There is going to be major spoiling of Re:Zero ahead in this post. Particularly of the latest Episode 13. I have had many internal discussions with several AniTAY people here during its airing. But after seeing Nyren’s well crafted post here, I felt I had to add a different opinion. And as you will see, it’s not completely a dissenting opinion but for different reasons. We’ll have to see where Re:Zero goes from here. If you haven’t seen any, watch and then come back if you’ve stuck around.
Ready? How common is it nowadays to see a NEET Hikikomori transport themselves to a new world and then become god of that world? I won’t even name names; there’s been enough anime with that premise that it is tiresome. So when Natsuki Subaru gets transported to a new world, we start the cycle anew. And then he’s gifted a power where if he dies he returns to a set point in time in the past if he fails? Wonderful. A fantasy world where our protagonist is gifted an infinite number of opportunities of getting everything he desires? What could go wrong?
Well, as a neutral bystander, it didn’t feel like much in the first couple of episodes. Yes, Subaru died because of his own ignorance at times, but on the whole he did way better than could be expected. And yet, when he finally survived the first arc, was it of his own perseverance? Was it of his own doing? NO. A knight he met on the way. Subaru sent him to stop people to coming to the location of his death. And yet said knight came by anyway, and then single handedly stopped the main villain of the arc from murdering everyone. And yet who does everyone thank? Subaru. Sure.
The second arc follows in a mansion, but to make long story short, Subaru survives being murdered by other mansion employees by being more suspicious instead of less suspicious?! Yeah, I don’t know. He continues to then white knight his way through the hearts of these previously murderous mansion maids because of some absurd, poorly-explained angry chihuahua/hell beast. Of course his white knight-ing only gets him so far until someone else comes and explodes all the dangerous elements away for him. Once again, everyone believes it’s all because of Subaru that everyone is saved. Never mind this someone else who actually does the heavy lifting and exploding.
Which brings us to the third and currently airing arc. Fueled by his previous empty successes, Subaru continues trying to do everything he can do for his friends. Even when said friends explicitly tell him not to. But Subaru won’t take no for an answer. Would you? If you were brought to a new world where you had to put yourself at your most vulnerable, but then someone else would come to explode your problems away? Where every single arc thus far has been escaped by Subaru doing the most reckless and foolish thing and yet someone else always comes to save him at the darkest point? Subaru keeps digging himself a deeper and deeper hole. He’s been so enabled by the recent goings of all of the arcs that came before. He now feels entitled that whenever he steps out, everything will either be bad and he’ll die immediately and then restart, or that he’ll be “right” and be protected and someone else will save him.
Except that isn’t the case. Everything that Subaru has done in this arc is the absolute wrong thing to do. And any other person brought to this world in this moment would feel the same way. Hell, everyone watching the show can tell how stupid and dumb Subaru is being in this new arc. But it’s actually the enabling and entitlement of the previous arcs that brought our Subaru to this moment. Where even his friends are disavowing of him. Leaving him behind. And he can’t accept that. He tries desperately to pin this on someone else, on anything, and yet comes back to himself. Through plot convenience, he can’t explain the “curse” that stops him from talking about his time traveling.
Whatever the case, he continues to force himself and say that all he was doing was for his friend, Emilia. He tries explaining to her that he was doing everything he was doing just for her sake, when she has explicitly told him not to do any of these things. And yet he goes and breaks her trust time and time again because he’s so fueled by the belief that everything will work out for him not matter what. And now it’s not working. He first lost the respect of everyone in the throne room. And then he lost the respect of the person he most cared about doing all these things for, Emilia. The person who was trying to keep him out of trouble for both his and her own good. And when his explanation doesn’t end up working, he goes rogue, and fights people for his own pride and then lashes out at Emilia. The one person who believed in him the most. Subaru is at rock bottom and digging, even if he doesn’t know it.
And even still, Subaru is unwilling to look at his own actions. He’s been saved time and time again, not from his own efforts but from the random actions of others. Reinhardt in the first arc, Rem and Ram from somehow letting him go at his most suspicious in Arc 2, and Lord Roswaal during Arc 3. Subaru doesn’t recognize that all of this isn’t through his own doing, but through dumb luck.
It annoyed me so much (SO FUCKING MUCH) throughout this entire show that Subaru suffers so much and then survives to the next piece but not through any of his own endeavors. He “suffers” obviously, but he never earns his way out of it. Someone else always saves his bacon at the most critical moment through sheer luck or happenstance. But it’s this latest episode that has me thinking. Because it sets up how much Subaru has been entitled and enabled by everything that’s happened so far in Re Zero.
Will Subaru recognize this and make changes? Will he make changes to his attitude, and change the way he sees this new world he’s in? Or do we get another Deus Ex
(Machina) Explosiona to save Subaru? Guess which one I prefer.