It’s been a while since Re:Zero was released, 6 years ago, but this is one was one heck of an anime that got me into isekai (coming from someone who had never watched any isekai animes at that time) and is unique among other isekai animes – for one, the characterization is completely different and far from the word “cliché”.
In a nutshell, Re:Zero is about Subaru who is transported to a fantasy world. Compared to other isekai animes like KonoSuba or No Game No Life, Re:Zero is completely different and unique. Normally, the protagonist suddenly becomes OP (overpowered), or they slowly get stronger or stuff like that. The only power Subaru gets is that every time he dies, he goes back to a certain checkpoint – which is quite depressing as the story progresses.
From the beginning this show definitely shows premise and it’s understandable why it enticed a huge crowd of audience. Not many shows have this kind of plot, it has time travel aspects since Subaru has to repeat events every time he dies (just like game overs in games when players die and they respawn in check points)
The show has dark elements, psychological, and even a bit of thriller, but it is mixed in a cheerful fantasy setting with plenty of comedy, drama, and romance, so it doesn’t get boring, nor too disturbing to viewers The story doesn’t only focus on fights or action but focuses on the development of the characters and world. There’s also a bit of mystery aspect since things are revealed slowly and viewers learn more and more about why certain things happen the way they do each time Subaru dies.
Now to arguably the most important aspect of Re:Zero and how it makes this isekai anime unique. Like mentioned previously, Subaru, the main character feels absolutely human. He doesn’t just get stupidly overpowered abilities or have a literal god accompanying him in his isekai trip – he has nobody to rely on except himself in a vast, expansive and most importantly, new world.
The author handles his character very realistically, as how a normal person would act in his situation. That said, Subaru isn’t just a normal person either, his personality is unique, just like each human has their own distinct personalities and that makes it much more interesting.
The character development that Subaru gets is crazy good. From the beginning, experiencing all kinds of situations, mental breakdowns, and we see how he slowly changes, and why he does the things he does.
Side characters also gets a huge amount of character development. Take Rem for example, who turned from someone who despised and even killed Subaru in the early stage of the anime, into someone who is absolutely loyal to Subaru and wishes nothing but his happiness and safety. It doesn’t just happen after a few episodes, but the whole season. Everything they do reflects their character, why they act a certain way, and how they grow, mature and change.
World building wise, it’s worth noting that this Season of Re:Zero acts only as an introduction to the huge world of Re:Zero – it’s only the beginning, or if you wish to call it, a prologue. Many things are yet to be discovered, such as new locations, why some characters behave the way they do even initially, they are extremely despicable from the get go, certain character backstory and lore, and last but not least, does the heroine finally achieve the dream she has always wanted? Even until now, when we’re at the end of the second part of the second season, it’s not finished and there are still puzzles waiting to be solved and it adds much more excitement and thrill for the viewers as it keeps them guessing!
And let’s take a moment to appreciate the voice actors for this anime. They really did a great job at voicing their respective characters. They know just how to voice the characters at any and every given scene, understanding how the characters felt and thus bringing the character (especially Subaru) come alive. Emotions are really there and it definitely strikes something into viewer’s hearts.
Overall, Re:Zero Season 1 is a breathtaking “prologue” anime with mesmerizing visuals and huge potential for future development and to be one of the best and anti-mainstream Isekai animes out there. It’s a gateway and introduction to a much crazier and vast world, waiting to be explored. It has all the great elements of what a top notch isekai anime needs – Insane world building, great and human-like characters, top notch character development and great sound and graphics. All these combined makes for a great Isekai anime which is sure to hook viewers and make them feel as if the world these characters live in is real.
Score – 10/10
Title: Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Season 1)
Studio: White Fox
Episodes: 25 (Season 1)
Director: Watanabe Masaharu
Voice Actors: Takahashi Rie, Kobayashi Yuusuke, Minase Inori