Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu

Title:Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
Re: Life in a different world from zero
Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-
Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活
Overall:Buy
Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - WHITE FOX
KOBAYASHI Yusuke
TAKAHASHI Rie
Subaru Natsuki finds himself inexplicably transferred from modern-day Japan to a video game-like world. He also finds that he has somehow acquired an ability to time travel, which comes in handy when it allows him to undo himself getting killed.

25 episodes
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 9 8 8 8 9 9 Ggultra2764 [series:3176#1552]
Re:Zero is a deconstruction of the "trapped in another world" premise of anime milked in recent years. Whereas many titles of its ilk portray their leads as gaining powers of some sort in their new world, naturally adjusting to their predicament and being nonchalant over it, or being a chosen one to thwart some sort of great evil threat, our lead Subaru Natsuki enters the fantastical world he is whisked to with no supernatural powers beyond the ability to return to specific points in time after being killed and lets his ability to abuse the acquired knowledge of the future from his various deaths get to his head. This leads him at many points of the series to try deducing the causes surrounding the deaths he undergoes and overcoming the trauma it inflicts upon his psyche as he suffers from various deaths multiple times and has to bare witness to the deaths of those he develops bonds with in this new world.

Subaru is depicted as your typical NEET lead character who assumes he is being genre savvy over the present predicament he is in traveling into another world and becoming familiar with its inhabitants. However as he experiences his various time resets, he adjusts to his circumstances as best he can by coming to better understand the backgrounds of the different characters he encounters and the ways in which the fantastical world he inhabits work. Also due to his lack of supernatural powers, our lead finds himself having to exploit his acquired knowledge on incoming events and enemy abilities to often manipulate others and exploit the weaknesses of his foes to get the upper hand on them, often at great risk to his well-being.

Outside of Subaru's developments, Re:Zero also does a great job at fleshing out the world and characters of its series. The series mostly follows a medieval-fantasy based setting with magic and supernatural creatures like elves, dragons, and demons. Still, it does flesh out a number of the major and supporting characters in the series that Subaru crosses paths with and whom he will grow to befriend, ally, or oppose throughout his adventures. The politics of the world are also fleshed out as this serves as a major component of the show's plot and fleshing out of major character and potential love interest to Subaru, the half-elf Emilia. In spite of its engaging and fresh storytelling however, the series does suffer from some loose plot threads regarding future enemy threats to come and Subaru still being trapped in another world thanks to the rather obvious fact that its light novel source material is still ongoing as of now.

Inconclusive ending aside though, Re:Zero is easily one of the year's best titles thanks to its great deconstruction of the "trapped in another world" premise of anime in exploring how an ordinary young man like Subaru would endure the endless suffering he puts up with from coming back to life from the many deaths he endures. A definite recommendation if you are looking for something different from the stagnant number of titles recycling the "trapped in another world" premise.

Last updated Tuesday, December 27 2016. Created Tuesday, December 27 2016.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:3176#628]
(Nine episodes watched):

This show left me confused after sending a lot of mixed signals. Early on, it was looking like a Konosuba-like alternate reality comedy. Natsuki being transported for no apparent reason from a nighttime convenience store in Japan to a stereotypical sword & sorcery fantasy world in broad daylight was kind of intriguing; better no reason at all than a lame one, I guess. The first half of the show seemed mildly amusing but slightly boring--not as good as Konosuba. But things got rather serious towards the end of the (unusually long) first episode, with considerable violence. The two halves of the show didn't seem to match very well. The transition had more of a WTF effect on me than a shocking one. I didn't get the feeling that the yank-the-rug-out-from-under-us transition had been designed and carried out with particular skill. Perhaps the goofy first half just didn't give any impression that the story was being taken very seriously, then all of a sudden it obviously was. I was confused by the time loops in which events that are similar in some ways but different in others repeat themselves. It seemed frustrating to have what little chemistry Natsuki and Satella had developed basically be abruptly deleted. What's going on? Is anybody in control of these time fluctuations? And where is the story as a whole going? I don't know. At the end, my thinking was that this would probably end up as one of those shows which I make an effort to watch and enjoy, but drop somewhere around halfway through the season.

I was getting tired of the series of similar but not identical time loops when, in episode four, the show broke out of that mode and Subaru found himself in a completely new situation. This new arc is modestly interesting but also leaves me wondering what the basic thrust of the story will be. There was little reference to what had been happening previously, namely how Subaru kept getting killed in time loops, instead a new problem seems to have been introduced to replace that one. So, where is the story going? Surely that evil sorceress will be back at some point, won't she? Is this show trying to be a comedy, a drama, or both? I am confused. It turns out that Subaru is now in a different time loop--it will presumably repeat until he figures out what's going on, how he gets killed (in his sleep, apparently), and finds a way to avoid it.

This show had a close call as I found myself not eager to watch episode six and initially skipped it. I had gotten a feeling that I had little idea where the story was going and had little confidence that anybody was going to explain it. Subaru just seems to get into 'how do I avoid getting killed' time loops which aren't all that brilliant and don't seem to fit together as part of an interesting ongoing plot. But eventually I did watch the episode, and was pleasantly surprised by a very unexpected cliffhanger at the end, so I'm glad I didn't give up.

Episode seven apparently marked the end of the second arc--and left me confused. Why did Subaru get so emotional about a person who had tried (successfully) to kill him? Why did he do the desperate thing which he did at the end? What is it supposed to accomplish? I feel that for once colorful characters are largely going to waste because I cannot make complete sense of the plot, just the basics of it. What in general, is being achieved by these various time loop situations that Subaru goes through? Are we getting any closer to an explanation of what the F is going on? I hope the next episode explains something.

The next episode makes it clear than this arc isn't over after all (which makes me wonder what the point of the first arc, which lasted only three episodes or so, was). The trend seems to be that no explanation of this time looping business will be presented to us any time soon, instead Subaru repeatedly finds himself in confusing situations, which he gets very emotional about even though I cannot make much sense of them. Why are they important? I guess Subaru wants to break out of this cycle of getting killed every day or two, but you would think that if this is so, it would be a lot easier to make clear than this show has done so far. Perhaps what's confusing is that he seems more interested in helping other people than in saving his own life, which, while admirable, doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I notice that I have almost forgotten that this all started out with a present-day Japanese video gamer; Subaru seldom muses about what the relationship between his original world and this one might be, and if he will ever return home. I wish he would do that a little, because I wonder what's going on--and who wouldn't? The story changes enough between loops to remain semi-interesting, and the sarcastic sorceress Beatrice is an especially fun character, but ultimately this show couldn't answer the question that was raised way back at the beginning: where is the story as a whole going? The plot has become tiresome and the confusion is frustrating. When I learned that this would be a two-season series my patience ran out and in the end I decided to drop it.

Last updated Wednesday, August 17 2016. Created Saturday, April 09 2016.

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