Warning: Spoilers up to the end of Re:Zero Episode 45 (Season 2 Ep 20) follow.
This episode picks up right where the previous episode
left off. Subaru
, and Garfiel
have confronted the jerk Roswaal
in his full clown make-up. Subaru advises Roswaal to surrender, but Roswaal refuses. Again, Re:Zero proves why it’s still in the top tier of isekai anime after all these years, even after several entries into the genre have attempted to dethrone it. We get more heartfelt, emotional dialogue that the series is famous for.
But I for one am not a fan of the roundabout way of speaking we get in this dialogue. Because characters don’t speak straightforwardly, it can be pretty confusing understanding the basic who, why, what, etc. of the story. And while I spend precious mental energy trying to decipher the riddles they speak in, I can’t appreciate the drama fully as it unfolds. I doubt I’m the only one who feels this way, so I’ll clear it up.
Subaru sees the past he had to go through, the emotions he experienced, and his connections with people as a strength to overcome obstacles, not a weakness, the way Roswaal sees it. Why does Roswaal disagree with Subaru and make Subaru suffer so much? Why does Roswaal insist that Subaru use Return by Death and want him to sacrifice the mansion’s girls (like Rem) in order to protect Emilia and Sanctuary? This is the stuff explained in riddle-filled dialogue.
See, the Book of Wisdom tells Roswaal that Emilia must become the ruler and that Subaru must be her knight in order for Echidna to be resurrected. For Subaru to be a knight (as Roswaal perceives it), he has to be willing to sacrifice his life, and the lives of everyone else he loves, all for Emilia’s sake. We’re still connecting those facts with the past, and we get some of those facts in a flashback this ep.
Four hundred years ago, we see Sanctuary is made because Echidna can’t win a fight against the Witch Cult and the area needs protection. We learn how Roswaal falls in love with Echidna to the point of practically worshipping her - he feels she saved him.
We also see more of the sweet friendship between Beatrice and Ryuzu Meyer, which is unfortunately cut short when Ryuzu has to sacrifice herself to become the core of Sanctuary’s barrier. This happens when the Devil of Melancholy attacks.
So for 400 years, Roswaal has been waiting for and working towards the events Subaru is going through now, all to be reunited with Echidna, the woman he loves. So yeah, it makes sense that he won’t surrender to Subaru without a fight. That’s his most important commitment, and it’s probably even warped his mind over four centuries.
One last note: I thought it was weird that we could never see Echidna’s eyes in this ep.
(image source: Amazon