As wars raged between the blue-haired empire vs. the white-haired alliance, casualties were met on both sides. What seemed to be a neverending battle was finally given the opportunity to a ceasefire with this second season. Frankly, we think we can all agree that most of us would like to return to the warzone!! Let’s take a look at the second season of Re:Zero and how Rem fans from across the globe were sent into a permanent decommission.
The “Sugo~ku” Storyline
Re:Zero comes back with a vengeance this time around offering a much more introspective dive into our beloved cast. For those unaware, the first season of Re:Zero focuses around Isekai’s teenager Subaru, who is warped to a mystical land and given the ability to Return By Death. What this means is that, should Subaru suffer a fatal injury in battle, he is returned to a random checkpoint he crossed upon his journey. The aim of the first season was to support Emilia’s campaign for the throne, whilst simultaneously defending against the Witch’s Cult. Because of this, Subaru was taken all over the planet resulting in a lot of action scenes. This time around, the series is taking a more bottled approach, where nearly the entire series takes place in one of two locations (the Sanctuary or the mansion). It’s clear Re:Zero wants to try something new and we applaud them for it. Riding the wave of popularity is safe but daring to take risks, should they pay off, is much more appreciated.
So, this time around, Rem is out of the picture. She dominated the first season and, now, it’s time for Emilia to shine. Having been trapped in the Sanctuary, we follow the journeys of three characters: Emilia’s quest to defeat her past, Subaru’s quest to prevent any deaths at both locations, and Roswaal’s quest to prove to everyone that he hasn’t been friend-zoned for the past several hundred years. While there is certainly action abounding in this season, it pales in comparison to the more subdued and lengthy character interactions. This season has A LOT of talking in it. While that may turn some people off, those who stay will be heavily rewarded. Nearly EVERY SINGLE character gets some kind of flashback this season to enhance their already rich personalities. Re:Zero does what all good sequels should do—expand on existing material. In that regard, season two of Re:Zero hits it out of the park.
The Characters Are Pretty Good “I Suppose”
Re:Zero has always been great with its characters but season two takes this to an entirely new level. Not only is each character given time to develop, but they are also given these little speech quirks to make them all the more endearing. Emilia has always elongated her ‘sugoku’ and now we see where she got it from (this being Fortuna). Roswaal has always added a melodic intonation to the end of his words and now we see that this was a trait also shared by Hector. From Betty’s “I suppose”, to Garf’s “Ore-Sama’s”, there really was no need to include such colorful speech patterns to even one of these characters, let alone all of them. However, doing so adds an extra layer of realism to these characters. At no point are these speech patterns referenced, nor do they have any significance in the plot. They’re just fun! And what is anime, if not a means of obtaining that precious dopamine fix we’re all chasing after!
Additionally, there were lots of feels this time around not inherently caused by death. It was nice to see the show less reliant on its premise and more willing to shake things up. Watching Emilia shift from happy-go-lucky, to extremely depressed, to clinically insane, was heartbreaking to see play out. Additionally, Garf’s tragic backstory, Roswaal’s tragic backstory, heck even Otto’s tragic backstory, had us tearing up a little !! While some of the middle sections of this series slowed the pacing down to an absolute grinding halt, should this be the calm before the inevitable third season storm, then we’re happy to gain a better understanding of the main cast.
How “Emilia-tan” Changed the Game
It wouldn’t feel right to end a Re:Zero Season Two review without mentioning the absolute wild card of Emilia and Subaru’s romance. Let’s make things clear right from the get-go—Re:Zero is NOT a romance anime. Were it to be compared to any other Shounen, anime like Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece all spring to mind. A majority of romance in these kinds of shows either occurs off-screen or is used incredibly sparingly (Sakura’s fake confession to Naruto still sends shivers down the spines of anime fans across the globe). Yet, for Re:Zero to so comfortably steer into the skid; not only embracing the romance between its two leads but actively pursuing it, changes the game to a whole other level. Now, not only are actions committed based on what is right or wrong (in anime like Naruto, for example) but completely out-of-left-field actions can occur based on love.
One such example is Ram’s confession to Roswaal. Ram had no business doing what she did to Roswaal’s notes yet, spurred by love, she marched valiantly into battle against him. Additionally, Roswaal commits numerous atrocities this time around motivated by his stubborn love for Echidna, just as Betty comes to love Subaru and ceases her stubbornness. Love is such a chaotic element that can throw a spanner in any preconceived notions of what a character might do. Such an element fits right at home in Re:Zero’s boundary-breaking narrative and we have Emilia and Subaru to thank for it!
Although it should have been Subaru and Rem and anyone who disagrees should get out now...
Re:Zero’s second season shows no signs of fatigue offering more of what we know and love about the franchise, whilst deep-diving into a plethora of new and interesting ideas and plot-points. While this season may turn action fans away with its heavy-dialogue scenes and numerous flashbacks, Re:Zero should be respected for trying something new and executing it very well. What did you think of Re:Zero this season? How much did you heartbreak when Subaru chose Emilia over Rem? Let us know down below!