2016 Summer of Anime – Re:Zero

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Subaru looking off at all the sh*t tryna kill him.

Since I talked about this one in my first Seasonal Sawce post, I’m not gonna do a long intro like I normally do.  The main set-up is Natsuki Subaru is an otaku who finds himself in a fantasy world that’s much more harsh than the fantasy worlds in these types of series.  He dies.  A lot.  Whenever he dies, though, he resurrects at a previous point in his life so that he can try and make it though the “level” again.  Along the way, he meets a number of great and wonderful characters who are mostly women (Rem is best girl) and finds more questions than answers.

With just six episodes, Re:Zero actually challenged Diamond is Unbreakable for my favorite anime I was currently watching, and the latter is the fourth season of a franchise I have an indescribable love for.  I was legitimately surprised.  By the time it finished its 25 episode run…it surpassed Diamond for me.

There are a great many reasons why Re:Zero will probably go down as one of the true greats of this time in anime.  As I mentioned before, the characters are amazing (i.e. Rem).  Side characters I didn’t think I’d care for would stick around and add just a bit more to this world, and others would become major parts of different story arcs.  Like, I wanted so badly to see more of Aldebaran and his mistress Priscilla because they brought little but important parts to Subaru’s story.  Then, the anime throws Julius at us, and he decimates Subaru.  Normally, we’d hate him and be done with it, but he comes back, we learn more about him, and he becomes one of the highlights.  Those are just a couple examples of this kind of thing in Re:Zero.  The main characters themselves are given such well done character arcs, you genuinely feel like you know them and want to see them happy (i.e. Rem).

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Godliness is next to Remliness.

I actually don’t know what all I want to say about Re:Zero.  I could go on about Subaru’s immense growth from fantastical jackass to legitimate hero or how Rem is perhaps the anime industry’s highest achievement and it’s all downhill from here, but I don’t know if I want to do any of that here.  Those are both two very large reasons of why Re:Zero had me riveted in front of my CrunchyRoll app every Sunday, but there’s so much more.  Like those great side characters I brought up earlier and the world they live in; the way the show looks and manages its animation is damn pretty; and the constantly engrossing story yanking heartstrings and forcibly removing tears.  There’s just so much, and I’m not coherent or smartelligent enough to do any of it justice.  I do want to talk about the mysteries, though.

Few anime have kept me guessing and theorizing and hypothesizing every week like Re:Zero did (and still does, I guess, since there needs to be a season two).  Every time Subaru dies, the audience gets to try and figure out along with him why and how he died and how he can possibly make it past whatever ordeal he’s facing.  The second story arc in particular kept me wondering for a good bit.  The second half of the anime, though, had me flipping out after almost every episode.  I was an emotional wreck after a few of these.  The main reason being the middle-ish arc is all about putting Subaru through the ringer.  I’m not gonna say its Guts from Berserk levels of ringer-putting, but it’s on up there.  Every tragedy was more soul-crushing than the last because it seemed like something he and we couldn’t figure out how to stop.  Learning is a major part of Re:Zero, and it’s hella fun.  I just wish the last arc had given us some more answers.  Even now, I don’t fully know why Subaru was pulled into this world (we know who and why, but not the why of the why), how his “save points” are chosen (although I have a theory about that), how Emilia is tied to Satella, how powerful the Witch’s Cult is, how many more White Whale-level mabeasts are out there, etc.  A great way to establish a world without setting too many concrete rules, but dammit!  It ended at 25 episodes.

Basically, Re:Zero should get a second season.  Everything is done so unbelievably well, I would be flabbergasted if another season isn’t announced in the next few months.  I wholeheartedly believe it will join the anime canon, and it is a prime example of how great animation can be at this time.  For the first time in a long time, I’m giving an anime a perfect 10.

I do genuinely wish I had the faculties to properly express why Re:Zero means so much to me and the world of anime, but I’m writing this super late (because I make bad decisions!) and my brain feels pudding-y.  I might revisit a few points I mentioned to try and hone my skills someday in the future.  Who knows?

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Here’s a gif of Rem because I love all of ya…. But I love her more.

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