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Subaru Natsuki: The Best and Worst Thing About Re:Zero


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Merxamers



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:33 am Reply with quote
I will agree that Rem's devotion to Subaru feels somewhat forced, and not entirely justified by the story. It stands a bit dissonant from the preceding episodes, but it didn't bother me as much because I was ready for Subaru to have SOMETHING go his way (not as in "getting a devoted love interest", but rather "gaining a source of emotional support").

Outside of possibly Evangelion, I have never seen an anime protagonist put through the narrative shredder like Subaru, and much of it is his own fault. Whenever i hear someone complain about Subaru, or when I hear Jacob say that he should be more like Shinji, i can't help but think "Dang, what more do you WANT? Does he need to wallow in endless suffering and misery forever until the end of the series?" I know that's not entirely fair; Jacob did explain a bit what he meant in this article. I just don't mind having the protagonist of a fantasy anime have a small amount of happiness after that much suffering. I don't need every anime to be a dark subversion, or every protagonist to have Shinji levels of suffering for me to enjoy it.
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lesterf1020
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Joined: 29 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:39 am Reply with quote
I like this column a lot. It says a lot about what I like about the show. However, I have to disagree with Jacob Hope Chapman on what was necessary in ep 18. Subaru's problem was not that he believed he was the hero of the story and needed to be disabused of that notion so that "He would just be one complex person in a world full of complex people: not the best or worst of anything. "

Subaru actually is the hero of the story. The problem is that he believed that the entire world already knew that and that all he needed to do was show up and everyone would accept his hero status and do what he wanted and he would be showered with great powers and rewards. As a result he didn't need to consider the situations of other people or negotiate with anyone. After all he was the hero.

What he realized in ep18 is that while he is the hero, nobody else (except Rem) sees him like that and so he will have to work at it and earn that status from others. If he wants someone to be his love interest he can't just save them and expect they will fall into his arms. (Rem excepted)


Last edited by lesterf1020 on Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:47 am; edited 2 times in total
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Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:44 am Reply with quote
I was with you right until you started talking about Rem.

She wasn't humoring him as if her feelings didn't matter. Those were her feelings. She would have loved that outcome but knew Subaru wouldn't be truly happy with that. She's the one who wouldn't let him settle for a silver medal, even if she won't be happy.

Where as Evangelion's final message was about learning to love yourself, the reality isn't that easy. Faith in yourself without validation from others is just blind arrogance. That's what Subaru suffered from for most of the arc and everyone tore him a new one for it. As a result he went from one extreme to another but Rem seeing value in him despite his flaws has brought him into a happy medium. He doesn't suddenly just forget his faults simply because Rem values him. He still knows he needs to change for the better, not because he thinks he's owed the hero role, but because he wants to be the kind of good person Rem believes he is.

I suppose Rem does become his sole pillar of support, but it's not like she replaces Emillia as the 'prize' he gets. He makes it quite clear that it's Emillia he loves, and he's not going to give up on her because he knows there's a 'sure thing' beside him.
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Hiroki not Takuya



Joined: 17 Apr 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:50 am Reply with quote
Hmmm, it would seem that not being able to put up the "wall of text" comments "the 15" of the Re:Zero comment section have been you got yourself one of your own to say how disappointed you were with Ep18 and Subaru-like how you would have done it better. At least you mentioned how you liked how different this show is than others of it's genre and with that I can say "amen".
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Mitrospeed



Joined: 14 Jan 2016
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:59 am Reply with quote
Really great article!

As someone who knows the further development of Subaru and his approach to overcoming the hurdles of life in this world as the self-proclaimed hero it drives me a bit crazy that this article was written prior to this season's ending. It would've given Jacob a different and far more positive perspective over what he critically acclaimed in episode 18.

One thing we have to respect if we talk about an comparison with Evangelion's approach on the same matter is that Subaru's development and the author's take on this is far from being done. So what may appear as a half-step now is essentially a drop of water in an incredibly large ocean. I really can't blame Jacob since he seems to be judging entirely on what the anime delivers us but I simply thought it's important to note that if put into perspective ( and retrospective ) this will appear in a different light.
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angelmcazares
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:04 am Reply with quote
I suppose I am in the minority because I was able to go beyond the first episode, but I definitely do not adore Re:Zero. I still think the show has potential to do something fresh within its genre, but its negative issues have suffocated the pluses over the course of its second half.
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Chipp12



Joined: 30 Mar 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:06 am Reply with quote
Quote:
After getting magically transported to the fantasy world of Lugunica, it doesn't take Subaru long to realize that he's been given some truly immortal powers over time and space.

It did take him long though.
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Dayblack



Joined: 08 Jun 2015
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:08 am Reply with quote
It's a horrible adaptation and the final will be as bad as the anime Erased.
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zrnzle500
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:10 am Reply with quote
Certainly it would be healthier for him to realize that he doesn't necessarily deserve to be rewarded for his good deeds but that doesn't make him trash but just a person. But is that not the reason behind the concept of a heaven, so that those who do the right thing, even if their only reward is a brutal and painful death, still receive their due in the end (though not in all cases is heaven the reward for those who do good things necessarily. Calvinism comes to mind). Even in religions that have reincarnation instead, better reincarnations are the reward of those who were good. Yes it would be better if he didn't feel he deserved a fantastical reward for his deeds, but do not most people seek such rewards? As to Rem's support for his ego, I do think that calling him her hero is a bit more effective as a counter to his self-hatred than saying he's just a person. And ultimately do we ever truly defeat our flaws, or do we learn to live with them in a better, healthier (but not necessarily healthy) way, even if it means a little feeding? I'm not saying that it is not a reasonable idea of what humans should be and do, but rather that it often times is how we are.

And I agree that it would be better if Rem presented herself as an equal and not as a servant or on a pedestal. But I don't think she has even met anyone she would call her equal. I don't remember seeing any children her age in the oni village, and the villagers wanted them killed due to superstitous reasons, so they're out. In her immediate family, Her parents obviously not but even for her twin sister Ram, she had an inferiority complex until the witch cultists came around and cut off the source of her talent, after killing everyone in the village, after which she switched to devotion/dependence fueled by guilt over having enjoyed seeing her only family taken down a peg. And as a servant, she obviously didn't see herself as equal to her master and his guests. Even with Subaru, she sees him as someone to die for, not someone to live with, even though she very much would have enjoyed it, as her domestic fantasy showed (and in that I do think she thought of her own feelings, both in the fantasy and her ultimate rejection of that fantasy). It would be better for her if she saw herself as an equal and someone who deserved more than to be a sacrifice, but it would be out of character for her at this point for her to think so yet. I hope that changes (I'm on Team Rem myself) but she isn't there yet.
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Mitrospeed



Joined: 14 Jan 2016
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:13 am Reply with quote
Chipp12 wrote:
Quote:
After getting magically transported to the fantasy world of Lugunica, it doesn't take Subaru long to realize that he's been given some truly immortal powers over time and space.

It did take him long though.


It's been established that this was due to his lacking compatibility with the witch's miasma. The more often he dies and talks about RBD the stronger the connection with the witch grows and the more resistant he is towards effect caused by the witch/accustomed he grows to his newly found power. That's why Subaru could see Petelgeuse's "Unseen Hands" only after he died and talked about RBD.

In the first episode it's actually visualized with a cloudy or static effect how Subaru has problems to recall memories from his former lives.

It's one of many instances where the story reveals mysteries in a way that encourages retrospective thinking in the viewer.


Last edited by Mitrospeed on Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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Pierrot.



Joined: 17 Nov 2015
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:14 am Reply with quote
Considering Subaru's development isn't even half done, It's a bit unfair to compare this with Evangelion's approach. It would have been better if Jacob had made this article after the season was done.
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Mitrospeed



Joined: 14 Jan 2016
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:28 am Reply with quote
zrnzle500 wrote:

And I agree that it would be better if Rem presented herself as an equal and not as a servant or on a pedestal. But I don't think she has even met anyone she would call her equal. She had an inferiority complex until the witch cultists came around and cut off the source of her talent, after killing everyone in the village, after which she switched to devotion/dependence fueled by guilt over having enjoyed seeing her only family taken down a peg. And as a servant, she obviously didn't see herself as equal to her master and his guests. Even with Subaru, she sees him as someone to die for, not someone to live with. It would be better for her if she saw herself as an equal and someone who deserved more than to be a sacrifice, but it would be out of character for her at this point for her to think so yet. I hope that changes (I'm on Team Rem myself) but she isn't there yet.


This pretty much supports the theory that Rem's inferiority complex is far from being healed and that all Subaru did was distributing this habit of putting people on a pedestal equally between Ram and himself. She's far from being healed but she's probably starting to take steps towards a higher self esteem. Maybe it will be Subaru who himself has no self-esteem that will cause her to move towards it.

Anyway. If you think about this, it gives this whole dialogue a certain aftertaste. A person without self-esteem tells another person without self-esteem and self-loathing to think about his good sides because for what he did to be put on a pedestal by her.

Maybe we don't really have the type of dialogue that consists of - Person A that is correct and Person B that is incorrect. Maybe it's only two people with their severe problems finding a temporary solution until both eventually break because they didn't exactly cure anything.

If this is the case then we as the viewer shouldn't have expected a full on turnaround or conclusion for this dialogue. In fact to me this rather looks like one of many steps that will continue to happen in the upcoming future.
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cloud8100



Joined: 30 May 2010
Posts: 507
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:05 pm Reply with quote
The only times I found embarrassing with Subaru was episode 13 and when he went about negotiation the wrong ways that one time (which are mistakes anyone could've made), other than that I don't really get how he was embarrassing and annoying to other people lol? I actually liked when he acted meta and would probably hang out with him if I spoke to people properly.

Despite how he called out tropes and was expecting himself to be the hero of the story because of all the cliches from media, I never once thought he genuinely believed it about himself despite expecting it to happen if that makes sense . Confused Because of this I thought episode 18 was needed in terms of allowing Subaru to come to terms with himself in that there are both good and bad things just like there is with everybody else in the world as he always acted from one extreme to another.


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Chrysostomus



Joined: 11 Mar 2015
Posts: 335
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:05 pm Reply with quote
I find it strangely contradictory when people who spend most of their days consuming Japanese otaku entertainment and writing about said media, say they would not hang out with other otaku, like Subaru for instance. What, exactly, has he done wrong? People need to look at themselves in the mirror and realize that they are also "cringy otaku" like him if they spend hours of their weeks fawning over Far East Asian moving pictures.

Last edited by Chrysostomus on Fri Aug 19, 2016 2:43 pm; edited 2 times in total
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ThatGuyWhoLikesThings



Joined: 04 Jul 2013
Posts: 595
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:21 pm Reply with quote
I've noticed a surprising amount of people have overlooked one critical detail regarding Rem. Her feelings toward Subaru are a parallel to Subaru's feelings toward Emilia. Both Rem and Subaru idealize the target of their affections, and are incapable of seeing anything more or less than a hero(ine). It's very easy to not notice this and be caught up in the moment, but Rem's feelings, while genuine and true, aren't much less problematic than Subaru's. She's martyred herself THREE TIMES already and she refuses to let Subaru see himself as anything less than what she sees. The acknowledgement that he's done some good is important, but Rem's feelings aren't the most healthy for either party.

And Rem's feelings are 100% understandable. She had (and I would argue still has, to an extent) been living as a sinner looking to atone for the feelings she felt when her sister's horn was cut off, all the while thinking herself as nothing more than an inferior copy of her sister. Here comes a complete stranger who not only saves her life and humanity, but also tells her how important she is as a person. I can totally buy someone who hates herself as much as Rem does immediately falling for him.

Rem's unyielding devotion toward Subaru is also partially out of guilt about her hesitance in helping him when the mabeasts attacked. This almost certainly mirrors the same way she was devoting herself to her sister all that time, and it shows that Subaru hasn't saved her as much as either of them think.

As for Subaru, the problem was never that he thought he was the hero, but that he thought he was the hero without doing anything to truly earn it. He felt he was entitled to the acknowledgement without doing anything, just like he felt he was entitled to Emilia's unconditional love and understanding because he saved her life. He's been slothful, in other words. I'm also not sure why Subaru being an otaku is brought up as a major point when it's been irrelevant for a long time now. Him being a NEET is of greater significance.

It's clear the author is critical of the NEET lifestyle and mentality, but he's not condemning them either. He knows they are capable of being something much better than what they are. Re:Zero is a "zero to hero" story, and Subaru has been stuck in the "zero" phase for 18 episodes.
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