Self-described delinquent in the making Subaru Natsuki is leaving the convenience store when he is transported to an unknown world. Attacked by the world’s thugs he is rescued by spirit user; the same spirit user who Subaru finds murdered. To save her he will need his new power ‘death by return.’ With every painful death he has the ability to change the past. The past which exists in memory fragments for Subaru. If he cannot complete his memories he loses all hope of saving Emelia from eternal death.
My Review (Part 1)
Re: Zero Starting Life in Another World is a light novel converted to manga. I have not read the light novel so every part of this review is solely based on the manga. The manga which has been growing steadily in popularity catching the imagination of this reviewer. I asked myself ‘will death by return’ make this manga worth living?
Natsuki (Nakki) Subaru: Self-described delinquent in the making with a sense of humor. He considers himself a vagabond in this unknown world always on a mission. Nakki is savvy with turning the tables on a situation, learning from each past life. He believes three deaths are well-worth a smile and Emelia’s name. Waking up in the past it is revealed he has a deep affection for Rem. However, Emelia is the one who he cares for the most.
Emelia is a silver haired part elf spirit user with a fierce independent streak. She has a strong sense of justice even stopping to help Subaru when he’s being mugged. After her death, Subaru uses his power to find a way to stop her from dying. Her spirit counterpart is Puck, a cat who talks with a sense of humor.
Satella: Emelia’s potential counterpart(?). The feared witch of envy who is immortal. Those who see her face don’t live. However her form is rumored to be a silver haired part elf spirit user.
Felt is a mischievous girl who makes a living via thieving. She’s clever at raising the prices on her clients delighting in seeing them frustrated by her. Pop Rom is a long-standing friend of hers who she is equally fond of. Felt and Pop Rom make a good team as fighters; protecting each other
Rem-san appears after the ‘first’ ending. She is very fond of Subaru doing everything possible to make his life easier. Rem willingly puts herself in danger to Subaru. She is a fierce fighter who refuses to back down even when the odds are against her.
My Review Part 2
Re: Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu is a bizarre smoothie blend of action with sci-fi time travel. Just like the mechanisms of time travel Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu is beyond immediate understanding. Nakki Subaru’s life of a delinquent in the making gets screwed when he leaves the convenience store to then find himself transported into an unknown world.
The idea of being dropped into a new world is not a unique one. If the manga strictly kept to a basic ‘need to find a way home’ Wizard of Oz journey would be feeling the pangs of disappointment. Luckily nothing is every simple in Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu where Subaru’s arrival in this world is overshadowed by immediately becoming the target of a robbery. His reluctant savior is a spirit user girl who isn’t pleased to be distracted from stopping a wily thief named Felt. The meeting is a beginning to Subaru which will end in him finding he now has the power of ‘death by return.’ Put bluntly, his death is a rewind allowing him to make changes with the past life’s events to change the future. This newfound power is his only weapon to save Emelia’s life.
Nakki’s own power reminds one vaguely of Miranda of D. Gray-Man. Before channeling
her innocence she would live the same day over and over with all the townspeople completely unaware they were in a time loop. Nakki continually begins ‘again’ with no one else aware but himself of what’s happening. Because of this Nakki has the ability to make small changes to past situations to create a butterfly effect (kinda). For example, he knows he is attacked the first time so the second time he cuts off his attacker before they can strike. Thus changing what happens to himself. The problem is he has no idea what the precise events are from the time of arrival until the death of his spirit user. To save her life he has to 1) recover all the events he’s forgotten and 2) make changes to stop her death from happening again.
Readers then hit the manga’s described ‘climax’ of the first arc. The chapter after it takes a reader from the delight of the manga to someplace different. The character of Subaru changes from the young delinquent in the making. Readers are facing a total jump into the past(?) with new characters cropping up constantly. Much of what caught this reviewer’s interest abruptly changes. Instead of a naïve humorous Subaru readers get a young man who almost seems to be the protagonist of a new manga. Gone was the thrill of seeing Subaru trapped in a death time loop. The manga is less than 20 chapters and ongoing so this reviewer will assume this turn of events will be explained better in the future.
The style of Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu is reminiscent of mangas like Mirai Nikki, Alive: The Final Evolution, and Le Chevalier D’eon’s creepy La Compte de Germaine. Subaru is the exception. He doesn’t have the beautiful elegance of Emelia. Nor does he give you the big eyed kawaii of Rem’s character. Subaru’s character design is an excellent unusual fit as it is more reminiscent of a self-described delinquent in the making over a hero with a magical power. Perfectly balancing how a part-elf magic user’s design is effortlessly lovely without being excessive.
Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu shines at its character movements in action. Their bodies appear natural as they strike. Details like these are important to this reviewer. Nothing is more distracting in a panel then a character’s anatomy being at odds with their actions. This is key when a manga relies heavily on character’s engaged regularly in battle. Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu does it well.
To the Reader
Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu’s beginnings are heavily filled with action battles
which have everything from amputation to fist fights to magic user death battles. The entire manga is a trip in the fantasy genre. Romance is touched on but a full-out relationship between character’s is still in the works. Readers need to be cognizant this manga is not a simple read. The jumping between scenes, constant character additions, and time skips means following the story line takes a moment’s thought. Best to go with the flow when confused.
Final Score: 7.8
Death can’t stop this fantasy
If you enjoy Re: Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu support it by purchasing the manga:
Name(s): Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu – Daiisshou – Outo no Ichinichi Hen Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu – Volume One – Capital City Chapter, Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu- Daiisshou – Outo no Ichinichi Hen, Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu – Daiisshou – Outo no Ichinichi-hen
Author(s): NAGATSUKI Tappei
Artist(s): MATSUE Daichi
Genre: Fantasy; Romance; Drama; Action; Adventure; Comedy; Sci-Fi; Time Travel
Light Novel: Yes