Re:Zero has now been around for several years—with the second season currently airing—and you’d think by now we’d be tired of Subaru’s death scenes. Our main protagonist from another world has been killed in so many ways that we’ve lost count. Not only has he been beheaded, de-limbed, impaled, and frozen to literal death but he’s even ended his own life to reset the world and try everything again!
In many ways, this endless cycle of death and rebirth would seem like an annoying theme found in a video game JRPG but in our minds, this is where Re:Zero shines! We’re about to explain to you why Subaru’s recurring deaths are the reason people still love this show!
Dying Over and Over Feels Impactful
Maybe dying in a game feels uneventful since you know your characters won’t remember their deaths from that unfair boss or that one wrong move you pulled but Subaru is different. Subaru is aware of each death he endures and feels them not only physically but mentally and spiritually. This has caused our hero to falter dozens of times but thankfully, his friends and his strong will keep him from just quitting in general.
Now, you might wonder how Subaru dying and feeling each death makes the show better. Simple; it gives him more of a struggle that equally affects those who love his character. Witnessing Subaru endure death after death makes us sympathize with him and wish for his success. Equally, with each failure, we watch to see how Subaru will return to the past moment and finally achieve that needed success to move forward in his plights.
Dead Ends We Want to See
For those horror visual novel fans out there, you will no doubt admit that you love getting dead ends. Failing an event or making a wrong choice that leads to the protagonist’s death—or that of another character—is surprising, but intriguing. Not only do we get to see more of the world but we see different story elements that would have never been noticed if we made it through the scene without failure.
This same theme applies heavily to Re:Zero as each death gives us more insight into Subaru’s new world and we witness plots never before seen by our main man. For example, in the second season, Subaru dies trying to reach Rem in the mansion from an old threat. When he returns to the past and tries again, he in turn, learns more about his new “allies” and begins to notice some hidden plots that he needs to uncover soon lest he faces more deaths. This trend hasn’t gotten old—and we doubt it will—proving that deaths in Re:Zero have reason and substance!
Power Up Subaru!
Subaru isn’t exactly the overpowered hero many isekai protagonists tend to be, but he has slowly been increasing in strength. These “level-ups” wouldn’t have been possible had Subaru not died from dozens of different enemies/threats. With each death, Subaru has begun to realize what he could improve and how that would—in turn—keep him alive a bit longer on the next reset. Death is a necessary pain for Subaru to endure as it makes him stronger.
Obvious Shock Value
Above all else, let’s face a simple reality, readers. Watching how Subaru will die next and then seeing it is shock value we find truly gripping. It might seem odd that we enjoy Subaru and his eye-opening deaths but they are so visceral and horrifying that they never stop shocking us and filling us with utter amazement! Just how like jump-scares in horror movies, games, and anime capture our attention, witnessing Subaru die from some unknown assailant in a dark hallway immerses us the same way and we can’t ever grow bored of that. Might seem perverse but horror is best when it keeps you shocked and constantly wondering what scary thing waits behind the next scene!?
Dying over and over might be painful for our Subaru Natsuki but us fans absorb each death with shock and awe. Re:Zero—in our opinion—would be a weaker series if not for the death elements and that amazes us a bit. What other show has made death so relevant before? Let us know some shows you think benefit from repeated deaths—like Higurashi no Naku Koro ni—in the comments below! For even more semi-strange articles be sure to keep stuck our amazing hive here at Honey’s Anime!