Now, there are a ton of shows out there about getting hooked into a video game or being transported to a distant land and place, where you have to make the best of a bad situation. And if anyone can tell me why there is always a medievel flavor to it, I’d appreciate it. My suspicion is that it is the use of magic, which seem connected at the hip with the era. Anyway, this is where we find ourselves in the montropaciously titled “Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu” (“Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World”), and, brother, not only is he starting, he’s starting over.
Subaru Natsuki is a hikikiomori (or maybe a NEET; I really can’t tell the difference, upper row, far left disc). He does nothing all day but play video and on-line games. One night, after visiting a convenience store, he is suddenly summoned to another world. With no sign of who summoned him, he soon befriends Satella, who identifies herself as an elf (upper row, disc two from left) and her companion, Puck (upper row, disc three). Satella mentions that her insignia was stolen by the thief Felt (upper row, fourth disc).
Subaru does what he can to try and track down this mysterious person and even more mysterious insignia, which brings them to a tavern in the nasty part of town. It is there where he and Satella are killed. However, Subaru awakens and discover that he has acquired the ability “Return by Death”, enabling him to reset by dying. In a sense, he goes back to his last save point, where he takes what he has learned from the previous mistake and make it right, so he can go on to the next level. He learns that the name ‘Satella’ actually refers to the Jealous Witch, and is considered a taboo to say (He Who Will Not be Named With No Nose). With the help of Reinhard (upper row, disc five), Subaru saves Satella’s life from the assassin Elsa; Satella reveals that her real name is Emilia, and as a token of gratitude, Felt returns the insignia to her.
Subaru is taken to Roswaal’s mansion (he’s that dandy at the far right of the bottom row) and is attended to by the maids Rem (bottom row, blue hair) and Ram (pink hair). But these folks are tough customers. He also spends a lot of time being killed. Now, he is the only one who remembers the incidents; whereas to everyone else, it’s just a new day. He gets some help from Beatrice (that loli in the bottom row), but she is more of a spirit or an entity than a real person. The show details the maturation of Subaru from his rather closeted self to this new world that he is in, but that growth is both painful and slow, especially when he resets. There are a few additional problems along the way and one of the most annoying characters ever, and I have run into a ton of them, but Betelgeuse Romanee-Conti is cowl and shoulders above them all, and I just finished “Blue Exorcist 2”, and THAT villain was a major jerkwad.
The actual end of the run strongly indicates a second season. There is a conflict at the end, but I want you to see it, as it is a game-changer in how this series will go. The problem with this show is much like a video game that has a level you cannot seem to beat. You spend a huge amount of time trying to improve yourself to move on, but you are frustrated at every turn and cannot figure out a way to overcome your travails. Also, Subaru has to absorb a massive amount of abuse and distrust from everyone. Remember, when he resets, all that progress is lost, and he is starting anew from the last save point. He recalls what went wrong, but it’s all tabula rasa for the rest of them.
It does pick up by the ending arc tales, but I still feel that there is a world of growth still in store for our Subaru.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Hot and cold approach)
Plot 8 (Executed quite well)
Pacing 7 (Does drag at points)
Effectiveness 8 (Mostly Ossan’s resiliency)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 8 (Got a bit too repetitive for me)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. The boy is more than enough, I suppose.