Huh. It’s over. Is that really all this story is about? I’m actually quite surprised – that felt like a fairly standard ending, in that everyone’s smiles were protected and everything went perfectly. It was so standard that I didn’t expect it at all, because the way this show has worked up until now is that it pretends everything is okay before stabbing you in the back and shoving you off a cliff, replacing a safety mat you see at the bottom that’s supposed to break your fall with extra-sharp spikes just to get another laugh before you die a gruesome, despair-filled death. I was almost expecting hell, and to not get it makes the ending a little underwhelming. I have no idea whether it was anime-original or not, but I wouldn’t put it past White Fox to go down that route given what they did with Underwater Ray Romano a couple of seasons ago. Time to finally read the web novel, I suppose.
An example of things going wrong would have been the bag of magic stones exploding and grievously wounding Emilia and the children, but it just ended up being one of those added complications that pop up during the later stages of an arc to add extra suspense, a bit like what happened near the end of the mansion arc. Stuff like that usually fails to add any suspense at all, purely because from a technical perspective the series is about to conclude and you’re not supposed to do cruel stuff because a happy ending is the norm. The difference is that Re:Zero has spent the last six months doing exactly that, with the result being that the first time I didn’t expect a happy ending was the first time we actually got one.
I loved the Satella scene, though! She’s the cutest. I was under the impression that she wouldn’t really interfere with Subaru other than in the event that he gets killed (i.e. in the absence of his physical death, she won’t intervene no matter how much suffering he goes through or even if the consciousness controlling his body isn’t his any longer) but I guess she wasn’t really happy with Betelgeuse being there instead when she arrived to take advantage of her chance to lewdly caress Subaru.
I’m also now reconsidering whether there’s any merit to the Satella-Emilia theory. It’s the first time she’s spoken, and if I’m not wrong that voice should be Takahashi Rie’s. At least, it sounded awfully similar to her. It’s most likely intentional if so, but I don’t know whether it’s bait worth taking. Both are silver-haired half-elves, for a start. And it just doesn’t make sense for an all-powerful, supposedly evil (but kind of cute) witch to unconditionally love a random human to the point of summoning him from another world and making sure he stays alive at all costs. One way of explaining it would be the love that Subaru feels for Emilia, right? Even if Satella isn’t Emilia from the future, I really doubt that the two aren’t related whatsoever. We have no idea whether Satella really wants to take over Emilia’s body (she clearly gives no fucks about the cult that worships her) but if she does, there are probably reasons as to why she can’t do so just yet (or she’d have done it by now) and why it has to be Emilia. Because if I were her, I’d just take over Reinhard and she would literally be set for life. Unless Reinhard has some sort of blessing that prevents him from being taken over by qt yandere witches, which he probably does.
I’m actually surprisingly mellow about Re:Zero ending. I don’t really feel much. I’m not sure whether it’s just my mood today or otherwise, but I don’t feel that hollow feeling I usually get when a two-cour series comes to an end. Next Sunday will be my first Sunday in six months where I’ll have no Re:Zero to watch, and for some reason the current me is okay with that. It’s strange, because it’s definitely a successful anime given how popular it is – if there’s anything that’s turning (or has turned) semi-mainstream from this season without being shounen, something like what Tokyo Ghoul or Kiseijuu or Kimiuso did in their respective seasons, this’ll be it. It’s just that the ending sort of petered out in a way that’s not really definitive of what the series has been all about up until that point. I’m not saying everyone should have died, but this show wouldn’t be the same without the suffering. It wouldn’t have been as emotionally heart-wrenching without it, and so an ending without any plot twists was weaker than it could have been, as nice as it is to see Subaru actually smiling. At the end of the day, I could have predicted everything that ended up happening this evening with complete accuracy, and that’s not what I’ve come to expect from Re:Zero. It was such an orthodox ending that it was unorthodox, in other words. Truly slothful.
It’ll get a second season though. I’m almost certain of that. White Fox has produced many sequels before, unlike studios like P.A. Works who are traditionally very sequel-averse (although with Uchouten Kazoku 2 announced this morning, that trend has now been broken). I also hear that the author wants to animate all of what he’s written, and that’s a good sign. It’s most likely popular enough, both in Japan and in the West to turn over a hefty profit, and in the end that’s what’s most important. This author seems to absolutely love Emilia though, for some strange reason – she has a pretty face and a kind heart, but her lack of development leaves me unable to sympathise all that much. Hopefully that’ll change in future arcs – her single most memorable moment for me was that first lap pillow where Subaru cried his heart out (come to think of it, that’s probably the precise moment he fell in love with her, if there ever was one). Other than that, I’ve ended up taking a lot more interest in the other girls, from Rem to Beatrice and even Satella. Rem wins a whole case of trophies for having the best moments by far. Episodes 15 and 18 are what will leave an impression on me in the years to come, trailed only by the White Whale battle.
At it’s core, Re:Zero has only been as successful as it has because of its plot twists and its suffering. It’s not so much a successful example of the isekai genre as it is a supernatural fantasy that just happens to involve isekai, because the fact that Subaru has been summoned to a different world has hardly been a focus at all relative to him encountering and resolving his many personal and emotional struggles. Seeing him tackle those ups and downs is what’s made it so satisfying.
Finally, Rem is
objectively best girl.