Isekai has been a staple anime storyline for decades. Most probably haven’t heard of the term, but you’ve definitely seen the content. Isekai describes any anime whose story is based around a protagonist suddenly finding themselves in another world. For a lot of Westerners, our first exposure to this type of story was SPIRITED AWAY, where Chihiro found herself in a bathhouse for spirits. RE:ZERO STARTING LIFE IN ANOTHER WORLD is one of, if not the, best isekai series out there. The series has been releasing as a series of light novels since 2012. Author Tappei Nagatsuki has penned 16 total novels for the series, the first four of which form a 25-episode anime adaptation. This aired in 2016 and ended later the next year. How RE: ZERO distinguishes itself is quite simple.
Rather than toss an overpowered protagonist into a bunch of fights, RE:ZERO makes its protagonist weak. He himself has to consider every factor of his environment. Isekai anime oftentimes resemble video game playthroughs, and that’s usually on purpose. But RE:ZERO achieves a degree of depth in both its novels and anime that few other anime even approach. For those unfamiliar with the series protagonist, Subaru Natsuki finds himself in a strange world while walking home from a corner store. He’s a complete shut-in the real world but finds himself having to interact with others to determine where he is. Granted, he does have one pretty interesting power.
Whenever Subaru dies, he ‘respawns’ at a point earlier in the chronology of the series. Unlike a video game death, however, RE:ZERO doesn’t make light of how terrifying death can be. Subaru has to try to save the lives of those around while avoiding death (or sometimes using it to his advantage!). He’s unable to explain his power to anyone, or he’ll die instantly. The series navigates tons of thematic and emotional issues like the psychological impetus of benevolence, and what it means to love someone.
An Exciting OVA
News of this upcoming preview comes straight from RE:ZERO’s official website. The special episode, titled RE:ZERO -STARTING LIFE IN A ANOTHER WORLD -MEMORY SNOW will air on October 6th in Japanese theaters. Advance tickets have been on sale for several months before a date was even announced! Also, the studio that animated the series, WHITE FOX, is handling the OVA as well. WHITE FOX achieved superb animation in RE:ZERO. The anime is incredibly expressive, and MEMORY SNOW is certain to do the same. Check out the promotional video for the OVA from late last year:
The video features all of the main characters of the show having a meal. Subaru, in complete anguish, explains that he’s at his limit. Then, he and the half-demon twins Rem and Ram begin cooking rather furiously. After Emilia enters the kitchen and asks what they’re making, Rem reveals the extra episode and says they’re making an OVA. MEMORY SNOW is bringing back the same great cast. The returning cast includes Yūsuke Kobayashi as Subaru. Rie Takahashi will voice Emilia, and Inori Minase voices Rem. Additionally, a host of supporting characters like Puck, Ram, Beatrice, and Roswaal have the same voice actors.
More in Store for RE: ZERO MEMORY SNOW
MEMORY SNOW doesn’t have much quite yet in terms of a story, but that’s not an issue. If the OVA has a story that’s even 10% the quality of RE:ZERO, it’ll be an incredible watch. For Western viewers, while we won’t get this same theatrical release quite as soon. But, anime OVA often release along with the DVD and Blu-Ray of a series. Funimation is set to release the anime with an English dub this month. It very well may be the case that this OVA is part of later releases or available online eventually. I for one couldn’t see RE: ZERO denying its fans something like MEMORY SNOW.
If you’re desperate for more RE:ZERO content ahead of MEMORY SNOW, you’re not alone. But in the meantime, check out the spin-off series RE:ZERO ~STARTING BREAK TIME FROM ZERO & RE:PETIT ~STARTING LIFE IN ANOTHER WORLD FROM PETIT. Both are slightly lighter, more comedic takes on an already hilarious anime. On top of that, there are 16 novels to burn through. Yen Press is publishing the light novel series in English. They’re also publishing the manga adaptation alongside it, so there really is a lot to keep you sated.
Featured Image from RE:ZERO Official Website.