Let’s do this one more time!
What’s the Story?
Having brought down the White Whale and dismantled the schemes of the Sin Archbishop of Sloth, Subaru was finally riding high again. He even got a lap pillow from Emilia! Of course nothing good can last too long for our eternally-dying protagonist and tragedy strikes again when Rem is attacked and wiped from everyone’s memory except for Subaru. What’s more Subaru has already reached the next save point so he can’t use Return by Death to solve this. Adding to his problems, the villagers have yet to return from the Sanctuary and when he and Emilia arrive they learn that the only way to free everyone is to pass the trails of the late Witch of Greed. Can Subaru confront his past, overcome yet another of the Great Mabeasts and bring the machinations of Roswaal crashing down around him? This time he’s going to need something more than Return by Death to get out of this one!
Do you have one of those shows that you love, despite the inescapable feeling that there’s a lot of stuff you’re just not getting (think Christopher Nolan films or any season of Line of Duty). That’s me and Re:Zero, at least on a first watch through. You can check out my review of the first season HERE, but suffice to say that I had a blast with it. The journey of Subaru, from the psychological toll of his many deaths, to the very shattering of his ego and his eventual attempts to rebuild himself, was compelling and I ate up every moment of it. The second season is no less fascinating, packed full of so many reveals and bits of character back story and world-building lore, it’s too much to take in all at once and, yeah, that’s a problem. As much as I love this series, I do have to acknowledge it’s flaws and that’s a big one.
Re:Zero has always been a very talky series, with vast amounts of exposition and a really roundabout way of saying things. Often the mentality of this show is that a paragraph of too much detail is far better than a single concise sentence and, that’s just bad writing. Add on the fact that, at times, the lore and finer details of this world can really be impenetrable and the show is no way interested in holding your hand, and it’s a wonder I enjoy this series as much as I do. Watching this show week to week can be a nightmare at times. I’ve got to retain all the mountain of details I learned about in the week’s prior, plus comb through all the stuff from the current episode and make space in my brain for the week’s still to come. At times I’ve felt like Sisyphus continually pushing that boulder up a hill only for it constantly slip out of my grasp. I’d be tempted to recommend just bingeing this series all in one go, but I’m worried that would make your head explode, on the first watch at least. Re:Zero is really a series that needs to be watched multiple times to be fully enjoyed, and while I don’t have a problem with that I get why some people might and that’s perfectly fine.
All of that does make this series sound pretty bad, doesn’t it? It certainly makes it hard to recommend, but I still find myself enjoying each and every episode so why is that? The only thing I can really put it down to is the characters, while a lot of them may suffer from verbal diarrhoea, I’m still invested in them and their journeys. I want to know more about Subura and his past, to see what made him the way he is, I want to see what’s so terrible about Emilia’s history and Otto’s story has turned him into the surprise Best Boy of the year. You’ll find all of that in season 2 and each and every answer is worth it. It helps that while I may not always understand what some characters are saying, I can always at least understand them emotionally. I may not know why they care so much about something, but I get that they do care and when an epic moment hits, especially towards the end of the season, it truly feels epic. This series knows how to work the feels and make you care and, really, that’s it’s greatest strength.
I am still really looking forward to season 3, because while this season answers a great number of questions (even if I’ll get the detail on my second watch through), there’s still so much that we don’t know about this world. Plus, the most important thing of all, we need to get Rem back! She got side-lined in the first episode and she’s still in a coma by the final episode and we can’t have that! Here’s hoping getting that sorted is the first task of the next season, now that we’ve got Emilia’s past and Roswaal’s motivations sorted out.
In the end, Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World can be a really hard series to recommend. It is overly wordy and the lore and plot can be impenetrable without multiple viewings, and yet I still get so much joy out of watching this show. I’m invested in these characters journeys and I care about what they care about, even if sometimes it takes a while for me to understand why. They have a world that is packed full of mysteries and intrigue and when something epic happens you can bet it’ll feel as epic as possible. I’m eager for a season 3, but I understand if people feel like it’s time to get off this ride. As for me, I’ll probably be buckled in until the finish.
Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday or you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisGJoynson.