Title: Re:Zero Chapter 2: A Week at the Mansion, Vol. 4
Author: Tappei Nagatsuki (Story), Makoto Fuugetsu (Art)
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Shounen, Battle, Fantasy
Publication Date: December 19, 2017
The second chapter of Re:Zero concludes with Subaru and Rem heading into the forest beyond the barrier to find the missing children from the village. As they enter the forest, they find all but one. Petra tells Subaru that there is another one deeper in, but it ends up being a trap. Rem comes to the rescue, but when they’re surrounded, Rem loses it and grows a demon horn! She goes berserk, slaughtering all of the demon dogs in sight. Subaru is able to bring her back to her senses and the two of them escape… barely. Subaru was knocked out and brought back to the mansion where his wounds were treated, meanwhile, Rem goes missing.
Apparently, Subaru has multiple curses on him and the only way to remove them is to kill all of the demon dogs in the forest. Rem went off to do just that. Ram and Subaru give chase, but they are both too weak to get the job done. Rem shows back up in demon form once again, but this time, her mind is far too gone to listen to reason. The only way to bring her back to reality is to give her a rather large knock on the head. Ram and Subaru tag team Rem and succeed in bringing her back, but they end up surrounded by the demon dogs. Master Roswaal shows up and finishes cleaning up their mess, stating that Emilia informed him what had happened.
The rest of the volume goes into the backstory of Rem and Ram which I will touch upon in the characters section. This volume comes to an end with Subaru become more deeply connected with Rem and Ram. Also, he gets Emilia to agree to go on a date with him. While this is end of this part of the series, it continues on in Chapter 3.
The biggest (and only) development here is with Rem and Ram. Demons are supposed to be born with two horns, but since Rem and Ram are twins, they were only born with one horn. Such abnormalities are looked down upon and in their village, things like that are typically disposed of. The village was reluctant, but they were allowed to live. However, all of that changes when the witch’s cult arrives and burns down their entire village. It was during this altercation that Ram lost her horn, resulting in her wind magic to be not as powerful as it should be. It wasn’t really shown how they ended up surviving, but it seems Master Roswaal took them in after their village was destroyed and they became the Rem and Ram that we know today.
This is why Ram is very protective of Rem. Rem still has her horn, making her more powerful than Ram, but Ram still owes Rem a great debt of gratitude. Plus, Ram feels that with her horn broken, that she feels that her own “curse” has been lifted. She seemed genuinely happy when she lost her horn, as if a big wave of relief came over her. Being treated as outcasts in the village will do that to you, though, so it’s no wonder she was a bit overjoyed when her horn broke. Because of the way they were treated, it is pretty easy to see why they have a hard time trusting people. That explained why they were initially cold towards Subaru, but it’s nice to see that Subaru didn’t give up and, therefore, it began to slowly change Rem and Ram… moreso Rem.
I enjoyed their backstory as it put a lot of things into perspective for both of the characters.
This was a nice wrap up for this arc in the story. I still don’t like the fact that the main story is being broken up into different arcs and being released as a new “series”. I don’t know why this just couldn’t be “Re:Zero Volume 6”. It’s probably just one of those Japanese marketing strategies that we just don’t fully understand. It also made it a bit awkward that Chapter 3: Volume 1 came out before Chapter 2: Volume 4. Unless you were already familiar with the source material and/or the anime, then that doesn’t make a lot of sense to new readers. That’s another downside into breaking up the story into multiple series.
That doesn’t take away from the fact that this is still an excellent story. With so many entries into the Isekai genre, it’s hard to keep yourself fresh and unique. Re:Zero does a great job setting itself apart from the other entries in this genre. The characters are developing nicely and the story, so far, has been interesting and engaging. This is a nice alternative to other series like Sword Art Online, Log Horizon and Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody which rely on a gaming fantasy setting. While those series are great in their own right, Re:Zero takes the fantasy setting and makes it seem just a little bit more realistic while keeping the fantasy elements in play. The Return by Death scenario adds a very unique element as well, making the storylines a bit more complex rather than just straightforward.
If you’re not on board yet, hop on and enjoy the ride! It’s been worth it so far!
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This item was provided for review by Yen Press