At the moment the anime eclipsing all other anime is ‘Attack on Titan’. It is currently airing part one of it’s final season. This season is capitalizing on all the build up of the previous seasons and is delivering a stellar finale.
Despite its exploits, one anime is holding it’s own with some mind-blowing episodes. More importantly the characters and their underlying philosophy are its defining aspects. This show is Re:Zero. Its main character is both charismatic and pathetic. How can a character possess such paradoxical qualities?
This is achieved by the environment the story is set in. Many anime have a fantasy setting which enables them to create scenarios where they can flesh out their character’s philosophy. Re:Zero is an anime where the hero continually fails with heart-wrenching implications but he has to keep trying again so that he can find a path to success. These dire situations demonstrate the resilience of his character. When the main character finally succeeds he comes off as extremely charismatic. Throughout the show his character grows, transforming him from a weak character trying to survive, into a strong character that strategizes and doesn’t let go of his principles. The viewer roots for this character even though he may be pathetic and hopelessly outmatched for most of the story.
It is not only the main character who is loved in the story. Many of the supporting characters are beloved and there are moments in the story where their actions are etched onto my memory. They are dependable and always willing to help their friends. In fact many times when the main character was in an extremely dark frame of mind these characters voluntarily stepped up supported him. They provided him with affection and a new perspective which enabled them to face the challenge together that had earlier seemed unassailable.
Re:zero is one of the rare shows where the line between a villain and anti-hero is blurred. Even the antagonists have their own back story and perspective. This makes them complicated but not necessarily wrong. Each character is approaching the situation with their ideas and sense of righteousness. Hence when they clash with the main character one cannot be sure if they are a villain or someone with a different perspective on the world. This complicates the story and makes it a clash of ideas rather than a good versus evil archetype.
The last aspect that stands out in Re:Zero is it’s animation. There are moments where the animation makes scenes powerful and memorable. There are also scenes which are quite cringe worthy. The show displays the full range of outcomes from absolute success to abject failure. The animation of the characters expressions is unforgettable as there are certain scenes where the hopelessness is clearly evident from the characters face.
Re:Zero carries itself on the ideas it tries to explore. With each season, a bit more of the story is revealed and the stakes are raised. Each conundrum is carefully laid out and the core idea it is exploring keeps getting challenged. The show has a lot of potential and rather than faltering it is building up on its previous events.