Every Loser Has His Day (Re:Zero)

This is Day 8 of the 12 Days of Aniblogging holiday rumpus. Today I am going to talk about the anime Re:Zero. It aired during the spring and summer, but I watched it all at the end of summer.

I wasn’t sure what to think of Re:Zero at first. I didn’t care for the first volume of the light novel much, and I’m not a huge fan of the “trapped in a fantasy world” subgenre to begin with. But I was intrigued enough to give the anime adaptation a shot. I enjoyed the first few episodes enough to stick with it, and as the series went on I found myself liking the story more and more. In part, this is thanks to the show’s solid production values — good animation, good music, and good pacing. The second half of the series also introduced some secondary characters I really liked (particularly Wilhelm and Julius).

What I remember Re:Zero the most for though is how it handled Subaru, the fantasy world’s fish-out-of-water protagonist. At first I didn’t like him much, since his dialogue was generally annoying (note: this was toned down a bit in the anime). But over time, he really grew on me. He was just a regular boy who was in way over his head with all these crazy magic-users trying to kill each other in their power struggles. Day in and day out, everyone wrote him off as a loser — including most of the Re:Zero viewers, ha ha. But to be blunt, I’m pretty sure I would given up on the whole being a hero thing after that first painful death. Subaru, on the other hand, is the type to jump right back into the ring after being KO’ed with two black eyes and three missing teeth.

For the second half of the series, Re:Zero interestingly made Subaru his own worst enemy — a direction I did not expect this kind of story to take. It was both uncomfortable and fascinating to watch. In the end though, I really liked how it all played out. Giving the protagonist a fatal flaw or two is a great way to add some dimension to his character, and makes for a nicely thematic backdrop for both his character development and that story arc in general. So yes, Subaru is kind of a terrible person at times, but I feel like that’s something you can say about pretty much anyone — or at least, anyone who has been repeatedly and brutally killed ad nauseam.

And to be honest, looking back now… I actually might say Subaru’s awkward dorkiness, juvenile stubbornness, and foolhardy recklessness lend a kind of charm to his character. I can’t say I particularly relate to his struggles, but I can’t help but root for someone the entire world seems determined to make suffer.

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