Things get dark and relationships fall apart in this installment of the Re:ZERO rewatch
Hi people! I'm your host for this week's GREAT CRUNCHYROLL Re:ZERO REWATCH, Carolyn Burke! Time has been really flying by during this particular rewatch venture as we zero in on the last two weeks the Re:ZERO rewatch! Last week's episodes 6-10, we saw the revelation of Rem's demonic nature and Emilia and Subaru grew a little closer as he sought emotional comfort in his friend... and all of that is about to come crumbling down in this week's episodes 10-15. Let's just say we're about to build on commenter Pure6Evil's disdain for Subaru. Ready or not, let's go!
Before starting this rewatch we heard a lot of things about Rem being Worst Girl. For a while there, it wasn't too hard to see why. But this block of episodes has shown a gentle, very loyal side of Rem. How are we all feeling about her at this point?
David: I have to disagree with this premise. The season this show aired, she was essentially the most popular character of the season, if not the whole year. One of my personal Discord servers has a whole channel dedicated to posting Rem fanart. To properly answer the question though, yeah, I like Rem.
Joshua: People were saying Rem is worst girl? Just who's been spreading these lies and slander? Why, I oughtta give em a piece of my mind!
Rem's sweet, adorable, and her willingness to stand by Subaru no matter how much he degrades himself is admirable, but she's also a truly tragic figure. She has no sense of self-worth and cannot see the qualities in her that I described, because shes always comparing herself to Ram, and shouldering the blame for what happened. I know how hard it can be to watch talented siblings succeed while you flounder, so I can empathize with Rem. I like her and want her to be happy, but falling for a guy with his heart so set on another, also makes me feel sorry for her.
Paul: I don't want to see Rem end up as Subaru's doormat. Their relationship is deeply unhealthy, imbalanced, and rooted firmly in Rem's internalized sense of worthlessness. Much as Subaru fixates on Emilia and frames his own selfish behavior as self-sacrifice, so too does Rem fixate on Subaru, and I don't see much good coming of that.
Jared: I'd always assumed she was the popular one of the twins. I think she has a good deal of complexity of growing up and feeling inferior to Ram, which was something I wasn't expecting. Nothing about her seems offensive. Although, like Paul says, I don't like the way the relationship between her and Subaru is heading. You can do so much better than him Rem!
Rene: As much as I would love this to be a reality, Rem really is far away from being categorized as Worst Girl (except by people like me who dunk on her for fun). I do strongly agree with Paul on her unhealthy relationship to Subaru and have always had a problem with how her entire backstory was basically shoved into one flashback episode as almost every other character gets a much more natural development. And while she does get one of the most beautiful scenes in the show later on (if viewed in a vacuum), my main point of contention with her is that she feels somewhat artificial and too much of a wish-fulfillment in a show that otherwise revels in denying exactly those positive feelings to its protagonist and the viewer. While I did find her intriguing in the beginning, but she devolves too much into idealistic waifu exhibit A for me. Maybe if she weren't so heavily defined by Subaru, I would find her far more interesting and likable.
Noelle: People really say Rem is worst girl? Really? Why? I think Rem has her flaws, but those flaws are part of her character, and honestly make her more interesting. She isn't my favorite type of character, but I think if they explore her co-dependency with Subaru and her internalized poor self-image, she could be really interesting? She has a lot of potential.
Kevin: Ever since the first time I got to this point in the show, I was definitely a Rem fan. I can see Emilia's appeal, but I realized over time that her and Subarus relationship brings out the worst in each other, and is largely based on making up excuses to disobey the other. Meanwhile, Rem and Subaru's relationship is generally built on mutual trust and tends to bring out the best in both of them. Also, Rem can kick ass on her own, while Emilia needs a spirit whos only awake during business hours.
Kara: I mean, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't calling Rem Worst Girl just because she is the fave, but I wasn't impressed with her early on. While Ram is still my fave, the show really has redeemed Rem for me and now I think she deserves better than Subaru to be honest.
Austin: Worst girl is news to me. I honestly like her a lot, even if I do like a lot of the other girls more. I think her admiration towards Subaru is cute and touching in a lot of ways even if it does get to be a bit much at times.
Danni: I think that was kind of just us goofing on her being by far the most popular. After this batch of episodes, though, I think it might actually be the case. Now that she's in love with Subaru she's basically affirming Subarus actions as the show is trying to discourage them.
There's a lot of contention (and prejudice) around this royal selection. Who would you choose and why?
David: Crusch. She seems like the most level-headed candidate, the one that would be able to deal things out fairly. Everyone else has some inherent biases I wouldn't trust.
Joshua: I'd swear my loyalty to Beatrice, but as she isn't a candidate, I'm also Team Crusch. She has an air of maturity around her that the other candidates appear to lack, and she's already shown not just humility, but how committed she is to her word. Not only did she take in Subaru, an ally of her political rival, but she gave him counsel, and upheld her contract even after Emilia had left. She definitely strikes me as someone who could be trusted to lead a country. I like Anastasia's design and dialect, but she strikes me as a bit of a warmonger!
Paul: I don't know what the royal election really is, and I don't trust the information that's been provided so far, so I can't in good faith pick a candidate. When I realized that every contender is female, and that they were referred to as dragon priestesses, it set off every dramatic irony alarm bell in my brain. Why did the original royal family go into hiding? What hold does the dragon exert over the nation of Lugunica? The whole thing smells like a set up for human sacrifice, like the lottery in the 1981 movie Dragonslayer, and if this were my Dungeons & Dragons campaign, that's how I would script it for the big mid-story twist.
Jared: Felt, because hell yeah let's tear down the idea of nobility and commoners and cause absolute chaos.
Rene: The thing I love about the royal selection is how it doesn't have a right answer. While my allegiance obviously belongs to Team Emilia. if you look at it from the outside, everyone has their up- and downsides. Emilia has idealistic views in abolishing goals in abolishing racism and while she has a sense for what is appropriate to do in royal politics (as Subaru contrasts beautifully) but she can push that to the point of naivete. Krusch is certainly the most level-headed but seems to not have as strong a humane side to her. She's far from cruel but give off too strong of a military vibe. Anastasia has a similar aura around her, just that she is more focused on monetary concerns instead of the military. Felt doesn't want to rule and doesn't have the experience to do so but you could argue that not egotistically striving for power is a good quality of a leader in itself. The only real contender that seems to be exclusively on the negative side is Priscilla - but she has the fact going for her that there seems to be some reason why Al is such a loyal servant of hers. It is a mystery that makes her far more interesting than she should be. Its really great how each contestant is balanced out in a way that you don't automatically expect Emilia as the main girl to win because logically speaking, every one could rule the country in their own way and still work as a ruler that doesn't result into pure awfulness.
Noelle: Crusch, absolutely. A leader who is able to take advice from their subordinates, but also has the ability to apologize when they genuinely make mistakes and work on assumptions is very important. Although, I find her the most inspiring leader from the group; the others definitely have their moments and things worth bringing to the table. Social change, economics, and criticism of the class structure are all issues and challenges that the general populace would face, and having goals oriented in that direction is important. The only one I can't really see ruling is Priscilla, but that's more because she seems to be a reflection of the current aristocracy. Her aim, if I'm reading this correctly, feels like keeping the norm, and that in itself is a position to take.
Kevin: At this point, I don't think we really have enough information to be able to choose a side. We've followed Emilia, but have almost no idea what she wants to do when in charge (the most specific we know is that she wants everyone to be equal, and her sponsor wants to kill the dragon), and Felt doesn't even want to be there. The other three, we have even less to go on. So for now, I abstain from picking, but let's revisit this in a week or two.
Kara: Give it to Anastasia, she sounds like she knows how to party.
Austin: Felt! Emilia may be my favorite girl in the show but I desperately want to see how far her running mad with power would go, as bad as that may sound.
Danni: Team Felt all the way. Burn it all down! I could also be swayed towards backing Crusch, if only because Felix is now my husband.
Subaru and Emilia's relationship came into focus a bit more during this arc and he seems to have messed things up pretty badly with Emilia. Do you agree with her choice to walk away or do you understand where he's coming from? Do you think hell set things right in his next life or move on with Rem?
David: Ignoring the questions about the future, nothing Emilia said or did was wrong. Subaru has gotten a lot in his head and needed to be metaphorically clocked at this point.
Joshua: The worst thing Subaru did was double down when he should have back-pedaled. I cringed as he raved about how everything worked out because he was there, which was the breaking point for Emilia too. He shouldn't have disobeyed her orders in leaving the inn, and he shouldn't have made a fool of himself at the Royal Selection, but if he had owned up to his mistakes and apologized to Emilia, he could have saved himself.
I get why Subaru was so incensed though. One of the rulers of the land went on an unchallenged, racist rant aimed at the woman he loves. I'd probably have made a fool of myself in the heat of the moment too, but I agree with Emilia that his reason for not following her orders, was his own selfishness.
Paul: Subaru screwed up big time. He betrayed Emilia's trust at every opportunity, and he exhibits a really shitty sense of entitlement over her that has ballooned from troubling to downright unhealthy. She was right to cut him loose, just as everyone he clashed with was right when they told Subaru (in various ways) that he was way out of line. I don't want to see him run away with Rem, which I know they do in a set of alternate reality spin-off novels, because Subaru needs to fix himself first before he can even begin to consider pursuing a healthy, romantic relationship.
Jared: Emilia has every right to walk away from Subaru at this point. His delusions of grandeur, self-entitlement, and arrogance causes him to break her trust by not listening to her and then embarrassing her at the royal selection. Plus, with how he acts afterward, he's the epitome of toxicity. So, I hope he doesn't try to just run off with Rem or anything like that. I think where we leave things in this set of episodes makes it so it's going to be extremely hard for him to try and set things right, but at the same time, I'm at the point where I'm rooting for none of the girls to have anything to do with him.
Rene: This is the scene that made me completely fall in love with this show and ascended it to the next level for me. Its a fantastic payoff after 13 episodes of buildup. Subarus repeated failures/deaths and him being saved by Reinhardt, Rem & Roswaal may have laid the ground that this isn't a regular Isekai show in which the protagonist is the all-mighty superhero but this scene really cements that the world does not, in fact, revolve around him - which is something so many Isekai anime don't get right.
What I love about this scene is the revelation of how Emilia cant understand what he has (seemingly) done for her. It should be obvious if you think about it for one second yet many Isekai have primed us to think that the protagonist obviously has the ultimate viewpoint - but how could Emilia possibly understand it? She does not know of the time-loop and from her point of view, Subaru just randomly showed up in her life one day, helped her find her crest (after which he had to be rescued by Reinhardt) and then forced his way into her life by becoming her butler, all while lauding her as an angel despite her never having done anything that would make it understandable to get this attention.
And now this guy, after having seriously jeopardized her chance for the throne, expects her to be grateful! How could she possibly do that? If someone showed up in your life and ruined something you have been working YEARS for, anyone would react that way. The fact that she entertained him for so long really underlines her patience and willingness to get along with anyone.
But while Subaru is a jackass who needed to be put down a notch, we can also see where he is coming from as we went through all the loops at his side. This makes the scene so powerful and recontextualizes the unhealthy wish-fulfillment fantasy that Isekai can really be if not written or executed well; Subaru even declared his joy about becoming the protagonist of such a story right after his arrival in Lugunica. So while I won't theorize about the future, as I have already seen the show, its really great to see the main character of a genre that can be notorious for only delivering simple power fantasies being put down for seeking exactly that and neglecting the perspectives and emotions of the people around him.
Noelle: I adored this scene, because it's been a long, long, LONG time coming. Emilia was 100% correct, and that she still wasn't extremely harsh on Subaru is a testament to her heart. Emilia's part in the royal selection is a way to prove herself in a public setting to the military and the nobility. It's her chance to prove the strength of her ideals, to show what she has been planning and what she wants for the new government shed create under her rule. It's her chance to shine, not anyone else's. Subaru, in wanting to save her in the royal selection, is actually just putting a spotlight on himself. It's not helping her out at all, it's proving his loyalty and tenacity, but it doesn't show anything about Emilia's qualifications as a ruler. Subaru doesn't treat her like someone to serve, he shows that shes someone that he thinks should be coddled. In both putting himself in the forefront and not even supporting her that well, all he's doing is undermining what Emilia has been working for.
Subaru has never once seen Emilia as a person. He has seen her as a prize to be won, one that he deserves because he is the protagonist. He's pretty frank in it this episode, and I love how he's finally honest about what he actually wants-- that the girl he's crushing on should feel grateful to him because he put all this work in for her. He did these nice things for her and so he should get rewarded with her love. He does things, so she should fall for him. Its what he deserves as the protagonist, naturally, because heroes should be rewarded with girls at the end. All Emilia wants is to be treated humanely, like a person, not as something to be feared or as a candidate, but for who she is. And Subaru sure is completely against ever seeing her as an individual and not as a trope, as a prize, as a heroine. You do deserve to get kicked to the curb, Subaru.
Kevin: I think part of the reason the scene resonates so well is because we understand Subaru due to seeing his viewpoint for so long, but I don't think we're supposed to agree with him. He's basically saying that he deserves to be with Emilia because of how many times he's died trying to protect her, and that's not the basis of a healthy relationship. You never deserve a person, so I totally agree with Emilia leaving. As for how things will go in the next life and with the choice between Emilia or Rem... Begins laughing in spoiler-ese.
Kara: She was completely right. I get that Subaru's circumstances are unimaginable. I really do. I can't imagine having to survive watching people you care about die over and over. But if he really loves her, then the number one thing he should be able to do is keep a promise to her. He doesn't even have the excuse of having gone through a loop where the meeting went badly without him. Subaru needs to check himself, and then check himself again... At least this explains the cagey reader comments. Up until now.
Austin: Emilia is 110% in the right for walking away. As much sympathy as I have for Subaru, he took one step too far and started seeing himself as a bit too much of a hero that even death couldn't conquer and screwed up big time. I don't take back any previous comments of feeling bad for him whenever he dies horribly or breaks down under the stress of everything, but that doesn't mean that I don't think he needs to do a little self-reflection. That all said, when I first watched this I really hoped there would be a chance for Subaru to make things right with Emilia in a way that didn't undo the importance of the scene where she leaves him.
Danni: DUMP! HIM! She was totally in the right without question. There's no interpretation of that scene that doesn't make it clear that he's in the wrong. I've been rooting for Subaru, which made that scene harder to watch than any of the gruesome scenes that followed it. It is refreshing to see his selfishness in self-sacrifice punished after I was just complaining about it last week. That also happened to be before his latest save point, so there's no way he can ever make things right. That doesn't mean he can't regain her trust, though, and I truly hope he reflects on it next week and they're able to patch things up.
As always, what are our highs and lows for this week?
David: The ENTIRE scene where they introduce the candidates, culminating in Felt simultaneously being introduced, rejecting the idea, and accepting the concept all at essentially the same time. That's some lore-as-plot being used at its height. While I don't dislike anything here, my low would be how abysmally Subaru treats himself and everyone he loves after the Emilia moment. It's very important to his character arc, but it really, really hurts to watch.
Joshua: I really appreciate the first episode of this batch, where we learn of Rem and Ram's past. Watching Rem's insecurities manifest as twisted visages of her parents was hard to watch, but it was fascinating to see how even innocuous pleasantries made over the dinner table can, unfortunately, have the opposite effect. Her conversation with Subaru at his bedside was also really touching, with Rem's smile feeling so sincerely peaceful. If only Subaru had acted that cool in all of this week's episodes.
Subaru's first return to the Roswaal mansion is also a great example of why less can be better than more. Seeing only the trail of blood and trinkets like Emilia's pin on the floor makes me wonder what exactly happened to her, what she had to experience, and what went through her mind. This uncertainty is worse than actually seeing it play out, which I think only added to our understanding of Subarus pain, because of the blame he carries.
I do worry if the impact of deaths is being lessened by their repetition, though? While the series is doing a great job of showing their impact on Subaru, we've only just cleared the first half and Rems already died three times. How many more will it before I just think "Oh, not again"? Also, Beatrice didn't appear at all! What's up with that?
Paul: This set of episodes was full of emotional highs, but if I were to pick my favorite moment, it'd be when Subaru after getting the crap kicked out of him by Julius in a fight that Subaru started lets the mask drop and essentially admits without realizing it that his affection for Emilia is one-sided and warped. It's rare that you see the ostensible hero for an anime be so reprehensible and so drunk on his own ego, and I appreciate that degree of candor. My low point would be the latest plot wrinkle with the witch cult. All of these threats are coming so fast and so furious that I don't really have a chance to digest them.
Jared: The introduction of Felt into the Royal Selection, while I inadvertently spoiled myself on that earlier, was still fun and interesting with how much she was not having it. I've been also pleasantly surprised with how the show has tackled issues with prejudice and racism with regards to Emilia, as while we've heard rumblings about that, they really ramped up with this set of episodes. Low points were the witches' cult stuff which just felt hokey to an extent. Plus it is starting to seem like the numerous times we see someone die is becoming normalized. I'm curious how the series will try to introduce any sort of finality given that wed expect at this point that it'd just get rewritten and not matter.
Rene: As I already wrote an entire essay above, I'll keep it short and concise: My High was (obviously) Emilia's breakup with Subaru while my low was the way Rem's backstory was handled. If she had forgotten a more fleshed out arc over the entirety of the show, maybe I would've ended up in a better place with her ...
Noelle: My absolute high of this entire show so far was Emilia cutting Subaru off and his tantrum about it. I'm honestly glad that the show is shining a light on just how entitled this sort of attitude is. Watching that scene felt so, so satisfying. I think it's my favorite moment of the show overall so far? Also, seeing the candidates for the royal selection, and what each wants to bring to the table. That was pretty cool.
Low point is the witch cult, because while it could have a lot of potential, it feels more like they came out of nowhere?
High - Can I just say the entire last episode? Every moment wasn't necessarily the highest point, but everything coming together and leading up to Subaru carrying Rem out of the cave is one of the first things I recall when I think back on Re:ZERO. Low - Really hard to pick something I didn't like this week, especially with how strongly it ended. Maybe Rem struggling off of Rams back to save Subaru? I'm not sure if they ran out of animation budget or it was just a bad perspective, but it never looks like she really struggles, more like Ram just falls over.
Kara: Gotta agree that my High Point was Emilia just having enough. Good on her. I'm not sure I have a low point, but my WTF Point is that credit roll at the end of episode 15. That entire sequence is now my sleep paralysis demon, complete with the intense orchestral music.
Austin: The scene that introduces Betelgeuse is excellent. From how easily it paints how absolutely nuts he is to the complete emotional turn around that Subaru made it extremely unforgettable, even with it a bit hard to watch after Rem gets mutilated by the unseen hand. It also seconds as a great display of how powerful the Witchs Cult is in a way Subaru can understand and makes them as an antagonizing force a lot more interesting than just the reason Rem and Ram work for Roswall. As for lows, it's difficult to pick something, but I must say I wish Rem had a bit more self-worth since its a bit sad to see such a cute muffin sacrifice herself so much.
Danni: My high and low points are pretty much all the same scenes this week. All the gruesome scenes and the sequences of Subaru selfishly centering himself were both hard to watch and important for the point that Re:ZERO is trying to make. All that being said, at this point, it's bordering on becoming simple torture porn, like when the camera and art make sure to emphasize Rems bloody, injured breasts. On a lighter note, they introduced a lot of great characters this week. Even Betelgeuse made me laugh out loud while being incredibly disgusted at everything going on. No Beatrice this week, though, so that alone means my entire week is shot. Thanks for nothing, Re:ZERO.
Barusu - 5
Subaru Deaths - 2
Methods of Death - Freezing, Beheading
Barusu - 24
Subaru Deaths - 9
How Subaru Died - Disembowelment, Disembowelment, Stabbing, Curse, Combination (Curse+Dismemberment), Slit Throat / Torture, Suicide, Freezing, Beheading
Wow, what a heavy week! If you're dying to find out what's in store for Subaru and his friends, join us next week for episodes 16-20. If you're new, feel free to catch up on Re:ZERO and join us!
Here's our upcoming schedule!
-Next week, on October 11th, David hosts our penultimate week with episodes 16-20
-On October 18th, Danni will finish out with the final episodes 21-25
CATCH UP ON THE REWATCH:
What are your answers to the above questions? Were you spooked by the creature at the end of episode 15? Let us know in the comments!
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