And it continues to make less sense the more I think about it.
Have you guys seen the latest episode of Re:Zero? Pretty fucking retarded, wasn’t it? Also seems to have a split a lot of people whilst simultaneously increasing its popularity because nothing draws more attention to a show than controversy. I mean censorship aside, Episode 7 was pretty good on a technical level. It was actually kinda funny how dramatic White Fox were trying to make what is essentially the biggest load of crap I’ve ever seen in a long time, so I guess I should give it props for keeping my attention even if for all the wrong reasons (and now that the adrenaline has worn off, I found it physically painful to go back and get screen caps for this post). Unfortunately, whilst most people see this week’s installment as a sign that the show is going to really ramp things up from here on out, I see it as a sign that the show is just going to stagnate even further – and not just because someone told me that the next arc was going to be around fifteen episodes long whilst having lots of revivals.
See, Re:Zero has mostly been boring me over the last month and a half, not because of its agonizingly painful light novel dialogue and the shitty action scenes that people somehow think are brilliant (not just because of that anyways), but because it doesn’t make any sense. And it makes even less sense the more I think about it, so I’ve composed this list of questions that have been bothering me over time, including some new ones that rose up when I watched the latest episode because of how badly conceived it was. If anyone wants to answer them in a way that’s satisfactory, feel free. But you’ll be hard-pressed to change my mind due to the reasons for the questions I’m listing with them.
1. Who Is Subaru?
This is the question that’s been bothering me ever since the series started: who the fuck is Subaru? We’re seven episodes into this thing (eight if you count both halves of the first episode) and I don’t recall the show telling me anything other than he’s a gamer from the real world. That’s literally all the context the show gives me about him as a character. Nothing about his family situation. Nothing about his life in the real world. No personal flaws or struggles (caring too much does NOT count, especially when he only seems to do it towards females). I could replace him with some homeless guy on the street and the story would make just as much sense.
Some people have been telling me that you’re supposed to feel for the guy because of the shitty situation he’s in and that he’d react the way I’d react. Yeah, there’s one big problem with that theory: Subaru is a fucking FICTIONAL character! I can’t relate to a fictional character because they’re fictional! They’re not real! That automatically makes it impossible for me to relate to them, and it doesn’t help that I would never act the way he does if I was in his situation (more on that later). If you want me to “feel” something for them, you have to tell me who they are. Give me some context for their actions. Say that Subaru came from a broken family and that’s why he cares so much about the people he interacts with in this world. Saying he’s a normal person trapped in a world he won’t survive in doesn’t cut it! You wouldn’t say that about A Kid in King Arthur’s Court!
2. What’s Up With The Lack of Imagination In This Show’s Use of Time Travel?
“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?” That’s a quote from Groundhog Day where Bill Murray’s character, Phil, contemplates his current situation and another character responds by saying that’s his entire life. And what made it work in that film was how Phil was a selfish asshole who eventually grew into a kinder person when his depressive state caused him to be open about being genuinely kind to people. Re:Zero’s use of time travel, on the other hand, has been utter balls, only used to ruin Subaru’s previous relationships with the characters and sending him into a more depressive state, which I don’t give two shits about because of the existence of Question #1. Not to mention, you remember how Phil did all sorts of his things with his time travel experiences like hit on women, go to jail, and drive off a cliff to his death? All Re:Zero has made Subaru do with each time loop is have him partake in long, boring conversations with the female characters that are either blatant foreshadowing or just padding things out so that each episode can end on a cliffhanger. Oh, and he learns how to cut with a knife. Fan-fucking-tastic imagination the writer has with this mechanic.
3. How Is This Satire?
Some people have been telling me that the author hates the light novel trend and that Re:Zero is supposed to be his post-modern criticism of stuff like Hundred or Asterisk War. And like every time that argument is brought up lately, I just go “fine, but it’s a bad one”. First off, very few of the things that make up Re:Zero’s plot are exclusive to light novels. “Trapped in a fantasy world” and “Groundhog Day-like time travel” are stuff you can find in a lot of fiction, so I don’t understand how this premise aids the author in creating another Guilty Crown. Or even another Higurashi if you still care about that show. Second, you do know that meta-humor and overly long conversations that just character-build for the sake of character-building make up the majority of what goes wrong in “light novel land”, right? Then why on earth is there so much of it in this show, and if it’s supposed to be ironic, then why is it not playing a major role in the time-travel story? In fact, the time travel stuff just makes it worse because it causes repetition to occur in the conversations, making them more tediously formulaic and being about as satirical as Endless Eight. Third, being “edgy” with your tropes for the sake of shock value has also started to become increasingly common in light novels as of late. So tell me Re:Zero fans, what exactly was the significance of seeing Subaru get beheaded by an anime trope he trusted? Use multiple paragraphs if you have to.
Also, the best satires mix both the love and hate flawlessly, but Re:Zero can’t make up its fucking mind on whether I’m suppose to condemn the characters or pity them. Which brings us to Question 4.
4. Why Would Anyone Want To Save These Maids?
We’re currently entering a new arc where Subaru’s goal is to save the maids of the household. Christ knows why. They are horrible people, and thanks to the latest episode, I now physically hate them with every fiber of my being! Just because they distrust an outsider gives them grounds to fucking mutilate him without a fair trial? Are you fucking serious? And even if I did somehow accept that that’s a reasonable response to a suspicion regarding a vague threat that has yet to be clarified and thus I have no reason to believe it’s that dangerous, I would not want to save the person who did that to me. Not even if he was my own brother. Why? Because he fucking tried to kill me of his own free volition when I didn’t even do anything wrong other than have a special scent! That’s considered a hate crime in most countries! And these maids aren’t my brother either. They’re monotone stereotypes whose only interactions have been to show Subaru around the house and Subaru, even with the time loops, has only known for about nine days. That’s not enough time to form a loving relationship with someone, especially not one that can survive one side of the party trying to murder the other.
But no, when confronted with Blue Maid’s death (incidentally, no I don’t remember their names), Subaru runs like a pussy because somehow it’s his fault despite his alibi being airtight, and then proceeds to spout out this bullshit speech about how much these maids mean to him and that he wants to save them with his time loops despite not knowing the limits of how much longer he can keep it up, even with all they did to him. Even if there was context for his action, I’d still have trouble relating to him as of now. There comes a point when you push a man’s goodwill too far and you start to think he’s just criminally insane for continuing to hold onto it.
5. Why Wasn’t Emilia The One Who Died In The Latest Arc?
At least I would have bought Subaru caring for her considering his interactions with her were romantic. Contrived, but sparks were there at the very least, and I bought him caring for her in the first arc even if I didn’t like it. The maids on the other hand? Nah.
6. Would Episode 7 Have Had The Same Impact on Fans If The Maids Were Replaced by Overweight Middle-Aged Men Who Nevertheless Kept The Same Personality?
I seriously doubt it.
7. What’s The Conflict Driving This Show?
Final question of this post, and it’s kind of related to the second one, only on a broader scale: what exactly is the antagonistic force that you want the characters to overcome by the end, Re:Zero? With the assassin chick from the first arc all tied up, who is the ultimate bad guy? That “witch” the maids talk so cryptically about? You can’t seriously think someone I don’t know and has yet to directly affect our characters in any way can function as an antagonist. The castle and its inhabitants seem to be relatively safe from outside forces with no war or political conflicts in sight. And since Subaru doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to get back to the real world (another reason why I can’t relate to him. I’d cry like a baby if I was thrown in a world with no Internet) he’s not providing any personal conflict on his end either.
Simply put, there’s nothing driving this show other than situations that force Subaru to repeat the same days over and over again. That’s the equivalent of dragging out an action show by making up multiple random Silver Age comic tier-villains for our hero to deal with despite them being nothing more than an empty pile of gimmicks with no chemistry towards the lead. And the repetition gets to the point where it feels like author is dragging things out just because he has some sick fetish for torturing young boys. It didn’t work when Now and Then, Here and There tortured its lead character multiple times all for the sake of driving home its “war is torture” message, and this show doesn’t even have a message to drive home to begin with. At the end of the day, Re:Zero is just bad.
- Wow, that assassin lady from the first arc is a lot uglier than I remember.
- Got to let the hate flow through you. Got to let the hate flow through you.
- Whatever happened to the thief girl anyways?