Suddenly, high school student Subaru Natsuki has been summoned to another world on the way back from the convenience store. With the biggest crisis of his life being summoned to another world, and with no sign of the one who summoned him, things become even worse when he is attacked. But when he is saved by a mysterious, silver-haired girl with a fairy cat, Subaru attempts to return the favor by helping her track down something that was stolen from her. When they finally manage to get a clue, Subaru and the girl are attacked and killed by someone. Subaru then awakens in the place he was summoned and notices he gained the ability "Returns by Death" and has become a helpless boy that only has the ability to rewind time to a certain point by dying. Beyond the despair, can he save the girl from the fate of death?
Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu has been serialized online through the website Shousetsuka ni Narou since April 2012, and was later officially published in book format by Media Factory under the MF Bunko J imprint beginning January 25, 2014. Much of the web content was trimmed and edited for the light novel release. The series placed second in the Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi! ranking in the best light novel category in 2017.
The series has been published in English as Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- by Yen Press under the Yen On imprint since July 19, 2016, in Polish by Waneko since April 6, 2017, and in Russian by Istari Comics since March 2018.
Time travel, being transported into an RPG like world and the main protagonist meeting a beautiful girl in this world that has something to do with his fate. None of this is something you have never seen before in the world of anime and manga. However, you have to give credit to the author of this light novel series, I couldn't help but get into the way the author executed this story. After watching the first few episodes of the anime, I just had to read the original light novel which the anime was adapted from.
Each chapter of the light novel series seems to
end with a cliffhanger or a set of events that just wants to make you keep on going. Though the storyline isn't the most original one you have ever seen, it is certainly one of the most interesting ones out of other RPG like series. With it's excellent art style, fairly interesting characters, and character-based plot, this light novel will surely hook you in no time.
Story (8) : Like I said, these type of being transported into an RPG like world isn't rare in the anime/manga/light novel industry or real life entertainment. On the way home from the convenience store, the main protagonist, Subaru is transported to a fantasy world. Where he meets the beautiful and charming, Emilia. Their paths become intervened as he helps her find her stolen emblem. Only to find out in the end of the day, Emilia and him both were killed. While, someway or somehow, Subaru was able to return to where he first appeared in this fantasy world. Revealing that every time he dies, he goes back in time, thus the timeline is restarted. With his newfound powers, he begins his journey to save Emilia. However once he does, only to his own delight, he finds more problems and more people that seek to harm him or the people he are close with. Sounds familiar? Well, the thing about going back into time after death is something you might have heard before, especially in Tom Cruise's Edge of Tomorrow. I won't argue about the fact that this story isn't the most original, as they aren't many original ideas out there left anymore. As the light novel progresses, you are able to experience more of the protagonist's internal conflict that he has to go through and multiple other problems. As each twist starts to unfold one by one, you can't help but cheer for Subaru. Not only for him to get the girl, but also so that he is able to help and save his friends from tragedy.
Though after each problem he solves, when he dies, he doesn't return to the very beginning of the timeline, instead he appears in a time a few moments after the incident. The only problem I have with the storyline, is that since the story progresses, you don't know what will happen at all. As this light novel series is mainly completely character-based. Instead, you don't have a single idea how this manga series will end. Though by doing this, the light novel can be quite "refreshing", since I don't read many series like this, which gives the series a unique touch towards it. Whether this is a good thing or bad thing, I'm not sure yet, but I anticipated to see more chapters to come.
Art (10) : The art accompanied with this light novel series is detailed, refreshing, cute and gorey all at the same time. With his upbeat and cute artstyle, it tends to mislead the reader in a way to make them expect another story. The colored pages of this light novel series are also quite colorful and bright, they are also really well done. You don't expect any deaths or internal conflict at first, but then you are greeted by the violence of Subaru's countless deaths. In the anime, the first few deaths of Subaru isn't as deatailed as in the manga series.
Not only that, even with the cute artstyle, it's hard to believe that Subaru is going through physological issues even with the cutesy artstyle. I am a big fan of the art either ways. As the mangaka in charcge with the art is quite new to the industry, I can't wait to see the mangaka's future works.
Character (8) : Most of the characters in this manga series are completely lovable and cute. Though Subaru can be quite plan and hard to believe. He is an otaku shut-in, who works out everyday? I get bugged out about this part every once in a while throughout this series, but otherwise, I fell in love with pratically all the characters. Whatever flaws the main protagonist is, compared to many other protagonist from similar series, he is still quite likable. He is heroic, strong and is willing to sarcifice himself for the people he cares for.
Whether the characters are theives or are heirs to the throne, they all have an individual presenoailty that isn't too cliche. Each and every charcter is unique in their own way, and each of their flaws also help to build more personality for the characters. Though even though some characters may some bubbly and positive, some of them have dark sides to them and physilogical issues relating to their problems. For example with Subaru, his deaths and betrayal from other characters are building up inside him. Some times I can see that he wants to give up so badly, but because he is strong, he will not give up. Though I can't help but wonder, when will Subaru one day go mad and just give up? As the pain of each death can be incredibly painful, physically and mentally. Though I quite enjoy seeing Subaru go through his problems, as it adds more color to the story. It isn't common to see something as dark as this happening to the main protagonist in series similar to this.
Enjoyment (10) : This light novel series was simply one very, very fun ride. Even with this series's flaws, I really enjoyed reading it. It was funny, and they were mulitiple times where I can't help but just laugh out loud. The jokes in this series are not at all dumb or cliche, instead they are just plain funny. I also can't help but root for Subaru as he tries to make his relationship as friends with Emilia progress into something more. He is indeed, quite charming at times when he isn't insane from all the problems building within him. Not only does this light novel have an positive and cheerful mood towards this show, it also has a dark theme that comes in every once in a while as Subaru struggles thourgh in internal conflict.
Overall (9) : I would definetly recommend this show to anyone who enjoys time travel or characters being transported into RPG like worlds. Currenly, I am curious what will happen in the future of thie series. Will Subaru return back to the real world? Will Subaru die and not be brought back to life? Will Subaru find out the true meaning to his power? The possibilties are endless. This light novel series is pretty close to being perfect, and I anticipate for more updates of this series to come in the future. The wirting style (from the translatation) is quite refreshing and easy to read. I would also recommend watching the anime after reading this light novel series, or if you already watched the anime, I would also recommend you to read the light novel series. Even though the anime and light novel are already quite similar, the experince can be quite different. In conclusion, I really enjoyed this light novel series, it was exciting, dark and light-hearted all at once.
Well, this is my very first review, so I don't have a big skill of writing it, furthermore English is not even my native language, so I apologize for the mistakes. By the time of writing I have read first 4 arcs of WN.
Re:Zero is one of my most favourite light novels. It takes very common concept like "Ordinary Japanese High School Student is being transported into alternative world" and adds to this generic thing some originality through concept which is very common in video games — respawn.
Story — 8/10
Re:Zero is more than just cool concept of time travels. The Plot
is also very interesting. The story unfolds around Natsuki Subaru and his misadventures in alternative world. He is Ordinary High School Student with no supernatural abilities, except for one — He can return to the very specific point in time every time he dies and he dies a lot in this story, full of pain and despair. Overcoming obstacles he becomes more mature and stronger(What does not prevent him from remaining stupid when the story requires it, but i'll leave it for the Character section). The world of this story is full of mysteries, most of which are still unclear, and I'm looking forward to see all the story behind this world. Nevertheless, the story has its flaws, the largest of which is the inertness of the plot. We just don't know what's the point of all that just happened. Subaru just overcomes obstacles that fate sends him and he doesn't has any purpose in this world, except for serving Emilia, i guess...
The story is not over yet, so we'll see what happens next!
Art — 10/10
I have nothing to say about illustrations in this LN. It has very good and enjoyable artstyle. Shinichirou Ootsuka has done his job well.
Character — 7/10
So we came to my favorite part — characters. You see, Re:Zero is kind of time travel story which means all relationships Subaru makes can be easily reset, so Subaru gets the lion's share of development. From a naive and selfish child he becomes... mature and less selfish child, I guess. He has to face many difficulties and stay sane. He has some mental breakdowns throughout the story, he sees death of his friends, disgusting monsters and other horrible things, he doesn't know if it'll be his last life and doesn't want to feel the pain all over again. But he has a very special friend who will be on his side no matter what happen. Yeah, I'm talking about Rem — The best girl of 2016 and possibly the whole millennium. She supports him throughout first 3 arcs and becomes his motivation in 4 and subsequent arсs. Lovable(ness? I dunno) of Subaru is the subject of numerous disputes. Some of my friends has dropped the book(and the anime) because of his stupidity and whining. He constantly suffers and cries. But hey, let's face it. He's just 17-year old NEET who has been teleported into another world and the only power he has been gained is Returning By Death. You know, dying is hurt, like really, really, really hurt. And, you know, watching your loved ones death is also hurts. I personally find Subaru a very realistic character and if I were him, i would probably just went crazy. But apart from all this, something is very confusing to me. He's able to do some political stuff like it's just a piece of cake, but he's not able to understand that interrupt important negotiations with his pseudo-chivalrous outcry is probably not the best idea. So yeah, Subaru is smart when plot requires it, but if plot requires him to be stupid, he's stupid as hell. I won't write anything about secondary cast, but each has some story behind, own moral principles and world view.
(Especially Garfiel and Echidna, love them)
Enjoyment — 13/10
Overall — 9.5
I recommend this LN to each and everyone of you. In my opinion, Re:Zero is the best "Isekai" light novel. Some will love it, some hate it. Re:Zero has its flaws, but they don't interfere with enjoyment of this series.
So, that's it. Once again I apologize for mistakes, if there were any. Hope this review helped you somehow.
Go to another world stories are easy to write, it is an undead horse that will keep having people ride it, hit it, mock it, praise it. At this point even "subversions" have become its own cliche.
So anyway, Re:zero, a show that is pretty bad, which was basically torture porn for 2-cour. A lot of people already shat on the anime so I may as well do it for the source.
At the time of writing, I have finished all the LN and gotten into the next arc of the WN, and ohhhhhhhhhh god is it horrible.
Plot - 3
First of all, the writing is
terrible and no it is not the translation's fault, the actual writing is bad, as it is hard to keep track of what the scenario the author is describing. It is very bland, descriptions lack the whimsical charm of LN but are not artistic enough to be taken seriously. In addition the pacing is atrocious. Three arcs in and around 10 theoretical vols, we still have no idea what's the story behind this world or get any progress in the king election. In fact the story introduce a bunch of witches who explains...roughly nothing important, and serves only to provide more mystery.
And that is what Re:zero is, it is a dumb mystery that is really generic if they just explain it straight to you. In fact 3 arcs in, the main plot could be explained pretty much as "yandere girl (probably Emilia as a twist) likes scum, so fuck up world for scum, probably due to time travel or something."
And there is no funny plot or hijinks or anything interesting besides the shitty mystery and torture porn.
Character - 2
Oh boy Subaru, fan boys defend him for being "super realistic teen" and all that garbage. But then you find out he is the chosen one, oh yes, turns out the book that the witch cult have prophesies his action or something like that. And he have high compatibility with witch powers, what ever that is.
Did I also mention the witch did all the crap for him to make him feel better about himself?
Yeah, excuse me for not sympathizing with a scummy whiner whose the source of the problem!
Oh yeah, and his whining never get better, in arc 3, he had a talk with his father in a dream illusion. And you would think he is now a changed man as his father says he is proud of him. Nope, next few chapters he is sprouting hate speech at the twin tail loli from the mansion for saving him, being a vile scum once more. This isn't realism, this is an edgy teen with bipolar disorder. And you know what the author rubs it in by saying, he meant to create such a scummy character and it was quote on quote a deconstruction and criticism. I don't think making a straw man counts as criticism, as much as I hate these go to another world story, few of them sink to the despicable low of Subaru, at this point you are no longer making a deconstruction but a hate fic. Not helped that Subaru suffers or succeeds on a whim, when he fails it is because a random bullshit pop up, like the rabbit monsters in arc 3, when he succeeds it is through luck because a character suddenly does exposition for him telling him literally what he needs to do next.
Yeah fuck Subaru, as for the other characters, they don't get much spotlight cause this is Subaru's story so we are stuck with this asshole forever.
Overall - 3
This novel is garbage, whether in WN or LN format. There are ways to have a scum MC, if you are tongue in cheek about it and satirizes it. But that is not what this is doing, this is having torture porn and scum MC while being 100% serious, resulting in everything being unlikable and characters acting like they are complete morons.
Re:Zero gained a lot of popularity from the anime that aired in 2016, and it's not hard to see why. It had an interesting story, lovable characters, and fantastic music. I have quite a bit to say, and I'll aim to avoid spoilers if I can.
Story - 10/10. It's fantastic. It delves so much deeper into the world than I could have ever imagined, and having all these loops and turns with Return by Death gave me a very Zero Escape/Steins;Gate feel which I really love. I usually don't like fantasy world stories like this, but Re:Zero gave me a new outlook.
Art - 10/10. The
illustrations are fantastic, and going on Twitter to even see them is something I like to do. They fit the character, and have a nice, soft, painted feel to them.
Character - 9/10. My only gripe in the series. Subaru is the only one that gets truly steady development which is fair since he is the MC. However, Rem basically gets all the development she'll get in the early arcs, and Emilia really needs a good long time to take off as a character, strange considering she's the poster waifu of the series. I guess Rem took that spot a long time ago though.
Enjoyment - 10/10. I used to stay up nights reading this thing, and I still do sometimes. The story almost never gets that stale for me, and it's just fantastic. The novel also has quite a lot of detail that wasn't present in the anime, and even the fillers are interesting. Just a solid story.
Overall, I'd give Re:Zero a 10/10. I tend to skew higher on the scoring for things I've read over things I've watched, but I can honestly say that Re:Zero is one of the best I've ever read. I recommend it to anyone who wants to get into a sizable series as while it is long, it doesn't get stale easy.