Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World, known as Re:Zero for short, and Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu in Japanese, is a fantasy light novel series written by Tappei Nagatsuki and illustrated by Shinichirou Otsuka. It’s aimed a male demographic and the English version of volume 2 was released in English by Yen Press on November 15, 2016. It’s currently available at Right Stuf for $10.49 USD.
For a summary of the story in volume 1, please refer to my review of that volume. The story in volume 2 continues from where it left off in the first volume. Subaru survives his previous encounter and wakes up in a high-class mansion. He discovers the significance of Emilia’s lost item which was retrieved, and meets many new characters who live in the mansion, such as Beatrice, Ram, and Rem. Because the value of the stolen item was higher than Subaru could have imagined, it is decided that Subaru must choose a new reward for returning it in order to make things fair. However, Subaru’s idea of a reward is somewhat underwhelming, and he asks the owner of the estate, Roswaal, to employ him to work alongside Ram and Rem, the maids of the manor.
For the first two chapters, until page 88 in the printed edition by Yen Press, Subaru’s “return from death” ability seems almost forgotten. It makes the story feel as though everything is okay now, and that everything is solved. Subaru finally gets to relax while spending time with Emilia, Ram, and Rem, and we as readers get to learn more about this world. However, after reading about one third of the volume, Subaru’s unique ability to restart life makes a reappearance, but he no longer ends up in front of the same familiar fruit stand as he did in the last volume.
It’s also the first time in the series that we begin to see things in the light novel which did not appear in the anime. They start off as minor scenes that don’t have much meaning, but eventually we begin to learn things about the characters which one would not know from only watching the anime.
Much like in the first volume, the Yen Press translation was well-written. Again, there were hiccups every now and then which would cause me to reread specific things. This time it was mostly due to the translation, though. I felt that Yen Press did a better job translating the first volume than they did with the second. It was still much better than most fan-translations, but certain parts seemed a little difficult to read due to the wording.
There weren’t as many subplots in volume two as there were in volume one. When Subaru discovered that he had traveled back in time again, there was a description of his feelings which I found to be a tad too long; since I had already seen it in the anime, I already knew how he felt, and seeing it again was less enjoyable to me. I felt it was a sign of poor rereadability.
It is hard to say whether or not fans of the anime would enjoy volume two. Even if there isn’t much value in rereading it at some points, things happen slightly different. For example, in the anime, Subaru discovers an ability he has through Puck. In the light novel, he discovers it through Roswaal. It made more sense in the light novel’s version, because it was leading up to something relevant. I also found that Ram and Rem’s personalities were more distinct in the light novel than they were in the anime.
In this volume, the audience learns what happens when Subaru tries to repeat the same timeline twice without changing anything. It also covers a loop four times, just like in the first volume, except the ending in volume 2 was not as satisfactory as the ending of volume 1. We learned very little about what was causing Subaru’s deaths this time around, and there was never a conclusion as to what was going on.
While I have heard that some people believe the Re:Zero light novels are getting better with each release, I really felt that volume 1 was much better than volume 2. That isn’t to say that volume 2 is bad, but more that it was lacking some really good points that were shown off in volume 1.
My conclusion for this volume is that it is worth reading. That goes for anime-watchers too. There was a lot more content in this volume that did not appear in the anime than there was in volume 1. It’s easier to see inside the minds of the characters in the light novel, and I don’t just mean Subaru’s mind. I learned new things about Rem, Ram, Beatrice, and even Roswaal. Whether or not you are already a fan of the franchise, I recommend the volume 2 of Re:Zero.
Where to get it? I recommend Right Stuf, especially if you plan to buy the newest volume or pre-order the next one. Right Stuf usually gets their light novels in and shipped before the sale date listed on Yen Press’ website, so if you’re like me and you can’t wait, that’s a great opportunity! Also, if you live in the US, you’ll qualify for free shipping if you spend as low as $49, further increasing the deal.
This was my third review on Kyun! Anime. As usual, feedback is appreciated, and I look forward to reading any comments! Have you seen the anime for Re:Zero? Have you read the first light novel or this one? Let me know what you think of it in the comments!