「泣きたくなる音」 (Nakitaku naru Oto)
“Sounds that Bring Him to Tears”

Honestly if I wasn’t painfully aware we have a season break before the arrival of the next episode this would’ve been one hell of a midseason setup. The truth of Satella’s undying love (or at least part of it); Echidna showcasing just how she’ll get what she wants; Roswaal ripping the band-aid right off and driving the shiv firmly into the gaping wound—oh yeah, it was all hands on deck, including our boy Otto who’s quickly proven he’s much better than the comic relief we’ve taken him for thus far.

While we’ll get more on Subaru’s state of mind next time, the key takeaway here is his selfishness. As made clear earlier in the season with Echidna’s first trial, Subaru believes himself to be weak and worthless, and to get over that chose to save those he’s come to know with the powers he’s been insidiously (in his mind) granted. Except that’s not why Satella’s given him the “gift” of reincarnation. If anything, Return by Death can be seen as Satella’s way of getting Subaru to find self-worth, to find a way to love himself for who he is, warts and all. Giving himself fully to the peace and painless happiness of those around him? Not the intended state as the likes of Minerva and friends made obvious, although this discussion does ironically highlight what ties Subaru so closely with the Witch of Envy and why she probably chose him originally. Subaru may no longer overtly desire being seen as the jack of all trades “hero” he considered his father, yet deep down he still longs to be seen in a similar light and to be known—if only to himself now—as the one who took in all the bad alone so everyone else can experience the good. There’s a reason envy is considered a deadly sin, and Subaru’s vainglory is Re:Zero’s penultimate example of it.

And if Subaru’s latest issues weren’t enough, Echidna and Roswaal certainly put the stakes home. Echidna’s antagonist status shouldn’t be in doubt for anyone sitting on the fence now for example, as Subaru’s refusal to give her what she desires—i.e. new experiences through Subaru’s repeated demise—leaves her greed woefully unsatiated. Removing Subaru’s ability to take Sanctuary’s trials is effectively her way of forcing his hand, as the possibility is strong that Subaru’s Return by Death checkpoint could now update and leave another someone he cares about in the same position as Rem. Enter Roswaal, who in his own desire to mold Subaru into his desired state (read: treating Emilia as just another piece on the board) actually ordered Elisa’s attack on the mansion and murder of its inhabitants. Besides this bit likely surprising the hell out of some, it puts Subaru in a serious conundrum because unless he’s willing to give Echidna what she wants, he’s going to have to put Elisa down—and we know how well that worked before.

It’s arguably the biggest fork in the road before us in Re:Zero right now, and it’s definitely going to be one hell of a wait to find out just what Subaru does in this situation. I will say though that the potential options become slightly clearer once you consider the status of Beatrice and Garfiel in this picture, and what everyone else—Ram and Otto—in particular would be willing to do to help their friend.

With this arc only halfway finished I’ll hold off on final impressions until the winter (yes, I’m obviously covering that season too!), but I’ll simply say if you thought things were crazy already just wait to see what happens next. The Sanctuary arc isn’t considered one of Re:Zero’s best for no reason, and we’ve only just breached the surface of the ridiculous carnage to come.


  1. I think this episode increases the chance of Emilia dying at the end of the series given that Satella’s wish is for Subaru to kill her. The Witch Cult’s goal is to test Emilia to see whether she is a good vessel for Satella, and I could see Satella possessing Emilia’s body at the end of the series with Subaru leading a coalition of fighters that her since Emilia’s body is not immortal unlike Satella’s original body. Satella wants Subaru to love himself, and maybe the purpose behind her summoning him to Re:zero’s fantasy world is to give Subaru self-confidence in playing a role in killing the most monstrous being in existence before sending him back to the human world to have him start off life again as a new and more confident man. I know Subaru would be crushed to have to kill Emilia, but I think he’ll get over it in time.

    1. I can’t see it happening. Tappei began writing the story solely due to Emilia, everything else came after, and he is her biggest fanboy. Killing her off just doesn’t sound like what he’d want to do for her.

  2. Goddamn, Satella… Going from scary yandere to downright sympathetic? And she wants Subaru to (somehow) kill her? What the eff?

    That aside, I am beginning to question whether the other Witches of Sin (except Echidna, who has shown her true colors at this point) are actually the evil beings they were made out to be, or were simply spurned by the rest of the world because of their powers and desires. (Heck, perhaps some of them even decided, “then let me be evil”, or something.)

    You thought it was the Witch’s Cult that sent Elsa and Maylie to the mansion, but it was I, Roswaal! JoJo reference/seiyuu joke aside, would it be a stretch to say Roswaal is from a different sect of the Witch’s Cult focusing on another witch (read: Echidna)?

    Good on Otto delivering a much-needed “Get a hold of yourself, man!” punch on Subaru after Roswaal’s reveal.

    Another effective example of a mid-season cliffhanger. Damn, the wait’s gonna be painful.

    1. Define Evil. As has already been shown, Daphne created three incredibly powerful creatures that tormented mankind, killing and eating more than could be measured. Was that evil? She did to create enough food to feed the world. Sounds great until she adds that they needed to be able to defend themselves and eat as well.
      Even Hitler and Stalin can be argued to be doing the greater good from a certain viewpoint. Did they think they were “evil.”
      Also, it hasn’t been gotten fully into yet, and I won’t here, but there’s a lot of past involving all of them that caused them to be labeled as witches. Sure some of these things were unintentional on their part, but they also made decisions that led to harm. (Hopefully that was vague enough to not need spoiler tags)
      Think about it this way, if you had immense power, and you knew the way you were using it, was causing harm, but kept doing so for your own reasons, does that make you evil?

      1. “Think about it this way, if you had immense power, and you knew the way you were using it, was causing harm, but kept doing so for your own reasons, does that make you evil?”

        First off, I’m going about this loaded question[1] from a third-person observer perspective and try to get the POV of both sides.

        Well, it’s a certainty that those who experienced harm from said power(s) first-hand (and lived to tell the tale) would think that the one with such power(s) is evil. But the one using those powers would either think, “Nah, they don’t understand why I’m doing this, but I’m hoping they eventually will.” (Optimistic take) Or, “Nah, they don’t understand why I’m doing this, and if they can’t, tough luck.” (Pessimistic take) Or to put it simply, “It’s a necessary evil.”

        That being said, it is true that the actions of the Witches have made the world of Re:Zero a pretty dangerous (if not outright “f**ked-up”) place. (The adage “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions” comes to mind.) If the Witches did realize that their actions have caused or continue to cause harm, yet continue to do it anyway, to paraphrase Revenge of the Sith-era Obi-Wan, “Then they are lost.” Hell, it can be argued that Satella summoning Subaru–who wanted nothing to do with the troubles of Re:Zero‘s world–and giving him a cursed power to try and un-f**k that world was a pretty dickish move. (Satella’s own spoilers aside.)

        However, I’d still love to read that part of the light novel that explains the thought processes (read: the “Whys”) of the Witches who basically acted as impromptu therapists to Subaru in that scene. I guess it’s part of my need to understand the characters better, protagonists and antagonists. (I’d do the same for KanoKari‘s Mami, if it weren’t for the lack of a deeper “Why she does it” in the manga–or anime.)

        (Note [1] / TL;DR: Thinking such thoughts–as hypotheticals–is one thing; actually following through on those thoughts, turning them into premeditated action/reality and continuing to do so–that’s evil.)

  3. This didn’t feel like a final episode before a 3 month break at all, which just shows that the initial plan was to broadcast all of them in one go. Wonder whether we’ll even get a new OP.
    Subaru’s mood swings were a bit cringeworthy this episode. Like, it hasn’t gotten any better. Thankfully, Otto was there to help him out.
    At this point am I supposed to consider any of the witches as the “bad guys”? Sure, Echidna has her greed for knowledge, but as Subaru himself said, she DID help him in the end, even gave him advice regarding Garfiel. Morally gray?
    Satella however, whoever she is, seems to be severely misunderstood, trying to build Subaru’s self worth, while at the same time in need of saving herself.
    OTOH, it can’t all be Roswaal, so there must be someone else that hasn’t shown up yet, like the dragon that he wanted to defeat?

    1. Yeah I really think this was intended to be back to back, but Corona-chan probably screwed up the schedule enough to force a delay. At least we’re getting a delay now though and not at a different stage, because that would’ve screwed with things worse.

      And no IMO the witches aren’t the bad guys, they’re simply forces of chaos with their own wants and desires which can either run parallel to or against what Subaru wants. If there is a bad guy it’s effectively the Witch Cult considering their ideal outcome is entirely against everything Subaru is after.

  4. Now I`m curious, what exactly is Witches Cult, because Witches don’t seem to be in charge of it. I just don’t see them fitting together, though our experience with Cult is limited. Are they like Whale, just a creation of Witches, that is now running rampant on their own.

    1. Not sure we’ll find out too much more next season, but I wouldn’t believe they are a creation of the Witches. Not all cults have to be based around a figure who knows what the cult is about after all – just like not all potential cultists have to be a part of the cult. Just consider Roswaal’s status vis a vis Echidna for some ideas 😉

  5. The idea of Satella left me so confused. Like, she’s confirmed to, at least in some way, be Emilia, but she came and went before Emilia. She loves Subaru, and speaks like she’s known him for years, but he never knew who she was until he came to that world.

    This is just me speculating here, but I have to guess that there’s some kind of time reversal, time is cyclical curse kind of thing going on. Like maybe Emilia isn’t Satella in Satella’s future, but rather the opposite. Maybe Satella is actually Emilia after knowing (and maybe losing) Subaru, and somehow in time (the world’s time, not hers) she became Satella AFTER being Emilia with Subaru.

    1. For me, this is likely the big question of story. I also wonder at the connection between the two characters. Of course, they’re holding those cards tight to their vest so we can only speculate.

      It makes me wonder as well, what Echidna was implying previously when she complained about Emilia not being able to face whatever and complete the damn test. Or what Emilia meant when muttering, “I’m not that girl.”

  6. This episode left us with so many questions and it’s going to one heck of a long wait to find just glimpses of the answers.

    The witches are an odd kind of villainy. They are akin to psychopaths but given special powers. Each one seems to have some twisted sense of morality. I don’t know how to feel about them, but this show sure seems to have changed my impression on them since the first season where they were portrayed as the ultimate form of villains in this show, which they may still be but with added depth. Honestly, I don’t know how to feel about them now, they’re still confusing as heck and I’m sure there’s more to them than this episode has let us in.

    Still, the one biggest barrier to entry for me naming this an absolute great show is “Subaru” himself. This guy annoys me to hell, and his constant screaming reminds me of those shounen shows where the MC just keeps on screaming. I would have thought he’d grow on me over time, but alas he did not. The side characters ultimately end up being more interesting.


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