Re: Zero

This started with a two-parter as a double episode, which is probably a good thing, as it throws in a fair amount of twists. It starts with a fairly desperate scene, then backs up and acts silly for a while.

Somewhat chunni, somewhat NEET, Natsuki Subaru is on the way back from the convenience store one night, when he’s suddenly sucked into a parallel world. Obviously, this is the work of a cute female sorcerer who has summoned him here to be her hero due to his strong magic ability! So Natsuki reasons, but he soon finds out there are problems with that theory.

First, there’s no cute sorcerer girl around. He’s just in the middle of the street with people looking at him (because he’s acting weird).
Second, he evidences no magical powers whatsoever when he tries.
Third, since all he’s got are some Japanese coins, the fruit vendor he talks to runs him off.
Fourth, no one will give him the time of day, and one guy shoves him into the canal, leading to…
Fifth, while waiting on his clothes to dry in an alley, he gets mugged. He actually gives a good account of himself (he’s not really a NEET, he’s in the kendo club, and works out), but is getting beaten badly when a short blonde girl runs into the alley, and…
Sixth, she has no intention of getting involved, as she’s a thief, running from her victim. Her name, he discovers later, is Felt. For now, she scoots and leaves him to his fate.

But then the victim runs into the alley, likewise a girl, but with long silver hair, purple irises, and blue pupils. She starts to continue chasing Felt, but then rationalizes getting involved, and after running off the muggers, treats Natsuki. One thing leads to another, and he helps her in return. She’s a magic and spirit user, and has a white cat spirit named Puck that can talk and change sizes, but vanishes when it’s dark. She gives her name as Satella, which prompts Puck to quietly comment “you have bad taste!”

Together they end up doing a favor for the fruit vendor, and get a couple of leads; a name and a general location she’s based from. What with the mini-quests (if I were to put it in RPG talk, the way Natsuki does), a few threads are laid out; the macguffin is a badge of some sort stolen from Satella, who is a half-elf, and she’s very shocked that he isn’t disturbed a bit by that revelation. (And Puck all but crowns him her BFF for that). So they do cute moments, and bonding moments, and end up at a fence’s shop in the slums, after dark. How romantic.

That’s when things go very, very, very badly. Leaving Satella outside, he goes into the very dark place — no one is answering. He finds a bloody corpse. He turns to run, but loses the lantern, and is painfully disemboweled as a female voice taunts him. Satella runs in to meet the same fate… and the desperate opening scenes repeat.

Then Natsuki is standing in front of the fruit vendor, being chased away again. This is my one serious problem with the series — Natsuki is genre savvy enough to know he’s been pulled into a parallel world from the get-go, but he fails to understand that he’s caught in a time-loop as well.

A number of the same events happen again, but because he’s not thinking much about the “prior day” he heads for the fence’s shop, where he talks to Rom, the fence, and Felt. Rom is, literally, a giant race, probably about nine feet tall. They talk for a bit, and Natsuki offers his cell phone, which they mistake for a magic item. A beautiful woman shows up to buy the badge; they each put their bids on the table (she’s bidding 20 holy silver coins, which is apparently a lot, but his “magic item” is worth more). She asks him what he plans to do with it, and he offhandedly says, “Return it to it’s owner.” “Oh. So you’re with them.” Oops. And again, everybody dies.

Rom, Felt, Natsuki and 'Ms. Slaughterhouse'

Then Natsuki is standing in front of the fruit vendor…. and he faints. But as the vendor revives him, he sees Satella passing by, so he runs after her, calling her name. Strangely, everyone on the street stares at him — and she’s furious at being called that.

I’m definitely giving it a few episodes, even if Natsuki doesn’t know his anime from his Star Trek.

Edit: if you looked at the pictures above, you probably already realized this: the animation isn’t all that great. Potato-faces are commonplace.

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