Kenta MiyakeKana UedaKeiji FujiwaraRe:Zero
Re:Zero: Starting Life in Another World - Director's Cut of Season 1 + 2018-19 movies
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2018
Director: Masaharu Watanabe
Writer: Masahiro Yokotani
Original creator: Tappei Nagatsuki
Actor: Rie Takahashi, Yusuke Kobayashi, Chinatsu Akasaki, Inori Minase, Kana Ueda, Keiji Fujiwara, Kenta Miyake, Kenyuu Horiuchi, Kohei Amasaki, Mamiko Noto, Mugihito, Rie Murakawa, Satomi Arai, Takehito Koyasu, Takuya Eguchi, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Yui Horie, Yuichi Nakamura, Yuka Iguchi, Yukari Tamura, Yumi Uchiyama
Keywords: Re:Zero, anime, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 50 episodes and 2 movies
Website category: Anime 2018
Review date: 6 June 2023
Re Zero
I watched Season 1 of this show when it first came out in 2016. I found it impressive, but sometimes hard to watch. Then, though, Season 1 got a Director's Cut and all these sequels. Thus I decided to rewatch the whole thing from the start, including the Director's Cut.
It's an isekai about an ex-hikikomori called Natsuki Subaru. He has an awesome power... but it's the kind of "awesome" that tortures you and eats your sanity. When he dies, he resets as time returns to his last save point. Oh, and he can't tell anyone about this. Not "shouldn't", but "can't". If he tries, he dies.
Subaru will get decapitated, stabbed, disembowelled, frozen and eaten. He'll commit suicide. He'll suffer trauma. What makes the show even harder to watch, though, is his personality. He's a good person who puts himself through hell to save his friends. No arguments there. But he's also a self-righteous braggart with a swollen ego, a bottomless supply of bad decisions and a tendency to go off on ugly rants. If you make it to the end of the show, you'll admire him and his achievements... but you'll have been writhing in agony at times at his ability to do and say dumb things.
SEASON 1 (2016 for the original or 2020 for the Director's Cut)
There's a new scene at the end that I presume will lead into Season 2 (and creates a slight head-scratcher regarding where to watch the 2018-19 OVA/movies), but otherwise I couldn't see any difference. There are fan websites that document all the changes, but they're far too subtle for me to notice five years after my original viewing. I believe they're just timing tweaks, reworded lines, improved animation, etc. (Mind you, the original version had 25 episodes while the Director's Cut has 13 double-length episodes, so there must be an episode's worth of extra material somewhere. I'm guessing the last episode.)
On the story overall, I agree with my original opinion. It's a powerful, sometimes shocking show, but it took me months to get through it. Sometimes the show's lots of fun, but some episodes are gruesome, painful and/or a Subaru Endurance Test.
OVA/MOVIE #1: MEMORY SNOW (2018, 60 minutes)
It's a light, amusing interlude at Roswaal's mansion. Nothing bad happens, although there's a slightly dark discussion at the end between Puck and Amelia. The weather turns bad. I enjoyed it. It's quite a good comedy.
The official watching order apparently puts this between episodes 11 and 12 of the show's first season (or, if you're watching the Director's Cut, between episodes 5 and 6).
OVA/MOVIE #2: THE FROZEN BOND (2019, 76 minutes)
It's a flashback movie with Emilia and Puck. The rest of the gang only appear after the end credits, for about two and a half minutes on the morning after Memory Snow. Otherwise, there's no Rem, Ram, Roswaal, Beatrice or Subaru. I was happy with that. I like Subaru, but I also have no objection to giving him a rest.
Unfortunately, I don't really see the point of the film. Emelia's nice. Puck's nice, if you don't mind him potentially being a world-ending abomination. (Emelia knows how to handle him.) They live their understated lives in a snowy land and try to avoid trouble with Emelia's suspicious similarity to a legendary evil witch. This is reasonably likeable and sometimes even dangerous, especially when Puck-level monsters appear... but ultimately Emilia's pure innocence makes her predictable, while Puck's so ridiculously powerful that it's hard to be scared.
SEASON 2 (2020-21, episodes 26-50)
...and I gave up. I got one episode in, then something within me said "no". I fully intended to keep watching. It's a strong show. But it can be gruelling and I kept answering "no" to the question "should I watch some more of this today?" Especially when a third season was announced, which would mean a year's worth of Re:Zero for me to sit through if that also gets 25-odd episodes.
It's very good. I'd definitely recommend this show. It'll stick in your memory powerfully. But it's not light viewing, despite regularly being charming and funny.