Re: Zero Ep. 16: Play by Play

“The greed of a pig”

Subaru is at his lowest and most desperate point right now. His true colors are starting to show thru and it is truly amazing. This episode has a very heavy theme of negotiation and desperation. Let’s begin…

Subaru is walking back to the Crusch mansion, walking thru the gate he sees an unfamiliar face. His name is Russell fellow, he is the treasurer of the capital’s merchant guild. He sounds good but he plays a hand in all the finances, good or bad.

Afterwards Subaru heads inside with Rem and Wilhelm. He has a meeting with Crusch, Felix and Wilhelm. He lets them know that the witch cultists will be attacking the Roswaal mansion and a neighboring village. He wants their help in stopping this from happening. Crusch offers an ultimatum, in offering her assistance, she wants Emilia to step down from candidacy for the next ruler. Subaru reluctantly accepts, after thinking about how she’ll be dead if he doesn’t get someone to help.

Crusch immediately decides to offer no help whatsoever. She believes that offering Emilia to be kicked from the running for next ruler will give Subaru a trump card in getting her to help them. Which isn’t the case, she believes Emilia, due to her half-elf blood line, will be eliminated from the running even without this deal, which is plausible. It also looks like she really doesn’t like Subaru’s desperation and rapid decision to throw Emilia under the bus. This is another fine example of Subaru putting himself before others. AND it does sound like Subaru is involved with the cult, he is telling them all this without any evidence. The cult is shrouded in mystery, so for Subaru to know so much about their movement and where they will attack next sounds a lot like he’s in the cult himself.  He’s really gone downhill, It’s almost as if the author wants us to hate him now, maybe. But back to the meeting, Subaru is outraged to hear that Crusch won’t help. He begins to scream about the witch cult and that they will kill everyone in the village. All they have to do is kill all of them, kill kill kill. Every last one of them. He gets down on all fours and begs for help from Crusch.

“Is this why you behave as you do?”

Crusch, “Is this why you behave as you do? Your reason for approaching Emilia, out of hatred for the witch’s cult?”

Subaru eyes are filled with murder, nothing else. He’s like a rabid dog, cornered, trying to fight his way out.

Crusch, “If your own lie does not fool you it will not deceive others.”

Just like last episode with the Betelgeuse, Subaru is called out on his bullshit. Crusch lets him know that throughout this entire meeting he has not said once that he wants to save Emilia. Subaru is immediately brought back to reality, sort of. Subaru ends on a brilliant note though, “I hope you become a great ruler, the kind of dictator that abandons the weak.” While Subaru is not wrong about this, she is not kind nor will she gather much popularity of the sick and dying. But does Subaru really have much room to talk?

Over the past few episodes it has become increasingly apparent that Subaru is going mad. He has been flip flopping over what he wants to do and who he wants to save. All in the name of helping himself and gaining praise. He still wants to be the guy who rolls in and saves the day at the last minute. But as you will see later in the episode, after the scene he made in the ballroom with Julius and the fight in the arena with Julius, his reputation is completely shot and no one trusts or respects him. Part of me wishes we knew more about his backstory, where he came from, how he lived. Was there something in his life that kind of made him this way? Then again, I don’t really want to know. In most animes, we justify the actions of the protagonist by his backstory and his motive. With Subaru, who has no backstory as of yet, all we have to go off of is his motive, which is selfish and filled with greed. I like that I hate Subaru right now, It’s something I don’t think has ever happened to me in all the years I’ve been watching anime.

After this happens, he leaves the mansion and gets a hotel with Ram. They begin talking about their plan to go from here. We find out many people, including Roswaal and Reinhard, are away on business and cannot be reached. Subaru pounds the window sill and and asks why everyone is so useless. He believes he’s the best and it’s starting to get old, he needs to reality check and a good one very soon.

They decide that Rem will head to the knight’s station and Subaru is heading to see another candidate, Priscilla. He gives his speech about the cult and asks for help. Subaru has become worse than an open book at this point, everyone basically knows what he wants and what kind of person he truly is. Priscilla admires his desperation but points out that Subaru’s plan is severely flawed and might end up helping the enemy and killing more people than saving those he “cares” about. He’s offered an opportunity, if he licks Priscilla’s foot, she will consider his proposal for help. Like a groveling dog, lick her foot. at this point in time Subaru begins to think about Emilia but I think all he is doing is realizing he is going to lose what is “his” if he doesn’t do this. Good lord I’ve become harsh on Subaru lately, I’m gonna hate myself for this in like 3 episodes I just know it.

Subaru? y u so greedy? barely thinking at all at this point.

He goes in for the lick and she kicks him right in the face. Saying what he just did shows neither loyalty nor devotion. Due to his actions up to this point she vows to attack any party he is in because of her hatred for him and I don’t really blame her at this point. He is thus thrown at the door and Aldebaran carries him off the property. we catch up with him walking thru town, pouting and angry. Feeling entitled again, asks himself if she forgot that he “saved” her from those goons a few episodes back.

This is where we meet the cutest god damn character so far! Mimi, she is second in command for Anastasia’s personal army, very powerful. She is one of Anastasia’s followers. She begins sniffing Subaru, she smells blood on him, cute but off putting. Anastasia follows shortly and they all go into a diner to talk. Subaru cuts right to the chase and Anastasia also lets him hear about it. You won’t make anyone happy by prioritizing your own goals. If Subaru takes anything from this episode, it needs to be the ability to negotiate. She writes a letter giving him the ability to get a dragon drawn carriage. They are apparently hard to come by right now, someone is buying them all up. Since the event in the ballroom, all the next ruler candidates are starting to make some moves, thus in turn making a lot of other things and people move. What they will accomplish, I have no clue yet. They talk more and eventually Subaru slips up and gives her a piece of information he wishes he hadn’t, even though it doesn’t matter to him at all. After this scene I’m starting to believe that he doesn’t really care about much, but what he does care about is his self image and how well he can hold it up. Anastasia made him feel played and he doesn’t like that.

CUTE! helps off set the sadness

The final tidbit Anastasia gives to Subaru is that he needs to come prepared to negotiations, know what the other party wants and put what they want on the table. Since all Subaru is doing is wanting, he has nothing to offer.

Rem enters the diner right after Anastasia leaves. Rem learned from the knight station that a lot of reports about the witch’s cult come in regularly so it is hard for the knights to get a good tip off on them. They leave the capital immediately. They are on the trail out of town till nightfall. While traveling, they run into the same guy that transported him to the mansion 2 episodes ago. They talk around a fire with the other merchant that are accompanying this man. While they are talking Subaru gets the idea to pay all the merchants to transport the villagers that will be killed. They leave the camp at once.

Once back on the road, it is pitch black out, a fog rolls up and swallows one of the merchants and their carriage. Subaru asks the head merchant where he went and the head merchant is confused. Saying there was no one matching that description riding with them. I’m really interested what that means. Just then a giant dragon shows up, Subaru looks it in the eye and screams. Thus causing it to scream. a large cloud of dust forms and the episode ends. Does this dragon have the ability to make people disappear and people forget about them? I’m super excited for next week’s episode!

There was a little more I wanted to talk about in this episode but I wanted to add my thoughts on Subaru’s well being and mental stability and still keep this on the shorter side, even though this is my longest episode review yet. Which didn’t end up happening. There was a lot of development again in this episode. It’s to the point where I think Subaru is going to explode. One thing I really liked in this episode is showing Subaru’s lack of knowledge in politics. He’s not someone who can read people. I like that he has this flaw because by showcasing this, it gives him the opportunity to get better at it, which could really come in handy later on.

On an opposite note, While I was watching different reaction videos on YouTube about this episode, I noticed a lot of the reviewers found it sick that Crusch, Priscilla, and Anastasia didn’t care that innocent lives were on the line during these negotiations. I actually never thought of that. For me I would want to help Subaru only to save lives, not to help him. But at the same time he’s in a rival party for this big royal selection. Why would I ever consider helping his party out? I have a completely different take on this. I see nothing wrong with Crusch not wanting to help even though that would mean an entire village being scorched to the ground. This selection is a big deal, what kind of message would that send the people if you helped Subaru? The man who essentially crashed the royal selection meeting, the one who fought with Julius and lost decisively, the man who knows very little about this world. Would that paint you in a good light? I don’t think so. Does that make me a bad person? Probably, let me know in the comments! I think I see things more on a business and politics level than I do on a humanitarian level. It’s all about how much you can handle morally. Morally I would have to help, I couldn’t have a dead village on my conscious. Very good episode, very political, I like it! Keep up the good work White Fox! I had a lot of fun writing this and I did a lot of thinking about what is going on.

I hope you all enjoyed! Have a wonderful day!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s