the meantime, I think character voice mannerism also deserves some praise especially for characters like Rem (who can express human emotions quite) and Puck. And while Petelgeuse is quite an unlikeable character, one has to admit that his voice stands out as a villain.
By the time you’ve finished watching Re:Zero, you’re probably asking yourself if the journey is worth it. The deconstruction of a typical fantasy show is evident as each episode progresses. We get quite an adequate amount of characterization on the main cast. And many times, I think it’s easy to find yourself anticipating what may happen next with the numerous cliffhangers the show offers. Indeed, Re:Zero is less of a ‘trapped in game’ style story but more of a fantasy thriller. Every episode offers something the fans will hunger for. And if that’s not enough, then you’re watching it wrong.
A final review of Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
(Re-updated; it may contain some spoilers, so be aware of it):
"If you are suddenly summoned to another fantasy world without any kind of preparation, what will you do?"
Some of the reactions of other people is that some of them would really panic and do not know what to do... but on Subaru's case (the main character of the story), he is 'trying' to rationalize his situation even though he experienced different kinds of despair and other negative emotions about his current situation and trying to adapt to his new environment. At first, he is trying
to stabilize his mental state and too desperate about what will happened on his situation. After that, he gradually gained some information about his current situation. On the later scenes, he met this beautiful elf girl named Emilia who saved him on a unexpected pinch situation; more like a boy-meets-girl situation, and then... the wicked-like fantasy adventure of Subaru begins and how the lives of other important people who he met throughout the story that could affect his decision-making on his unfortunate situation. How can he survive?
This show, Re:Zero is one of the great anime shows premiered on Spring 2016 that exemplifies the life of a certain boy named Subaru in a fantasy world and how he could adapt to his new environment. It would surely enjoy most of the viewers who like fantasy-themed or 'isekai-themed' anime shows to watch this kind of show because it seems 'not usual' to other similar-themed anime shows; it is filled with action, comedy, drama, and some thrilling and unexpected time-traveling and dark-themed scenarios... Wait... Time-traveling? Dark-themed?! How is it possible? Well, he noticed that he can not use any kind of magical powers but later on, he realized that he gained an ability called 'returns by death' when he was on a pinch situation. As the skill name itself, he can go back to a certain time and place where he could start again his adventure. Later on, he discovered that he has this kind of 'shadow(?)' magical attribute. Those mysterious ability and magical attribute are really helpful in his situation but also somewhat makes his situation more complicated or pain-in-the-ass because of its 'unknown(?)' origin. At first, the story-line seems confusing, depending on the viewer's perspective but it really gives dark/mysterious-vibe and cliffhanger scenes which surely gives us viewers more hype and thrills in this show! Generally-speaking, this anime is not the best but it is definitely one of the best anime shows of Spring 2016!
Moving on, the multimedia and other aspects of this anime show are very good, specially the character designs that really emphasized the unique traits of each characters in the story. If you know about the animation studio called White Fox (the animation studio of this anime show), it would really show that it has similarities on their animation style and forte on making their own style. If you know those similar anime shows they created, it would really increase the impact towards the entertainment of the show. In my opinion, there are some quality flaws in other animation stuffs like CGI and other designs on some episodes that are not really well-fitted or blended to the show. Nevertheless, those are not really a big negative factor to the show and does not really affect the quality and the development of the story-line. On the positive-side, I really like the animation stuffs like the point-of-view angles they emphasized on some scenarios on some episodes and it really follows the concept of the story.
The opening & ending songs are so great and also fitted to the theme of the show (e.g. the lyrics and the style of the songs), which I also like in this anime show. I did not expect that pop punk-ish(?) OP theme song was performed by Konomi Suzuki, and I do not know what would be my reaction towards that since her usual J-pop anime song styles are really not like that. In my opinion, the new anisong artist MYTH & ROID's mysterious-and-futuristic-style J-pop theme songs of this anime is better in this anime show compared to Konomi Suzuki's opening song. In addition, there are no really obvious and noticeable errors on the multimedia aspects of the show like audio timing etc. The voice actors and actresses are also very talented that they really portray to their specific character roles. Some of them are newly popular with the anime fans like the CV of Emilia (Rie Takahashi) and the CV of Rem (Inori Minase), which can contribute more to the audience impact of the show. In addition to that, they also performed some of the OSTs, therefore it really shows their professionalism towards the show. The BGMs are really great and it and fitted to the action and other scenes of this show, which also mainly contribute to the impact of the show.
The storyline of this anime show is one of the greatest factor that mostly contributes to the impact of the show, including those amazing plot twists in every episode. Even though the story was rushed, I really like how this anime show would try to show some important plot contents from Re:Zero's light novel, which the animators/creator(s) of this anime really want us to fully enjoy the every 20-min episodes. The characters are also great because they provided great character designs that could somehow adds to the entertainment value of the show. Personally-speaking, the light novel is a 'must-read' to those fans who want to fully understand what Re:Zero's plot is all about.
In terms of the character traits, it was somewhat positively contributed to the audience impact on the show that later on, it creates that 'waifu' war between cute and loyal demon/maid girl named Rem the beautiful elf girl named Emilia or called EMT by Subaru and the fans. Furthermore, most of those characters have their unique lifestyles like the like Subaru who has really unique traits and 'realistic-like' personality compared to the other main characters out there; he is more vulnerable and has this kind of 'irrationalism' that makes him more 'human' compared to other common and overpowered main characters with god-like powers that were mostly existed on other popular anime shows, therefore it creates a different kind of twist to the story. The supporting characters like Rem & Ram, Puck, Beatrice, and other villain characters are also very important to the development of the story; they have their own character developments and big involvement throughout the story, therefore they are also somewhat popular to the audience.
In terms of the show's entertainment value, some people would not really enjoy/appreciate the concept of 'moe' characters, un-emphasized development of other important characters because of limited time, some cliché elements like the concept of 'isekai' or other world with fantasy setting, and the unusual main character's behavior that were integrated in Re:Zero's story. It is because it ruins the seriousness of the story or it somehow deviates the norms and concepts of an usual fantasy or other related genre to the theme of Re:Zero. Despite of that, it is still interesting because of its uniqueness and somehow entertaining to the viewers.
With all those double-eged critics/controversies/rumors we've heard, I can assure you that this show's is very interesting and breath-taking in each episodes, which is a big proof that this anime show is one-of-the-best anime of Spring 2016. Well, you can see it for yourself to confirm that and I really hope that this review would encourage someone who does not any or little idea about this show to watch this! Also, for those who knows this show, encourage them to watch this show.
(P.S.: If you have really no idea about this anime, there are Part A and B in Episode 1, so do not forget to watch those to fully understand the story's synopsis!)
There are two types of haters of this show. One group is made up of elitists who overanalyze the show, and the other group consists of people who can't even understand the show and call it edgy. What both groups do not understand is the purpose of the anime.
The anime is about the development of Subaru's character, and it is executed brilliantly.
What makes a show good? A good show should be easy to follow while still challenging the audience to think. It should appeal to the audience's emotions, and most importantly, it should be entertaining. Re:Zero does all of these things excellently.
argue that there are several plot holes in the story, but it really depends on their definition of plot holes. There are only a few trivial attributes of the world that are left unexplained as the excess of worldbuilding would detract from the flow of the show. Re:Zero builds suspense not only with every failure of Subaru's but also with every success of his. It is an emotional roller coaster from start to end, be it frustration with or sympathy and empathy for the main character.
The story is brilliantly written. Yes, symbolism and references are shoved blatantly in front of the audience. Why? Because normal people do not watch a TV show and thoroughly analyze it. One example of the brilliant writing in the anime is the allusion to a Japanese folktale. It is used to foreshadow or subtly hint at the backstory of a character. How often does something like this happen in other TV shows and movies? The show forces the audience to think, but it doesn't confuse the audience with obscure and unexplained references.
Some argue that too many of the characters are flat and generic. However, the show also dives into the minds of other characters, Rem and Emilia. Although most of the minor characters are one-dimensional, it makes sense that these two are developed as they are also main characters of the show. The addition of development on minor characters would simply blur the show's focus and turn it into a mess.
The development of Subaru's character is logical. It may be too realistic for some, but watching his human nature is enthralling.
White Fox used the facial expressions and movements of the characters to capture their emotions, which was extremely captivating. The art is beautiful, but some CG was also used. The fight scenes are average.
Everything sounds great from the OST to the openings, endings, and insert songs. Insert songs throughout the anime are especially powerful, expressing the mood of each episode at the perfect time.
It is interesting to see that so many elitists hate the show. After all, the show is a deconstruction of the generic overpowered main character, similar to Evangelion. Perhaps elitists simply hate new, popular anime.
Thankfully, elitists do not represent the majority of anime watchers. Everyone should still watch this show and decide for themselves whether it is good or bad.
Ahh, the reviewer. The first line of defense to quell the flames of irrational thought and often the bearer of bad news for those of the general public. They're the Buzz Killingtons that take it upon themselves to blow the "no fun" whistle and send the partygoers back on the hype-train that they rode in on. It's a thankless job, one that doesn't reward anyone besides the smug satisfaction of the man with the whistle, tipping his top hat and waving "adieu" at the fanbase, outraged that someone had the audacity to bring an analytical lens to the "totally bitchin party, bruh!"
And as the seasonal
lineup ends and the hype-train chugs on to the next destination to start the cycle all over again, the reviewer, Mr. Buzz Killington, slaps his final verdict in the form of a nasty wall of diatribes, as he carries on his endless crusade to educate would-be viewers, one party foul at a time.
Now, before I go any further, I'd like to put all my chips on the table. I don't plan to campaign for Re:Zero's public standing, nor will I bastardize its name for the sake of winning the appeal of dissenters. What will be written from here on out is simply one man stating his viewpoint. If that means dispensing the full-range of my vocabulary like a snobby know-it-all, then so be it. As long as my assessment is clearly understood, whether you choose to sling mud at my remarks or practice diplomacy is of no concern to me.
And without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, weeaboos and pseudo-elites, I, ZephSilver, will serve as your Buzz Killington for the evening, as we take a tour through anime's latest mistake, Re:Zero, or as I like to call it, Re:packaged goods.
Writhing in pain it doesn't understand, with paint-by-number personalities that desperately try to express it, Re:Zero is a gaudy, yet entertaining, blowhard that stumbles upon an ingenious formula for mainstream success. In a cynically calculated ruse, Re:Zero combines snippets of set-pieces from other works to create a Frankenstein that's built to be a surefire hit, regardless of how much manipulation is required to keep the circus act up. By capitalizing on the ever-increasing demand for MMORPG inspired settings, time-travel narratives and well... a gratuitous amount of shock value, it captures the general populace's attention with ease. And really, who could fault it? The anime industry has within its grasp a foolproof method to gain the public's ear. A method that's figured out, down to a science, thanks to countless trial and error. It just so happens that this 'foolproof' method is predicated on sales and popularity, whether it receives critical acclaim or not is secondary. Dangling its bait right after the success of works with similar setups, it was inevitable that many would bite. Re:Zero offered many fan-favorite arrangements all in a convenient, one-stop package: a smorgasbord of goodies to satisfy a wide range of palates. And if that wasn't enough to seal the deal, it marketed a premise that potentially subverted the MMORPG formula into something dark and decrepit, capturing any stragglers that might have avoided the bait in disinterest with the promise of something "re:freshing."
The rest was simply a matter of word of mouth. The match was lit, and all that was left was to sit back and watch the wildfire burn. With viewers exalting Re:Zero as "smart," "bold," and "enthralling," ignoring this show's existence became nigh impossible. An anime that was built to be popular. An anime that was predestined to become the centerpiece discussion of every anime-related thread during its run. A wonderful monstrosity concocted in a lab by a board of executives, perfecting their latest endeavor to siphon money out of people's pockets, without so much as making the intent noticeable. I know we all want to hold an optimistic view on this situation but I advise that we take a step back before purchasing the snake oil.
Re:Zero is to White Fox what Kabaneri was to Wit studio: a proven investment, disingenuous or not.
Seriously, think about it for a moment. What were White Fox's most successful outings so far? Akame Ga Kill, a show about gruesome deaths in a medieval fantasy world, riddled with the underpinnings of political intrigue, a setup that deviated from typical shounen fodder, and a broad range of colorful personalities that inhabited its universe. And Steins;Gate, a show about time-travel being used to save your loved ones after a conspiracy was discovered, forcing the protagonist to revisit key events to find the best path to save everyone. Putting aside how you may feel about those shows individually, the fact remains that Re:Zero meshes these two appeals in a fashion that seems far too perfect to be simply a case of coincidence.
When you look back at the shows that garnered the most attention in the last handful of years, how could you not feel that Re:Zero is a product of the machine? There's being at the right place at the right time, and then there's simply casting your fishing line after analytical charts and focus groups indicate that the waters are ripe with hungry prey.
So after stating all this, it may surprise you to know that I fully recommend this show to anyone that confronts me about it. Why may you ask? Well, to be honest, it's pretty entertaining. Whatever my stance may be regarding the title, it cannot be denied that the show is easily digestible. With plot twists at every turn, bloody fatalities being dished out at a moments notice, and cliffhangers guaranteeing your return for more, Re:Zero is a binge-worthy viewing experience. However, my reasons for full-heartedly endorsing the show are probably not the reasons that the creators would probably like. For now, just hold on to that thought, we'll discuss why later.
And with that long-winded preface out of the way, it's time to continue our tour.
Stepping out of a convenience store in modern day Japan and being transported to a medieval fantasy world for no more reason than the writers saying, "We need to start the story somehow," our main protagonist, Suburu, enters Capital City; the epicenter of commerce for this foreign land of Lugunica and the place that would mark his burial ground on several occasions to come. After he comes in contact with a mysterious silver-haired girl named Emilia, he finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, hidden mysteries behind every corner and a bad case of groundhogs day that's marked with the end of his life.
And so goes the rest of his journey, constantly being respawned at key locations similar to game save checkpoints until he conquers a life-threatening obstacle. Death, birth, repeat. A rat churning cream to avoid drowning and hoping its efforts would create butter, allowing for solid ground to escape its entrapment. Some might refer to this as "torture porn" or a snuff film in animated form. And while I might find these sentiments to be a bit overstated, I still can't help but feel like there's an underlying truth to that way of thinking.
There's always a feeling that gnaws away at your subconscious when you watch the show. Something that many viewers may not be able to pinpoint but that they know is there, like the nuisance of a small object stuck in the sole of your shoe or a lingering thought that's just out of reach. I believe this feeling derives from the way the show presents its ideas. Themes that are supposed to be profound but end up taking on a whole new meaning when highlighted in neon lights and announced over a loudspeaker.
Suburu doesn't just die; he's butchered in the most gratuitous way imaginable. A newly gained tactical advantage isn't just implemented; instead, it's buffered through excessive expository dialogue. Character arcs don't just happen naturally; they're highlighted with drastic presentation changes and streams of confetti. In the words of Urban Dictionary, Re:Zero has no chill.
Re:Zero falls victim to sensationalizing things that it thinks would be considered poignant, as is the case with most shows that are said to 'subvert' the formula they're a part of. And by doing so, it indirectly counteracts that notion. A narcissistic protagonist being humbled by the realization that life doesn't revolve around him isn't a great revelation if the show goes out of its way to constantly point it out. Being mentally exhausted from the toll of dying constantly isn't eye-opening if the show literally has to tell you it is. Subtext ceases to hold meaning if the creators have a habit of making its intent obvious. This is the problem that many high-strung shows have, where they don't trust the viewer to pick up on the clues themselves. 2001: A Space Odyssey wouldn't be praised as a sci-fi classic if it had its ideas being pointed out with Blue's Clues paw prints. Se7en wouldn't be a great mystery/thriller had Dora the Explorer show up as a movie guide. Point being, good subtextual content is only good if the creators don't over-extend their control over how easy it's discovered.
Like Erased from winter 2016, Re:Zero's attempts at something far beyond it only backfires when this issue plagues every facet of its existence. It's trying to be symbolic; it's trying to interweave motifs; it's trying to create intrigue; it's trying to tinker with psychology... but, it's doing so in the most ham-fisted way possible. It fully rejects the idea of subtlety in every aspect imaginable, instead choosing to holler everything in an ostentatious display that's borderline masturbatory. A premature celebration of its accomplishments that's mired in the stench of hubris.
Setting tone and forcing tone aren't the same things. You can't give birth to natural reactions by simply pumping your content full of steroids to make it blossom faster. Anything worth having should come to fruition on its own merits through the course of the narrative. Re:Zero is simply too impatient for proper grooming, and as a result, we get villains that are essentially godforsaken hybrids of the Joker, Batman V Superman's Lex Luther, and the wacky waving inflatable tube men located outside of used car dealerships, snacking on their fingers like crispy chicken tenders. We get characters that deviate from common anime tropes to simply fall victim to yet another trope instead. Re:Zero's biggest enemy is itself, a show that can't be subdued even if it comes at the cost of its own integrity.
But what about the people that don't see these issues? What about those who are genuinely enthralled by Re:Zero's efforts? Those who, despite the obvious blare of ‘trying-too-hard’ fireworks, don't pick up on the show's underlying meaning until further inspection? What about the people who push the agenda of the show being "smart," "bold," and "enthralling?" The foot soldiers that perpetuate the show's self-worth, finding depth where others see beyond it? Surely they're not mistaken. What do they see that others don't? As it turns out, the real question isn't what they see, but what they choose to give the show credit for.
It's the interesting themes that Re:Zero flirts with throughout its narrative. The outer shell that masquerades as in-depth concepts. If there's no prior contact with the ideas that Re:Zero presents, this kind of perception is easy to understand. First exposure to something that insinuates a deeper layer could cause any viewer to wax philosophical. And there lies the difference: those that have seen the laminated copy, as well as the genuine article. When the same concepts are seen done right, suddenly that laminated copy starts to become all the more noticeable. And so is the case with Suburu's supposedly "broken psyche."
Like the case for Gakkougurashi of summer 2015, another show proclaimed as a 'deconstruction' of its genre, Re:Zero also takes pleasure in tinkering with delirium, but refuses to dive truly into it. It glorifies the main character's mental breakdown, turning it on and off at the whims of the scriptwriters. With something as easy as a pep talk and hug from LoveInterest#2 being all that's needed to make things better, it's really hard to justify the "psychology" that Re:Zero boasts about.
Want to truly show a mentally broken state? Then have the line between past existence and current life be obscured with each reincarnation, and don't fix it. Just imagine how amazing it would be if the memories of all respawned events were compressed upon each rebirth, to the point where Suburu is no longer aware of the difference between them. It would truly demonstrate the anguish that Suburu suffers through by making the consequence something that's not only visual for the viewer but also something that implies that deeper layer that the show so desperately seeks to obtain. Instead of simply being the laminated copy, it could have been like other animated works that truly dive deep into this concept, such as Satoshi Kon's Millennium Actress and Perfect Blue. Both featured films containing women who slowly lose their minds and grips on reality as they descend further into a fever dream of delirium and jumbled memory. It didn't just carry around psychology like some fashion accessory, but it made it a very real thing for the viewers looking on and the characters that took the plunge into the never-ending spiral of irrational flatlining.
See that the protagonist suffers a loss that he can't simply fix with a jump off a cliff. Have stakes. If respawning to checkpoints is the only way to advance the narrative, the very least the creators could do would be to place Suburu at the crossroad of a decision that would allow advancement only if someone else were to perish. Let there be permanent blood on his hands, not just a never-ending clean slate. Don't resolve psychological trauma like it's just some phase people get over after a few days. Don't just wave around psychology like it's a toy. People don't simply undo damage because the plot demands a rational mind in a given scenario. This shouldn't change even for Suburu. Embrace it fully. Let go of safety nets if you truly want something that's "deep" and not just another copy of something other creators (Satoshi Kon) have proven is possible to achieve.
And really, this is just covering one aspect the show chooses to claim as its own. The same level of commitment is expected for every aspect of Re:Zero, not just some half-assed effort. With these nebulous concepts about redefining a protagonist's importance and exposing inner truths that felt entirely too heady for something as simple-minded as Re:Zero to muster up in any meaningful way, the only chance that the other half that doesn't see the show as "smart," "bold," and "enthralling" could buy into it, is if the show stops trying to find compromise that's easy to live with. It may seem "smart," but it does so with an air of smarminess while also over-pronouncing its efforts. It may seem "bold," but it never takes any risks that could be seen as irreversible. It may seem "enthralling" for advocates, but for everyone else on the other side of the aisle, it's just dumb schlock-entertainment.
And if there was anything that made this half-ass commitment more apparent, it would have to be the presentation that it was given.
Re:Zero is that kid that just learned a new 3-syllable word and just spews it out at every opportune moment in a sad attempt to appear intellectual. There're some elements here that demonstrate some semblance of writing chops, I would give the show that, but the way the writers flaunt their ability to come up with said ideas comes off as conceited, especially when these moments wallow in content that's tantamount to idiotic orchestral displays. It's a proud peacock, flaunting its ideas, while strutting around with toilet paper stuck to its ass. As it navel-gazes, everyone else looks on in amusement.
When I said it points things out with neon lights, this is what I mean.
“Hey, the camera is shaking excessively. Hey, we're giving Suburu a manic expression, one step away from having him foaming at the mouth. Hey, we literally added a 10% darkness opacity filter to Suburu's color scheme. Hey, all of these scene compositions literally bathe Suburu in a constant shadow. Hey, his eyes are big and bulgy. HEY, HEY, HEY!! Do you get it yet!? Hey, are our actions to paint him in an obscure light after a big altercation with Emilia not made clear yet? Please reward us. Please tell us we're smart. I learned a 3-syllable word today! Please applaud my efforts!”
Evil can't be expressed without outlandishly warped expressions. Happiness can't be felt without copious amounts of animated tears, a gust of wind, and painted on blushes. Insanity can't be expressed without darkened eye bags, manic expressions, and rape faces. Everything is calculated. A stage play executed with no blemishes. A play that remains a play. Art that imitates the art of others. Re:Zero wants to be a real boy, but its growing wooden nose tells the truth it doesn't want to admit to itself. If the warped face of anger looks forced, then guess what: it's forced. If the happy moments felt a bit too inflated with random rose peddles flying around and kawaii-level faces, then guess what: it's inflated. If sadness felt unauthentic with instantaneous waterworks and elastic expressions at the drop of a hat, then guess what: it's unauthentic. You're not interpreting it wrong. That pang in the back of your head that tells you this is kinda overkill isn't "just you." Deep down you know what you're seeing is over exaggerated, and after time has settled and you reminisce about key events, that would become clearer than ever. Re:Zero is a novelty act that blinds you with flurries of action and plot twists, but the moments the spectacle is over, what would remain is the realization that what you held dear was nothing more than snake oil sold by a quick-witted businessman.
Even things like auditory cues can't help but feel like the show signaling excessively to get your attention, an example being a high pitched hum, like angelic beings from a choir taking a laxative-laced shit. It could be seen as "chilling" to some, or you could be like me and think it's the angels of heaven passing a kidney stone in orchestic unison. Point being it's played only to signal a disturbance. And seeing that the show is all about disturbances, it just ends up exacerbating a problem that didn't need any more highlighting than it was already getting.
What needed more attention, however, were the characters and environment that the story took place in. For a show that's supposed to be genre defining, it does very little to prove it.
We get characters whose defining personality trait is being a loli with a speaking habit, I suppose. Beatrice and the rest of the loli cast could fuck off, I suppose. But I suppose since half of Re:Zero's main cast is lolis, getting rid of them would leave very little, I suppose. Stereotypical roles don't suddenly become better by simply switching them to another stereotypical role. A visual novel maid character doesn't gain depth by making her “waifu-bait” contestants. And this extends to every other character Suburu comes across on his journey. They're all just there to fill in expected roles, like a bunch of NPCs that are brought to life.
There's no sense of culture. No ethos to pull from. Nothing that defines the world that Suburu is tossed into. Just snippets of ideas cobbled together to serve as yet another medieval fantasy world that draws from the same well as any other. Were Re:Zero the only anime to tackle high fantasy, this wouldn't be a problem, but sadly for it, Escaflowne exists. Rage of the Bahamut exists. Berserk(1997) exists. Moribito exists. There's nothing here that defines Re:Zero. Even trainwrecks like Akame Ga Kill had a better-thought-out universe. And for whatever it does try to establish, it's either extremely overbearing or missing things that could be attributed to half-assed resolve. To go into specific cases would require spoiling some events, so join me in the spoiler section to go over them if you've already seen the show. As for everyone else, skip past for final thoughts.
**** brief spoilers****
(scroll down to avoid)
Naita Aka Oni (The Red Ogre who Cried), is a popular Japanese children tale that teaches kids the cost of assimilation and what it means for loved ones left behind to gain it. This is shown with a red and a blue ogre. Re:Zero attempted to use this story to insinuate the relationship shared between Ram and Rem. But like everything else that the show highlights unnecessarily, this parallel drawn was also made blatantly obvious, with Ram and Rem's hair color being pink and blue, which obviously alluded to the red and blue ogres, respectively. This wouldn't have been a big deal had they kept it at just that, but like I've already stated, the show doesn't trust its audience to pick up on the subtext implied. Instead, we get the arc with the inclusion of both sisters being superimposed with a symmetrical balance of pink and blue at every turn. It beats you over the head with the symbolism it's trying to present. This also included Suburu stating to the sisters that they're “fanatical like demons” with their reactions indicative to their origin as literal demons. It's this kind of obviousness that shows like Erased demonstrate when they highlighted everything in red to insinuate danger. Attempts at cleverness that's just painfully juvenile. And now this same kind of forcefulness is being carried over to Re:Zero.
And 17-minutes into episode 11, Suburu states, "You know, Rem, you keep putting Ram on a pedestal and undermining yourself—," while the camera unapologetically focuses on blue and pink flowers, both literally sitting in a vase (pedestal) of equal height. These are the kinds of things that Re:Zero does repeatedly that demonstrate its lack of restraint. Constantly drawing attention to your symbolism only defeats the purpose of it, to begin with. Symbolism and motifs alike are supposed to be discovered, not spoon-fed. And this is the problem with this show: it can't simply let things be without intervening with forceful resolve.
And then you have ideas that are used only to add detail to the universe or serve as a new plot reveal to keep the story exciting, but that are never properly thought out.
Like the battle against Moby Dick, a beast with the ability to erase the memory of people's existence consumed by its fog. We get an example of this when Rem sacrifices herself to save Suburu and is immediately forgotten by everyone who knows her. But yet, when this incident occurs again during the heat of battle against a battalion in episode 20, the powers don't work the same way. Where in the case of Rem her very presence and existence was erased, in this battle, soldiers only forgot the names of the soldiers lost in the mist but are still aware of the fact that people are missing. So how do people remember a whole platoon going missing during battle when they're consumed when prior cases of the whale's mist made it clear that you wouldn't even be aware of the lack of anything missing? This is just one of many small plotting issues littered across the show, and the only conclusion is that the creator needed another plot twist to hook viewers in, but fell victim to a plot hole later on when it no longer served a purpose.
Suburu is said to smell like the witch to a few people, yet, from all accounts, no one has ever encountered the witch face to face, so how do they know this assessment to be accurate? So the statement:
"Do I smell like the witch?"
is no better than saying:
"Do I smell like the thing you've never seen or come in contact with in your life?"
The entire show is just built on one unanswered question after another. How did he arrive in this world? How does his respawning ability work like a save point? In episode 24, he was shown to restart after getting past the whale and into the mansion, but then he could conveniently go back to the point where he defeated the whale as a save point after he dies at the village? It's obvious that this was done only to bypass having to reset the progression he made with Rem in episode 18. A moment where the show bends its own rules by going beyond simple retconning, instead, rewriting the very nature in which the resets work.
How could he speak their language and be understood but not write their assigned text? It's minor things like this that demonstrated that they wanted to appear insightful, but in actuality had only half-baked ideas… half-baked ideas that gave way to a show riddled with plot inconsistencies.
And then there're just scenes that are supposed to be tragic but just come across as ludicrous. Episode 15 contains the biggest culprit that comes to mind. This is where we met joker-inflatable-tube-man, who proceeded to break Rem's neck and limbs, and yet, somehow, she crawls over to Suburu and uses magic to free him… and this is supposed to be tragic? Nothing about this moment makes any sense whatsoever. And to top it off, it also demonstrates a moment where the writers switch Suburu's mental breakdown on and off whenever it suits the story. This isn't some "deep" moment; it's bullshit.
Re:Zero doesn't know the difference between mental anguish and parading characters around for personal amusement, nor does it understand that tossing ideas and lifting entire passages from other folktales don't mean it would work as a cohesive piece. There's a reason there's no cohesiveness between arcs; all it does is pattern storylines from works that proceeded it. A fairy tale whose identity can't exist without leaching off of others, and whose attempts at something different result in the aforementioned problems.
*******end of spoilers*******
When Hayao Miyazaki said that people "don't spend time watching real people" with industry, in-house anime creators being "humans who can't stand looking at other humans,” this is what he's referring to: shows that can't find inspiration outside of their own anime tropes because the people working on them don't see anything beyond anime. Re:Zero is a self-indulging anime with no worldly influence to speak of. Shinichirō Watanabe, Satoshi Kon, Mamoru Oshii, Yoko Kanno. What made these industry giants well-known was their ability to draw inspiration from influences outside of anime. They brought something new to the table, a claim that shows like Re:Zero can't prove. It's a product of its environment. Anime feeding into anime. It's Ouroboros incarnate.
Remember that thought I told you to hold on to, as to why I still suggest this show, regardless of how I feel about it? Well, this is the reason why. This is what it all boils down to. Re:Zero is an embarrassingly pompous try-hard that's fun to gawk at. It's a show that has proven to be a source of entertainment for those unconcerned with the finer details and who simply want to be amused for 20-minute intervals, as well as a comical mess for those who do see beyond the smoke and mirrors and enjoy dissecting silly shows for purposes of discussion. It's a show that takes itself dead serious while being oblivious to the fact that it's anything but. It's the Elfen Lied, the Mirai Nikki, the Akame Ga Kill, the [insert your own example here] of 2016. A show that could appeal to everyone, regardless of how they view their entertainment or how much thought they place into the pixelated images flooding their peripheral. It's the "M. Night Shyamalan" of animated works, a name big enough to fill in seats on opening night, but consistently funny enough for critical thinkers to jump in knowing they'll experience something amusing, even if unintentional.
Everyone wins. The studio heads make their profit; the majority get to be entertained, and the critics get a new punching bag for their inner circles. The world needs titles like Re:Zero. Titles that everyone will see. Cynical cash grabs will always come and go, but if I'm given a choice in the matter, I at least want my price of admission to be a show that's still entertaining. And with Re:Zero, that's what I got, a good ole dumb time.
Re:Zero is a great show if you don't care for subtlety, think 2-D waifus are laifu and are impressed by characters emoting in boisterous ways. But in terms of actual quality, this is an anime that puffs its chest out, holding its breath for as long as it can, with the slightest release exposing it for what it truly is: hot air.
I could count on one hand the number of shows I've ever used the forbidden "pretentious" word on without so much as second guessing my stance and I would unequivocally state here and now that Re:Zero became one of them. A show that strong-armed me into using a buzzword that I promised myself I would use only as a final ultimatum. And in a way, I guess that could be seen as an achievement. So congratulations Re:Zero, a show where only the cheapest blow every self-respecting critic dare not to resort to, could be the only appropriate response left available. But in this case, it's worth it. No other shows I've seen in recent years deserve the rare honor more than this. Take the mantle Re:Zero. You’ve officially become the most conceited MMORPG-inspired anime to date.
Re:Zero is spray-on tan psychology with peel-off sticker-tattoo themes. It's the kid on internet forums who are constantly saying "90's Baby," with a 1999 birth certificate. Its out-of-touch executives googling anime-related search results in an attempt to assure their product is "totally dope.” It's an anime that's rallied in on a stage sponsored by corporate suits, with "best waifu" pillows and other merchandise already pre-made upon launch date. Re:Zero is shallow, plain and simple. A skim off the surface of whatever topical events stick their noses out far enough to be noticed by those too busy counting the zeros in their bank account to dig any deeper.
But you know what? That's fine. I watched it, laughed and had a good time. And if people could cherish the laminated copy with the same vigor that others do the genuine article, who am I to stop them? Shows like Re:Zero will always come and go; you could either fight it or say "fuck it" and simply kick back and enjoy the nonsense on screen.
Before I start my review, let me just say one thing - FUCKING WATCH THIS SHIT! You will never expect what's coming if you just base your opinion on its premise or art style.
Moving on, if there is just one thing that I had to choose to say why Re:Zero stands among the best of the best, it is the realistic take on a fantasy world MC (Subaru)... and the character growth (read suffering) that he goes through. Some arcs were just plain depressing and disgusting to watch. How pathetic can the main character get? Well, that's where this anime outshines most others. This makes
the final redemption arc all the more satisfying to watch. And it's not just Subaru, there's Rem! Right from her initial reaction to Subaru to the culmination of everything beautiful in episode 18, it was perfect. Same goes for Emilia. From the kinda uptight girl that saves Subaru in EP1 to the conclusive finale where she goes through an emotional release (in a good way), her character, while it didn't develop much, grew to be more open. I can keep on talking about the other characters, but I think Tappei (the author) did a wonderful job here. So characters? 10/10.
Animation - 9/10
Kudos to White Fox for doing such an amazing job. Lots of wallpaper worthy shots.
OST - 9/10
Again, White Fox did an amazing job here plugging in the songs at very appropriate times. Not a big fan of any of the OPs. But the endings, goddamn. Episode 18 stands out as one of the best use of a song ever ~ (Wishing by Rem). And that title drop gave me goosebumps.
Story - 10/10
Ever watched an anime that just the perfect mix of action, adventure, comedy, romance, mystery, drama, tragedy, etc? You haven't yet, if you have not watched Re:Zero. Right from the delightfully comedic interactions between Rem/Ram and Subaru at the start to Subaru's distressing and pitiful redemption arc, it was just so wholesome and complete. However, the story was not perfect. Some decisions the MC makes, make no sense whatsoever. But they can be overlooked when you think how good it integrates the different genres.
And finally, I'm going to add one more category for the rating - Community. 10/10.
Watching an anime episode after episode on the day it airs might be frustrating sometimes. But in the case of Re:Zero it just made the anime all the more enjoyable. Thanks mostly in part to r/anime, r/Re_Zero, twitter, MAL and also /a/. Having a community to share the meltdowns and good moments with, is something that cannot be put in words.
So, just go ahead and marvel in the glorious suffering anime that is Re:Zero, while I sit here wishing I can start this anime, again, from Zero.
Note: This review was written a while ago when the show was over. Thus, it does not necessarily represent my current opinions, writing, scores or anything really. Still, I somewhat stand with the core ideas of the review.
Will this review ever get noticeable enough to be featured in the top of all the other reviews? No. I like expressing my opinions on all of the shit I watch. Sometimes there are times where an anime comes by and I need to make a full review instead of adding my opinions on the "tags" section. This review is directed for those who found my profile and
are interested on reading my full opinions on this series. Minor spoilers ahead. I hope anyone who reads this enjoys my rambling review of the hottest show of Spring and Summer seasons, Re:Zero.
WHAT'S UP WITH ALL THE HYPE?:
I'm confident when I say Re:Zero was the surprise of Spring 2016. When Winter was ending and we got a look of all the shows that were debuting, no one was talking about this. Everyone was too caught up with Boku no Hero Academia, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, Kiznaiver, Bungou Stray Dogs and Joker Game. As soon as the first hour-long episode aired, the community was divided on those who thought it had the strongest start of the season, and those who thought it was another "stuck in another world" show trying to be edgy and having cute girls falling for the main guy. I didn't get into the hype train until approximately Episode 6 or so and damn, this was an incredible experience. I've always hated Sundays because I knew I had to study study study, and the thought of having to go to school/get shit done was a pain. After I found Re:Zero, Sundays became my favorite day of the week.
A thing that bothers me is that many people tend to hate on really popular shows BECAUSE they are popular. I know there are some who have a valid reason for not liking a show like this, but it pisses me off when people hate on a show because it's becoming mainstream. A trend I started noticing is that people flew to compare it to a certain show that is is known for dividing the community between those who think it's "THE BEST ANIMU EVA" and those who think it's the lowest piece of trash ever, Sword Art Online. At first glance you could probably say their are some similarities. A guy gets transported to another world, meets a bunch of new people and ultimately meets a girl that changes his life. However, go deeper into the story and you'll soon realize it is nothing like SAO. From the "time travel" elements, to the complex rules regarding the world and far more interesting characters, Re:Zero far exceeds SAO as far as I'm concerned. Not really worth mentioning because it's very obvious if you actually watch the thing, but this comparison of these two completely different shows with a completely different set of ideas bothered me to death.
Man this show is painful to watch, in the best possible way. Since I started paying attention to seasonal anime, I have never seen an anime that moved me as much as Re:Zero has. It is the first show (including TV series) that had me on the edge of my seat, desperately waiting for the next epsiode to come out. Instead of "Re:Zero", a more appropriate title for this show would be "Re:Cliffhanger". I have to admit that at one point I thought that this show was over-reliant on cliffhangers. It uses cliffhangers on situations where it's not necessary, raising your expectations to later find out that it wasn't anything all that special. It may sound like a bad thing, but this method is extremely effective at making the viewer watch "one more episode to find out what this cliffhanger was about", later to realize it's already midnight and you just binge watched the whole thing in one sitting.
The visuals on this are pretty solid. Does it have 10/10 animation? Not really. It has its down times (especially during fight scenes), but other times it has really amazing visuals. What I can say is that it has good enough animation to make it work. Where I think shines the brightest is the sound. All the openings and ending songs are catchy as hell and the show knows when to use what track to peek the drama. The best word I would use to describe the soundtrack is memorable. When I listen to certain songs, it takes me back to an important scene and that is the best part about it.
A complaint I heard is people complaining that the MC is abnoxious making the show unwatchable, but doesn't some of the most highly acclaimed shows have annoying characters that make stupid decisions? Look at Neon Genesis Evangelion as an example. I personally haven't seen it as of the creation of this review, but I've heard Shinji is a huge pain in the ass. People need to have in mind that these characters are created this way for a reason, either to progress the plot or make things a bit more interesting. I'm not saying you need to like Subaru as a person, but keep in mind that he is supposed to be an unlikable character at times.
Another thing that I wanted to talk about is that people were calling this a "harem". From what I understand, a show is considered a "harem" when 3 or more girls are romantically interested in the main guy. During the whole season, only two characters are shown being romantically involved with Subaru: Rem (best girl) and Emilia (she's alright). It doesn't bother me personally, but I found it funny how people quickly threw the "it's a harem" card before most of the characters and character dynamics were even introduced. Is it because it has a bunch of cute girls, or is it because people want to call it a harem as an insult? The reasons are beyond me, but I digress.
Re:Zero is the type of anime where your judgment will solely be based on enjoyment factor. This is not a series where you can point out how "objectively good" it is (which is a term I don't agree with). If you take a step back and critique Re:Zero without bias, you will find that it lacks originality at times, and "techincally" doesn't have a proper plot or main goal. This will be major turn off to some since the anime never tells us why or how he gets transported to the parallel world, what's his purpose or what he needs to do in this world. The "story" of Re:Zero is basically this: the main protagonist is presented with various problems and he needs to find a way around them, whether it is survival or saving someone. In every arc, a new problem is presented and Subaru needs to find a way, using the knowledge he gains throughout his various lives with the help of his "Return by Death" ability, to solve it. I would say Re:Zero is more about the journey rather than solving or accomplishing something. This is taken as a fact considering that not even the source material has answered many of these questions. For the time being, light novel readers and anime watchers will have to wait until all our questions are answered.
Re:Zero also suffers with contradictions, like how one episode Subaru is super idiotic and can't figure out what's going on (even if it's super obvious what's going on), and then later in other episodes comes up with smart and complex plans to save the day, making you wonder if he's supposed to be smart or dumb. An example where the opposite happens (an anime where people judge it not by how much entertainment they got from it, but by how well directed or how great is the story) is Legend of the Galactic Heroes. There's plenty of scenes that I would say are really good directed, but Re:Zero will have a greater impact if you care for the world and characters like I cared for them. If you don't care for the characters or for what's going on, you will not like Re:Zero (especially when the dramatic moments come).
I'm going to be very subjective in this statement, but Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World- is the complete package in terms of what I'm looking for in an anime. It has the mystery of "what will happen next", the characters are interesting and you care about them and want them to succeed, the world Tappei Nagatsuki (original creator) created is so massive and so open to possibilities that you can't help but make your own theories and wonder what new concept will be introduced next. It has the drama, the romance, the action, the comedy, just everything I'm looking.
From what I'm seeing in the upcoming season, it is safe to say Re:Zero will be the most talked about show of the year (tied with probably Erased). I found this series one day when I was bored scrolling through my Crunchyroll. I watched the first hour-long episode and thought it was pretty good, but never I imagined it would be probably my favorite series ever. A few weeks in and I was completely obssessed with this show. It quickly earned a spot on my favorites list, even before it was finished. It never bothered me that the ending could turn out to be shit, because what it did during my whole viewing experience was enough. Nowhere I had seen a series where an entire episode (Ep. 18) could literally be two characters talking and be my favorite out of 25 episodes to choose from. I may sound like a 13-year-old fanboying for his favorite show, but I just wanted to make this rambling review to get my thoughts out there so I can go to bed at peace.
As expected from such a popular series, people from both sides of the coin (those who love it and those who hate it) have rushed to give their opinions now that the show is over. Re:Zero is truly the perfect example of an anime you will either love or hate. I can't tell you if Re:Zero is great, it all depends on you. Trust me, my lack of experience with other anime compared to other people and my bias makes me far from the guy to make a truly objective review. All I can do is tell you what it did to me. Reading all the reviews destroying the show and truly analyzing all its flaws with facts is a bit heartbreaking to read and made me see Re:Zero for what it is, but I can't deny the fact that I cried, I laughed, I rolled my eyes from how cringy the situation was, I got excited for the big reveals, I got chills when the drama peeked, and this "piece of trash" had me thinking more than any other anime I have seen.
In the end, this isn't for everyone. This review is very subjective and you have the right to disagree. What you can't disagree on is this: with all the hype behind this show, you can love Re:Zero, you can hate Re:Zero, but you can't ignore Re:Zero.
Re: Zero was an anime that I thought wouldn't be very good. I started watching the episode expecting to be dissapointed that it would be a generic "other world" anime. I thought this up until the last scene were the main character is murdered. Soon afterward he "respawns" at a fruit stand in the market, this is what hooked me. I realized that this anime is doing something no anime has done before. It made me care about the characters, and even become sad when they died even though I knew it would just be reset when Subaru dies.
The story wasn't just a love
story, it was a journey of drama, loss, friendship, and enemies.
The art was beautiful. I wasn't dissapointed with it at any point. It gave a great atmosphere for each situation and made sure you could take in each detail that was presented.
The openings and endings both fit the anime very well. The music playing in the background set the atmosphere very well, but there wasn't very much variety.
The characters were amazing. They all had some amount of importance and are built up so you care about them a certain amount.
I was kept in the edge of my seat throughout the whole anime. There were times of calm between "respawns" that were used to build the characters, but that didn't take anything away from my enjoyment.
This anime wasn't prefect, no anime is. Any part that might've been disappointing was made up for the next episode.
Re: Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu.
Contain so many similar elements from several anime, adapted, and executed perfectly. Even with so many similar elements from different anime mixed there, Re: Zero is still very original series in a sense of taste.
There's been some kind of weird mocking to some of the heroine in this anime in several forums, and that's been driving people straight to disinterest with the series. I hope there's nothing like that happening again in the future. Re:Zero is a great series, and people shouldn't be so disinterested with it because of cancerous community.
There's some aspects that I love about this anime:
Main Protagonist's change of character.
People tend to hate a character with unsightly attitude in some event in anime or manga. But for me, it's something beautiful to see. It's stronger than seeing character that found new power. Some good character attitude development is really hard to pull since writer have to know, feel, or even experience some event that can trigger ones character. In this series, Subaru is one that have solid characteristic development in attitude.
2) Literally got one set of attractive Heroines.
I can't deny that I'm really attracted to Rem after watched Episode 18. Emotions flows like roller coaster from hate to love. I really like the strong toddler magician that stays in her mansion to keep it safe. There's less of Ram involvement in that series so I can't make out any good impression of her so far. And of course, Emilia is one charming main heroine, but I hope there's more of her if there's ever a 2nd season, cuz I still enchanted to Rem more than Emilia.
3) Interesting Story (of course it is but I just have to point it out)
There's been some anime that has same kind of setting where the main protagonist trapped or goes to another world or dimension, the main protagonist can go back in time to change things better, set in kind of a medieval time. But Re:Zero really meshed all of that into one beautiful romantic fantasy.
I really recommend this anime to you who loves series like Stein's Gate, Guilty Crown or GATE.
This is quite though anime to give insights on. There are a lot of part from this anime that I really like, as much as parts that I didn't really like. But I did enjoy this anime a lot and it is worth for overall 9.
What I dislike:
- Story coming in and out without proper prologue and ending. Why Subaru got suddenly sent to the fantasy world, what is his relation with the Witch, and so on. It will be exciting turnouts if audience got explained those things. I am truly expecting a longer series instead of 25 episodes. Something like HxH where in the
end (perhaps) Emilia became the Queen and Subaru getting strong and defeat the Witch which is in the he became the King. Nice End.
- Second! This is the one of the worst part is Subaru. Yes, for me his one of the worst main hero, he acting over-stupid & childish almost the entire series, not to mention he is weak af. He stayed too many episodes with that kinds of character and it really frustrating and exhausting to watch him doing stupid thing, acting irresponsibility, and helpless all the time. Seriously...when I start watching this anime I was REALLY expecting he is somehow awaken a specialised strong skill (other than keep on dying and repeat) but as the episodes gone one by one, he is truly not moving up in terms of strength (only got that stupid shumac). Although he did getting strong mentally, for Godsake...that was after die at least 3 times for the same events. I have seen a long anime series like HunterXHunter which is the character developed very well the entire series. They have up and down, but they are progressing in all kinds of way which Subaru doesn't have.
- Betelgeuse Romanee Conti. Really the most annoying antagonis in anime. He just simply a psychotic and to make it worst, he out-powered the main character (Subaru) by far. Seriously, why it so hard just to give him death. I prefer character like him die once and then Subaru met the witch. Conti really psychotic and an antagonis without charisma.
- Last! The series is again...TOO SHORT. I am really expecting for second season with a proper finishing episodes. Not hanging like this. When the story start we have TONS of characters introduced on each arch. Not to mention Felt! She is suddenly brought up from slump to the kingdom but then that's it. She doesn't make any difference in the story at all in the end. It will be nice also that each candidate have their own arch story (just like Wilhem got for himself, his romance story when he was young, a background story to be precise)
What I like:
- Rem. Yes Rem. And maybe most of other audience does. Rem is one of those character that progressing REALLY WELL in the story. You can see how she change throughout the episodes. how and why her relationship and feelings for Subaru growing strong. She is strong and yet you can find a soft spot in her character.
- The romance conflict. I might say the romance conflict is really nice. Emilia is loveable, Rem also loveable, Subaru have a strong will and he is really expressive (too much most of the time) and all the romance conflict is relevant to each individual background (Emilia being a half elf silver haired witch, Rem being a half devil, Subaru being stupid and helpless but strong will) Not to mention that Subaru forbidden to mention his Reset ability which is make the case even harder. But what I think audience need to get is that love romance doesn't developing faster than the series and ended up hanging (as I said before it need a longer series to make it a complete story and finish)
- Wilhelm arc story. It is beautiful imo and it gives a different wind to the story. I was hoping if there will be the next season for Re Zero, they will come up with more background story (just like Wilhelm story) like the story of each kingdom ruler candidate history and side story. (We don't even know Emilia and Subaru background story for Godsake! We don't know who they are, why Puck tagging along with Emilia and kept on saying Emilia as her daughter etc, where they come from, how do they got into their current character they are) I am seriously have no idea why the author doesn't make it an agenda to make proper introduction on each character. Which is will help to make a greater emotional connection for the audience with each character.
- Emotional connection. I got pretty nice emotional connection with Rem since she got introduced quite a lot to the audience. But somehow I despise Subaru and technically don't care with him, which is actually bad thing since he is the main character. I just hope he doesn't hurt Emilia and Rem more than he does.
The art is cool. I love the coloring, the face construction. Art always been kinda priority for me before continuing the series and Re Zero doing great. Emilia is so loveable, Rem, and most any girl in the series. The man varies from bishounen to shounen. The environment really rich in colour and details. But I have seen better in Kabaneri, Inari konkon, bakemonogatari series, so I will settle with Score 9 here in arts.
I love the ending and opening which I find it suited with the anime theme and all. I just hope they make instrumental soundtrack during the scenes instead of the full voice music. Styx Helix really bring a strong atmosphere of romance and battle, Paradisus Paradoxium also. Myth & Roid really fit into the anime so well, and the way the music mixed really match with the weird theme of Subaru got summoned to another world with reset ability (or curse). 'Stay Alive' in contrast is a soft spot in the series that really fit all Emilia x Subaru x Rem in term of romance. But for 'Redo' I don't particularly find it fit with the anime but still I like this anyway (don't know if it because I love the anime that I then love the theme song or vice versa)
As I said in the start, I have like and dislike but in the end I enjoy the anime a lot. I enjoy and quite hopeful with the next episodes since the first episode. But then they leave me hanging with that episode no.25.
I DEMAND 2ND SEASON! I DEMAND EXPLANATION & I DEMAND A PROPER ENDING!
This review of Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu is solely based on my personal views and overall enjoyment watching the show.
Story: With the influx of all these anime shows about a protagonist being transported into a fantasy world/game, this specific show, Re:Zero, certainly doesn’t sound like anything special. In fact, when I first heard about the anime announcement for this show, I was pleasantly surprised but not at all hoping for anything that would blow me away. To me, I was hovering around the idea that if anything, I would enjoy watching the show because – while not original – it might end up being
something fun. This is coming from someone who only briefly skimmed through the manga and had no true prior experience with this series from the light novel or web novel before watching this anime.
After finishing this show, I really had a hard time figuring out how I wanted to say what I wanted to say about all the things that happened, all the things that I felt while watching Re:Zero. One thing was sure, Re:Zero’s story was anything but special. But I feel like the point was, that while it was only average in terms of bare story, how the author developed the story – and characters (which I’ll get to later on) truly made Re:Zero something special to me.
Characters: Where do I even begin? This show has some better character development I’ve seen in a long time. I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with me, but that’s just how I felt. I’m not saying I’m right, but I’ll go into a little detail as to why I think so. One particular character that receives a lot of hate for what he does and how he acts is Subaru, the protagonist of Re:Zero. I can understand how people feel, but the self-reflection and growth that Subaru had by the end of this series was truly something unique.
I know, I know - this is a fantasy setting, but how realistically portrayed the feelings of each of the characters is depicted really sold it for me. Obviously not every character had the same “god-tier” character development as, let’s say Subaru or Rem (I won’t go into them anymore than I already have, I don’t want major spoilers), but something that I found myself doing was actually caring about characters - characters that weren’t necessarily the main focus. I actually was interested in characters like Wilhelm and his quest, and cared about him enough to hope he was successful. From the friendship of Subaru and Julius, to how Felis felt doing something he didn’t want to do, I actually cared about the characters and how they felt. All these moments were what made this show much more than I could have ever asked for.
Art: There really isn’t much for me to say about the art. It fit the show. There were certainly moments that I thought the CG looked off, but for the most part, they did a good job with consistency. And I have to give them props for not using CG for some major scenes with big creatures flying around in the sky. (I’m sure you guys know/will know what I’m talking about after watching the show).
Sound: Oh man, this category. What can I say? White Fox did an outstanding job setting a mood with the right music. I felt so many emotions that I probably wouldn’t have felt if they hadn’t went the extra mile with the right background music, or the right ringtone in a scene. The amount of effort that White Fox put into each and every detail in the sound department was award winning in my honest opinion. They made the scenes that were already great, exponentially better because of how they used the score/OST. Also, props to the voice actors/actresses. Some of the VAs must have worked their asses off to pull off the voices we heard in the show. I honestly have nothing but praise for the VAs and sound department working on this show. They did one hell of a job.
Enjoyment: Obviously, as enjoyment is subjective from person to person, I won’t expect you all to agree with me on liking this show. Some people are more critical. Some people want to hate because they didn’t like how the show’s direction went. It could be because two characters didn’t end up together that you really “shipped” together. Or it could be because you didn’t like the main character and how they acted. But in the end, my personal enjoyment is pretty important as to how I rate a show. And while there were moments I didn’t like as much as others, it wasn’t like I didn’t like the show. Those moments, where I didn’t like a character, or direction, honestly was just a byproduct of how invested I was in Re:Zero and its characters.
Re:Zero is a deconstruction of your every-day, generic transported-to-a-fantasy-world-esque show, and I certainly think the show does a pretty solid job at what it set out to do. It defied my expectations and went the extra mile in so many categories - especially the sound department (which I can't stop emphasizing). It made me feel connected to not just the main characters, but to many of the side characters, and I don’t think I’ve felt this invested in a show and its characters for a long time. Now, after reading this far I'm sure you know where I stand at least in terms of recommendation. Would I recommend Re:Zero? Yes. I really would. Do I expect everyone to like it as much as I did? No. Definitely not - after all, this show wasn't perfect - it's far from it. But I personally feel like it’s worth giving a watch.
I'm pretty sure some of you are thinking that Re: Zero is another overhyped anime that isn't nowhere near the hype it deserves. Well, let me just say it now: Re: zero deserves all of that hype and score, or at least most of it. It is an exceptional anime, composed of many different kinds of elements that elevates the anime even further. The entertainment (and despair) it manages to give every single episode is astounding, and paired with great characters and great animation and music, makes this anime truly a must watch for any anime fan.
You probably have already seen this kind of a
premise before. The main character living in a normal world, suddenly gets dragged into a completely different world. And also time travel. It is not the most unique premise by any means, but time travelling as a genre has been one of the more difficult ones to work with. In anime, time travel might not make sense, create gigantic plot holes, and can potentially halt any kind of character development. Unfortunately, Re:Zero does have some small plot holes regarding time traveling, but that's to be expected since the story is not yet completed. However, Re:Zero still brilliantly manages to weave in the time travelling aspect of it so that it still manages to be entertaining and bring a good development.
I also feel like that this anime is a great example of how to make every single episodes. It doesn't drag, nor feel boring. Each and every episode is just so fun and makes you want to watch more and more of it. Another awesome thing to point out is that, Re:zero sometimes likes to omit openings and endings in some episodes, giving it even more minutes to work with, which was awesome to see, as one thing I feel like most anime need more of is time. (This is not saying the openings and endings are bad in any way.).
One unfortunate thing about this anime however, is the fact that the adaptation isn't close to finishing yet, so we are left with a lot of unanswered questions. Lot of things like the essence of how Subaru is able to go back to a certain checkpoint or the fate of the bowel hunter is still unclear.
The animation is also fantastic. It doesn't have clunky movements nor uncomfortable lighting. The fight scenes are great to watch, but the best parts for me were those lighting touches in the background which contrasted well with whatever the scene given. Sometimes light, sometimes dark, it just affects the mood of the scene so well. Some episodes, the animation is done so brilliantly that some scenes almost feels like a movie.
The sound section is great as well.. The soundtracks are really nice to listen to, the standouts being the ones with choir, and they accompany the scenes really well, especially in episode 15. It isn't a standout of the anime, but it is definitely worth noting, as it manages to stay consistent throughout the episodes. The voice acting in Re:Zero is amazing. The seiyuus, especially Kobayashi Yuusuke (Subaru), bring out some amazing emotions from the characters, which obviously is a must have in a despair-inducing anime like Re:Zero. Also, who can forget Yoshitsugu Matsuoga's unbelivable performance on Beteleguese? The voices aren't annoying, the soundtracks are great, and the OP/ED are one of the best of the season. It is just a really solid aspect in the show.
Now the most important part in any anime: the characters. First thing is, I see a LOT of hate for Subaru. Granted he isn't strong and is sometimes frustrating to watch, but I personally don't think he's that bad of a character. We see him struggle, fight against the seemingly impossible, and eventually develop as the series goes on. He might not be the most pleasing MC to watch at first, but I feel like this is what Re:Zero is all about: Natsuki Subaru's development. You first see a guy, cocky and arrogant, who runs into hopeless despair, so useless, yet trying to do everything by himself, transform into a guy who willingly seeks help from others to save Emilia and many others from the horrible fate awaiting them.
There are also a lot of other diverse characters in the show. Rem, for example, is easily the most likable character in the show. Her strong willed determination and great fighting prowess is a shining light to Subaru in many ways. We also have Emilia, Suabru's love interest and a half elf trying to ascend the throne although being discriminated by others for being too similar to a witch. The relationship between her and Subaru, although at times cliche, develops throughout the series, along with Subaru's personality.
One thing I like about Re:Zero is that it literally has everything in terms of characters: Struggling MC, powerful woman beside the MC, maids, lolis, traps, knights, psychos... everything.
To sum it up, Re:Zero is definitely a must watch show from the year of 2016. Its intensity, suspense, plot twists, and development makes the hype completely justifiable imo. The awesome fights and dramatic cliffhangers all add to the anime. Though the story itself is might not yet completed, the questions might still remiain, these unanswered questions only further serve as a good reason to watch the next season of this great anime.
Re:Zero is the story about Natsuki Subaru who is summoned to another world, a magical world. He befriends or more like falls in love with a half elf girl who saves his life from hoodlums so in return Subaru wants to help her finding her lost insignia. He and the girl are killed by another person while looking for the insignia. Just then Subaru finds himself alive back to the moment when he came in this new world with the memories of his death and everything that happened. And so starts the great journey of Subaru.
Now Speaking of Subaru he surely was a good main
character, well he was cringy sometimes but dude was a gentleman and likeable unlike other trap in another world anime MC *cough Kirito-sama cough*. Characters overall were mostly good Our main heroine(don’t know if telling her name will be a spoiler) is really kind, beautiful and strong lady and no tsundere characteristics thats a win right?. She doesn’t get much time in second half but the person who gets that time is REM!!!!! Yes the best girl, The Ultimate waifu material!. OK that is not really how I think about her but she gets a lot of development than any other female character and she is quite lovable. Other characters don’t really get much time but its ok at least they’re likeable.
Another thing that I liked about Re:zero other than the characters was the amount of substance. There were so many events and it felt that the show is progressing at a fine pace. OH and the animation was great as well same goes for sound. Voice acting was really good especially the voice acting of the villain Petelgeuse.
There were so many cute moments and then there were insanely brutal and heart-wrenching scenes. I felt bad for the Subaru when he was in pain, I smiled when rem did, it was just so nice.I cared for the characters and that’s another win
AND OH MY KAMI-SAMA EP 15!!!
Overall Re:zero was an amazing experience for me. I enjoyed the hell out of it without turning my brain off. Great characters, great animation and sound and heart wrenching moments, Its just great and I don’t think there is any need to find anything bad in it of course there might be some but I really recommend you to watch it. 8.75 out of 10
+great animation and sound
+loveable characters especially Rem
+A progressing story
-A slow start(truly slothful)
-still there is need for season 2. Can’t wait for it my head trembles!!
Ahh Re:Zero, the anime that is in my opinion looking to be the best show this year (beating erased). The anime that actually inspired me to write my first anime review, despite me being a lazy fk.
Apart from having excellent art, soundtrack, story, voice acting (especially voice acting) and direction (pacing) there are several underlying themes and messages (sometimes subliminal/hidden ones like in its OP). This is a show that will go against all of your preconceptions, judgements and/or expectations of a trapped-in-an-another-world type anime and will present to you something that feels entirely original somehow. It's one of those don't-judge-a-book-by-its-cover type shows.
are many things I could talk about this show that would take too long to express, so I'm just gonna stick with presenting some plus and negative points.
+ Interesting story about a shut-in neet suddenly appearing in fantasy world and has a strange respawn ability 'return by death'. With no purpose/reason for his summoning he has to cling to those around him and deal with things that will challenge his very sense of self. My synopsis might seem cliche and uninteresting but since I'm lazy I cbf going too much in-depth (I'll probably spoil it anyway). The story however is surprisingly the strong point because I consider the world-building in this show to be top-notch. Even though it has a time-travel attribute, it is not similar to Steins;Gate (which casts a shadow of expectation over it). It is a fantasy story first and foremost, and a very well made one at that (not the harem/romance type or Lord of the Rings type fantasy, it's more like a 'follow the journey of the MC through the world' type fantasy). It certainly isn't predictable, cliche or boring to watch (except the first few episodes).
+ Soundtrack is very good. It doesn't simply have catchy OP's and ED's but impressive orchestral music and also utilises the sounds of objects, breathing, movements to really set the tone of the scene and your expectations of what is about to happen. Episode 15 is a good example of this.
+ Right off from episode 1 we see very good art/animation (but not so good during some slice of life scenes). It manages to be fairly consistent throughout each episode and does give off the feeling of watching a well-made show. Character designs are also top-notch, with characters that actually add to the story being drawn well enough to be memorable; almost all characters/creatures were unique looking as well. I don't think there's a single character that looked boring, plain or weird.
+ The biggest selling point of this show is its constant sense of mystery, foreshadowing and the whats-gonna-happen next factor. Unless you've read the light novels for this show there is no way you can predict what happens next, even on a minute-to-minute basis. It was almost a 'one cliffhanger per episode' situation going on. Although this is fairly what you'd expect from time-travel like plot, the plot twists and cliffhangers don't feel off-putting, outlandish or just plain weird (think Mirai Nikki's weird ending). Instead they actually do what they are supposed to do - shock and hook you, get you hyped and make it hard for you to stop binge-watching. The best comparison to this feeling is watching Game of Thrones.
+ Main plus point for me was the fact that RZ took an overused genre, flipped it on its head and excluded nearly every character and plot trope that makes the genre so hated. Although its not blatantly presented to the audience, there were several central themes that were strongly developed that were in my opinion quite meaningful. Primarily, the deconstruction of what a true hero/protagonist should be was a key reason why I rated the show even higher than I might normally do.
Although it happens a lot in anime, the dialogue, execution and specific way the show demonstrated this theme, was quite unique (chiefly that its 'unlike' most shows) and outstanding. For the sake of brevity, I'd suggest watching the show to judge it for yourself but I think one would at least somewhat agree with me on this.
Despite having many other +'s I could talk about I'm just gonna skip to the negatives cos this is getting TL;DR.
+/- Main character Natsuki Subaru does not follow that standard behaviours you'd expect from a protagonist. Although he isn't made into a sort of anti-hero or villain like Light Yagami (death note) he certainly isn't a great person. This show is really self-aware of the kind of things a protagonist should do but it instead illustrates a MC that doesn't necessarily always do it. In short, the MC isn't made to be appeal to the audience's expectations (he, like the other characters in the show, feel poly-dimensional), so often there are cringy scenes/dialogue/inner thoughts around Subaru that can really make you dislike him at some points, but you can be rest assured that he does end up redeeming himself. He becomes the protagonist we all want in the end - starting from zero hehe. Essentially his character could decide whether its a plus or minus point for you. If you don't take the time to understand his character, and pay close attention to the show, it's likely you'll think he's dumb, over-dramatic or whatever (which is what most critics try to argue); which is a shame because he is actually very well-written.
- This does not affect me personally but there are some hard-to-watch scenes, blood and gore so it might not appeal to everyone. I certainly don't think its done to the point where you'd just want to drop the show but I can say that it doesn't hold back at trampling over your heart lol. In other words, there is plenty of shock value but there is always a 'weight' to the gore, unlike Tokyo Ghoul where there is literally blood/gore everywhere all the time and you don't feel anything, its more like that feeling when you first watched Attack on Titan and you're just there like 'WHY? OH WHY?'
Overall it doesn't matter if you think its good or bad at first, I would recommend just diving into it because regardless of its plot, it is definitely one of the best shows this year. Most of the hate the show receives is pretty much coming from people who want to de-rate it because they weren't that impressed, or they completely missed the meaningful points the show presents etc., and they end up using nit-pickery arguments or misrepresent/misunderstand/over-exaggerate some of its negatives. Trust me, it's not nearly as bad as any negative reviewer would make you believe.
Re:Zero is a fun show to get hooked on. It doesn't primarily concern itself with being philosophical, something really deep or trying to be a masterpiece - although episode 18 and some other episodes show potent and interesting digressions of human nature. Its not the best thing ever, but it definitely is above average.
You can really see how it is a passion project and that White Fox has put it in a lot of effort into it. It's definitely a must-watch show. Although it does have some flaws (mainly near the ending of the show), the cumulation of so many amazing moments and the dramatic, fun and interesting ride that I went on while watching this convinced me to award it a 10/10.
P.S If I had to rate it as objectively as possible I'd still give it as least an 8/10 but it just doesn't feel right. It simply excels in every department I can think about (or care about anyway), exceeded my expectations and was just too enjoyable a show to give it an 8.
This was hands down one of the best anime I have ever seen, The story, art and soundtracks fit together like pieces of the same puzzle giving off - Depending on situation - A feeling of happiness or despair. It will keep you at the edge of your seat craving for more, and that's exactly why I waited for it to finish airing in order to start watching.
For the first time I've sort of connected with the main character, and lived through the ups and downs of the story, felt happy at the heart-warming moments, and cried at the desperate ones.
This anime proves to us
that an MC doesn't always have to be Overpowered in order to look cool or be a true hero! Unlike your typical "Transported to another world" series, this one was truly a masterpiece unlike others, and didn't succumb to the stereotypical "POWER LEVEL... OVER 9000!!" idea that most Main characters transported to another world have.
But don't get me wrong, one doesn't have to be special, have unparalleled mana or Saitama-leveled physical power at all! This series shows us that willpower is enough in order to turn the tables, and to the point where even a weak human can become a hero.
If you put aside the fact that it's a fantasy anime, it won't get any more realistic than that! In my opinion the producers tried to make us understand something: You might go through lots of desperate moments, might lose people dear to you, make the wrong choices and despair, but that's exactly what it means to be human, we all make mistakes, a lot of them, but we all have the ability to fix them, and that is exactly what you'll witness in this series. And as I always say: "If you try to move forward while looking back, you will -Without a doubt- trip and get hurt."
I'm not a fan of long reviews so I'll end it here, even if you know that it'll get a happy ending, YOU WILL GET HIT BY THE FEEL TRAIN! And dozens of times at that, but it'll be one hell of a ride and an amazing experience! It might sound weird saying this but even if it's an anime, you'll definitely get something out of it.
And last but not least, the one thing we shouldn't forget: #RemBestGirl2016!!
Hey there, do you enjoy watching a decent romance+drama+action anime with realistic characterisation that attempts and mostly succeeds in depicting the effects of a teenage boy seeing and even experiencing death over and over again? Well look no further, because if so, you have an interest in observing a mental breakdown and the subsequent road to redemption. Re: Zero depicts this fairly well.
To put it simply, Re: Zero has a distinct personality that is accused of being generic and edgy. Nothing quite screams generic as a character that makes mistakes and learns from them. It's almost as if he is human. If you never make
mistakes or have an aversion to making mistakes and improving yourself, please avoid this show.
A maturing male protagonist? Check. A mysterious female protagonist that raises more questions than answers? Check. Girls with washboard racks because such people actually exist, and where one of them may have feelings for the male protagonist because what is love? Double check. You have your average level of diversity of characters which allows a show to appeal to a wider demographic. Such characters include, the temperamentally affectionate one, the little people and the odd "weird" ones which definitely are indicative of a bland cast. Who wrote this?
The story is a melting pot of genres such as drama, romance, mystery, action and more which is a treat to watch in measured doses. Of course, i could compare it to another deconstruction such as madoka and point fingers all day accusing it of being a failed transplanted clone. I won't though. Who would do that?
With elements of mortality (or lack thereof) as well as violence and time travel, your expectations are sure to be sated unless you have an aversion to life itself which has its share of serious and light hearted moments. If you have an aversion to anime which depict both the ups and downs of existence, please avoid this show.
I respect the characterisation of the male protagonist because he evolves from being a wide-eyed wannabe hero to twisted selfish person to knight in shining armour (minus the armour).
He is a boy of many identities; Selfishbaru, Sadbaru, Madbaru, Badbaru, and Whippedbaru.
Art was a little iffy for my taste but sound was satisfying.
Story - 8
Art - 8
Sound - 9
Character - 9
Enjoyment - 9
Overall - 8.6
Am I 12? Come 1v1 me and i'll 360 noscope you m8.
That was sarcasm.
Well I´ve started watching Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu not knowing what to expect.
I´ve heard a lot of people comparing to other series such as KonoSuba or Gate, except a bit darker. During the first episode it seemed pretty casual, nothing really innovative, but at the end of the first arc I really wanted more. So, here goes my review for Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu. IT CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM THE FIRST 2 EPISODES.
The story of Re:Zero is at times complicated, at times predictable. It is that contrast that makes it enjoyable. Of course, there are a lot of series with much more
complicated plots, but they tend to be hard to watch. Re:Zero took a pretty simple story of a teenager somehow finding himself in this medieval fantasy word. Nothing new, right. Well, that is until the MC somehow goes back in time, after being murdered. That is one of the most important part of the story, as well the part which makes it less predictable. Some things will be going alright and then the MC just dies, and must do things all again. While I loved most of the story, there were a few episodes in the middle which felt a little bit too cringy and dragged out. Also, since it probably will have a 2nd season, the story left quite a few unanswered mysteries.
You can probably find quite a few shows with a fantasy colorful setting ( KonoSuba, as mentioned earlier), so what makes Re:Zero different. Well, this shows art and animation are fantastic in my opinion. The character have somewhat original faces, the background are usually filled with details, making the world seem more alive. The animation is nice and smooth, and they even managed to make big battles smooth through good 3D animations. Although some of the non-humans look too similar.
The soundtrack was pretty good. The ambient makes it a much more enjoyable show, even through the more story-driven parts of the series. The battle music gets you hyped up. The intro was good
This show has a few very interesting characters, with good backstories. Our MC Subaru Natsuki is sometimes one of them. I don´t what to spoil much, but if you watch the show you´ll see what I mean. He sometimes acts very cool, other times he can be boring or even cringy. There are a few characters that will make you feel sad, some will make you hate them. MY main complain would be the sometimes appalling acting of the MC, and some other characters that were just dropped after a couple episodes without mentioning them anymore.
A cleverly written story, with a few twists, interesting characters, a lively world, a good soundtrack. It really feels like a compelling story, it can even make you interested in the history and lore of the world that it is set in ( Which is pretty good for a 25 episode long show). But I can´t give it a higher rating then 8, because a few episodes in the middle were kind of hard to watch in my opinion.
As I said already, it really a great show. A strong contender for best summer 2016 anime. If you like fantasy anime, i recommend it to you. If you like some soft-core horror anime I would recommend this to you. If you like romance anime, yeah I guess it passes. Maybe there is an anime that gives you all this and even more, and it really loves you and respects you, but I love Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu.