Re Meets Colon Zero
|Hullo, now we have my second most anticipated show for this season. Special thanks to my other two writers for joining me. So, ladies, what do we think of this first outing?|
|Whoa, this was a much longer opening episode than I thought it would be, but it really seems to have worked out in Re:Zero’s favour. Of course, I’m drawn to anime with darker themes anyways, but this was pretty nice even without that…|
|…Live…Die…Repeat. Live…Die…Repeat. Live…Die…|
Your adventure for today, what do you do…*
KaraKuri// The two main characters Satella (which is obviously not her real name) and Subaru definitely had some kind of chemistry going on in the first episode since they both seem too nice for their own good. Satella definitely seems to be within the tsundere range, but at least she’s sincere when she needs to be and it’s not to the point where it’s annoying. Subaru works well with her since while he’s kind of average in terms of personality, he seems to have the ability to get along with people pretty well. Plus with Satella, their interactions aren’t spent arguing or being too caught up in Satella’s personality since Subaru seems to go with the flow instead of causing friction. While maybe they still seem to have gotten along a little quickly (though in the anime’s timeline, a day seems reasonable), at least Subaru had a reason to react over her death like he did as opposed to if he had just met her then, like other anime have done.
It was also nice how the extended episode gave room for everything. We got to see Subaru wander around lost in this new world. He and Satella had almost a full episode’s length of time to bond and get to know each other to make her later death mean something. Then they showed Felt’s side of things a bit more to get the full story of the situation. Sure, they haven’t revealed the entire story of things, since the insignia and why Elsa killed everyone is a mystery, but they certainly introduced plot and character relationships effectively without explicitly saying things like “Subaru doesn’t die when he’s killed”. Maybe this will change in episodes that aren’t as long, but it was good for delivering the hook to the anime in the first episode by slowly building up the initial meeting between characters to the darker aspect of it with Elsa killing everybody (twice).
Perfect is a fault, and fault lines change*
IreneSharda//Believe me, this series almost passed me by. I judged it on it’s appearance, and saw moe girls with one guy, then my mind immediately went to your stereotypical harem soI avoided it like the plague. Yet, when I saw the summary during an edit for the Spring 2016 post, I stopped and reread it before immediately going to look for a PV for the series. The large candy-colored female presence was still there, but I began to see a depth that I had not noticed before beneath the main series visual and the unnecessarily long and complicated LN-esque title. And so, I kept it on my radar.
So what did I get when I finally got a chance to sit down and check it out? Perhaps a lot more than I bargained for…
It’s been quite a long time since I’ve seen a hour long premiere, so that surprised me. Cut into two pieces, the first half was honestly, pretty par for the course. Subaru (again, I laugh at the irony that another character shares his name with my car) is your average boy, though a bit of a loser and a shut-in, he’s the main character that you would expect in this kind of series. I really enjoyed the transition in the very beginning between the average, everyday convenience store, and the murder scenes that won’t appear until the second half. It immediately gives you a taste of what’s to come and that perhaps it’s not a coincidence that not two minutes later, Subaru literally opens his eyes to find himself in another world.
This other world is full-on fantasy, it’s completely composed of humans, animal-human hybrids (which they call demi-humans in this world), giants, elves, spirits, and everything in between. I look forward to getting to know this world throughout this 2 cour series.
Subaru unfortunately is not allowed that kind of time to the acclimate himself. He get’s pushed from one side of the city to the other, not fully being able to communicate (the spoken language barrier is overcome because, but the written language of the land wasn’t “downloaded” into his brain when he arrived.) and having little supplies and no money doesn’t help at all.
It’s not until he’s rescued a strange silver-haired young woman and her adorable cat spirit, that he begins to finally find his footing. Subaru and “Satella” have an adorable sort of relationship. She’s a bit of a tsundere, but it doesn’t take much to make her nice side come out. I like how they don’t outright tell, but instead show you several factors about her strange situation. She tells us she’s a half-elf and the audience can pick up simply from her words and reactions that this is not something to be proud of in this world. We can also see how much Subaru has made an impression on her by immediately accepting her without hesitance. We can see the looks she and her cat give each other when she says her name is “Satella” letting us know quite early on that that is not her name.
Puck himself is the cutest talking animal character I’ve seen in awhile and I already love him. I find it funny that Subaru is not as wowed by this world as most would be, being a gamer and a hikkineet, he’s heard of this kind of situation before, and while it gives him some unrealistic expectations of himself, it also helps him adapt to this world rather quickly.
So, the first half of this premiere was rather calm and ordinary as transported-to-a-fantasy-world stories go. However, the shadowy beginning scenes still place a feeling of foreboding over the otherwise cheery scenes. And it’s not until the second half where those feelings are paid off in full.
Reading about it in the synopsis and actually seeing it carried out are two different things, and as Subaru ends up finding out through experience that he’s stuck in a death time loop, you begin to realize just what kind of series you’re in for. It’s like that turning point in Steins;Gate when you become conscious of the fact that everything that you thought this series was going to be in the beginning, is being turned on its head.
Our protagonist is not in for a good time, and I have a feeling that it’s only going to get worse from here before it gets better…if it ever does.
Subaru meets more characters during his second time run than he does first, and I’m already charmed by little Felt and the dumb but brave Rom. Elsa creeped me out upon first appearance, but hopefully after being killed by her twice now, Subaru can figure out a way to avoid her. But more than simply trying to avoid getting murdered once again, poor Subaru is also going to have to contend with the fact that he’s going to be the keeper of all these timelines. Possessing this world’s version of the “Reading Steiner”, I think that the psychological burden will become far worse than any sort of physical pain he could have endured.
And it’s there that the hook lies, not only do we find that our hero is somewhat immortal, but also there’s a mystery surrounding our female protagonist as well. Who is Satella? Why do they want to keep her insignia from her? How will Subaru navigate each of these changes to the timeline and learn more about the situation that he’s been dumped in? How many times will he have to die, in order to do so?
Explain the Change, the Difference…*
skylion// It’s the little things that I love about this premier episode. Yeah, the story is defiantly engaging in some easy-picking on those well heeled old “summoned to fantasyland” tropes, that is for sure. But that’s really just the backbone. Just as we had in last season’s well loved Grimgar, we have a sense of character, and a sense of need right of the bat. Very broad strokes. But, the biggest part of that is filling in some of the spaces other epic stories can leave blank, or default to stock tropes making them effectively blank.
First we get the gruff “move along and start your quest” stall holder. As time passes he goes from stock figure to more rounded supporting character; husband, father, concerned about people if he has the chance. Then we have the thieves in the alley. Yeah, they were tough guys, but the skinny one took the time to grab his downed buddy when the table turned on them; that one action tells me that there is some character there, these three have a story beyond just moving the main character along. Now, if they could only blend the CGI crowds and background in a bit better – oh my, a LOT better.
Of course, there are also the big things. I could go on about the time-travel mechanic and how much it’s reminiscent of starting from your game’s last save point. But why go on? It’s just a feature, that’s all. How they use that to tell the story they want is far more interesting. So, what if you’re life did start from Zero? If you could keep all your memories of what you did before and Bill Murray you’re way around (or Okabe, or Satoru…your choice) the landscape, righting wrongs and making rights…but it meant losing everyone? You’re a man out of time after all. Displaced and eventually dispossessed…kinda gruesome when you extend the line out that far.
It’s funny that the whole being summoned into a parallel world has become such a cliche in Japan that people just automatically assume that they have protagonist status upon arrival. But in any case, this was a super intriguing first episode. What I’m excited for is seeing what will come next. There seems like there’s going to be some sort of lore in the anime, with the mention of the Jealous Witch, which seems like it’s some sort of well known folk tale or something. There was also Satella’s reaction to Subaru using the name she went by in his first round in this new world. Speaking of that, what will Subaru do now that he’s catching on that he keeps repeating the same day when he dies? What will he do about Satella? Will he stop Felt and the Rom’s death? Who else is going to die? I was expecting something more generic, but this first episode was far better than that with how it built up the intrigue. I’m definitely looking forward to the second episode of this.
While I’ve referenced Steins;Gate a couple of times (and I’ve also heard KonoSuba and Erased being brought up) if you paid attention to my opening line, if this series takes its cues from anything, it’s Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s 2004 light novel entitled All You Need Is Kill and the 2014 American film based on it, Edge of Tomorrow. (If you haven’t gotten a chance to see that movie, I highly recommend it.) A young wimpy protagonist finds himself resetting his timeline over and over again every time he is killed, but it’s through having been killed hundreds of times that he is able to grow from a coward into a hardened warrior, though there is definitely a harsh mental toll.
I’m interested in what the toll will be for Subaru and how this mystery will unwrap itself. Re: Zero shot itself up to being one of the best premieres of the season so far, and I’m rather excited to see where it will go next.
Well, that is it in a rather big nutshell, don’t you think? There’s quite a bit to unpack with this premiere, and I think the double length was the best way forward. I’ve read most of the manga that available from scanlations, and I think they did a fine job using is a source; they stuck to the basic plot and molded it just right for the television screen. White Fox usually ends up doing some very pretty looking shows, and this is no exception; to the point where the slums didn’t look half bad. It feels like they are working from a great script, the animation is smooth, the character design is crisp. I can’t complain about a thing. So, I’ll be seeing you for the next one. Until then, thank you to my co-writers, and I thank you on their behalf.