Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu Episode 13: Self-Proclaimed Knight Natsuki Subaru

No smiles were protected. 

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Re_Zero 13 Img006Fuck. 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.

Re_Zero 13 Img002Up 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. 

Re_Zero 13 Img007And 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.

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Re_Zero 13 Img008There’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.

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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.

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Re_Zero 13 Img004The 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?

2 thoughts on “Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu Episode 13: Self-Proclaimed Knight Natsuki Subaru

  1. Again there have been slight changes here.

    In the LN Roswaal declares that he would use Emilia as a scapegoat which hich made Subaru rage of course. AFter Roswaal tries to take action against him, Puck intervenes and puts everyone in the throne room at place by revealing his identity and also saying that he belongs to Emilia and she is the only reason why everyone isn’t frozen to death yet. By doing so she put some respect into the people around her and got accepted as a candidate.

    Now the candidates:

    Priscilla believes that the kingdom is made to serve her and that she is the only possible choice since “she is always on the winner side”. Priscilla had 8 husbands already and all of them died. After their death she was always able to turn their land into one of the valuable prosperities there is and through that she gained an immense amount of influence in the kingdom. Her catchphrase is that she is really good at guessing and that the world is revolving around her will. Her argument is basically: “Join me and you will be on the winner’s side”

    Crusche has a more radical plan for this kingdom. Crusch doesn’t see any sense in following the dragon anymore. She gives a good argument in the manga so I’ll quote that „Dependance brings birth to stagnation which brings birth to corruption and corruption eventually brings destruction. People around her are shocked about this because the Carsten house has been loyal and close with the royal family for decades now. One would think that the head of said house would do everything to please the dragon and fulfill the prophecy. So in short she means that they should free themselves from the dependance on the dragon and take their life into their own hand.

    Anastasia grew up in Kararagi where money is basically everything. It’s an economic superpower and people without connections or capabilities in trading will not survive there. Anastasia worked her way up from the bottom and she developed some kind of unhealthy sense of greed. She earns to own more and more. When she reaches a milestone it leaves her unsatisfied and she craves for even more which eventually led to her wanting an entire kingdom. Julius tries to pledge for her even further by arguing that she is one of the best people when it’s about economics and since this kingdom is in a financial crisis she is the best suited person to lead Lugunica into a bright future.

    Well Emilia’s declaration could be interpreted in many ways. What I clearly hear from her words is equality. This equality could applied to many different areas but I think the most logical one is racial equality. 30-40 years prior to these events a racial war waged in this kingdom. Although this war has ended decades ago there are still consequences within the general population. It’s clear that Emilia is the victim of countless racist comments. Of course this is due to her resemblance with Satella but I can’t shake off the feeling that this goes even a little bit further than that.

    Last scene, the author wants us to think freely and not be like “just because he is the protagonist makes everything he does right” by showing us his ugly side like you said. When ppl are backed into a corner, get provoked and absolutely despair the tend to fall back into old patterns (which is why pplthat were alcoholic have a risk of drinking again if someone dies for example)
    But let’s see the bright side of thing, now that Subaru know what the problem is and what she thinks of this, he might find a way to solve this and change the view on Emilia inside of his heart.
    Btw. this time Subaru became humane and is not the typical story protagonist who just wants to save other ppl but doesn’t want anything for it, that’s not how humans work in real life. But I said this last episode already: The way Subaru acts and and the short amount of time they actually spent together is a huge problem in their relationship and he has to find a way to repair the bond of trust. Now we are not sure anymore which is more crueler: Letting him die or let him suffer emotionally and let it break his mind before his body breaks.

    Now to end this I want to ask you this:
    Subaru has just insulted ALL KNIGHTS INSIDE THE CASTLE. What do you think would have happened the moment Subaru left the castle and Julius DID NOT humiliate and beaten him up (still letting him alive considering his swordskills)?

    (partly thanks to essay-kun out there)

    1. Huh, I would have liked to see Puck again. That one old guy on the council almost sounded impressed that Subaru would go so far for Emilia, and that felt like the closest she got to getting some recognition from them, but I don’t know whether it was meant to be a complimentary remark.

      Priscilla has her… charms. Cough. Is her catchphrase real though? Is her fated luck some sort of divine blessing or just… luck? Crusch is basically advocating Brexit, removing themselves from dependence on the dragon would probably outrage many people seeing as how it seems to be worshipped. Although unlike the EU it’s not like the dragon is particularly reliant on Lugunica. If anything it’s the exact opposite. Anastasia is cute. CUTE! And as for Emilia, if I had to guess I’d say that as a half-elf she wasn’t accepted by either the human or elf communities (if there are even any elves left) and she may have been stigmatised by both races.

      Yeah definitely, there is a lot of scope for criticism of Subaru’s actions. That’s precisely why I found it hard to find fault with Julius. Within the country, being a knight is a particular title with a social status and a set of responsibilities – maybe even a code of conduct that they all have to adhere to and work towards. And Subaru shat all over that in front of them all while publicly supporting Emilia, meaning his actions were vicariously her actions too. As sad as it is for Subaru, Julius did nothing wrong.

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