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This Week in Anime - Is Re:Zero Better Without Subaru?


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Izanagi009



Joined: 20 Oct 2014
Posts: 417
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 1:17 pm Reply with quote
I find RE:Zero to be a facinating case

Subaru himself works as a character as it's meant to poke holes in the fantasy of being sent to another world. The issue is that his lack of social skills and tact really is grating after a while. Not helped by how Emilia, his primary love interest, is not really a character that much in the show proper and Rem, the person who truly loves Subaru, seems so artificially constructed to me as if to make a waifu counterpart to Emilia.

Hearing that Emilia gets some development to her story that recontextualizes the main story is a nice surprise.That said, I will probably still stick to the Isekai Quartet version of the characters where it feels like Subaru gets more of his just deserts than in the show itself even if Emilia in that is way too simple.
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maximilianjenus



Joined: 29 Apr 2013
Posts: 2180
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 1:54 pm Reply with quote
weird that there was mentionof the director's cut but not of the postcredits scene, especialyl ebcause it means emilia might get more screen time.

And murder kitty! you got mt interested in watching this one.

rezero for me works ina weird way, teh same as golden time, the more the mc suffers, the more I enjoy it, because the mc is an insufferable prick.
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PonSquared
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 27 Dec 2006
Posts: 100
Location: Lost in the Catskills
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 2:30 pm Reply with quote
No, no R:Z is not better without Subaru. Infact, it is much worse. Frozen Bond was ho-hum at best. A let down in my eyes, to be polite.

So looking forward to season 2 for more good (but mostly bad) times with Subaru!
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CrypticPurpose



Joined: 15 Jan 2020
Posts: 29
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 3:06 pm Reply with quote
Every time I read one of these things, I get the feeling the authors seem to (not-so) secretly hate anime. I mean, it's always 90% bashing, with the occasional random positive comment, which always seems to surprise them themselves as much as anybody.
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John Thacker
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Joined: 28 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 4:10 pm Reply with quote
Frozen Bond was fine, but it dragged. Too long for the amount of content in it. It really should have either been shorter, or not as repetitive.
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TarsTarkas



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
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Location: Virginia, United States
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 4:34 pm Reply with quote
The hate for Subaru in this article is strong.

Re: Zero is the Subaru show, not the Emilia show. In fact, in Re:Zero, spoiler[Emilia would be dead in the first fifteen minutes of the very first episode of the show. Deader than a door knob.] And after that, Puck spoiler[will destroy the entire world in revenge]. End of the show completely.

Literally, Subaru dies for you, so that you don't have to. Repeatedly. Painfully. Hell, Subaru has it worse than Homura from PMMM. Subaru practically dies horribly spoiler[in every episode of the show.] Killed by thugs, spoiler[killed by allies, killed by possible new friends, and killed by Emilia's enemies.] Which almost seems to be the entire world.

Really, how many of us here in the audience, would stay sane in this world. Stay sane in a world where you have no money, no skills to make money, you are effectively homeless, have no food other than a bag of chips, and are dodging thugs, thieves, murderers, and the rest of the criminal underbelly of the city who are all out to rob you of everything they can. And then you enter Emilia's world, where things are incredibly worse.

You seem to be looking at all the bad things to dislike about Subaru, without mentioning some of the good things. Really, some of the people Subaru are friends with, most of us would have declared them spoiler[enemies, because they killed Subaru. But Subaru found ways to change enemies into friends, because he was willing to die to find a path.]

I think most of us would die in this world, either by the criminal element, insanity, starvation, disease, and as collateral damage. If Subaru acts a bit over the top or is curled up in a fetal ball, its forgivable, because I think I would be stark raving mad in his place. Perhaps it is unfair to Emilia that Subaru is the way he is, but it is also unfair to Subaru, that spoiler[Emilia and all the people he cares about, never remember the special moments they had with Subaru when he dies.] Which is another thing to weigh on Subaru.

Think you a being a bit unfair about the characterization of Rem too. Like no one should like Subaru, so Rem is just paper thin because she does. For all intents and purposes, for the people of this world, Subaru is some nobody, who came from nowhere, yet seems to have all the answers, when they are needed. I would think that would be noticed, and decisions to be made from it for ill and for good. You can be sure Roswell, is thinking the same thing.

I will watch the Re:Zero OVA, because I want to know more about Emilia and I like Emilia too.
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ThatGuyWhoLikesThings



Joined: 04 Jul 2013
Posts: 641
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 4:55 pm Reply with quote
Re:Zero without Subaru would be a good fantasy. Subaru is the core ingredient that makes Re:Zero a strong and engaging fantasy. Not to say the other characters and the setting aren't a large contribution to what makes the series so effective (and it's for that reason that I can say this OVA and other material where Subaru isn't present are still strong) , but I feel the same way about Subaru himself.

The thing with Emilia is that, much in the same Subaru and Rem feel compelled to emotionally depend on others to give themselves any value as individuals, Emilia is very much reliant on Puck to give her the love that she can't feel for herself. It's because of a number of factors, including Emilia's self-hatred not being externalized in any obviously self-destructive way and Puck actually having a little something called emotional maturity and understanding Emilia on a much deeper level than Subaru currently does, that the relationship is as strong and healthy as it is, but that doesn't mean it's perfect. Emilia still has a lot of growing to do, much like Subaru (which is why I don't see any problem with Subaru still having glaring flaws post-episode 18; he's not intended to be suddenly fixed, which is why he's "starting from zero") and if Subaru wants to fulfill a similar role to Puck for Emilia, his relationship with her needs to make some serious strides.

Lore Time: Flaming Deer Thing is actually the previous Great Spirit of Fire. I'm not sure if killing him means Puck legitimately inherited the name, but either way he's calling himself that now and that's where he got it from.

But yeah, very good and touching OVA. I think I ultimately preferred the Memory Snow OVA because the ensemble cast that is the mansion crew makes for really effective comedy that the main series doesn't get to utilize all that often.
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cookiemanstah



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 238
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 11:39 pm Reply with quote
instead of writing up a hammy or melodramatic post:

all ill say is subaru is a great deconstruction/subversion of the stock protagonist of a premise like RE:Zero but he's really not likable for the first half of the anime. To *cringeworthy* extremes.

But with author intent in mind, I can't tell if that's so awful. But a ton of people hate subaru for it regardless.

Kind of like Takeru from Muv-Luv...
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kotomikun



Joined: 06 May 2013
Posts: 842
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 12:38 am Reply with quote
CrypticPurpose wrote:
Every time I read one of these things, I get the feeling the authors seem to (not-so) secretly hate anime. I mean, it's always 90% bashing, with the occasional random positive comment, which always seems to surprise them themselves as much as anybody.

Many "episodes" in this series are just out to make fun of bad shows, but last month there were mostly-positive takes on BOFURI, Hi Score Girl, and that Violet Evergarden movie, and maybe more, I didn't check all of them. This particular one's stance seems to boil down to "Re:Zero is pretty good, but this spinoff OVA is better." Micchy seems to dislike Subaru more than Nick does, but neither comes off as hating the show entirely.

The trouble with Subaru, it seems to me, is a common issue with deconstructions/pariodies--whatever they may do to point out their own flaws, they're still part of the genre they're criticizing, and thus sort of hypocritical. Subaru gets kicked around for thinking he can just waltz in and save everyone, but ultimately he does kinda do that. His arbitrary fixation on a girl he barely knows may be recognized by the show as a problem, but ultimately it seems to work out for him. The general haremy aspects can't be ignored, either, however subversive they may be (and for the most part they seem pretty standard).

Does all the suffering and violence Subaru has to endure somehow justify the cliches (and waifus), or is it just an excuse, or even a contributing factor to its core appeal (grit and determination are manly, after all)? Maybe all of the above. It's hard to say. In the end, it wouldn't be a better show without him, because it wouldn't exist without him--self-aware though it may be, it's still a story that revolves around Isekai Anime Boy, the disrupting factor from our universe who is also a self-insert. It's really a "reconstruction," not trying to destroy its genre, but to make it feel fresh and interesting. Whether it succeeds at that depends on the viewer, apparently.
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lossthief



Joined: 14 Dec 2012
Posts: 727
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 1:10 am Reply with quote
kotomikun wrote:
"Re:Zero is pretty good, but this spinoff OVA is better."



Honestly I wouldn't even call it "better" so much as it's just a welcome change of pace. Like I say in the column, I respect what the series as a whole is trying to do with Subaru's character and I can appreciate that he's a purposefully flawed character written with a solid internal consistency that serves the themes and aims of the show's story well. But that same trait can make following him intensely frustrating, especially as he loops back and doubles down on mistakes for multiple episodes before finally getting a minor epiphany.

So having a story that doesn't involve him at all, and is instead about exploring a character who's always seemed interesting and just begging for further development, is a welcome edition to the franchise. Part of what I like about Re:Zero compared to other isekai is that the world feels truly fleshed out and like each character has their own life and personality that's entwined with the history and culture of the world they live in. Part of what makes Subaru frustrating is that he's surrounded by so many other intriguing characters but is so stuck in his own head he rarely tries to learn about them, so we the audience rarely get to either. So hey if they want to keep animating spinoff novel/manga material go for it. Give me some goofy shenanigans with Reinhard and Felt while we're at it, please.
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ThatGuyWhoLikesThings



Joined: 04 Jul 2013
Posts: 641
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 1:30 am Reply with quote
kotomikun wrote:
. Subaru gets kicked around for thinking he can just waltz in and save everyone, but ultimately he does kinda do that.


the show has never criticized the act of "saving everyone" as an inherently bad thing. wanting to save emilia isn't what's wrong, it's that he was *using* that for self-validation, and his need for that convinced him that this was *his* fight and prevented him from doing anything meaningful or truly reaching out to anyone by not considering their feelings. subaru was an undeniable contributing factor in things working out as they did in the first and second arcs and he helped paved the way for others, but he was never *the* most decisive factor (a possible source of irritation for him). the same applies in the third arc. he always had potential and he always had the capacity for true heroism as anyone does, but he was held back significantly by his own problems

and i don't think the show ever said that he *wasn't* important, because given the circumstances of him being here and him being under the apparent guidance of the big bad witch of the world i don't know if anyone can really genuinely say he's just some rando that stumbled into this world haphazardly. but people also aren't gonna just bend over backwards for his needs either just because he wants them to. they're their own people with their own lives, desires, wants. subaru needs to consider their perspective, engage with them on their level, and actually *earn their trust* before they'll really start listening to him at all. which should be the standard as far as storytelling goes but a lot of isekai like to ignore that

lossthief wrote:
So hey if they want to keep animating spinoff novel/manga material go for it.


there's like 50 of them so i can tell you now there's certainly not a shortage of material, although admittedly most of them are short stories (which was basically what memory snow was, a bunch of short stories melded togrther, so i suppose they can totally do that again) rather than full novels. ex volume 1, detailing much of crusch's life with ferris and another guy from the royal family before the start of the series proper and how she came to acquire her current motives for wanting to lead the kingdom, could make for an easy ova, plus it's probably the most well-known spin-off along with the other ex volumes.
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Calsolum



Joined: 11 May 2010
Posts: 791
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 1:53 am Reply with quote
Been a while since I saw a spicy article, well of the few articles I read the comments for.
The roast of Subaru is strong here and well... I can't really point fingers too harshly. The comments in the article echo in intensity similarly to my own feelings regarding characters like kirito, touma, naofumi, etc. I get that the (article)writers don't like Subaru and that's a difference of opinion but as TarsTarkas mentioned if Subaru wasn't around the world would've been a popsicle. If those timelines where Subaru dies continues on without him... they ain't continuing for long because Emilia has a terrible case of 'everyone wants to kill her'. Ain't her fault but that's just the cards she was dealt.

But I don't want to rehash whats already been said, I haven't seen the ova but from what I gather it fleshes out Puck and Emilia which is great. Cause I wanted to know why that furball was so hell-bent on freezing the plant. Admittedly I'm on team Rem so I didn't consciously notice the lack of characterization for Emilia so if that OVA solves that and enhances the overall world then that's great.

One last grievance I'll air is that Subaru isn't unhinged just because that's his character. He's physically unable to directly ask for help in making sure Emilia stays... not dead. Stella does not want him sharing his burden so if it feels like he's cracking under a perceived 'weight of the world' on his shoulders... its cause he is. No pressure of course. He can just die gruesomely and redo it. If fire punch is any indicator of how much pain a man can endure before their brain gets used to it then spoiler[five years worth of back to back painful deaths]would do it.

When the ending theme 'Stay Alive' first aired I fell in love with it because its Emilia's VA singing it ... but she's the one that needs to stay alive the most.
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Ensaru64



Joined: 14 Nov 2018
Posts: 16
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 3:16 am Reply with quote
TarsTarkas wrote:
The hate for Subaru in this article is strong. spoiler[

Re: Zero is the Subaru show, not the Emilia show. In fact, in Re:Zero, spoiler[Emilia would be dead in the first fifteen minutes of the very first episode of the show. Deader than a door knob.] And after that, Puck spoiler[will destroy the entire world in revenge]. End of the show completely.

Literally, Subaru dies for you, so that you don't have to. Repeatedly. Painfully. Hell, Subaru has it worse than Homura from PMMM. Subaru practically dies horribly spoiler[in every episode of the show.] Killed by thugs, spoiler[killed by allies, killed by possible new friends, and killed by Emilia's enemies.] Which almost seems to be the entire world.]


Really, how many of us here in the audience, would stay sane in this world. Stay sane in a world where you have no money, no skills to make money, you are effectively homeless, have no food other than a bag of chips, and are dodging thugs, thieves, murderers, and the rest of the criminal underbelly of the city who are all out to rob you of everything they can. And then you enter Emilia's world, where things are incredibly worse.

spoiler[You seem to be looking at all the bad things to dislike about Subaru, without mentioning some of the good things. Really, some of the people Subaru are friends with, most of us would have declared them spoiler[enemies, because they killed Subaru. But Subaru found ways to change enemies into friends, because he was willing to die to find a path.]

I think most of us would die in this world, either by the criminal element, insanity, starvation, disease, and as collateral damage. If Subaru acts a bit over the top or is curled up in a fetal ball, its forgivable, because I think I would be stark raving mad in his place. Perhaps it is unfair to Emilia that Subaru is the way he is, but it is also unfair to Subaru, that spoiler[Emilia and all the people he cares about, never remember the special moments they had with Subaru when he dies.] Which is another thing to weigh on Subaru.

Think you a being a bit unfair about the characterization of Rem too. Like no one should like Subaru, so Rem is just paper thin because she does. For all intents and purposes, for the people of this world, Subaru is some nobody, who came from nowhere, yet seems to have all the answers, when they are needed. I would think that would be noticed, and decisions to be made from it for ill and for good. You can be sure Roswell, is thinking the same thing. ]


I will watch the Re:Zero OVA, because I want to know more about Emilia and I like Emilia too.

To be fair, Subaru is supposed to be a POV character if you're ridiculously stupid. Subaru is the most frustrating main character I've ever had to sit through, more so than Kouichi Hayase from Linebarrel.

He's shown to have some knowledge of being spirited away into another world but he does absolutely nothing about it. Instead, it takes him lightyears to figure out that he's on his own in a world he knows nothing about. So you'd think you'd want to learn as much as possible to avoid the multiple deaths he's been through? Apparently not, because as much as the narrative would want you to think that Subaru dislikes dying, he's apparently too stupid to avoid dying in the first place. He even got lucky and earned a friendship with a princess and an OP Knight. That's arguably some of the best connections you could've gotten in an alien world!

To make matters worse, some of those deaths feel awfully contrived. Subaru would sometimes die just by breathing, and apparently every single interaction he has in this world laughably leads to a painful demise. It stops feeling like a living, breathing world and starts feeling like an author trying his best to repeatedly kill off his main character, and Emilia is often his excuse for this.

In the end, I still enjoyed Re:Zero despite what it is and still really look forward to it, but I will never consider this a "good" deconstruction of the genre, and neither would I compare this to Madoka Magika, because it's really nowhere near its writing.

Re:Zero is less a deconstruction, and more a horror/isekai.
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Iron Maw



Joined: 29 May 2008
Posts: 237
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 4:35 am Reply with quote
Ensaru64 wrote:
TarsTarkas wrote:
The hate for Subaru in this article is strong. spoiler[

Re: Zero is the Subaru show, not the Emilia show. In fact, in Re:Zero, spoiler[Emilia would be dead in the first fifteen minutes of the very first episode of the show. Deader than a door knob.] And after that, Puck spoiler[will destroy the entire world in revenge]. End of the show completely.

Literally, Subaru dies for you, so that you don't have to. Repeatedly. Painfully. Hell, Subaru has it worse than Homura from PMMM. Subaru practically dies horribly spoiler[in every episode of the show.] Killed by thugs, spoiler[killed by allies, killed by possible new friends, and killed by Emilia's enemies.] Which almost seems to be the entire world.]


Really, how many of us here in the audience, would stay sane in this world. Stay sane in a world where you have no money, no skills to make money, you are effectively homeless, have no food other than a bag of chips, and are dodging thugs, thieves, murderers, and the rest of the criminal underbelly of the city who are all out to rob you of everything they can. And then you enter Emilia's world, where things are incredibly worse.

spoiler[You seem to be looking at all the bad things to dislike about Subaru, without mentioning some of the good things. Really, some of the people Subaru are friends with, most of us would have declared them spoiler[enemies, because they killed Subaru. But Subaru found ways to change enemies into friends, because he was willing to die to find a path.]

I think most of us would die in this world, either by the criminal element, insanity, starvation, disease, and as collateral damage. If Subaru acts a bit over the top or is curled up in a fetal ball, its forgivable, because I think I would be stark raving mad in his place. Perhaps it is unfair to Emilia that Subaru is the way he is, but it is also unfair to Subaru, that spoiler[Emilia and all the people he cares about, never remember the special moments they had with Subaru when he dies.] Which is another thing to weigh on Subaru.

Think you a being a bit unfair about the characterization of Rem too. Like no one should like Subaru, so Rem is just paper thin because she does. For all intents and purposes, for the people of this world, Subaru is some nobody, who came from nowhere, yet seems to have all the answers, when they are needed. I would think that would be noticed, and decisions to be made from it for ill and for good. You can be sure Roswell, is thinking the same thing. ]


I will watch the Re:Zero OVA, because I want to know more about Emilia and I like Emilia too.

To be fair, Subaru is supposed to be a POV character if you're ridiculously stupid. Subaru is the most frustrating main character I've ever had to sit through, more so than Kouichi Hayase from Linebarrel.

He's shown to have some knowledge of being spirited away into another world but he does absolutely nothing about it. Instead, it takes him lightyears to figure out that he's on his own in a world he knows nothing about. So you'd think you'd want to learn as much as possible to avoid the multiple deaths he's been through? Apparently not, because as much as the narrative would want you to think that Subaru dislikes dying, he's apparently too stupid to avoid dying in the first place. He even got lucky and earned a friendship with a princess and an OP Knight. That's arguably some of the best connections you could've gotten in an alien world!

To make matters worse, some of those deaths feel awfully contrived. Subaru would sometimes die just by breathing, and apparently every single interaction he has in this world laughably leads to a painful demise. It stops feeling like a living, breathing world and starts feeling like an author trying his best to repeatedly kill off his main character, and Emilia is often his excuse for this.

In the end, I still enjoyed Re:Zero despite what it is and still really look forward to it, but I will never consider this a "good" deconstruction of the genre, and neither would I compare this to Madoka Magika, because it's really nowhere near its writing.

Re:Zero is less a deconstruction, and more a horror/isekai.


Ok this is a huge exaggeration.

Dude you sound like want him to be unrealistic Machiavellian character whose always on tops of things and act his circumstances is more convenient that not. No he does not have all these resource at his finger tips just being on unused. The fact Reinhard, "the OP swordsman" had to leave to handle his own business is an underlying point that world isn't at beck and call and he has to deal situations with cards he is given.

His well aware he's fantasy world but his knowledge tropes have done jack for him. Also don't know what mean but him not trying hard enough to be killed. Every death he had would have happened to anyone and they had unexpected ways for entirely different reasons nothing to do knowledge. Reading some book in a library (especially when he is illiterate) isn't going reveal to him that assassin named Elsa exist and would kill him in the near future. Moreover none of his them were random, they related to conflict and that was why he often wasn't only causality in them.

Besides its not as Subaru hasn't read up knowledge about the world anyway, he doesn't have an all knowing game manual to plot. Believe it or not. when your thrown in another world all over sudden your aren't going have stability of familiarity nor not be inconvenienced by the fact.
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Kami-koto



Joined: 14 Feb 2019
Posts: 46
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 5:31 am Reply with quote
Seeing more of Emilia was great and honestly necessary after she hardly did anything for half the tv series. Sadly the OVA wasn't all that great. Story was pretty cliche with her being shunned by the village and then some comically bad guys coming for her and using the villagers as hostages. Wish it answered more questions about Emilia's and Puck's origins, but I guess that's for the main series to answer.
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