Sometimes you just need to sit back and appreciate – and I mean genuinely enjoy – the insanity of what you are seeing. This is one of those moments. (Graphic Content Warning)
“The Outside of Madness”
You may remember how much I was decrying this show over the past few weeks. Well, things change, thankfully. The expectation of this episode to be a reset and retry were somewhat met, but in a very impressively nuanced way. It looked as if the ice that killed Subaru was a last line of defense of Emilia’s design – and probably for the best, as I doubt he wanted to face her. Subaru’s been through some weird and depressing things on his journey, but all of this was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back. If that straw were actually a ten-tonne bail of hay.
Rem had just kind of professed her feelings for him before her untimely demise, and although seeing her again upon a reset shouldn’t be much of a surprise to him by now, Subaru was still appropriately shocked. His inactivity this episode allowed for a very different version of events leading to the witch cult’s actions. It might even be a bit of an act in some regards, as the ridiculously wonderful Betelgeuse accused. Subaru knew that his actions led to some serious problems last time around, and that if he just went with the flow instead, perhaps things would be better. Or perhaps not.
Betelgeuse. Now that was one hell of a performance. The shifts from insanity to calculating were creepy and amazing. How he can represent sloth is a mystery to me, because he seems to be getting things done and is way too caught up on his energy pills. Perhaps it’s more of an overseeing of sloth, as he is a pretty good judge of it throughout his encounter with Subaru and Rem. The witch cult is also exceptionally well done so far. They’re menacing, faceless, and magical. Everything to do with the witch is really moving along nicely in this series now. The suspense has almost been worth it to find out what the deal is, especially after dealing with so many one-cour (12-week season) shows as of late.
But why are the doing this? Why does the witch cult want to attack Emilia and her suitors? Probably because they fear the possible power of a new witch – a good witch. Well that got really Wizard of Oz all of a sudden. If I had to fully speculate, it would be something about this new witch harnessing the power of the dragon to defeat the evils of the world. Pretty much every fantasy trope just lined up in a row for role call there, but it really doesn’t bother me all of a sudden. The presentation has just developed so well, mostly from this episode, that I can get past the ridiculous character traits and see them as more a product of circumstance. Subaru actually could change for the better after the debacle that was the last few weeks.
Holy crap that ending. Although it really made no sense that Rem was still alive, let alone able to move at all, after the things that Betelgeuse did to her, the final scenes were especially powerful. Now what in the name of the witch was that giant wolf-thing that somehow killed Subaru by means of magic decapitation? The female-sounding voice points to a possible answer, and it also said to join its daughter. That can really only mean one person in that context, as Emilia has the likeness and racial connection to the witch. Why she would want to kill her own daughter when she could take over the kingdom pretty soon is a perplexing matter as well. And then the credits role. For a few moments, it didn’t feel like a weekly anime anymore – it was an artful cinematic work.
– I said it three times in this revie- oh, wrong Beetlejuice.
– At least Subaru didn’t piss all over Crusch’s hospitality.
– That trap is still super trappy.
– There were just too many good shots of Betelgeuse to include.
– He LICKED HIS EYE.
– Apparently not the best of job security in the witch cult.
– What in the name of all that is holy is that giant dog.