Art: Daichi Matsuse
Original Story: Tappei Nagatsuki
Character Design: Shinichirou Otsuka
Lettering: Anthony Quintessenza
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 the first few chapters of this new venture into the world of Re:Zero already in the history books, volume two kicks off exactly where its predecessor left us — smack dab in the middle of the royal capital. And if you’re one of the seven people who picked up this series for its political elements, then you’re in luck because there’s a lot of that here! But if you’re a normal human being, then please note that this isn’t exactly the most action-packed installment we’ve had thus far. Either way, with one of the greatest antagonists of all time looming on the horizon, it’s suitable that things would slow down into a simple character drama at some point or another. After all, we’re going to need all the rest we can get going into the following books.
In a way strangely parallel to us Americans, this rest begins with heaping helping of political discourse as we’re thrown into a debate between the five candidates for Queen of Lugunica. And while each of them appears completely different from the others, it’s clear to see that they all have their good points. Crusch’s family has a history of dragon taming or something, Priscilla can kind of see the future, and Emilia is…Well, she’s the cutest so we want to vote for her. The gallery, however, doesn’t seem to agree with that, and so Emilia’s plea for the crown is met with more disdain than at least I would have ever thought of giving her. In previous chapters, it’s been eluded to that Emilia strongly resembles Satella, some evil witch girl that I still know virtually nothing about after seven volumes and twenty-four episodes of content. Hell, she even goes as far as telling Subaru that’s her name before the two of them actually get to know each other. And if there’s anything I know about Satella (Which there really isn’t), it’s that looking like her probably sucks.
While the cry-out against this coincidence (?) might seem a bit arrogant or unwarranted at first, the reasoning behind it sort of makes sense. At the end of the day, it will be hard for Emilia to garner the appreciation of the general populous while so strongly resembling someone who ruined many of their lives. This doesn’t deter Emilia, who remains steadfast in becoming queen for some reason or another, but it really sets off Subaru. Yes, that’s right, Subaru is in this volume as well. You probably forgot about that, though, as he’s done nothing but stand there for 200 pages now. Eventually, Subaru figures out a way to piss off an entire room full of people and, the next thing you know, he’s challenging one of the candidates’ knights to a mock battle. Emilia, who really hasn’t had a good day up to this point, drives him from said battle and asks that he rest up at the Crusch mansion until he has fully healed. When he finally wakes, however, things aren’t as simple as just apologizing and moving on.
Emilia not only realizes that having Subaru around is a liability in terms of her future and his, but that his actions so far really aren’t all that justified. She doesn’t understand his infatuation with her and, in a rather uncharacteristic way, she actually speaks out about it. Subaru, who thinks Emilia should be indebted to him after ‘all he’s done,’ says his piece as well, leaving their typically-flirty relationship in shambles and causing both characters to sort of reevaluate what they have to do with one another. And while we don’t get to see Emilia’s perspective going forward, we sure as hell see Subaru’s. He makes it clear that he’s not going to just lie down and accept defeat — he is going to train to become someone who is capable of standing at Emilia’s side. And how is he going to do that, you ask? Well, it’s simple — by fighting an old man.
Re:Zero casts aside its typically-heavy nature and all of those dark undertones in exchange for some good, old-fashioned politics. And while it might not seem all that interesting at first, volume two successfully completes its goal of slowing things down in preparation for the oncoming storm that is Betelgeuse. With Subaru and Emilia beginning to fall away from one other, it will be interesting to see how their semi-codependent relationship will stand in the face of adversity. But, now that Subaru will be spending time with a senior citizen and a catboy, he’s sure to be in tip-top shape in no time. Watch out, Emilia. Your knight is coming.
Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: January 30th, 2018