Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu Episode 22: A Flash of Sloth
People die if they are killed.
Is it just me, or was this episode not as tense as the rest of the arc has been? I don’t know whether it’s because the season is almost over, and as a result success is hopefully just around the corner, but today’s encounter with Betelgeuse definitely wasn’t as intense as the last one was. It might be because we’ve come across him multiple times by now – the first time no-one had any idea exactly how insane he was, and on top of that he proceeded to torture Rem in front of Subaru before the both of them were turned into frozen corpses by Puck. Now that Rem isn’t around and is thus no longer at risk of getting killed, Betelgeuse is less of a threat! I mean, it’s still sad that there were victims, but unlike with Rem I’m not exactly going to be playing violins for Ricardo or Julius if either of them died. Maybe Anastasia though. Making cute girls suffer is my bottom line.
Betelgeuse was kind of entertaining instead. What really pushes his buttons is the idea that Satella ‘loves’ someone more than she loves him, by way of her leaving a stronger scent on them in comparison to Betelgeuse himself. Even if Subaru really is Pride (which is debatable) he doesn’t care – he goes from being courteous to wanting to kill Subaru more than anything else for being so loved. As Subaru smells more and more of Satella the more he dies, it would have been ideal if he had managed to progress to the third arc and encounter Betelgeuse before his scent developed too much – although as we learned this episode, that wouldn’t have been a perfect solution as (i) Betelgeuse doesn’t die when he is killed; and (ii) if Subaru does anything to piss him off, like saying he used his Gospel as a coaster and threw it away afterwards, it’s game over as he can’t see the Unseen Hand.
Like with the White Whale, there’s a lot of uncertainty as to what Betelgeuse can and can’t do. If he gets killed, his physical body is definitely dead according to Felix. Another disciple, a girl (with an excellent Matsuoka impression) this time it seems, then ‘becomes’ Betelgeuse and is able to use the Unseen Hand. What’s unclear is whether all the disciples cumulatively amount to Sloth, or whether the original Betelgeuse is body-switching between his KKK minions – Julius seems to think it’s the former, but based on the way this second Betelgeuse acted I’m sure it’s the latter. It could also be the case that the disciples are just puppets controlled by Betelgeuse, but I remember him conversing with one and being told about Rem. So they should be actual live people, right? Then again, he’s fucking insane.
Either way, Subaru’s main concern should be how exactly he can get rid of Betelgeuse for good. A roundabout option would just be to kill every single KKK member in the vicinity, but there’s a numbers issue alongside the risk that Betelgeuse might end up fleeing using the body of one of the last few disciples if they manage to wipe him out too many times. Maybe he could kill all the disciples first, while they’re not as much of a risk? Betelgeuse wouldn’t be able to switch bodies that way, although the problem then is that Subaru would have to stall him for far longer than he probably can. What’s really strange to me is that when Puck killed him, he seemed to be genuinely afraid – it’s like he knew he was going to die for good. If he could have transferred his consciousness to another body, he wouldn’t have acted like that at all. What was different that time round? Why is he even so terrified of spirits? Should Subaru just get Puck to do it?
Finally, it’s good to get subtle answers to questions I’ve had in the past, one of them being that White Whale appearances coinciding with cult activities was one of the reasons behind everyone agreeing to cooperate with Subaru in subjugating the KKK. I guess the capital never acted in the past due to a lack of intel, among other reasons. Other interesting observations included the fact that the phrase ‘I’ve run up against the witch cult before’ doesn’t trigger Return by Death, as well as the fact that Subaru’s still able to order the KKK members around to an extent. It seems like they just defer to Betelgeuse when he’s around, but in his absence the scent given off by Subaru places him in a position of authority. Subaru is also tsundere for Julius, which (as Rem would say) was kind of cute.
A wild Ram appears! What will Subaru do?