I actually don’t really know how to cover the last two episodes, and that’s mostly because Re:Zero doesn’t get my attention until someone actually dies. You must think that’s perverse of me, huh? But what would you have me do? Talk about the royal selection? C’mon, you know I don’t care about that. Other than Emilia, I barely even know any of the other four girls, and even then, Re:Zero universe hasn’t shown me enough of its politics and Lugunica itself for me to care who ends up ruling the kingdom. From a cursory glance — and that’s all we’ve really gotten — the kingdom looks to be doing alright to me. Sure, it has its slums, but every country has pockets of poverty. Felt’s radical desire to tear everything down isn’t really indicative of anything. I’m not going to just take the word of some random girl no matter how impassioned she might be. I’m not saying she doesn’t have a point, but I don’t have enough information to lean one way or the other. I don’t have enough information about anything other than that, well, people really distrust half-elves.
In last week’s episode, Subaru’s antics finally caught up to him. You can only break so many promises to a girl before she gets fed up with you. And y’know, when everyone already treats Emilia differently due to her half-elf status, it doesn’t help Subaru’s case to put her on a pedestal. So yeah, it isn’t hard to see where Emilia is coming from. But again, it’s hard for me to really root for these two kids, because like the show’s politics, I haven’t really gotten to know Emilia’s character all that well. I would even go so far to argue that Subaru doesn’t know her very well either. There was a moment in last week’s episode where he’s practically in tears, because he thought that Emilia of all people should understand him. Dude, you barely know this girl. What is her history? What was her childhood like? How does she feel about the whole royal selection business? What are her short term goals? What are her long term goals? Subaru doesn’t actually know Emilia at all.
And at this point, it struck me that it’s incredibly difficult to have a serious conversation with the guy. Y’know, when the chips are down, when things appear to be dire, that’s when the serious Subaru truly comes out. But how often does Emilia get to encounter that side of him? Re:Zero fans love the guy, because of his light-hearted quips, his meta references, his silly demeanor, so on and so forth. But they also love him because they get to see him 24/7. Emilia doesn’t have that ability nor does anyone else for that matter. You also can’t play the clown, then expect people to take you seriously on a dime. So he expects Emilia to understand his feelings even though he has difficulty conveying his thoughts through words. He doesn’t really understand her as much as he would like either. Where does that then leave me, the viewer? From my perspective, she’s just a kind-hearted girl who wants to take the throne and enact some sort of equality for all policy. Well, that sounds nice, but that’s not enough to get emotionally invested in a character.
When Emilia lost her trust in Subaru, and left him behind at the capital, that sure seemed like it should’ve been some sort of pivotal moment in their relationship. Something serious just went down, huh? But ‘huh’ is the operative word. ‘Huh’ was basically my reaction. I shrugged and just said, “Huh.” There was neither a puzzled nor a questioning inflection to my “Huh.” It was just simply “Huh.” Because at this point in time, it sure feels to me that he has a bigger emotional connection to Rem than he does with Emilia. As a result, I’m afraid I don’t really care that Emilia doesn’t trust him. I don’t really care that she misunderstands his intentions. But that’s all we’ve got. Take away the timeline resetting gimmick, and what’s left is a really underdeveloped political subplot, and an equally underdeveloped romance between Subaru and Emilia. After fourteen episode, this is all we’ve got. And people are going to be like, “It isn’t fair to just take away the one defining characteristic about the series!” But I’m not the one who did it! Re:Zero did this to itself! Subaru hasn’t had to reset his timeline once in the past three episodes.
Midway through this week’s episode, Subaru gets some bad news. Through some sort of special demon twin brain link, Rem senses that Ram is in trouble… I think. Whatever, the point is that Emilia is likely in trouble, and of course, Subaru has to disobey her wishes once more and hurry back to the mansion. And okay, he cares about her, because she’s nice to him, and she’s profoundly touched him through her actions in timelines that have been overwritten, yadda yadda yadda. But like I’m saying, that’s all from his perspective. From my perspective, it’s hard for me to care one way or another about the girl. So even though Subaru is desperate to return to the mansion, that same sense of urgency doesn’t translate. I’m not feeling it. I didn’t really care either when those two had an argument. I never saw them as a couple anyway. Couples should bond on multiple levels. His inability to be serious with her as much as he needs to raises all kinds of red flags.
So like I’ve said, what am I supposed to cover? 95% of the past three episodes is sadly just one long, elaborate set-up for the current arc. I didn’t tune into this anime to watch a half-baked romance between Subaru and Emilia. I didn’t tune into this anime to watch an incomplete political thriller feebly unfold. I tuned in because of Subaru’s ability to restart his timeline whenever he gets killed, and sadly, he still hasn’t died in three whole episodes. But finally, after all that talking, all that fanfare, and all those bedside tears, Subaru has returned to the mansion… only to find nothing but dead bodies piled upon dead bodies. Even Rem is nothing more than a corpse with a sword stuck in her back. Good lord, a three-episode long prologue. That’s what I just sat through. I had to endure three episodes of weak drama to finally get to the show’s meat and potatoes. It’s not that I want to see people get killed. But let’s be honest, it’s all Re:Zero’s got going for it. I expect to see Subaru die in next week’s episode. Thank god for that.