I don’t think I’ll surprise anyone by saying that the Isekai anime craze has oversaturated the market. There have been a slew of Isekai anime that have come out in the past several years. Some are good, some are mediocre and some just plain boring. The problem, in my eyes, is that the quantity has led me to not want to watch the quality.
I’ve known about Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World for a while now, but because of my aversion to starting new Isekai anime I’ve left it off my watch list. I know it has a fairly good reputation but I was just over the whole reincarnation theme. I’m happy with The Rising of the Shield Hero, Overlord, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime and a couple other quality Isekai. I didn’t want to start another one.
Judging from the first episode though, Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World understands enough about what’s out there to try to do things differently. It even pokes fun at the standard Isekai tropes while presenting us with something new.
Subaru Natsuki is the main character in this anime. He’s the one that gets brought to another world by a yet to be revealed person. The who/what/when/where/why of his summoning has yet to be determined but that’s just fine for the time being. Right now we just get to enjoy watching Subaru make a fool out of himself by assuming the standard Isekai tropes will apply to him.
Subaru assumes that he’ll be the standard overpowered reincarnated character. In a couple of situations, he ends up looking like an idiot when he acts like some amazing feat is going to be accomplished after awakening powers that he doesn’t have. It’s a subtle nod that the Isekai anime genre has overdone certain plot elements.
With Subaru showing no signs of actually being useful, Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World charts a different path than other anime in its genre. Subaru meets a half-elf who calls herself Satella and tries to help her get back an amulet that was stolen from her. What follows is actually a pretty interesting story where Subaru’s true ability is revealed.
We end up finding out that Subaru has the ability to revive himself after death. It’s not an instant revival, his ability takes him back to an earlier part of the day. It’s like he goes back to a previous save state before everything went wrong. That also means that everything that he did after his point of return really never happened. It’s like the movie Groundhog Day.
What this does is make sure that the plot of Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World is going to be different from other Isekai anime. Subaru is going to have to figure out how to use his power to make things right. That means there will be a lot of trial and error, which means Subaru is going to have to die a lot. That’s certainly not what we’re used to.
What all of this means is that the story here doesn’t feel like an Isekai. At several points I felt like I was watching a different type of anime. That’s not a bad thing either. It means that Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World has more potential for it’s future story. It’s not going to be pigeon holed into giving us the typical overpowered protagonist turning the world on its head story. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.
Is Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World Episode 1 Worth Watching?
If you’ve been avoiding this anime because you’re tired of Isekai anime like I was then don’t worry, this one’s different. That’s my first impression of it. Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World is trying something different and in the first episode it seems to work. I was able to completely forget my current apprehension for Isekai anime and enjoy what I was watching. That’s about as good of an endorsement as I can give.
Now go watch some anime!