MAJOR SPOILERS FOR SEASON 2 OF RE:ZERO! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS EPISODE! There will be comparisons to the light novel but I won’t spoil anything that hasn’t happened yet in the anime.
I don’t normally do episode reviews. I prefer to watch a whole series before I give my thoughts on it, but I couldn’t wait this time. So this is just going to be my fresh thoughts on Re:Zero, raw and unfiltered. I will probably fangirl and go on weird tangents a lot, but if you’ve read my blog you’ll know I tend to do that all the time anyway. Cool? Cool.
GOD DAMN! Yup, Tappei Nagatsuki went there. Rem, the most beloved character in Re:Zero, has gone all Sleeping Beauty on us and no one can remember her but poor Subaru. Those of you who watched the Director’s Cut of Season 1 will remember the infamous “Who’s Rem” scene, and it’s still a gut punch here. I’m sure some of her fans will be livid, but I think this actually makes the story better. Subaru’s new goal is to bring Rem back, as well as putting Emilia on the throne. And without spoiling things, this season will give Emilia a much bigger role to play!
But before all that, Rem and Crusch get one last spectacular fight scene with the Archbishops of Greed and Gluttony. These new villains chew the scenery just like Petelguese in Season 1, but their powers blow his right out the water. You can feel all the tension in the air with the breathtaking sakuga and bombastic choral soundtrack. The direction, animation, and music is even better than Season 1 so far! You can tell that White Fox are giving this series their all, and it blew me away to see the emotional scenes from the novel come to life.
Subaru is devastated. After coming so far in Season 1, his fairy tale ending has been shattered, and not even Return By Death can save Rem this time. The scene where he commits suicide, only to be brought right back with Emilia, was hard to watch and full of twisted irony. After constantly dying to save the people he cares about, now he is forced to live, without Rem, and hope against hope he can figure out how to save her.
But apparently, one heartbreaking loss wasn’t enough for this episode. We also lost Crusch, or at least her memories. The boisterous commander is a shadow of her former self, and she’s abandoned her military gear for a willowy feminine dress. And oh my god, Ferris! His spinoff light novel implies he’s in love with Crusch, and this episode all but confirms it. Watching him try to keep himself together during the diplomatic meeting, only to break down at the end, made my little gay heart melt. I hope Crusch gets her memory back, and I really hope Nagatsuki makes this adorably queer ship canon.
This is a sad episode, but it ends with a glimmer of hope. Subaru, alone with Emilia and the comatose Rem, grieves in silence. And Emilia puts her arms around him, reminding him of his strengths and that he doesn’t have to bear this burden alone. There are subtle callbacks to the the “lap pillow” scene where Subaru lets himself be vulnerable for the first time, as well as Rem’s confession scene. But it also shows how much they’ve grown closer together, and how amazing Emilia is for helping Subaru even though she can’t understand what he’s feeling.
This was a masterful first episode, and well worth the four year wait. I know some fans will be angry with what happens to Rem, but don’t despair too much. One of the beautiful things about Re:Zero is that its many tragic moments make the small victories all the sweeter. And having read the light novels, this season will have some amazing characters (new and old), even more crazy twists, and mysteries that take the story in a whole new direction. Even though I know what happens, I can’t wait to see it all play out, and I hope you all will enjoy the ride as much as I do.
And because this episode was a send-off to Rem, I’ll post some more cute pictures of her.