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Re: Zero – Starting Life in a New World Season 2 Part 2 Episode 8: Demons, Demons, Demons

As Emilia finally comes out stronger, Subaru finally has the chance to finish the rest of his plan: rescuing Petra and Fredericka. But Roswaal isn’t done yet. Will Roswaal’s plan come to fruition? Will Subaru and co stop him in time?

His wish has lost direction

Ram and Emilia standing together at night

The episode begins with Subaru, Otto, and Garfiel preparing to leave for the mansion. With the trust of the villagers in the Sanctuary on his back and the strength of his friends, he faces the dangers coming. Meanwhile, Emilia has a confrontation of her own. Succeeding with the first trial, she now has to face Roswaal as truths are revealed.

There’s an interesting change in the story. It’s more and more inching to the perspectives of the other characters, and finally enriching the audience with the many, MANY, threads of the story that are only now coming together. No spoilers, because the reveals are so satisfying to see. Especially how well made it was, with subtle hints and threads that had been spread out since the first season. Safe to say that it’s a development that was just waiting to be introduced and it just makes things go right.

You just continue to change

Ram and Emilia holding hands for comfort
Never let go

Another great aspect the episode finally gave us is the challenge of the beliefs of the character. The confrontation of their values and delusions is the best part. And this episode finally gives us that glimpse through Emilia. Seeing Emilia grow more and more into a character is the most exciting part of the arc so far. While not necessarily becoming a badass, it’s the struggle she goes through and the fire of motivation to push through regardless that is so inspiring to watch. And seeing that fire go head to head with Roswaal is something worth seeing. Whether Roswaal will cave to the power of Emilia’s newfound inner strength is something that audiences will definitely want to see.

One great twist they provided in this arc is how they twisted the usual roles of the supporting character and the main character, especially if they’re the romantic leads. While the usual approach in movies and series is to have a female character be the one to act as character growth for the male lead, this arc reverses the trope. Subaru, who has fully embraced his role as knight for Emilia, becomes the character growth crutch she needed. While she had to be the one to go through the unveiling of her traumas, ultimately Subaru acted as a support, never the hero. And it’s such a wonderful thing to see in an anime that, for most of its episodes, didn’t seem keen on changing its perspective on framing women.

You truly don’t understand anything at all

The temple  in the Sanctuary lighting up at night with torches
One more time

HOWEVER! A big ‘however’. The show still has the problematic tendencies of every other anime in its portrayal of women. For every instance that the series shows powerful women, it also puts these moments through the male gaze. Every powerful woman is, in a strange way, balanced by how completely powerless and without agency the other female characters are. For every possibility of seeing interesting character arcs and story development from the countless cast of characters the show has to offer, it drifts into a slow lull as it takes the route of the main character and, for a lack of a better word, story. There’s an entire arc dedicated to the political scheming of the different royal candidates from the first season, and the audience only gets a glimpse of that before swerving into another “Subaru needs therapy arc”. Hell, Rem’s entire character arc was all about how she became an emotional crutch and a supporter of Subaru as she got friend-zoned. And while it’s not wrong to portray a healthy friendship between a person and the one they’re attracted to, making that the major arc is honestly a disappointment. And Ram has so much to her character than meets the eye, they all do. But the strange infantilization of her character’s appearance, coupled with a racy scene from the first season, and the true reason of her subservience makes for a disturbing profile of a female character of barely legal age (since she’s officially 18).

If Re: Zero could fix the very disturbing approach to its characters, and then finally do better in setting the crumbs of its story, then the next arc is something to witness.


Re: Zero-Starting Life in Another World Season 2 Part 2 Episode 9 will be released Wednesday, 3 of March 2021 at 10:30 PM (JST).


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