The aspect of time travel is nothing new in the media and this theme had its ups and downs. Some shows nailed this theme perfectly, many couldn’t, and some did okay. To be fair, when writing any plot regarding time travel, one has to think about, all the routes a certain action can take. It’s not easy to do things right (trust me I know, I tried to write once,) and only a handful of shows succeeded in this regard. Do one little mistake and the small plot hole that you create turns into a black hole within a matter of time.
This little show of ours though, isn’t anything unique, it doesn’t have anything that hasn’t been done in the anime industry before. Yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean it didn’t do things right. This show is one of the example, that proves, you can pick the same things that has been done before in the industry, reshape things and make things enjoyable; once again.
Ladies and Gentlemen this is Sulfur Reviews and today I welcome all of you for a new review of mine. Today’s anime, from the studio White Fox that brought you murder simulator Akame Ga Kill and time travel sim Steins; Gate,
Re: Starting Life in Another World From Zero.
Re: Zero is an fantasy anime that involves the adventure of this young otaku/gamer named Natsuki Subaru. He after one shopping mysteriously sees flickers of a new city, only to be soon grabbed by two purple demonic hands which actually pulls him to that mysterious city, and so the journey begins. Subaru being a regular otaku, thinks he was pulled into a video game, probably thinks this is an sword art online/konosuba type situation. Little did he know, this world where he was pulled in, is very real and is gonna cost him everything to survive, even his life.
You may ask how in the earth his dying helps him survive, that sounds absurd, well, you’re right, but neither I am wrong, you see, Subaru was witchcrafted and pulled from the real world to the other world, but the difference between this and that world is that, in that world, Subaru can time travel, he literally can travel back to past when he dies. Instead of dying fully, he goes to the past and gets a chance to avoid that death by doing things other way. But, I know what you are thinking, you all might be thinking, thats okay if he can go back to time by dying, okay, but why would he die in the first place, this place looks like a happy cheerful Disney land, why would someone die prematurely in that world?
You know why, this world might look like a cheerful Disneyland, but
THIS WORLD IS A LIVING NIGHTMARE. It’s a ticking bomb, this world is nothing but full of death traps, seriously, death lurks in every corner of this world. And, at this point, it shouldn’t be a surprise that, Subaru, dies A LOT!
Didn’t count how many times, but here’s the heads up, this show features the death of main protagonist so many times, Subaru’s guts gets ripped apart, throat gets ripped apart, dies forest beasts, loses head, loses limbs, falls of the cliff, gets cursed/poisoned, gets stabbed, I could go on and on.
But dont get this wrong, it’s not because he dies every time because things just wants to tear him apart, no, there is a reason, you see, Subaru after entering the fantasy world gets caught in a fight and this silver haired half elf girl Emelia rescues him. To return the debt, he goes on a journey to recover her stolen pendant, the journey doesn’t end well, they both gets brutally murdered in a warehouse, and this, is where Subaru experiences his first time loop. Knowing that at which time and place they are gonna die before time, the story of Re: Zero begins.
And this is Re Zero in a nutshell, the story of this real world otaku “Natsuki Subaru” getting pulled into the other world and starting everything from zero over and over again to prevent death of his, his crush Emelia’s death and his death of his other (new) familiars.
Re Zero has quite a large cast, but, in my opinion, the main casts would be, Subaru, the silver haired half elf Emelia, her two maids Rem and Ram, a former military swordsman Wilhelm, Subaru’s rival Julius, one of the seven deadly sins Sloth, and lastly, the witch that is the reason this show exists, the jealous witch Satella.
Re Zero is a great show there is no doubt in that, but, truth be told, Subaru as a main protagonist was nothing but annoyance to the eyes and ears. Yes, Subaru is the mc, but, for some reason the writer of Re Zero decided to put the most annoying character as main protagonist. Subaru has this naive childish attitude which was very painful to watch. Dont get me wrong Subaru nailed the main protagonist stuff really good, especially towards the end, but, his attitude never synchronized with what the show wanted to portray. Also, he never got a background development like the other characters.
Speaking of other characters, the main heroin of this anime is the silver haired half elf, Emelia. Emelia is a fantastic character, I have nothing against this character. She always has this fake smile face in front of the society even though the same society hates her for, reasons (that I am not going to discuss.) She is caring and at times selfless, she has ambitions of becoming a ruler and rule her state in peace. In an honesty this is one of the generic good willed characters that was made intentionally like this so the viewers would care about her if something happens to her. And it works I tell you. It’s just a matter of time where you will be crossing fingers for her safety. She did require a good background story, which would have explained her journey till now. But what they presented in front of us in the show, wasn’t bad. She was genuinely good, but that’s it, good, not the best (which is yet to come.)
Emelia has two maids, which are the main protagonists for the second half of the show. The older sister maids name is Ram and the younger sister’s name is Rem. These two maids looks almost similar, but the only thing that differentiates them is their hair (which is odd by genetic standards, but let’s just pretend that our science doesn’t apply in a fantasy world.)
Ram and Rem at first had this odd mysterious vibe to their character, often time they hide things not just from Subaru, but from viewers too. And at first, you will drown in the confusion that, are they really good; or victim of the situation. But that confusion soon clears up and we thus get two of the best maids I’ve seen.
Ram is the older sister and has this semi tsundere attitude towards Subaru in the early on. But it soon clears out that she was just being cautious. She has this calm/patience attitude about her that I really liked. And truth be told there are reasons for that. This show explores deep in their past and you will eventually know why she is like this. On and all, Ram was a great character and I really liked her a lot.
But, it doesn’t matter, no matter how much I praise Ram, no other girl in this show could ever come close to how epic her younger sister Rem is. Rem might be the younger sister, but she is stronger, deadly and more ‘ill tempered’ than her older sister. She doesn’t sit on suspicions, rather acts on it. At early on in the show she had this evil veil, but soon, when that evil veil of her lifts off, and she turns into one of the most selfless girl in team entire anime history.
No kidding, Rem is the maid girl that does so much for Subaru and his quest of saving everyone, she makes so many sacrifices, even with her life at times, trust me, at certain time, you will not be able to stop adoring her. She is the best girl of this show and she is one of the reason for which I liked this show very much. The amount of annoyance that Subaru will put on to you, trust me all this will be mitigated by seeing the sacrifices that she makes. I could go on and on about this character and praise her for rest of the review (she was that great trust me.) Even she was the writer’s one of the favorite, the writer solely dedicated an entire parallel universe to her and Subaru in his extended light novel edition. And, yes, do read that, it was that good.
She also gets equal (to Ram) and very good development in the show, hence I would say everything about her was a win, except for the romance factor. She was a potential romantic female candidate for Subaru and that aspect of the show was well developed, even though it had a disappointing ending. Nevertheless, Rem was a great character, so hats off to Nagatsuki (writer) for putting this much effort into a supporting character.
The rest of the cast was okay, Wilhelm and Roswell did their part, Beatrice a twin tail tsundere loli and Julius: Subaru’s rival played crucial part in the story. I really liked the back story of Wilhelm, it had good twists and unique story. That story honestly had potential, feels kind of wasted. The story of Wilhelm standalone could have been a thing.
That said, the villain cast was superb. The show features 5 villains distributed in 3 arcs, and among them, 2 turns out to be really good, even though you never see one of them.
Sloth is the pale green skinned weird looking villain that really had an individual personality, which I really liked. But that’s not the thing what was exceptionally good about him, not his character, not his story, the thing that most intrigued me was his voice acting. And oh my god wasn’t it marvelous, my brain trembles whenever I recall how good his voice acting was. Solid 10/10 voice acting there believe it or not.
The other main villain cast would Satella; the jealous witch. Even though we never got the chance to see her face, she did affect the show greatly. She was the reason Subaru got pulled into this other world, she was the reason Subaru could never confess his powers to Emelia, she brought back Subaru from death every time he died, she was the reason everything got in to motion. It’s just sad that, we never learn the reason behind all this and I dont know if we ever will. Nevertheless, the constant fear of her squishing Subarus heart and actually killing him without reviving him did play a major role in the story.
The story of Re Zero is divided into three arcs, and the first two arcs were a roller coaster ride. The amount of tension Re Zero puts in these two arcs on the viewers in unbelievable. It put of lot of stress on me and that legitimately felt good, it had tension, action, fear, overall, I got what I was looking for. Things do slow down a bit in the third arc, especially towards the end of the series, but, that was sort of expected, even though their predecessor Steins; Gate did the entire opposite thing. The third arc was okay, not complaining, but could have done better as it was after all a conclusive arc. Considering the overall story, even though none of the materials of re zero (time travel, murder and gore, love triangle, corrupted politics, massive shonen fights against monsters) are original, they still managed to put all this together and come up with a very good story. Props to the writer.
Apparently, even though the story was great, the visuals didn’t impress me as much as shows like Steins gate or Akame ga kill. Hell, the visual even feels rip off of GATE and Akame Ga Kill at times, but, that doesn’t necessarily mean it looked bad. There were scenes that genuinely was good. Especially at night times, the art was fantastic. There was this scene where they had to fight this giant floating whale, and the used charm fragments which lit up the entire sky with its radiance, that looked fantastic. The evening scenes were beautiful to look at too, even though what was happening on screen was a massacre.
Overall, even though it didn’t had the best visuals, those were not bad either. The show at the end of the day, looked pretty good overall.
Sound and OSTs:
The show features two openings and two endings. And never in my life this thing happened where I actually liked both of the opening. The first opening was Re: Do by Konomi Suzuki which was really good and had the thrill of the show. The distortion guitar that gets into full thrive with drums while the screen popped the show’s title thrilled me everytime.
The second opening to me was the best, it was titled as Paradisus Paradoxium by Myth & Roid, this song is fast paced, with autotuned vocal from the lead singer, which worked pretty good. The best part about this op was its ending part where the fast rhyme of the lead singer was backed by Subaru running with his best ability towards Emelia, trying to save her, who is about to get grabbed by this purple demonic hands from behind. That scene standalone was half of the story and gave me shivers everytime.
Among the OSTs, I just cant express how good they are in words. The osts touched emotions, truely.
Both of the endings were good. The first ED was better specially when it was played on the last moment of the last episode.
Re Zero uses previously used elements of other shows but still, came up with a story that was tense, romantic, and full tragedy. That said, it did feature a bad protagonist and it was annoying to watch him. But, as much as I want to complain, the show did fought back with its viewers. There was this one episode, the entire episode dedicated to just, two people, nothing but talking. And oh my god the amount of respect I earned for these two characters after watching that episode (yes one of them was Subaru), I have never in my life saw a character break down like this and stand back on his foot to fight back again, and that episode was enough to erase all my annoyance towards Subaru.
As for the story, it’s not entirely finished, we dont know much of the reason why Subaru was pulled to this mysterious world let alone any story of the jealous witch Satella. But, it did had a reasonable ending. Not the best, but reasonable. To be honest this was one this is one of those shows that is enjoyable as a package, and hell yes it was enjoyable when given an outlook to the entire show.
Therefore, finally, judging by the characters, the amazing story, the visuals, soundtracks, voice acting, and overall enjoyment, “RE: STARTING LIFE IN ANOTHER WORLD FROM ZERO” earns a solid
With a recommendation to buy it on blueray DVD with all the collectibles. Its truly one of those animes that will keep you hooked onto your TV for hours without you realizing how much actual time has passed. Watch this show it is totally worth. And with this, I conclude my review for today.
As for alternate recommendation, definitely give Steins; Gate a try, it has less deaths than Re: Zero but it has done things differently that is unique on its own. Thank you all for your patience, I will see you all on my next review.