Re: ZERO ~Starting Life in Another World~, Vol. 18

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

I always enjoy the books in this series that are more about rallying around the flag. The author in the afterword says that the series is always remembered for all the death and gore and terrible things, but that the hope and turning things around is just as important, and I agree with them. It does help that the plotline I was most worried about, Emilia being kidnapped, was handled in the best possible way. Certainly her would-be husband is a loathsome and terrible man, but she still manages to have agency, gaining valuable information and passing it off to allies before returning to her forced wedding because escaping would mean Regulus would take it out on his other wives. That said, for a series filled with Best Girls there are an awful lot of them this book. Crusch is mostly at death’s door, but manages to rally Subaru; Anastasia proves when it comes to actual administration she’s by far the best Royal candidate; and Priscilla… well, Priscilla just IS.

After the disaster of the City Hall assault last time, our forces regroup. Ironically, City Hall is now theirs, but there’s lots of bad things happening. Subaru’s leg… and Crusch’s entire body… are cursed. Emilia is, as I said, kidnapped. Wilhelm has figured out that one of the villains who attacked them was in fact someone he knows very well; heck, even Reinhard had a terrible time, though it was offscreen. What’s more, after Lust ups the demands (she now wants the Book of Knowledge (seemingly burned), an artificial spirit (i.e. Beatrice) and Regulus and Emilia’s wedding to go forward (that last one is obviously his addition). This means that all the citizens of this city are a bit scared and angry and upset. Can someone manage to win them over with a dramatic speech? And is that someone really Subaru?

As I said above; my God Priscilla’s presence in this book is just amazing. She’d be the worst person to interact with ever in real life, but her arrogance, confidence and strength here are just what the doctor ordered; her berating Liliana until she gives in and agrees to help is a thing of beauty. I would love to read some Re: Zero from her point of view. Speaking of points of view, it’s very amusing to see how everyone in the room reacts – particularly Julius and Al – when Subaru casually tells everyone that he loves Emilia. He may constantly regard himself as just this guy getting by, always scared and wanting to run away, but to everyone else he’s a tower of strength and confidence, saying things no one else has the courage to. He is topped, perhaps, only by Otto, who continues to be Best Boy, and unfortunately because he is Best Boy has to face the cliffhanger ending on his own.

The next book will be the counterattack against all the archbishops, and it promises to be a combat filled melee. Till then, enjoy a Re: Zero with no return by death by a whole lot of heartwarming moments.

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