Life (and death) is tough when you're a fantasy light novel protagonist
Editor's Note: Death count has been updated as of 12/28/2020
Content and Spoiler Warning: This article contains huge spoilers for Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-. It also contains references to death (in various gruesome flavors), violence, and suicide, so reader discretion is strongly advised.
If you're familiar with the premise of Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- (aka “Anime Groundhog Day,” hereafter Re:ZERO), then you know that for reasons that yet remain mysterious and that likely involve witchcraft, the hero of the show, Natsuki Subaru, has a pretty rough time after he ends up in a fantasy world with a limited form of reincarnation.
Every time Subaru dies, the timeline resets from his perspective to an earlier “save point,” allowing him to re-live scenarios and attempt to alter their outcome for the better. The process is far from perfect and often horrendously painful, as only Subaru retains his memories from defunct timelines, and he's unable to communicate the experience of this phenomenon to his friends, allies, and loved ones.
With that in mind, we here at Crunchyroll have chronicled every time that Subaru expires, passes on, rings down the curtain and joins the choir invisible in the currently published episodes of Re:ZERO, all for the edification of our faithful viewers. Don't fret, folks. No matter how hard Subaru kicks the bucket, he always has another chance to start life in another world from zero.
Please note that the first dozen demises chronicled here use the time-stamps of the original release of Re:ZERO, rather than the Director's Cut. And now, without further ado, the Many Deaths of Subaru Natsuki, Isekai Fantasy Light Novel Protagonist:
Death #1: Sliced Up by Elsa Granhiert (beginning about 3:05 minutes into Episode 1B).
Death #2: Sliced Up by Elsa Granhiert, Again (beginning about 21:40 minutes into Episode 1B).
Death #3: Stabbed by Street Punks (beginning about 3:20 minutes into Episode 2).
Death #4: As-Yet-Undefined Death In the Evening Hours (beginning about 23:55 minutes into Episode 4).
Death #5: Magical Curse + Bonus Bludgeoning by Unknown Assailant (beginning about 22:50 minutes into Episode 5).
Death #6: Bludgeoned by Rem and Sliced Up by Ram (beginning about 1:15 minutes into Episode 7).
Death #7: Unlicensed Cliff-Diving (beginning about 23:50 minutes into Episode 7).
Death #8: Popsicle Impression (beginning about 2:25 minutes into Episode 15).
Death #9: Freezing Decapitation Double Whammy (beginning about 21:10 minutes into Episode 15).
Death #10: Frozen Solid & Smashed to Pieces by Puck (beginning about 2:10 minutes into Episode 18).
Death #11: Magic & Sword Assisted Suicide to End Petelgeuse's Possession (beginning about 21:10 minutes into Episode 23).
Death #12 from Season 2: Reenacting Romeo & Juliet While Trying to Rescue Rem (beginning about 13:10 minutes into Episode 26).
Death #13: Sliced Up by Elsa Granhiert, Once More, With Feeling (beginning about 25:20 minutes into Episode 30).
Death #14: Sliced Up by Elsa Granhiert, Part IV: The Revenge (beginning about 4:35 minutes into Episode 32).
Death #15: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (beginning about 15:55 minutes into Episode 33).
Death #16: Self-Inflicted Stab Wound to Escape Satella's Grasp (beginning about 3:00 minutes into Episode 35).
Death #17: Exsanguination from Countless Bunny Nibbles (beginning about 24:35 minutes into Episode 36).
They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but that old adage doesn't really take the effects of “Return by Death” into account. Luckily for the viewers, Subaru persists despite the constant threat of death and dismemberment, growing as a person and becoming more nuanced as a character with every incarnation, involuntary or otherwise.
Special thanks go to Kara Dennison and Kevin Matyi for chronicling the lifes and deaths of poor Natsuki Subaru. If you'd like a little more Re:ZERO in your life, you can always check out the GREAT CRUNCHYROLL Re:ZERO REWATCH where Crunchyroll's writers explored the series. The second season of Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- is currently streaming on Crunchyroll, and English language versions of the original Re:ZERO light novels are available from Yen Press.
What's your favorite (or least favorite) manner of Subaru being sent to meet his maker? Which scenes did you find particularly visceral or dramatic? Let us know in the comments section below, and stay safe out there, isekai fantasy light novel fans!
Paul Chapman is the host of The Greatest Movie EVER! Podcast and GME! Anime Fun Time.
Do you love writing? Do you love anime? If you have an idea for a features story, pitch it to Crunchyroll Features.