There have been a lot, and I mean, A LOT of Isekai shows released over the past couple of years. A lot of them are pretty mediocre but some have stood out. Today, I’ll be looking at one such show: Re:Zero. With the dub and home video release from Funimation just around the corner, it seemed like the best time to take a quick look at the Spring 2016 series that took many by storm.
The premise for the show is pretty similar to what you might expect. Our protagonist, Subaru, finds himself magically transported to a fantasy style land after leaving his local convenience store. Taking a jab at other Isekai series, Subaru knows that he must be destined to be the savor of this world who has immense powers despite his looks. He tries his best but he can’t do much. No magic, nothing special about him, he can’t even read in this new world.
Soon Subaru finds that he was blessed with one power in this world: he can’t die. Well, that’s not actually true, he can die but he comes back to life at some previous point prior to his death a la a video game checkpoint. However, he doesn’t even realize this right away. It takes several deaths until he finally figures this all out.
Unfortunately for Subaru, dying hurts, a lot. Every time he has to reset it is like literal torture so he does his best to avoid death when possible. Fate, however, has other ideas as Subaru finds himself in horrifying situations where death is inevitable or the only way to solve his problems.
That’s really the big selling point for the show beyond the waifu meme, Emilia (We all know who the real best girl is). Things always seem to start going Subaru’s way and then he’s hit by a dark and grim reality. At one point, Subaru even breaks altogether, which is unsurprising because being brought back to life over, and over again would be mentally exhausting. This is especially true when you have to watch you friends die helplessly each time.
You’ll find a bit of everything here. Political intrigue, a rich fantasy world, intrigue, and a fun cast (yes even the villain!). Still, there are faults. One of which being that the story doesn’t get to dive too deeply into everything. You’re going to be left with questions in the end. Additionally, Re:Zero suffers from some pacing problems as well.
As interesting as some of the scenarios are (I quite like the solving your own murder storyline) it doesn’t matter much if the series feels like it waffles about. Subaru is stupid when the plot demands and smart when demanded, so some stuff with the plot goes on far longer than it should. Fortunately, the show manages to deliver more than it fall short. At worst, you’ll find this to be a decent entry into the seemingly never-ending stream of Isekai shows. If you somehow missed out on the hype when this one premiered, then Re:Zero is definitely worth your consideration.
Here’s the trailer for those undecided still. I didn’t even get to touch on the great music in this review, but you’ll get to hear some of that here!
That does it for today’s mini review. What are your thoughts on Re:Zero? Did you think it subverted the Isekai genre or was it just another drop in the bucket? Let me know in the comments below. If you would like to support the work I’m doing here at Jon Spencer Reviews than consider making a donation to me by heading over to my Ko-fi page and buying me a coffee. I’m trying to make some improvements to the site so the support is greatly appreciated. As always, thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here again soon!