Yes, you read that right, today we’re gonna discuss about how certain concepts are common and recurring themes in both Japanese mangas and American comics.
Mangas are usually longer and have more elaborate stories than American comics that are printed separately in the form of paperbacks or hardbacks, unlike mangas which are published in magazines, later to be converted into paperbacks.
Keep scrolling to see how Barry Allen (The Flash) and Subaru Natsuki are similar in ways no anime or DC fan would have ever imagined.
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Subaru's Return By Death
In Re: Zero-Starting Life In Another World, we saw that the protagonist Subaru Natsuki has the ability (or let’s just say the superpower) to “Return By Death” though he’s not that gifted in the physical strength department, even his mental stability is tested on multiple occasions every time he dies, unlike other isekai protagonists who are much overpowered than before once they get transported to the other world/dimension.
The ability to “Return by Death” is somewhat like a reset button for Subaru which he uses to save his comrades and change the course of events for the better. It is believed that Satella, the Witch of Envy is responsible for giving him this ability for God knows what reason.
This power enables him to return from the dead to a certain “checkpoint”, i.e., a time slightly earlier than when he died. The exact time of when he’ll be brought back to life often changes and the events that take place after his return also get altered to some extent, while the results are mostly the same.
Sounds cool if you ask me but it gets really depressing for our boy Natsuki. For example, when Subaru first learned about his new ability, he was brought back to the time when he was indulged into a conversation with Kadomon; the shopkeeper who was trying to sell him apples, after he died while recovering Emilia’s stolen Insignia from Felt.
It was quite a violent death actually since Elsa Granhiert, famously known as the Bowel Hunter, was a ruthless assassin who also wanted to get hold of the Insignia before anyone else, and as the name suggests, she kills her victims by slicing open their stomachs with her blade.
Other people present in the building during that time also died, such as Felt, Old Man Rom and Emilia who had arrived a few minutes later only to be targeted by Elsa as soon as she entered the room.
. Though Subaru was the only one who remembered the whole incident in detail after coming back to life when his ability to “Return by Death” got activated, which implies that every time he dies and comes back, an alternate timeline gets created that only he’s aware of.
Thus, leaving Subaru to bear the burden of his newly found ability along with the emotional and psychological trauma it puts him through. The saddest thing about this is that he can’t even talk about it to other people as The Witch prevents him from doing so for (again) reasons unknown.
What is the the Flashpoint Paradox and its similarities with Re:Zero- Starting Life In Another World
Now let’s talk about the Flashpoint Paradox and how it works. Well, for starters, “The Flashpoint” is also an alternate timeline that came into existence due to Barry’s actions which caused the timeline to shatter and create a reality much different than the one he had been living in so far.
Barry Allen aka The Flash travels back in time to prevent his mother, Nora Allen, from dying at the hands of his arch nemesis, Eobard Thawne (Reverse Flash).
In order to do this he absorbed the entire Speed Force inside of him which caused a major butterfly effect and resulted in the formation of the alternate timeline where the world was in state of prolonged war between the Atlantis and the Themyscira.
The “Speed Force” in question is like a pseudo god like energy/ another dimension that exists between space and time that allows time travel and is the ultimate source of power for The Flash.
When Barry travelled back in time and killed Reverse Flash, it lead to some pretty serious consequences which shattered the balance of the speed force and affected the future (or we can say, the present that he was supposed to return to after he was done) in some not-so-subtle ways.
In short, even though Barry thought that all of this is the doing of his rival speedster, it was him who broke the laws of nature and later had to assemble the members of the Justice League to change the reality back to how it was.
Albert Einstein has also provided evidence to prove that travelling to the past is indeed possible and that time is relative depending upon how fast or slow one is moving.
Though, going back to the past is undesirable as it would lead to major changes in the future disturbing the balance of the space time continuum (grandfather paradox).
The theory is somewhat complex but the idea of an alternate timeline emerging into existence due to the protagonist’s dumb actions is not an alien concept to us.
Interference With The Timelines
Subaru’s ability to come back to life also defies the laws of nature, which is probably the case why a different reality ceases to unfold before his very eyes, all the while being conscious of the events that took place before the transition happened. It made him go bonkers as he had to watch his close ones die again and again, not to forget that he also had to go through the pain of embracing death repetitively.
Subaru and Barry, both indulge into time travel to alter events in their favor but end up messing with entire timelines. In both the cases, the people other than the ones responsible for this catastrophe were completely oblivious of the fact that their lives have changed in ways they couldn’t possibly fathom and accepted the new reality as their own.
Sometimes I wonder whether we’re the masters/creators of our own reality or is everything just pre determined by some superior force/ entity before we’re even born.
Emilia, Ram and other members at the Roswaal mansion were unaware of Rem’s existence, even though she was a significant part of their lives. Subaru tried his best to make others realize that Rem is not a mere stranger but Ram’s twin sister who made sacrifices for everyone’s safety.
The reason why something like this happened was that, whilst returning back to the Capital, Crusch and Rem met with the Sin Archbishops of Greed and Gluttony who put Rem into a coma and “ate up” all proof of her existence (name and memories and stuff like that). Crusch, however, was pretty much unharmed but her memories too were compromised.
Similarly, when Flash returns to the “present” after saving his mom from dying, he found out that people who got affected by it were comfortable with the changes that occurred as they were unaware of the reality that existed before everything changed.
The Consequences Of The Creation Of Alternate Timelines And The Differences Between Them
Though there are a lot of similarities between both the stories, we can also see that unlike Subaru, Barry was able to share the details of the messed up reality with Batman (Thomas Wayne) and they both worked together to fix things up back to how they were, and how Barry didn’t have to die every time he wished to go back and forth in time.
This makes Subaru’s ability to “Return by Death” stand out among all the other isekai mangas/animes as well as American comics. Not to forget that the Flashpoint paradox was a onetime venture, while Subaru had to leap through time over and over again in order to save the ones who were close to him which eventually took a serious toll on his emotional and mental wellbeing.
Though, the changes that occurred in Subaru’s world weren’t so drastic, Barry witnessed some pretty major differences in the lives of the people due to the existing paradox. It was probably Batman who felt the effects of it in a dire manner since Barry told him about how his son, Bruce Wayne, was still alive and healthy and was the Batman in his version of reality.
In the paradoxical reality, Bruce died at the hands of the mugger which left his parents in a state of immense grief, so much that his mother, Martha Wayne who couldn’t handle the pain of losing her child went crazy and became the infamous Joker. Once Thomas learned about what really happened, he was more than eager to help out Barry to fix the timeline back to its original state, out of love for his long lost son.
Recently all the movie lovers and DC fans have been talking about Zack Snyder’s version of The Justice League movie (by Warner Bros. back in 2017) which has been available for streaming on HBO Max since 18 March 2021. The four hour long feature film has been called a remake or extended version even though the one that got released in the theaters barely does any justice to the actual story line (pun intended lol).
Due to personal issues Snyder somewhat backed off from the project and handed it over to Whedon who practically messed up the entire thing and caused major disappointment amongst the fans. The director’s cut or “Snyder’s Cut”, as people like to call it, has a bunch of additional scenes that are canon for the DCEU along with some important Easter Eggs for upcoming movies, one of which is the reference to The Flashpoint Paradox plot in the scene where the Amazons and Atlanteans are fighting a war against each other.
Tappei takes us on this mind-boggling and emotional roller coaster of a journey of time leaps and alternate realities which keeps the audience/readers on the edge of their seats.
The anime adaptation is quite appealing to the eye as the animation and the scenes are very well produced, the character designs and their development throughout the head-scratching storyline grips the attention of people who are into dark yet somewhat comical psychological thrillers.
Subaru Natsuki’s character isn’t overpowered from the beginning which also makes him fairly relatable unlike any other isekai protagonist for a change, which is a really good thing.
Re:Zero- Starting Life In Another World gained immense popularity among anime lovers when the 1st season was released back in April 2016 as well as when the 2nd season which came out in Winter 2021. It received a rating of 8.1 (imdb) and 8.3 (MyAnimeList) and was ranked among one of the best animes along side Attack On Titan and The Promised Neverland on several other websites. Also you know what guys, Rem ranks as the 16th most popular anime character and the 2nd most popular anime girl in MyAnimeList’s databses. She even won a Reddit contest has entire threads dedicated to her where otakus from all over the world discuss about the reasons why Rem is the BEST WAIFU! I mean who wouldn’t fall for such an adorable little face, someone who’s way stronger than they look and is fiercely loyal to the ones they love. Even Tappei himself didn’t imagine that Rem would be loved so much by the masses and surpass well known characters such as Sasuke, Mikasa, Yato, Emilia, etc.
I’d totally recommend this anime to people who have watched DC’s Flashpoint Paradox and were fascinated by the time related theories and plots, and while you’re at it you can also check out our blog about other animes like Re:Zero- Starting Life in Another World -> Anime Like Re: Zero
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