It is not hyperbole to say that ReZero is not only one of the best anime of the last few years, but one of the best anime in general. It is one of the two shows that brought me back to anime in general, it’s themes of redemption, anger, jealously, entitlement, and self reflection struck a cord with viewers. Also there was Rem, who might have been one of the best waifu designs in the last 5 or so years.
But would a second season be able to carry that forward? Or would the show just end up being a one-hit wonder. We don’t have the answer yet, but after the first half, I think we can see where things are going so far. So after the cut, let’s take a dive into the first cour of the second season of ReZero: Starting Life in Another World
Before watching this first cour, I was concerned that ReZero would be unable to repeat the success of its first season. Not that it couldn’t tell a good story, but since Subaru’s great personal journey of self improvement had been ‘finished’ by the end of the first season, I was afraid that the series might spin its wheels, or go back to similar stuff. Thankfully that is not the case, this first cour of ReZero is all about moving the story forward, and reminding you that things weren’t fixed just because Subaru ate some humble pie.
It didn’t solve the contest to be king, it didn’t solve the mystery of the witches, it didn’t fix how people view Emilia, it didn’t solve the mysterious assassins from the pilot episode lurking about, and it absolutely didn’t solve the fact that Subaru keeps dying, over and over and over again. Natsuki Subaru may have become a better person, having learned to respect Emilia and himself, but that doesn’t change everything else, and he and the rest of the cast have to now struggle against the world itself, not their personal feelings, sans Rem who is removed from the story when she’s thrown into a coma.
In her place is Echidna, the witch of greed who already has cemented her place among the fans and anime as one of the best girls. Mysterious, comical, but always greedy, she serves as Subaru’s mentor throughout the first cour, giving him advice, comforting him when his down, and when her true colors are revealed, offers him a deal that is too good to be true. Like many people, I absolutely loved Echidna, and I was glad that as the cour went on, she didn’t just end up being the cute Rem replacement people were thinking. We also get a look at the other witches of sin, who run the gambit of personalities and traits that are just begging to be explored.
However the personal journeys are ignored completely, and this cour also gives us a glimpse of Subaru’s life, and learn that he wasn’t just a complete shut-in NEET. Instead a young boy desperate to be the center attention, living in the shadow of his father, and eager to be something special to someone. It’s a great addition to the Subaru’s story, and really helps lift his character out of the archetypical (but damn effective) role he was in before. We also get tantalizing hints about Emilia and her supposed inability to look past her own past to pass the trail remains an unsolved mystery.
Yet if there one thing that I can level against the series, it is this. As great as this second season is. As full of shocking, uplifting, jaw dropping and bloody moments it is. ReZero’s first cour this season is also one that never lets you take a breath. From the moment Rem is thrown into the coma, until Subaru’s last conversation with Echidna, the gas peddle is constantly on full throttle. So much is always happening, almost every episode starts with no opening or ending, and if you look away for just ONE moment, you’ll miss something. Now there is nothing wrong with that, and it shows you just how much ReZero as a show has to offer, but I won’t feeling exhausted after a few weeks of it. If anything, the show really REALLY needed like or two downtime episodes to let us take a breath. But then again, if the biggest issue is that story is always on fire, then there is little to really criticize.
I’ve only really touched on a few things here. There is frankly so much left to discuss, but the first cour of ReZero: Starting Life in Another World’s second season is worthy successor to the masterpiece of the first. It always has something to show, something to talk about, and I found myself at the edge of my seat almost each week. A little too intense at times, it may never let you take a breath, but the series hasn’t lost any of its luster. I can’t give you a real review of the show until all is said and done, but right now, things are heading in a damn good direction. Just remember.