Re:Zero 2 episode 9 (34) – Natsuki Subaru and the Magical Maniacal Menagerie

Rini 3 (7)

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?

 

 

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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.

reZero s2 ep9 (28)

I’ll walk with you too!

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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23 Responses

  1. Hmm… Maybe Satella and Emilia are two sides to the same person? Interesting theory! The pain of the trial broke her goodness and let the dark side come through. And maybe that was what Roz was talking about walking thru hell with her.

  2. oliveunicorn says:

    Well I was so hyped when I saw all the witches! Daphne and Typhoon were two of my favorites in design and personality. As for the ending . I loved the effect of Satella floating in Miasma . It was really eerie and slightly unsettling. I think the studio did a great job animating that scene . Also I think its interesting that many of Subaru’s encounters with advisories (Rem and Ram earlier on) hsve them killing him violently in some time lines and others saving him . I love how Garfiel just jumps down and snatches him up , yet last time ripped everyone to shreds . Also can’d wait to see more Roswel next episode, he’s always so cryptic.

  3. I’m thinking either the other members of the witch cult managed to bring Satella back or she piggy-backed on Subaru. And she is deluding them into following her alone. All the witches’ cult do seem to be hooked on her. Nobody has mentioned any other with that I remember.

    If Satella is in love/obsessed with Subaru (Possibly the most yandi of all the yandere?) that’s something he can use.

  4. O says:

    The way I see it, the Witch’s Cult are only supporters of Satella. They simply somehow have the other witches’ powers. I mean not once have Betelgeuse, the guy that represents the Authority of Sloth, brought up any witch except for only Satella. He only talks about planning to revive Satella, not any other witch, not even Sekhmet, the Witch of SLOTH herself. On the topic of the witches themselves, I think some of them truly believe that they are doing something good. Problem is, their blue and orange morality tends to cause more harm than good.

    On another note, I can’t help but zone in on when Typhon asked if Subaru is a ‘bad guy’. I am also reminded by how Echidna had described her as the witch “who, out of youthful innocence and cruelty, judged criminals one after another”. I think this is an implication that Typhon, like a child, sees the world in black and white. You are either a good guy or a bad guy and those who she see as bad she punishes. That would also add to the idea that the Witches are not necessarily evil, just twisted in their wish to do something good.

    Another random note, Typhon noted that since Subaru does not feel the pain of her power, he must not be a ‘bad guy’ then, but she also notes that since Subaru broke into pieces anyway, she reasons that Subaru believes that he is a ‘bad person’. I don’t have much to add, its just interesting to know that Subaru still potentially hates himself.

    Btw, the sound editing on this episode is top-notch! If you watch the “I love you” scene wearing headphones, Satella’s voice sounds like she is whispering in your ear. It is amazing. Furthermore, we see more proof as to Satella showing her very sin. When she is separated from Subaru, she immediately heads towards the mansion (presumably) to kill Rem and Petra for loving Subaru. I saw an interesting theory that the reason Satella makes sure Subaru can’t tell anyone about RBD is because she wants to keep it as an intimate secret between the two of them that no-one should know almost like a lovers’ secret.

    Anyways, I will copy and paste this in on Crow’s blog channel as well because I am too tired to make a completely different post. See you guys, next week

    • Ohm says:

      The comment above is mine. I just accidentally wrote the wrong name

    • There are a lot of people IRL who are good people but judge themselves very harshly. Subaru is so used to thinking of himself as useless and selfish he’s stuck in it. Dates back to his pre-isekai life as we saw in an earlier episode..

      We even had an arc in a previous season where it built up to him being told he could not be a real hero because he’s only doing what he does out of selfishness.

    • Irina says:

      Great comment! Thank you so much for taking the time to share. The Typhoon conversation does seem to hold a lot of symbolism.

  5. The title you came up with is awesome!

  6. Dawnstorm says:

    I don’t remember being told much about the nature of the witches, except that they’re really powerful, and dead. I thought Satella was supposed to be sealed away, so the ending surprised me. As far as I remember, Satella, the Witch of Envy, killed all other witches, and she’s a half-elf with silver hair, like Emilia. This seems to suggest that witches are or were or start out as normal people. Which makes me wonder what a “witch factor” is and whether witches need to acquire it, too? If so, can the witch cultists only have a witch factor because the witch is dead? I have so many questions. What are those tomes, and how do they relate to the one Beatrice has? Is there a Bishop of Envy? Can there even be one?

    As for Echidna, it never occured to me that she could be a sort of foil to Emilia, mostly because I’ve spent filling that role with Satella from episode one. I do think she wants something. We’re spending the season trying to break the barrier, so that half-beasts can leave and the villagers and Roswaal are allowed to leave in turn, but at the same time Garfiel’s supposed to protect the barrier, and I’m not sure what to think here. There are basically two functions of a barrier: to keep things in, and to keep things out. I wouldn’t be surprised, for example, if Echnida wanted the barrier gone. (I don’t remember; I know one of the Archbishops we’ve seen in the beginning was Gluttony, but was the other Greed? It would make sense. One possibility I’m considering is that Echidna may want to retrieve her witch factor.

    The other thing I find suspicious is that the barrier only works on half-breeds in: Emilia is one, and so is Satella. But Satella’s supposedly sealed away? And likely somewhere else? So why is she here? Is that a fragment, like the one Subaru keeps seeing, but more powerful? If so, did she come in with him but can’t go out? Can you tell that I’m confused? I’m really just stumbling around in the dark.

    • Vance says:

      I have no idea what a witch factor is since the show hasn’t explained it, but judging from CrunchyRoll’s subs, the book Beatrice has is an unnamed text, of which two copies that is the closest thing to the Tome of Wisdom, meaning that it tells the true future. Roswaal’s book as shown from the post-credits scene this episode is similar in size to Beatrice’s as opposed to Petelgeuse’s small pocket-sized book, so Roswaal has the same book as Beatrice does.

      As for a Bishop of Envy, I don’t think there is one since Satella is still alive albeit sealed somewhere else and is the one the cult worships. If she were to ever die, there might be an Bishop of Envy who would be filling in to represent her, but it’s also possible that if that were to happen that there would still be no Bishop of Envy since Satella, the Witch of Envy, is the one the Witch Cult worships, and it might be weird to have a archbishop representing Envy in her place.

      As for why Satella is here, whether she’d be able to leave the barrier, and how she could possibly be here when she is sealed, I believe i have a good explanation based on what was presented this episode and also what happened in Season 1.

      Satella did not possess Emilia as some people have suggested. Satella was wearing different clothes than Emilia, emitted a purple aura from her body, and had a body that wasn’t physical. You could tell it wasn’t a physical body by the colour of her hands and because when Garfiel attacked Satella, saving Subaru in the process, Satella broke into shadow pieces that reformed later. This version of Satella is merely a spectral projection, and because it is a spectral projection, it has no DNA and will be able to pass the barrier unlike actual half-elves like Emilia and Satella.

      As for why she is here, remember in Season 1 when Satella killed Emilia because Subaru made up his mind to tell her about Return by Death in spite of the pain of having his heart getting squeezed? Satella killed Emilia, much to Subaru’s surprise. Subaru mentioned Return by Death repeatedly last episode and then talked with Echidna about specific details about Return by Death. If Satella was mad in Season 1 when Subaru tried to tell Emilia about Return by Death, think about how furious she is right now. That’s why she is going on a rampage. As for how she is here, what we’re seeing appears to be a huge mass of the Witch of Envy’s miasma on the ground. I speculate that this miasma came out of Subaru’s pores when he was in Echidna’s world. We’ve seen miasma leak from Subaru’s pores before when Rem showed viewers what she visually sees with her eyes from Subaru in episode 15 of Season 1. I believe Satella’s connection to Subaru is what allows her to manifest in the world as long as Subaru lives, although it’s not a physical body, so I’m not sure how you can defeat it as Subaru is trying to figure out right now.

    • Irina says:

      My head canon (and I know it’s pretty much impossible) is that Emilia is Satella. I haven’t completely worked out the exact explanation but I just sort of assumed that at some point and never gave up on it…
      Is the barrier still up?

      • Vance says:

        Yes, the barrier is still up. It will always be up until all three Sanctuary trials have been completed.

        I just can’t believe that Emilia is Satella. Satella existed 400 years ago, and Emilia was born after (I don’t know when exactly since I haven’t read the novels) she was. Satella even killed Emilia in episode 17 of season 1. It just seems completely impossible to me that Emilia is Satella. The Witch Cult’s goal is to test Emilia to see whether she’d be a good vessel for Satella, and I think what will happen at the end of the series is that Subaru will have to kill Emilia once Satella possesses her body. At that point there might be no more Return by Deaths since I think Satella will only give Subaru the ability to Return by Death until she takes over Emilia’s body.

  1. September 5, 2020

    […] So what happened in this episode? What did Irina (from I Drink and watch Anime) and I think about it? Since it’s Irina’s turn to host our collaborative review, you’ll need to head to her site and find it! Please click here to read our review. […]

  2. September 12, 2020

    […] you were to confront me with what I’m about to say after watching last week’s episode, I would have done the “look askance” thing. But here […]

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