Saturday, June 30, 2018

Re:Zero ~ Chapter 2 Vol. #04 Manga Review

If you pick up too much, you might end up dropping everything.

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

What They Say:
After a string of fatally wrong attempts, Subaru has finally figured out the true culprit behind the curse. Seeking to protect everyone dear to him, he rushes to the forest accompanied by Rem. Can Subaru overcome this challenge and survive, or will his own stubborn desire to do the right thing force the reset once again?

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
Before we get into the bulk of this review, I believe it's important to point out exactly where in the timeline it is- seeing as the release schedule Yen Press laid out for Re:Zero is filled with more holes than freshly sliced swiss cheese. This might blow your mind here, but this book is the direct sequel to Chapter 2/Volume 3. The reason I point this out is that Chapter 3/Volume 1 actually came out before this particular installment for some strange, incomprehensible reason. Hell, there's still even one volume left in chapter 2 while chapter 3 is about to publish its fourth book. So not only does the release schedule make the series confusing for readers, it totally screwed with me when I went to review Chapter 3/Volume 1, thinking that it would be, you know, the next part of the damn manga instead of the sequel to something that hadn't even come out yet.

Anyway, all complaints aside, this installment of Re:Zero is meant to tie up the plotline of chapter two. When we last left off, Subaru had finally uncovered the entity responsible for several of his most recent deaths and had set out with Rem in an effort to track him down. Upon reaching the village, however, it appears that they may be too late. Both Subaru and everyone's favorite blue-haired maid take off into the woods, hoping for one last chance to slaughter a puppy- because what else is there to do in a parallel world. Soon after, they encounter a pack of demon beasts that go on to make both of their days significantly more challenging than they had already been. Subaru and Rem attempt to fight them off together but this ultimately ends in our protagonist becoming critically injured while Rem tries to shoulder the burden all on her own.

Instead of dying this time, Subaru wakes up in Roswaal Manor, mostly healed thanks to some aid from best girl (AKA Emilia). This solace is short-lived, however. Beatrice reveals to Subaru that he only has another day to live, at most, unless they uncover and kill all of the beasts that had cursed him. Removing a single curse is one thing but, according to the token loli, the number of curses he had taken on was borderline impossible to cure without some 'physical intervention.' 

And no, not that kind. This isn't Fate.

Regardless, Subaru sets off into the woods yet again, this time with Ram instead of Rem. With both of them dead set on finding her before she falls into peril, the level of urgency reaches an all-time peak as Rem could give into death's grasp any moment now. Well, at least that's what we're meant to think, but most of us already know that Rem isn't exactly what she seems. The book tails off into a brief recounting of her and her sister's childhood and how they were blessed with the power of demons at birth. However, somewhere along the line, Ram's powers were stripped, leaving Rem as the only one with immense combat capabilities. Soon enough, the three characters are reunited and Subaru disables Rem before she's able to burn herself out. Pleading with Ram to take her back to the village, he summons every ounce of strength in his body to defeat the leader of the demon beasts.

He doesn't. Fortunately for him, good ole' Roswaal himself shows up and torches the giant hellhound before it has a chance to kill Subaru for a...what is it now, fifteenth time? The day is ultimately saved and boom-  the seed of Rem's undying and unrequited love has finally been planted. With everything finally starting to calm down, maybe our protagonist will be able to take it easy for a little while? And if not...well, at least Emilia has finally decided to go on a date with him.

In Summary: 
The penultimate volume for Re:Zero's second chapter does an exemplary job of tying up the arc before moving onto additional (And likely fan service heavy) filler material in its final installment. Rem fans rejoice, as I know there are many of you out there, for she is the star of this book. With some of the best artwork Fugetsu has put out to date and an unblemished structure to back it, I'm sad to say goodbye to this section of Re:Zero's evergrowing timeline. I'm a bit skeptical going into the next chapter, as we must once again change artists, but I won't let it dissuade me from the interest brought on by this finale. I urge any of you already reading the series to continue on as well. If the following books are even a fragment as good as this one, Re:Zero will remain the must-read series it already is.

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

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: December 19, 2017
MSRP: $12.99

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