Emilia stans rejoice! The newest episode of Re: Zero – Starting Life in Another World gives audiences a greater glimpse into who exactly Emilia is. And the results are absolutely spectacular!
Minor spoilers! You have been warned!
“The fairies said we should go out and play”
The episode picks up where the last episode left off. With the true origins of Emilia’s heritage revealed, a bigger question of what exactly this could mean to the actions Subaru and friends will take. But it also sheds so much light on the unanswered questions of the series. From the involvement of multiple characters in Emilia’s life, the willingness of Roswaal to work with Emilia despite the prejudice, the mystery of Emilia’ past, even the difficulty of Emilia going through the trial, again and again, all finally make sense as the puzzle pieces of Emilia’s character are finally being filled. And it is just so exciting to unfold.
The greatest strength of the episode is how it utilizes the domesticity of Emilia’s past with the cruel reality of what she has actually gone through. The episode is almost exclusively focused on Emilia going through the trial, and the secrets it reveals as it uncovers her past. It’s a wonder to see Emilia in a different light, with surroundings new and fresh that also seem soft and nostalgic. It’s very much light hearted but also deceptively innocent, and if anyone were to watch this episode without knowledge of the previous seasons, then it would easily hook people in. Remove the elements of it being a trial, and it feels more like a promising first episode to a brand new series. Emilia is an absolute delight to watch, adorable and so full of innocence as she lives her life. Far from the disaster and terror previous seasons have already unveiled.
“Mother and the rest are so weird”
The plot of the series finally unfolds and reveals itself. Now that the story and other characters have taken the lead, the show has definitely picked up its entertainment value. Both the previous part of season 2 and this current arc has suffered from pacing issues and a frankly uninteresting narrative as it leaves the other elements of its story to focus solely on just the exploits of one character. Namely Natsuki Subaru. Taking the choice to unravel the aspects of the other characters and their consequences was definitely in the show’s best interest.
This is even more apparent since this one episode focusing on Emilia already reveals so much about who she is. From her character to the way she reacts, the mystery of Puck, of who she is. Seeing it revealed has proven to be more entertaining than the previous part of the season. Hell, you could argue that seeing Emilia’s perspective and watching her grow and become a full-fleshed character rather than Natsuki’s symbol and representative of attaining personal growth is way more satisfying. Seeing her, the biggest character in the show next to Natsuki Subaru, finally being given back story and depth and humanity beyond just being a balm to Subaru’s bruised ego and soul is so satisfying. The show could literally just focus it on Emilia striving to fight for the acceptance of the people who hate her, of how she fights to survive as being a pawn in the schemes of people more powerful than her, as she learns more about who she is, and it would be infinitely more entertaining.
“I have just been granted salvation like never before!”
If the show were to stay on its current path of unveiling the story through the eyes of more than one person, or giving greater agency to the character it’s focused on, then the show wouldn’t feel like it’s plodding through the mud trying to go from one lecture and deconstruction to another.
Not that there isn’t merits to how the show has gone so far. After all, the first season of Re: Zero is what could only be described as pure psychological and body horror fluffed up to fool anime fans into thinking it was another round of self-insert indulgence. But it isn’t, and it should be prided for that. However, it remains to be seen how it tackles its disjointed approach to its narrative. But since the season has promised to be less Return by Death heavy, maybe it could finally attain the cohesion it so desperately needs.
Or not. Who knows?
Re:Zero - Starting Life in Another World Season 2 Part 2 Episode 5 will be released on Wednesday, 3 of February 2021 at 9:30 PM (JST).
Official Anime Website: Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World
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