No smiles were protected.
Fuck. I’m lost for words, that was brutal. And by that I mean both the fight with Julius (if it can even be called a fight, as opposed to a one-sided beat-down) and the ensuing fallout with Emilia. I actually wouldn’t mind at all if Subaru died right now. Yes, I’m fully aware of the irony – it’s probably at times when I hope he dies that a reset is least likely to happen. I mean, he could commit suicide again, and decide not to attend the ceremony this time (or at least not make a complete fool out of himself) but I’m not sure as to how lightly he treats his own death. Not to mention the possibility that he’d have to endure through the entire mansion arc again, and from a storytelling perspective that’s just not feasible. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the save point, actually. Nor would I be surprised if Subaru found that out the hard way, by killing himself and waking up post-fight. Imagine if he has to relive his argument with Emilia over and over again.
Up until now, I have always been relatively deferential towards the things Subaru has done. I just thought he’d never escalate things to the extent that he did – I thought it’d stop at the banter. But I guess I underestimated his obsession with Emilia. I certainly did not imagine him rashly accepting Julius’ mock battle whilst fully aware that he had little to no chances of winning. Julius was fucking brutal. But at the same time, I can’t defend what Subaru did this episode. In fact, it might be good if he takes this as an opportunity to learn that there are times when he might benefit from thinking before he speaks. Because a rational mind cannot have believed, for a single moment, that shouting out like that in defence of Emilia would have been of any benefit to her. Similarly, there was no way he could have beaten Julius. Shamac didn’t even work against the dog from the last arc. Julius has also done little to aggravate him, objectively speaking – when he kissed Emilia’s hand, Subaru reacted as if Emilia was NTR’d away from him. He even acknowledged Subaru’s reasons for standing by Emilia’s side even though he had no strength to back up his words, and even though Subaru had just insulted all the knights and everything they stood for. Julius actually feels like his expected trope has been kind of subverted – his character design makes him feel foppish, arrogant and entitled, but he was surprisingly level-headed. I didn’t like seeing Subaru being beaten up, but I don’t think I can fault Julius. If he did anything wrong, it’s that he failed to kill Subaru.
And I feel bad for saying that. I really do. But his current relationship with Emilia is practically irreconcilable, and the only way out of it is him dying and resetting it all. I now understand why Emilia was so worried – I still do think that she could have told him a bit more about her situation instead of just telling him to stay in the mansion without much explanation, but Subaru is largely in the wrong. As viewers we know that Emilia is incorrect in saying that everything he does with regards to her is actually for himself. There’s no way he’s done all that for himself. It is for her – to an unhealthy degree. In the long run it’s for no-one but her. But at the same time, it isn’t. Not only because it’s literally impossible for Subaru to explain his actions to Emilia, but also because for someone who allegedly moves for her benefit, he’s awfully willing to disregard her direct wants. Thus, it’s probably safe to conclude that they’re both wrong, and that the answer is somewhere in the middle – Subaru is doing what he himself thinks is best for Emilia.
There’s the concurrent problem that the Emilia in Subaru’s mind is physically not, and will never be, the Emilia he’s trying to save – due to both the loops and the fact that he idealizes her a lot. The loops are the crux of it all, really. It’s both the insurmountable problem with their relationship and yet something indispensable to Subaru and his continued survival (though, as I said last week, is he may be acting so recklessly precisely because he knows he can reset). I didn’t think it’d ever be too much of an issue, especially after the lap-pillow scene (which formed part of the successful loop) and her willingness to trust him in one of the failed mansion loops, but him breaking his promises to her and endangering her already-unfortunate standing for the throne is clearly changing that. Which is all the more reason I want him to go kill himself and reset things, because Emilia wanting to give up on Subaru and end their relationship is definitely going to reduce him to a mental state even worse than it was in the suicide loop. His desire to save Emilia is what’s pushed him to endure despite all the pain. Him speaking out like an idiot was because someone insulted Emilia. Look at how happy he got when Emilia agreed to go on a date with him. And now Emilia wants to leave and have nothing else to do with him any more – it’s going to utterly break his spirit.
Okay. It was a painful second half. Now, let’s talk about cute girls like Felt! I’m not even sure how the royal selection works (or whether we’re supposed to know that yet) but I feel like supporting her. Her words touched my heart, you know? She’d probably be terrible as a ruler if she hates all the existing institutions in the country and wants to destroy them, but she’s a cute loli! And that’s what’s most important, right? I still don’t know why Reinhard is supporting her, but I’m sure his rationale is something along those lines.
The best candidate in terms of Lugunica’s prosperity would probably have to be Anastasia, and happily enough Ueda Kana’s Kansai voice is like ASMR to me, but an issue is that she’s a foreigner. Priscilla doesn’t really have any plans (her stocks dropped a little today, Felt’s not a little bitch) and Crusch is basically a Brexitter. Emilia has good intentions, but her ascending the throne would be all according to Roswaal’s keikaku (as was Subaru’s outburst this week). Is there going to be an election or something? If so, Emilia and Felt might as well not even bother trying. At any rate, all this will probably be relegated to being a side-plot for now, despite it being what kick-started the third arc. I just don’t see Subaru having much involvement in this now that he’s been disowned by Emilia. At the same time, I have no idea what he’s going to do now. Will he mope? Will he be comforted by Rem? When will we see his smile again?