Re: ZERO ~Starting Life in Another World~, Vol. 6

By Tappei Nagatsuki and Shinichirou Otsuka. Released iJapan by Media Factory. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jeremiah Borque.

Last time I said that I finally realized why so many fans love Rem. After this volume, I can say that I now know why those Rem fans dislike Emilia, though to be fair it’s not really her fault. In fact, Emilia’s barely in this book once more. But yes, Subaru and Rem’s scene in the last quarter of the book is astonishing, some of the best and most emotional writing we’ve seen in the entire series, and Subaru’s response to Rem is simply stomping on the face of shippers. I suspect a lot of people would have preferred Rem and Subaru’s fantasy where they live a normal life in the fantasy equivalent of Japan (indeed, I think the author wrote that as a side story). But Subaru remains true – eventually, after much teeth-grinding – to Emilia, who he wants to save and support. And so Rem will support him. It’s extremely heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. It also makes the first 3/4 of the book pale in comparison.

Each of the “arcs” in Re: Zero has been longer than the previous one. The first was one book, the second was two. This one is SIX, meaning we’re only halfway through it. As a result, the time we’ve had to spend watching Subaru be frustrating has increased, which does not make me happy. In the previous “loop”, he spent most of the time being broken, in the loop in this book, he spends most of it being furious, burning with the desire to get revenge on Petelgeuse, to the point where at times he completely forgets about Emilia. Furious Subaru does not inspire confidence, and when he tries to ally himself with Crusch, with Priscilla, or with Anastasia, he is rebuffed one by one. Only Rem is in his corner, but then she’s also willing to sacrifice her own life so that he might live on. Hell, even when in the deepest despair, he’s still misjudging people horribly, almost bringing Beatrice to tears when he begs her to kill him because he thinks that she’s a stoic girl who doesn’t like him.

Fortunately, we may have finally, FINALLY turned the corner, as Subaru restarts again, and after that fantastic scene with Rem, actually bothers to try thinking this time. And when Subaru actually does this, he’s quite clever, using the knowledge from his prior arcs to bargain with Crusch, as he knows something that actually is useful: the habits of the White Whale. I suspect that battle will take up much of the 7th book. There’s also a 2nd EX side story out next month dealing with Wilhelm, so I would not be surprised if he played a major role in what’s to come. In the meantime, the best part of this volume of Re: Zero is that it turns the corner, and I will greatly be looking forward to not seeing Subaru be quite as Subaru going forward. (Feel free to laugh at me if I am wrong.) Also, yeah, Rem is indeed pretty awesome, I freely admit it, though I worry her devotion to Subaru is going to get her in even more trouble as we go forward.

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  1. Joseph Miller says:

    I really love this series. It’s such a great exploration of very, flawed characters (not just Subaru!). And yes, Rem is awesome, although Arc 4 finally explores Emilia and Subaru’s relationship and characters in great depth, which I think helps bring Emilia back up to Rem’s level.

    Best Wishes,

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