Art: Daichi Matsuse
Original Story: Tappei Nagatsuki
Character Design: Shinichirou Otsuka
Lettering: Bianca Pistillo
What They Say:
Having survived both his encounter with the demon beasts and the nigh endless week at Roswaal manor, Subaru returns to the capital of Lugunica with Emilia and Rem. Reuniting with friends and foes alike in the city where it all began, Subaru also lays eyes on other candidates for queen — Emilia’s rivals! Can Emilia win against suck formidable opponents? And how will Subaru react when he discovers the shocking identity of the final candidate?
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
With a very fanservice-heavy volume closing out Makoto Fuugetsu’s rendition of the Re:Zero world in chapter two, the time has come to pass the torch back to the same artist who handled the pilot volume of the series. That’s right, Daichi Matsuse has returned and, even though I much prefer the artistic stylings of the former, I’m not about to write this new arc off just yet. I mean, at least in terms of content, chapter three of the Re:Zero manga is the longest and most complex one yet and, at least at the time of me writing this, is still publishing. If there’s anything we learned from the animated counterpart it’s that this story has a lot to show us and, in a sense, it hasn’t really begun to show us anything before this point.
Now, before we get into talking about the actual content, I want to point out that the jump between chapters two and three of Re:Zero is rather disorienting when taking into account the weird gaps and overlaps of the respective publications. I mentioned it in an earlier review, but the decision to have both of these chapters publishing simultaneously is something I still can’t understand. Hell, I think it’s been around a year since this volume came out and I didn’t even want to touch it until its predecessor was wrapped up. But, as you have probably surmised, the time has finally come. I just needed to beat away a few layers of confusion before finally figuring out exactly where in the timeline this book was.
Chapter three begins several days (Weeks maybe?) after chapter two’s fourth volume. Subaru had just defeated the demon beasts of the nearby village and was finally resting up after the longest week of his life [so far]. Luckily for him, that week is about to be rounded out with a trip back to capital city as Emilia has some important political meeting or whatever to attend. The reason for dragging Subaru along is so that he can “Reunite with old acquaintances and heal his wounds,” but that quickly changes once he’s introduced to the first of several new characters in the series — Priscilla Barielle.
Priscilla, a purebred ojousama stereotype, believes that the world is her oyster- and for good reason. She isn’t blessed with any sort of physical prowess or unrivaled magical ability, she just sort of…knows stuff. Priscilla’s bid on the kingdom is that “she is a winner.” Anything she wants, she takes and so on, so forth. Well, at least that’s how it seems until Subaru’s entire existence sort of contradicts that. You see, Priscilla also tries to take Subaru as she finds him “entertaining,’ but thanks to likes of good old Roswall, this ultimately fails. And despite just how interesting Priscilla is, the most interesting part of her is actually the companion/bodyguard she keeps at her side — a shirtless, helmeted wanderer by the name of Al. This Goblin Slayer lookalike is actually the only other character (So far) who was also transported to this world, and he wastes no time in bringing up that similarity to Subaru. The only difference is that Al was transported here 18 years ago rather than just a week. Oh, and he also has one less arm than Subaru- but that’s beside the point.
The addition of Al into the story is actually one that turns things on their head in a way. it’s now clear that there’s some sort of reason for people from other dimensions to come to the “Grand Cascade,” but it’s one that we likely won’t understand for quite some time. But either way, having someone to relate to is sure to make Subaru feel a bit more ‘at home,’ especially considering everyone else he meets in this volume kind of sucks. Among this demographic are the other royal candidates, Anastasia and Crusch, as well as their subordinates in the form of the royal guard. And while I won’t waste much time on them now (They will be much more important later on in the story), I will say that finally getting into the more political side of things adds a bit more depth to Emilia’s story- something many fans tend to whine about.
The last important landmark of this volume, however, may come as a bit of a surprise to some. Remember how Reinhard sort of kidnapped Felt after the huge battle with Elsa? Well, lo and behold, she’s also a royal candidate now. And despite not being a big fan of this herself, there are certain qualities she possesses that hint to their being more to her character than previously let on. And while those qualities are still a bit uncertain at this point in time, they will definitely make things a bit more difficult for Emilia, to say the least.
Despite the departure of Fuugetsu, Re:Zero continues to stand tall as one of the most complex and layered isekai stories on the market. And now that the character roster is expanding and we’re finally getting into the bigger aspects of the world, that will only ring truer in the volumes to come. A recurring idea in this volume seems to be throwing the reader for a loop. In the span of just four chapters, we meet another adventurer who came here from a different world and discover that an old, unlikely character might be named queen soon enough. And even though it may seem like the bulk of this book focused on exposition, I assure you that it was needed in order to set the stage for the events soon to come. If you haven’t already acquainted yourself to the kingdom of Lugunica, do yourself a favor and start now. We’ve only just begun.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: B
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: October 31, 2017