Re: ZERO ~Starting Life in Another World~, Vol. 24

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.

I had assumed, since the end of the last volume was one of those “I have been a dumbass for a while but now I have turned the corner and am fighting back” endings, that there might be a bit less Return by Death in this book. Hardly. All that means is that the deaths are not “Subaru dies by being an idiot” but are instead “Subaru dies as he tries to figure out how to escape a damn near impossible situation”. Which means going through everything bit by bit and breaking it down into manageable chunks. but it does mean that this book is pretty exhausting, and features a lot of the cast getting their asses handed to them, as well as a lot of supposed allies turning out to be secret antagonists – though honestly, the latter should not be too surprising to a reader who is paying attention. This book is all the detective work, and the payoff will presumably be next time.

Subaru, now determined to fight back, goes back to square one and confesses to all that he’s lost his memories. He’s already worked out how he died the first time, by being pushed off the staircase, and solves that fairly quickly. The next step is to try to find Reid Astrea’s book in the Library, so that they can read his memories in hopes of finding a weakness – what killed him, for a start. Unfortunately, that ends up going badly, as when Subaru goes into Reid’s book he instead finds… another Gluttony. This one is named Louis (pronounced the French way), and she almost manages to break Subaru entirely before he’s saved by the least likely savior out there… and also the most likely, let’s face it. Unfortunately, they now have multiple Gluttonies running around, Reid running amuck, and that pesky killer scorpion. What’s up with that, anyway?

There are many amazing fight scenes in this, which the author has started to specialize in. This arc in particular continues to be a gift for Emilia fans, and that’s despite the fact that she (in one loop) gets her identity eaten by Gluttony. A fight that ends with her sneaking up behind Lye (Gluttony #2) and hitting him with a giant ice hammer while yelling “Sneak Up And WHAM” is possibly in my top five moments in the entire series. There’s also Subaru doing what he does best, which is rallying the troops and getting them to do what they do best… though sometimes even that isn’t enough. It all comes to a head in the final scene of the book, when he confronts Shaula and gets her to admit what she’s been hiding and why. It’s a very sympathetic reason – tearjerking, even – but honestly, I suspect that she’s absolutely correct and knows it. And that’s why she’s breaking down.

The next book is the final book in this arc, and I suspect it will need to be a much longer volume in order to fix everything up. Till then, this was a solid volume, and had a minimal amount of Subaru being a dumbass, which is always my measuring stick for how enjoyable it is.

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