Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu – 18

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In which Subaru truly does return to “Zero”, and this show continues to surprise

Other than a thorough and devastating dressing-down by MegaPuck (during which time Subie slowly freezes solid and shatters) and another Return by Death, this episode consists exclusively of one conversation between Subaru and Rem, presented only with intermittent flashes from the past.

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lot is covered, with a great deal of emotion flying around. It takes a great deal of attention to sit through and absorb, but if you like Subaru (or are at least rooting for him) and you like Rem, you probably liked this episode a lot, I for one was riveted.

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There’s also a good deal of rejection in their long, sprawling discussion, which takes place in a very pretty part of the city with a lovely view, on a clear, crisp day. First, Rem rejects Subaru’s desperate plan to run away together, because it would mean giving up on the Subaru she fell in love with.

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Rem can’t possibly know how much Subaru has been through already, and how he finally decided to give up after much suffering. But damn it all if I don’t get soppy-eyed as she beautifully describes the perfectly fine future they’d have together if she went with him. But again, she’s not ready to give up on him, even if he’s given up on himself.

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Initially in the talk, I was on Subaru’s side, because I was right there with him when Rem, Ram, and Emilia died again and again, often in awful, horrifying ways. Like him, I’m from the real world, where I, unfortunately, am not a hero. If I ended up in a fantasy-RPG-style world like he did, I might think for a time, that I had suddenly become one.

But Subaru learned the hard way that he is, as Puck put it, useless. That every time he’s talked big, he’s come up short in the quest to save everyone. It’s hard to argue, considering this is the most persistent impasse he’s come to, which has led to the darkest places…and there’s only so much a dumb do-nothing kid from the modern world can take, right?

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Subaru tries, with the same passion he ranted at Emilia, to drill into Rem’s head all the ways he is a complete and utter failure of a living thing. But she simply doesn’t buy it. She comes back with all of the reasons she loves him, and describes in detail how she felt when he rescued her from herself. Not only did she fall in love with him then, but he restarted a clock that stopped for her when her village burned. He is her hero.

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Rather than run away from everything, she’s going to stay right where she is, and so is Subaru. Whatever troubles they have, they’ll figure it out together; support each other; make up for each other’s weaknesses. Do what they’ve done up to this point. Rem makes her love for him plain as the blue sky above them.

So when Subaru rejects her because he still loves Emilia, it stings quite a bit, but for Rem, better to have a Subaru around than not, whether he loves her the same way back or not.

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So when Subaru puts forth his plan to move forward and try to save Emilia and asks for Rem’s help, Rem humbly accepts, but makes sure to tell him how cruel it is to ask such a thing of someone you’ve just rejected. Subaru, in turn, reminds her she rejected his running-away plan first. Touché!

They both have a good laugh – it’s been a long, exhausting talk, but look at what it has wrought! Subaru, who had been brought so low, he was starting to think—like me and Franklin—that he really was immensely over-his-head with this whole hero thing.

He had bags under his eyes, he was utterly done with everything. And now he’s back in the game, in far higher spirits, and even smiling and laughing. Quite the transition in one talk!

Time will tell if Subaru is simply grasping one last time onto the hope of one (Rem) who is, at the end of the day, ignorant to his past failed attempts, and doesn’t understand just how weak and ineffectual he is.

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Is this a glass-half-empty or a glass-half-full show? I’m still not sure, but it’s a half-full episode, which rejects what I’ve been thinking throughout this second half: that Subaru simply can’t cut it in this world, as much as he and I and Rem may want him to.

I’m looking forward to seeing what, exactly, returning to “zero” means for Subaru, and if somehow all the insights he and Rem gleaned from this long heart-to-heart will help them. Until then, this was a powerful episode, despite not much physically happening.

What did happen was Kobayashi Yuusuke and Minase Inori delivered some powerhouse performances that really drew me in and restored my faith in the possibility of a happy (or at least happier) ending. Mind you, Re:Zero may just be setting us up for more dark times made darker by the fact everything said here may end up being lost. But I hope not!

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Author: magicalchurlsukui

Preston Yamazuka is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

6 thoughts on “Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu – 18”

  1. My agreement with a solid 10 is as follows: This episode, which again pushes story through opening and ending credits for maximum narrative length, is entirely devoted to 2 scenes and the second scene, which is far longer, is entirely devoted to a conversation between 2 characters.

    The emotional range — the devastation of a hero to the core of his own self image — was riveting. The absolute bleakness of it all was earned and delivered, and that bleakness mustered through even during the sunny day of a re-boot. The rebuilding of his spirit, likely now harder edged and ruthless by Rem’s image of him as a hero, was also earned and well delivered.

    I was glued to my screen for that full length. Rapt in their expressions and the truth of their observations, and all they did was speak.

    I can not name a single anime that has accomplished such a thing before.

    1. Damn straight.

      It’s very unusual indeed for an episode of anything to focus on one discussion. The show has its share of powerful back-and-forths, but this may have been the best yet.

  2. The one thing Subaru has still not learned, or grown up about, is that he does not love Emillia, she is just a figma. She can do no wrong because he does not know her. The only people he has taken the time to actually get to know are Rem and Ram.

    1. I’ll admit Subaru x Rem appeals to me, due to how close they’ve gotten, how dedicated they’ve become to one another, and Emilia’s severely limited screen time. It’s supposed to appeal to us.

      But I was also prepared for Subaru’s rejection, especially after what happened with Emilia prior to his most recent respawn.

      Rem building Subaru back up this week contributed to the notion that he is The Knight in this game-world, and Emilia is the Princess (or future queen) he must protect.

      There’s also the not-so-little matter of Puck. Even if Rem had agreed to Subie’s original plea to run off with him, any time Emilia dies, MegaPuck inevitably shows up to kill Subie for breaking his promise. It’s happened three times now.

      So Subaru HAS to save Emilia, which means he HAD to regain the confidence Rem reinstilled in him. The useless must find a way to become useful.

      His “love” for Emilia is less about shared experience or knowing who she truly is, and more about his duty as her self-appointed knight – a duty Puck won’t allow him to shirk.

      1. rem fanatics are really quite off putting to put others down. everything that rem loves about subaru, subaru loves about emilia, it’s the same why can you take off your shipping goggles.

      2. Someone super-glued them to my face. It’s not my fault!

        For the record, I have no problem with Emilia, or with Subie choosing her over Rem.

        But Emilia hasn’t been around in eight weeks (aside from a very brief appearance in ep. 17, when she dies).

        That’s a long time to go without a major character, and in that time I’ve become far more invested in the relationship the show has been more invested in: Subaru and Rem.

        The Summer half of Re:Zero has continued doing the legwork with Subaru and Rem. With Subaru and Emilia? Not so much…which I’ll admit, is a shame.

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