Re:Zero Series

Anime Hajime Review: Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Season 2 Part 2

More from the Re:ZERO series:

Original Run: January 6, 2021 - March 24, 2021
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Isekai
Based on the Series Created By: Tappei Nagatsuki

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Season 2 Part 2. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

Following his conference with the witches, Subaru Natsuki (voiced by Yuusuke Kobayashi) steels himself to do the unthinkable. With no room for mistakes, he gambles everything as he tries to save all his friends from a horrible fate.

But to put the odds in his favor, Subaru must give certain players a long-overdue push.

Having been discouraged by her failed attempts at the Witch of Greed’s trials, the half-elf Emilia (voiced by Rie Takahashi) has hit rock bottom. Believing there is no hope for success, she is dragged to her feet by Subaru. At long last, Emilia realizes that there are people who will support her no matter what.

Now facing the problem from two fronts, Subaru and Emilia band together to do what many consider impossible.  

Series Positives

When I reviewed Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- (Re:ZERO 1) and Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Season 2 Part 1 (Re:ZERO 2-1), I did so in a long marathon session. For me, there was no wait time. The same cannot be said for Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Season 2 Part 2 (Re:ZERO 2-2). Between this chapter and its predecessor, there was a five-month lull.

Accordingly, I feel that wait-gap significantly influenced my experience with Re:ZERO 2-2. Mind you; it wasn’t significant enough to reverse my ultra-positive reception of this series. To be blunt, this installment was fantastic. Still, the problem I ended up running into might easily happen to other viewers. Let’s set aside what that problem was for the moment and stick with this season’s positives.

Besides retaining many of this series’ most commendable qualities – solid animation, tense atmosphere, and likable characters – Re:ZERO 2-2 produced two major accomplishments: one expected and one unexpected.

First, let’s discuss the expected accomplishment – the conclusion of what we will call the Sanctuary Arc.

As a quick recap:

Subaru, Emilia, and their party went to the Sanctuary to meet up with Roswaal and Ram (voiced respectively by Takehito Koyasu and Rie Murakawa), who retreated there following the battle at Arlam village. The Sanctuary itself is guarded by a barrier that locks in anyone with mixed blood. Emilia, being a half-elf, became trapped inside but could dispel the barrier by completing the Witch of Greed’s trials. Meanwhile, back at Mathers Manor, assassins brutally slaughter everyone inside, including an unconscious Rem, Ram’s twin sister.

The sticking point of this story arc was Subaru’s struggle to save both the people in the Sanctuary and those at the manor.

Yes, I left out a ton of other details. For our purposes, though, that’s all the information we need to know.

I called this conclusion “expected” not because I knew it would be good, but because I figured it was going to happen one way or another. And yet, I used the word “accomplishment” since this conclusion was extremely satisfying.

By a raise of hands, how many recall the Royal Candidate Selection that is supposed to be going on? Given the events of Re:ZERO 2-1 and 2-2, I can’t fault anyone if it has slipped their mind. After all, the Sanctuary Arc was one hell of a detour.

Fortunately, part of this installment’s expected accomplishment involved bringing us back to that original plot point. I have to assume a Re:ZERO Season 3 will continue with the Royal Candidate Selection. But unlike at the end of Re:ZERO 1, Subaru and Emilia’s group is in a much better position to participate. Knowing the nature of this series, it would be foolish to predict what might happen next. However, it feels as if we have returned to the center of things.

And regardless of what comes down the road, Re:ZERO 2-2’s unexpected accomplishment set the stage for a much more exciting story. I recognize that is a bold statement given how brilliant this series has been thus far, but hear me out.

Emilia is a much, much, MUCH better character now.

Up until Re:ZERO 2-2, Emilia has been this series’ damsel in distress. Many people – Subaru being the most gung-ho amongst them – have bent over backward to ensure Emilia’s safety. I get her role as the potential next ruler due to the Royal Candidate Selection, but we haven’t been given much reason to put our faith in her. For most of this story, I was convinced Subaru only gravitated towards Emilia because she was the first pretty girl he ran into when he came to this world.

If subsequent installments build upon the foundation Re:ZERO 2-2 laid down, I won’t be saying that anymore.

Without giving anything away, Emilia finally acknowledged that she couldn’t do everything by herself. To achieve her goals, she needs to rely on those closest to her. People like Subaru, who’ll stand by her no matter what, accept who Emilia is, flaws and all. She no longer needs to put up a false air of perfection: One because it wasn’t working and two because it held her back.

For the first time in this series, I believed that Emilia was this super powerful spellcaster. She could hold her own in a fight and be a genuine force of nature.

One of the enormous clouds over Re:ZERO has been Subaru’s instance in choosing Emilia while sidelining the more capable Rem. I won’t go as far as to say Emilia has finally supplanted Rem – let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But I will admit that Emilia is now so much more than the girl who needs saving.

As for everything else that went on in this season, it was what we have come to expect from Re:ZERO.

Within the isekai genre, this series is unique. This story is much darker than its contemporaries; happy endings are not easy to come by. With Re:ZERO 2-2 now over, it will be interesting to see what direction things go. I don’t imagine problems will suddenly become more manageable. Subaru is most likely going to have to die a few more times.

Nevertheless, our characters are in the strongest position they have yet been in. Therefore, how can anyone imagine a continuation not affected by that?

Series Negatives

Let’s swing back to what I was talking about at the start of the review. Again, there was a five-month gap between when I watched Re:ZERO 2-1 and Re:ZERO 2-2. Although I enjoyed this season’s two predecessors, I was astonished by how much I had forgotten.

Have you ever started up a video game save file months after you last played it, and you’re struck by the realization that you have no idea what you were doing before you stopped? The same thing happened to me with Re:ZERO 2-2.

Therefore, unless you are the ultimate fan of this series or you’re watching everything in one single binge session, I recommend re-familiarizing yourself before you begin this season. If you’re hoping Re:ZERO 2-2 will have some kind of recap, there is none.

That’s not a criticism of this installment. I just think you should be aware of it.

As for anything against Re:ZERO 2-2, I do have a minor nitpick.

Two plots were playing out simultaneously. First, Subaru was trying to save everyone in the Sanctuary and at Mathers Manor. Second, Emilia was undergoing her trials. These stories had vastly different tones, and it was a tad awkward when this season jumped between them.

What Subaru was doing was much more volatile. There was action, tension, and excitement; the possibility of something going wrong was always there.

What Emilia was doing was – for the lack of a better word – safer. She was exploring and coming to terms with her past, present, and future. Thus, she was either facing events she could not alter or witnessing visions of what could be. This was a fantastic bit of background, and it did wonders for her character.

As an example of the disparity, there was the end of this season. At one moment, there was quiet snow and a more solemn atmosphere. And the next moment, FIRE AND BURNING AND NOISE.

I am not saying one plot was better than the other; they both were worth watching for their own reasons. However, what I AM saying is, they were different, and that difference took some getting used to.

Be that as it may, the result is undeniable. Re:ZERO is in a great position to continue. But how it will continue, I won’t even try to predict.

Final Thoughts

This season was a remarkable conclusion to the continuation.

Given this series’ tendency to turn dark, this was a welcomed slice of hope. If nothing else, this installment cleaned up a ton of loose ends that might have otherwise hindered the next chapter in this story.

I cannot wait to see where we go from here.

Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Season 2 Part 2 has earned a recommendation.

But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Season 2 Part 2? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

More From The Re:ZERO Series

Anime Hajime Review: Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-
Anime Hajime Review: Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Season 2

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