OP Sequence

OP: 「Redo」 by Suzuki Konomi

「再会の魔女」 (Saikai no Majo)
“Reunion with the Witch”

I can’t decide if this frustration is the right one or not.

Is This the Right Frustration

I can see the delicate line this story is going to have to walk. The intent seems to be to foster a sense of frustration, helplessness, and despair, like Haruhi’s infamous Endless Eight arc, only hopefully not quite so shit. (Bring it on, haters.) But when frustration and despair are your goal, you have to be careful to either draw the viewer in gradually before you start fucking with some heads, or go completely overboard from the beginning ala the Dark Souls franchise. If you don’t follow one of those paths, you risk making the story frustrating in the wrong kind of way, i.e. the way that will cause people to put it down and walk away.

I fear this story is being undercut by slightly subpar writing, either by the scriptwriters or by original creator Nagatsuki-sensei. Some of that’s in dialogue, such as when Reinhard (Nakamura Yuuichi) volunteers that he feels crushed by his family’s expectations—that’s called telling instead of showing, and it’s storytelling’s number one sin. More concerning is the character moments that don’t make me go “This world is horrifying and despair-inducing,” but rather “These people are idiots.”

It takes three deaths for Subaru to clue in to the Return by Death mechanic, which is too much, but not a deal breaker in and of itself. Then Felt attacks him relentlessly, which is a borderline case. More concerning is when Subaru keeps shouting “Listen to me!” instead of telling her something that might make her listen. Or when Felt destroys her own shack. Or when Subaru isn’t honest with them in the loot house, and doesn’t appear to have come up with a plan to convince her. Or hasn’t considered how a cynical thief might react to his actions, or how a suspicious half-elf girl might react to a cryptic warning (from Reinhard, I think we can assume).

None of these would be noteworthy problems in another story, because people make mistakes and don’t always have a chance to think things through. But this isn’t an action-adventure. It’s a puzzle/mystery, and puzzles are most interesting when the protagonist is bringing their best to the table. To elicit the right frustration, Subaru should be doing everything right to the best of his abilities in each reincarnation, and still losing. That would evoke the same feeling of despair that Steins;Gate managed, though to be fair, the lack of details in that crushing montage helped keep it from bogging down.

To clarify, Subaru running into Elsa and being scared is fine. He didn’t know he would meet her suddenly like that, nor suspect how scared he would be, so he couldn’t prepare. Him not being able to get past Felt’s skepticism is also fine, ’cause the girl has lots of it. But not seeming to have a plan to convince her other than bowing earnestly seems like bad planning, and it’s liable to turn viewers against him and the author instead of getting us on their side.

Looking Ahead

To clarify again, I’m not turning against this show or anything. It’s the second episode, I hardly know it. But where last week left me pumped due to the unexpectedly solid premiere, this one returns me to some of the concerns I had prior to the season’s start. There’s a fine line they need to walk here, and I think Subaru is going to stop half-assing and really think things through for me to totally get on board. This isn’t the kind of story where you can wing it once you have info to work with. Whole-ass or gtfo.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – This must walk a fine line between being frustrating b/c of fate, & being frustrating b/c the characters are being idiots #rezero 02

Random thoughts:

  • This OP is a meaty sequence. I like all the Subarus, and all the screaming.
  • That Elsa scene was hella tense. As if past events haven’t already made this clear, you don’t want to fuck with her.
  • Don’t be so patronizing, kid.
  • Whether-I’m-going-to-blog-this update: I’m more on the fence than last week. Episode three might be do-or-die for the coverage decision. We’ll see.

My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Even if you see it coming, it can still work, Batman does not kill. Superman does not kill., Inside Out: What Emotion Drives You?, and Superhot: Storytelling through gameplay.


ED Sequence



  1. I thought the episode was a pretty good follow up. It was hilarious how Subaru died once again in the very first few minutes of the episode. However, I like how he keeps learning more and more during each life, and puts it to use in each subsequent life.
    I can forgive Subaru’s frustration, I mean, if you remember, he was about to go home after having been up all day gaming and now he’s suddenly been thrust into this world, running around, falling into rivers, and then killed three times. I’ll allow him to be a little slow on the uptake. The guy needs some sleep, not die, sleep.

      1. The problem with this show so far is the mc is incredibly stupid and awkard to the point that not even jesus can save him… got me so heated watching wanted to break a table at his critical thinking skills after dying 3 times his clue was the god damn snacks and not when people dont remember you

        Lol plz
  2. Mmm. I’d actually posit the show is a bit more subtle than you seem to be thinking it is, because this episode showed us one thing, if nothing else – that despite his heart being in the right place, Subaru, true to his mostly average persona, just isn’t all that smart.

    You compared it to Steins;Gate, but remember – despite his eccentricities, Okabe Rintarou was always presented as more intelligent than the norm, on top of having more time on each loop, having a less taxing way of looping, and (through the montage you mention) simply looping more times. In that context, and in the context of Subaru supposedly being an average joe who also is a hikikomori, him lacking the foresight and the experience to consider the revolutionary concept that changing things with foreknowledge might arouse the suspicions of the people you’re dealing with (which is something most time travel/time loop stories fail to address – even things like Kenya questioning Satoru in BokuMachi are rare, and Steins;Gate itself was, as far as I recall, mostly devoid of it) and not being able to deal with it when Felt understandably grows suspicious are actually more realistic than him being able to dodge Felt’s rather sharp knife as long as he did.

    I get, however, that some people might not like following someone who simply isn’t all that much more competent than any other regular guy, and watching him fail at challenges that many other anime protagonists would clear somehow. But go too far the other direction and you start heading into Kirito-land, which I don’t think any of us discerning viewers want, yeah? 😉

    1. You know, I’ve never much liked the average joe trope, and I think realism is often touted as a good thing, but realism can be booooring (and frustrating). Of course, there are lines here, and them lines are fuzzy, like you note with the Kirito-land thing.

      Besides, even normal people have things they’re uncommonly good at, right? I’m sure there are some people who are middle-of-the-road-on-everything average, but they would actually be special for being one of those rare few. I digress.

      A better way to consider my argument is that, just maybe, Subaru is not the right hero for this story. (I’m not saying that yet, but it’s a possibility.) Seeing someone using their wits and intelligence to fight against fate, and continually lose against fate anyway, would dig up that delicious despair. I’m not sure Subaru can do that.

      Then again, this could be me projecting my own desires on a story that has no responsibility to listen to what I say. I hate that when people do that to my stories, so I shouldn’t do it to others, eh? But it’s hard. I’d rather have interesting characters with unique talents (even if they’re not otherworldly talents) than a “realistic” “average” lead. That’s also a fine line which can lead to boring/frustrating places pretty quick.

      1. I very much suspect that it’s not really Subaru’s character type you have an issue with – after all, if you think about it, his character type is mostly the same as Hero Academia’s main… an average joe with heart. Obviously there are differences beyond that, but at the end of it they overlap greatly… just that they’re in two completely different kinds of stories.

        (Also, technically Subaru seems to be uncommonly gifted physically… it just doesn’t do much good against actual combat experience, magic spells and enchantments, and otherworldly physiology. :P)

        On the subject of losing against fate and despair… I like Okabe Rintarou. I love Akemi Homura. But I feel that what made them effective despair magnets wasn’t their competence, but their emotional attachment. That’s probably why you felt the premiere worked better – you had Subaru’s attachment to not-Satella juxtaposed with his (futile) attempts to resolve the situation in the first couple of loops. Here not-Satella is barely present and you have less of a feel for why he might be attached to Felt or Rom, so that feeling is slightly less present.

        In any case, even if he isn’t that strong a lead, I don’t feel it’s a deal breaker, because the cast as a whole is reasonably intelligent and plays off each other well. It’s interesting to see how the other characters are perceptive in their own ways and change their attitudes depending on what actually has and has not happened – they feel like actual characters, which is pretty important for me. That’s one of the reasons I was always down on, say, Rakudai Kishi – which had one very well-written main character surrounded by cardboard cutouts in a world made just to provide artificial challenges for him. I’ll take a good ensemble cast over a standout lead with no good support any time.

      2. That’s it! You nailed what was bothering me. Thank you.

        Of course you’re correct about the story-type thing. That I already knew, and mentioned. It’s not that he’s bad, it’s that he seems ill-suited for this story type.

        But that’s not it. It’s the emotional attachment. You’re right about Okabe and Homura. The competence helps, but for all their competence they continually fail, and don’t always act logically (though many of their loops happening off screen does help). It’s the emotional attachment that makes them work. Subaru doesn’t have much of an attachment to any of these characters yet, and they don’t have any to him, so it feels so pointless and thankless.

        Plus, he doesn’t have anything to lose, whereas despair rises from having a great deal to lose and not wanting to.

        Another potential reason: this reminds me of a post I wrote a year ago on The Dresden Files. In it I talk about how, when Harry Dresden was absolutely alone and betrayed in the early books, I didn’t much like it. It felt so toxic and unfair. Subaru is getting a measure of that, but instead of the intense feelings I felt there—because I had spent more time with Harry—here it’s almost making me wall off before it begins, because I can see the pain train rolling, and I’m not the type that plays Dark Souls. You’ve got to lure me in with honey to get me on the emotional pain train. Ask my ex-girlfriends, BAZING!

      3. @Stilts: I’m struggling a bit to determine the exact issue you have here. From what I can tell, I’m not sure I agree.

        Re: Subaru: First, the anime did show Subaru debating whether to help them or not so IMO credit is due for covering that. In the end, his conscience simply wouldn’t let him just sit idly by. True, he hasn’t known them long, but there is some attachment (shown in flashbacks). Personally, I think it’s also pretty clear he has a thing for “Satella” (guy captivated by beautiful girl trope). “Nice guy” is certainly part of it, but I think there’s materially more to it than that, and the sum total reaches “good enough”. Besides, what’s the alternative given the setup? Do nothing? That wouldn’t come across well IMO. Avenge them afterward? That makes no sense to me. So what other course of action would you have him take?

        From your comment below, you state “I just fear that he’s an ill-suited protagonist for this kind of story. We also don’t really have an emotional attachment to any of these people yet, so while it’s understandable that he’d try to stop their deaths because he seems like basically a nice guy, we don’t really care yet.”

        I’m confused by “ill-suited” because from other comments you made, it seems the issue is not his actions/lack of ability (incl. intellect) – or am I wrong? Assuming that’s correct, then what makes him “ill-suited”? What type of character specifically would be proper in your opinion? More likeable/sympathetic right off the bat? I’m guessing the issue for you here is that “ill-suited” is a function of your second point – viewers don’t care about the characters sufficiently at this point for “emotional pain”/”feels” (again, if I understand you correctly).

        Fair enough on emotional attachment at this point, but then the issue for you isn’t so much Subaru (and perhaps the other characters), but the story thus far including the timing of events. We have gruesome death scenes by the start of the second episode (“1B”) (FWIW, IMO that should have been end of the first episode “1A”). Not sure how you could make a character (or characters) which viewers have some great emotional attachment right from the start without a scripted feeling, ham-fisted tragic backstory. The best and most genuine attachment to characters as you note comes from familiarity = time spent with them.

        Not just timing though. I suspect the issue includes the “death reset” plot line as well. Even if you did care about the characters, would that matter at this point? They died twice already (3x for Subaru). That repetition takes away any “feels”. Besides, we reset after Subaru dies anyway so he and all the others are resurrected (with only Subaru retaining any memory). JMO, but I don’t think “feels”/”emotional pain” is the point right now anyway. Rather it’s Subaru figuring out a way to get past this sticking point and how that will unfold. Hopefully, third fourth time’s the charm.

        Lastly, I have a different take from you on “average characters” and “realism”, but this is long enough as it is so I’ll table that for perhaps another time.

      4. You’re misunderstanding. I think he (may be) ill-suited for this kind of story because he’s average, when a puzzle like this would function better with a character who at least thinks things through to the best of his ability (even if he’s not a brainiac or anything) and plans ahead. An average guy who wings it isn’t making me go “Oh, how unfortunate.” It’s making me go “Plan ahead you idiot.”

        I do give him points for helping because he has a conscience. I liked that.

        The emotional attachment might come down to personal preference, but like I said in the post, I feel like you either need to draw viewers in slowly before hitting them with the despair, or go full Dark Souls from the beginning…and I’m not the type to play Dark Souls. They did neither, so while I hope he saves everyone, I don’t really care. That wouldn’t be a problem if he wasn’t also doing things that make him seem like a bit of an idiot.

        I think this boat can be righted, but he needs to start thinking ahead better ASAP, or…well, it might still be fine, but it might not be for me. I dunno. Like I said, episode three will be an important one.

      5. @Stilts: Thanks for clarifying. Yep. I did misunderstand your point (it’s lack of ability/intellect). I didn’t play Dark Souls either but I get your point about the reset gimmick which I mentioned above. Eh, I don’t know. All I can say is that the ML doesn’t bug me – yet. He strikes me as an earnest type, thrust into a weird situation, and is always “on the clock” after each reset (i.e. under pressure). I can see your point, but I also think that swigging the pendulum too far the other way isn’t good either. Hax/op intellect guy/girl who knows all and instantly makes every correct decision IMO is just the flip side of the power hax/op “one-shot” coin. Same no-contest end result though method may be more palatable.

        To me the issue here, to the extent there is one, is simply slow story progress & repetition. I think we can agree that the 3rd death was one too many at this juncture, and really didn’t add much to the story. He just gets stabbed by the same thugs he always runs into which was odd because he got past that “checkpoint” twice before. Personally, I would left that out of the story. If you skip that, 3rd try = he calls for help meets Reinhard, and I think it would play out fine.

        Thinking about this, going forward, the reset gimmick has to be used carefully – maybe not at all. Say we get to Ep. 12 and ML dies again. Are we really going to start from scratch all over again!? THAT would not play out well at all IMO in terms of storytelling = the longer the story goes, the more it feels like the ML will have thicker and thicker plot armor unless for some unknown reason the “reset point” moves forward.

        Well, lets see how it goes. 4th time may very well be the “charm” here. I’m in on the series, but that does presume we get past this sticking point on this try (which is my guess). Just can’t see him dying here again and having to go through the whole thing for a fifth time.

      6. @Stilts:

        Mm. Reading your replies to daikama makes me wonder, actually… if you’re still down on Subaru and you’re still not sure exactly why, might it be simply because of what else you’re watching on the same day? Because in the other show, which you seem to really like, an everyman with heart goes through hardship but is ultimately inspired and, given what kind of story he’s in, you know will be rewarded – in this one, an everyman with heart has no one to inspire him, will not necessary be rewarded, and bumps his head continuously against obstacles which a more adept individual might have been able to more easily navigate.

        Perhaps your reaction is something a bit more visceral than intellectual here.

      7. Now that you mention it maybe it´s part of the charm of this story and why the light novel is so popular, Subaru at first glance is not the right person for the job but he still pushes forward and does everything he can to save the unfortunate half-elf girl and his own life. Besides, sooner or later he has to show some sort of talent and real wisdom, with unlimited even my cats could learn to use my computer for example.

      8. @Corin

        You could be right. Then again, it can work in the reverse—I may have liked the premiere of this a lot more because the hyped up Heroaca premiere was solid (but not amazing), whereas this show’s premiere was unexpectedly great. And that might have raised the bar too high so that episode two had trouble competing, especially with Heroaca ramping things up earlier that day.

        All I can say is that I’ll keep that in mind, and that I’m glad we moved to only announcing shows after the third or so week, so I can decide on this show properly.

  3. I think you might be treating this a tad too harshly Stilts. Although the writing in spots was sub-par (Felt’s fight with Subaru, the apple vendor scene where the vendor mentioned Subaru helping his daughter–after he resurrected), the actions were believable. For example three deaths to figure out Subaru’s resurrection ability is reasonable considering our current image of Subaru being a Joe Average with flights of fancy–resurrection is outlandish enough to take some time to determine. Even the loot house scene makes sense based on what we know of Subaru. Only real complaint IMO is Subaru never once informing any of the key players (the half-elf, Felt) of either his ability or their upcoming deaths. This case, however, can also be explained by Subaru being distinctively average, unable to think ahead, or just scared of being laughed off/killed for being a blatant liar.

    What I agree with though is that the story now needs to shift beyond first gear. The pieces have all been assembled, we now need to see them move. If Subaru keeps up the same act without any development or we get nothing but repetitive deaths with no new plot advance, then we have problems. Considering there are 25 episodes to work with, however, I expect Subaru will not stay ignorant Joe Average for long. Or at least I hope so 😛

    1. @Pancakes @Sir Aka

      It’s as Sir Aka said. I didn’t notice the gift, but I assumed it was not-Satella.


      Refer to the comment thread immediately above for some more on this. It’s not that his actions don’t make sense. I just fear that he’s an ill-suited protagonist for this kind of story. We also don’t really have an emotional attachment to any of these people yet, so while it’s understandable that he’d try to stop their deaths because he seems like basically a nice guy, we don’t really care yet.

      Either way, it’s not broken yet, but my concerns from the preview are back with some added wrinkles.

  4. I also loved the first episode so I read the plot summaries.

    To first make a spoiler free comment, I’d say that the plot is moving pretty fast, so it’s missing several details that made the source more subtle.
    Spoilers from the source:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    “It takes three deaths for Subaru to clue in to the Return by Death mechanic, which is too much, but not a deal breaker in and of itself. Then Felt attacks him relentlessly, which is a borderline case. More concerning is when Subaru keeps shouting “Listen to me!” instead of telling her something that might make her listen. Or when Felt destroys her own shack. Or when Subaru isn’t honest with them in the loot house, and doesn’t appear to have come up with a plan to convince her. Or hasn’t considered how a cynical thief might react to his actions, or how a suspicious half-elf girl might react to a cryptic warning (from Reinhard, I think we can assume).”

    I agree Subaru is slow on the uptake.

  5. Eh, not quite up to last week (part II) primarily because the first few minutes were about him dying a third time. I agree with Stilts that it’s too much. I don’t mind him not figuring out what’s going on the first time around. It’s obvious to the audience, but for Subaru, it has to be a WTF situation on top of what I have to think is a traumatic way to die (just dying is bad enough). So while there are some obvious clues, I think some skepticism is natural. After the second death though, as unlikely/crazy at it would seem, just too much evidence not to draw the appropriate conclusion.

    Also, from a presentation stand point, it’s too repetitive for viewers the third time around. This is effectively the third episode. So IMO, while probably in the source material, this is one situation where a judicious cut in source material is warranted. Start Ep. 03 around the 4:30 mark. I’d also cut down on the explanation since to the viewer it’s readily clear (can keep some of it as character realization & reaction). Frankly, at this point, I think the overall pacing is a bit slow. Three episodes in and we’re still on Namek. I would NOT rush things, but a judicious source cut per above and a bit faster pacing would make it feel like a bit more progress has been made.

    IMO execution was mixed this episode. The scene in the alley with the thieves (4th time) was a bit off IMO. The comedy bits fell flat during that scene for one thing. Subaru’s conversation with Reinhard was also a bit wonky. Reinhard’s a guard, but just goes “OK” to Subaru repeatedly mentioning a “loot house”? Not very “guard-like” IMO. You’d think Reinhard would have some questions. Perhaps, Reinhard is suspicious but doesn’t want to alert Subaru – there was a change in Reinhard’s expression at the end. I didn’t mind Reinhard mentioning it’s tough to live up to family expectations because it was “telling” (sometimes that’s appropriate IMO, and this episode had enough flashbacks already). However, the timing did seem out of place/kind of a random comment. After that, I think things improved.

    Agree with others that Stilts is a bit too critical when it comes to “lack of planning” by Subaru. If you go back to Ep. 01B, Subaru WINS the auction for the badge because Rom sides with him. It’s because she loses that Elsa goes all psycho stabby. So Subaru has a reason to believe his plan will work, but yeah, he doesn’t take fully into account that things are not exactly the same as before. Right now Felt does NOT know that Elsa can only offer 20 holy coins, and Subaru blurting that out is a suspicious. As for why he wants the badge, he could have lied, but Subaru doesn’t seem like a good liar to me. Personally, I would have said “I want to give it to a beautiful girl”. Very normal reason (typical guy thing to do) and it’s not a lie. 😉

    True, Subaru didn’t cross all ts and dot all is, but it didn’t bother me. As others have said, he is an “ordinary Joe” type character which I do not think is bad. Furthermore, he’s under pressure here, a LOT of pressure – a deadline where failure = death. Meeting up with Stabby McSlashy (Elsa) right before only raises the pressure.

    One last point. This is an issue I’ve had with some other “let’s go to RPG world” shows. I’m utterly amazed that Subaru evidently couldn’t give a shit that he’s in RPG world. Did his life in “RL” suck that bad? Is there no one (family, friends) that he might miss or worry about him? Nothing? Really? At least a show like KonaSuba dealt with the issue upfront properly.

    TL:DR = Not quite as good as Ep. 01b, but still pretty good IMO. I’m counting this as “Ep 03” for 3 Episode Rule so I’m in. Don’t screw me over, show.

  6. I don’t think feel like the writing has been an issue at imo. There have been quite a bit underlying subtleties, such as the unsaid negative view of Not!Satella’s half Elf heritage or or implicit demihuman segregation. There even Puck shock of Not!Satella calling herself Satella long before we know the negative significant of that name. There other hings like Not!Satella helping the lost child in this timeline, but not it being shown, most people only noticed near the end of second episode where you could see the flower pin on her.

    The quote you mentioned about Reinhart wasn’t him directly telling the audience anything but him being honest with Subaru directly. He strikes me as someone unpretentious about who he is and doesn’t really hide anything from others. I think totally in what he’s character has displayed.

    Basically I don’t think you giving it enough credit and are missing some things it does.

    Iron Maw
    1. I didn’t miss any of those. When I say “slightly subpar,” I’m not saying it’s terrible. If it were another series, I might be saying it’s punching at a 4.9/10 atm. For this one though, I think it needs to walk a fine line early on, so it might be operating at more of a 7/10, writing-wise…but it needs an 8/10 or better to do the job. Like I said in the post, there’s a delicate line that needs to be walked, and they’re wobbling a bit in this episode.

  7. Stilts I would like to point out that we are still within the prologue of the series. The length of this can’t even be compared to the arcs that are coming. web novel 22 chapters VS 130 chapters on the 4th one which I highly doubt will get animated even with 20 episodes left. All the true character developments and exploration you want won’t begin until the second one. You also have to remember that this is adapted from a web novel, so the beginning might be a bit iffy. Besides the Show Spoiler ▼

    haven’t even made her debut! This joke is going to be more relevant since 26 episodes is probably going to cover up to the third arc.

    1. I’m sympathetic to a first book not being as strong as later ones, but they’ve got to GET us there. Though I also wrote an action-adventure myself because A) I like ’em, and B) I knew I could write one that would get people to the later books (hopefully, that remains to be seen).

      Like I said, I haven’t given up hope on this one by any means. I’m just concerned.

  8. Anyway, I think the pacing has been fine. Enough to put a lot of 1 cour series who spent their meandering around in shame. The episode did exactly what needed to do, and Subaru came to terms with his situation pretty quickly, considered what he wanted to do and acted decisively. All there left is to how things play out. It’s slow but effective epiosde that was needed to set the stakes and the climax.

    Iron Maw
  9. If I remember it right the part that Felt crashing her own shack is an anime original scene, in the original material she simply suspisciously questioning him and have a more normalish talk, I’m not so sure why they changed that part. Maybe to show that Subaru can somewhat fight? But they have shown him somewhat can fight with the three stooges…

    1. To be honest in the original Felt feels more likeable since she’s not attacking while talking, and Subaru feels more confident/competent in that negotiation. Yeah that was a weird directioning from the studio’s behalf, kind of like they only wanted to showcase more fighting sequence in this episode.

  10. I actually thought the third death in the manga was hilarious and don’t feel like they portrayed it in the same way in the anime. It’s was all like let’s get serious mode then teehee I got killed again. Which is close to what they showed but they missed the timing on it.

  11. After watching first episode i was kinda looking forward to it but this second episode was so waste of time… i hope it gets better from third episode. The main issue i had with this episode (which was less irritating in ep 1 since it was 50 min long) are those damn conversations, those irritating useless conversation taking up time, theres so much of that in this episode they couldve just renamed it to yappy2, i havent seen the source but the writing is not subpar it was horrible, atleast in this one.

    1. If you have a problem with the conversations then just drop the show. This isn’t a action heavy series and what characters are actually saying is important including this episode. If that useless to you then there is nothing for it.

      Iron Maw
      1. I dont have a problem with conversations, i dont like action-heavy animes, i have a problem with repeated and exgaterrated and almost child like conversations, that IS horrible writing, but now that ive seen the source i can certanly say its because of bad writing AND wayyyyy too lengthy source, the source is way detailed and too long, anyone not reading the source is bound to get irritated since theyve been cutting some actual conversation (even omitting many things from convos which are very IMP ahead) and streching the remaining ones. Imo its good that theyre doing 26 eps, the volumes are too long and much of first arc is setup so with that+bad writing one would definetly need patience with this anime atleast until some 5-6 episode, the real deal will probably start after that (second arc).

      2. That may not be an issue with this series so much as a common light novel convention. One I don’t really like, to be honest. They’re purposefully dialogue heavy and description-light so they can be read quickly, which I’m sure is nice and all in a book (I use the same tactic on occasion for sections, primarily to kick the conversation into high gear for a second so I can get the timing right for a funny line), but doesn’t always work so well in anime form. It might work well! Like I said, this is only the second episode. But I dunno yet.

  12. In my honest opinion, you are being too harsh on Subaru. This whole thing was just sprung on him (being suddenly teleported into a fantasy world, being killed and watching others die then realizing he can actually time leap) and he’s desperate to save everyone so I think we should all cut him some slack for not thinking straight or creating some elaborate plan for every little thing.

    Quite honestly, you have unrealistic expectations for an MC like Subaru in this kind of situation.

    1. You could be right. I’ll certainly keep that in mind for the next episode. Like I said, the third episode will determine a lot. If he’s getting into it more and planning better by then, this episode will look smart in retrospect, because he had to get there. I’m just worried that he won’t, which could be problematic.

  13. It takes three deaths for Subaru to clue in to the Return by Death mechanic, which is too much

    You’re writing about this as if ‘Groundhog Day’ and ‘All You Need is Kill’ don’t exist as baselines for comparison. None of those characters caught on to what was going on right away either. Even though this character is supposed to be a game playing shut-in the true problem with something like a time loop is that it’s arguable human beings are hard-wired to initially come up with other explainations for it; dreams, deja-vu, etc…

    I also think your expectation that he’s going to get everything right on this third time is unrealistic and the argument that this is because he’s an ‘average joe’ is off base as well. Unless you believe all asians are masters of self defense and fit he’s clearly not the later. The real problem here – and it plays out in the two movies above as well – is that our character is a fish out of water who has no idea of what the cultural norms/who the people he’s dealing with are and yet he’s trying to manipulate the situation in his favour. Hell, he doesn’t even know the true meaning/power of what it is he’s trying to win back and based on characters reactions – some a bit more subtle than others – the racial conflicts between the players.

    But, you want a shut-in with limited social skills to nail a difficult negotiation/con on the third try in complete denial of that? Many of those are issues that entire books about running a negotiation or con would tell you are potential deal breakers? Just to go: “see how great this character is!” Now that would be lazy writing.

    So, they’re going to show him having to put all those things together like pretty much every other time loop story until he’s able to align the pieces correctly. If we follow the genre he’ll likely give up in frustration somewhere in the middle too; that’s probably when we’ll find out exactly what that insigna does…

    1. You misunderstand! I expect him to die again. I have no problem with that. I just want him to stop bumbling around when he knows all this shit and could make better use of it. I expect his plans to fail. I just want him to HAVE more plans than he seemingly does.

      Also, when did I argue that he’s an average joe? Well, a bit in a first episode, ’cause that’s his trope (ordinary high school student), but that’s as true of Kyon or Kirito or Ikki or many others. I didn’t mean that he’s thoroughly average. I would prefer he not be! And if working out every day makes you special, then I’m special too, ’cause I do the same thing 😛 It’s just a bit uncommon.

      Other quick note: I do think he should have figured out Return by Death quicker than at least the guy in Groundhog Day, because the death provides such a clear dividing line. He could have even suspected it, and then not wanted to believe it because it’s bonkers…THAT I would have gotten behind, ’cause it is. But defaulting to dream instead of considering other possibilities once he’s already been transported to another world is strange. Either it’s all a dream (the world included), or maybe don’t think that one aspect is a dream. That was odd, and made him seem unnecessarily thick.

  14. I’ll be honest– it was at this point in the manga when I dropped it. I mean, dear lord, Subaru’s quite the idiot, and not the funny or charismatic one. The best I can reason is Subaru’s in the wrong genre.

    Still, given the fact that the source is successful enough to both get a manga and an anime, I’m more willing to wait for an eventual acceptable payoff. The premier definitely exceeded my expectations, and maybe the studio still has some more magic up their sleeves.

    1. Dont worry he gets (like any nomal average guy) better with time, however before passing judgments on him remember he was a shut-in social outlaw weakling and obviously not smartest one, dont expect shonen type powers or even that much action from him, thats not what this series is about.

  15. Once more Stilts. I do not agree with the review 🙂 I think its to early to judge the show that way. It quite good so far. Little flaws can be overlooked and are subjective.

    1. As I said to everyone else yelling at me (you’re not, but I knew this would happen when I wrote that post, and had to do it anyway because of integrity and honesty, but ugh I hate being right sometimes), I’m not dismissing the show. I’m pointing out that it has a fine line to walk, and it’s wobbling. It hasn’t fallen. I hope it doesn’t! But I’m concerned. That’s all.

  16. I think the thing that you are missing is that Subaru is a guy who goes with his guts and instincts. He is not a planner, but rather a man of action. He never actually puts that much thought into his actions, but rather just reacts to everything. He always goes straight ahead and tries to solve things without actually thinking.

    In addition after his first death, the guy is just desperate. He isn’t clearly thining, nor does he stop to catch his breath. He just keeps trucking on and going after the immediate issues with the new info he has gained. It is only after an epiphany that makes him stop to think about what he should actually do instead of just trucking on forward. If anything at least, he learns and remembers things after each loop, as well as applies what he has learned.

    Subaru’s method of reset is traumatic. He doesn’t want to reset because it requires his own death every time. Unlike Homura or Okabe who can reset without harm to themselves, Subaru must die to try again. So even if he lives, if the result he gets is bad, he must try again through death.

    1. If you’ve read the source and you’re saying that Subaru never thinks ahead, that’s not a great sign for me. (You don’t have to tell me if you’ve read the source, if you don’t want me to despair.) That gives further credence to my worry that he’s ill-suited for this story type, and while some people might be in for the despair regardless, if he never learns I’m going to dismiss him as an idiot and write him off.

      Granted, being a man of action instead of a planner doesn’t mean he can’t learn, so that’s not necessarily a deal breaker. But once again, I’m worried.

      His reset mechanic certainly does suck, though. What happens if he gets maimed instead of killed? Ugh. Brutal.

      1. If that’s what he’s saying, he’s wrong. Based on the manga so far, Subaru most certainly does think about situations that cause his deaths in the future, and tries to work out how to prevent them, and how they might affect others around him, and what sort of precautions he might need to take against things going on that he didn’t see. He doesn’t think of everyhing (but really, who can?), and he tends to focus more on the specific problem he can see in front of him and less time thinking about the things he hasn’t seen, or about what consequences there might be if he makes a change, but he tries, and frankly I defy any of us to do much better than him in his circumstances.

        Right now he’s just a beginner. He’s bouncing off things like a butterfly of chaos flapping its wings, trying to get whatshername’s insignia, trying to keep her from dying, trying to keep himself from dying, and trying to keep Rom and Felt from dying because he felt responsible for their deaths in the previous timeline. He doesn’t have a plan because he hasn’t managed to acquire the knowledge or the emotional detachment (or the time) to really make one. All he has are his general goals, so he’s throwing himself in their directions, hoping that if he knocks enough pieces out of their previous positions it will cause enough of an upset to prevent disaster. It’s not a great approach, but it’s what he’s got right now, and if he can play it right he may actually be able to make it work.

      2. The guy is currently in the learning and development phase. He gets smarter as he goes along, but his initial state is impulsive and generally not so great at planning. It’s only when he starts realizing what’s actually at stake and what he can lose that he starts to plan better. In a sense, the best way I can describe his method is that he’s the brute force type, the sort who goes down the list and checks things off as they go wrong, and eventually things will go right. It’s not the smartest way, but he makes up for his own intellectual deficiencies and inexperience with will power. He’s not a genius, but he always retains what he learns from each loop and applies it without repeating the same mistakes once he realizes what his initial mistake was.

  17. I’m still of the opinion that Subaru is kinda weak as a protagonist. Not in the fighting sense but in the sparking interest from the viewer/reader sense. He’s seemingly pretty slow and yes, he apparently knows his way around weights. It just doesn’t help me like him when the most we get from him is the repeated dullard moments. Episode 1 was much more interesting mostly due to things actually happening and since we have seen where events are likely to lead now it’s not nearly as exciting. I think the Elsa scene was the best scene in this episode as I felt it was the only thing with any actual tension and Subaru’s actions felt more relatable due to the previous loops.

    Since I went ahead and read the manga after last week I’m going to be following this because from my perspective I felt as if the stupidity of Subaru either lessens or you get used to it by the second arc.

    1. That’s interesting because I actually find Subaru likable because he one of better examples of an everyman, but retains a sense of personality and characteristics will still decently relatable. Part may be cause I’m sick of and tried of perfect protagonists like Kirito or Inaho.

      If he’s weak protagonist because he doesn’t start off as some super genius than I’m fine with that. I’d have flawed rough around the edges characters who don’t always say or do the right things as opposed one who wins right from the get go. I’m far intrigued in how dealing with things in his own way and how it affects him. How I see it.

      Iron Maw
      1. To be honest with you. I like my protagonists when they are somewhat quick on the uptake rather than this kind of character that Subaru seems to be. I loathe Kirito but that’s probably because he doesn’t seem to be all that clever yet still manages to be a god amongst men.

        I don’t mind characters being either too strong or too weak just as long as they ain’t frustratingly slow. Maybe reading all of Naruto gave me some sort of trauma regarding these types.

        To be fair, the only reason I feel this episode was more annoying than the previous was that there was no soothing half-elf through most of the episode to make up for the flaws of our hero. I still can’t wait for this to get to the later arcs as I feel like this suffers from “introduction” issues as well as protagonist issues that I didn’t see as much of a problem later on.

  18. Whole-ass instead of haul ass. Cute.

    Anywoo, since I’ve read the manga, I’ll just say that while Subaru’s a little slow on dealing with problems, he’s pretty good at getting a gut feeling on what’s going on. So, yes, it is terrible that he didn’t say the right things to convince him to get Felt to his side, he did at least do enough to convince her to join. Which when you are defending yourself against being killed for another time, I think we should give him credit.

    Dorian S.
  19. I’m new here and it’s kinda sad to Read your review to this episode because you are kinda getting a bit critical to the anime and the MC when it’s only the 2nd episode

    1. Welcome. Glad you’re commenting. My intent wasn’t to be overly critical (critical, yes, as in writing a critique—critiques aren’t necessarily negative, they’re just an analysis). It was to point out what I see as a fine line the story must walk, and to expound on my worries that it might not walk it successfully. My goal is to pick apart how stories are told, and that’s central to that mission statement.

      I’m not down on this series. I’m back to where I was when I previewed it, when I gave it a cautiously optimistic but measured appraisal. It’s trying to do some difficult things, and I like that, but you only get so many points for attempting the difficult. You’ve got to succeed too. I just fear Subaru is the wrong tool for that job.

      On a side note, I like that you prefer to give stories a fair shake. As an author, that’s always appreciated, haha. But many people have a three-episode rule, and I need to decide whether I’m going to blog this by then too. I’m certainly still giving it a shot, and I doubt I’ll drop it regardless (as in, I’ll keep watching it), but I’ve got to really try to tease apart what’s happening here to help people decide if they want to watch it, and help myself decide if I want to keep blogging it.

  20. By the way Stilts, to help you decide whether to blog this series or not there are some pointers that may be useful (I’m trying to not include important reveals or spoilers) :
    Show Spoiler ▼

  21. Yeah, I barely made it through the first episode, I think this one finished me.
    I know that for the last 8 years or so Japanese male leads tend to be stupid, ignorant, apathetic and lazy… but in this kind of show I can’t handle that character.

    I like the villain.

    Rest is just cute girls, stupid boy.

  22. I’m somewhat on the middle, Stilts. This is originally a Web Novel, the lack of editing and experience is expected. I’m somewhat betting that the whole rough experience is going to make up for the slippy writing, and just hoping that the writing will gets better as it goes on.

    So I guess “It might be operating at more of a 7/10, writing-wise…but it needs an 8/10 or better to do the job” would be a pretty tough standard to follow, considering that lately you seem to be harsher on evaluating story (e.g the whole Heavy Object debacle, although for completely different reason). Yes, this is a pretty hard thing to change, considering that many anime with time loop elements have set a very high bar (Steins;Gate, Madoka, ERASED, just to name some). However, please note that they are basically heavy hitters on this industry (One of the most acclaimed VN, original series from one of the most acclaimed writer in Industry, one pretty high profile manga) and projecting them to this would be a bit harsh.

    I’ll finish this with my own opinion: Yes, there are a lot of writing elements that need some tweak, but I really have no problem with Subaru being less intelligent than the norm. If he does not grow from this that would be a problem, but considering that this might not even cover 24 hours of this new time looping business I’ll give him some slack. He does not even has the time to rest, let alone to reflect about whatever is happening in this world, actually making some bond to people and world around him (except for the loop #0), and why is he being transported to this fantasy world.

    This episode might be weaker than the hour premiere, but even Steins;Gate has few weak episodes in the beginning. I’ll keep watching this since it’s still quite enjoyable to watch and hope you’ll keep the review (or probably give it to another person if you just can’t enjoy this for any reason).

    1. It’s not that I’ve been harsher on evaluating story, it’s that I’ve had a run of not-quite-so-good luck with my shows. My last two seasons involved Itsuwari no Kamen, Heavy Object, and Comet Lucifer—they demanded I be hard on ’em. Before that you’ve got to go back a year to DxD BorN for something I had to beat up a bit, and it demanded it too, though only after a point.

      This isn’t near those yet, but like I said, I’m concerned. And the 7/10 or 8/10 thing is me pulling numbers out of my ass to illustrate the point.

      1. But you ARE harsher on evaluating shows, and you keep grabbing stuff you over-analize like a bitter-low paid movie critic. It’s anime, and it’s not on it’s best years.
        You’re the hipster of RandomC… go review literature or something.

      2. Hahaha no. I enjoy anime fiercely, even anime that’s not that good; if there’s anyone on this site that will make a defense of admittedly shifty magic-fantasy-action-harem anime, it’s me. But I’m not a liar, and if something is bad, I’ll call it bad. I might lie to myself for a while, because I don’t want to believe it and will give it more benefit of the doubt than it perhaps deserves! That’s happened. (See: Lucifer, Comet.) But I pick apart storytelling. That’s what I like to do. And I prefer to do that with genre storytelling, because it’s more entertaining and that’s what I write.

        And seriously, where is this meme that I’m suddenly a hater coming from? I haven’t changed. It just depends on the shows. Last season I was loving on Dagashi Kashi and KonoSuba, and I even liked Heavy Object as the B-movie it is. Arslan Senki was great, and I’ve enjoyed every Prisma Illya season I’ve blogged. I even made a defense of Log Horizon 2, even though most people didn’t like it as much as the first. I will defend anime to the ramparts! But I won’t lie. When something stinks, I’ll say that it stinks, though I’ll never belabor the point like those who revel in cynicism and snark.

        And this episode? I never said it was bad. I said I was concerned about the line they have to walk. Some things piqued my ire, but that’s allowed to happen from episode to episode; the only difference is that I need to write a post about it, whereas others can rattle off a comment on twitter and be done. But it wasn’t bad. I’m just concerned. That’s all.

  23. I don’t know…I actually find Subaru to be a refreshing sort of protagonist.
    I’m sorry, but it’s nice to see him struggle. It makes him more believable as a character, cause let’s be really, he could have easily gone down the Kirito path, which is anything but amusing.
    I wouldn’t even put this even close to an endless eight comparison considering that it’s not the same episode again and again.
    Watching Subaru learn what to do and what not to do to avoid or improve situations after experiencing them for himself shows that he’s dealing as best he can. I’d like to see an average joe do better than him!
    Yeah, the episode had problems, I’ll admit to that, but it was still a good episode regardless.


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