Monday, September 5, 2016

Kindle Spotlight -- Re: Zero

Today we have a Japanese light novel by Tappei Nagatsuki. It is Re: Zero -Starting Life in Another World-, Vol. 1.

The story takes begins with high schooler Subaru Natsuki having run into a little snag while coming home from the convenience store. You see, somehow he got warped to a medieval fantasy world. He doesn't know who brought him here, but he thinks it's a cute girl. And with only his knowledge of anime fantasy tropes to go on, he's in a bit of a bind.

After a run-in with local hoodlums, he is saved by a mysterious silver-haired girl who calls herself Satella. She was chasing a thief who had stolen an equally mysterious badge from her. Subaru agrees to help her locate the thief, and eventually they find the repository for stolen goods waiting to be sold. Unfortunately, inside Subaru finds a corpse. Even more unforuntate, the killer hasn't left yet and quickly cuts them down. Subaru dies.

But in actuality, that's just the beginning of the story. As it turns out, he's inexplicably acquired the ability to go back in time upon death (think the Tom Cruise movie Edge of Tomorrow). He doesn't understand it one bit, but that doesn't stop him from going back to the building. This time he gets there before everyone is murdered, and meets the proprietor Rom. He is then introduced to the thief, a teenage girl named Felt. He manages to negotiate a deal to retrieve the stolen badge using his cell phone which he claims is magical. His good luck doesn't last long, though, because a creepy woman named Elsa also shows up. And she's hell-bent on keeping that badge from returning to Satella. How many deaths will it take for Subaru to figure out how to keep everyone alive?

Re: Zero is a fun story. It manages to embrace the anime fantasy genre while remaining very self-aware and even a little spoofy. It makes no attempt to hide the inspiration it received from anime such as Magic Knight Rayearth, Escaflowne, and Now and Then, Here and There. If you're looking for a fantasy story that pokes fun at its forebearers while still remaining serious, Re: Zero is for you. It was even popular enough to receive anime and manga adaptations.

However, it does have an annoying flaw with its dialogue. It often doesn't tell you who's speaking, leaving you to figure it out for yourself. There were numerous times I found myself saying, "Wait, who said that? Was it Subaru? Oh, no, it was Satella."

But aside from that, I have no trouble recommending Re: Zero.

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