If you read my review of Re:Zero, today’s pick will likely surprise you 0%. I spent most of that review complaining about this exact character as he was the central reason that I disliked the show. I’m obviously talking about Natsuki, Subaru, probably one of the more polarizing characters that exists in anime. Since I already went into a lot of depth in the full review, I’ll do my best to summarize my feelings on Subaru and you can read the review if you want more detail.
To summarize how I feel about Subaru, I’d say his popularity is largely undeserved. Specifically, I think he has “gimmick” hype; the creator announces that he’s meant to be a character that’s impossible to self-insert, bucking all the trends and going against the grain, giving him a gimmick. Like any gimmick, while the idea itself is fine (even good), it only works if it’s executed well, and I don’t think Subaru is such a character.
The story is missing two key things to sell this character. Buck-the-trend gimmick or not, if we’re going to care about this character (or the story that he is meant to be driving), we have to be given a reason to care about him and the outcome. This anime never really establishes this important reason to care. In fact, the most interesting characters are always surrounding him, villains included.
The second missing element is just basic character growth; his arc is huge, and not in a good way. Subaru broadcasts a huge central flaw early and often. That glaring flaw sticks around for an unbelievable seventeen episodes. Those episodes encompass a huge amount of in-universe time; we’re not talking a day in the life of Subaru here. When he finally hits that character growth moment in the eighteenth episode, I was honestly beyond caring about him. It was essentially a “damage is already done” moment. Like I said before, by that time I was only really watching for the surrounding cast of characters. The real kicker is, newly matured Subaru was actually a very watchable character (who still had flaws, but at least they were different flaws).
I don’t think it’s wrong or a bad thing to create a character that’s meant to mock the trend of fantasy fulfillment that is so heavily paraded in isekai anime. Honestly, it would be a refreshing perspective. But you still have to create characters that we can love and care about beyond the “he’s cool because he’s different” gimmick. He needs an established motive, and more importantly, properly paced growth.
Apart from Subaru, this was actually a really interesting anime. Unfortunately, his character is the sole reason that I can’t recommend this show, and that is why he’s my pick for today.
Who is your most hated character?