Sunday, July 16, 2017

Re:Zero ~ Chapter 2 Vol. #01 Manga Review

A debt that can not be repaid.

Creative Staff:
Art: Makoto Fuugetsu
Original Story: Tappei Nagatsuki
Character Design: Shinichirou Otsuka
Translation: ZephyrRZ
Lettering: Bianca Pistillo

What They Say:
High school student, Natsuki Subaru, has been summoned to a fantasy world while on the way home from a convenience store! Based on his knowledge of stories where people get transported to other worlds, he assumed he must have some kind of super power, but that assumption ended up getting him beaten and nearly killed during a mugging.

He is rescued by a half-elf, Emilia, and her companion, a small magical cat called Puck. They're looking for something that was stolen from them, and Subaru decides to help. However, all too soon, he learns that he does indeed have a special ability. When he dies, he begins his adventure again from the moment when he was summoned to the fantasy world. Will he be able to use his ability to help Emilia?

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
We're back! Following a quick, two-volume first 'chapter' (As the manga adaptation would call it), Re:Zero returns with the same great story and a brand new mangaka. Daichi Matsuse has been shelved for the time being and, instead, we get to see Makoto Fuugetsu's take on the next arc. And while I'd normally find a way to complain about a complete shift in storytellers, the only noticeable difference from chapter one to chapter two would be an increase in the quality of the artwork. The way the story is conveyed otherwise remains the same -- though changing that would wind up messing with the source material. Regardless, we go into the next arc fresh, albeit after a quick (And unnecessary as far as I'm concerned) recap of the first chapter.

At the end of the last manga series, Subaru's stomach was sliced open for the third time by the sadomasochistic (And confusingly hot?) Elsa Granhiert. His luck changes this time, though, as he wakes up in an unfamiliar bed next to twins with maid outfits on. Despite this appearing the be the start of a much more adult-themed manga, things settle down when Subaru finds out that this is actually the home of Emilia. As it turns out, Emilia was able to use her magic to prevent Subaru from dying, ultimately pushing him to the next checkpoint in his incredibly long and irrefutably difficult life. But hey, at least now he's surrounded by attractive girls instead of an old man and a dominatrix.

Speaking of strange company, the next addition to this motley crew is the master of the mansion Subaru has stumbled into -- the honorable Roswaal L Mathers (Part time birthday-clown). Roswaal, being the host of Emilia (Who we suddenly find out is a candidate the be the next ruler of everything), is indebted to Subaru following the events of chapter one. In turn, he offers to grant him one 'wish' of sorts, though it's less of a wish and more of a favor acted out by some super-rich guy in a top hat. Using this as an opportunity to put himself in a comfortable living position and never having to worry about anything ever again, Subaru decides to...take up a full-time job cleaning the mansion? 

From this point on, the focus begins to shift ever-so-slightly away from Emilia and, instead, hones in on the twins, Ram and Rem (Listed in order of importance), as Subaru is taken under their wing. Time begins to slowly pass by as Subaru learns how to act out menial tasks like peeling potatoes or doing laundry. For the first time since being summoned to this universe, everything seems peaceful. Hell, he even manages to [kind of] ask Emilia out on a date. But just when things are finally looking up, everything falls apart for the umpteenth time. Subaru awakes in the same bed from days ago, remembered by no one. The relationships he spent the entire volume building are severed and, once again, he must start from zero. What he doesn't understand, however, is why or how this happened.

In Summary:
The change in mangaka boosts the art quality of Re:Zero to new heights -- the series is absolutely beautiful now. However, due to some pacing issues and an unnecessary recap of the first chapter, volume one of chapter two comes off as a bit confused, not managing to recover its footing until later on in the book. Despite this shortcoming, the series remains the same Re:Zero we've all grown to love and, assuming Fuugetsu manages to stay consistent, the coming chapters will only add to the allure of the title.

Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: B-

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: May 23, 2017
MSRP: $12.99

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