Re: Zero Ep. 13: Play by Play

“Self-proclaimed Knight Natsuki Subaru”

A very impactful episode indeed. The decisions Subaru made this episode will hang heavy on his conscious. Let’s get into it.

We pick up where we left off, in the ballroom discussing more about the next ruler. We see that Felt is not too pleased with Reinhard about dressing her up and dragging her to this. For a small period of time, bickering breaks out in the ballroom about her, from both the candidates and spectators. This is broken up shortly.

Not much is really gone into detail at the moment, each candidate gives their little speech about what they will do as the next ruler and each candidate is shown with their assistant. For Emilia, it’s Roswaal. Murmurs and comments from both the elders and the spectators breaks out about Emilia being half-elf. This slowly enrages Subaru to the point where he bursts out and starts insulting everyone, especially the elders and the purple haired knight, Julius.

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That is not a beautiful expression

For me, this is where things get interesting and sparks something in me that even surprised myself. Subaru, in attempts to be noble or chivalrous, declares himself Emilia’s knight. Of course without knowing the first things about it. Julius decides to grill him a bit about the ways of a knight. Julius believes Subaru is coming off rather cocky and full of himself, and he is. Subaru becomes irrational with the words he is saying, he goes on to insult the entire group of knights and everything they stand for. It is clear that Julius really gets under his skin. It gets to a point where Emilia is visually ashamed to have him there and she even says “He’s not my assistant” and calls him just a friend later on. Subaru is then kicked out of the ballroom. I’ve always hated some of the expressions he’s had in past episodes and now he is also being called out for them by Julius. Subaru is really painted in a bad light here and for me personally, I shocked myself to not feel remorse for Subaru.

upon this happening, a smoke screen is let out and Rom comes in to steal Felt. He is thwarted by the guards and is about to be killed. Since Felt denounced her candidacy for the next ruler she has no pull to get them to stop. All part of the plan to keep her in the running. She sees this and immediately declares herself back in the running for ruler. Her speech, once the ruler, is to take down the current way everything is done and bring in a fresh breath of air into the establishment. Clearly outrageous, but rather grandiose and brilliant.

Julius has a word with Subaru back at what looks like the hotel. Julius challenges Subaru to a duel and he accepts. Fast forward to the arena where everyone in attendance are the knights he slandered and insulted, they are out for blood. The battle is ridiculously one-sided. A punching bag would have had a better chance at winning than Subaru. Everyone in the ballroom is notified about the fight, only because it is so one-sided. Emilia rushes to the arena to see him. Subaru uses her as a distraction and uses his magic to try to get hit in on him, to no avail.

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Subaru in denial, thinking he can beat Julius

At this point in the episode, I feel something I didn’t think I would feel in this show. Anger and disdain at Subaru. One thing I cannot stand is arrogance and Subaru showed a lot of arrogance in this episode. I’ve been able to handle in the past episodes because he has some sort of plan to back up him being rather weak and things work out but here… He’s like a child who just got his favorite toy taken away. He throws a fit and takes it out on everyone. He shows an ugly side of him that I don’t think the viewer wanted to see. I stop feeling bad for him and switch to being angry with him at this point. I feel he deserves the beating he is getting. Up to this point in the anime he hasn’t really trained, he hasn’t grown stronger. All he’s really done is come up with a plan and lean on everyone around him. This bothered me a lot in the last arc where he had to be saved by Roswaal.

Subaru wakes up in a bed with Emilia sitting next to him. She is very upset and for good reason. She calls him out for not listening to her and breaking his promise to stay at the hotel with Rem. He tells her this is all to help her and to repay her for saving him countless times. But she can no longer trust him and that hurts Subaru. He tries desperately to make her understand but she is having none of it. Emilia asks him why he helps. Is it to help her? Or himself? Is he being selfish? She never asked to be helped, as cliche as it sounds. In my opinion, Yes he is. At some point in any relationship you have, albeit platonic or romantic, a level of give-and-take and trust must be established. She calls him out on it and he blows up on her. Telling her all the things he’s done for her and she should be repaying him, not the other way around. Well… you get what you wish for… She tells him she’ll repay her debt to him and this will be over. That destroys him internally. And we’re left with that cliffhanger.

I really liked this episode. I’ve never felt like this after an episode. When it comes to protagonists, I’ve never really gotten angry at them. But with Subaru, between relying so heavily on those around him and virtually no real training to get better. Him insulting the knights and getting his ass beat, I’m happy. He deserved what he got, he had no right to do what he did and he was punished for it. He really screwed things up both for himself and the person he cares so much about. He is painted in a very bad light and I respect the author for doing that. Most authors create main characters from a part of themselves, so to be able to paint a part of themselves as a weak but arrogant child and pushing the viewer to borderline hate the MC takes a lot of talent and I respect that. The level of storytelling and development in this show is phenomenal!

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You’ve done it now Subaru. Good Job

now, will my opinions and feelings for our main male character change in the upcoming episode? Of course! That’s what I love about this show! It’s not like most shows where you grow to love the MC more and more as the episodes progress. This show gives you a protagonist with more bad traits than good and lets you experience it. This author is not afraid to paint their good characters in a bad light. I have no reason to believe that Subaru is justified in what he has done. That’s something that I haven’t been able to say about a show since I watched Neon Genesis Evangelion. Making me feel anger, confusion, and remorse is refreshing and this show continues to keep me on my toes!

I hope you all enjoyed! Have a wonderful day!

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One Comment Add yours

  1. cauthan says:

    Glad to see a level-headed reaction to Subaru’s characterization as of late. He’s arrogant and entitled and acting in accordance with a dangerously self-centered mentality but the way in which he arrived at this point and the manner in which he falls apart are very poignant and purposeful.

    Liked by 1 person

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