This one’s a shorty even though it’s a two-fer.
Starting of with episode 9, I have to be honest here, I don’t have much to say about it. Subaru tried to figure out who or what the thing that cursed him is and it’s revealed to be that cute little puppy from a few episodes ago… and to be honest that reveal actually didn’t work for me. Nor did Subaru’s speech and supposed affection for the village.
Now I don’t know what would have worked for me, but I just didn’t like the mabeast at all. Unlike Elsa there wasn’t much real set up with them. There wasn’t any kind of clues or hint that they might have been the perpetrators behind Subaru’s death by mana drain. Sure there was the dog, that was a little bit of set up and just like how Subaru didn’t suspect it at all, we the viewers don’t either.
This would be fine (and technically it still is to a certain degree), but the show already established that it can have scenes that feature characters without Subaru talking about things that he’s not going to hear (Roswaal and Ram). I get that those scenes are probably just there to act as a red herring, but the thing about mysteries is that you do need to have some sort of set up to make sure that the inevitable reveal doesn’t feel tacked on. And while there was set up (the dog), I just didn’t find myself buying into it as much.
I played along with Ram and Rem killing Subaru due to their mistrust for him, but the mabeast felt a little forced and a little random to me. Though I’d completely understand if other people disagree with me on this point and felt that the mabeast was a great twist. Still, it didn’t work for me so bleh.
The other thing that I didn’t buy was Subaru’s affection for the kids in the village and the other people in it. I get that he likes kids (as shown before) and that he’s a good guy (as show time and time again), but when he made his speech about the kids to Rem it just felt a little ham fisted to me. I felt like the writer only added it into the story only because we needed a reminder that Subaru’s a good guy and that Subaru needed to do or say something that’ll convince Rem that he’s a good guy.
Yeah he hung out with them, but that was one loop out of many. And saying that he hung out with them in the other loops and that his relationship with them simply blossomed off-screen is just cheating, and cheap. Imagine a romance anime where the main characters say that their in love with each other and that they’re a couple, in this hypothetical romance anime we don’t actually see the couple loving each other. All of that is done off screen, asking the viewers to just buy that is just a bit much. Re:Zero gets a bit of a pass since the focus of the show isn’t about Subaru’s relationship with the kids, but if you’re going to make the kids be the driving force of an episode, then at least set it up well. When Subaru thought back to all the good times he spent in the manor I bought it, and that’s because we’ve actually seen Subaru spend time and grow to love the people there. The same can’t be said about the kids.
But that said, there were exciting scenes in these episodes. Like Rem’s fight. I hate the tired bloodlust anime characters, especially if they’re little girls who have demonic powers or whatever. It was clever the first few times I saw it, but now I’m just annoyed by it. Thankfully, I liked Rem, so I cared for her and I actually rooted for her when she was fighting the mabeast. Both major fight scenes in episode 9 and 10 were great. The pacing felt fluid, the fight visceral (though never brutal) and it was just damn fun.
Unfortunately I’m not gonna talk about those scenes in detail since that’s not my department. (I’m more of a story guy.)
The other thing that I really liked in episode 10 was Subaru’s ingenious idea of using his curse as a way to lure the mabeast (and Rem) towards him. It’s dumb and risky but I thought that it was clever. He’s also still consistently funny and when he threw Ram at Rem I actually laughed out loud, and that’s rare for me to do since I’m a robot.
There was some hints to Ram and Rem’s past but there’s not really much to talk about in that front since that was just a hint. I’d speculate but there really isn’t much to say.
I liked the episodes. They were alright. There wasn’t much set up to the mabeast or the kids though, which I thought was lame.
However Rem was cool and Subaru’s a genius, so there’s that.
Okay so I lied about the length. Still, pretty short for a two-fer.
… Could I scroll back up and change that first part?