「豚の欲望」 (Buta no Yokubou)
“The Greed of a Pig”

It’s rare to come across an anime which features a main character that has such polarizing views but still manage to keep the strong viewership that it has. You’re either going to be in the camp that sympathizes with Subaru and his attempts to save Emilia, or you think he’s an idiot and you just want to kick him down for lacking better judgment. Either way, I think it’s agreed upon that Subaru is definitely an interesting character to watch and love him or hate him, he’s here to stay. I’m personally in the camp that probably wants to beat the poor kid even when he’s already down but I do feel bad doing so. I can understand where he’s coming from but it still doesn’t make his actions any more excusable. I neither agree with what he’s doing or what he’s saying, but given his mental state, I can comprehend why he does what he does. It’s just unfortunate that in the world that he’s in, he has to suffer alone and he’s not going to get anywhere with his attitude and the rabid look in his eyes. He seriously looks like his eyes are going to pop out of his sockets soon and he’s going to attack someone. I’m not going to get into more details about why Subaru is an unlikeable character or what makes him so deranged (that’s beating a dead horse now), I just hope that he doesn’t remain so tunnel-visioned throughout the rest of the anime. He’s given so many chances to change his approach and rather than looking at it like everyone’s against him or everything is about “me me me”, he should look at it from another perspective.

What I liked this about this episode was how it explored what others thought about Subaru’s situation and how he approaches the other candidates for help. While I’m not in Subaru’s stressful situation and I can’t imagine how it feels to be him, I still think that he’s behaved irrationally and there should be a smarter way to confront the problem. First of all, he knows that he’s seen things that others haven’t and he should know that it only makes his character MORE questionable by approaching people for help when the problem hasn’t even arisen yet. I liked Crusch’s calm and rational behavior in response to Subaru’s and it only empathizes just how single-minded Subaru is. Whereas Crusch thought about what it would mean to her, her supporters, and Emilia; Subaru only thought about one thing – the Witches’ Cult. When Crusch said that Subaru never even talked about saving Emilia’s life, she hit the nail pretty hard. To Subaru, it might be so obvious that he wants to save her life, but not having actually SAID it or portrayed that idea, leaves people to question his motives and behavior. We know that Subaru has good intentions at heart, but no one else in the capital knows that (except Rem) and the more he goes about spouting Witches’ Cult talks, he more people will think he’s crazy and untrustworthy (or a revenge-driven maniac).

And people in the capital will take advantage of that naïve, desperate behavior like Anastasia did. Subaru just doesn’t understand the gravity of the situation he’s in because all he can think about is defeating the Witches’ Cult and saving the village. He doesn’t understand why people would be reluctant to help and it’s not because they’re evil people, they just have other agendas and priorities. Subaru also hasn’t done anything to gain their trust or help so they gain nothing from him – other than information which Anastasia so gladly accepted. It’s a tough world out there and Subaru has to learn one way or another. Surprisingly Al still treated Subaru with some respect as Priscilla kicked him out and I’m beginning to like him more and more. Everyone else is just beginning to show their true colors and like I said, it’s not their fault that Subaru has dug himself in this hole – it’s his own fault and they’re not obligated to help him.

At the end of the episode, Subaru is finally on his way back to the Roswaal manor in hopes of saving all the villagers and Emilia. He bumps into Otto again (I knew he would come back!) and his group of other merchants and Subaru pays them all for their help to transport all the villagers somewhere safe before they’re attacked. We don’t get very far before this mysterious fog appears and there’s this giant eye that’s beaming right into Subaru’s soul. No one else seems to notice and there’s no other screams of terror so I’m assuming it’s either in Subaru’s head or it’s a trap set by someone (or a dragon?!). He also whips out his cell phone again which somehow still has battery life in it to read the map – say whatttt? My cell phone battery dies in literally a day without charging… but that’s assuming I use it all day long too. Some new characters introduced this week are Mimi Pearlbaton (Fuiji Yukiyo) who resembles a child but is actually one of Anastasia’s captains; and Russell Fellow (Ookawa Tooru) who is a merchant that visits Crusch at the beginning. Little is known about him at the moment other than the brief introduction that Wilhelm gives, but I’m sure Russell will reappear sometime to talk about the high value of steel now.

Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: Every other episode is such a cliffhanger for #ReZero and every other episode is just so mindblowing. Seriously can’t take it X_X This scene was so cringe-worthy. I hate looking at feet, nevermind kissing someone else’s! AHHH >_< #ReZero


ED2 Sequence

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  1. What fells like a billion episodes ago, when Subaru and rem fist headed back to the manor, rem said they had to take a longer route because of fog caused by the “white whale”, I’m guessing that thing at the end would be said whale.

  2. He also whips out his cell phone again which somehow still has battery life in it to read the map – say whatttt?
    It looks like an old school flip phone. Compared to their big brothers at least, those basic little suckers had legs towards the end.

    We don’t get very far before this mysterious fog appears and there’s this giant eye that’s beaming right into Subaru’s soul. No one else seems to notice and there’s no other screams of terror so I’m assuming it’s either in Subaru’s head or it’s a trap set by someone (or a dragon?!).

    Based on the fog, it’s the White Whale Rem threw out casually as the reason they couldn’t go directly back to the Manor in episode 12. Given that she said running into it meant that they wouldn’t survive everyone likely just died. Since people began forgetting who was there possibly involving some sort of mind erasure so no one inside the fog notices they they’re all being gobbled up as it feeds.

    1. Just to add about the phone:

      Subaru probably shut it down, so it’s normal it had conserved a decent amount of battery. As proof, when he started the phone, it showed the brand of the maker, which usually only appears when you start it or shut it down.

      Also those phones if they are not used after full charging (just stand-by), can last perfectly one week. If shut down, it shall take a long time to discharge on their own.

    2. Given there is zero cellphone signal the phone will never wake up fully so it would consume very little power even when on. Not to mention I’ve had a decade old feature phone with a broken screen with the battery still inside and it still turns on. My old feature phone lasted weeks in standby with an active signal and regular texts.

      A feature phone left off and disconnected could probably last years with very light use of just turning on the flashlight or taking a picture one in a long while.

      Smartphones just have such terrible battery life people have forgotten how terrible the battery life is.

  3. I’m seriously starting to wonder if that crazy nutjob priest of sloth had a good point about Subaru being a priest of pride. (Although, that’d mean he was humble to the extreme, wouldn’t it? aka opposite)
    On the bright side, if he resets, he can hopefully use what he learned to his advantage.
    Though, like you said, if his perspective doesn’t change…>_>;
    Well, nothing like being humiliated by political opponents after soul-crushing torture.
    At least Rem doesn’t have to die via ragdoll twist this time.

    1. And it’s becoming even more apparent when you look at how insane Subaru has been, especially when you compare his facial expressions with Betelgeuse’s constant face, and how both of them have some sort of power likely granted by the Jealous Witch.

  4. I think the polarized views about Subaru is the perfect prove that re:zero does a pretty good job on character development. Subaru’s character is now so complex that people view him differently and debate about it, yet all are eager to see what kind of person he will become eventually.

    1. I don’t think Subaru is a complex character to be honest. He’s pretty much the same as he was since the start of the series with the exception that he’s grown a bit darker. Other than that he is pretty much the same. I think what polarizes people or at least what drives people to look at him in a bad light is that he is just plain to self centered. Everything has to be done by him, much like Harry Potter in the 5th or 6th book of that series. They both have a messiah complex.

      What makes Subaru a bit worst is that he has no propriety and no tact. All he does is charge headlong into the situation without even a moment to consider what can and can’t be done. Actually if you go back to the start of the series you would see that Subaru at least tended to think a bit before acting. Now he just charges forward.

    2. @dudestia: Agree with Juan about Subaru. IMO he’s not that complex. Whatever character “growth” he’s had is ALL negative. Surly, possessive, jealous, “main character syndrome”, self-absorbed, etc. No positive growth or introspection to counter-balance all the negative which I DO think could (and should) have happened. Doesn’t need to be jarringly dramatic, but SOMETHING. I agree with Juan that in large part he’s pretty much the same as he was at the start. Same “trial and error”, bull ahead without thought/planning.

      Actually, Juan makes a good point about his deterioration. Subaru didn’t do all that much thinking & planning at the start (again there were complaints about that), but at least a little here and there. Now there seems to be nothing at all in that regard which in all honestly is the opposite of what I expected when I defended the guy back then.

      He’s been spoon fed a whole bunch of stuff this episode on what he did wrong, so no excuses next reset IMO. Just have to take the lessons handed to him and apply. I’d like to think he can do that much. He’s become a very frustrating character for me to watch which I can’t see as anything “good”.

  5. Subaru: I’m going to ask help from the candidate.
    GM: Roll a dice for charisma.
    *Subaru rolls a 6*
    GM: Hmm… Your outburst at the Royal Election had lowered your reputation, so -2 points. Plus, you lost that duel with Julius, so another -2. And you have some shifty looking eyes, -2 points again. So, your overall charisma is 0. You attempt to ask help from a candidate. Unfortunately, you behave like a raving lunatic that keeps on talking about killing the witch cultists. You were thrown out.
    Subaru: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ F@#$ THIS GAME!!

    Arbitrary Wanderer
  6. it’s interesting why a gentleman like al serve someone like priscilla.

    funnily all three candidate teach something important in reality…crusch teach about motivation, anastasia teach about how-to, and priscila teach about belief(but still a jerk).

    Subaru it’s an unique among other fantasy novel protagonist… i can’t praised his action but also can’t condemn him, i want to put him in a weak category but he barely sane enduring that experience ALONE, an amazing character.

    1. My frustration with him though is that despite having gone through this 3 times he doesn’t seem to learn from it. Sure with all his been through there would inevitably be trauma. I actually was commenting back in the Mansion arc that he was putting up with it surprisingly well, but now it seems like it’s caught up with him. Still, it’s frustrating to see him not learning from his experiences

      1. i agree with you, it’s frustating to see subaru still acting like that.

        But looking that he is still 16 years old and live with little hardship…of course it’s hard for him to change,and if i’m not wrong..including his death&reset he only have a weeks(two weeks more or less maybe) experiences, even some soldier need months or years experience to keep calm facing death or death of comrades.

      2. Except he does though. Otherwise what he did with merchants at the end of this episode? Because he doing exactly what Anastasia meant suggested. Not to mention he learned form last two loops he and Rem can’t handle this on their own and went to seek help. Sure it could have gone better, but that is besides the point and has failures more to do with with his state of mind right now.

        Iron Maw
  7. Subaru definitely makes poor decisions in this episode- but FAR more likely than not, most average folks would act exactly as he did when faced with a similar situation. Subaru’s experiences are simply so objectively horrible that they would be expected to induce stupefying emotional irrationality in just about everyone. The audience’s frustration with Subaru’s irrationality is irrationality unto itself. Returning by death may void previously occurring tragedies, but it does not void the cognitive-experiential effect of that tragedy on the emotional state of the observer (i.e. Subaru). For example, while it’s true that returning by death negated Rem’s brutal murder at the hands of Betelgeuse, it did not erase Subaru’s true to life memories of having Rem tortured to death in front of him, nor did it erase the associated emotional trauma. Certainly, if one steps back in a calm, unemotional state to contemplate Subaru’s situation it seems like he has absolutely no reason to feel such anxiety and desperation since each time he returns by death it erases all the horrible things that have happened previously. But because of the continuing experiential reality of these horrible happenings to Subaru, it feels to him as if they still actually occurred. It’s like if I tricked you into believing a perfect VR simulation was reality (ala The Matrix), ran a simulation of Isis torturing your entire family to death in front of you, and then suddenly released you from the simulation, informing you that your family is actually fine. This would, without any doubt, cause a powerful PTSD-inducing emotional response in just about anyone. Although the simulation is not real in fact, it is experientially real, packing an emotional punch equivalent to that of the real thing. Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone, I say. Emotional irrationality should be expected of virtually anyone facing circumstances similar to Subaru’s. Anyone who claims to be able to remain calm and rational after witnessing such horrors firsthand, even if only experientally real, is almost certainly an idiot, a liar or a sociopath…

    1. Tl;dr- Although returning by death renders the bad things that happen to Subaru unreal, they remain experientially real in his head, and so he acts with emotional irrationality as if they remained real- as would virtually anyone in a similar situation; what’s with the double standards, audience? I doubt any of you would fare much better…

      1. I think it’s just that everyone was expecting him to do better and start acting rationally this episode, since he looked like he was going to actually do something and change at the end of last episode. I know I personally felt so disappointed in him considering that it felt high time for him to get his act together after being an a*s for several episodes.

      2. Sorry, but I think your expectations are completely unreasonable- tell that to veterans with PTSD who have been through just a single experience as horrible as what Subaru’s been through multiple times. These people struggle for a lifetime to deal with the trauma of just one incident. Whereas people are expecting Subaru to get over repeated traumatic experiences in a matter of days. The very fact that he gets over it at all is completely unrealistic. (We may assume that he gets over it eventually, or how would the story continue otherwise?) Really, it simply makes not sense. Ask any psychologist…

      3. In terms of its emotional atmosphere Re:Zero’s is electrifying. However, let us not pretend that this emotional atmosphere is anything more than an illusionary facade devised to elicit maximal emotional effect in the audience- in no way does it reflect the realities of human psychology…

      4. @Zen While I don’t want to say “Wow, why didn’t Subaru think logically after looping like 10 deaths”, I’m kind of getting tired of the same old argument that he’s so traumatized that he can’t make any rational decisions and similar claims to that.

        Don’t get me wrong, he should be truamatized, but imo, there should be a limit the author needs to find where he just stops, because let’s face it, if we want to take the truama route down deeper and make it more real, he’s just going to be more truamatized and broken with each loop, making it pretty much impossible to advance the plot as the loops go on. It’s fiction, while it shouldn’t just make a robotic emotionless logical MC, it should find the point where it should deviate away from reality a bit in order to make a better story (which you also agreed that Subaru recovering is very unrealistic too). I don’t mind if re:zero takes the absolute darkest route and basically make Subaru slowly break more and more until he’s completely broken and beyond saving, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to take this direction, and with this makes it really inconsistent for Subaru, because during some loops/some portion of a loop, he’d seem very collected only to break down right after. While re:zero shouldn’t do away with reality, it really needs to find the balance of the mix reality and fiction together to make a more consistent and exciting character and plot (rememeber, this is fiction, we shouldn’t restrict ourselves to reality, but take some parts of reality and mix it with fiction to enhance the plot). I guess what I’m saying is since it can’t follow reality one to one, and we’ve already seen re:zero take some creative liberty in diverging away from reality(in real life, you get PTSD from one terrible event and you’re affected for the rest of your life, so realisitcally speaking Subaru should not be this well off), why not take it a step further so that Subaru is affected by the previous loop to not lose any of the impact and importance of previous loops, but still make it so he responds and learns quicker, and avoid some of the actions he’s done for the past couple of loops. It would’ve made for a much more consistent story and wouldn’t cause as much frustration while still maintaining the quality the story’s delivering on. It’s like adapting an anime, a good director can make an anime adaptation so much more by injecting his own style, vision and re arranging to make it work in anime format and highlight the strength of the medium. Sure it’s not 100% copy of the original source, but it can make it just that much more in the right hands. What re:zero have here isn’t bad, but it could be a lot more than what it is now, and it’s this missed opportunity and how much I like this series that I feel somewhat disappointed at some of the execution of the anime.

        So I guess to kind of wrap up what I said, I guess for me, I have more of a problem with the writing and execution of Subaru’s character rather than Subaru himself. Since the story isn’t sticking to reality very closely, I think it should’ve taken this chance to make Subaru a more useful character who learns from his mistakes quicker to make for an overall more exciting and consistent story. Would it be the most realistic character ever? No (although I’d argue that even the current Subaru isn’t the most realistic character either), but it’s fiction and re:zero isn’t consistently following reality either, so making him into a less realistic character could’ve made him and the story revolving around him that much better without really any drop in quality. Anyways, sorry for the rant, I usually don’t get this into it unless it’s a great series that I like, so yeah, sorry for writing paragraphs. I really don’t know how to say my views concisely. 😛

        Trap Master
      5. @TrapMaster

        So I guess to kind of wrap up what I said, I guess for me, I have more of a problem with the writing and execution of Subaru’s character rather than Subaru himself.

        I agree, you basically said what I wanted to say last week, but was too lazy to write. Couldn’t have put it better myself. Re:Zero could do with taking more carefully calculated liberties with emotional plausibility. The vast majority of the audience doesn’t have the time to waste contemplating what the normative human emotional response to strange circumstances such as Subaru’s would be, or simply doesn’t have the requisite knowledge to contemplate it to begin with. And since most people don’t actually know what sort of emotional reaction to expect of someone in Subaru’s unique situation (functional immortality), the writers can take generous liberties with emotional plausibility- e.g. making Subaru rebound unrealistically quickly for the sake of a more compelling story, without inducing some sort of viewer-repelling, uncanny valley effect in the process…

    2. To be quite frankly fair, and this is just my opinion based on my experiences and told experiences, but I doubt “normal” people would not have the tenacity that Subaru shows.

      I believe most normal people wouldn’t try saving the village, or Emilia (if put in Subaru’s shoes). They’d probably settle for Rem and run away.

      Goodwill Wright
      1. …this is just my opinion based on my experiences and told experiences…

        If perfect VR is ever invented during our lifetimes, let’s gather some test subjects and actually do that experiment I talked about above to find out, shall we? RC readers, any volunteers? (Lol, just kidding, totally unethical…XP)

        But in all seriousness, though there’s really no way to know for certain, I guess I really wouldn’t be very surprised if most of the armchair knights decrying Subaru’s “lack of guts/honor/virtue” ended up acting exactly as you’ve described. But I do like to think that at least a sizable minority would be able to muster enough courage to attempt something akin to what Subaru’s doing- i.e. flawed perseverance through channeling rage and/or the force of sheer willpower, struggling and constantly stumbling along the way.
        [End of Reply]

        Having said that, short of being a psychopath like Kei or Satou from Ajin, virtually no one would be able to retain anything even remotely resembling calm, collected rationality in the face of such horrific experiences- nigh everyone would suffer severe, likely permanent damage. It’s so ironic- more or less the only people who would be able to retain the cool rationality that the armchair knights are asking of Subaru, whose failings they claim are due to a lack of guts/honor/virtue, in the face of such horrors- are psychopaths, who possess none of these things whatsoever.

        I’ll repeat myself: Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone. Let none be mistaken, sympathy for poor Subaru is besides my point- that’s not why I’m writing these comments today. Rather, it’s the irrational, illogical criticism of Subaru’s emotional irrationality by armchair knights that is irksome to me. If you’re going to criticize, please at least make sense. And heavens forbid that your criticism exposes the very same flaws that you’re criticizing within yourself- it’s downright hypocritical, albeit perhaps unconsciously so from a lack of knowledge about how human psychology works…

      2. I don’t begrudge Subaru being a borderline-crazed PTSD-riddled kid.

        But I’m also not really enjoying him being the universe’s punching bag, either. I feel bad for the guy, and the end is not even in sight. I suspect I’ll stop watching this thing long before the end for that reason alone.

      3. @ Goodwill Wright

        Actually, in the Arc 3 Volumes of the light novel, the author wrote a ‘what if’ chapter where Subaru and Rem do run off and get married and have two kids. But I’d personally consider that the equvilant of a wrong/bittersweet incomplete ending, given that they’re abandoning Emilia and Ram to their fate.

        Mild spoilers, but Arc 1, 2 and 3 are mere prologues to Subaru’s life in this new world. The story really begins when he starts to support Emilia’s claim to the throne properly.

        When it all ends, when the Jealous Witch is defeated and Emilia becomes queen, if then, if Subaru chooses Rem after all that, THAT would be a true happy ending and a true victory for us Rem shippers. Rem best girl!

      4. @Goodwill Wright

        I doubt most people would have made pass the first Arc let alone forgive Rem for what she did to think about running away with her. He’s still doing the best of what normal person would do in his situation.

        Iron Maw
    3. @Zen: Using your war vets example, yes, some have PTSD. Some, not all, and the degree of PTSD varies as well. Some with PTSD still manage to have enough mental fortitude during their ordeal to survive rather than fully break down – and in many cases those were “average” 18 or so year olds (rare cases even younger). The “citizen soldier”. Some even manage to survive long (much longer than Subaru in this world so far) periods in POW camps, or are ordinary civilians held in concentration camps. It is amazing what some people are able to handle, yet somehow they do and certainly some better than Subaru.

      IMO there are ameliorating factors here. IIRC, Subaru, gets at least one good break (isn’t there a significant amount of time between last arc end and start of this arc?) which certainly helps. There’s plenty written about length of combat effectiveness for front line troops. Again read about in WWII how just giving guys a couple days off the front lines reaped significant benefits – including shell shock cases. Subaru has nice living conditions and isn’t starved for food. He has Rem for emotional support. True, that also can be found in war (“band of brothers”) and even POW/concentration camps. Still, be a LOT tougher without her I think.

      And uh, yeah, reset. I still contend him being able to have not only a “second chance”, but multiple chances to fix the problem is better than being unable to do anything. Your buddy, your family member, loved one, etc. are dead and STAY DEAD in RL. Unlike RL PTSD, he can, and HAS, ultimately changed the bad outcome. That has to count for something. SOME hope vs. hopelessness. Big difference. Same thing as nightmare vs. reality. In your VR (“Matrix”) hypothetical example, upon you telling me it was all a hoax, I strongly believe my immediate reaction would not be “PTSD”, but extreme anger with me punching you in the face as hard as I possibly could. And no, I don’t think that makes me a “sociopath” when you intentionally subjected me to mental torture. More like fully justified.

      Anyway, people have varied reactions to such circumstances. Some insulate themselves or become desensitized to it all. Read oral history by WWII vets who stopped getting close to others – especially green replacements. They’re just gonna die so why bother (and one related that’s exactly what happened to two replacements within 24 hours of hitting the front line)? Many go through stages starting with “ain’t gonna happen to me” which ultimately becomes fatalistic (i.e. “when your number is up, it’s up”). Some may do what Goodwill Wright suggested. Some get really pissed off/full of hate. Another WWII oral history example: 19 year “nice as can be kid fresh off the farm” snapped upon learning his brother (or brothers – can’t remember) were KIA. “Junior”, as he was known, now literally took no prisoners and had to be pulled from the front. Then, again, there are others who just somehow handle it all and are able to move forward. You can’t make a blanket, “one size fits all” statements with this.

      Long reply, so short version is that in some respects, yes, I sure as hell would have acted differently… right from the very moment I’m warped into RPG World. My reaction certainly would not have been Subaru’s “Cool! I’m in RPG World!” THAT I can guarantee. Frankly, I may have very well missed the “Emilia route” since I’d have better situational awareness, and thus try to avoid small, dark alleyways with thug looking guys.

      TL:DR = Disagree. Can’t make blanket statements about how “most would act exactly the same” – it can, and does, vary a lot from person to person (and not because they are sociopaths, etc.). Furthermore, there is certainly room for debate as to what he could do/have done even in context of his ordeals going all the way back. Has he had it tough? No doubt. Neither disputing that nor asking for perfection/omniscience let alone be totally unaffected by his ordeals. But do I think he could do/have done better. Lastly, “in-universe” viability or not, for me it’s frustrating to watch this guy now. Period.

      Anyone who claims to be able to remain calm and rational after witnessing such horrors firsthand, even if only experientally real, is almost certainly an idiot, a liar or a sociopath…

      You’re entitled to your opinion to the same extent as everyone else, but no need to be a patronizing & abrasive about it if people disagree with you to some degree or another.

      1. I was expecting you, Sir Daikama, welcome!

        If you thought that by “exactly as he did” I meant that “everyone would get PTSD” that is certainly a statement that pushes credulity, but that’s not what I meant at all. Instead what I was getting at is that almost everyone would suffer from some significant measure of “stupefying emotional irrationality” similar to Subaru in the short term (perhaps for weeks, or more plausibly, months; occasionally some may get over it in mere days, but these are probably statistical outliers [Hypothesis: mostly borderline psychopaths], such extraordinary fortitude shouldn’t be normally expected), and in the long term a measure of semi-permanent to permanent emotional damage (Not necessarily PTSD), manifesting as the “wide and varied responses” you described. Hence the term “PTSD inducing” referring to a high relative probability of inducing PTSD rather than a sure deal.

        Certainly this means that almost everyone who experiences such circumstances would not be able to think rationally in the short term, and consequently make lots of bad decisions. I really don’t think this is up for debate. Anyone who is neurotypical (short of being psychopathic or autistic or something) would almost invariably experience stupefying emotional irrationality in the short term after observing a highly traumatic event such as the murder of loved ones before his/her very eyes. And end up not acting rationally for weeks to months at least. Maybe a few might get over it in days, but I question if these outliers are really classifiable as neurotypical.

        Some with PTSD still manage to have enough mental fortitude during their ordeal to survive rather than fully break down

        Even so, I’m certain that they still struggle hard, and stumble all the time. You seem so disdainful of the ones do do in fact break down like Subaru. Many do, and can you really blame them? War is hell. Saying that Subaru lacks guts/virtue/honor for breaking down is essentially saying that all the war veterans who break down also lack guts/honor/virtue. Surely, that is not what you mean; I struggle to understand how someone who is that cold emotionally is classifiable as normal.

        And uh, yeah, reset. I still contend him being able to have not only a “second chance”, but multiple chances to fix the problem is better than being unable to do anything. Your buddy, your family member, loved one, etc. are dead and STAY DEAD in RL. Unlike RL PTSD, he can, and HAS, ultimately changed the bad outcome. That has to count for something. SOME hope vs. hopelessness.

        I honestly don’t think that’s how people are wired. It just seems completely counter-intuitive to me that observing loved ones die gruesomely in experiential reality is something that the neurotypical human mind is built to be able to acclimatize itself to (Though we can acclimatize ourselves to a lot of things). There are primal, instinctual cognitive mechanisms in place which govern how we react to death, and how we relate to our loved ones. I am not confident that the convergence of these two powerful forces, manifesting in reaction to the gruesome, experientially real death of loved ones before our very eyes is something any neurotypical individual could react calmly, or even relatively calmly to. Regardless of any “resets.” Because of the inexorable compulsion of primal wiring that transcends all rational reason. No matter what, severe emotional damage likely occurs, whether this manifests as hysteria, psychosis, emotional withdrawal or full-blown PTSD. I will admit that this is, of course, just a hypothesis at best, albeit one that I think has a high probability of being true- but we’ll likely never know for certain. You’d literally have to be worse than Hitler to even want to test it, after all.

        Same thing as nightmare vs. reality. In your VR (“Matrix”) hypothetical example, upon you telling me it was all a hoax, I strongly believe my immediate reaction would not be “PTSD”, but extreme anger with me punching you in the face as hard as I possibly could. And no, I don’t think that makes me a “sociopath” when you intentionally subjected me to mental torture. More like fully justified.

        Don’t be too sure. If I had a dime for every time I didn’t feel how I thought I’d feel about something, I’d be a billionaire. This may be true for other types of false traumatic events, but like I laid out above, the gruesome death of loved ones invokes two of the most powerful, primal, and fundamentally irrational human instincts. More likely than not, it isn’t something anyone (neurotypicals) could ever get used to, nor is it something that someone could immediately bounce back from upon being informed of mere experiential reality…

        yes, I sure as hell would have acted differently… right from the very moment I’m warped into RPG World. My reaction certainly would not have been Subaru’s “Cool! I’m in RPG World!” THAT I can guarantee.

        You would have made different choices; that is certain. But your choices are a digression. If faced with the same adversities as Subaru, to witness the murder of those you love the most before your very eyes, as I said above, my wager is that you would not react so differently from him…

      2. @Zen: Glad I could oblige & welcomed with a “Sir” no less! Just to be clear, “Subaru Fatigue” for me is just that. The word “fatigue” is specifically used for a reason. It’s the culmination of everything up until this point, and as I’ve noted before in a previous episode post, for me it’s now gone beyond solely the “in-universe” aspect with his character. Not alone on that for sure.

        My main contention is that IMO you paint things with broad strokes. Not always, but there’s quite a bit of “almost everyone” (used a few times) would act like Subaru language, and if not, they are likely/borderline psychopaths or sociopaths. That’s how your reply reads to me, and you leave very little room for other types or degrees of response/coping. Response/coping varies a LOT from person to person based upon vet WWII oral history I’ve read. Thus, there is a LOT more gray area to this, including a “middle ground” response for some, than your posts (particularly reply) suggest.

        You say, “statistical outliers [Hypothesis: mostly borderline psychopaths]” with “extraordinary” mental fortitude “may get over it in mere days” and short term = “perhaps for weeks, or more plausibly, months” to recover from “stupefying emotional irrationality”. I have two WWII examples in the spoiler below which may not mirror Subaru’s situation, but I do think we can agree as horrific scenes, and the soldiers involved didn’t take days or weeks or months before they were able to function sufficiently to make rational decisions and/or do their job. War is hell as you say. Problem is war doesn’t always wait for people to grieve/sort their feelings. Acting completely irrationally, stumbling around in combat is a very good way to die. Speaking of death, how many times has Subaru died already? 8? 9?

        Show Spoiler ▼

        We also disagree about the emotional impact of reset and your “VR” example. Again, not suggesting something extreme like zero emotional impact with your VR example, but yeah, IMO when you go “Surprise! It’s fake!” and the person understands and accepts that it’s fake, things change dramatically. It’s the difference between reality and fiction. The two are not the same. If a person is having trouble dealing with a death in the family, and the “deceased” turns out to be alive (IDK, plane crash and mistaken ID), no way from that point on is the response/recovery the same in both cases. Have to think there’s a sense of massive relief upon hearing the news (in your VR example, anger response because you tried to mind-f**k me).

        With reset, IMO you unduly dismiss the effect of HOPE reset provides – a very strong and ameliorating emotion. Again, this is certainly not an “all or nothing” situation. I am NOT suggesting that it completely offsets or wipes clean all emotional trauma. Obviously, that’s not the case, but I DO think it has some material beneficial effect. Surely you don’t suggest Subaru would be the same mentally if all he did was revive say 10 minutes after dying, but no backwards time leap. Comes back to life, but can NOT change one single thing. Hope vs. no hope.

        Bit “OT”, but as noted before, while I’m not into “torture porn”, I can see the value to the story in terms of Subaru completely breaking (i.e. catatonic) after multiple rounds of failure and torture (WN) That certainty would give rise to feelings of extreme hopelessness.

        As for Subaru and this episode, I’m NOT suggesting anything extreme like utterly robot like, devoid of all emotional, irrational behavior, etc. Honestly, in this case I do not consider his behavior unrealistic. But to your comment of “how almost/most would react”? See above. It varies. Some certainly may act like Subaru. Some may do as was suggested in Goodwill Wright’s post – just say “screw it, can’t deal” and run off with Rem.

        And lastly, IMO yes, some, particularly those more mature (Subaru is certainly not the most mature 18 yr. old), could realistically have a moment of clarity – say after Crusch, and THINK “I need to cool off a bit and try a different approach”. Could also realize it’s unfair to take his anger out or Rem, and apologize – “Sorry. That wasn’t fair. I’m just really stressed out right now.” Nothing extreme, but right now even such relatively minor things would be a marked sign of improvement IMO, and go a long way towards offsetting “Subaru Fatigue”.

        I suspect you will disagree with part or perhaps all of the above. That’s fine. We can agree to disagree.

        Lastly, I must address one thing you got TOTALLY wrong. Frankly, not sure why you stated it in the first place

        You seem so disdainful of the ones do do in fact break down like Subaru.

        Wow. Really reading into things aren’t we? LOL, you could not be more wrong! I have great respect for all vets. PERIOD. I go out of my way to thank any vet I see for their service – old or young. It is NOT, repeat NOT, that I have no sympathy for those who do break down. I do, but rather I have more faith in the resiliency of people based upon what I’ve read/watched from RL accounts of war (WWII specially). Oh, and “resiliency” =/= socio/psychopath.

      3. What is this presumption that I’m saying everyone would end up staring blankly at the ceiling from emotional trauma? When I use the word “stupefy” I literally mean “to make stupid.” As in the impairment of higher cognitive faculties. Not everyone becomes paralyzed by severe emotional trauma, (though many do)- but almost everyone experiences significant disruption of their higher executive faculties due to intense emotion. Going back to your WWII example #1, jumping into a foxhole to protect yourself from explosions demands very little of one’s mental faculties. It literally takes half a brain cell. Versus, oh I don’t know, negotiating some kind of military agreement with the three most sophisticated and powerful people in the nation like what Subaru had the misfortune of having to do immediately after experiencing severe emotional trauma. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the latter is far more demanding on one’s cognitive faculties than the former, and thus infinitely more difficult for one in a state of traumatic stupor to accomplish.

        As for example #2, how do you know that the kid was actually acting rationally? Maybe he got hit by shrapnel because a burst of irrational emotion induced him to rush to the side of the wounded soldier who had fallen in a very obviously unsafe location. Or perhaps the kid became so emotionally numb from trauma that he simply couldn’t think straight and was acting on sheer reflexive instinct to aid the wounded soldier, failing to catch that he would put himself into an exposed, highly dangerous position by doing so. Or maybe he really was a psychopath- there’s no way to know for certain- and the kid had a fake ID which is something that tends or reflect dishonesty, a hallmark characteristic of psychopathy. And as for the storyteller, perhaps he was just lucky rather than actually calm and collected, or perhaps he was just very well-trained (more on that later when I get to field medics). Your WWII examples are unempirical anecdotes- random, wildtype occurrences in non-sterile causative environments recorded by laypeople who are emotionally invested in the retelling of these tales, and therefore inherently biased in their recollections.

        And general objections to your field medic argument:
        1. Field medics are highly trained such that even when in states of severe emotional distress they are often able to operate in autopilot. It is far less strenuous executively when you know what to do intuitively and can act on instinct alone, versus some random soldier with no field medic training whatsoever attempting to patch up a wounded comrade in the absence of a field medic. The random soldier is liable to panic and mess up as he has to somehow figure out how to patch up his comrade from scratch- whereas an actual field medic with his training should be able to function well as his intuitive knowledge of his job makes it far less executively demanding, making it possible to perform well in spite of being severely emotionally distressed.
        2. This objection is key: Field medics aren’t usually dealing with the violent death of loved ones. So there isn’t the perfect convergence I mentioned above, of the primal, fundamentally irrational fear of death and the subversion of the equally irrational, primal emotion of filial love for one’s family.

        With reset, IMO you unduly dismiss the effect of HOPE reset provides – a very strong and ameliorating emotion.

        I don’t think that’s likely to be right. It is widely accepted that fear is a primal emotion thought to have first evolved in our pre-mammalian ancestors. Filial emotions like the love for one’s family are also very primal- believed to have first evolved in early mammals. Hope is infrequently mentioned if at all in the relevant articles that I’ve read, and while humans do in fact appear to be inherently wired for irrational optimism (Hope), this emotion seems to be one of those complex ones which involve higher cognitive processes that aren’t primal in the least- it is closely related to our ability to imagine the future. Now, my knowledge on these matters is limited, but I think it isn’t a large leap to say that primal emotions are probably significantly more powerful than complex ones that involve higher cognitive processing like hope. This is of course also just a hypothesis, but one that is seemingly supported by the weight of circumstantial evidence. We’d need rigorous experimentation to verify/falsify. It’s sad to say, but it isn’t likely that hope is anywhere nearly as powerful as you try to make it out to be. Certainly, it would ameliorate trauma to some degree, but I conjecture that this effect is liable to be quite meager.

        We also disagree about the emotional impact of reset and your “VR” example. Again, not suggesting something extreme like zero emotional impact with your VR example, but yeah, IMO when you go “Surprise! It’s fake!” and the person understands and accepts that it’s fake, things change dramatically.

        Again, I don’t think the science backs up your assertions. The onset of PTSD usually occurs immediately post-trauma. Which implies that the cognitive damage caused by traumatic events usually occurs all at once, and is simultaneous with the traumatic events. This principle should also apply to slightly less severe, but still grievous, emotional damage causing sub-PTSD-threshold level trauma-spectrum disorders. In other words, my VR experiment would cause immediate and severe emotional damage to my test subjects. And since the damage is done, the path to recovery should likely be long and arduous no matter what. I don’t think I’ve heard of a single case of severe emotional trauma (PTSD level or not) that’s been cured immediately, or in a matter of days, even with the use of anti-depressant medications in the most supportive of environments possible. And so the circumstantial evidence presents us with no reason to believe that being informed ex post facto of a traumatic event’s mere experiential reality would work any differently. It would certainly help to some degree, but in all likelihood to relatively modest, decidedly undramatic effect, like other more traditional ameliorative factors. Again, the only way to know for sure is to test it somehow, but this is the most conservative hypothesis.

        Oh, and “resiliency” =/= socio/psychopath.

        We don’t know this for certain; it has never been empirically tested. And short of intentionally subjecting a large random sample of folks with varying PCL-R scores to traumatic events, I’m not sure how we’ll ever find out. Emotional resiliency may very well have a direct relationship with PCL-R scores…

      4. @Zen: Yeah, we’re definitely just going to have to agree to disagree here. The discussion IMO is becoming circular. So I’m not going to bother going point by point back and forth. There are a couple things (not all inclusive) with your comments on my WWII examples. Example 1: I stated that the guy was a staff officer who didn’t need weeks/months to recover to do his job which certainly requires “higher cognitive faculties”. You skipped over that. Example 2, the 15 year old medic who died on D-Day. You’re taking speculative scattershot on just about everything. “I don’t know.” OK, well, you don’t know either – right. I do, however, think the eye-witness who was there and personally knew the kid knows him much better than either of us so I’ll stick with his assessment which consisted of nothing but praise.

      5. I stated that the guy was a staff officer who didn’t need weeks/months to recover to do his job which certainly requires “higher cognitive faculties.”

        It’s all in there- as I’ve said even complex jobs become simple and not very taxing on the mind when you have good training and lots of experience; you can just move on autopilot. I can form a rubber-band double star in my hand with my eyes closed, and without even having to think about it because I practiced so much when I was a kid that it’s become instinctual to me. Same deal with military specialists experiencing severe emotional trauma. They’ve just gotten so good at their jobs that it barely requires any thinking.

        You’re taking speculative scattershot on just about everything. “I don’t know.” OK, well, you don’t know either

        Precisely. My implicit point is that how you were able to deduce such resolute conclusions from premises so uncertain is beyond me.

        I do, however, think the eye-witness who was there and personally knew the kid knows him much better than either of us so I’ll stick with his assessment which consisted of nothing but praise.

        I addressed this issue too. I said: “Your WWII examples are unempirical anecdotes- random, wildtype occurrences in non-sterile causative environments recorded by laypeople who are emotionally invested in the retelling of these tales, and therefore inherently biased in their recollections.” Especially in the light of recent neuroscientific studies demonstrating how grossly inaccurate and biased human memory tends to be, I wouldn’t trust his words for a heartbeat…

  8. There is a scene that is cut in anime (on conversation in carriage when subaru brought to the castle) about al’s origin that make him still respect subaru
    I want to know how will they reveal it in anime, since i think it is a very important plot

  9. I think this is the first anime I’ve watched that produces such a vast amount of cringe inducing scenes, yet still manages to grab my attention and have me at the edge of my seat throughout nearly every episode. Even as I facepalm repeatedly (mostly during all of Subaru’s murderous outbursts at Crusch), I really like the way they’re handling Subaru and the people around him.

    If the rest of the episodes is dedicated to this arc, then I’m reassured that Subaru will soon get out of his irrationality and desperation, and eventually start thinking smartly (and with sanity), to get the outcome he wants. Change doesn’t happen over night, and while It’s understandably difficult to watch Subaru fail and act like a brat, it just makes the future payoff that much more rewarding. The show consistently points out his shortcomings via the reactions of those around him, and every bad decision he makes is usually punished. There’s no way Subaru can simply act the way he is now and get away with it, and I have confidence the author won’t try to try to justify the current Subaru’s behavior as the right way, which is why I have so much patience with how he is acting.

    This episode actually contained a lot of character growth/revelations for Subaru. He’ll probably try to utilize the knowledge he gained to his favor eventually to sway all 3 of them to their side, but first he’ll have to find the proper response, seek out what they could gain, while remaining a cool and level head. Also, let’s not forget that Rem continues to be best girl! I love how supportive she is of Subaru, but she still thinks for herself and acts rationally, doing her best to cover up for Subaru’s behavior while fully believing in him. If that’s not best girl material, I don’t what is.

  10. While he seems to be stuck in depressing state of limbo, I think this would be his starting point to fix things. While he DID a lot of mistakes in approaching the candidates, the lesson from this loop could be valuable for negotiation in his future loops. By the end of this episode, he already made a quite reasonable plan (with what he had at the time) by focusing on the rescue. Too bad he forgot about the whale, though (Rem only mentioned about it, so it’s natural that Subaru forgot because he didn’t experienced it by himself).

    The real question is about how fast would he absorb the information from his loop and made them to be his weapon for the next loop (and how his sanity could hold up). I am in the camp that have no problem with his development so far (although yeah, the writing is kinda rough at times), but I’m not sure if people would hold out their patience if he didn’t accelerate his pace. But even if he’s stuck here, I won’t blame him.

    With his mental age, suicidal method of solving things, and what happened to him up till now, realistically it’s more probable for him to completely broke and gone insane by this point rather than becoming a hero in the future.

  11. Would add one more thing: Yeah, he was determined to fix things at the last episode, but factually he have only few new “weapons” in his arsenal even after experiencing previous horrendous loops. Yeah, his weapon is “information”, and I’m thankful that so far Subaru didn’t get any other card in his hand other than some acceptable advantage (like his shadow “magic”).

    The way he handled things are very cringey indeed, but diving head first has always been his method to learn. It’s suicidal if it’s used in real life and still very dangerous to his mental health, but it’s not a bad way to gain as many information as possible in a world which is alien to him. Plus, he basically did what every other LN protagonist would do at his position and get a realistic response to a naive actions like what he was doing in this episodes, and I have to appaluse the writer to deconstruct that trope.

    However, he did get some new weapons that might be used in the future, but whether he would do that soon or later would determine whether this would get really tiring or not.

  12. … He use an “Modern day” Cell Phone to read the Map. Magic? Well, how do the Cell Phone knows it’s location? GPS? Oh, there are GPS Satellite in orbit? Ah the Cell Phone are capable to read the stars like the old sailors done it on the sea?…

    We use everyday tools and do not know how they really work or need to work out…

    But oh well, this falls under anime magic

    1. As MrLoser stated, I think it’s established in the first episode that his cell phone is useless as a cell phone. He only uses it as a light to read the map =X I doubt any technology (if he has any more) would work in this world.

  13. This episode was thematically amazing. Here we are given the skeleton, a way in which we can have Subaru redeem himself, whilst keeping up with the theme that Subaru has still yet to truly learn from his errors. Lets look at a few points that I believe people seem to be forgetting.

    1. With each visit that Subaru gives to the candidates, he seems to have learned something as he bumbles and rages around. Crusch fed him humble pie, a reminder that Subaru should be doing this for Emilia, not for himself. Whilst Priscilla gave him a kick in the ass that he needed in order to remember that he needed to have some sort of human dignity. Most importantly, Anastasia gave Subaru a big serving of Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal”. Subaru, I feel, lacks the ability to negotiate effectively. These visits will probably be a Yuge influence to Subaru some time in the future, he was schooled effectively three times in this episode.

    2. Crusch seems to be planning something, she seems to be buying up armaments and materials, as if preparing for a military expedition. Possibly war? If/or/when Subaru resets, he can possibly strike up a bargain with her in regards to this. As such I believe that this expedition may lead her to fight, possibly with one of her enemies? Or it may have something to do with the Hakugei, as we do see her fight it in the opening. This may open an opportunity for Subaru to earn her trust and redeem himself.

    In conclusion, I believe that next week WE WILL FINALLY HAVE SUBARU RETURN FROM THE DEPTHS OF HIS MADNESS AND HIS DESPAIR! FROM ZERO TO HERO BABY, THE TITLE SAYS IT ALL! That means next week will be an uplifting episode! Well at least I can hope anyways, knowing Tappei-san, he really loves to make his characters suffer, I COULD BE WRONG. But… I CAN HOPE DAMMIT.

    Art of the Deal (Kuma)
  14. I think this episode can be boiled down to denying Subaru all of the low hanging, easy solutions.

    Subaru has to earn the solution, no one is going to solve it for him, he can’t bulldoze his way through and he can’t run away.

  15. It also nice to show what are the personalities/powers of the other candidates are while teaching Subaru his mistakes

    Crusch is honorable, but very pragmatic she has a point that it’s better for her not to help Emilia as either way it’s one less competitor, but by not helping she preserves her forces.

    Priscilla seems to be super strong as she’s able to manhandle Subaru (Fling him across the room)

    Anastasia is Opportunistic and will judge you based on how useful you are to her.

    By this Time I think Subaru should also start to experiment on what triggers the black hand that keeps hum and keeping him from talking about his powers. (Seems like mentioning the witches stench around him doesn’t trigger it)

  16. Cherrie’s spot on in that, once again, we have another episode with a LOT to consider.

    OK, I officially have Subaru Fatigue©. Since the three candidates essentially spoon fed him “Negotiation for Dummies”, “information has value” and other stuff he did wrong, HOPEFULLY next reset he will THINK and do some preparation before plodding on. You know, exactly what Anastasia so kindly told him is the “key to negotiation *sigh*. Also, Subaru, do NOT be a dick to Rem and take your frustrations out on her. IMO, guy is lucky she’s around and has so much faith in him. LOT of other stuff to cover so I’ll leave Subaru issues at that.

    I REALLY wish we got precise details on how the candidacy process works beyond “recognized by dragon badge”.

    So both Roswaal & Reinhard are off on business somewhere. Roswaal gone helps explain the effectiveness of the cult attack. Both “MIA” also makes things more difficult for Subaru. Felt/Reinhard IMO would be his easiest ally. As for Roswaal, have to wonder given that Crusch says the witch cult attack was “foreseen” due to Emilia’s candidacy. Well, if Crusch saw it, then did Roswaal (and Emilia) ever consider the possibility as well? Should have, and ideally started preparing for that risk. I’m not certain whether Roswaal and/or Reinhard are truly unavailable to help, I’d still try to contact them. Maybe one if not both can make it last minute. Happened before.

    On top of negotiation lessons, Crusch had a bit going on. Between Russell Fellow showing up and Anastasia’s info, have to wonder what, if anything Crusch has planned. OK, maybe stimulate the economy, but how does that benefit her candidacy. PR move? If (or and – could do both) she’s bulking up her own forces (which makes sense), is it purely defensive or does she have some offensive plan in mind? Grabs for the throne certainly can be violent.

    Found Crusch noting that not once did Subaru expressly state he wants to save Emilia quite interesting. He mentions the villagers more than he does Emilia (don’t think he mentions Ram once). That is saying something IMO. Wasn’t he Emilia’s self-proclaimed knight? Look, clearly he has a tie to the villagers and definitely should try to save them if he can, but if he’s truly her “knight”, shouldn’t his first priority be Emilia? Props to the show/series for not ignoring repercussions of his outburst at the candidacy meeting (and reset not whitewashing them away either). Just in general, it’s kind of an odd omission/lack of emphasis given how infatuated and fixated he’s been on her before.

    Subaru’s got a tough task ahead of him. As we saw, two primary ways to go about it – find reinforcement to battle the witch cult and/or evacuate. Can, and IMO should, try both. Remaining thoughts on that in spoiler.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    1. Subaru….has been through a lot. Without someone who has at least an idea of what he’s been through and is able to play the other side of his thought processes and tell him to SLOW DOWN AND THINK, it’s gonna take more control than he currently has at the moment. This guy just watched a village get slaughtered twice, watch someone die horribly in front of him after confessing her love, and has been personally tortured by the source of all this mess. Right now he’s in rage mode trying to kill the cause of all this suffering to nip it in the bud. He desperately wants to save Emilia, the village and everyone else, but to his credit he did just come back from being chained, psychologically brutalized, and murdered maybe a few hours ago relatively speaking. I won’t say that he isn’t acting like an ass. He is, but the man is really being put through it. Subaru got more life lessons beaten into him this go round and it is tough love he needed. Actually makes me glad that Felt isn’t an option for some reason. I guess she and old man Rom are out with Reinhardt. They would have joined his crusade and maybe got killed or a pyrrhic victory at best. For your thoughts that you put in spoilers:

      Show Spoiler ▼

      The Walker
      1. @The Walker: Helpful, but IMO empathy is not a requirement here. Dude’s clearly off at times and people certainly have noticed. Even before his 1st death this arc, a number of people have tried to help him out, been cordial if not actually nice, gave advice, etc., but in large part all he does is “you don’t understand me!” YES, he’s had it rough, but even if they can’t truly empathize/understand his situation, that does NOT mean they are unable to see he ain’t doing things the right way.

        It’s not all or nothing. He’s not “mind broke 24/7” since episode 1 or from what I saw even at start of this arc before the 1st death (especially before Emilia left). Rather he was full of himself after AGAIN helping to save the day (sorry, but that HAS to at least partially offset the bad stuff. Sure as hell better than the other way around – right?). Sure traumatic stuff before then, but he’s also shown clear indications of bouncing back. Was more worried about a date after the 1st arc than anything else. As mentioned above, not asking for machine like emotionless logic or omniscience, but he’s shown NO positive progress, no positive growth in 17 (effectively) episodes. Rather he’s getting worse. True, bunch more trauma this time around so maybe at this moment more excusable with the new stuff (post 1st death this arc), but problem for me is the sum total. It adds up, and I do think there have been opportunities for some positive growth (and/or more thinking) – bad experiences or not. JMO, but that’s what it is.

        As for Felt, yeah, I would NOT ask just her and old man Rom. Only mentioned her because she could order Reinhard to help out. Reinhard can hold his own and might be able to sway some other knights.

        FYI – spoiler tags used to cut down post as it appears in thread. Haven’t read LN and avoiding spoilers for this = all speculation & throwing out ideas (i.e. no actual spoilers). So don’t need to use tags for a reply unless you just want to do so.

        Agree that Anastasia looks to be his best bet via information trade. Unlike the others, she didn’t throw him out (i.e. most receptive of the bunch). She also has a standing private army ready. Still think he needs more intel to trade than what he currently has.

        Yeah, Al was cool. Like him as well. As noted, Priscilla is a wild-card for me. Right now, just don’t act submissive & take her up on her foot-licking offer. See how that plays out. Not sure how impressed she’ll be by him trying to play the others. LOT of risk in trying to do that. Guy is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and all three candidates are pretty sharp.

        Crusch may be a lost cause. Just threw out an idea – not suggesting it’s a great one, but all I have right now. He kind of sort of played the “impress people card”. Certainly his raving had a negative effect so not sure it wouldn’t work with better/proper presentation (still may not). IMO, might as well give it a shot (with proper presentation) in addition to carefully gaining more intel (yeah, Crusch is NOT going to be happy if she finds out). For Crusch to help, it all hinges upon whether helping Emilia out would raise Crusch’s standing vs. the entire field sufficiently. Yeah, Emilia’s still around that way, but got to think Emilia’s chances are hurt by needing to be rescued. Also creates a debt with Emilia which might prove useful down the road. One more reason to try an intel trade with Anastasia – compensation’s already paid.

      2. Subaru’s approach worked for the first 12 episodes, when he saved the day and everybody liked him. He had no reason to learn and change his behavior. It’s in the 13th episode, that his flaws were exposed and he had valid reasons to start realizing, he was acting wrongly. He didn’t in the episode 14, still thinking he could be a hero. Then almost entire 15th episode was pretty much him gibbering as a broken wreck. I’d say the after effects of that influenced first half of the 16th Episode, but he clearly started to realize, he needed help and learn how to get it from is interaction with merchants.

        Narratively, I’d say it’s two episodes of Subaru being an complete idiot and half an episode of incompetence due to being completely out of his depth. This is longer, then traditional – Hero Falls due to Pride/Hero Angsts But Gets Over It And Solves Problem two-episode structure, but Re:Zero clearly prefers to take it’s time with it’s stories.

      3. @Daikama
        I see your points, but no one is saying that he is behaving in a good way right now. Or at most of us aren’t. We know he’s messing up a ton of opportunities and it does make one cringe when he starts ranting about slaughtering a cult and prostrating himself ready to lick a foot to get a job done. It’s just that I can see WHY he’s behaving this way. Because of this I have more patience with him. He is slowly learning to do better. I think some are frustrated by the fact that it is indeed slow. @Kessler summarized it pretty well. This way produced interesting results that I don’t see very often in the anime I watch.

        As for using Crusch as a stepping stone to Anastasia, yeah he’s gonna have to really slow down and think things through to gather information. If he’s really looking for candidate assistance, Anastasia is the best way to go. All of them have a “what’s in it for me?” attitude, but Ana appears much more mercenary about it. You could buy her with the Robert Fellow intel if it was packaged just the right way. While Subaru isn’t the smartest kid on the block, he definitely could try to turn Ana and Crusch against each other if he slowed down and thought about how to work the situation to his advantage. This would also require him to go further down the slippery slope. Emilia definitely wouldn’t like it. Doubt Rom, Felt, or Reinhardt would either. Judging by what I saw of Priscilla, she would respect it, but I’m more for him gaining Al’s allegiance than her’s. She appears to be the most mercurial of the candidates. Going with whims that amuse her.( And dat strength tho! I don’t expect any of the women to be weak. Felt has that wind blessing, and Emilia is a strong mage with a great spirit contracted to her, but she literally beat him one handed.

        The Walker
  17. Subaru’s eyes were pretty much murderous in the end of the past episode – which in some anime would make him go on a bad-ass rampage against the enemy. Here it means, he is negotiating, when his head is filled with rage and thoughts of vengeance, which makes him irrational – or how I call it human. If you watch the episode, you can see that Subaru grows calmer as time passes and he has a chance to process what happened.

    So Subaru failed and was humiliated this episode and yet I could sympathize with him, since I think his heart and mind were finally in the right place (or close enough). He finally realized, that he can’t save people alone and I think his motivation changed from being a hero, to saving people – villagers and Emilia (with an extra side dish of vengeance). It was a smart move to approach the candidates. Subaru failed because he is an ordinary high school student, who has nothing to his name and little knowledge of the world.

    Any ideas, what Subaru could have done better? I think aside from lashing out at the candidates, when they refused help, he was doing his best. There’s an option of treating his reset ability as game save/load, but I find this as very morbid and mentally unhealthy, plus the witches stench grows stronger with every reset, so they can be a hidden cost to it.

    1. Any ideas, what Subaru could have done better? I think aside from lashing out at the candidates, when they refused help, he was doing his best. There’s an option of treating his reset ability as game save/load, but I find this as very morbid and mentally unhealthy, plus the witches stench grows stronger with every reset, so they can be a hidden cost to it.

      Not much honestly. He had no chips to bargain with at the time other than clothes on his back and his status as being a member of Emilia’s camp. He could definitely gone about things better with a clearer head, but he just literally snap back to sanity with sheer rage literally minutes after witnessing something horrific.

      Iron Maw
    2. If there’s one thing that I think Subaru doesn’t really have going for him is a) his prior behavior during the opening ceremony and b) being affiliated with Emilia. Plus, he’s doing all this to SAVE Emilia and Roswaal’s manor which doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s priority list except his own. All that mounted up, Subaru really doesn’t have a lot of options…
      One thing that’s always bothered me was how Subaru rubs people the wrong way – maybe it’s his smell, maybe it’s his shifty eyes… but I think it’s his personality. You can see that from the way he’s so mistrusted by Rem/Ram (when they met), Roswaal, and all the candidates now. If he only knew how to behave around people, how to earn people’s trust and not be so arrogant and CRAZY upfront. I think it’d go a long way just to befriend people, or maybe that’d be my approach.
      Or he could take the other approach of blackmail and scheming to get what he wants. Hey – Anastasia did it, why can’t Subaru? Find out something about the candidates and hold it against them to get what he wants =X Of course, that’s not what I would do and getting that info would be hard… but maybe all you need is a good ear and some merchants that travel a lot with info… >_>

      1. The thing is, though, that he can totally befriend people.

        The villagers all love him. He walked right into a black market pawn shop and started palling around with Rom within a minute or two.

        It kind of feels like he’s been hemorrhaging likability since the show began.

      2. What Guile said is true. Subaru can make people like him when he cares enough to try. Just so happens that his clingy jealous guy act appears to be played for laughs at first (breathing heavily at Emilia’s tutoring session, flying off the handle at another perceived competitor for Emilia’s attention) until it isn’t, and his attachment gets deconstructed.

        And now he’s dealing with the aftermath of that.

  18. “A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.” – William Shakespeare

    Let’s hope this crazy world helps him shed the seven deadly sins that make up the coward/fool he is. While he’s shown acts of bravery how many times did he have to die before getting there? I think the above line would be better served to include fools as well, as Subaru seems to play the part well.

    Alexander Morou
    1. Subaru has tons of flaws, but cowardice? That’s not him.

      He threw himself headlong into death half a dozen times before he even thought ‘Hey maybe I should just clear out to get a better look at the mansion.’ A coward would have just kept on running.

      Amusingly, on that subject, just imagine what Rem must have thought when this guy, the Witch’s creature, left but then doubled back around to watch the mansion. No wonder she went REM SMASH on him.

    2. Subaru is a fool, indeed, but not a coward.

      Subaru was able to take frostbites a thousand times.
      That is why he talks to kingly candidates as if they were equals, while stinking.

      Crusch might be politely covering her nose and is just looking for a way to get out of that room.

      kind one
  19. I don’t like how everyone immediately automatically knows that the creature at the end is a whale. Seems like someone spoiled it at some point, and everyone who’s been spoiled just goes “it’s obviously a whale, duh” like they figured it out. (I do realize that a whale was mentioned by Rem earlier, maybe I’m just mad because I had missed that scene and had no clue whatsoever about it being a whale, now the mystery is completely gone for me..)

    From now on, I’m not discussing or reading any more comments on this show.. just Cherrie’s impressions and I’ll be satisfied with that.

    1. Dude, if it’s foreshadowed, especially with an explicit mention, in an earlier episode, then it’s not a spoiler. Fog appears this episode –> what caused it in a prior loop? –> rem mentioned a whale forcing them to detour –> this must be that whale. If you missed the earlier hint, that’s kinda your own fault.

    2. Reading comments on RC, MAL, Reddit… can all be dangerous places if you don’t want to read certain things. Some of the challenges of blogging are a) trying not to spoil anything even if you know what’s happening and b) still giving enough reason for people to read and engage in conversation. While some people think it’s obvious that the fog and the eyeball belongs to “the whale”, some people might not. Some people get a lot of satisfaction being able to guess what’s coming up and some people rather just enjoy the show for what it is and like being surprised. I’m the latter and I also tend to write more first impressions (literally) after watching while others might like to think about something before writing. So don’t feel bad when you don’t catch stuff, not everyone does ^^” Just have to read the comments cautiously… I don’t really get that same privilege since I have to read everything and most surprises don’t stay surprises =X

      1. I wouldn’t exactly say this is a spoiler. They have explicitly mentioned the whale in one of the past episode, and it’s not really hard to pick up from there. All it takes is a small bit of connecting the dot and infer what’s going to happen and it’s clear as day. They didn’t have to explicitly say it’s the whale for audience to know it’s a whale.

        Trap Master
    3. The whale thing this episode was as clear as the Puck bit at the end of last episode. Nobody spoiled that information, ppl merely picked up the information/hints from earlier episodes.

      1. I don’t know if I agree with that. I replayed the “whale” scene so many times after it aired, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what type of creature it was. My first thought was it might be the dragon everyone mentions, but I immediately shut that thought down because.. lol.. why would the dragon just decide to appear all of a sudden. Puck however, was almost too obvious, what with the earring and the VA.

        What I’m saying is, aside from the bit where Rem mentions a whale and its fog, was there any clue whatsoever indicating that the creature is a whale? Because I happened to miss that part, and it seems to me like that’s the only clue. But again, as I said, I realize that it’s my fault that I missed that scene and I’m just being a bit mad about that. Seems like, if you listened to Rem it’s super obvious that the creature is a whale. If you happened to not hear Rem for whatever reason, then the creature could be anything!

      2. If you happened to not hear Rem for whatever reason, then the creature could be anything!

        Absolutely. As one of the people who threw the suggestion out earlier it still could be anything for all I know.

        I think the problem you’re running into is that Re:Zero has a habit of throwing things out casually in one episode and then referring back to them with similar casualness sometime later. It’s a show that at no point seems to want to have someone hit you over the head with a “Oh, wait, I remember that!”. Part of that comes from the nature of a show that loops back into the same time frame over and over again – you first see things from perspective x, then y, then z as events overlap – and the other part comes from the fact that the lead character is exceptionally bad at stopping to try to put the events together themselves.

        Those who are good at piecing those threads together are going to start seeing things others don’t; inevitably they’re going to want to speculate to see if they’re right.

  20. Is it true that this season will adapt all available material? The show is selling so well in Japan and is getting close to 10k sold on Blu Ray alone for its first volume. I could easily see another season if there’s material.

      1. arc 4 only exists as web novels so far; white fox is adapting the lightnovels, which cover up to arc 3 which is the current arc. I dont think white fox is going to adapt more material unless it’s in light novel form, kinda like with one punch man in which the web series is way ahead of the manga and if madhouse wanted to, they could adapt that; but it seems like they are waiting for the manga to cover the web series. If the series is popular enough, maybe white fox will say “fuck it” and adapt arc 4 although the material wont cover 2 full cours. It would have to be a 13 ep series (and even that might not be enough unless certain eps get the 1 hour treatment)

  21. If anything, the past episodes answer the question of ‘why is Subaru a NEET, when he seems nice enough’.

    With the exception of the ax-crazy Beetlejuice, it is rare to find a series where the MC hears ‘no’ from those around him- no, he’s not the strongest, not the special. It is also refreshing because these people are not necessarily bad; they just have their own agendas and they won’t bend their ideologies for someone they have no reason to trust.

    I imagine this series is extremely hard to review. Keep up the good work, Cherrie! While Subaru’s doing his ‘universal punching bag’ impersonation right now, the payoff is coming; and if White Fox does it justice as they have with the past content, it will be a great catharsis.

    1. Thank you for reading =) It is a challenging anime to write about when there’s so much you can say but also so many questions you want to ask. Also, I don’t want to spoil anything when I know something but still point it out.
      It’s great that so many people have inputs and comments though – I love reading through everyone’s ideas and suggestions. Makes the show a lot more complex when everyone has different thoughts ^^

  22. Basically continuing Subaru’s character needing to be beat down before he can get back up and be a better person, and that he still hasn’t truly woken up to his whole overall situation. He’s still being egotistical, prideful, and stubborn in basically expecting everyone and everything around him to conform to his beliefs, feelings, and wants, without ever considering the other sides’ positions, feelings, and wants, and just ignoring things they say if it’s something he doesn’t like even if it’s to help him.

    It wasn’t until Otto and his group that Subaru finally seemed to get it right (only to screw it up again by insisting they charge into the fog).

    (And from what LN readers have told me, this isn’t even the worst things get so far x_x;;)

    Even in real life, in the modern world, as much as we largely ignorant masses like to think otherwise, things have worked like Crusch and the other candidates have told Subaru; countries don’t just go running to help every other smaller country in the world just because “it’s the right thing to do” (as much as they like to talk about “doing the right thing”), but really only if there’s something to gain from doing so, either through invasion and taking resources or through negotiating with the leader(s) of that other country(s). (After all, that larger country is the one who would be using its own resources to act on behalf of another.)

    Or if not stepping in could result in something much worse happening that actually WOULD (greatly) affect those larger countries.

    Like, back with the First Gulf War, if Kuwait didn’t have any significant oil resources, but was invaded by Iraq anyway for whatever reason, would the UN have really put together a huge coalition to drive out the Iraqi military just because it’s the right thing to do? I highly doubt it. Chances are that Kuwait would have just been left to its fate, seen as too insignificant/not important enough to spend resources on to help, while UN leaders would just stand in front of cameras and do little more than scold Saddam Hussein, but otherwise taking no further action. But because Kuwait had such oil and letting Saddam take it could greatly affect the global economy, the world couldn’t afford to let it be lost to him.

    Same with various genocides in the 20th to today – how many of them could have possibly been stopped, or at least greatly reduced, if larger countries stepped in simply because it was the right thing to do? Instead, once again, those countries weren’t seen as worth spending resources on nor would the larger countries gain anything valuable from doing so, and so tens, hundreds of thousands, of even millions were left to die.

    It’s a sad and cruel reality…

    1. Yeah, that’s one thing that confused me. Did Subaru purposefully go into the fog, because I know everyone else didn’t find out about the fog until the next day during this current loop, but shouldn’t Subaru know as he’s already been informed of this? I think it’s more so he forgot about this (not so) minor detail, given how crazed and tunnel visioned he was at striking and killing the cults, rather than him purposefully ignoring the fact and charging into it.

      Trap Master
      1. @Trap Master: Two possibilities here with Subaru’s decision to take “White Whale Way” as I think of it. First, as you suggest, he very well might have simply forgotten given his mental state for the bulk of the episode (though he did seem to chill out a lot by that point). Alternatively, his hand may be forced here. Go the other way and he’s too late. Keep in mind, evacuation of the village will take sometime so can’t just arrive like an hour before the attack. There’s also the witch cult lurking on the longer road. Seems to me that he’s got to go this route, and somehow find a way to avoid the White Whale.

        Thanks for “I know everyone else didn’t find out about the fog until the next day during this current loop”. Wasn’t sure about that. Still, I’d think a well traveled merchant like Otto would know these things. Should I take that is the White Whale shows up randomly? Show up on specific days (IDK – phases of the moon or something). Really a lack of detains with this other than “it’s on this road”.

      2. @daikama
        I think this was the night when the merchants camped and in the morning, they found the whale blocking the road so they headed back, where the depressed Otto about how he bought oil when price was low first met Subaru in one of the previous arc. This time, I think it’s because Subaru ran into them during the night before they found out about the whale so they didn’t know the whale was there, so they headed onward anyways.

        Trap Master
    2. He didn’t go bludly into the fog, it literally wasn’t there. The White Whale only reported the next day. Subaru just go there early was unaware that it show up at that time.

      Iron Maw
      1. @Iron Maw: Thanks. That helps clear things up (Gah, I”m so bad with the timeline in this show :<). Question: You're an LN reader – right? BTW – see spoiler
        Show Spoiler ▼

      2. The white whale was “reported” next day, but that doesn’t mean it only got there the next day.

        I’m going to assume Subaru forgot about the information about the whale from one of the previous loop given the situation he’s in, since it would make little sense for him not to even worry a little about the whale being there the night before the reported sighting of the whale. It’s just not a natural conclusion to make that since the sighting of the whale was on a certain day, the whale must only show up no earlier than this certain day.

        Trap Master
  23. Hopefully Subaru can take these lessons from the other candidates and improve on his negotiating skills, though he did show some progress with the merchants. I facepalmed when he was asking Crusch for help, and then he flat out said Emilia would drop out with or without her aid. You don’t tell the other party that the potential benefit you’re offering will happen regardless, that makes your offer worthless. You also don’t show how desperately you need what the other side has to offer, especially not like a lunatic.
    I will say that some of the blame for his failure at negotiating lies with Emilia and the others he’s been interacting with through the first 2 arcs; they spoiled him by accepting his emotional pleas without ever questioning him or his motives too deeply. I’d expect most high society members in a seemingly medieval setting to place much more importance on negotiating power over the lives of some villagers that aren’t even in their domain.
    Information has got to be his currency; maybe figure out what the hell Crusch is doing buying up all the arms? Can’t see a whole lot of potential for a deal with Crusch, so may as well learn what he can to sell, probably to Anastasia.
    Priscilla is a wild-card, but she seems motivated mostly by what she finds interesting. Even her knight, Al, lacks the decorum of the others. Not only is his behavior less orthodox, he’s also visually different with the helmet and wardrobe. Kinda curious about his name, Aldebaran, since that’s also the name of a star, like Betelgeuse. Is the naming coincidental, or is there some kind of connection? Priscilla implies that she did something to him (directly or through others) which necessitates the helmet. Back to Subaru; he can’t be too subservient, as that’s boring for her.

  24. This is why I prefer emotionally intelligent and actually intelligent MCs.

    Ryner Lute from the Legend of the Legendary Heroes goes through so MUCH in his anime and yet he’s able to stay a likeable character throughout the show.

    Subaru’s not very intelligent and it’s getting in the way. It’s making the pacing terrible, and the way he interacts with other characters bothersome.

    1. If you like that type of ML, then you might want to check out Nejimaki Seirei Senki – Alderamin on the Sky (LN (source)/manga/anime) if not so already.. While I don’t think the ML is that similar to Ryner, he do share similarities. Ikta is definitely very smart, pretty mature, and lazy like Ryner. 😛

    2. It’s possible also that these plot development shows how Subaru develops with human experiences (e.g. someone unfailingly believing in him, bitter failures – exaggerated by death, and rising desperation from a foreseen problem)

      It follows the modern thinking of failing to succeed.

      kind one
  25. Some nonsensical dialogues from this episode which made me laugh and sigh

    Crusch: How can you specify the time and the place the witch cult will attack unless you are a member of the cult’s? (So I won’t help you).

    Subaru: They are coming and we have to kill all of them!!! (Subaru could reply “Don’t be silly. If I’m one of them as you suspect, why am I trying so hard to interrupt their plan?” Subaru didn’t have to be extraordinarily smart to come up with this simple sensible answer.)

    Crusch: Oh… so you really hate the witch cult. It’s why you approached Emilia? (This means Crush lost one important reason not to help Subaru right now. Her suspect that Subaru is likely to be a member of the witch cult.)

    Subaru: Are you saying I’m using Emilia to revenge against them? (Incredibly Stupid Subaru again. Why not say “so you don’t suspect me to be a member of the witch cult anymore now??? then why not help me ???)

    Crusch: You’ve never said you want to help Emilia. So you are lying. (Another good chance!!! to hit back Crush’s bull shit, saying “Why the f*** are you talking about, you bitch. Explain your chain of reasoning from “I’ve never mentioned I want to help Emilia” to the conclusion that I’m lying to you now. …

    Sadly, the writer again described Subaru to be unbelievably stupid in this scene. He only tries to depict Subaru being overly emotional, being upset. *Sigh*)

    Crusch: (Crusch bullshit again) I’m the type of person who is never deceived in negotiation. And I see you are not lying now. It’s just that you believe your delusion to be true. (Is this person is the same person who said Subaru was lying just now??? What is going on in her mind (or the writer’s mind) really? She talks as if she is a troll.)

    1. Am not sure Subaru is unbelievable stupid or you are, uh, incredibly smart and calm?

      Not sure how many can think like you think in that state of rage. Then again, it’s all about assuming ” i can do better than Subaru if i was in his shoes” until one is really in it anyway.

    2. Takurannyan //

      Not sure how many can think like you think in that state of rage. Then again, it’s all about assuming ” i can do better than Subaru if i was in his shoes” until one is really in it anyway.

      If Subaru was really seized with uncontrollable huge rage to the extent that that he couldn’t think well of his own anymore but became rash, irrational to the fullest (as you suggests…), then he wouldn’t have gone to Crusch to get some help from her to begin with.

      Am not sure Subaru is unbelievable stupid or you are, uh, incredibly smart and calm?

      As I said, Subaru didn’t have to be extraordinarily smart (or incredibly smart and calm) at all to come up with more sensible answer.

      1. He is just clinging into whoever he can think of, to get help from.

        While i am not exactly defending Subaru, i do think some people are sorta overly harsh on him.

        On the 3 candidates side, i don’t really find a problem with Crusch nor Anastasia. Only Priscilla left me wonder what is that she actually wanted from the man who has little choice.

      2. Takurannyan //
        “He is just clinging into whoever he can think of, to get help from.”

        ==> There was another reason for him to try Crusch for help and it is clearly shown in the show.
        He decided to ask Crusch for help because he thought Crusch was most likely to help him. Here is he said: “Because, to be honest, you seem the most likely to help right now, You helped Rem and me…”

        So he didn’t choose her just at random without any calculated rational consideration.
        This implies he could consider the situation around him coolly more or less.

        i am not exactly defending Subaru

        My point is not to blame him either. For example, If he went insane and mentally crippled as a consequence of traumatic events he had experience, I would have had no issue with Subaru’s silly and lame responses toward Crusch in the dialogue.

        I just blamed the lame and boring writing by the author.

      3. I wouldn’t call his decision to ask Crusch for help “calculated rational consideration”. Literally all he had to go off was the fact that she let them stay there while he recovers.

        Your point would make better sense if they decided to go to Reinhard and Felt first. He has a better relationship with them than Crusch. Albeit, Reinhard was away, but he didn’t know at the time, and if he was thinking rationally, he knows Reinhard thinks of him as a friend. Felt might reject him, just because she’s hardcore like that, but she’s still a good girl. She’s not rationally calm like Crusch, so she wouldn’t want to hear that the villagers are dead.

        Subaru’s decision to go to Crusch felt more like the obvious choice rather than rational consideration.

        Obvious choice because she’s the closest in the sense that he’s literally staying there for the time being. The one whose helping him now. It’s obvious to go to the person for help when they are currently giving you hospitality, albeit contracted to do so.

        And as for your thoughts on the lame and boring writing, why do you think it’s lame and boring? Because Nagatsuki (author) doesn’t give Subaru a quick wit? You saw what he went through last episode. He’s not going to take every opportunity possible to own Crusch in his state of mind. This isn’t Death Note.

        I’ve said this countless times on countless different occasions already, but it’s easy to look at Subaru from a calm state of mind and see what he’s doing wrong and be fed up with it. It’s totally different to understand it.

        You’re calm. You know how to counter Crusch’s statements. Subaru is filled with rage, desperation, anxiety and so much more. We can’t comprehend that. And with each passing statement, Subaru gets more and more riled up to the point where he was about to try to hurt Crusch, with everyone there watching. If you were filled with that much negative emotion after coming out of a trauma like the previous life, I doubt you’d be able to come up with those sensible responses. You have to understand that. If the realistic reactions of a mentally drained kid is lame writing, this isn’t the show for you.

  26. I have to say that I really do feel for Subaru at times. He is just a kid and he acts his age which can be really annoying. Still it must suck terribly to be so powerless when the ones you care for desperately need help. For me I worry that ultimately antipathy will set in when Subaru becomes the protagonist that I could not care less about. Is it true that many people will be traumatized by what he went through? Yes. Does that make for entertaining fiction. Up to a point. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. If you think about just how many lucky breaks he has had to even make it to this point, you really get the feeling that reality has taken a holiday. Not that many people liked the original Evangelion’s Shinji Ikari for much the same reason, he reacts like a normal boy and it is just not that great to watch.

    Let me paint a scenario here. Subaru enters the fantasy world. Let us presume that it is similar enough to ours that science is still valid; germs cause disease, gravity exists, alkali metal + water = BOOM, etc. The most likely thing to happen would be that Subaru, whose system contains microbes that have evolved to deal with the far stronger immune systems of modern humans, infects someone with something that a medieval human’s immune system cannot deal with. Considering it is the capital city, soon an epidemic will spread that will make the Plague of Justinian look like a head cold. Civilization as they know it will collapse as the labour that sustains an agrarian society dries up. Subaru himself? Likely dead of an infection that has long been eradicated by modern medicine. Smallpox for example. Bad end all around.

    Another scenario, Subaru eats or drinks something. Natives are inured to the microbes but Subaru, raised on the much cleaner food of the modern age, is not. Cholera for example could easily get him. A bad end for him but at least no one else died. Yet.

    Subaru mouths off to the wrong person and gets stabbed. Likelihood: high.

    Subaru starves to death in the gutter or dies of thirst since he never met anyone willing to provide for him and he cannot provide for himself. This is actually the most probable scenario. The fact that he appeared in the capital city is already a violation of the Original Position principle. Most of the place would be wilderness. Placed randomly, Subaru would be far from human civilization and die either horribly or miserably. This is realistic but it makes for piss poor fiction. Same with Subaru’s deteriorating mental state. People keep mentioning Subaru suffering from trauma or PTSD as if they are some sort of psychiatrist or psychologist without considering that many people deal with traumatic situations every day. Emergency services, surgeons, soldiers, policemen, people who deal with terrible things on a daily basis but do not crack under the pressure. Why? The human mind is far more durable than that. Most people develop a certain degree of detachment. A surgeon is useless if he goes to pieces after seeing patient after patient who look like jigsaw puzzles. Citizen soldiers have been a thing in human civilization since its inception, only larger states can afford professional military. Do veterans from various conflicts develop PTSD? Yes, of course. For some of them, the war never leaves them. Others recover and many remain functional even under great duress. Survival instincts tend to kick in when in stressful situations, which is why it is POST traumatic stress disorder. Do people snap when on deployment? Of course. Is it a majority or a plurality? Nope, No nation could maintain a sizable fighting force for long otherwise.

    Subaru in this episode runs around like a rabid dog, entering into negotiations with “I WANT! GIMME!” as his basic tactic. The people he meets are still nice enough to actually meet him despite the fact that realistically he would be a pariah at this point. They spoonfeed him with what he should be doing instead for no real discernible reason. Little wonder that some viewers are just throwing up their hands in frustration, as if someone is holding up the answer sheet for a student and he still gets it wrong. Is it realistically PTSD? Debatable. Many sufferers tend to exhibit less emotion, not more and are often more morose. When subjected to a singular traumatic experience, people tend to become highly irrational and emotional. When subjected to prolonged stress, people tend to become more… cold. This is where the stereotype of the stone cold killer comes from. Humans are empathetic creatures, basic military training across the globe spends a lot of time teaching a soldier to be willing to kill rather than how to kill. This is why a lot of war time propaganda tends to dehumanize the opposing side of the conflict. The first kill is pretty hard. Most people crack on the spot, especially if it was done in the heat of the moment. By the time you wrack up a sizable body count, killing is no big deal any more.

    Realistically Subaru’s actions in this episode looks more like frustration and desperation boiling over rather than PTSD or traumatic stress. Over a prolonged period, most people would actually become more functional not less due to his Return from Death ability. It injects a certain surreal nature to proceedings.

    “Shit Rem got killed again. Time to swallow my huge dose of morphine and try again.”

    What does one death matter to a psyche that has experienced dozens, both their own and others? My greatest fear is that we will see a Subaru so bereft of his emotions that he tries for good outcomes because he feels he should. Any emotional attachments to these people have long since burned away, his emotions deadened to the point of functional sociopathy. He has suffered to much for these people, the Sunk Cost fallacy has taken hold.

    “Yet another death, yet another rewind. So many. So very many. Lost count long ago. God damn it, can none of you literally keep your head on your shoulders?!”

  27. For anyone who’s had a mental disorder, Subaru is like an inspiration. As someone who has PTSD, with every new “trauma,” your mental state gets worse, not better. For people who think he should suck it up after experiencing so many deaths, it doesn’t work like that — the fact that he can even still function and work for those he loves is amazing. (And who wouldn’t get a mental disorder after being dismembered seven times, IDK)

  28. Ame Rain //

    You’re calm. You know how to counter Crusch’s statements. Subaru is filled with rage, desperation, anxiety and so much more. We can’t comprehend that. And with each passing statement, Subaru gets more and more riled up to the point where he was about to try to hurt Crusch, with everyone there watching. If you were filled with that much negative emotion after coming out of a trauma like the previous life, I doubt you’d be able to come up with those sensible responses. You have to understand that. If the realistic reactions of a mentally drained kid is lame writing, this isn’t the show for you.

    Your concluding remark is very close to, or almost in the same line with Zen’s remark in his comment above: “Subaru definitely makes poor decisions in this episode- but FAR more likely than not, most average folks would act exactly as he did when faced with a similar situation.”

    But your understanding of Subaru’s behavior is based on a plainly wrong assumption, that is, our MC Subaru is one of most average folks in mentality and the show pursues realism in human psychology. Let me repeat it. This assumption is plainly wrong. Evidence is overwhelming that he is clearly in the minority and somewhat exceptional. Here are just a few of them.

    Most average folks wouldn’t try to save Emilia’s life with no hesitation against frightful Elsa even at the risk of losing his life (more correctly, at the risk of experiencing a dreadful and painful death again).

    And most average folks would have resentment toward Rem who brutally tortured and killed him if they had been in Subaru’s shoes. But we know how Subaru treated her in the last arc. Far from being resentful toward Rem. He repaid evil with good and genuinely hoped to be a friend of her.

    And he often (if not always) showed surprisingly strong emotional resiliency. He was stabbed to the death in the street by a thug (twice?). Elsa cut his body open and he saw the internal organs spilled over the ground when dying (twice again?). Rem cut off Subaru’s limbs. And Ram cut out a piece of his throat. And he committed suicide by jumping off the cliff. Still Subaru’s mentality recovered so quickly enough to go about everyday lives, such as working as a servant, learn to write and read, being delighted with a hope of having a date with Emilia, teaching a modern Japanese Radio gymnastics to the villagers and having normal social interactions with them, playing with the kids and so on…

    His mentality and the way it suffers and recovers are not of most average folks. Thus it is pointless to mention how mind of most average/normal folks works in such and such situations, when it comes to making sense of Subaru’s mentality.

    If you were filled with that much negative emotion after coming out of a trauma like the previous life, I doubt you’d be able to come up with those sensible responses.

    It’s also the reason your statement above does not hold. The statement is relevant only when Subaru is one of average folks in mentality. But He is not. In fact, it’s even worse. Because Subaru’s experience being horrible has very little use of prediction. It explains nothing, because it can works as a post hoc explanation for almost anything. Here is an example. Subaru got brutally tortured, witnessed Rem got murdered cruelly by the witch cult villain guy in ep 15. We know that. Now question. What will happen to Subaru? Will he go back into a vegetable state again like before? Or will he get back mental functionalities just as we witnessed in episode 16 ? Which is more probable outcome, given that Subaru got brutally tortured and witnessed Rem got murdered cruelly and her limbs got weirdly twisted before him in episode 15 ?

    Before we actually watch episode 16, we really don’t know.

    Thus “Subaru suffered a lot again and it must be that his mind went broken. So it’s only natural that his mental state gets broken in a such and such way as descried in episode 16 ” is not really an explanation, but no more than a ‘just-so-story’.

    As mentioned previously, Re:Zero is not a show which pursues psychological realism. There is few (if any) rules of behavior which helps to predict when and how Subaru goes into mentally being broken, or gains enough sanity to be able to draw up some plan and consider the situation around him. Sometimes he got broken mentally not being able to do anything, or sometimes got recovered and sane enough to try to find out a way of defeating enemy and saving his friends. It’s largely determined by the author’s plan of when and how to move him to where – the author’s plan to squeeze out melodramatic emotional responses from the audience.

    For this reason, “If you were filled with that much negative emotion after coming out of a trauma like the previous life, I doubt you’d be able to come up with those sensible responses.” is not a proper counter to my complaint.

    Subaru is not one of us.

    1. I must admit that demanding realistic psychology from a fictional character does seem a tad quixotic. Subaru is not a real person but a fictional creation meant to serve the interests of the story. Believable psychology, enough that we do not lose our suspension of disbelief, is sufficient. Real people do not always make for the best entertainment, no matter what the Truman Show may say, and simply stating that “as if YOU would do any better” is ultimately presumptuous. It speaks as if the person already knows how any given individual would react in a given situation. This is the position of an author, an omniscient narrator, not of an impartial observer. In my experience people are a diverse and unpredictable lot. If not the disciplines of sociology and psychology would be deterministic rather than probabilistic sciences. If stimuli A reliably causes reaction B then people are effectively robots with a rather complex operating system.


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