Re: ZERO ~Starting Life in Another World~, Vol. 21

By Tappei Nagatsuki and Shinichirou Otsuka. Released in Japan as “Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu” by MF Bunko J. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Dale DeLucia.

As I said last time, this book starts off a new arc but is also a continuation of the previous one, which is both good news and bad news. The good news is that we don’t really get a huge new cast to remember like the previous arc’s start: all the main characters here are familiar faces with the only new person showing up at the very end. The bad news, of course, is that I don’t get a whole bunch of new faces to talk about in a review, just the old familiar ones, which is a problem as this book is very much “clearing an obstacle” as a plotline. There is a place our heroes have to get to, it’s considered impossible to get there, but they do get there thanks to some old familiar faces, some nice gossip from an innkeeper, and of course Subaru’s Return By Death, which comes back gloriously in this volume, featuring some of the goriest deaths to date.

Yes, yes, look at the cover’s Rem’s back. Except she’s not, she remains in a coma the entire volume, so don’t get too excited. But she’s one of the many things that Subaru is hoping the Sage of the Watchtower can fix, along with Julius and Anastasia (who Subaru now sometimes calls “Foxidna”, i.e. Echidna wearing a fox stole. Anastasia/Echidna is not fond of that). Unfortunately, this involves making a journey so impossible even Reinhardt couldn’t manage it. Towards that end, they go back to the mansion and grab Rem (and thus Ram as well) and also Melia, the minor villain who can control beasts from a prior arc, who agrees to help them as basically she’s reluctant to go back to the person who hired her and pay the price of her failure. Unfortunately, not only do they have to deal with sandstorms, twists in time and space, and terrible monsters, but the Sage of the Watchtower seems to want Subaru dead. And she has lasers.

Rem may be in a coma for the volume, but that does not mean that her presence does not influence the others. Subaru and Ram both have very complex feelings of love and loathing regarding her, and Ram’s are even more complex as she’s the one who can’t remember her. One of the “death” endings involves everyone losing control of their emotions and killing each other, and Subaru and Ram both scream at each other for not caring enough about Rem’s wellbeing. And then there’s Emilia, who is sure that she loves Subaru, but has not quite gotten the hang of what that kind of love is. Everyone boggles a bit when she suggests she’s 100% fine with her and Rem both being objects of Subaru’s affection… till she throws in every other close friend he has, and we realize she means as a big family. Hang in there, Subaru.

So yes, a good volume, but it’s basically a long prologue to what’s actually going to be happening, which will no doubt involve Shaula, the character introduced right at the end, who seems far more delighted to see Subaru than is reasonable under any circumstances. We’ll see what happens next.

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