Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu starts out with our main protagonist, Subaru being sent to another world, against his own will. He does not seem to care about his current situations and sets out his new life in this new world. We already can deduce from what we got before he was sent off, that he is a shut-in, don't socializes with other people and probably spends his day stuck in his room playing games or something along those lines.
This anime will play with your emotions on levels you can't even begin to imagine. Furthermore, compared to other Isekai or anime in general. Our main protagonist doesn't get everything from great power, knowledge and intelligence served in front of him on a silver platter. He has to work for it and the load is realistic in the sense it takes a good amount of time, and nothing something that can be accomplished quickly or effortlessly, he will go through pain and struggle before he meets his set goal.
At any rate, Subaru had no idea what he got himself into, his mind and his overall character were about to embark one thrilling and intense journey, with despair lurking amidst him and circling around him waiting for the right opportunity strike. Putting it in simpler terms, the world is out to get him both literally and figuratively and nothing goes as he wants to, for the most part. This journey through hell and back was something that would break Subaru's character or form him into a better person through multiple meetings with despair itself.
However, his story in another world seems to start out happy, since soon after being transported he befriends a beautiful silver-haired elf girl, Emilia, but for some unknown reasons, she is being hunted by a psychotic assassin who does manage to kill them both. Subaru falls in despair, only to open his eyes and standing there like it never happened. He can reverse time to a specific checkpoint and make it seem like his death never happened. The catch is that only he remembers what happened and if he were to tell this to anybody he would suffer severe consequences which could threaten his very life.
At this point, you might wonder but what is this anime about? What is the end goal? To begin with, this is a psychologically character driven anime which focus on Subaru and breaks down his character, so it can be built up from scratch. However, it's not as easy as it sounds.
Without going too much into details, let us say he goes through hell many times and comes back more broken, and vulnerable every time until he falls apart and start to take it out on others, and eventually, he arrives at a point where he could be gone forever if nothing is done.
Still, before everything, Subaru is a hyper, energetic and quite the lively person. He doesn't seem to care what others think of him and could in some regards; be considered cringe-inducing or weird. However, that's part of his charm and what makes him so likeable and interesting if you ask me. You will see him at his strongest, and you also will see him at his weakest. His character is what makes this anime so amazing and special. To go even deeper, Subaru's character has great chemistry with almost everybody. it can be anyone from what I have seen from the anime, and it will be fun and interesting interaction which you can't help but be amused by and can't get enough of, at least for me.
My reason for praising this anime so highly is because of Subaru and his development through the series which is one of the biggest reasons for having it as one of my favourites too. You can clear as day see how much he has developed close to end of the season, compared to the starting point. To just give some traits without spoiling, he becomes witty, sneaky, intelligent in some unusual ways. I liked his character, even more at this point, after everything he went through, and the level of development we got for him, he is easily one of my favourites character as of right now.
Additionally, you also have the cultural aspect, some political involvement which I found so fascinating in the anime. There was not a lot of it, but enough so it didn't become too much. If it was up to me, though, I wouldn't mind exploring those two themes a lot more.
This anime, specifically, the first season doesn't have a set goal, like to find a great treasure, or to become the number one hero. The characters are what drives this anime as you already can tell, but as you are going through it, you will see sub-plots which could be considered the main, but only if you use this season as the heart.
Because Re:Zero as previously stated by the creator, Tappei Nagatsuki, will be around 12 arcs. The anime covered the first, second, and the third arc. He also stated there will be at least 60 volumes worth of canon content by the end, so this speaks volumes for how big each arc could be and how much is still left unexplored.
This anime adaptation of Re:Zero excels at many things and undoubtedly, the sound is one of the components. In moments of absolute despair, sadness and even the comedic moments. White Fox does a wonderful job to fit each OST to their respective category. For example, the conversations feel more impactful, during certain dialogues, and at the moment when the soundtrack kicks in, if you already are not experiencing some sort of emotion, this will definitely help you and give you the last push if you ever need it, and even if you don't, it makes everything feel way better and heightens the experience you would go through during those moments.
Beyond that, it has some seriously kickass soundtrack which can be addicting to listen to. Both openings feel spot-on when it comes to the overall feel and atmosphere of this anime as well. Nothing but praises is all I have when it comes to sound. I love the OST and already have it downloaded. The ending is the same, I could argue I like the second ending more, since it feels more on-point and who does not like Rie Takahashi angelic voice? That said, the first ending is definitely a strong one, and I don't dislike it despite if my previous remarks. To top it off, we have some quite quality insert songs.
Another strong point in the category sound is without a doubt the voice acting. It feels so real and the actors can really get into the character they are playing. You will be charmed by the effect the dialogue and the voice "acting" can have on you, it's so powerful and seems realistic at times. This anime also has one of my favourites directed an episode of all time, the dialogue, to the tension, the overall mood is excellent, it would not be a lie to call some of these episodes a masterpiece.
I absolutely adore the art style used for Re:Zero, at first glance it gives this vibe of maybe feeling cute or moe-ish, or this is one way to put it. However, White Fox does an excellent job of manipulating it to gives the effect it should be during different moments. Equally, the facial expressions are on-point as well and feel realistic, the attention to detail is seriously one of the best I have seen.
During action events, the art and animation look fluid and you can tell White Fox is indeed putting some money and effort into making this anime. Moreover, the action sequences are fun to look at and I found myself at times going back to see those same scenes over again.
I did not find any inconsistency in art or animation which one needs to be on high alert for. The CGI is not top-notch, but it gets the work done and didn't mind it too much, it was gone before I noticed it, so it never became a huge issue for me.
As previously stated, the cast is one of the best and feels alive and in some way does help Subaru to progress further as a character. To start with, Emilia which is our main heroine gives you this vibe of being tsundere-ish. Though once you get more characterization for her, you cannot help but find her amusing and start to like her, the design of her is also very beautiful and I would say it fits her character very well. Like, if you see her somewhere you can easily deduce her personality or at least close to what it actually is.
Furthermore, as previously stated, the side character is fantastic and is one the best, they all have such good chemistry with Subaru and it is hard to not be amused by their interactions. Whether it be a certain maid making fun of him because Subaru is being silly, or if it's with bandits who are on the side of the road and up to no good. You will also have the side characters where you will at the start hate the individual but, in the end, you might start to change your opinion toward more positive note on the character and want more screen time for them. To go further, there are some quality side character that stands above the others and could, for instance, be the main role material.
Of course, you have the character that you want to just to die since he or she did something horrible. What. I can say without going too much into spoilers, is you will hate the individual but this one is definitely a well-written character and the personality is one of the strongest points about this person.
[FULL ON SPOILER: Watch the anime completely first!!
Watching the anime twice now, I consider Rem best girl, you got to admit she is a well-developed and a strong character to boot Though, can you believe that at the start, some of us hated Rem, not for just killing Subaru, but doing so while he is in the middle of confessing himself as he is crying, and his leg broken? And, now we all suddenly calling her best girl? Well, it's rude to say suddenly, since she did, after all, go through some amazing development, we learnt her past about how she resented her sister, Ram for being the center of everything, and she was relieved when she lost her horn. But she regrets about feeling that way and that is the reason among others, why she considered her time to be frozen. Arguably, she also took a large part in saving Subaru and if not for him, our main protagonist might've been gone forever.
Still, despite all this, and the fact that Emilia has no major role like Rem. She still had some great moments, like saving Arlam Village, or during the council when she showed she is not one to mess with. You also cannot deny Emilia is a good main heroine compared to so many others, so I for one was happy during that last scene with Subaru and her and it was saddening to see the council put her down like that. So, I cannot wait to see her get more development during the second season, so please, just get here already!!
Speaking of the council, I enjoyed every candidate and their respective character. Crusch came off as being smarty pants and know it all so I didn't start to like her, outside of already finding her interesting; before when the White Whale subjugation arc began and now I definitely want more of her.
Yes, the same applies to Priscilla, her actions against Subaru can be argued, but looking it from another viewpoint, it's logical and I can see why she was mad. Still, I like how she character at start feels like the typical ojou-sama arch type, but she is actually more than that.
Anastasia falls in the same category, in her case she was using Subaru but I would be lying if said I didn't like her already as a character. Looking at it from outside of the box, she did indirectly help Subaru, giving him the ingredients to get what he wants to put it simple terms.
As for Reinhard, already from the start, I already liked him and his dynamics with Subaru was intriguing and funny to watch. Then you have Julius who I disliked him from the start, and although, he made some good points, his action against Subaru could've been avoided. Still, he definitely took part in saving our main protagonist.
Later on, after they reconciled, he suddenly became another one of my favourite side characters. And, I would not mind if he or Reinhard for that matter had a main role in the future. Willhelm falls in this category too, learning about his past, his beautiful but a certified badass wife was well worth my time. His battle against White Whale was simply amazing, and he was a true badass at the moment. Some of those things he did to Gluttony; did make me feel a tiny bit, pity for the whale. He really shouldn't have messed with Wilhelm, though, so he had it coming.
Yes, Rem and Beatrice are also some great characters and I like them a lot. Rem and her condescending tone with Subaru and interaction were definitely some of the highlights of the anime. The same goes for Beatrice, who had some of the best moments with Subaru, I really like her attitude and found her quite amusing. It sucks we didn't get all that much focus on them, because I would've really liked that.
Lastly, I wanna talk a bit about Satella. We didn't learn all that much about her, and if there was a thing I found disappointing, this would be it. Though, it's just a slight nitpick and nothing major. What we do know about Satella is that she for reason unknown loves Subaru and can control at least 2000 shadows based on what Puck said. I like how they casually put it out there like it was just some useless information, but in reality, it's very big. Fun fact; I got chills when Puck casually said it. That was a great moment. I really wanna learn about more Satella, and possible see her meet with Subaru. I have a feeling she is not that bad, but I don't know if I am right or wrong. Either way, she would make for one insanely interesting character if we ever get more than just a silhouette of her.
Overall, it is a great-great anime and I cannot stress that fact enough. Sadly, it is not for everyone so not every person will feel the exact same feeling as I have through watching this anime. I can see someone that wants a solely plot-driven story with a set goal drop this in the earlier episode, not everybody will do for the same reason, but there must be at least some of those out there who would, unfortunately.
Subaru could also be one of those reasons, depending on how you take his personality, in just a matter of moments you can come to dislike him and don't want to watch any further because of him. If not, then his future actions might have you questioning his character and also could be a reason for falling out this anime.
My recommendation going into this anime, as with any media, is to completely forget the concept "expectations" and watch this entirely blind. Let the experience you go through watching this be the judgmental core for you and not your insight that could be the very reason that turns you away from this amazing anime.
[FULL ON SPOILER: Watch the anime completely first!!]
Now, then, despite all the praise I have thrown at Re: Zero's anime adaptation, it has some issues. Several key components are cut out to make the room and meet the required 25 episode quota. Like, did you know the world of Re: Zero is flat and that there is maybe a way to get there from the outside world? Or how about the fact that Aldebaran is also been sent to this world and has been here for 18 years. To close it, how about the fact that Subaru was about to kill Crusch with a freaking spoon and not punch her.
My point is, that all this was cut out, all this super interesting information about Re:Zero was left out in the anime which can make you see this already great anime in a new light. I mean it can easily be added in the next season, but we should have already known this by the end of the season. In that way, it's not really a negative part, but just something that could be considered depending on who it is we are talking about here. You can read all about it in more detail here and get some more juicy information I left out.
I finally want to add that the anime's ending is original. I have read the novel so I know it's quite different from what transpired in the source material. However, this, in fact, worked out for the better, and if someone where to find out what actually happened; there would undoubtedly many fans going through lots of emotions right now. The most important fact, though is the chance of raging fans who would most likely change their opinion of the anime if it did get adapted that accurately. Despite this, its still is possible to adapt how the author intended it to be, so not all hope is lost concerning this and the information, and we might see it someday in the long-awaited sequel
Compared to the usual not so interesting to bad Isekai anime. Re:Zero has a unique twist to it which just really works. This is one of a kind anime and I, absolutely want a second season to see where the story goes from this point. I will not call this a masterpiece, but it has some masterfully directed episodes which could be given that title easily. However, if a second season where to ever happen, it would not be far-fetched for me to give the sequel that title. Since it does have that kind of potential, according to me, and hopefully a lot of you who have seen the anime in its entirety.
Finally, if you like a realistic and a character-driven story which uses all it has in its arsenal to heighten the experience all the more; with great side characters too up the amusement more. I would highly recommend, Re: Zero to both new and old watcher of anime. This is definitely standards for what an Isekai can be if you think outside of the box and it's a great gateway anime to boot. And yes, just like HxH 2011, at one point you should definitely give this anime a try.