Minerva the Witch of Wrath is right, Subaru is more vile than any witch.
I have never been a fan of Subaru; I found that he was a flawed and egotistical character parading around as if he was god’s gift to the isekai world that he found himself in. In the past I have been concerned about his mental space and I didn’t want to explore his mindscape because it has been sick for some time. But now the cat is out of the bag with the conclusion of the mid-season finale episode 38. It’s time to take the dive and take a closer look at Subaru’s beliefs and what drives him to make his decisions in the Re:Zero universe.
We aren’t going to get a better look into Subaru ever again. If we do it’s going to be some time until we do.
The exploration of the psychological is something that shouldn’t be put to the side when analyzing the Re:Zero series. For a closer look at psychological deterioration in Subaru’s mind please press this link to read from Le Fenette. This is an excellent analysis of other factors going on with Subaru.
Like Typhon, the Witch of Pride, I agree with the idea that Subaru isn’t evil but he is a sinner. Part of the reasons for me agreeing with that sentiment is looking at Subaru’s overall actions. He proudly flaunts his flaws, expecting you to go along with them. He demands your gratitude for favors he does, whether you want them or not. He pushes people to the edge of their civility because he can’t back down from his own convictions. He is frequently putting people into a position that they can’t ignore him and is rightfully told off by many characters in the anime.
But what drives these flaws? How can Subaru correct them? He would first need to make critical realizations about how his own self image affects everything around him. Subaru doesn’t have self-worth. He doesn’t see himself as someone worth saving, or someone who has to survive. If he can die and make others around him happy he would do it. He says reckless things to make others happy, but he doesn’t believe in his own self happiness. He wants to die and he wants to live at the same time. His mental space is dark, his mindscape is black. Subaru has no idea how to live.
Subaru would gladly suffer for everyone if it meant that they could be happy. Minerva tells Subaru flat out that deciding he is the only one who needs to suffer is a cowardly thought. It’s that line of thinking that makes him more vile than any witch.
It is also important to acknowledge that Subaru blames others for his own problems. He blames Satella, perhaps rightfully, that he is cursed in an eternal hell of having to keep dying and reviving. He says he is the only one to suffer but ironically he creates plenty of his own suffering. He pities himself and thinks that he is the only one to have problems. His own conceit is troubling but at this point it’s really expected from Subaru. Subaru struggles to acknowledge the reality of what is going on around him.
While Subaru is spewing vile lines and exhibiting his own toxic behavior, he is bringing others to tears.
Satella is moved by Subaru’s suffering. At this point even the most vile of witches is too good for Subaru. She tells him not to be hurt, not to suffer, and not to be sad. She tells him to love himself more. She gave him the curse to preserve his life. Satella wants Subaru to treasure himself more because she loves him. Satella wants Subaru to love himself and protect himself.
Satella’s answer to Subaru’s suffering was unexpected. It is an interesting development, after all the audience deserves some answers after being 38 episodes in.
In all honesty we are not even scratching the surface of all the deep rooted issues within Subaru, but we are finally beginning to make progress with his character. For too long I have watched him struggle, watched him repeat his same mistakes again and again. It would be nice to see him finally make growth. At the very least while I may not personally like Subaru, I find him to be a perfect fit for this dark and horrific universe. His nature has come through and it’s refreshing to have a protagonist that isn’t perfect. If anything his presence enhances the overall Re:Zero experience. I applaud the writer Tappei Nagatsuki for making this flawed and difficult character work.
Agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts? I want to know!
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One thought on “Self Image Twists Subaru’s Mindscape – Re:Zero”
I agree with you, and I love Minerva more and more the more I see her. She owned Subaru for his beliefs, and she has a great personality, character design, and powers.
I think the odds of Emilia dying at the end of Re:zero has increased. Satella asked Subaru to eventually come kill her, and given that the Witch Cult’s goal is test Emilia to see whether she’d be a good vessel for the Witch as instructed by their Gospels, I can see Satella possessing Emilia’s body at the end of the show, requiring for Subaru and a coalition of fighters to kill Satella and Emilia since Emilia’s body is killable unlike Satella’s original body that was immortal. I don’t think the odds are very good that Subaru will be able to save Satella or Emilia if my prediction comes to pass as Subaru is just a human after all.
I’ve thought about why Satella would want to be killed, and since she loves Subaru to extreme levels and wants him to love himself, maybe having Subaru kill her, leading to him becoming hailed as one of the greatest heroes in history, would be the ultimate proof of her love for him and a way to give Subaru confidence in himself. I don’t know if this is true, but if this is how she’s really thinking, Satella has not at all considered that Subaru having to kill Emilia would be devastating for him. I’m not sure Subaru would be happy with becoming a great hero if he had to kill Emilia, but if he had to choose between Emilia and saving the entire world, I think he’d choose the world (even if it was with great reluctance and angst) given that he told his not-actually-his-mom in the first trial that anyone who chooses mayonnaise over the world hates the world. The same logic applies with choosing Emilia or the world.
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