I’ve watched a lot of anime in recent years that I’ve enjoyed quite a lot. Some were more low-key that I enjoyed on a personal level, usually because I got more out of them than I expected, like Chivalry of a Failed Knight. Others I loved for their character writing, like both seasons of Silver Spoon. Then there are the ones that fascinated me with their specific character arcs and themes, like both seasons of Tokyo Ghoul (though I seem to be the only person for that one).
But it’s been ages since I’ve seen a show that was so good at being a show, something that’s thrilling on a basic level. Re:Zero manages to be entertaining in a way that’s easy for a general audience to enjoy, but without sacrificing the depth and attention to detail that make it so good. I feel like it’s an approach that isn’t appreciated as much as it used to be, which is a shame. People are more than willing to praise shows that handle complicated themes, but for some reason it’s made people lose sight of how focusing on being entertaining is also an art. There’s a lot of nuance to almost any approach, the more quote-unquote “mature” shows are just easier to view as good because of the way they carry themselves.
So, as I am wont to do, I’ve decided to go over everything that makes Re:Zero stand out in meticulous, excessive, and probably annoying detail. Mainly because of the positive reception, surprisingly. I’m tired of seeing people say the show is great but then not actually backing it up with anything other than “it does neat things with Subaru and it’s dark”. I mean, yeah, it’s nice to see a protagonist that bucks the current trend of “I can do everything on my own because I’m the best at everything and the world rewards me for being that way” protagonists from light novels that are getting adapted lately and I’ll absolutely go over him when I get to that part, but that’s not what elevates the show so much. Subaru is just kind of a neat side show, he’s not being developed 24/7, it’s really only a few episodes that focus on it.
If you want to know my thoughts without being spoiled since you haven’t seen it yet, this intro should have already made my feelings obvious. Re:Zero is the perfect example of not only how to do a “stuck in a fantasy world” story the correct way, but is also a fantastic show in general. For everyone else, strap in because we’ve got a lot to go over. Feel free to take this in multiple sessions, I won’t be surprised if this ends up being absurdly long.
Maybe it’s just the small portion of the anime community that I’m capable of observing, but it seems like the show getting the most attention this season is Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. I mean, I can’t say that’s too surprising seeing as it’s the Attack on Titan team and Tetsuro Araki’s staple over-the-top directing is natural at drawing people in, but I think there are plenty of other shows airing this season that deserve the attention more. One of those obviously being Re:Zero.
To be fair, Re:Zero is probably the second or third most talked about show this season, but it’s easily the best out of the approximately twenty shows I’m watching this season, and I want it to be the most talked about show, not the almost most talked about. So I’m going to give spoiler-free reasons for why you should watch the show if you aren’t, but also try to explain why it’s so good to those that are watching it or dropped it early on since they weren’t entirely convinced. Though I will explicitly mention some stuff from the first episode.
For reference to those who might see this late, I’m making this after having seen eight episodes of the show. So there could be even more reasons down the line I could give, but just haven’t seen them yet.