Hello, one and all! I hope you are doing well. I certainly am better than I was this time last week! And re:Zero episode 40 is back. Hopefully, so is Crow. Crow, you here? How are you this week?


Also much better than last week! I hate living through history! I’ve finally settled my review schedule for the season, and I’m ready to talk about episode 40, “Otto Suwen / A Reason to Believe.” Second episode of the second season’s second cour… and no OP! I am partially bummed.

BTW, I like your title. Are you a Buffy fan?

I am! We talked about conversations with dead people… 

Let’s get the warnings and disclaimers out of the way. Crow will be in bold this week, there will most definitely be spoilers for this episode of re:Zero, and I am not the target audience. 

I’m sorry guys, I know a lot of you are really big fans of this show, and I do see why, but if you ask me to list the elements I tend to like least in anime, it would be heavy exposition, heavy drama, helpless beautiful person trope and romance. I’m saying, this may not have been my favourite episode. 

Fret not, however, Crow is a big fan of this show and tends to be uber thrilled when Emilia gets lots of screen time so this is not going to be a negative post!

I completely respect your position. No, seriously! This is a tough show for you to review, and I’m glad to review it with you. I mean, someone’s got to keep me from going on for paragraphs about Emilia’s “damp purple jewels… for eyes!” 

And I’m saying that as someone still firmly and happily in Camp Rem

First thing’s first: Otto. I have mentioned before that I like Otto. He just seems like an average nice guy which normally would be a bit boring but I find it brings a great contrast in this cast. So personally, I was thrilled to get a bit of Otto backstory. 

Also, re:Zero tends to be very visually consistent. It has a rather specific art style and colour palette and it sticks to those very closely. So, seeing a little variety with that added texture and reworked colour palette for the flashback was really cool. It’s a generally good-looking show, so I enjoy seeing them try things out with the visuals.

As I said, I’m an Otto fan. I’m not sure if I’m the only one. So the flashback was pleasant enough, even if I was wondering why we were seeing at this point. It does occur to me, though, that if someone doesn’t care for the character, that first act must have been a little tedious. I don’t know, what do you think, Crow?

I think you’re not the only Otto fan! He was in contention for Bro of the year after the previous episode. Now, I honestly don’t see how he can be beat! I liked what you said about “average nice guy,” and how he is so different than the rest of the cast. That might make him so endearing. But I’ll tell you what hit me: what happened between him and his parents. Otto almost presented as deaf. So when his parents tried to talk to him and got no response, they turned to a doctor. He examined little Otto and just shook his head. His parents were crushed.

I’ve lived that. I remember the day my wife and I found out our son was deaf. That was us. The scene was subtle, it was short, and it was true to life. 

Oh I didn’t know that. It must have impacted you so much.

Act 2 was an extended chase and fight scene between Otto and Garfiel with a midgame appearance by Ram. The animation was really nice for this sequence. Lots of stuff moving all over the screen, yet the action was nice a clear and easy to follow. 

Seeing Ram in action was a blast. Her attitude about Subaru was spot on, too! At first, she was all like “Subaru sucks,” then she came out and said, and I quote: “But… When it’s do or die, he has bizarrely good timingly. A man who only has good timing. That’s what Barusu is.”

I did not know bizarrely was even a word. 

This may just be me, but Garfiel is sort of lame as an antagonist. Actually, let me clarify that. After Roswaal’s almost incomprehensible shenanigans and the positively chilling presence of the witches in part 1, Garf just doesn’t measure up for me. Get Echidna back in here or even some of the cultists, and I would be really worried. But I just can’t seem to take Garf as seriously for some reason. 

Maybe it’s just cause I really like kitties…

First, I’m all about bringing Echidna back. The more Echidna, the better, I say!

Second, I get what you’re saying. In fact, even as I was worried for what Garfiel might do to Otto, especially given in one timeline, Garfiel cut Otto in half, I had to wonder: What is Garfiel fighting for? He seemed ready to kill Otto for the crime of giving Subaru time alone with Emilia? I’m sure there’s a detail in the vast ocean of facts that is Re:ZERO to explain it, but I’m not remembering it.

Same here. 

Now, act 3 was where they lost me. Subaru and Emilia are talking a lot. Emilia throws a hissy fit, even though tons of lives are at stake. You have a rough day, I get but girl, get it together, people are depending on you. Poor little Emilia, she is definitely not leadership material. I’m sorry to say, but I think pretty much any other candidate would be better suited to becoming king. 

Anyways after that, there are feelings and then Garf is waiting for them outside. I’m not sure if that means he slaughtered Ram and Otto. That would be a twist. Subaru is so distracted by his newfound romance and all that he doesn’t really bother to check until 3 weeks later and just finds them completely dismembered with pieces strewn actress the woods and it’s too late to reset. To be clear, I don’t want this to happen. Otto and Ram are my two favourite characters now that Bea has gone all soft on me. But I have to admit, I would never expect that. Even though I just wrote it out, I would still be completely stunned if any of this even marginally came to pass. 

Yes. That would be stunning in a WTF sort of way!

I’m not big on gushy stuff. I prefer my romance more in the vein of a Taiga Aisaka head-butt. In this case, though, there were three things that saved the scene for me.

First, did you see his reaction to her getting angry with him for saying he wasn’t angry with her? Did you see his panicked expression? He was in Dude Full Panic Mode (DFPM). That afflicts those of us stupid enough to say something mushy to our significant other, and our significant other reacts by becoming not just angry, but furious. 

Well, I would be panicked as well if I was watching someone going insane. It’s scary stuff.

Second was how he reacted. Finally, in episode 40, after dying who knows how many times (and I’m sure someone’s counted!), Subaru finally — finally! — puts his cards on the table and tells Emilia he loves her. But it was almost a panic response to DFPM! 

Finally, their kiss was so awkward and crooked and hesitant that it was the perfect first kiss. It struck me as perfect for the two of them — and much, much better than their first kiss back in episode 36, when a broken Emilia kissed Subaru’s dead lips. 

Ok, so not my favourite episode, but it still had some good parts in the beginning. Now I feel like my warning at the top was way too exaggerated. Still, I do hope we get a bit of adventuring soon.

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17 thoughts

  1. So I loved the Otto parts! He was a character I didn’t expect much from . But I’m glad they fleshed him out and made him an actual character that I care what happens too . I know I’m a bit of a fangirl of this show . But I do enjoy the messy bits , I do think that Emilia has a bit of the yandere elements of Envy still . Also I did like that this show treats antagonists, they’re not wholly villians , and can even work along side Subaru . If anything antagonists are just obstacles to overcome , some may not like it. But I like that better than an overall “Big Bad”, that some shows do . Well with the exception of Petelgeuse, who was definitely a villain that had to be put down .

  2. My impression of the episode is that Emilia did not fall for Subaru. She was just emotionally vulnerable and felt abandoned and was screaming at Subaru to give her a reason to trust him, and the only way Subaru felt he could prove his “love” was by kissing her. I still think what he feels is closer to infatuation thought instead of being love. Subaru and Emilia are probably not going to suddenly become a couple after this. With that being said though, Emilia’s eyes reflecting Subaru at the end probably shows that she believes in Subaru now much like Subaru believes in Emilia.

    I’m not really into the Subaru/Emilia relationship as I feel that what Subaru feels for Emilia is basically puppy love.

    I also have a theory about why Subaru has such unwavering affection for Emilia based mainly off of Episodes 18, 21, and 25 of Re:zero.

    In episode 25, Subaru said if Emilia mentioned 10 things she hated about himself that he’d tell her 2,000 things he likes about her. In episode 18, Puck told Petelgeuse that if he wants to kill them he needs to generate a thousand shadow hands, half of what Satella could, which is 2,000. This suggests that perhaps the reason Subaru thought of that specific number is that Satella influenced him subconsciously. Given Emilia is discriminated against for looking like the Witch, I think it was insensitive of Subaru to use that number even if Emilia doesn’t know that number is associated with Satella, and the only logical explanation I could think of for him doing so was that he wasn’t of sound mind when he said it.

    I’m positive that Satella can influence Subaru given that she can read his mind and determine if his intent is to reveal Return by Death, which shows that subconsciously, there is a connection between them even if Subaru has no access to Satella, the Witch of Envy’s thoughts. So if Satella can make Subaru think of the number 2,000, which is associated with her, it’s possible that part of the reason Subaru’s affection for Emilia is so strong is because Emilia looks just like Satella, and Satella is subconsciously making him obsessed with someone who looks just like she does.

    In episode 21, when Crusch offered to Subaru to become one of her men, he turned her down and said it wasn’t about loyalty or allegiance, but his faith lies exactly where it should. This shows that his reason for supporting Emilia perhaps does not have a very solid foundation if loyalty has nothing to do with it. It shows that Subaru is personally making it his mission to make Emilia the ruler because he’s doing it for his own ego since he thinks of himself as the main character of a story.

    I want to state clearly now that I’m not saying that the entire reason Subaru is attracted to Emilia is because of Satella. He does have a thing for silver-haired girls as shown by his taste in anime heroines, and Emilia did show that she had very good character when he first got summoned to the world and was struggling by himself in a foreign land, but I do think what he feels for Emilia is partially a result of the Witch of Envy’s influence.

    I say this taking into account that Subaru believes in video game tropes and thinks of himself as the main character of a story, even going as far as saying Emilia would slowly fall for him in episode 25 as if it was a given that it would eventually happen much like what happens for most male isekai protagonists. And Emilia even treated him kindly when no else would and eventually gave him a lap pillow, which was one of his otaku dream fantasies, and given his natural inclination to silver-haired beauties, it would make sense that he would fall for Emilia. However, I just think there might be something more sinister going on underneath the surface regarding Satella.

    1. Interesting. So Subaru is unintentionally taking advantage of her vulnerability. That’s a twist. It hadn’t occurred to me. Subaru fell in love at first sight so I figure it’s fairly safe to assume the visuals are a very important part.

    2. “I say this taking into account that Subaru believes in video game tropes and thinks of himself as the main character of a story, even going as far as saying Emilia would slowly fall for him in episode 25 as if it was a given that it would eventually happen much like what happens for most male isekai protagonists.”

      Do you think Subaru still thinks that way? I’ve been under the impression that his time with Echidna realigned his understanding of himself. I’m not he seems himself as the main character now.

      I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love a show that can generate this kind of discussion!

      1. I think it’s hard to say whether his time with Echidna realigned his understanding of himself. I believe Subaru, at least up until episode 25, thought of making Emilia the ruler as his purpose in the world given that he had given up on himself back in the world he grew up in. Without hearing more about Subaru’s thoughts on the matter, it’s hard to say whether he still does.

  3. I honestly disagree with a lot of what you said. I loved the emilia and subaru fight because it was a messy and realistic argument made by 2 messy people. Subaru tried to do Rem did for him but then Emilia didn’t react the same way he reacted so he panicked. Their arguments went round and round and eventually Subaru lost his original point and had to improvise. Emilia is shown to be similar to Subaru in that they both despise themselves and thus, can’t understand how anyone would like them. At the end, I understood that while this fight was resolved, the points each of them had weren’t dealt with. I doubt this will be the end of their argument. Eventually, they will have to deal with this issue as a couple now and I am interested to see how that goes. I also honestly love the exposition because it provides more answers. Re:zero always had a tinge of mystery, so I saw it this way, the first part of season and the beginnings of the second parts showed us a good majority of the pieces of the puzzle, and so Subaru now has to figure out how to put the pieces together and so, everytime Subaru get added info, it feels like we are solving the puzzle alongside him. Plus, I don’t regard Garfiel as an antagonist. He is more like a wild card that could potentially be a boon if the exact pieces of the puzzle are placed

    1. Most people loved this episode I’m sure. Crow did as well. I understand that my point of view on this one is not popular at all. I am very unromantic after all.

      As for Garf, I agree that he is not set up as a central antagonist of the series, more like an obstacle but he was the antagonist of the episode as far as I could tell. So that’s how I used the term, he was the clear and present threat this week. I hope that makes sense.

      I’m really happy you liked it!

    2. Even though I thought it was about time the two shared a kiss (40 episodes is a looong time!), I can’t discard Irina’s idea that Emilia is not getting a chance to be distinctive and strong. Even while liking their exchange, in the back of my mind I worked that Emilia is more like a wish-fulfillment damsel in distress than the potential head of state. I almost felt guilty liking it!

      Time-travelling Satella? Okay, that would be extremely cool! And maybe psychological trauma is enough to explain her near complete collapse of initiative. I’m not sure how well I’d deal with what she’s gone through.

      I guess I’d like to see her stronger. Maybe push Subaru (intentionally, not accidentally!).

      I’ll tell you this for free: It’s a mark of how much I respect and like this show that I’m concerned about this at all. It’s just that well written and executed that something like Emilia’s attitude stands out.

      I like how you see Garfiel. Maybe if I start looking at him as a wildcard/independent agent, his actions will begin to make more sense. I’ll give that some thing. Thanks for the suggestion!

      1. I fail to see how Emilia is a damsel in any case at all when the whole story is about her rejecting labels, rejecting to be put on a pedestal by Subaru and showing her vulnerabilities & weaknesses to help her overcome them…

        She’s a wish-fulfillment damsel in distress in the first half of season 1 though, because that’s what she was in Subaru’s mind at the time, and his development was about him overcoming that mindset & turning his love into a healthy one after their quarrel in EP13.

        1. Well she is literally a young woman in trouble whose circumstances push the protagonist to action. She hasn’t had much of a chance to show her agency this season, but there are still a lot of episodes left so I’m sure that will change. They do seem to be setting it up for her to come into her own and become a worthy leader. That’s gonna be amazing to see!

          1. Yup, she’s spreading her own wings now without Puck to rely on & having to overcome her past. It’s a good thing Subaru didn’t do the Trials in her place.

            Though the story is as much about self-reliance as relying on other people, so it’s inevitable that Subaru supports her (& vice versa) — it’s all about finding the right balance (like Subaru not being able to do anything while relying only on himself and Emilia being overly reliant on Puck & Subaru in the first cour).

  4. Otto becoming a successful merchant is a spin-off I’d definitely watch. I was disappointed that they brushed that off with a single line.

    And, yeah, I’m not too fond of the show when it goes for drama, and this arc really isn’t Emilia at her best. I still think she’s timetravelling Satella; it would explain Satella’s yandere attachment to Subaru…

    In the election, I’d probably vote for Krusch, but there’s some attraction to the Felt/Reinhard pair, too. We really need to see more of them, though, before I can make up my mind here.

    1. I really hope Emilia is cause right now, her character is being done dirty.

      Season 1 I would definitely vote for Krush but I’m not sure what her state is now. Her ordeal with the cultist probably has some serious long term repercussions and if she has to relearn all the history and delicate political relations of the land, that’s way too big a handicap I think.

      I’m happy I’m not the only Otto fan. I would also 100% want to see a spin off about how the boy who speaks to beasts built a retail empire. I’m thinking comedy SoL!

    2. “Felt/Reinhard”

      Felt would bring a different perspective to ruling, wouldn’t she? And with Reinhard’s input, I could see that being an effective team.

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