ReZero was the most popular anime of the Spring Season, and with its second cour this Summer season, I’m curious to see if it hold onto its title. People were very excited to hear about its second cour, and rumored second season. So far this series has sparked the interest in ‘transported to other worlds’ topics for fiction writing competitions in Japan, and I understand why. ReZero is every anime fans dream come true.
Our main character, Subaru, is somehow transported to an alternate world. We have no idea how, why or if he will ever get back home. The world he is now in is host to Demi-humans, spirits, witches, magical swords and half-elves to name a few inhabitants. Subaru arrives with his cellphone, chips, ramen and his tracksuit as his ‘starting inventory’ as he calls it. His attitude is very calm, he’s taking it as if he is in a VR videogame. I don’t think the thought of going home has really occurred to him yet. It is like Outbreak Company, where an otaku is brought to the world they only dream of, filled with magic and other species and adventure.
Naturally because he is in a world with magic, he was summoned by a cute girl, and possesses magic. If only he could find the girl or use the magic. Both are a no-show. This doesn’t stop him from pressing on!
He follows the natural progression that a videogame character would. He checks out the marketplace, looks into bars for information, explores in search of items and missions. When he can’t fine either, he ends up whining in an alley.
He meets this girl, a half-elf named Satella(turns out its not really her name). A insignia of hers was stolen and its only right for the hero to help the damsel in distress right? When they do find the insignias location, they are brutally murdered.
Yup. Slashed through the gut. Bleeding to death on the floor.
This is where the magic comes in I guess, because Subaru opens his eyes to find himself back in the town he first arrived in. His ‘checkpoint’ I guess. He doesn’t know how he got back there or where Satella is, but he heads back to where the insignia was to trys and retrieve it, this time keeping Satella out of harms way by not telling her. He doesn’t know that the day had been reset.
After the second time he is murdered and returns to the ‘checkpoint’ he sees Satella and chases her, apologizing to her for getting her hurt the day before. She turns around, says that’s not her name, and that she doesn’t know him. Cue the mouse wheel in his brain.
The drawing style of the characters was pretty standard. The character design was not focussed on realism, but was more of an expected anime style. Satella is dressed like you would expect an elf, long white dress, long white hair, pointed ears. Subaru looked like a NEET with his hair pinned up and in a track suit. They really hit all of the right stereotypes didn’t they! Even the mean shopkeeper was tough and muscly but gave in when his daughter became involved.
When characters were speaking to one another, there was not a lot of body movement. Their facial expressions changed but there was no movement on a large scale to accentuate any interaction. When you were close up on a character their faces became very detailed, mostly in pain because those were the only times the faces were zoomed in on. When characters were far away there was little to no detail in the face. At average distance, the characters were not overly detailed, but included medium amounts of crease and wrinkle lines. They saved the intense facial expressions for close-ups.
The drawing style of the marketplace is different from the style of the Slums. The slums background did not change, so it was motionless and appeared to have no outlines. The place looked decrepit and the lack of outlines looked as if it helped it look like it was falling apart. In the marketplace people were constantly moving, so the outlines were a solid and the colors were bright.
When Satella is looking over the town from a high location, the buildings and stalls are very small and far away, but they are individually drawn instead of being a blurry block of color. The backgrounds for the most part are blurred a small bit so that the focus remains on the characters in the foreground.
The use of light was a mixed bag. When characters were shadowed by a building or an awning, they were darker than the characters in the sunlight. Their faces still had shadows that would usually happen when light was shining on them. Also Subaru carried a lantern into a pitch black building, but the resulting light was a perfect circle as if he was using a flashlight. The refection on water surfaces, and in close-ups of eyes are done well with the right amount of distortion. When Satella summons Lesser spirits they look like firefly’s and the light dispersion is soft so there is no hard outline.
The series is very magical, and interesting. The ability to ‘checkpoint’ death brings up questions like perhaps each death brings him to an alternate timeline like in Steins Gate and whether characters will retain any memories from past interactions with Subaru. We don’t know who brought Subaru to this world, so that reveal will probably be the climax. The Satella that ‘Satella’ is angry about is called ‘the Jealous Witch’ so we don’t know who that is and why it is so offensive to be called that. There are a lot of questions and with 23 more episodes, hopefully we receive more answers than questions.