Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu – 20

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In an initially cryptic prologue, a young man who looks like a more well put-together Subaru approaches a fair lass who looks like a redheaded Emilia. It’s actually a very young Wilheim van Astrea meeting his future love, Theresia, but I’m sure the resemblances aren’t an accident.

Theresia may be gone and isn’t coming back, but this entire grand battle is Subaru’s attempt to protect Emilia from a demise (and, in turn, himself from Puck’s primal wrath). He couldn’t do it alone, so he called upon those with common purpose, and the result unfolds this week.

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Watching him dust himself off and craft the plan and set up the pieces made for a World Heritage List-worthy outing; and while it wasn’t really in doubt that the payoff would, er, pay off, there was also a lingering feeling that Subaru was due for another setback. This is Re:Zero, after all. Not victory comes easily, nor on the first try.

That being said, the joint Karsten/Hoshin army packs a whollop, unleashing all their best attacks and dealing seroius damage to the whale, who is none to happy that the ambush tables were turned. One weapon even turns night into day, which makes the battle a lot easier to see. This isn’t ufotable-level combat, mind you, but it doesn’t need to be, and gets the job done.

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After Wilhem cuts out one of the whale’s eyes (GROSS!), it unleashes a cloud of fog, and its counterattack begins. We see concern in Crusch’s expression as the sky dims, and Wil remembers telling the lovely redhead in the ruins how his sword is the only way to protect someone as a knight.

He failed in that task, but not for want of trying, and is resolute in his desire to make up for the failure by vanquishing the whale once and for all.

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But the whale has more tricks up its sleeve: its fog cleaves the earth and utterly destroys a good chunk of the force. Many of the survivors succomb to the whale’s devastating, mind-piercing song, which makes them hurt themselves. Fortunately Felis is there to neutralize the effects with his healing magic.

Subaru sees that someone needs to step up and change the tune of this battle, and decides it should be him. He openly mentions Return by Death, which has the desired effect of infusing him with a fresh batch of the Witch’s stench, drawing the whale to him like a fish to a lure.

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This gives Wil a fresh chance to do more damage to the whale, but he ends up in the wrong position at the wrong time: right in front of the whale’s mouth as it scoops the earth around him up like a cloud of shrimp.

Wil stops and recalls one last time, the night he was saved by the Master Swordsman, who turned out to be Theresia. The fact is, he was never strong enough to protect her; instead, the reverse was the case. Even when he lashed out in frustration, Theresia proved she was the better swordsman, even if she didn’t understand why.

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But Wil never got over the face he could not protect the woman he loved, nor stop her from protecting him. He saw himself as the expendable one, and would have died happily if it meant she could live on, or even better, especially if she could then step down as Master Swordsman.

But that’s not exactly fair to Theresia, and I’m glad the show brings up the fact Wilheim’s desire for revenge, and putting himself in the literal jaws of the whale, may not have been the right thing to do, or indeed what Theresia wanted. She died to save him so he could live on. But he spent the last fourteen years living only for this day.

Whether he survived this battle or died fighting, he was going to end things. And I’m not sure Theresia would approve. Especially since we learn there isn’t just one white whale, but several. Talk about a Re:Zero knife twist!

What if now, Subaru has to die, plan all this out again, and the next time, include Priscilla and possibly others? I’m also weary that the Witch’s Cult will take advantage of the Karsten’s scattered, weakened army to launch their own strike.

The plan was sound, it just wasn’t quite enough to end things. Will Subie be able to accomplish what Wilheim couldn’t—save the one he loves—without sacrificing himself?

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Author: magicalchurlsukui

Hi, I'm Preston Yamazuka, I'm one of the writers for the anime blog RABUJOI. I prefer anime involving fantasy, magic, mystery, the supernatural, and/or horror. I also love seagulls, but they don't seem to share the sentiment.

6 thoughts on “Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu – 20”

  1. Please excuse me, but what about this episode was a masterpiece? For me, this was a 7/10 at best, and even this would be very generous.

    It was mostly a “suspend disbelief” ‘fight’ with a hovering whale with next to no interesting tactics, and with next to no emotional attachment for me – I really didn’t feel invested at all.

    The real problem however was the Wilhelm backstory, which was flabbergasting in its banality. Grouchy “I have nothing else” swordsbrat turns “I want to protect” before he had a facedesk-inducing ridiculous sexist outbreak “With such a face, you shouldn’t hold a sword”. Instead of being grateful for being saved, he’s feeling resentment because Theresia didn’t reveal her secret to him before. Excuse me?

    It’s clear that the backstory is not finished yet, so I’ll give this story part a chance to redeem itself, but so far, this was horrible and killed the sympathy Wilhelm had built up in the past. Probably next episode he’ll kill the whale from within and show that he managed to grow up in the past – after all Theresia married him. But until then, this is unfinished work at best, and mediocre at worst.

    Not remotely near “masterpiece” level in _my_ book (though you’re naturally entirely entitled to your own opinion)

    1. My 10 rating was an early, overzealous initial score that I’ve since downgraded to a 9.

      But yeah, I still got a kick out of the episode. The emotional impact from watching the show’s first large scale battle made up for the less than stellar execution.

      I was also moved by the Wilheim material, and didn’t mind that where they sent his character didn’t necessarily flatter him. Your mileage may vary.

      1. Wilhelm’s comment wasn’t meant to be sexist to begin with. Mentar completely disregards how Thesesia might have actually felt about her status of Sword Saint. It’s linked to reason why Wilhelm said what he did at the end.

      2. Er… what? Please explain how his comment was not de-facto sexist. Very curious to learn a non-sexist reason how being a woman with a pretty face would preclude Theresia from being a Swordmaster.

      3. Here’s my take on the Wilheim Situation. (Sorry for the length):

        We learned that at a young age, Wil was very uncomfortable – and unmoored – by the reality that the woman he loved was stronger than him.

        Theresia’s ambition to be the swordsman is ambiguous at best, but desire is irrelevant. If it’s her fate, and her duty, to be the Master Swordsman, that’s what she’s going to be. Wil can’t do anything about it.

        Wilheim is old. He’s a man from ‘a different time’, when perhaps gender roles were more rigid (or at least, that’s what he believed). In other words, yes, he was sexist. One can’t excuse his sexism, but one can explain it.

        We don’t have the complete story of the couple yet, but here’s what we have so far:

        1. Wil works to become the Master Swordsman, and thus Theresia’s knight.
        2. Theresia turns out to be the Master Swordsman, and Wil’s knight. Wil has an identity crisis.
        3. …
        4. Wil and Theresia marry.
        5. Theresia is killed by White Whale (though not erased by the fog, since he still remembers her).
        6. 14 years later, Wil gets his change to kill White Whale (and kinda-sorta lets himself get swallowed by it).

        Step 5 reinforces Wil’s troubles with Step 2. But more importantly, she died because he failed in Step 1. He doesn’t blame Theresia for being what fate and duty dictated (they went through Step 4, after all). But he absolutely blames himself for not being stronger, and the whale for taking her from him.

        Clearly, he would have preferred if fate had chosen him to protect his wife than the other way ’round. It’s less, then, about the fact that ‘some woman’ usurped his presumed role, a role ‘only a man’ should have.

        It’s the fact that the woman happened to be the woman he loved.

        tl;dr:
        Wil isn’t perfect. He’s flawed, just like most everyone else in Re:Zero.

        Subie learned the hard way that he couldn’t be the dashing, invincible hero he thought he was supposed to be. So did Wil. The world isn’t so simple.

  2. Re Zero’s author was in Taiwan last week to promote the Chinese translation of the 6th volume. Some interesting facts he revealed about himself include:
    – He’s not a professional writer, but works as a meat shop butcher (Currently taking leave from his job to assist on the anime)
    – He thinks up plot developments while cutting up meat
    – Emilia’s his favourite character
    – He loves putting Subaru through lots of sh*t because it’s fun, but also to give him constant development (Protagonists grow strong through adversity).

    Info courtesy of Reddit.

    The author in real life! (Scroll down)
    http://gnn.gamer.com.tw/9/135899.html

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