You are hereby summoned to the other world.
Just like that Subaru Natsuki is teleported to an alternate medieval reality where he meets Emilia who saves him from a certain death when he is almost about to be stabbed to death by a group of thugs in a darkish alley. As this kindness of heart strikes him, he wants to repay her with all the abilities he has at its disposal, which aren’t a lot. Except for one, returning by death. He only has to die for a moment to rewind. That story mechanic reminds me of Angel Beats where death is more of a theatrical play than really a show stopper and at some points makes up a decent portion of the plot.
Subaru is like many other characters we’ve seen in recent seasons. A regular guy in a not so fashionable outfit who gets teleported, beamed or transferred, to an alternate world which surprisingly more often than not has a medieval setting. It’s almost as if there is a trend going on where many producers and viewers a like long for a simpler time, with less technology and without the struggles of daily modern life.
Re:Zero’s story begins pretty strong. While at first may seem very mundane, when introduced to the special ability of Subaru, the show takes a darker turn. That’s a good development, since hints were there that Emilia might just become a harem character for Subaru’s fantasies. Luckily that didn’t happen and the anime shifted its focus towards Subaru who feels so indebted to Emilia that he wants to safe her from her own certain death. This is for now the main plot driver and I wonder how long they will use this trope to move the story forward or to frame it better, to stall the story from progressing. I can imagine that this being the only story element to drive the show forward, can become overrated and boring over time.
The look and feel had me fooled that it was an A-1 Pictures production. Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu felt a bit like Unbreakable Machine-Doll in terms of its character design. But, Re:Zero is produced by none other than White Fox. The studio who brought us Steins;Gate, Akame ga Kill!, Hataraku Maou-sama and one of my all time favorites Katanagatari.
White Fox at the wheel though doesn’t guarantee success. Re:Zero felt a bit all over the place in its beginning stages. The constant repetition of the first encounter with the thieves in the dark alley lost a bit of its charm. Personally, I don’t consider it as an all too original scene to kick start a show with. So be it. The scene has some slight alterations each time, yet they don’t really grip me. The studio uses it to introduce new characters, shaping a plot for Subaru. Undoubtedly those characters will have some meaning further down the line.
While running down the production staff I couldn’t really find any hints of where the show might be heading. The director is Watanabe Masaharu who served more as an animator than as a full fletched director. He was an assistant and animation director for Naturo, animation director for Kannagi and as real director on Wakaba Girl, which in all honesty wasn’t the strongest shows out there.
It’ll be interesting to see where Re:Zero will be going. The first few two episodes showed potential, but repetitive story lures in the shadows. There have to be some significant alterations to Subaru’s experience for to show to remain fresh.