Re:Zero 2 episode 39: Re:ZERO's villains come in all shapes and sizes -- and ages
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Re:Zero 2 episode 36 (or 11) – Fridge Horror

Re:Zero 2 episode 36, “The Taste of Death,” forced me to confront the question: How dark is too dark? Is it a question that we can only consider in retrospect, after we’ve seen the whole story? Is it a line that moves? Do the brutal events of a previous episode push the line ever so slightly forward, making what happens in the next episode a little more acceptable by comparison?

Irina from I Drink and Watch Anime and I collaborated to review the latest episode, and you can read the full review here. In that review, we talk about what happened to Beatrice, and it was something that went in a direction I didn’t expect. Like, at all.

Re:Zero 2 episode 39: What we learned about Beatrice was suitably tragic

More than any other series I can think of, Re:ZERO rewards the viewer for paying attention. But it extracts a toll, too. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

We also talked about Subaru, Ram, Garfiel, Roswaal… What happened to them in this episode… damn…

I want to be clear: I am not in any way disparaging what the show’s doing. It’s just that after watching Re:Zero 2 episode 39, I’ve never wanted to mount a “Rescue the Characters from a Fictional World” mission more in my life. Seeing what these people go through every week is starting to weigh on my heart.

Almost as much as the guilt of wanting to see the next episode, knowing what it will likely put them through…

Please head over to Irinia’s site to read our collaboration review of this episode. I’d also love to know what you think — please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!

Reviews of the Other Episodes

12 thoughts on “Re:Zero 2 episode 36 (or 11) – Fridge Horror

    1. Nope. The point of a good mystery is to give you small clues and foreshadowing so that when the reveal happens, you would be surprised but you wont feel as if it came out of nowhere. Every episode has at least given us some small hints as to what is happening

      1. Yeah… but I have problems when the clues are dribbled out slowly but all logic screams at me there is no reason whatsoever for them to be dribbled out thru endless horror when Roswaal’s best strategy was to confide in Subaru when he still had Subaru’s trust.

        1. Since when has Roswaal ever had Subaru’s trust? I think Roswaal’s point was more along the lines of “Screw up and we will redo this whole thing all over again”

    2. It’s a tough balancing act. Release too little, and it’s obvious the pace is contrived. Release too much, and it reduces dramatic tension.

      I think I’ll only be able to tell in retrospect if this season got the balance right. Honestly, this episode was the first time I had a sense that it stumbled. For example, I’ve seen explantations of why Roswaal beat up Subaru (the most plausible to me being that Roswaal knows Subaru has some kind of reset, and Roswaal just lost his temper at how this timeline had gone). Still, none of them satisfied me.

      It’ll be interesting to look back and revisit the question.

  1. This might be the longest post I’ve ever made, and it took me over an hour to type up as I was thinking about how to best present my post and such.

    tcrow, while I had problems with this episode, what irked me was not the same as what irked you and Irina. My main problem with this episode was the animation quality and that Subaru came to the conclusion that Roswaal was the one behind the snow without going into Subaru’s thought process. I’ll do my best to give you what I believe to be plausible explanations for why I didn’t have a problem with some of the scenes you found bothersome.

    Anyway as far as I could tell, Beatrice knows that Subaru would never put her first as we’ve seen in the past that she knows he puts Emilia first, which is exactly why she asked Subaru to do so because she doesn’t think Subaru could be that person because of how he was acting. This was likely brought out in part by Subaru screaming at her that he wouldn’t let her joke about dying. He said that she could do it to other people, but to do it to him is unacceptable, which shows that Subaru is thinking selfishly and not about what Beatrice wanted at all when all she said was that she wanted him to end her contract to the library, to which Subaru said that’s no different from dying for some strange reason. I believe Beatrice is acting the way she is because of Subaru’s irrational behaviour. Beatrice probably just wants attention, affection, and to have fun like other little girls, and to have Subaru saying that wanting to end her contract as the library’s caretaker is no different than dying shows that Subaru cannot give her a happy life. I do not think Beatrice thinks of Subaru as a romantic partner. She just wants a companion that can bring joy to her life. I know Irina said she’s not used to Beatrice crying, but remember the last time Subaru made it to Beatrice in a previous loop, Beatrice was crying because Subaru was screaming at her like he did this time? Beatrice was also close to crying as Subaru noted after Subaru told her he killed Beatrice, and she said she is not a tool here for Subaru’s convenience when Subaru was drilling her for information.

    I also do not believe that Emilia was possessed by Satella even in spite of the weird animation effect in her eyes. Like Ohm said, Emilia used “daisuki” instead of “aishiteru”, the stronger word that Satella uses. I have an idea about why Emilia went insane all in the span of 1 day. Emilia indicated in episode 3 of this season (28) that she felt anxious ever since they entered the Sanctuary’s barrier and that she was unable to relax, prompting her to ask Roswaal what exactly is the Sanctuary. She was going to say it feels like a graveyard, but Roswaal interjected and called it the Witch’s Graveyard, so this suggests that Emilia is acutely sensitive to death. This is not the first instance of her being sensitive to death though. In episode 23 of Season 1, Emilia sensed Subaru’s death when Julius killed him. I didn’t make this connection until I thought long and hard about how Emilia could have gone insane so quickly. If this is the case, then the anxiety from being in the Sanctuary which doubles as a place of death, the isolation Emilia felt with Puck being gone and Roswaal’s deliberately breaking her by turning everyone against her by making it snow, her perceived abandonment by Subaru, and her undergoing the trial again, which is a major source of trauma for her, (She probably did because ever since Subaru got teleported back, all she has been doing is staying on the trial grounds) all contributed to Emilia going insane. Also of note in episode 3 (28) is that when the village chief pressed Emilia on why she bowed her head to the villagers to show that she is not a witch that is incomprehensible to them, Emilia looked to Subaru for support, and Subaru nodded, giving her the go-ahead to state her reason. Emilia was already turning to Subaru for support in Puck’s absence, so it’s not inconceivable that she would go insane with the last of her support system being gone.

    I can think of one plausible explanation for why Roswaal would try to break Emilia in Subaru’s absence. Roswaal likely knows from his copy of the not-quite-Tome of Wisdom how to solve this arc, and that would be to have Emilia complete the trials with someone who can give her the emotional support she needs to overcome that hurdle. That’s why Roswaal explained in this episode that if he isolated Emilia, leading her to lean on Subaru, Subaru would have no choice to but to focus on Emilia. I infer that Roswaal basically indicated that his intent was to get Subaru to focus on Emilia in the next loop since this loop was already a failure.

    If you recall from episode 31, Roswaal indicated that there are Gospels, two copies of an unnamed text that are the closest things to the Tome of Wisdom I individually call the not-quite-Tome of Wisdom, and the Tome of Wisdom itself. Given Roswaal and Beatrice’s connections to Echidna and Echidna transforming Petra’s handkerchief into a spirit blade, indicating Echidna knew Subaru would need that blade to kill himself, these things suggest that Echidna has the Tome of Wisdom given that she can see the future.

    I think Echidna hinted to Subaru how to properly do everything right this arc in episode 9 (34). She said she has no hope of getting Emilia to break her out of her shell, but maybe Subaru could do it since he’s intent on doing everything over and over again.

    “Even in three days of trial and error, I can’t hold out any hope that she’ll break out of her shell. Or perhaps… you can do it? Since you’ve made up your mind to keep repeating everything, could you give wings to the cowardly princess?”

    Echidna implies here that she might have tried to change Emilia’s trial up (3 loops ago in which Emilia went through the trial 4 times), and suggested that maybe Subaru could get Emilia to break out of her shell, doing what Echidna herself couldn’t do, but Subaru mistakenly believes that “Or perhaps… you can do it?” meant that he should definitely undergo the trial himself in Emilia’s place because that’s how his mindset always has been for a while, and he has tunnel vision.

    If Echidna indeed has the Tome of Wisdom, she definitely knows how to get Subaru to succeed, and that is for Subaru to give Emilia the boost she needs to complete the trials.

    I also think Ohm is right that Garfiel was not going to accept being kept in the dark just because Roswaal asked him to leave the room since he considers himself the protector of the Sanctuary, so that’s why Roswaal had to find a dirty way to take Garfiel out of commission. It’s also likely that Roswaal knew the Great Rabbit would arrive soon, so that’s why he was intent on killing both Ram and Garfiel so that he could find the time to talk to Subaru, What I’m confused is about why Roswaal said that he offers this soul to Garfiel. Was Roswaal offering Ram’s soul to Garfiel because Garfiel likes her, and it’s Roswaal giving Garfiel a consolation prize in exchange for killing him? Or is it something else entirely?

    I believe the reason Roswaal was beating Subaru up is because Roswaal doesn’t know that Subaru can only redo things through death. That is probably why he asked Subaru why after what he had experienced that he still has no mind to start over because Roswaal thinks Subaru can trigger his resets automatically by willing it to happen.

    I believe the reason Roswaal makes it snow is to punish Subaru for leaving without providing Emilia the emotional support she needs to pass the trials by having everyone be eaten by the Great Rabbit. I suspect if Subaru doesn’t leave the Sanctuary early, Subaru won’t have to deal with the Great Rabbit, and that’d be one threat out of the way. The only question if this is the case would be whether Emilia can complete the three trials fast enough so that there’d still be time for them to get back to the mansion before Elsa makes her move.

    1. “Beatrice was also close to crying as Subaru noted after Subaru told her he killed Petelgeuse, and she said she is not a tool here for Subaru’s convenience when Subaru was drilling her for information.”

      Your explanation’s plausible, but I have the same feeling about it as I did watching the scene itself — there’s something missing. I accept your assertion that Beatrice doesn’t have romantic feeling for Beatrice, and there are parts of her breakdown that make perfect sense to me (her lamenting that it look Subaru 400 years to get to her).

      Maybe this is one of those things that’ll make sense in retrospect, but it’s still not sitting right with me.

      “If this is the case, then the anxiety from being in the Sanctuary which doubles as a place of death, the isolation Emilia felt with Puck being gone and Roswaal’s deliberately breaking her by turning everyone against her by making it snow, her perceived abandonment by Subaru, and her undergoing the trial again, which is a major source of trauma for her, (She probably did because ever since Subaru got teleported back, all she has been doing is staying on the trial grounds) all contributed to Emilia going insane.”

      I think your logic is solid. But there are two things about the scene that make me wonder if that’s the right explanation. First is the eye effect. That’s not insanity. We’ve seen that kind of light, in the same color spectrum, with Satella. I accept your and Ohm’s point about “daisuki” instead of “aishiteru”. But there’s something else going on in her eyes.

      To me, that something else might have been possession by _another_ witch. At 13:12, I swear Emilia’s smile looked just like Echidna’s.

      I consider that a long-shot.

      “I infer that Roswaal basically indicated that his intent was to get Subaru to focus on Emilia in the next loop since this loop was already a failure.”

      That makes sense.

      “Echidna implies here that she might have tried to change Emilia’s trial up (3 loops ago in which Emilia went through the trial 4 times), and suggested that maybe Subaru could get Emilia to break out of her shell, doing what Echidna herself couldn’t do, but Subaru mistakenly believes that “Or perhaps… you can do it?” meant that he should definitely undergo the trial himself in Emilia’s place because that’s how his mindset always has been for a while, and he has tunnel vision.”

      That’s interesting! I’d been operating under the assumption that Echidna meant that Subaru could give Emilia the support she needed; I hadn’t considered the other interpertation.

      “It’s also likely that Roswaal knew the Great Rabbit would arrive soon, so that’s why he was intent on killing both Ram and Garfiel so that he could find the time to talk to Subaru, ”

      That would explain the need for speed. The writers have earned enough trust from me that I’ll take another look at the scene after a few more reveals. The scene still doesn’t sit well with me, even after a lot of discussion and some great insights.

      “The only question if this is the case would be whether Emilia can complete the three trials fast enough so that there’d still be time for them to get back to the mansion before Elsa makes her move.”

      Wow — that adds a lot of time-pressure to an already brutal situation.

      And I thought the first season was rough on Subaru…

      1. On Emilia’s current state, remember that Roswaal literally revealed his intent to break Emilia’s mind this episode, so I think that’s an indicator that he succeeded. You do have a point about the eye effect, and the news I have for you is that I am going to buy Re:zero’s light novels to see whether Emilia’s eyes have clouds in them in the novels. This will clarify whether the effect is canon or whether the animation director strayed from the source material in that moment. I’ll check in with you after I’ve read up to the equivalent moment in the light novels. I’m not going to read past what the anime has adapted because I want to focus on what the anime emphasizes because it probably focuses only on the most important details whereas there are more details to think about in the light novel that might not be important in the telling of the series. It’ll be the first light novel series I’ll have purchased, and I feel like if there’s enough support for the series that a Season 3 might come sooner instead of another 4 years for the next season to be adapted.

        I’ve considered buying the light novels before I because I felt there was a lot of care put into the scene where Subaru asked Priscilla to help defeat the Witch Cult, leading to him deciding to lick her foot. I’ve posted on a couple of other blogs that I believe that Subaru will end up with Priscilla at the end of the series as a result of my analysis of the content Priscilla and Subaru have had together, and maybe now is the time to read the source material to get a sense of what Priscilla actually felt about Subaru. Surely the light novels aren’t told almost entirely from Subaru’s point of view like the anime, right?

        Tcrow, you also brought up a point about Ryuzu Bilma telling Subaru to pose the same question to her again tomorrow regarding the previous episode, and I think I’ve thought up a plausible explanation for why she did that. Maybe the Ryuzu clones work in shifts, and Ryuzu Bilma’s shift was just about over, and that was what prompted her to ask Subaru to ask again tomorrow.

        1. “On Emilia’s current state, remember that Roswaal literally revealed his intent to break Emilia’s mind this episode, so I think that’s an indicator that he succeeded. ”

          No doubt Roswaal intended it. But the subtitle of this series might as well be “Thwarted Intentions!”

          Not saying you’re wrong. Just saying I’m not sure who’s right.

          “I’ve posted on a couple of other blogs that I believe that Subaru will end up with Priscilla at the end of the series”

          That would astound me. But then, it’s Re:ZERO, so I’m not about to say it won’t happen.

          “Maybe the Ryuzu clones work in shifts, and Ryuzu Bilma’s shift was just about over”

          That sounds plausible to me. I thought she wanted to consider his question more carefully, but I could be wrong. I mean, they have to divide up the work somehow, and shifts are an efficient way to do that.

  2. I think the reason why Subaru thinks its Emilia is because Emilia and Satella act differently towards Subaru. For starters, when Satella showed herself, she was surrounded by shadows while the only notable physical change is her glazed eyes. Next, The whole time Satella was there, she typically only muttered in mad mantras, “I love you” and “Love me”. Then, she also noticed and gasped when Subaru died, even crying for him. Lastly, her “I love you”s were pronounced as aishiteru. Emilia, however, spoke clearly (albeit with a slightly unhinged tone) and normally(somewhat). Then, when Subaru was bleeding to death, Emilia didn’t even notice and simply asked if he was tired. Finally, her “I love you”s were pronounced differently as daisuke. Btw, the difference between the 2 is that aishiteru is an “I love you” reserved for married couples. It is one of those statements that aren’t used casually. Its a serious declaration. Daisuke on the other hand, is a slightly lesser version of aishiteru, typically reserved for people who have been dating for a while. Its like the difference between an “I love you” and an “I like you a lot”.

    Next, I have multiple possible reason why Roswaal acted dramatically differently from before One of them is because he, at that moment, has then given up on this timeline. I don’t know why but he looks as if he has dropped his act the moment Subaru had accused him of summoning the snow. After that, he then has this seemingly don’t-give-a-shit attitude as he then kills Garfiel and Ram and then beats the crap out of Subaru. A commenter even jokingly compared it to players in a video game. “Subaru is the kind of gamer who doesn’t pick mean dialogue options so the NPCs don’t feel sad while Roswaal is the guy who saves before massacring an entire town because he can just reload.”

    Another reasoning for why he killed Garfiel by using Ram is because 1) Garfiel is at this moment told that Roswaal is the reason why its freezing outside, 2) We have been shown multiple times that Garfiel is obsessively protective of the Sanctuary. Heck, he even murdered innocent villagers and “probably” Ram for the sake of his sanctuary.3) Garfiel is bull-headed and stubborn. This 3 facts would then tell me that Garfiel would not just listen if Roswaal told him to leave the room. I am certain that would just make Garfiel more annoying to Roswaal. Plus, he even said that, at that time, Garfiel is apparently a match to him due to Roswaal’s injured state. Thus, he decided that dealing with Garfiel would be too much of a hassle and thus killed him.

    As for why Roswaal beat the crap out of Subaru and then let the Rabbits eat him……….. I really just chalk that up to him being a sick a-hole. For the scene with Beatrice, I refuse to believe that its a harem scene mainly because the writer of this story has made it clear that this is not that type of show. Furthermore, Beatrice acting differently from before was even hinted at last episode. The moment Subaru entered the door, Beatrice had began to act differently. Before, she would act dismissively towards Subaru but the moment Subaru entered her library, she appeared to know why Subaru went there. I don’t know why she is acting differently, but I think that her acting strangely out-of-character is on purpose by the writer instead of just a forced scene. I also have a theory that Beatrice wanted to be contracted to Subaru like Puck was to Emilia, but in order for the contract to happen, Subaru must blot out her current contract and thus, think of her as the highest priority. I don’t know but its just my theory. Plus, the fact that she has been trapped for 400 years waiting for someone to end her contract only for that (presumable) person to show reluctance to end said contract, I can kind of see why she started getting melodramatic. Anyways, that’s all I got. I’m tired.

    1. “Emilia, however, spoke clearly (albeit with a slightly unhinged tone) and normally(somewhat).”

      Good point. Also good point about word choice. There may be levels of possession, or modes of possession, that we don’t understand yet. We’ve never seen Emilia and Satella together. Maybe Big Black Fog Satella is an initial possession phase, where the witch’s energy hasn’t been consolidated; or maybe it’s a more advanced phase, where Satella’s personality is dominant.

      I like how the show has setup this situation. It’s still a mystery that supports multiple interpretations.

      “I don’t know why but he looks as if he has dropped his act the moment Subaru had accused him of summoning the snow.”

      I noticed his attitude change, too. I think you’ve made some good points about Roswaal realizing this time line is a bust, and his temper begins to get the better of him.

      His attack on Subaru still doesn’t feel right. Maybe it’s because I haven’t processed all of the hints; maybe that itself is a hint. The writer here is amazingly subtle. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and see how this looks in hindsight.

      “Plus, he even said that, at that time, Garfiel is apparently a match to him due to Roswaal’s injured state. Thus, he decided that dealing with Garfiel would be too much of a hassle and thus killed him.”

      I can see that.

      “I don’t know why she is acting differently, but I think that her acting strangely out-of-character is on purpose by the writer instead of just a forced scene.”

      If this were any other writer, I’d insist the scene felt forced. As it is, it still didn’t feel right. Maybe we’ll find out why; at least, I hope we do.

      I’m still wondering how Elsa/Knifey escaped death — if that’s what she did. I more or less expected it (this being Re:ZERO and all). She’s one character I won’t miss when she’s gone. She’s a nasty one.

Please let me know what you think!

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