Re:ZERO Episode 37

Re:ZERO Episode 37

Failed Timelines

Most people, myself included, probably never considered what became of those failed timelines after Subaru died and reset until Roswaal brought up the idea of “other versions” of himself last episode. Once he said that, the question was posed of whether or not those failed timelines continue on after Subaru dies, or if there’s just one timeline being reset.

Roswaal’s words seemed to imply that there were multiple timelines. But at the same time, he could also have been referring to the fact that the version of him in a reset timeline may be slightly different due to how things play out that time around. Well, this week we got an answer: There are multiple timelines — maybe.

While within the witches’ tomb, Subaru is shown scenes of the aftermath of his death every time he died. The way Subaru’s been viewing his return by death ability up until this point was as if he was the sole victim. As far as he was concerned, nobody else had to suffer because everything was reset for them without their knowledge.

Obligatory Betty picture of the week from the anime series Re:ZERO season 2
Obligatory Betty picture of the week

But, for the first time, Subaru is being shown that what he thought may not actually be the case. He’s shown the possibility that those timelines he abandoned actually continued on without him. And by being shown this, he’s forced to confront the pain that his own death(s) have caused to those around him.

I really like how this topic was covered and how it altered Subaru’s perspective on his ability. He probably won’t be as willing to use it going forward — not that he was all that willing anyway.

However, the one thing I do want to point out is that even Echidna mentions that she’s not sure if those visions Subaru saw were real. Because they’re tied to his Witch of Envy authority, only Satella knows if what Subaru saw in those timelines actually came to pass. Maybe she’ll tell us next week.

What if Subaru is in the Wrong Timeline?

Something I was thinking about when we were shown the failed timelines is, what if not every one of those timelines is a “failure?” Sure, Subaru is dead in all of them and some other bad things probably happened. But that doesn’t mean that the timeline is a total bust.

For example, in the one timeline in which Puck attempts to destroy the world, Reinhardt shows up to defeat him and save the world. What if this led to Reinhardt going down a path that ended with him defeating Satella?

Or, maybe in a different timeline in which Emilia didn’t die along with Subaru, she ends up winning the royal selection? Isn’t that the goal Subaru is working towards? He wants Emilia to become the leader of the country, and maybe that’s something she can only achieve after losing Subaru.

My point is, up until this point Subaru has almost been viewing himself as the protagonist of this world. However, while he is the protagonist of the series, he was given a glimpse at how even without him, the world carries on. Maybe he’s not necessary for the salvation of the world.

The Witches’ Tea Party

Re:ZERO episode 37 also introduced us to the rest of the witches, and by the rest, I mean Carmilla and Sekhmet. We had already previously met Echidna, Typhon, Minerva, Daphne, and Satella (not really, but close enough). This is kind of a big deal considering how important the witches are to the story of the series.

I was surprised when we met Echidna, I was surprised when we met the next three witches, and I was surprised when we met the final witches as well. I really didn’t expect to meet all of the witches within the first half of this season. Just meeting Echidna would have been a big deal on its own this season.

Carmilla, the Witch of Lust from the anime series Re:ZERO season 2
Carmilla, the Witch of Lust

But, I bring up the witches here because it’s revealed that they all want something from Subaru. Or at least we can infer that they all want something from him. Satella is the obvious one — she wants his love. Echidna states in this episode that she wants to know everything he experiences. And it was revealed that Minerva wants an unidentified contract with him as well.

Based on all of that, we can assume that each of the seven witches wants to form a contract with Subaru to fulfill some goal of theirs. However, rather than speculating on the goals of each witch, let’s just focus on Satella for a moment.

Why did Satella choose Subaru?

I can kind of understand why the other witches are interested in him. Satella chose him first, she granted him a unique ability, and they’ve seen that he’s an interesting person. But if we assume Satella is the one who summoned Subaru to this world, why? How did she pick him, of all people?

I don’t have a good answer to that question because I don’t see what quality Satella would have seen in the NEET version of Subaru. But, what I will say is that I think his summoning required the catalyst of him having “given up” on his own world.

Ranking the Witches

Moving on to something a bit more fun, as some of you may know, objectifying female characters by ranking them is one of my specialties. And since we’ve now met all seven witches, it seems like a good time to rank them based solely on what we know right now.

Also, I’d like to thank eban over on Discord for making this tier list for me to use.

Re:ZERO season 2 anime witch tier list
Witch tier list

As you can see, Echidna and Minerva are both S-tier witches. I don’t really think I need to explain why Echidna is S-tier because that should be abundantly obvious to everyone who’s seen the series. Minerva made it to S-tier because I really like her whole character. She’s a tsundere, magical girl hero who punches people back to full health. What more do you need?

Typhon and Carmilla are both A-tier for me right now. I really like them, and I think a lot of people would have expected me to put them in S-tier. They’re probably the cutest of the witches, and I do really like their quirks, but there’s just something that they’re missing that Echidna and Minerva have.

I will say, though, that Typhon’s way of shortening everyone’s name is very cute — Chidna, Baru, Tella. And, something I love about Carmilla is that people die just by being in her presence. That reminded me a lot of Zoku Owarimonogatari when it was stated that anyone who’s in the presence of Shinobu in her human form has an overwhelming urge to kill themself.

Satella is B-tier. We don’t know much about her other than that she’s supposedly evil, she looks and sounds like Emilia, and she’s completely obsessed with Subaru.

And finally, Sekhmet and Daphne are C- and D-tier respectively. I don’t really like these two very much. The only reason Sekhmet is C-tier rather than D-tier is that she’s had so little screen time so far, so I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt. But Daphne I just don’t like. I wouldn’t have expected a BDSM loli witch to be the worst one, but that’s how it is.

Contract with a Witch

As is often the case, my Discord server doesn’t agree with me. I thought they were supposed to be on my side, but that’s rarely, if ever, the case. So, what don’t they agree with this week? I think Subaru made the wrong decision by turning down Echidna’s contract offer.

I’m not going to go through all of their points but these seemed to be the main two. First, Subaru can’t trust Echidna because she’s lied/withheld information from him in the past. And second, Echidna tricked Betty into a contract that’s so insufferable that Betty wants to die, so Subaru should reject Echidna because of that.

I’ll respond to the Betty issue first because that’s more of the opinion-based one. I don’t think Echidna is in the wrong with regards to Betty. Yes, she made a contract with Betty that forces her to protect the library, but the contract is so flimsy that Betty can void it at any time.

It’s not Echidna’s fault that Betty doesn’t understand that — and it’s especially not Echidna’s fault that Betty has never even tried to break the contract. I mention that second part because the contract is so flimsy, that the mere attempt to break it would break it. Betty literally just has to pick someone. It’s not like Betty was tricked into some strictly binding contract.

Echidna, the Witch of Greed from the anime series Re:ZERO season 2
Echidna, the Witch of Greed

As for the other issue, while Echidna hasn’t always been upfront with Subaru about things, Subaru should have understood that to be the case. Echidna is the Witch of Greed. Her entire personality is built around her desire for knowledge. Obviously, she’s going to be using him to further her pursuit of knowledge.

But, despite that Echidna wants to use Subaru, there’s literally no downside for Subaru. Echidna states that she’ll grant him access to her knowledge and that she won’t control him to do things against his will (such as use his return by death ability). There’s no drawback there.

And for anyone who says that she’s lying to him or hiding something major from him, I don’t think that’s the case. Initially, the other witches called her out for leaving out details but also stated that she hadn’t lied. After Echidna gives her speech, none of the witches speak up to say that Echidna is still hiding anything.

They all want Subaru to form a pact with them. So this would have been the perfect opportunity to point out a downside to contracting with Echidna. And yet, none of them did.

Conclusion

What do you think of Re:ZERO episode 37? Do you think the failed timelines Subaru saw were real? Regardless of if they’re real or not, do you think Emilia’s second trial is going to involve showing those timelines to her as well? Also, which witch is your favorite? And do you think Subaru should have agreed to Echidna’s contract? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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5 Replies to “Re:ZERO Episode 37”

  1. I have a theory of souls that I came up with after episode 17 of Re:zero that I believe explains how Satella identified Subaru as being the one she loved, leading to her pulling him into Re:zero’s world across time and space. I posted it on crowsworldofanime for episode 35, and I’ll post a more detailed version of that in light of this episode somewhat confirming this is a multiverse, which I speculated to be the case after episode 15 in the first season when that timeline continued to snow after Puck cut Subaru’s head off, leading to an awesome credits scene that was like a tribute to a movie.

    There is an afterlife in Re:zero as Echidna has confirmed (when she indicated it was the land of death) in episode 28 when previously, Petelgeuse in episode 17 was all viewers had to go with on the matter when he indicated he’d be reunited with the Witch in death (not saying she is dead. Just saying the afterlife is the primary means for meeting her at this time since she is sealed), and there is also reincarnation as Arbiter Melakuera indicated in the Frozen Bonds OVA. We know from Beatrice that the legendary dragon, sage, and hero sealed Satella, the Witch of Envy’s because they could not destroy her body, and I reasoned that Subaru smells more strongly of Satella whenever he comes back from the dead because Satella’s soul is sealed in the afterlife, and Subaru’s soul and her soul come into close proximity after he dies, leading to him smelling more strongly of her after deaths because of increased exposure to her. Subaru and Witch Cultists probably all reek of Satella’s stench because their souls are bonded to Satella’s, and Echida thought this episode that she could experience RBD with Subaru if she bonded her soul to Subaru’s, which is bonded to Satella’s.

    I speculate that the foul smell of the Witch is the scent of her soul given that her immortal body is probably sealed and should have no biological function right now, so her foul stench shouldn’t be the smell of her body. And if that is the case, Satella’s soul being confined to the afterlife indicates that Emilia and Satella do not have the same soul, and therefore are different people. Their souls also cannot be the same because they smell different.

    That this is supposedly a multiverse suggests that every soul of one particular individual is part of a greater soul, and I speculate that each soul that is part of a greater soul has a consistent scent. The Witch of Envy having the same soul scent across all timelines is likely because the scent of the greater soul she is a part of smells really bad. Even if Satella has had previous lives where she wasn’t the Witch of Envy, I believe that those previous iterations of Satella in which she had different names also had that same foul stench that beings like Rem, Garfiel, and Witch cultists that can identify the smell even if those previous iterations of Satella all had different personalities from one another.

    Okay, I’m only now getting to my point now. If supernatural beings like Rem and Garfiel can smell the scent of the Witch, perhaps they can also smell all people’s scents, not just Satella’s scent. Therefore, who is say that Satella, a very powerful supernatural being, cannot recognize Subaru’s scent and that that is the reason she was able to single out Subaru as being the one to summon? If Satella is indeed able to recognize Subaru’s scent across time and space though, it suggests that she had previous exposure to Subaru’s soul scent before Subaru was born in the modern world. The implication of this line of thought is that Subaru once existed in Re:zero’s fantasy world, and that is how Satella knew that Subaru was the one to summon. Perhaps Satella had met Subaru’s previous incarnation before she was sealed 400 years ago, and that previous iteration of Subaru had the same soul scent as the greater Subaru soul. Even if Subaru was not named Subaru 400 years ago, if his soul was indeed part of the greater Subaru soul, that man’s soul would smell the same as Subaru’s, and therefore, Satella pinpointed Subaru across time and space and even worlds by merely smelling him like Rem does.

    Assuming that my theory of souls and soul scents is correct, I also have a somewhat plausible theory that’s still being developed about why Satella summoned Subaru in that moment he walked out of the convenience store in particular. There are multiple signs of people from the modern world having been summoned to Re:zero’s fantasy world. Hitchhiking did not exist in a medieval society and was a 20th century invention, meaning that at the time Subaru tried to hitchhike, one or more of Aldebaran, Priscilla, and their carriage driver recognized what hitchhiking was, meaning that either one or more of them was born in the modern world or people summoned from the modern world in the past invented hitchhiking in Re:zero’s fantasy world. Additionally, Aldebaran recognized what Subaru was talking about when he mentioned that Anastasia spoke in the Kansai dialect, which suggests that Aldebaran is either a formerly Japanese man or a fan of Japanese culture. After Subaru pointed out the Kansai dialect, Aldebaran pointed out that the entire country of Kararagi speaks in the Kansai dialect, which suggests that Kararagi was either founded by a group of Japanese people or ruled by a Japanese person in the past that spread that dialect all throughout the country because for a significant period of time in Japan’s history, the Kansai dialect was standard Japanese. There are also hamburgers in Re:zero’s world as shown when Mimi was eating them in episode 16 of Re:zero, and hamburgers should not exist in a medieval society, which shows that someone from the modern world was summoned to Re:zero’s fantasy world and invented them himself/herself.

    Assuming what I speculated is rooted in sound logic, perhaps Satella narrowed down that the Subaru we know lived in Japan, but she could not identify the era in which Subaru belonged in, and that is why there have been, if my speculation is correct, multiple summonings to Re:zero’s fantasy world. Then why would Satella repeatedly summon non-Subaru people if she knew he was somewhere in Japan? This suggests that something was distorting her sense of smell, and perhaps the contracts the legendary dragon made with the royal family could somehow cloud Satella’s one or more of Satella’s senses in a yet-to-be-determined way and make it harder for her to function at a normal level even after considering that her soul was sealed in the afterlife. This would necessitate that she engineer a way to kill off the royal family. Perhaps after the king died and the rest of the family started dying out, Satella was able to do a better job of summoning Japanese people. Maybe she stopped summoning people from when cities such Nara and Kyoto were Imperial capitals and started summoning people progressively closer to the period of time in which Subaru lived until she eventually located Subaru himself and pulled him into the time period of her choosing in Re:zero’s fantasy world, which likely created resulted in a timeline without him being in it continuing on with Emilia 100% being murdered by Elsa. I wish I knew when exactly the royal family perished because that would clarify whether my theory has merit or not. If the royal family has actually been wiped out for many years, it weakens my theory, because that would mean that Satella has been sitting on her ass for a long time instead of summoning Subaru sooner. My theory failing would be very good for your theory since you believe that Subaru giving up is part of the reason he was summoned.

    1. I actually really like your theory here, but there are some pieces of information you’re using as evidence that I wouldn’t. Namely, the fact that things such as hitchhiking and hamburgers exist in the Re:Zero world. I wouldn’t consider those as evidence of modern-day humans from our world being summoned there because this is a fantasy series, after all. It can include things like that without any real reason — especially if the author just doesn’t concern himself with that stuff.

      However, the Kansai dialect thing was definitely specifically stated, so I’d say that one is fair game as far as evidence goes.

      With all that said, I mainly agree with the first half of your theory about Satella being able to recognize Subaru’s “scent” or whatever it really is. Since Garfiel has already called it something else, we can assume it isn’t an actual smell, but that smell is just one of the senses that can pick it up. What I’m not sure about is Satella being the one to bring other people to this world in her desperate search for Subaru.

      It’s already been stated numerous times that Reindard is the current hero. But, what about the previous heroes? What about the Hero from 400 years ago who helped seal Satella? Couldn’t that have been some incarnation of Subaru? He’s the main character of the series, after all, so I wouldn’t really be surprised if they said he was the legendary hero who sealed Satella in a past life. It would definitely be tropey, but it would also kind of fit into the story. Maybe even back then Subaru chose Emilia (in their past lives) over Satella and then he sealed her away.

      I’d love to also say that Patrasche is the reincarnation of the dragon, but it’s been said that Roswaal wants to kill the dragon, so it’s still alive.

  2. I could have done without the weird directing on Echidna’s speech, but I liked this episode a lot. I do believe that the timelines shown in this episode could be real, and Emilia could conceivably see these same timelines where Subaru tried to save her and failed and also the ones where he succeeded in saving but he himself died. Minerva is my favourite witch. She’s just adorable and the sweetest. Her design as a magical girl is also very interesting. I don’t think Subaru should have accepted Echidna’s contract because her ultimate desire is to have as much knowledge possible, and that might result in her pushing Subaru to try out different things for the sake of acquiring knowledge unrelated to the task of hand, leading to Subaru doing more loops than necessary.

    1. I liked the directing of the speech. I felt like it really did a good job of illustrating how to Echidna, her quest for knowledge is the ultimate expression of her being. Also, it’s good to see a fellow Minerva fan. She’s great.

      As for Echidna’s contract, she did specifically state that she wouldn’t force Subaru to use his return by death. Of course, she wants him to try out as many timelines as possible. But she also said that anything he chooses would satisfy her because any choice he makes will lead her down an unknown path anyway.

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