Anime Review: Re:Zero - Starting Life In Another World

Alright, I just finished a game review, so now I think I should keep the train going with a new anime review. This anime is not necessarily new, but it was one of the first anime I wanted to review after my long hiatus

Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
MyAnimeList Reception: 8.38/10
Ranked #185

I started watching Re:Zero around the beginning of summer last year, and if there is one word I could use to describe it, that word would be "gripping". That's exactly how I felt throughout watching the entire 25 episodes. This anime grabbed me and didn't let go of me from beginning to end. I actually did take a small break from watching at around episode 20, but once I got back in to watch the rest, I was instantly reminded of how enthralling this anime is. It's best if I explain why I felt this way...

The story of Re:Zero is a basic Isekai plot. If you don't know what Isekai is, it's basically a heavily popular plot device in anime where a character or set of characters are transported to a fantasy world. This plot device became so popular, that it has basically become an anime subgenre. Re:Zero follows a young adult named Subaru, who is transported to a fantasy world, but along the way, he gains an uncontrollable ability to reset to a specific point in time every time he dies. After resetting, he has to live through the same events prior to that death to keep it from happening. The catch with this ability is that no one else knows that he has it nor can he tell anyone about it, or else he will die and have to relive the events again. With this kind of plot, you should expect what is coming for our hero...

This anime has a very off-the-walls take on the Isekai genre. While a majority of Isekai are usually lighthearted and mild, Re:Zero is extremely dark, violent, and downright stressful to watch. The environment of the fantasy world that Subaru spawns in is deceivingly lighthearted on the outside, but inside, it is very unforgiving, especially to a character like Subaru. Without a doubt, Subaru, as a character, steals the entire show in this anime. Unlike a majority of fantasy anime that have very strong MCs, Subaru is extremely underpowered. He is just a normal person with hardly any special abilities. Not only is he weak physically, he is also very weak mentally. Subaru has the tendency to abuse his ability throughout the entirety of Re:Zero. He is very selfish, irrational, and is not the kind of guy to think things through very well. This contradicts with the fact that Subaru is an extremely nice and usually happy person. He always stands up for those he cares for and refuses to hurt anyone he deems is on the good side. These contradicting aspects of his personality leads to irrational behavior, because while he always means well, he always tries to tend to his own needs. Subaru is constantly stuck on attempting to take the easy route, usually to satisfy what he believes as "the right thing to do".

This ultimately results in his torment throughout the entire story. Subaru dies in this anime a lot, with each death being more painful and devastating than the last. He is basically immortal, because while he can die, he cannot stay dead. Subaru runs through dozens of alternate scenarios where he is killed and his own friends die, and soon becomes mentally broken. Re:Zero, by far, conjured up one of the most unsettling stories in anime, because from beginning to end, you're watching an underpowered MC go up against all odds. That's what makes it so exciting to watch, though, because everything that happens to him are governed by his own choices. Subaru can basically control time by resetting whenever he dies, so the fate of himself and those around him come down to his own choices. Subaru is one of the most complex and driving MCs I have ever seen in an anime. Not only was it stressful watching him die so many times, but it was highly exciting watching how he eventually solves these scenarios, and you begin to see a pattern in how Subaru keeps from getting killed. He begins to realize that in order for him to stay alive, he needs to tend to the needs of others instead of himself. The way character development for Subaru is handled in the anime is absolutely flawless.

Another unusual aspect to this anime is its lighthearted color. Re:Zero has the looks of your average fantasy anime. The environment is very colorful, bright, and uplifting, which I found interesting because it creates a facade that the anime is just your average fantasy adventure, but instead, it is a cruel and unforgiving place. To add to this, this anime also includes heavy comic relief and controversial waifu wars that fans of the anime constantly gripe about, which you will soon know why when you watch halfway through. I enjoyed these light breaks in between intense moments because they give you some time to breathe, but the crazy thing is that you are also aware of the fact that Subaru will eventually get killed along these breaks, so while you do get to breathe, you never settle. You're always on edge, hoping that the MC will figure out a way to keep his alternate death from happening. This is exactly what I meant when I said that this anime is gripping. It just holds you from beginning to end, and the more you watch the MC die, the more satisfying it becomes to actually see him win, and this ultimately led to one of the most satisfying endings I've ever seen.

The animation and art direction of Re:Zero is nothing really new or special. It's animated by White Fox, who are known for anime like Akame Ga Kill and Steins;Gate. Their art style is very simplistic and common. Their style just looks like nearly everything else you've already seen in an anime. It's nothing ugly but, again, it's just common. The music in the anime is fantastic, as it uses strong orchestral tracks to highlight the most intense, sad, or action-packed moments of the anime. It simply added even more overwhelming impact of the craziest scenes. One last thing I want to point out is that Subaru's Japanese voice actor is excellent. Being a character who is constantly being in pain, Yuusuke Kobayashi did a masterful job at screaming and making Subaru's pain feel real and impacting.

Final Verdict 10/10 Masterpiece:
Every time I look back on this anime, I'm always reminded of how exciting the entirety of it was. Nonstop, from beginning to end, this anime just held me and never let go. Subaru could definitely well be one of my most favorite anime characters of all time, because the amount of sh*t he had to go through made a massive impact on how he developed in the end. The ending was extremely satisfying and it left me just going "wow". It's really hard for me to say anything bad about its' story. Re:Zero simply floored me, and it makes my top 10 favorite anime of all time. What's even better is that a second season is finally coming, and I am ready with open arms.