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The Octave of Anime Christmas – Day 4: Saving the Innocents

Only a day or two-ish late  🙂 .

One of my favorite shows of 2016 was Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-) and it was good enough that I don’t mind writing out it’s full absurdly long title this one time. It was the closest thing to successfully replicate the tone and scope of Steins;Gate since Steins;Gate. And it rode that success all the way to being the second most finished anime series of 2016, according to MAL. So, there’s a good chance many reading this already know which scene I’m going to talk about before I continue. (I could choose something unexpected, so it might be best to continue reading, just in case.)

Expectations for a show often seem to hurt one’s opinion of that show because it’s hard for reality to match up to a fantasy we build up in our head. We still make those expectations, though, because we continue to be humans.

My favorite scene from Re:Zero was one I anticipated happening.

Subaru had the bad luck to star in Re:Zero and not Sword Art Online. This was bad luck for Subaru because every decision he made wasn’t going to be the right one and he wasn’t going to be protected from the effects of failing. So, by episode 18, Subaru was a complete emotionally twisted mess; however, story-telling norms suggested this was going to be the low point for Subaru (at least for this season) and he was due a reversal of fortunes. Otherwise there wasn’t going be time for a satisfactorily positive climax before we hit the end of the episode count, assuming, we were getting a good end. I also figured that Rem was going to have to be the one to fix things because, unless something crazy happened, there wasn’t anyone else physically present who could do it.

So, I figured I was emotionally ready.

I wasn’t.

Re:Zero plus ultra’d past my expectations.

By episode 18 the gulf between what Rem knows and Subaru knows is huge but she senses that things are falling apart and the center of the line is crumbling in front of her. She doesn’t run away; though, that had to have been tempting. With the courage equal to – scratch that – with more courage then Subaru will display later as he waves a sword around at the witches and monsters, Rem strides into that widening hole, like she was the whole 20th Maine, and eviscerates herself. She rips every bit of her heart and soul out – not so that she can get what she wants – but, so she could be a immovable anchor that can pull Subaru back together and allow him to save the girl he loves, Emilia, and everyone else.

It was what needed to happen so that evil would be defeated and all those people would be saved, but, it hurt to see how much Rem had to offer to see it done.

“Best Girl” is such a stupid title. Rem is a true hero.

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As an aside, since I brought it up, the counterpoint could also be argued: Subaru is lucky to be  RE:Zero and not Sword Art Online because he is surrounded by characters who are much more life-like in character.

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