RE:Zero Emilia’s Backstory

Emilia’s back story is average storytelling at best.

Re:Zero is taking some interesting narrative twists in regards to its back stories; Emilia’s backstory was less sinister than I expected. My overall feelings regarding Emilia’s backstory is that I am neutral about it. I don’t feel like it was great, but it wasn’t poorly executed either. I consider the story to be average. It was a bit of a let-down, but it’s not fair to always expect Re:Zero to be at peak storytelling. Looking at the content and context of the back-story it works in the overall greater narrative at play. 

So how does the narrative work? 

So overall the narrative itself does answer questions about Emilia’s past and gives us insight into what had happened many years ago. The reference or time frame is a bit skewed when it comes to Emilia. We have no exact time frame for her story. It’s left open, and there are no problems there. Subaru isn’t a true time traveler and can’t go back years on end to solve today’s problems. 

We get to see what life looked like in the forest before it was frozen. It looks like there was a group of elves dedicated to protecting a seal in the forest. Emilia was the key to the seal. We don’t have much frame of reference for the seal. It just seems to be there, like a Pandora’s box, waiting to unleash chaos into the world. So while we get some answers, we are only viewing the story from a young Emilia perspective. We don’t get many answers. 

While we don’t necessarily deserve all the answers, it would be nice to have more clarity. Everything seems a bit too ambiguous for me to get excited for it. 

Emilia is viewing her past from the present, disconnected from the emotion. 

While Emilia does get to watch her connection to her mother and watch how Betelgeuse (Petelgeuse) goes insane, it feels like Emilia is viewing the past the same way one would watch a show. While she is viewing the past, I am not sure that she is connecting with it. While on the surface it appears to give her character more depth, I still feel like she is still as flat a character as ever. Viewing her past doesn’t change her motivations or her thoughts about anything. 

Emilia still wants to unfreeze the people in the forest. And while that motivation might have been strengthened, it’s still not as satisfying as it could be. If anything she gains some optimism and confidence that she can do it. But that optimism is just a shift of perspective, not knowledge or the power to actually unfreeze the people in the forest. 

While Re:Zero is a show that is very much about shifting perspectives, an important step for character development, right now I am just left wondering if there is going to be a more satisfying pay-off later. I wonder if the other trials will make Emilia feel like a real character to me, rather than just an extra that Subaru is obsessed with. If anything I feel like I learned more about Betelgeuse than Emilia. His motivations and reasoning make more sense from the story arc before the sanctuary arc. 

So we should  just rename the Emilia backstory to how Betelgeuse went insane story. Re:Zero works best at a fast no brakes pace in regards to it’s storytelling. Slowing the story down hasn’t added as much entertainment value in my eyes. I am still optimistic that we might get some great pay-off down the road for Emilia, but so far I am still not fully convinced this is the right direction for her character. 

Do you agree? What are your thoughts? I want to know!

Is there anything you would like me to cover? Do you want to know my thoughts on anything? Have something I should know? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, comment below!

If you want to read any of my previous RE:Zero conjecture you can read more here:

Emilia is Satella – Re:Zero Conjecture

Re:Zero: The Frozen Bond OVA – Still Unanswered Questions about Emilia

Re:Zero – Director’s Cut: Is Emilia the Jealous Witch?

Re:Zero – Forced Romance

Roswaal Mathers – The Perfect Villain for Re:Zero

Re:Zero – The Roswaal Mathers Dilemma

Re:Zero – Director’s Cut: Betelgeuse Romanee-Conti

Beatrice’s Death Wish – Re:Zero

Re:Zero’s Biggest Gambler – Roswaal L Mathers

4 thoughts on “RE:Zero Emilia’s Backstory

  1. Let’s just say I thought the overly dramatic scenes in Emilia’s flashback didn’t work that well. I feel Re:zero’s drama is the weakest aspect of the show. I do appreciate the deep lore, the complex links between its story arcs, Subaru being different than most isekai protagonists, the absolutely fantastic voice acting, and certain scenes that come off as really strong, polished, and laced very carefully with intent pouring out of them such as the Priscilla and Subaru scene in Episode 16 (probably the single scene I have analyzed most while also forming an initial understanding of a character with very limited screen time, which I believe shows how well crafted that scene is) and the Emilia and Subaru scene in Episode 13, but I am really not there for the drama in Re:zero.

    I was going to comment on Episode 45 as well, but then I noticed you didn’t mention anything in it yet, so I’ll hope off aside from saying that it reveals quite a number of things, and you need to really be paying attention to avoid missing crucial details because the show isn’t going to explicitly tell you what it meant, forcing you to determine what it meant from the flow of the conversation and also by using context from Season 1 and Season 2 to determine what happened to a certain character because the flashback ends after a certain point since the whole point of it had been revealed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have already seen it. I didn’t mention it because I didn’t want to divide the attention of my short article with it. I am loosely planning on addressing that episode on its own, but I may just choose to skip writing about it. So if you have anything else you would like to add that’s fine, since I may not publish anything regarding it.


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