Title: Re:Zero Vol. 2
Author: Tappei Nagatsuki (Story), Daichi Matsuse (Art)
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Shounen, Battle, Fantasy
Publication Date: October 26, 2016
The story picks up where we left off in volume one, with Subaru at the “Abble” stand right after he was killed by a woman we come to know as Elsa. Subaru runs into Satella and calls out to her, but she acts like she doesn’t even know him, confirming that Subaru went back in time. Felt enters the scene and steals Satella’s badge and Subaru gives chase, running into the same thugs as the first time. This time, the thugs get the best of him and put a knife into his back, killing him. Subaru awakens back in front of the Abble stand and realizes that whenever he dies, he gets sent back to a “save point.” Subaru names this ability Return By Death.
Subaru is determined to set things right even though he went back to a point before any of the events unfolded. He makes his way to Romji’s shop and offers to buy the badge back from Felt using his cell phone as payment. Elsa shows up once again, but this time, a battle breaks out. Elsa ends up taking on Subaru, Felt, Romji and even Satella all by herself. Satella’s ice magic evens the playing field a bit, but Elsa still is a bit too much to handle… that is until Reinhard joins in. Reinhard takes it to Else and she eventually escapes. After the battle, Satella ends up being extremely grateful to Subaru for reclaiming her badge. She then reveals her true name to be Emilia.
The volume comes to an end with Subaru waking up at Emilia’s mansion and being greeted by the twin maids, Rem and Ram.
It’s kind of interesting that even though there are multiple volumes of Re:Zero, each volume is part of a chapter. Volumes one and two comprise chapter one of the story and the next volume will begin chapter two. The story may have been told over and over again, but it was kept fresh each and every time. The goals and objectives remained the same for Subaru, but each time he died, he had to come up with a different strategy to change the outcome. Subaru’s growth was fueled by the situation forcing him to get creative and find the one path which breaks the loop. Having the ability to retain his memories can be pretty taxing, but it’s also a blessing because you are reminded of your failures and it causes you to search for that alternate path, leading to the answer.
This second volume is a great depiction of what Re:Zero is truly about. This also serves as a prelude of what is to come. If Subaru died this many times on the introduction story, you can only imagine what will lie ahead.
Subaru didn’t get much development here as he is still the same person. The only thing that changed about him is that he became self-aware of his Return by Death ability. Other than that, Subaru is still a bit on the loud and obnoxious side, but he still has that burning determination to do what he feels is right.
Satella indirectly introduced us to an unseen new character. While we now know her true name is Emilia, we also know that Satella is the name given to the Witch of Jealousy. Apparently the Witch of Jealousy is a person that commands respect through fear to the point where people don’t just freely go around and saying her name without just cause. Emilia was pretty cold towards Subaru, which may be confusing to Subaru as a character, but plain as day to the reader. At the end, Emilia reverts back to her kind and gentle self like we saw in volume one.
Romji and Felt don’t really have any development as their characters haven’t really changed much since volume one. Romji is still tough as nails and Felt is still a little brat. Elsa does have a motive for acquiring the badge, but her character was mostly spoken for through her actions. She was depicted as someone who killed people stealthily in the first volume, but seeing her take on everyone at once here in volume two shows that she has some serious fighting ability. While she does escape, I have a feeling she will play a part in the story down the road. Subaru is going to need to have eyes in the back of his head at all times with her roaming around freely.
Re:Zero definitely takes an interesting spin on the time travel genre. While the laws and rules of time travel are adhered to rather nicely, you can already tell that Subaru is going to be the one to suffer from it the most because of it. Dying and waking up with nobody remembering who you are or what you did after the fact can wear someone down and with Subaru’s personality being the way it is, I can see his Return by Death ability be the very thing that begins to chip away at that obnoxious outer shell that he has. How Subaru will handle it when it finally does begin to break him down will be the interesting caveat to this whole story.
The question remains if this series will be a slow burn towards that or if it will happen rapidly. I’m a fan of slow burns because it gives the reader ample opportunity to connect with a character and then when that shocking moment happens, you feel that connection deepen and it brings more enjoyment out of a character.
I’m also interested in our two new characters Rem and Ram. They seem like straight-forward robotic maids which play off of each other’s words. Much like the Jesters of the Moon, Zorn and Thorn, from Final Fantasy IX… just less evil. Re:Zero is definitely going to be an interesting series. It takes the “trapped in a fantasy world” genre and breathes some fresh air into it! If you’ve been sitting on the fence about picking up the first two volumes, I recommend that you go out and do so!
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This item was provided for review by Yen Press