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Re:Zero and Musings on Terms
I'm posting this a few days late because I wanted to give enough time to get an idea of how people responded to the video. The reception has been phenomenal. Strong criticisms abound. Good talks, a lot of clever thoughts.

There are several major contentions in the video, but I want to talk about two. First, Hikikomori. Drawing from Tamaki Saito's Adolescence without end, Hikikomori has blossomed into a Frankenstein's monster. It's used interchangeably by media to talk about truants, the NEETs, the socially withdrawn. I wanted to look at what the Hikikomori stood for, what the malaise stood for. The cost was being too broad. Criticisms were raised, particularly on the broadness of my language.


At the heart of this is wondering, "Is Subaru a Hikikomori?" He does state so himself at the beginning of the show. When they're standing on that balcony, the translation is 'shut-in'. In Japanese, he used the word Hikikomori. The translation is lost - or is it changed? I think he was.


The second was sekai-kei. I've talked about it before, about how unclear it was. It remains unclear. Sekai-kei is about a close relationship tied to the fate of the world. But what is the fate of the world in Re:Zero? What was the fate of the world presented as? On some level, we don't know. But going back to Robert McKee, the world doesn't have to be the 'objective' space; it's the space we inhabit. The space we understand. Storytelling is about building a small, knowable world. 


What is the world Subaru understands?


It's the town. The royal election. Lugunica's bright and dark alleys alike. I'd say his relationship with Emilia does affect that world. He saves the town alongside his quest to help Emilia. His relationship with Rem and Emilia and how it gets undermined by the Witch's Cult triggers Puck's fury. The White Whale is taken down by the Hero because the Hero doesn't really gather an army with institutions and rituals, but a series of allies, friends. Many of them he knows. But it's not a pure sekai-kei text, not really. It simply captures these sensibilities.


I call it 'neoSekai-kei,' just as how Krasner might call it neoRealism or Weber might call it neoGramscianism. I didn't think it was a pure sekai-kei text, but I wanted to fall back on what I thought was a legacy. To me, it seemed to draw from that sekai-kei myth. I couldn't say it was sekai-kei, but I couldn't ignore these aspects that seemed so indicative of sekai-kei narratives.


And these two contentious terms formed the Re:Zero short form. I love the energy; the people who hate it or love it talk with such confidence and passion in their words.