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Unread 12-04-2016, 12:04 PM   #81
Sithdarth
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Originally Posted by Solid Snek View Post
Maybe not, but even if it doesn't, it's sort of disappointing for a series that's been so deconstructive to include an episode that plays so many tropes painfully straight.
It occurs to me that a trope can't be deconstructed unless you set it up first. Your characters or story have to follow the trope for at least some amount of time before you can start tearing it all down. For example the first couple episodes or so give you the distinct impression that Re: Zero is typical fantasy fare before it just isn't.

Now it's up to you to decide if going forward some of the tropes you see being played straight right now are deconstructed or not. I'm not going to say anything either way because there be spoilers.
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Unread 12-05-2016, 04:27 AM   #82
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It's worth noting before I dive into this headfirst that I actually agree with more of your points than you might anticipate, the nature of this conversation is going to be argumentative and focus on areas of dissension by default but I did find a few of your points convincing enough to lead me to a slightly gentler assessment of Episode 18.

It's also worth mentioning that part of the impetus for my objections to Episode 18 stemmed not from objective criticisms but from a more subjective disappointment that the 'Rem Confession' scene, which I suspected was inevitable from the start, played out quite differently in my head than it did on screen. I actually anticipated that Subaru would reject Rem (at least for now, and despite all my misgivings toward him for making such a stupid decision) but I still expected that I'd really like Rem at the end of it all.

*snip*

In the end, I played myself: I bought into a false narrative in my mind about how things would go down and ultimately, a lot of my disappointment over this episode just relates to a wish that it had played out differently, and that Subaru and Rem were written a little differently. Beyond that, though, I have concerns about the future of the series as Episode 18 at least appears to be setting Subaru up for a stereotypical Triumphant Protagonist narrative where he gets his insecurities in perfect order just in time to lead the charge against the baddies, save the day and win Emilia's everlasting affections.
Will that actually happen? Maybe not, but even if it doesn't, it's sort of disappointing for a series that's been so deconstructive to include an episode that plays so many tropes painfully straight.
Let's see if I can group these by topic...

1. I'm pretty sure this is just a semantic disagreement, as I'm going to be repeating myself on this. Yes, offering to marry Rem if she runs away with him is stupid, but it's stupid in the way that characters at the end of their ropes so often are. 'Subaru doesn't even know what love is, why is he offering Rem marriage'. No shit, he's a dumbass NEET teenager. Of course he doesn't know a goddamn thing about real love. Why is that inconceivably stupid? That kind of stupid is very conceivable to me.

Like, for some reason this is a kind of stupid which is taking you out of the story, where I agree it's meant to be stupid, but more of an 'OH NO, THERE'S A MONSTER INSIDE THAT DOOR DON'T OPEN IT' kind of stupidity where the audience is invested because they know the ways shit's about to go wrong.

2-6 (a) Yeah, Rem considers herself definitely still in the running for the Subaru cup, and I didn't do a good job acknowledging that in my post, but at the same time, she knows this is basically her chance to take a free second or third place trophy, and she turns it down in large part because she wants to win the whole damn thing. But this is a choice she's making with the knowledge that losing is a real possibility.

(b) So, on this whole agency question, I started off by starting in on how your own definition of Agency seemed to agree with my interpretation more than yours, but I realized that that's not really the heart of the disagreement we're having here. Going down that road is just gonna be us talking past each other.

Instead: Why do you think that this 'angelic' behavior constitutes a loss of agency?

I think this is, if not the heart of it, closer to it than wherever I was gonna take this before hand. Throwing definitions of what is or is not agency is ancillary to this, though it is something she is choosing. It also doesn't represent a departure from what we've seen of her character previously.

If I can hazard a guess based on what's been said so far: agency was never the problem. You're worried about character depth instead. These are somewhat related, but you can certainly have shallow characters with lots of agency (Kirito, Kefka, etc.). So, you're afraid she's going to be a one-not cheerleader from here out. This episode required her to be a cheerleader, but that's not the same as a full regression in character.

10. I think you're probably right that I do that in some places (doubtlessly again in this post, too) but I don't think that specific instance is an example. For me, the way Subaru's VA changes the tone and inflection signal to me that it's an intentional 'being honest' moment. Now, part of being fluent in a language is knowing how to pick up on subtle cues and inflections and I am not even remotely a fluent Japanese speaker, but thankfully everyone is acting the shit out of their parts in this episode so when the slight waver in Subaru's voice that was there from 21-22 minutes is gone in favor of a very flat affect and slightly lower tone at 23:15 when he starts 'the line' I feel pretty safe in reading (hearing, whatever ) that as a deliberate shift.

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Originally Posted by Sithdarth View Post
It occurs to me that a trope can't be deconstructed unless you set it up first. Your characters or story have to follow the trope for at least some amount of time before you can start tearing it all down. For example the first couple episodes or so give you the distinct impression that Re: Zero is typical fantasy fare before it just isn't.

Now it's up to you to decide if going forward some of the tropes you see being played straight right now are deconstructed or not. I'm not going to say anything either way because there be spoilers.
We usually see it the other way around, don't we? Madoka Magica spends so much time deconstructing only for the end to play it sorta straight. Evangelion deconstructs giant robots, only for most of that same crew to make Gurren Lagann later on.
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Unread 12-10-2016, 07:53 PM   #83
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Dreadful Somehow, I am still watching this shit

Episode 19

- So we immediately cut to Subaru offering an alliance to Crusch 'on equal terms.'
...Only, Subaru isn't in any position to offer an alliance as he has no standing as a member of Emilia's faction.
I suppose Rem could have that authority but I'm not really sure what Rem's even doing here in the first place beyond following her crush because Emilia or Roswaal wants *someone* keeping tabs on him.

- Subaru offers the White Whale's next appearance as a bargaining chip, but isn't that kind of akin to him outing himself as in league with the whale?!? How the hell else would he know anything about the White Whale? He can't tell them the truth.
If I'm Crusch this sounds fishy as fuck. I thought we were going to start seeing competent Subaru here but this actually makes me oddly hopeful that Subaru's just going to get his ass shut down for being an idiot again.

- ...Oh, now we get some flashback to Rem and Subaru at the ruins again.
At least they're going to fill us in on some pertinent details I suppose.
Rem indicates that Roswaal 'feared this could happen as well' but it sure seems to me as if Roswaal doesn't have any plan whatsoever to deal with the threat. I still don't trust Roswaal. Something is horribly off about him.

- What the hell are these "Magic stones found in Roswaal's domain, in Elior Forest." Am I supposed to know anything about this based on what I've seen in this show already?
...You see, this is why one of my major criticisms of Re:Zero is that we need to be shown more of the geography and history of Lugunica. Subaru could spout just about any name or title of a place or object and I'd shrug it off because yeah, I guess it could exist. But really, if we have no context for any of this, what's even the point?

- Now Subaru's negotiating for mining rights. This makes no fucking sense.
This isn't even Subaru flipping a switch to suddenly become competent, this is the author waving his magic wand and giving Subaru exactly what he needs to win the day, only it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for Subaru to act as if he's an arbiter capable of offering this. What if Emilia and Roswaal hear about Subaru's negotiations and say "Naaaah, we refuse to honor the bargain as Subaru's no agent of ours?"

- Wonderful. Subaru's somehow become capable of reading minds and understanding the exact intentions of all the involved parties.
...At least him utilizing the time of the cell phone to predict the White Whale's actions makes sense. But that opens up another giant can of worms, namely: The White Whale was following Subaru, so the time and place of its last appearance in the earlier worldline was due to Subaru and Rem acting on their plan to rescue Emilia as they did. So in this new worldline, where Subaru's already changing things around and enacting new plans, the White Whale should NOT appear in the same time and place.
I mean, for the White Whale to actually consistently appear we'd need to have some reasoning to expect that the White Whale is tied to a particular time and place with its movements and actions, like it's bound throughout all worldlines to act in a particular way or seek a particular static objective. If that's not the case, then Subaru's chosen a plan that should just backfire.

- Maaan Crusch has some terrible security if her rival Anastasia could just randomly show up at her own mansion and spy on her like that.
...Oh, okay, they were invited. But by Rem and not Crusch, so my complaint is still valid. For a candidate of the royal selection, Crusch needs better protection than this.

- It appears that Subaru trying to garner alliances against the White Whale is a more fruitful avenue than allying them to fight off the Cultists. But what is Subaru's plan to deal with the Cultists, anyway? If anything, the Cultists should be the more immediate threat to Emilia.

- I'm glad to learn that in the past day or so Subaru's taken a full course on Negotiating Mining Rights. I had to take a semester's worth of Contracts in Law School and it'd still take me much more time to negotiate such a deal with any legal finesse whatsoever.
For someone who knows nothing about this world, Subaru sure is instantaneously becoming a subject-matter expert at an convenient moment.

- I guess my criticisms are slightly negated by the reveal that Anastasia did much more of the planning than I anticipated, but that earlier scene when Subaru would've negotiated terms with Anastasia and learned everything he needed to know is crucial stuff, and so the pacing is just out of whack for that material to be skipped and just thrown at the audience like this. The earlier scene between Anastasia and Subaru that we didn't see is actually even more important as it was the crucial first step for him to making this all happen, and it's skipped?!?
Meanwhile, poor Rem's just been standing there, saying nothing. Great character development to reduce her to just Subaru's passive source of unwavering support and encouragement.

- "You are surprisingly shrewd, Natsuki Subaru."
Yeah, but you see, for me to believe that Subaru actually is shrewd and not just be told that he is out of left field, I needed to see so much more of the behind-the-scenes stuff that went into this than to just fast-forward to Subaru's moment of unearned triumph. Subaru mentions preparing for this moment and...we needed to see bits and pieces of that preparation.

- "Yes, you are truly wonderful, Subaru-kun."
That's it. That's it from Rem today.
...Shoot me now.

- Now even Wilhelm is thanking this chode.
Fuck my life and stab me with a skewer, this really is going to be some 'Subaru gets a pep talk and then he becomes magically perfect and saves the day as everyone's beloved hero!' bullshit.

- So Wilhelm's wife was killed by the White Whale, but Wilhelm still remembers her existence? Shouldn't he have forgotten all about her?!? Or is the White Whale just random and selective in applying the world-retcon powers?!?

- And so nine minutes into a new episode, Subaru has arranged a goddamn army to materialize out of thin air.
Great. Just great pacing. This sure feels like a well-earned victory.
At least Ferris is taking the opportunity to flirt a bit with Subaru, this is a new ship I could get behind.

- Rem's new role on this show is just to stand silently by Subaru and listen keenly to whatever bullshit he's spouting. She's just there. Maybe once in a while she gets to spout some line where she's in awe of Subaru. Huzzah.
...She sure has regressed.

- Oh cool, a giant werewolf! That is a legit awesome character design.
Here's hoping this new character actually shows up for more than just one scene.
His name is Ricardo. Excellent.

- At least Crusch is still capable of giving Subaru some well-earned shade.

- All these strangers just love Subaru now.
All he had to do was mention the White Whale! That's some advanced level strategy right there.
...Half an episode and we've already formed the team to fight the whale. This is so rushed.
It is so bad and so rushed.

- It seems like all these people actually remember the lives that the White Whale has taken. Hmm. Inconsistent powers, or is there some deeper meaning behind who the White Whale erases from continuity?

- Mimi and Hetaro are adorable, but also completely extraneous and unnecessary characters to introduce at this juncture.
...Ricardo, you are my last hope here. Please don't die.
...
......
........Oh God I can predict the future, Ricardo's going to be erased from existence next won't he

- At least the tree is pretty.
And here's a quiet romantic moment for Subaru and Rem that could have been meaningful if Nagatsuki hadn't already sunk the ship.
I really do dislike how Rem's only talking around Subaru and not the others and...
Of course she tells Subaru he's wonderful again. Of fuckin' course.

- How the hell does that phone still have ample battery life for all this, anyway? Where is Subaru recharging it? In the previous worldline, he barely had any battery left when he turned it on around the time the White Whale attacked. This worldline he's turned it on twice now and is keeping it on to presumably keep track of the time.
This makes no sense.
Why do I feel like I'm the only one who's realizing that this is such bad, convenient, awful, trite writing.

- "Because I have complete faith in you, Subaru-kun."
Rem why are you making me really dislike you all the sudden
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO YOUR CHARACTER
Someone help me change my avatar to something new
It can't be an avatar of these two kissing anymore


- In another context, in another world, with better writing and better character development, and a more independent Rem with greater depth and agency, this scene between Subaru and Rem could've actually been sweet.
...At least the art and music is excellent as always.

- Wilhelm, I barely even know enough about you at this juncture to be moved by your story of your lost wife. (But I do wish there were more moments in Re:Zero like this where the supporting characters had a chance to shine.)

- Please tell me that Subaru's changes to this worldline result in the White Whale not showing up here, and he gets in trouble for talkin' out his ass, that would redeem this entire episode in my book.
...Nope.
Well, it was a nice dream while it lasted.

- Hahahaha Subaru charges ahead like a dunce and then Rem does all the work for him while he just pretends to contribute.
That is so emblematic of the entirety of their relationship to each other.

- Given how high the whale can fly, how the hell can ground troops deal much damage to it anyway? Rem has her magic, of course, but the others are going to need more tricks up their sleeves.

Seeing as this is yet another episode where primary-worldline Emilia is nowhere to be seen, it's going to be all the more unbelievable when she randomly shows up in one of the final episodes just in time to miraculously fall for Subaru in a mere matter of days.

...My love affair with Re:Zero is over. I could keep watching this, I suppose, but the magic just isn't here anymore. No, that isn't just because the ship's sunk; something more is missing. I don't know what it is, it's just missing. And this story isn't very charming anymore, it's just filled with all these glaring inconsistencies that needle me and all these missed opportunities to more fully explore a fantasy world that remains horribly underdeveloped.

All my criticisms of Re:Zero -- and I've made many more in Discord that I won't bother repeating here -- they all could have been worked around and this story could have been salvaged if, say, Nagatsuki invested heavily into a romance with well-written leads to counterbalance his inability to develop a world or give a damn about pacing his plot, but nope, we can't even have that any more, because Subaru is an idiot.

Please die several terrifying deaths in the next episode, Subaru.
I will not be satisfied unless the White Whale meticulously breaks you bone by bone, bit by bit, as you scream in agony, and then maybe to top it all off it erases you from existence and we're left with the final scene of Re:Zero just being Rem thinking to herself "Who the hell was Subaru?!"
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Unread 12-11-2016, 08:08 AM   #84
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I wonder if the White Whale would erase him from existence...what would happen? All the stuff he did still happened up until that point, but people would clearly not remember him or why they were working together.
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Unread 12-11-2016, 10:13 AM   #85
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I wonder if the White Whale would erase him from existence...what would happen? All the stuff he did still happened up until that point, but people would clearly not remember him or why they were working together.
Well, given that Crusch has been preparing this army to kill the White Whale for a while now, which is why said army can "materialize out of thin air," she just didn't know when it would next appear, everybody would probably just think Crusch lead them out here to kill it, with no idea how she knew where it would show up . Now if Crusch was erased, and Wilhelm was erased, and all the other leaders of this army were erased, then, yeah, things would get confusing. But Subaru only matters right now as the "where and when" guy.
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Unread 01-11-2017, 09:40 AM   #86
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This kinda trailed off into not happening anymore, but I just wanted to show Snake what won honorable mention in this years Anime Awards.

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Unread 01-11-2017, 09:51 AM   #87
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Why post that and not the one that is really aimed at Snek



Double because somehow both RE:ZERO and KonoSuba made it to the same award.
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Unread 01-11-2017, 10:05 AM   #88
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I hadn't seen that one yet. That one is better.
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Unread 01-11-2017, 05:52 PM   #89
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Serious Rem and Subaru had one great moment of growth together, then it went downhill

I'm actually a lot more excited about Yuri and Victor winning Best Couple than Rem being awarded 'Best Girl.'

'Best Girl' is often interpreted as Best Waifu, and so many guys like Rem right now for all the wrong reasons -- the same reasons they're supporting Subaru and Rem as a couple in spite of her glaring codependency issues, his glaring selfishness and immaturity and her desperate need to find her own voice as an independent person. Even I fell into the goddamn trap for a while of viewing Rem as simply 'Waifu material' for Subaru and downplaying the signs of just unhealthy those kinds of relationships are for her at this juncture. I, like so many other men in Re:Zero's audience, was viewing Rem as a woman but not as her own person in that kind of so-called 'benevolent sexism' kind of way where I wanted 'what was best for her' but was subconsciously interpreting her more as an object for Subaru's affections than as her own entity.

And now that I'm freed from the trap, it's simultaneously annoying and humbling to see so many other guys fall headfirst over Rem because she'll do anything for Subaru, and seeing that be the sole rationalization or justification for their relationship. I don't think Subaru and Emilia are any better as a couple, mind you. In fact, assuming they do end up together they'd arguably be even worse. And I don't even despise Subaru so much as a character as much as I despise the heroic image of him that I suspect the author is conjuring, completely oblivious to the larger world around him.

But that's repeating a ton of points I've made already, and in more depth, in the past couple months or so. For now I'll just say, kudos to Victor and Yuri winning out, and Rem voters are the exact kind of men who reaffirm stereotypes about nerdy heterosexual male entitlement issues over women. The only way a relationship between Rem and Subaru would work would involve exactly the kind of long-term plot that voters would hate insofar as they'd need to spend a lot of time apart and grow independently before they could come back together. And, the only way Rem grows as a person involves her repudiating at least a few of the traits and qualities that so many immature boys want her to retain and that validated their support of her as 'Best Girl'.

Rem still has tons of potential to be the best character in Re:Zero, but right now even Emilia is better balanced and more centered as a person. Rem could actually learn a couple things from someone like Emilia or Crusch. Right now based on what I've seen I'd actually lean toward Reinhard as best character -- he's the most genuinely selfless without expecting anything in return, and he just comes across like a guy with the right values in a world where even the other protagonists desperately lack those values.
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Unread 02-04-2017, 06:13 AM   #90
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WTF I hate myself for doing this

Episode 20

...Okay, for some random reason this episode starts with some guy and some girl looking at a pretty sunrise or sunset or something. He has a sword. They're probably dating? I don't know what's going on here. I guess we'll find out.

Back to the whale. Rem summons some ice at it. Subaru gives the troops a thumbs-up. Crusch orders the attack. They fire some sort of...inexplicable light 'banisher' cannon that appears have some unstated impact on the whale? I do not recall this ever being described as a strategy in a previous episode. It feels like they're making this shit up on the fly.

The music is great, at least.
Hahaha the whale looks so silly. I like how the animators draw it to experience emotional responses (it's mildly annoyed with the banisher!) but we still have no freaking clue what this White Whale is, why it exists, why anything whatsoever is happening in this story right now, oy vey.

...Stomach through this, Snake. You can do it.
Why doesn't the whale just erase all these losers from existence?

Okay back to the action. Crusch does more attacks and orders the soldiers to disperse. Wilhelm? He's the old guy who works for Crusch, right? He does some sort of age-defying backflip. He's waited years for this. I'm guessing that was his younger self in the intro. ...Yup, that was him!
So is the whale a sentient creature? Like, does it remember Wilhelm or Crusch and does it recognize people and have some sort of complex reasoning as to what it's doing or trying to accomplish? Or is it just some beast who erases people from existence more on instinct?

...Well, Wilhelm's gonna OHKO this thing.
Fire mages show up randomly to unleash a broadside.
Subaru and Rem sound like they're announcers giving us the play-by-play.
Hahaha the Whale's perturbed face in that shot. It's just like "What the fuck did I do to deserve this bullshit from these assholes today?" The Whale is the true MVP of this episode right now and probably the series as a whole. He's as sick of this incessant bullshit dearth of halfway decent storytelling as I am.
...I am rooting for the whale now. I probably am not supposed to be rooting for the whale.

"I've just become a slightly better man," says Subaru. No you haven't.
Hahaha that attack move made no sense whatsoever. Wilhelm is falling to the ground and the werewolf utilizes his own broadsword as some sort of fucking launchpad with which to send Wilhelm straight back towards the whale like this is pinball or something.

You know what I actually kind of miss about the first episode, and the earlier episodes in general? Back when the fight sequences were generally intended to show the viewers how Subaru was woefully ill-equipped to handle himself in a new and foreign fantasy world, everything felt more realistic. Like that woman he and the others fight in the first couple episodes. She slices folks up with daggers and whatnot, the swordsman has a special attack, but it doesn't feel too out of place. That action was fun to watch.

...This battle just makes me laugh.
Hahaha he slices the eyeball clean off the whale and it lands right next to Subaru. You know what would have been even more hysterical...and entirely possible, given how little control Wilhelm had over where that eyeball was landing? If it landed right on Subaru. That'd be the best way he's died yet. Succeeding with a plan of attack and on the cusp of victory, only to redo everything because of friendly fire.

...Apparently this causes the whale to summon the Mists of Pandemonium or some shit with some funky flute music and a bloodshot eye. This makes absolutely no sense. I guess it's effective at being terrifying insofar as I imagine I'd be so confused if I ever had to try to fight this thing.

...
.....
"Have you grown to like flowers?"
"No. I still hate them."
This is actual dialogue between Wilhelm and his girlfriend in a flashback or some shit. It's like they went back in time, found me back when I was in Middle School, asked my younger self to write dialogue for this scene, then decided that Middle School Snake was actually too sophisticated, so they went back to even further in time to accost me when I was in Kindergarten.

...That was pretty much it for the flashback, by the way. We're back to the whale fight now.
This is sssssooo fun you guys everyone watch Re:Zero posthaste

...Wait. If the fog attack from the whale is erasing folks from existence, how could Crusch's subordinates tell that anyone was lost at all?!? From their perspective their units would always have just been a few short, right?
...I don't understand how any of this works. I barely comprehend why I still care about how any of this works. You know what would've been more effective? If the people who wrote this damn anime bothered to show us how this all worked before the episode where we actually fought the Whale.

But it doesn't erase them entirely from existence, Subaru, or the others wouldn't even understand that folks were lost. They'd be like the merchant in that flashback you just had, they'd respond to any inquiries about missing soldiers by acting like none of them had ever been there. Where's the consistency?

...Subaru's special for some inexplicable reason again, as he is completely unaffected by the Whale's insanity attack.
Yeah, Subaru, you lead an attack on the Whale to divert its attention. That will end incredibly well for you.

This battle's going to go on for the whole episode, isn't it? I'll be lucky if it even ends here.

"Of course. Anywhere," says Rem, who is still completely smitten with this obtuse waste of human flesh.
A woman's face appeared behind Subaru when he started talking about 'Return to Death' again. This appears to be his new Whale-slaying tactic. Delightful.

...Why not aim for its other eye right about now, Wilhelm? You already got halfway there, blinding it entirely would make this ludicrously easy.

Okay, credit where it's due, having the flower-loving girl in the flashbacks actually be a master swordswoman who humiliates and emasculates a sexist Wilhelm with her mad skillz is a fun twist.

So we saw those flashbacks just to...witness Wilhelm's death immediately thereafter. Yeah. That makes perfect storytelling sense. You finally gave those flashbacks a mildly intriguing context and gave the character a mildly intriguing backstory to explore but nope, he's dead now!!
And now Wilhelm's death appears to have multiplied the whales. Or maybe the whale summoned its family or something. I don't even know anymore. This makes absolutely no sense. It makes no sense.

Why do people watch this shit
Why am I still watching this shit
It's becoming like the worst most stereotypical of fantasy teenage boy fantasies with all kinds of inexplicable twists and turns and unexplained superpowers magically exploding things and there's no underlying reason why anything is happening or what the story of this Whale even is

Someone find me a steel pipe to repeatedly slam against my forehead, maybe that pain will somehow cancel out the pain of having witnessed this atrocity

On that note...

Come back here next time for...Snake's reviews of Infinitely Better Animes!!!
It's true ladies and gents, Snake's going to watch and review episodes from the following shows, all of which are infinitely better than this steaming sack of crap:

- Sailor Moon!
- My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU!
- Yuri on Ice!
- Witchcraft Works!
- and Konosuba Series Two!


Yes it's true, join Snake next time for actual decent anime instead of this crime against humanity.

And now, friends and foes, we bury Subaru, by leaps and bounds the worst protagonist in anime history, and Emilia, who had one great monologue where she tore Subaru to pieces but then she basically disappeared from the plot, and Crusch, who's cool I guess, and Reinhard, who was also cool for those precious few episodes he bothered to appear in, and the thief whose name I can't even remember, and Rem, poor Rem, who deserved so much better than the fate that's befallen her...
...Seriously Re:Zero should just rebrand itself as the tragic tale of Rem getting stuck in a piece of crap narrative
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WARNING: Snek's all up in this thread. Be prepared to read massive walls of text.

Last edited by Solid Snake; 02-04-2017 at 07:12 AM.
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