Hi Crow, you might have seen my Twitter earlier today. If you did you know I’m currently in a mood to talk about anime with someone that happens to like anime and well, I couldn’t have picked anyone better than you!
I’m not sure you’ve ever watched an anime you didn’t like and that’s exactly what I need right now. Fortunately, most people seem to be digging ReZero this season!
So how was your day?
I just saw your Tweet. Sorry I didn’t see it sooner — been a bit of a rough day. The problem with negativity is that in the moment, it can feel so sweet. Its cumulative effects, though, are usually painful. I talked about it a bit in an editorial back in summer 2018. I’m glad you reached out like you did — you’re smarter than I was! And full disclosure: There was one anime series that I didn’t like. I tried, but it beat me. That anime was Taboo Tattoo. And it had such promise, too!
Ohhh – I’ve never seen that one…
Re:ZERO, however, is one of those shows I like. So let’s talk about that! I’ll be in normal type (much less pressure!) and there will be spoilers.
I’m going to summarize the episode very quickly. Subaru is traumatized by his Monty Python adventure so he switches his current focus to bunny annihilation. Echidna helps him by getting his talk to the witch Daphne who created the beasts, but a couple of other witches sneak in and make trouble. Still, Subaru does manage to get some info and strikes a deal with Echidna. Upon return to the real world though, he almost gets caught by the Witch of Envy before getting saved by Garfiel. In the after credits stinger, the witch seems to be closing in on Roswaal who’s being very Roswaal about the whole thing.
I think that’s a capital summary! I might have said “the near goddess Echidna,” because she’s really growing on me! I know she’s “just” a witch, but dang. Otherwise, you caught the main points.
You know, right from the start, I was always sort of assuming Echidna was only using Subaru and would turn on him whenever it benefited her. Because 1) she’s a witch and 2) the visual similarities and dissonance between her character design and that of damsel and ingenue (that’s a good word!) Emilia would fit in perfectly with her being a sort of dark half to the other and thereby her motivations and attitude towards Subaru would be accordingly adjusted. I still hope that’s the case. Playing her as another straight misunderstood baddie with a good heart is sort of redundant with a lot of other characters. But I could be wrong about this. After all, echidnas are adorable! What’s your take on the character, Crow?
All joking about how much I like her aside, I have to say I’m still not sure. There was a moment in this episode where she became very, very witch-like, in the sense of menacing and powerful with unknown intent. It was when Echidna had said she didn’t expect anything from Emilia. To Subaru’s objection, she asked if he “could give wings to the cowardly princess?”
About all I can say with any certainty is that right now, their goals align closely, so to Subaru, she appears to be the most “normal” (his words) of the witches. We’ll know more when their interests diverge.
So we got to meet a lot of witches this week. And I’ve been unfairly lumping the witches with the witch cultists. I’m sorry guys, I still haven’t gotten the chance to rewatch season 1 or the OVA. I will. I have a feeling that the question I’m about to ask has been answered and I just don’t remember it but bear with me.
So the witches are certainly dangerous and unhinged, but they don’t seem exactly malicious. Like they might wipe out a whole village, but it’s no hard feelings. They’re just not on the same level. That’s an attitude clash with the cultists we’ve met. So what exactly is the relationship between the witch cult and the witches? Heck, what’s their relationship with Envy? I get that the cult worships her but does she care about them in any way? Are they just random ants doing weird stuff as far as she’s concerned? Do the other witches know or care about the cult? I bet some would be jealous that they don’t have their own! Could be a fun little cute witches doing cute things spinoff!
Isn’t that called Little Witch Academia? ..we can have two…
It’s a good question. I have recently watched the first season (not the director’s cut). I don’t think the show’s given us an answer. Based on what we saw of Satella in this episode, I think your “ants” analogy is probably the closest, though it begs the question of who gave gospels to the Archbishops.
But I really like your “no hard feelings” statement. That’s the sense I got. The conversation with Daphne in particular drove that home. She created the Three Great Mabeasts not out of malice, but just to pursue a particular line of thought. To me, that makes her more dangerous and realistic. After all, no one, not even the most prominent examples of villains in the real world, set out to be just evil. They had their goals and ambitions. Others just got in the way.
Exactly! They probably don’t even understand good and evil in the same way as we do anyways.
There’s still a lot of exposition in this series. And I’m starting to think this might be one of the very rare occasions where I might enjoy a dub more than the sub. I would get to appreciate the scenery and I might even remember information about the show for more than 20 minutes at the time. It’s annoying because I actually think the lore is super interesting. I just can’t make it stick in my memories. Have you ever listened to any reZero dubbed?
I have not, but I certainly agree with your reasoning. Just watching the subtlety of Echidna’s expressions is enchanting, and the rest of the world is every bit as fascinating.
The exposition also completely drew me in. The lore is just so fascinating that I can’t seem to get enough of it!
It seems that all the dying is really starting to wear down Subaru. Or he’s entering those difficult puberty years. One of the two. Cause he’s been having some pretty abrupt mood swings lately. I have to admit, I giggled a little when he went from telling Echidna that she was the only one he can trust to saying that he couldn’t believe a word that comes out of her mouth in the span of a civil conversation.
Although it’s a bit hard to follow what he’s on about, I do like this unravelled Subaru. I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of his character normally. Not that there’s anything substantially wrong with him, but he’s usually so perfect that it gets a bit boring, you know? It probably says something about me if I find perfection boring… As I said, nothing necessarily wrong with the boy, I just happen to like the other characters more. Seeing him all frazzled and not making all that much sense, is a nice change in my opinion.
We’ve seen what he’s gone through, but that just reinforces how unknowable his experience has been. He is unravelling, and it’s superbly dramatic. What’s his world view become? What’s driving his decisions? What gave him the presence of mind to thank Daphne, even while he told her he fully intended to destroy her Three Great Mabeast creations?
What in him gave him the “knack for seducing witches,” as Echidna put it? Was it the seed of that something that attracted Satella to him in the first place? Because something certainly attracted her. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more terrifying version of “I love you” as she gave him near the end of this episode.
One thing I most definitely did NOT like about Subaru this week was that upon leaving the temple and seeing everything covered in shadows, he immediately called out for his friends. And at the end said “even you Otto”. Like Otto was not really a friend or a second-tier friend at most. Just last week Otto risked his life for months to free Subaru and then gave it up to save him. Subaru should be calling his name first! So ungrateful.
I interpreted that as dude-speak. If my suspicion is right, Otto would understand, and after protesting, feel secretly grateful.
Really? Like locker room talk? It sounded to me like he actually forgot about the guy in the stress of the situation but maybe he was talking in jest. Since he was so freaked out I really hadn’t considered that as an option. Roswaal is rubbing off on him.
All in all it was a fun episode and I’m looking forward to what happens next!
I’m still trying to absorb the after-credits stinger with Roswaal. It looked to me like he was throwing all of his cards in with Subaru — and to do that, wouldn’t Roswaal have to know that Subaru has some ability to reset time? Or was Roswaal just being that xen about his own impending damnation in that black cloud?
I thought he was talking to the witch in the first part, the hell part. And quite lovingly at that. Now that you mention it, I’m not sure why I assumed that. You’re probably right actually.