Man, it feels like ages! I don't remember the last time we did a show review, and with all the heavy hitters that came out last season, there is just so much to discuss! We apologize for the hiatus and will try to be more diligent about pushing our flawless opinions about anime on you, the people :). For now, it's good to be back!
Re:Zero was arguably the biggest show of last year (maybe a toss-up with Yuri on Ice and Mob). So naturally, I had to see why for myself. It is about a young man from modern-day Japan who is mysteriously transported to a medieval, magical, alternate world (this theme is getting kinda old by the way). But also finds that he can die and restart from a point in time before his death, but with the memories of his previous life, and a chance to make everything right. The show creates a scenario where a man is split between two worlds, the first being the world he is experiencing at the moment, and the second being the very real world of his mind via the memories of his previous life, and his struggle to reconcile the two. That, however, is not the real genius of Re:Zero.
At its core, Re:Zero is a love story. It follows our protagonist, Subaru, as he tries to win the heart of Emilia, a prospective queen well out of his league. To be honest, the show was a bit of a chore at first. Subaru doesn't start off a very likable hero, and it was not easy to pull for him. He was selfish, arrogant, and somewhat obnoxious. It seemed like the first half of the series was trying to layout the foundation for just how flawed he was. As rough as it was to get through this setup, though, Re:Zero would have only been half as good without it. In my opinion, its real strength is in how brilliantly it celebrates the human capacity for change. I can't help believing the creators deliberately made our hero such an unbearable character to show us that anyone is redeemable (albeit through some extraordinary circumstances). I found myself very much on Subaru’s team by the end, which surprised me. Perhaps I'm too much of a romantic, who knew :)?
I highly recommend Re: Zero to anyone and everyone. I can't say it's title as number 1 is justified, but it is certainly worthy of praise. Do be patient with it, though, and let us know if you saw in it the same things I did!