Re: ZERO ~Starting Life in Another World~, Vol. 8

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

This arc continues to be very long, with most of this volume involved with trying to destroy the Witch Cult of Sloth, which proves, unsurprisingly, to be very difficult. It doesn’t seem that way at first – Petelgeuse is taken out with apparent ease, to the point where Subaru is naturally thinking “when is the other shoe going to drop? – but as we get further into the story and the Witch Cultists get more and more insane/clever/both, we start to have lives being lost. None of the named characters, mind, but it upsets Subaru nevertheless, as he feels that this time the deaths are directly attributable to his asking them to help him. Actually, this is a very good volume for Subaru watchers – even though he’s on an upswing and not doing stupid things too much, he’s still having trouble with Julius (Ferris notes his apology in the last book was half-assed) and with Emilia (who shows up to save the day towards the end here, but there’s no joyous reunion as of yet.

The cover and color illustrations feature Felt and Reinhard, and at first I wondered if my copy of the book was missing a scene, as they’re not actually IN the book – what you see in the color illustration is what you get. Instead we have the vast we had at the end of the last book, trying to destroy the Witch Cultists and doing lots of cool things. This includes Wilhelm, who is awesome but very injured by the end of the book; Ferris, who is desperately trying to save lives, even of the enemy, and having very little luck; and Julius, who proves to be an excellent combatant and can control spirits, which is of great benefit to Subaru when they save his life. Subaru’s plan is pretty good, though it ends up having one major flaw, which is that the Witch Cult is EVERYWHERE, even among people Subaru assumed were allies.

As for Petelgeuse, as I noted, he is seemingly killed off early on, but appearances can be deceiving. Indeed, the very nature of the Archbishop of Sloth proves to be somewhat elusive until the very end of the book, when Subaru realizes what is going on and flees (this is why we get no warm reunion with Emilia). This leads to the climax of the book, which has something I was not expecting. I have to assume that there’s going to be a new “reset point” and that we’re not going to have to do the entire White Whale battle again, but it’s ironic that just as Subaru is learning the fragile nature of life, his overpowered ability to avoid death has to be the solution. That said, I’m fairly certain the next volume is the final one in this book. Will he fix things? Will he reconcile with Emilia? And what of Rem, entirely absent from this book?

This was a solid volume of Re: Zero, with a lot of action, and Subaru still being less annoying than he has been. I’m looking forward to more.

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