A young man named Subaru finds himself suddenly in a parallel world. However, unlike most transported to a foreign land, he is without a special weapon, magical power, or even someone he can readily hang onto. But luckily for him he does have one power, but said power only is available when he dies.
Episode Rating: Watch It
Trigger Warning(s): Episode contains Blood In The Action Scenes, But Not Much Gore
Despite Re:Zero’s having a very familiar origin story, unlike Endride, it doesn’t take the road traveled ad nauseam. It tries to switch things up by leaving its protagonist damn near defenseless and presents the idea of the protagonist dying as something which is entirely possible. In fact, it happens in this first episode. But what really makes this show shine is that like in some modern video games we get to see there are multiple ways to reach one goal and if one fails, you can just start over from the last checkpoint.
Main Plot (with Commentary)
Through means not explained, Subaru finds himself in the capital city of Lugunica. A place where anthropomorphic beings, such as lizard people, live and can thrive. Granted, it seems there is some segregation, but it seems separate but equal is something which works in this world. Refocusing on Subaru though, being that he was a bit of a shut-in, and anime fan, he figures with him magically coming to this world he would now possess a super weapon, magic powers, or have some strong warrior or cute girl waiting for him. WRONG! All he has is above average strength and seemingly that is it.
Leaving him forced to wander since he isn’t given a purpose. That is, until he meets a half-elf named Satella who, naturally, is attractive and who, after she saved him, he decides to latch onto. Leading to what thus far is the heart of the story which deals with him trying to find a way to get her insignia back. Something rather difficult for despite what path he takes there is this being named Elsa who, like a boss, keeps sending him back to the beginning of his journey.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Let’s say Subaru gets Satella back her insignia, would that create a new, let’s call it, “Save Point” for him? Meaning if he dies after getting her insignia, will he restart at the moment he gave it back to her?
- Will this anime, unlike Grimgar and Ash, ever address how he ended up in this world?
With a sort of bait and switch in terms of starting with a familiar story and then crafting something which feels rarely done, Re:Zero starts off well. Add on Subaru being aware of the trope and not getting anything he expects is icing on the cake.
Being that there is a possible precedent set with us seeing different ways for Subaru to attain a goal, I think this series could possibly keep itself fresh by showing us multiple paths that Subaru can take. Which perhaps could become as annoying as watching someone play a “Choose Your Own Decisions” quest type of game, but being that I can’t off hand think of too many anime (outside of Erased in a different manner) which employ this method of storytelling, this could be interesting.
The characters introduced thus far, Subaru, Satella, Puck, Rom, Felt, and Elsa all seemed rather interesting and while many do fit familiar archetypes, they don’t have that generic vibe.
There is absolutely no reason as to why Subaru ended up in Lugunica as of now and that low-key bothers me.
On The Fence
This redo skill will ultimately be a gift or a curse depending on the rules of it. If Subaru is forced to start from the very beginning each and every time, it will likely grow tiresome. However, if there are certain points used as check points, like he is in a video game, I think that could work for the story.