It's Time to Start Appreciating Ram

by Jesse Oakley,

Throughout the entirety of Re:Zero, a debate has been raging on, with no signs of ending soon as both sides staunchly defend their choice. This debate is of course the classic Emilia vs Rem (please no more "Who's Rem?" jokes, I can't take it).

So, do you choose the sweet and naïve Emilia, or the dedicated and loyal Rem?

When people come across Re:Zero, they often make this choice pretty quickly. But there are still other heroines worthy of consideration beyond these two. There's Crusch, with all her dignity and valor. There's Beatrice, who has a very kind heart beneath her scathing words. There's even Echidna, who isn't really a heroine by definition, but she certainly has her own enigmatic charm.

I could go on and on about all of these girls and what they bring to the series, but there's one in particular that I want to talk about. One who I think is often undervalued and shrugged off. The one I speak of… is Ram.

In all honesty, I'm not a huge fan of Ram. I think she's way too harsh, is stupidly loyal to a guy who would throw her away without a second thought (and does) and is really only a maid in name thanks to her laziness and constant desire to push work off on other people.

...Alright, now that I've got all the Ram fans riled up, let's continue.

For all her faults, there is an undeniable and indisputable fact about Ram. Simply put, without her, this story would fail. As great as Re:Zero is with all of its surprising plot developments, exciting fights, and beautiful exploration of Subaru's inner psyche (and suffering), none of it would have happened without the brash, pink-haired demon girl. So, it's time to give her some appreciation.

Let's start from the beginning. Thanks to the Rem vs Emilia debate, Ram tends to be left out in the cold, but let's not forget that she was really the one that Subaru was friends with first. Yeah, yeah, I know. “But what about Emilia?” And that's a fair point. However, I view the exchanging of names between Emilia and Subaru as a starting point for them. They now officially know each other, but they can hardly be called friends.

Once Subaru goes to the mansion, he meets Rem and Ram. And then, who does he become closest with first? It isn't Emilia, nor Rem. It's Ram. Subaru actually spends most of his time with her while at the mansion, learning all sorts of things from her, such as reading and writing in the language of the land and about how to do his job (even if he's still terrible at it by the end).

Ram's tutelage helps Subaru find a place in this strange and unfamiliar land. The knowledge he gains instills a sense of value and purpose in Subaru, motivating him to continuously push himself to do better, even to the point of making himself sick. All of his efforts also show themselves to Rem, who was originally planning to kill him. But, because of his striving to prove himself as a good worker (and just trying to prevent his death again), he slowly begins to win over Rem, and none of that could've happened without the sister. One point for Ram.

Right after that was the incident with the demon beasts in the forest. When Rem goes off on her own to kill them all, Subaru naturally goes after her. And who's with him? Ram. Of course, it has more to do with her being concerned for Rem than helping Subaru, but she's still there regardless, and she plays an integral role in the scene.

More precisely, she gets catapulted by Subaru at Rem.

Because of that though, Rem is able to regain her senses, thus saving the blue-haired demon girl. This helps to set up everything that happens in the Capitol, which yet again, wouldn't have been possible without a certain twin. Yet another point for Ram.

Now, Ram is missing for most of the Capitol arc, but she still has a role to play. When everybody finally makes it back to the mansion, there's a misunderstanding and Ram attacks the convoy. But when Subaru gets it right on the next go-around, he gets Ram on his side, and she helps to evacuate the mansion and village.

The evacuation becomes a key point later on, as the group that was led by Ram and Roswaal gets stuck in the Sanctuary. This arc has probably become the one that best exemplifies the importance of Ram to this point, as Ram finally (let me say it again. Finally!) begins to think for herself.

You could say she's always done this, but I disagree. Unless it had to do with protecting her sister or it fell in accordance with what Roswaal desired, Ram usually was pretty stubborn about her position. But, while in the Sanctuary, we begin to see several things, one of the biggest being Roswaal's secret machinations slowly getting exposed.

Of course, Ram already knew all of them, but it's only when Subaru provides her with an alternate possibility of getting everything and saving everyone that Ram actually starts to question Roswaal's plan. Thanks to that questioning, she starts to make her own decisions instead of justifying all of her actions through her master.

In the Sanctuary is where my favorite aspect about Ram emerges. True, she continues to call Subaru by the wrong name, and yeah, she's still as mean as ever, but she also understands Subaru on a more fundamental level than most of the other characters in Re:Zero, regardless of her feelings about him. As she says it herself, Subaru is a man with impeccable timing, and when he acts, there's usually a very good reason for it. It's then through that understanding that Ram starts to act of her own accord when it comes to helping Subaru.

She agrees to go back with him to the mansion, and when that goes horribly wrong, she even tries to save him. Then, there's arguably Ram's biggest moment of the series yet, when she decides to fight against Garfiel to give Subaru the time he needs. She fights with everything she has just so Subaru can have a conversation with Emilia, and when the time comes for Subaru to actually fight Garfiel himself, Garfiel has been worn down enough to give Subaru a chance of winning against him. That couldn't have been possible without Ram. Point three for her.

In all honesty, I'll probably never be a fan of Ram. This also isn't an argument for her being best girl (I'll let the real Ram fans do that). However, none of that means that I can't appreciate her. Ram does so much for one of my all-time favorite stories. Without her, Re:Zero just wouldn't be the same. So, if you love this series as much as I do (or even a little), and you've never appreciated Ram before, it's time to start.

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