Re: ZERO- Starting Life in Another World {anime review}


Quick Summary: Subaru is a high school student who is a bit on the NEET side. When venturing out to the convenience store for quick bites, his world smoothly and suddenly changes. Somehow he is pulled to another world. Unlike most people he is not upset or frightened, but excited at being a ‘hero’ and delving into anime and gaming cliches. Quickly however, Subaru finds out a darker side of his presence in this new world, and through meeting strange magickal people, he hopes to come to understand the mysteries surrounding his abilities as well as protect his new found comrades.

Overall I do like this anime, even though it can be a bit predictable and cliche at times.
As for the characters, Subaru can be a wee bit sexist at points, but his enthusiasm and nerdiness makes up for it. It’s interesting how through the show he has no real concerns about going home. He is living make an otaku’s fantasy: going to a magick realm and gaining powers. His overly excitable and loud personality are balanced fairly well with some more serious undertones of painful things he is forced to experience.

The love interest is a bit of the standard stock, a little awkward, overly sweet, too trusting. However, I do like that there is no rushed romance or instant falling in love. Most of the time she regards Subaru as a friend while a smaller portion is her figuring out blushy feelings here and there.

The rest of the supporting cast, thus far, are mostly cutesy females of varying roles. They have their own personalities and are individually developed enough that each stands out. The few males characters so far are extreme versions of character traits. An example of this is the overly flamboyant Lord.

The storyline moves along at a good pace, explaining things here and there as Subaru learns them, mixing mystery, action, and comedy. It doesn’t jump around so much you lose track of what is going on or the characters come off as flat. Currently the ending of the first major story plot has yet to be returned to and is still on a cliff hanger. The second plot feels like it is nearing it’s end and will hopefully tie back in to the characters that we haven’t seen for a while now. Due to the nature of Subaru’s power the plots can be stretched out without feeling like fillers or slowing down too mich you lose interest. It does get a bit predictable with events and character interactions, but it feels almost nostalgic or easy going this way.

The art style is very pretty, Subaru’s design is different than most male protagonists, especially in the eyes. Though going with what feels like a popular trend, a lot of the non human characters have eyes with symbols or markings instead of the normal pupil. It’s a bit odd but it doesn’t pull from the character too much. Most major characters have a bit of a color theme which is kind of nice and can be used in plot as foreshadowing or subtext. The main female is silver, the Paladin type male is red, the weird librarian is pink. There are a couple repeat colors, however those characters have yet to be in the same story plot at the same time. When it comes to violence I feel it is tastefully done. Not overly gorey for shock and awe, but dramatic enough to show the gravity of the current situation.

Overall it’s a cute show that plays to common tropes you can laugh about, especially if you’re particularly anime-nerdy. At times Subaru feels a bit over powered in skills and abilities, yet I can see the choice for it as again, it’s a NEET fantasy. The mysteries aren’t overly convoluted and there is a bit of character development. Hopefully that will be a continuing trend.

Rating: 8/10