Spoiler Warning: This article may contain spoilers regarding Re: Zero anime which may not be suitable for some watchers. Read at your own risks.
Natsuki Subaru cannot reveal his Return to Death ability because the risk it entails is far greater than one could ever imagine. Considering the advantages of Subaru’s cheat skills, one would think he was given the most powerful one. The ability to travel back in time and fix the mistakes one has made is certainly something that can give anyone a better chance to live their life. However, Subaru’s story in Re: Zero tells that more negative things come with such an ability.
Natsuki Subaru is the main protagonist of the light novel Re: Zero − Starting Life in Another World and its anime adaptation of the same name. Re: Zero centers on his story as a hero transported from modern-day Japan into a mysterious fantasy world. Like most isekai shows, this is where Subaru’s life will drastically change as it now involves him having a supernatural ability.
Before becoming an isekai hero, Natsuki Subaru was an average high school student. Due to issues he had while growing up, Subaru got tired of life. He preferred to stay at home, having no motivation at all. However, arriving in the new world gave him a source of inspiration who is none other than the half-elf, Emilia. However, problems continue to come after him, specifically with her relationship with him, because of the cheat skill he didn’t ask for himself.
All About Subaru’s Return to Death Ability
As soon as he arrived in the parallel world, Subaru easily discovered that he possess the ability to die and resurrect at a specific point in time. His Return to Death Ability gives Subaru the opportunity to resent the events by being able to make the right choices.
All throughout the series, Subaru’s ability got him intertwined with unending problems in politics and magic. If not for his Return to Death ability, Subaru would have died right in the first episode of the first season. However, as he knows more about the ability that he possesses, Subaru slowly uncovers the parallel world’s mystery. This gives him the determination to protect the people he treasures.
By taking advantage of his ability, Subaru could build relationships with other characters, aside from Emilia, and the demon twin maid, Ram and Rem.
The Advantage of the Return to Death Ability
The Return to Death ability is highly considered to be Natsuki Subaru’s greatest trump card on the battlefield. Experiencing death once is already excruciating to even think about. Hence, just imagine the case of the man dubbed the ‘tragic hero’ by the Seven Witches themselves.
Subaru has endured so many gruesome deaths. He fell from cliffs, got his body torn apart, and was cut down by people considered friends. But every time he resurrects, Subaru tries his best to make the right choice not only for him but to prevent anyone around him from suffering further.
This unique yet powerful ability of his has certainly given him a lot of advantages all throughout the series. He may cry more than smile due to his ability, but Subaru learned to embrace even death when he started to utilize Return to Death more effectively and wiser.
In the first part of the series, Subaru was repeatedly resurrected at a specific point in time. This point in time lacks any significant detail that will allow him to grow. Thus, he ended up dying or committing suicide. Subaru repeats his suicidal actions until he reaches a point where he finally made the right choices to move forward.
However, Subaru’s character and point in time to resurrect change throughout the series. This implies that he is getting used to his ability and is finally more knowledgeable on how to use it. In order to do all of these, hed to surpass his own limits and battle his demons. In addition, he had to face the ugly truth of reality wherein a friend today can be your enemy tomorrow.
Natsuki Subaru’s perseverance, resilience, and loyalty to his friends, including Emilia, were one of his three most essential traits. This is because it made it possible for him to overcome all the challenges that came his way and regain the trust of the people around him that he once lost.
The Disadvantage of the Return to Death Ability
After going through so much, Subaru finally decided to strategically use his memories. Using all the memories from the other timelines avoids much more danger. As he began to use it more, Subaru did not pay much attention to the two major downsides of his ability that prevented him from making the right choices:
The main disadvantage of Subaru’s cheat skills that made him suffer is the penalties that come with it. Subaru may have formed friendships with people from the parallel world. However, these friendships were not enough for him to survive the pains that come with his ability.
Whenever Subaru attempts to tell anyone his secret ability, chilling arms that supposedly belong to the Witch of Envy show up to kill him or stop him from going further. The scent of the said witch lingers on him whenever he tries to reveal his ability. This scent makes him more of a prey for demon beasts.
Furthermore, this disadvantage becomes bigger of a problem. The witch suspected behind the Return to Death ability does not only tries to kill him. But, it also tries to crush the heart of the people he loves, many Emilia.
Recollection of Past Memories
Aside from the punishment that Subaru may get for revealing his skill, his ability also greatly affected his mental well-being. Subaru may have infinite chances to redo things just by dying. However, he is able to keep all memories he had from all the timelines he goes through. No matter how painful and gruesome they are, Subaru has no choice but to endure them.
Every time Subaru enters a specific time loop, he always wants himself to be finally successful. Because even though his death can prevent the death of those around him, witnessing them dying or suffering is too much for his mind to bear.
For instance, two of the time loops that Subaru had is when Rem killed her. This is because she suspected him of being part of the Witch’s Cult. Hence, when he woke up in another time loop where Rem was no longer an enemy, Subaru did everything he could to gain her trust.
In addition, he also had a hard time adjusting himself to the parallel world because of his encounters with Emilia. During their first meeting, Emilia gave Subaru the wrong name. Therefore, when he resurrected and called out Emilia using the Witch of Envy’s name, she was astounded and frustrated with him.
Read More: Who Will Subaru End Up With in Re: Zero?
It is only Subaru who retained the memories. Therefore, the people around him lacked the ability to comprehend his actions, no matter how good they may be. His psychological state has endured so much aside from the trauma of death. But this doesn’t change the fact that as Subaru began to learn how to use such an ability, he gained more allies. As he worked on things strategically, he found friends that aided him in surpassing all the challenges.
In conclusion, his ability showed a more relatable side of him to the viewers. Subaru conveyed that despite him being an isekai hero, this never made him perfect in any way. He often acts out of frustration, pain, and anger. However, he tries his best to learn from these mistakes every single time. Subaru had made the most difficult decisions in the most difficult moments. But he never gave up for the sake of his and the other’s survival.
Who Summoned Subaru in Lugunica?
When Natsuki Subaru was transported into the other world, he himself was clueless regarding the mysterious circumstances that brought him there. As the story progresses, Subaru learns more about his Return to Death ability. He later discovers that the Witch of Envy, Satella, is likely the person behind it. This means that his arrival in Lugunica wasn’t just a random occurrence.
As the story progresses, it is revealed that Subaru was summoned by a powerful and enigmatic entity known as Satella, also called the “Witch of Envy.”
As of the writing of this article, it is still uncertain why Satella chose Natsuki Subaru. However, what is clear are her feelings for him. Satella confessed that her actions were born out of her love for him. In addition, it is safe to assume that the Witch of Envy is somehow connected to Emilia and the Kingdom of Lugunica.
Many have assumed that Emilia and Satella are connected or are the same person. But, this is inaccurate for the two remains to be two different people. It is believed by many that the witch is deeply fond of a half-elf, Emilia, and is somehow involved with her in some ways.
Further details about Subaru’s mysterious summoning in the parallel world, as well as his purpose, slowly unveiled one episode after the other. One thing that is certain is that Subaru’s arrival has been linked to and impacted the events of the whole kingdom. This purpose of his implies his massive role as the protagonist or isekai hero both in the life of Emilia and the other people belonging to the kingdom.
Overall, Subaru being summoned centers on the struggles and conflicts inside the kingdom, and the different individuals involved are tied up with the cause behind Subaru’s summons to Lugunica. One of the things that makes it more anticipating for fans to watch the series is the mystery surrounding Satella and her role as the person who summoned him.
Natsuki Subaru’s Other Magical Abilities
Aside from his Return by Death ability, Subaru does possess other supernatural or magical powers. At the beginning of the series, Subaru was perceived to be an average high school student from modern-day Japan who lacks combat and magic skills. However, as the plot progresses, Subaru meets people who are willing to teach him the things he lacks, allowing him to not only rely on his so-called cheat skill.
Shamak is one of the magical abilities that Subaru gained. This power was taught to him by the Puck, Emilia’s spirit. In the parallel world, Shamak is considered to be one of the most basic magical spells that one can use. It is a low-class kind of spell that almost everyone can master.
When Shamak is used, black smoke instantly erupts and covers a large instantly. Anyone who is in the range of that specific area will lose their spatial awareness. Aside from Return to Death, Subaru has also used Shamak multiple times. This ability has saved him from being the leader of magic beasts in season one, which prevented him from doing a do-over using his cheat skill.
Authority of the Sloth
Subaru is associated with two authorities from the seven deadly sins in the series which are Greed and Envy. Subaru gained the Authority of Sloth after defeating Petelgeuse Romanée-Conti. Because of the Authority of Sloth, Subaru gained new power that was previously used by Petelgeuse. The Unseen Hand allows the user to summon a single invisible hand-like. Subaru later used this power on the battlefield, giving it a new name, Invisible Providence.
She became his spirit after convincing Beatrice to abandon the forbidden library and live her life. As her contractor, Subaru and Beatrice are able to communicate despite the distance. Beatrice can sense the whereabouts of Subaru; however, he is not. On one hand, Subaru can call out Beatrice through their link as long as he focuses on it. But unlike the relationship between Emilia and Puck, Subaru has to follow some rules set by Beatrice since she is only an artificial spirit.
But one has to remember that it is not his magical abilities that allowed him to survive the parallel world. More than anything else, Subaru excels at being resilient and adaptable under difficult circumstances. Through Return by Death, he gains information from earlier timelines, which he utilizes to make decisions and devise plans to help him overcome challenges and defend people who matter to him.
Subaru uses his intelligence, ingenuity, and ability to develop friendships with other characters to get over the world’s perils throughout the series.