LN Reading Program 2 — August 14

(Pictured: Re:Zero)

(Pictured: Re:Zero)

For the second week of August’s reading program, we will discuss the second third of Re:Zero (volume 1) and Our Journey to the End of the Ceasing World. For Re:Zero, you need to have read up to chapter 5: “Starting Life in Another World” (page 174). Meanwhile for Our Journey, you need to have read up to the asterisk page break in the chapter titled “Journey.”

If you have read further ahead, please refrain from spoiling anything past the points in the stories mentioned above. (Also, obviously, if you’ve experienced a manga or anime adaptation in the past, don’t reveal what happens next.)

Re:Zero

Subaru gets knocked down. But he gets up again! Are they ever going to keep him down?

Discussion Points

How do you feel about the way Re:Zero has handled its time loop premise? Does the story feel repetitive, or are there enough new developments in each “session” to tide you over? In what ways does the premise shape Subaru’s character development? Do you feel the main theme of this story can be directly tied to this premise?

What do we know about Subaru’s life before entering the fantasy world? What makes him wish to enter highly dangerous situations to help people he barely knows?

One point of the story I’m truly confused about is Satella’s name. I’ll assume all will be cleared up on that front soon enough, but for now I find it bizarre that she would use a pseudonym that is a name she (and apparently everyone else in the world) thoroughly despises.

Also, we still don’t know anything about her badge, which I suppose is safe to call a Macguffin at this point.

I feel my opinion on the story is more or less the same as last week, though I will admit rather liking the scene introducing the knight Reinhard. It was a strange breath of fresh air for the story, the idea that someone could interact nicely with Subaru. (Or just, be nice in general?)

Do you think Subaru has a limited number of lives? (I kind of hope he does; otherwise he is effectively immortal?) How do you imagine he will work things out with Not-Satella, Felt, and Rom? Will Subaru have to die again before Elsa is finally defeated?

(Re:Zero artwork Shinichirou Otsuka)

(Re:Zero artwork Shinichirou Otsuka)

Our Journey to the End of the Ceasing World

The boy and the girl help “Boss” build a plane. He flies it and dies.

Discussion Points

Well, I can’t think of much to discuss this time. So I’ll leave it to all of you!

———

As mentioned before, feel free to discuss any point you would like to bring up about either (or both) of these two books. General impressions, predictions for how the stories will play out, some compare/contrast between the two books, or any random observations and things you’d like to analyze are all fair game.

4 responses to “LN Reading Program 2 — August 14

  1. Yes, Reinhard is the best character in the novel. I’m so glad someone else appreciates this. He’s so nice and socially adjusted but also ~mysterious~. Honestly, he was the most compelling character for me when I first got into the series. I’d be the first to read a spinoff about his adventures.

    I think what makes Reinhard feel so refreshing in that scene is that his manner is so effortless… contrast this to Subaru who always seems to be trying too hard.

    And I adore Felt too, but for some reason, she didn’t seem as likable in the novel :(

    • His time is short in this volume, but it’s understandable why. (There isn’t much of a story for Subaru if someone else comes in and saves the day.) Reinhard appears to be a character intended to contrast with Subaru, but works as someone for Subaru to aspire toward, rather than a rival or mentor. Meanwhile the sense of mystery that’s alluded to helps keep his character grounded, and leaves room for a potential plot twist or two in future volumes.

      “contrast this to Subaru who always seems to be trying too hard.”
      Subaru would probably be a lot cooler if he simply stopped trying to act cool, ha ha.

      “And I adore Felt too, but for some reason, she didn’t seem as likable in the novel”
      Re:Zero is working with several characters who are not readily easy to like — Felt is a greedy thief, Subaru is a bumbling fool, Not-Satella is a fierce grouch, etc. But the story seems to be trying to make the point that they’re still people with goodness in them, as they’ve all been willing to risk their lives for others. It’ll perhaps be easier to see what is likable about each of them once the dust settles. (We have, after all, only seen them during a short and very trying period of looping time.)

  2. I had a lot more fun reading this week. The time loops each had their own flair, and I found humor in the way “dumb, dumber and dumbest” were handled differently each time. I also found some foreshadowing that as an anime watch I enjoyed, though obviously can’t say what.

    I do agree there is a lot of negativity in most of the characters towards their interactions with Subaru and it does hurt the story a bit.

    I’m not sure what turned Subaru from a truant to someone willing to literally die for someone he just met. My guess is he just never had anything happen to him like this in his normal life, and seeing his life drain before him as Not-Satella saved his life gave him a fresh perspective on life.

    • I have a feeling the repeated conflict with the three thugs would be more amusing in anime form, where we can actually see how ridiculous they look. (I was surprised and amused, seeing their character art on the Japanese website for the anime.)

      There is a good scene in the novel in which Subaru has a minute of self-reflection. He seems to recognize he is acting “out of character,” and isn’t sure what to make of it. He is clearly smitten by Not-Satella, but it is not only due to her beauty and the allure of befriending a magic-user — the story repeatedly refers back to how he felt when she saved his life. It gives the impression that back on Earth, perhaps nobody ever helped Subaru with any of his life problems (likely due to his “tough guy” appearance). It is perhaps reasonable that following a life-and-death scenario, one’s worldview can change drastically.

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