‘Re:ZERO Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu’ Anime: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Of The Japanese Anime With Highly Polarized Light Novel/Manga Online Fan-Base

Re:ZERO — Starting Life in Another World has become an overnight sensation for anyone with a slight interest in Japanese anime. However, not everyone who started to follow the just-begun anime vouches for its greatness. There have been consistent grumblings about Re:ZERO.

Re:ZERO Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu anime has become such a hotly discussed topic that it has drawn immense interest online. However, unlike other anime, the series that is barely in its 20th episode, doesn’t appear to have a uniform reaction. From the discussions online it is quite apparent the Japanese anime has polarized the viewers. While many are complaining about the rather mundane and unimaginative origins, others are thoroughly impressed by the anime’s difficult to follow, but immersive and edge-of-the-seat, storyline that plunges the protagonist Natsuki Subaru into a mystical world. The tried and tested scenes may further seem painfully repetitive, but are in fact part of a much elaborate storyline.

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Fans of Japanese manga and anime who haven’t watched Re:ZERO may find this article useful to decide whether to take the plunge or stay back and avoid the anime altogether.

Re:ZERO is based on the “transported to a fantasy world” light novels, which needless to say, is one of the most over-saturated and extensively relied upon genre today. Though the anime is already in its 20th episode, Re:ZERO is not only progressing at a snail’s pace but, given its proposed plot, will continue to drag on.

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The plot is essentially very simple, but its portrayal is extensively complex, which makes following Re:ZERO very difficult and confusing. While occasional watchers of the anime might think they haven’t missed much, fans will never want to miss any action because Subaru’s story isn’t like the regular heroes of the traditional or even highly popular Japanese manga or anime. The protagonist is a very awkward and self-conscious character who can reportedly be described by a whole bunch of Japanese media buzzwords, like chuunibyou, otaku, hikikomori, NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training).

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Surprisingly, that fact that Subaru is being presented as a familiar stereotype, is one of the most endearing aspects of Re:ZERO. The origins of Japanese storylines typically revolve around a powerful and influential hero who battles the forces of evil. On the contrary, Subaru closely matches the mass media’s negative stereotypes.

Subaru can be described as an unimaginative and rather mundane youth. However, such aspects form an interesting starting point, which the creator Tappei Nagatsuki, may have deliberately put forth to make the seemingly repetitive storyline appear plausible, logical and relatable.

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Warning: Re:ZERO spoilers ahead.

It is amply clear by now that heroics aren’t Subaru’s strong point. In fact, the youngster possesses no inherent qualities of a fighter or a hero. His only ability appears to be reborn each time he dies, and he does frequently die in the series. Fortunately, he dies only to be reborn at a preset “checkpoint” sometime in the past. Players of video games will instantly relate to the aspect and understand that Subaru’s rebirth has an evolved purpose. Instead of facing the odds with the traditional chivalry and heroism viewers of Japanese anime have become accustomed to, each episode is like a puzzle for poor and helpless Subaru. Unless he figures out how to get to the next “level” or in the context of the anime, proceed, he must suffer his death, often on multiple occasions.

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Such a type of storyline can get quite challenging to follow and mandates utmost focus because the protagonist will be shown facing the same scenario, albeit each new repetition will have him trying to alter his choices and course of actions to avoid getting killed. Not to mention only Subaru can remember what happened in the destroyed timeline, which further complicates the matters.

For reasons best known to the creator of Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World, Subaru’s progress reportedly appears to be tied to the progress of Emilia, the beautiful girl he fell for after she rescued him from bandits when he arrived in this world.

[Image via MF Bunko J/White Fox]