Re: ZERO ~Starting Life in Another World~, Vol. 13

By Tappei Nagatsuki and Shinichirou Otsuka. Released in Japan by MF Bunko J. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jeremiah Borque.

I took a liking to Emilia from the very start of Re: Zero, and have been patiently waiting for her to live up to the potential she had. It’s been hard, let me tell you. This story has very precise and long-running character development, and when it pays off it’s marvelous, but it can take forever. The far more popular girl getting her important character development first did not help either, let’s face it. So I was ready for Arc 4, where I’d heard we would finally start to focus on Emilia. And… let’s face it, it’s STILL been hard. Seeing Emilia fail her test over and over, screaming and crying, has basically been playing into the hands of her detractors. It hasn’t helped that she doesn’t seem to have any allies. Yes, I’m including Subaru, who has been busily trying to find a way that Emilia doesn’t have to take the test, to the point where I wanted to punch him in the face (this made me nostalgic, let me tell you.) But here, in Vol. 13, we get the payoff, and the start of something new.

Admittedly, first of all we get the climax of the Witch’s Tea Party, which gets a bit Umineko after all, with Subaru at one point trying to bite his own tongue off to get out of there. The witches are, all, for once, relatively united in their desire to stop Subaru being self-sacrificing above anything and everything, and they try to explain (mostly to no avail, but it works a tiny little bit) that he needs to be selfish once in a while. That said, Echidna’s removing his ability to take the Tests is the best thing that happened to Subaru frankly. Now he can try to create a Faustian bargain with Roswaal, which tells us that we’ve seen the last of his Return by Deaths in this arc… or at least we hope so. Moreover, it helps Subaru to come to a realization: he doesn’t think Emilia can do it. He doesn’t believe in her. Neither does Roswaal, but Subaru’s the one who supposedly loves her.

This culminates in what may be the best scene in the entire series, where Subaru and Emilia confront each other in the tomb. (And yes, I am leaving out a lot here. Everything about Satella is jaw-dropping. The fight against Garfiel and seeing what drives him was wonderful. Otto is amazing and awesome and if you don’t love him we can’t be friends. Ram is fantastically sharp-tongued but also knows what Subaru is really like. And we see Puck again, probably for the last time, as Emilia is allowed to recall her tragic past and thus try to move beyond it.) Emilia is bitter and angry because Subaru promised he’d stay by her side as she slept and then he promptly left so that he could set up his multi-layered plan. The two of them have a wonderfully childish fight, appropriately given Emilia’s “mental age” is that of a teenager, and she eventually seems to accept that there aren’t conditions or logical reasons for Subaru loving her. I cannot wait for all of this to be animated.

So we’ve turned the corner 2/3 of the way through this arc, and I suspect that the next book will delve deeply into Emilia’s past. We get a bit of it here (oh dear, more Petelgeuse?), but there’s clearly a lot more to come. What’s more, I want her to triumph just as Subaru needs to. I want them to crush Roswaal’s spirit. And oh yes, stopping Elsa might be nice too. Why is there always so much packed into each volume of this. In any case, this remains one of the best light novels coming out right now. Give it to your friends who hate isekai to show them how it’s done.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.

Speak Your Mind