Anyone who’s made the conscious decision to swallow their self-respect and watch anime has at the very least heard of this title over the past few months. Re:Zero is undoubtedly the most popular ongoing series (that isn’t named Naruto or One Piece) at the moment, and has been for a while. I can point to popularity polls, the countless of upvotes for related fanart and discussion posts on reddit, or even the average amount of time it takes for any given conversation I’ve had about anime to eventually reach it.
This show has taken the attention of the vast majority of anime fans hostage, and for good reason. The time travel device that the story uses as its main gimmick is actually a really interesting technique that gives the narrative a unique and dynamic flow. Every arc so far has the main character Subaru approaching the situation from multiple angles and uncovering another piece of the puzzle to solving the main problem through a series of trial-and-error tactics. Very reminiscent of playing a video game such as Dark Souls. Of course, the show also isn’t shy to shed light on the psychological toll that constantly fucking dying in brutal ways and being forced to rebuild connections from the ground up while coping with the numbing feeling of helplessness that coming back every time has. Once again, not too different from playing Dark Souls.
This gratifying level of detail also extends to the fantastic world that the story takes place in. Any lover of fantasy will appreciate the imaginative vastness that went into this setting, and the series has done a great job at exploring the rich nuances this world has to offer. A lot of times I find myself wanting to watch the next episode simply because I want to learn more about the world itself and the politics that revolve around it. And that’s not because the characters are terribly lacking either because the overall supporting cast is surprisingly solid enough to draw viewers in.
Re:Zero definitely has a lot of strengths that aren’t accompanied by many objective flaws. It’s an overall solid series, but I can’t bring myself to like it. Why? For one main reason:
The main character is a fucking choad.
Every once in a while, there comes a main character in an anime that challenges exactly how much unadulterated enmity I can have for a stupid fictional character. The burning hatred I have for this piece of shit blinded me to most of the others that came before him. I haven’t felt this upset towards a goddamn anime character since the first and only time I watched the flaming pile of fuck otherwise known as Fate/Shit Night.
Why do I hate his dumb Motorola-Razr-carrying ass so much? Mainly because almost everything that comes out of his shit-stain for a mouth makes me cringe hard enough to get hemorrhoids. Whether it’s his over-the-top thirst-ridden banter, or his lame attempts at trying to sound like a real character during tense moments, it’s almost impossible to describe just how little I respect him as a character after every passing line of dialogue. His lack of self-awareness can be astounding. Watching an episode feels like hanging out with that one guy that you hesitate on associating with in public because of the constant anxiousness of other people overhearing the stupid shit that he shamelessly says. We all know at least one of those guys, right? I’m constantly amazed at the resilience of his voice actor, because I would have promptly drank bleach if I had to be the voice behind this diseased-ridden cock-mongler.
The worst part about it is that he doesn’t have any fucking redeeming qualities. Whatever little “qualities” he may have don’t go beyond the cliche bullshit you’d find in 99% of other male anime protagonists. It’s like the original writer of this story wanted to go out of his or her way to create the most unlikable character in the history of ever.
The Unlikability Index
Of course, I’m well-aware that I’m far from the only one who’s been watching this series and hates this tracksuit wearing nerd. I’m not a special snowflake in this regard, but please bear with me. I haven’t been shy with expressing how much I loathe Suffaru-kun to those I’ve talked to in the past about this anime, but only recently did I gain clarity on exactly why his existence hinders my enjoyment of the story so much, and part of it has to do with this one-dimensional hoe.
The fact that her goddamn hair is white doesn’t even begin to describe what a vanilla-ass creature she is. I’ve taken dumps with more personality than this forgettable piece of trash for a character. Maybe I’m ragging on her a bit too much, but the main point I’m trying to convey is that she’s boring as fuck. Yet that hasn’t stopped our fuccboi Subaru from devoting every fiber in his virgin body to her from basically her first few minutes of screentime. She’s the unlucky recipient of most of his cringe-inducing over-the-top banter. Every time I hear him call out “Emilia-tan“, I get so unequivocally upset that it makes me pee blood.
The story of Re:Zero (unfortunately) entirely happens through of the point of view of Subaru. It’s largely character driven from his standpoint, as each “playthrough” is a culmination of his choices and actions that eventually lead to desirable outcomes (doesn’t die) and not so desirable ones (does die). The story at this point hasn’t revealed the endgame, but Subaru has repeatedly stated that his ultimate goal is to help Emilia ascend to the throne because he daisuki-s her, or some shit. This is the underlying motivation for virtually everything he does.
What’s upsetting about this is that with every episode that shows Subaru interacting with other characters, his relationship with his beloved Emilia-tan feels that much more superficial in comparison. He’s had countless more meaningful and emotional scenes with best girl than he has had with the supposed main heroine of this damn anime, so it’s impossible to not question the validity of his feelings towards a character that’s literally only have had a fraction of the screentime as others. Nothing so far has led me to believe that his feelings towards her are nothing more than a projection of his chauvinistic white-knight complex. Going back to the earlier point of the story essentially being a culmination of his choices and actions, you can then start to make the argument that his dumbass complex is the very foundation of the story, and that’s pretty damn upsetting.
Also while on the topic, even Emilia herself hasn’t shown many noteworthy qualities. At first, the viewers default to cheering for Emilia to ascend to the throne because we’re expected to presume that all of the other candidates smell and regularly say antisemitic remarks when they’re introduced, but she’s arguably the worst candidate out of them all! In comparison, she comes off as that timid kid soaked in naivete running for class president who thinks that perseverance and goodwill can make up for not knowing what the fuck you’re doing. If this society was closer to a democracy, why the hell wouldn’t I vote for the green-haired genius negotiator who can throw out goddamn windscars like InuYasha? Why wouldn’t I want someone like her in the ultimate seat of responsibility and leadership?
Not a fan of her pro-furry platform, though
While it’s great that the supporting cast is fleshed out with likable rivals, it only makes it more painfully clear how weak and unlikable the main duo are. No matter what kind of cool shit happens in the story, I can’t shake the impression that everything that transpires is merely part of one thirsty-ass nerd’s quest to get some vanilla-flavored princess nookie, and that’s what’s most frustrating about watching Re:Zero to me. It has a lot of untapped potential in its grand fantasy world and unique time travel narrative mechanic, but ultimately falls short because of its goddamn stupid main character.