Introduction to Re:Zero 2 episode 37
Welcome to our collaboration review of Re:ZERO Season 2, episode 37 (or 12, depending on how you’re counting), “The Witches’ Tea Party.” Irina from I Drink and Watch Anime and I are about to share our reaction and perspective on the episode. I think we’ll have some interesting thoughts to share with you. And if previous episodes are any guide, I hope you’ll have some fascinating comments to share with us. This series has generated some fantastically thoughtful and insightful comments.
Before we get started, how’re things for you, Irina? I’m about to have new siding installed. While I’m excited about the new look, and I won’t mourn for the loss of the old siding (it’s about 30 years old, I think!), my finances are really annoyed with me!
I’m on the tail end of a pretty bad flu that has been chasing me for a bit over a week. I’m really looking forward to not having my nose and ears clogged. Otherwise I’m o.k. No siding issues here!
I’m still working from home and we got a first notice of a tentative return to the office in January 2021. I told them they would have to physically come get me and drag me back kicking and screaming. They think it’s a joke… I wish them luck!
Glad you’re on the mend! And kicking and screaming is a good way to put it!
Re:Zero 2 episode 37 Review
This episode can be divided into two sections. The first section could be called “The Temptation of Subaru” by, of all people, Rem. The second section dealt with the titular “Witches’ Tea Party.” Note the plural — yes, more than just Echidna.
Before we dive in, any opening thoughts, Irina?
Yes and no. I’m not sure how closely the adaptation is following the light novels. I know we have readers and commenters who have read the source material and know a lot more about what’s happening and what’s going to happen; but I still like to make my own interpretation. Just cause that’s how I enjoy anime and fiction in general.
I’m curious how the season, or more likely how next season, is going to jive with some of the comments I have read for upcoming events. Or if the adaptation is taking some liberties.
Re:Zero 2 episode 37 Gave Us An Unthinkable Present
The episode started with Subaru waiting up on the floor beside Emilia. I’ll say this for Subaru: he can be taught! He remembered the lessons from his previous visits to this timeline. As soon as Emilia began to awaken, he was right there for her. He used all of his energy to comfort her, and by the time they got back to the cabin, he was ready to re-enact the scenes with Garfiel, Otto, and Ram. He tried to recall everything he could so he could make the fight decision. When he put Emilia to bed and waited until she slept before he returned to the temple and asked to see Echidna.
Do you remember all of the deaths Subaru has undergone? That seemed to be her answer. He had to relive them. I never even considered the question, “What happened in that timeline after he died?” This second trial forced Subaru to confront the aftermath of his deaths all the way back to episode one. We saw Emilia weeping uncontrollably, calling Subaru a liar because he had sworn he loved her and would be with her. In another scene, we saw Ram bicker with Beatrice at the foot of the cliff, where Subaru’s shattered body lay at the center of a blood splatter pattern.
I’ve gotten so attached to these characters that seeing Emilia weep over Subaru’s dead body felt very heavy. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
We even got to see Reinhard van Astrea confront a raging Puck who, in his despondency over Emilia’s death in episode 15, was about to bring an end to that world. Reinhard tried to talk Puck down. Failing, he had to bring forth his power and burn Puck into ash.
A Re:ZERO Multi-verse?
By the end of these scenes, I felt as emotionally exhausted as Subaru looked. I felt like I’d watched multiple episodes of My Hero Academia! What did you think at this point, Irina?
See, a lot of people thought my idea for a multiverse theory of re:Zero was off base and that Subaru did in fact reset the entire timeline rather than create a parallel one. But this sequence rather reinforced my theory. At least in my own head. You are of course free to interpret the quantum narrative in whatever way is most interesting to you. In the end, it’s fairly immaterial to the actual narrative. It won’t change what’s happening.
I happen to like this interpretation because it gives more weight and importance both to Subaru’s decisions and to the lives of the other characters. I like that this one guy is not the entire universe because to me it makes the entire universe of the show wider and more full of possibilities.
Do the timelines really continue after Subaru’s death? Was there a timeline where Ram and Beatrice continued their argument over his dead body? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
This was for me the most interesting part of the episode and the only part during which I took notes. Aside from the very horrible implications I went over last week, it does also reframe all the hardships everyone has gone through for me. All those hard times and failures that the ladies had to endure weren’t for nothing. They didn’t just evaporate into nothing. Somewhere in the infinite universes out there, there’s an Emilia who has had a chance to grow and learn from all her mistakes and who can now stand on her own feet. It was probably hard earned but it was earned. And that’s sort of nice.
Re:Zero 2 episode 37 Proved: Cost Saving Doesn’t Have to Be Ugly
On a purely practical basis, it was a nice way to reuse some animation without making it too obvious to the viewers. That might be how they managed to make an episode that spilled over the OP and ED, without impacting their bottom line too much. I mean re:Zero obviously has a pretty decent wealth of resources available, but it’s still a good idea to use all the tricks available.
Who was that sexy red headed guy fighting the giant tiger? I want to see that show.
That was Reinhard! That was a cool little scene!
It was Reinhard. For some reason I had convinced myself it was a scene from the distant future and that’s a character we haven’t met yet. But awesome, I can watch a Reinhard anime!
This was a heck of a scene. I have an even great appreciation for just how much power Reinhard wields! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Rem Up and About?
Who showed up to comfort the emotionally devastated Subaru? Rem. We haven’t seen her for ages, but now, when Subaru most needed her, she came to comfort him. She’s always been good at getting him to open up. After convincing him that yes, it was her, the “all-purpose, ever-useful maid,” he unleashed his agony. “If the world was still going on after I died, how many times did I just leave them all to die?” he asked, miserably.
That’s why I asked too. And it’s sort of too bad they brushed away the question. I think this is a huge opportunity for character development and growth for Subaru.
Wrapping her arms around him, she told him that she loved him, and that everything would be all right. Bless his heart, there was a small ember of sanity still glowing, because he couldn’t understand how that helped anything.
And then Rem made a mistake. She said that all he needed to do was sleep. She would take care of everything.
As despondent as he was, as deeply consumed in the well of despair, Subaru is, in the final analysis, an honest man. That, and the poor guy can’t forget his past. He clearly remembered Rem telling him, “It’s easy to give up. But it doesn’t suit you.”
Not Exactly Up and About…
He asked who the woman was. Because he clearly knew she wasn’t Rem. The woman finally revealed her true identity, which was Carmilla, the Witch of Lust. Carmilla pretended to be Rem, and that bummed me out. I miss the blue-haired maid! On the other hand, I liked how Subaru broke out of the spell.
Carmilla looked so vulnerable and upset with how Subaru reacted to her subterfuge that I almost felt sorry for her. Then I learned that just being physically close to her could be lethal… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Irina, what’d you think?
Would Rem really not try to take care of everything herself? I mean it was a great scene but Rem is so selfless and takes on everything head on. Didn’t she basically tell something very similar to this to Subaru in the first season?
I have a feeling I’m just overthinking it. It was a very cute scene. I liked seeing Rem again even if it was fauxRem.
Subaru tried to walk towards her, but that’s when Echidna finally pulled him to her outdoor tea party. There, she consoled him. He had just witnessed the aftermath of every death he’d experienced, and he didn’t know for sure that those visions were just part of the trial. Echidna told him that only Satella knew for sure. Then, she dangled a carrot in front of him. She told him that if he formed a contract with her, she’d put all of her intellectual resources at his disposal.
A Good Deal for Subaru?
After what he’d just been through, I don’t blame the guy for thinking about it. Echidna really sold the idea, not only by how she described it, but by showing him just how excited she was about it. Heck, I was wanted to urge Subaru to sign on.
Just look how happy she looks! Subaru found it hard to say no to a face like that… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
I’m guessing you had more doubts, Irina?
Not really. Subaru is not super consistent in how he deals with Echidna. A couple of weeks ago you told me that Subaru found her attractive. And that’s why he was acting that. So I just went with the flow this episode as well.
Echidna extended her palm. Subaru almost reciprocated. Before they could touch, there was a huge, heart-infused explosion. Minerva had arrived. She was furious that Echidna hadn’t explained the payment part to Subaru.
Minerva wasn’t alone for very long. Carmilla appeared, too, also trying to warn Subaru. An appropriately lethargic Sekhmet, the Witch of Sloth who we hadn’t met before, appeared to enforce a more fair contract. Even Typhon and Daphne were there by the end. It looked like they wanted him for their own ends.
Good is Relative When it Comes to Witches
And speaking of ends, Echidna finally came clean about the price Subaru would have to pay. It was “Everything you feel, everything you think, everything that remains in your heart, the future as you know it, anything you accomplish, all the potential within you, all the fruit of the unknown that is borne from your very existence… I want a taste of it.”
At least Echidna was honest about what she wanted from Subaru. To a point, anyway… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
That still didn’t sound like a bad deal to me. The other witches, however, pointed out that Echidna’s statements should only be interpreted with “in the end” appended to them. Subaru, in a flash of insight, asked Echidna about Beatrice’s contract.
Echidna hadn’t told Beatrice to wait 400 years for the “right person.” She just hadn’t explained that Beatrice could choose anyone. Echidna just wanted to see her make the choice. And in that moment, it became clear for me.
The witches aren’t evil. They aren’t good, either. They are so powerful and affect the world on such a scale that I can’t understand it. That’s why mortals can’t make deals with gods and witches. They can never enter into such deals on a level playing field. It’s not Echidna’s fault. Her view of the world is just too far away. In Subaru’s own words Echidna was “an unfathomable monster beyond all comprehension!”
Irina, what was your takeaway from that scene?
Witches as the Embodiment of “Other”
I’m pretty sure we went over this a couple of episodes ago. The witches aren’t malicious, they are other. Their concerns and morality is just completely different from mere mortals but because they are so powerful, that can be seen as monstrous by others. The characterization hasn’t changed as far as I can tell.
Subaru cared too much about Beatrice to react any other way to Echidna’s words. To say his perspective differed from Echidna’s was an understatement. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
I love Beatrice, as most people know, but I really liked that there is no right person. Or rather that it was always in her power to pick a right person. It’s cruel, but it’s also interesting. It was a brilliant bit of character building for Beatrice. We know a lot about what type of person she is with that simple statement from Echidna.
One of the things I like a bit less about re:Zero is that it tends to really over explain everything. There is a lot of heavy exposition on a continuous basis. I have a feeling that it may just be part of the nature of light novel adaptations. But this right here, this was great. A wonderful bit of character development that was perfectly organic and managed to communicate loads with just a few simple words. This was some very good storytelling.
The episode ended on a delightfully ominous note. Subaru finally rejected Echidna’s offer. She wasn’t happy about it, and at first, I thought the deepening shadow was because of her anger. Not so. The darkness was because of a new guest coming to the party.
Most of the witches reacted in fear. Typhon was probably the only witch to be excited (though Daphne seemed hungrier than usual). As Echidna ground her teeth, Typhon exclaimed, “Hey! It’s Tella!”
As in Satella.
Well, look who showed up for tea! I bet she brought her own. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
That should make for an interesting episode to cap off the second season!
I mentioned this in my own post but why does Satella have to be all covered up in the dream as well? For those of you who don’t read the gallery posts, my headcanon is that she changed her appearance between seasons and now she looks exactly like Roswaal. There is a -28% chance of that happening but I had a grand old time building up scenarios in my head.
At this point, it wouldn’t surprise me!
Reviews of the Other Episodes
- Re:Zero 2 episode 1 – Like Dejà Vu All Over Again
- Re:ZERO 2 episode 2 (ep 27) – The Lost Forest of Clemaldy
- Re:ZERO 2 episode 3 (ep 28) – The Long-Awaited Reunion
- Re:ZERO 2 episode 4 (ep 29) – That Should Not Have Worked
- Re:ZERO 2 episode 5 (ep 30) – Once More Unto the Breach
- Re:ZERO 2 episode 6 (ep 31) – Knifey and the Three Maids
- Re:ZERO 2 episode 7 (ep 32) – Beatrice’s Reasons
- Re:ZERO 2 Episode 8 (or 33) – Before I Heard You, I Saw You
- Re:ZERO 2 Episode 9 (or 34) – Natsuki Subaru and the Magical Maniacal Menagerie
- Re:ZERO 2 Episode 10 (or 35) – The Witch’s Tears and the Apostle of Greed
- Re:ZERO 2 Episode 11 (or 36) – Fridge Horror
- Re:ZERO 2 Episode 12 (or 37) – Evil Rem and the Uninvited Guest
- Re:ZERO 2 Episode 13 (or 38) – What is Taken Shall Be Returned