The choices we make are the ones that define us. And the latest episode of Re: Zero shows how much this really means. Where the good is twisted into something else. And, no matter the cost, the decisions are still made.
Minor Spoilers ahead!
“I am a witch. An evil witch who occasionally does nice things”
The episode begins with a black-n-white shot of Roswaal in pain. He’s struggling with something he couldn’t explain, and it was ripping him apart. Until his salvation came to him in the form of a white-haired woman with a mysterious aura. She saves him by taking away his pain, telling him what he has, and gives him the path that made him who he was today.
The rest of the episode follows suit, as we see Roswaal integrate himself into the world of the Witch of Greed, the blossoming of a romance no one could have expected, and shows how intimate his relationship with Beatrice and Ryuzu was, before the present world unfolded. It’s all played innocently, deceptively, like they lived in a fun family fantasy. But Roswaal is cruel in the future, and the past isn’t sweet.
Roswaal isn’t the only star thought. A major part of the episode is dedicated thematically to Beatrice and Ryuzu. In previous episodes, the two have been shown to be very much close. Despite Beatrice being the way she is (being emotionally constipated and unable to show affection properly beyond insults), Ryuzu trusts her and views her as a beloved friend. And so does Beatrice to Ryuzu. It makes for cute moments in the story, and a much more reliable heart to cling to since the other characters in the episode aren’t as pure-hearted. And of course, it makes for bitter tragedy when the inevitable future finally catches up to them.
“What do you mean by ‘goodbye’?”
Tears for goodbye
In a nutshell, the latest episode of Re: Zero, doesn’t disappoint. To a degree. While the episode does feel like an emotional rehash of Emilia’s trial, where the entire point is to tell the story of the Sanctuary, and provide some entertaining angst, it does have nice back story that’s worth the exploration. And to an extent, it does succeed to be ansty and emotional. Seeing Beatrice cry is not something to get used to. So, it’s safe to say that the series will be going up at this point, since the momentum of the plot is finally speeding up again, and the stories told are much more emotional and carry greater weight to the story at large.
However, there’s still this sense of brokenness to the pacing. Maybe it’s the fact that the entire episode, hell the entire ARC, has been nothing but flashback after flashback. Maybe it’s the fact that some big questions, like what the Sanctuary even is, hasn’t been revealed. Maybe it’s the fact that the show began to introduce more plot elements into the story without resolving the previous conflicts, or explaining the ‘who’ and ‘what’ and ‘why’.
In any case, the series is really, REALLY, messy. And the direction it’s going doesn’t show signs of fixing this problem anytime soon. It’s all to focused on the twist and easy angst, and not actually make sense of the dangers beyond ‘oh no, they’re powerful!’ kind of way that it has chosen. And yes, the angst is fun and all, but angst is not what a story make. Neither is broken up world-building fed to the audience by crumbs. It’s getting frustrating to find evidence of a greater order to the chaos. Because as good as the story, and world, and the characters are, seeing them all handled so carelessly is annoying. And it’s a wonder how, SEVEN episodes in, there’s still no clarity to anything that’s happening beyond the thematic.
“It never stops burning my very soul!”
Re: Zero still is still an entertaining show. And episode 7 opens up another part of the world that’s ripe for exploration. But it feels bitter-sweet when the potential of the story is set aside for the main plot that isn’t actually that interesting the longer it plays out. While those who watched the show for Subaru will still find joy, more casual viewers might have a harder time sticking to the series.
Re: Zero-Starting Life in Another World Season 2 Part 2 Episode 8 will be released Wednesday, 24 of February 2021 at 10:30 PM (JST).
Official Anime Website: Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World
Official Anime Twitter: Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World