• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-
Episode 21

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 21 of
Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- ?
Community score: 4.7

Episode 21 has two distinct parts: a battle that takes up the first 15 minutes and the aftermath that takes up the last nine minutes. These two parts almost deserve entirely different grades, as the problematic second part drags down what is otherwise a satisfying climax to a significant piece of this story arc.

The battle portion deserves at least an A-. The battle against the White Whale and its duplicates (for Subaru correctly deduces that they have to be the functional equivalent of the Shadow Clones from Naruto) is a tense and exciting affair with many tight reversals and feats of derring-do. The most glorious part was seeing that Subaru has finally accepted how he needs to play the situation to come out on top; he can't be the one to strike the big blows, but he could be very effective as a motivating force. When Crusch's forces despaired at the overwhelming danger facing them, Subaru's unwavering determination helped inspire them again (or at least gave Crusch an opportunity to inspire them). When an insanely daring plan was needed to drag the true White Whale down closer where it could be battled, he provides both the plan and the lure – and it really is an impressive plan in both concept and execution.

Subaru's efforts work now, where they might not have at earlier points in the story, because Subaru is now willing to trust others to step up and do their parts. After all, he's surrounded by powerful people who are heroes in their own rights, so he just needs to give them a chance to do their thing; whether it's Rem bashing on a White Whale, Wilhelm bursting his way out like a true badass, or Crusch using the power of her sword to deflect the existence-erasing fog bursts. All in all, it's a wonderfully staged team effort that allows Subaru to be at the center of events without carrying an unreasonable share of the load. The only slight negative is the rest of Wilhelm's flashback, which gets spliced into the climax. I got a mildly chauvinistic vibe from the flashbacks last episode, and that feeling is stronger here.

The real problems start after that. A certain amount of wind-down after an epic fight like this is expected, so I have no issue with the series decompressing rather than immediately jumping to the next task. A certain amount of praise and acknowledgement of Subaru's efforts is also entirely appropriate, as the battle would not have been successful without his contribution at pivotal points. However, the episode goes overboard on both aspects to the point of becoming tedious. My guess is that, like with episode 19, the writing was stretched to end at a certain stopping point, but if that's the case, then why not actually use the ending theme song instead? Sure, the clarification that Crusch merely respects Subaru but doesn't have any romantic interest in him is nice for cutting off the developing harem angle, but did we really need that degree of effusiveness? Also, I'm not entirely clear why Rem got dumped into the “not continuing because I'm too injured” category; sure, she exerted herself as much as anyone, but it didn't look like she took any major hits. Besides, even a somewhat hampered Rem is still a forced to be reckoned with. Or was Subaru just being overly protective, since he knows that all previous scenarios where Rem tangled with the Witch Cult resulted in her death?

Still, the importance of clearing this task first is now evident: Subaru gets to have Wilhelm and the wolf-headed Captain along to help against the Witch Cult, along with a couple dozen well-trained soldiers and mercenaries – and Julius too, whose appearance at the end made for a delicious little twist. How both of them handle reuniting next time should be interesting to see, and it will be a true test of how thoroughly Subaru has learned his lessons. The presence of all this support should make for a very different outcome on Emilia's Ordeal, as even Betelgeuse could be threatened by that level of opposition.

I almost forgot to mention that the artistry seems to be back on its game after some slips last time. The use of lighting effects, with the artistry returning to full color as the morning dawned, was particularly sharp this time. However, the overwritten back end of the episode still makes this episode less than what it could have been.

Rating: B+

Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

discuss this in the forum (1087 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history

back to Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-
Episode Review homepage / archives