Anime at a Glance: Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World

It’s late at night and time to get some snacks at the convenience store. After stopping to read some manga off the shelf and grabbing some instant noodles and chips, Natsuki Subaru walks out of the store and his vision starts to blur and wave in front of him. After all, he spent the entire day gaming in his room with no break. After stopping to rub his sore eyes, he opens them to see that he’s on the side of a street on a bright day. The next thing he notices is that people are walking through the street not just ordinary people but some are demi-human, half human and half animals, and the streets are filled with carriages pulled by horses and not cars. After wandering around a little bit, he stops to read some signs but he doesn’t recognize the language and the vendors understand him just fine. They don’t recognize his money either, so he can’t even afford to buy food to survive. After wandering around a bit more he settles in an alley complaining, “Where did my protagonist status go?!” He gets shifted into a parallel fantasy world and doesn’t seem to have any sort of beneficial starting equipment, as if it were a Role Playing Game. Before he knows it, his first conflict begins with some ruffians that approach him in the alley.

During the encounter he realizes that it’s his moment to shine and he punches one of them backwards and kicks the other across the face before the third draws a few knives and he wimps out completely. A nimble young girl runs through the alley, rushing to escape, and bypasses him completely in his moment of need, shortly there-after another girl comes through the alley, inquiring about the first one. As it happens, she is chasing a thief who stole something precious to her. The ruffians point out the direction of the first girl and she runs by them in the alley before stopping again and declaring, “I cannot overlook what is happening here however.” She blasts a few balls of ice towards them with magic and knocks one out while the other two return to their feet. After threatening her to leave or be killed, her spirit ally appears and returns the threat of it now being a ‘fair’ fight of two magic users to two street thugs. They quickly decide to run away and Subaru attempts to get up after his beating, only to quickly black out.

Subaru wakes up on the lap of an over-sized Puck, the spirit animal of the girl who saved him, and she begins to ask him questions to try and help her find the thief that took her insignia. After being helped out, the best thing Subaru can do is at least help her out until she retrieves it. They wander around for a bit, find a lost girl and return her to her parents and get some information about the thief. They eventually get to a bar that evening where the thief is rumored to visit often and stumble into the dark room. After looking around, Subaru finds blood all over the floor, and sees the two corpses they belong to. Before he knows it, they’re both attacked and on the floor, creating their own pools of blood.

As everything fades away, he re-opens his eyes and sees the bright street. It was suddenly day time again and he was standing in front of the street shops. Walking around, he re-encounters the same people he saw earlier that day, but no one remembered him at all. It’s like he re-spawned back at the moment he came into the world.

One of the most interesting things that Subaru encounters is that every time he dies he starts over from the same point in time over again. It’s like an anime version of Groundhog Day but it’s a bit more interesting, and the main character tries to fix everything sooner than 500 repeats later. Subaru quickly realizes that he’s going back to a fixed point each time, and does everything he can every time to fix the initial result of him and this incredible new girl dying in that bar. While most of the series has Subaru acting like a moron and making jokes about this entire world being a video game, he spends all of his time dedicating himself to finding out how to prevent bad things from happening without telling anyone that he knows what is going to happen in the future. He has an endless amount of optimism that drives him forward even though the biggest thing preventing him from moving forward is him dying. If you were to die multiple times and continue coming back to life hours or days earlier would drive people to insanity. As he continues to move on through this new world, he has to find a way to return to his world, and find out why he keeps being reincarnated at the time of his death back in time. The character of Subaru is so entertaining and shows huge character progression through the series. He’s one of my favorite characters this season just because he tries to become better all the time, but he stops to enjoy all the simple things around him.

You can check out the show on Crunchyroll. It’s being produced by White Fox, who also brought us Steins;Gate and Akame Ga Kill.

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