This is an anime that started off decent, cut itself off at the legs, flailed around in the mud, and then clawed its way back to something competent by the end. I really wanted to like Re:ZERO – they had some really promising elements and ideas that, unfortunately, died in execution. It’s really difficult to put my finger on a single point of failure, so much as a collection of under-performing elements that combine to really bring it down. A lot of the problem can be traced to the main character himself. While his character arc was relatively believable (going from enthralled by adventure, to mild angst, to unsightly self-absorption, followed eventually by repentance and actual competence), his fundamental character, as displayed by the anime was ugly. The anime described him best through some of his actions – he created his own mess, agonized about his own mess, and then fixed his own mess (all work that was pretty unnecessary). But it wasn’t just the main character. The anime struggled to find its voice and ended up with a fairly predictable pattern of silly events -> blood everywhere storytelling arc that leveled itself out about 3/4 through the 25 episodes. It takes a long while before they use the violence for anything other than shock value. This is compounded by the poor pacing and storytelling that interrupted the flow of events when they managed to get things going. Perhaps the most frustrating part is that the anime showed its potential – both in characters and storytelling, mainly through Rem and also through the very tight development of Wilhelm and his backstory. Though I’d probably warn someone against Re:ZERO, if you’re intrigued by the theme of redoing events, I’d highly recommend Steins:Gate (Masterpiece) instead.
Pace: Not Really Good