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Elsa could have defeated Reinhard in their first encounter
The entire event was a massive Worf Had the Flu affair. She had wasted a lot of energy fighting Emilia and Pack. Elsa's foot was injured, which likely reduced her already incredible speed. She also lost her anti-magic cloak, which might have been enough to neutralize Reinhard's magic sword technique and get a fatal blow. Not least of all, thanks to his timeloop experience, Subaru was able to warn Reinhard that Elsa carried multiple blades in Hammerspace. She had odds seriously stacked against her in that duel. Reinhard's only handicap, was not being able to use his One-Hit Kill technique right at the start, as Elsa allowed him to use a sword found in the shop to make the fight interesting.

  • Probably not. Reinhard is so OP that he hasn't pulled out his dragon sword for any enemy, no matter how strong they were.
  • Definitely not. Reinhard is literally the strongest character in Re:Zero, strong enough that no one in-universe can actually beat him in a fight, even if they teamed up, according to Q&As by the author.
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Subaru doesn't actually turn back time when he dies, but instead transfers his memories to another universe.

Subaru's power was given to him by Satella to make it impossible for him to end up with anyone but her
It's all but stated at this point that Subaru's power comes from the Witch of Envy Satella. Setting aside how this power is keeping him alive it has some sever drawbacks. As we've seen no one but Subaru remembers anything after he comes back, but since he remembers he sometimes seems to forget how much he's interacted with each person. Like with Emilia in episode 13 when he thought she would understand why he as acting the way he was, when thinking about it he hasn't really done much with this cycle's Emilia to build that kind of trust. Sure he saved her once but they hadn't met before that, he was just a stranger who helped out, and he seems to forget that.The point is that with his power his relationships can be reset easily, given how frequently he dies. But since his power comes from Satella it would make sense for her to remember what happens as well. What if she gave him that power so it will slowly drive him away from everyone else. After all no one will be able to understand what he's going through, since he literally can't tell them without killing them. We've already seen him start to crack under the pressure of having to do so much by himself, along with the arrogance that comes with his successes.Satella gave him his power to keep him alive and to shape him, to make him stand apart, to make it hard for anyone to get close to him without the possibility of them being taken away. But she would understand, she knows that loneliness and isolation. Its a very Yandere thing to do, drive away everyone they see as a threat, so their loved one has only them.

Satella is an alternate timeline version of Emilia.

Here's my theory of what the backstory and plot of Re:Zero is. Satella is a version of Emilia from another universe that is exactly like this one, but the Witch of Envy never existed. As a result, this Emilia is named Satella as the name doesn't have a stigma. Cue an alternate Subaru showing up.This Subaru doesn't have Return by Death and he ends up having the normal transported to another world plot without dying or actually getting into trouble. He gets Satella to fall for him and so on so forth. In addition, the Witch Cult doesn't exist and the other Witches are still alive. Somewhere along the line Subaru does die, but without Return by Death, he doesn't come back. As a result, Satella tries to revive him by going back in time in a way similar to how time travel works in Steins;Gate and travels to another universe. But along the way Satella ends up going far too back and ends up, like 400+ years back. As a result, she is stuck in an era where she doesn't know anyone, except for the Witches who are just extremely long lived.Satella decides to make friends with the original witches and gain their trust. In order to survive long enough to meet Subaru again, because while elves live long they don't live long enough, Satella ends up absorbing the Envy Witch Gene. However, she was incompatible and goes insane. The Witch of Envy, Satella's new alternate personality goes on a killing spree until she is sealed away by the Reid Astrea, Flugel, and Volcania. While in sealed away, Pandora, the Witch of Vainglory, takes the remaining Witch essences and hands them out to the Archbishops and makes the Witch's Cult in the name of Satella. Skip 400 years and Subaru appears. This time Subaru gets killed almost immediately due to Elsa, who was sent by Roswaal according the Witch of Greed book of prophecies. Satella realizing that Subaru would have trouble surviving, gives him Return By Death as a way for him to survive as well as get him to free her.

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  • That's... That's actually very plausible and accounts for many bits of information on Satella revealed in the novels. This could even account for the fact that the Witches view Satella and the Witch of Envy as separate entities and seem to like Satella.

The "Scent of the Witch" has a powerful influence on all beings of darkness, or people with darkness in their hearts, and it only grows with time. A literal example of This Is Your Brain on Evil.

Take Rem, for example. Even by the darkest of antihero standards, her actions were friggin' monstrous. I mean, yes, she was almost certain he was in the employ of the devil incarnate (and Satella being responsible for the deaths of her friends and family certainly helps) but the deaths she dealt were brutal, and she never even considers he was telling the truth, even after he went out of his way to spare her life, after she informed him he'd die either way, after she tortured him, and not even at he very end, when he's reduced to sobbing over what he clearly felt was her betrayal. The fact that she spent much of their talk babbling on about Ram like a woman obsessed only adds fuel to the fire. Oh, and all these violent deaths? They were just when he appeared to be getting close to her sister. Contrast Ram herself, who, even when she was sure he had killed Rem, and was half-mad with grief still seemed to hold back more than was necessary and even partially believe him when he told her how much he loved them.Furthermore, Rem, is shown to be violently overprotective, filled with quite a bit of hatred and self-loathing and is much less hesitant than Ram about shedding blood, whereas Ram is generally more compassionate and doesn't seem to have nearly the emotional baggage Rem does, or really much at all. It's not hard to see who'd be more easily corrupted by this dark influence.Then there's those three thugs. Chin stabbing him certainly seemed to be an accident, and he's clearly shocked by what just happened, but all of them seem to get over the action, if not the potential consequences, fairly quickly. Especially jarring when it's heavily implied they'd never killed anyone up to that point.It seems likely that the scent made the evil within them even stronger, enough to push them towards acts they wouldn't have committed, or wouldn't have been nearly so quick to commit, otherwise.

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The lyrics of the anime's first ED, STYX HELIX, is written from Satella's perspective.

The time resets are triggered by Emilia's death, not Subaru's.

In episode 18, Puck says he must destroy the world now that Emilia is dead. He implies he's going to destroy himself, as well, and mentions the White Whale's fog. Apparently "destroy the world" is meant very literally—he's going to erase everything from existence, in much the same way as the White Whale, allowing it to "start from zero" (coincidentally, the Title Drop hits in the same episode, though for an unrelated reason).

The obvious assumption was that Subaru jumps back in time when he dies... but we only see things from his point of view, so this may not be technically accurate. Instead, whenever he dies, Emilia is eventually going to be killed (by Elsa in the first arc, and later by the Witch Cultists) because he wasn't there to save her, so Puck destroys the world. Then, something—which may or may not be Puck—causes the universe to restart from the beginning. After many eons, it advances to the "save point," Subaru gets his memories from the previous world, and he appears to have jumped back in time. His immunity to the White Whale's Ret Gone ability implies that Ripple Effect-Proof Memory is his only actual unique power, not time travel. This also fits better with the title, which says nothing about time travel, only "starting life in another world." And another, and another...

The purpose for Subaru having this ability is not so clear—Satella's ghost seems to be manipulating him, but her goal isn't protecting Emilia (or isn't just that) because she killed Emilia without hesitation, and Puck seems to be on Satella's side in all this (he boasts about her power while killing the cultists). Satella may be transporting herself and Subaru's memories between worlds, trying to get Emilia on the throne before taking over her body to become an evil dictator, or some such thing.

Return by Death is the Authority of Pride, much like the Unseen Hand is the Authority of Sloth.
This is a theory from one who hasn't read the light novels, so sorry if it was already shot down by them.

Subaru isn't the Archbishop of Pride…
He's actually representing the eighth Sin from Orthodox Christianity, Despair. Return by Death is still his Authority, much like the above WMG, but put it in perspective. Subaru constantly suffers from mental trauma from his loops and on more than one occasion has had a Heroic BSoD due to it. And this can be inverted, due to the same reason. He inflicts despair on all who attempt to fight him. No matter what strategy you have, he will have the perfect counter due to looping time. You'll be reduced to despair from his actions, because no matter what, Failure Is the Only Option.

Subaru loves Emilia because she looks like the Witch
He was Satella's lover in a previous life, or Satella put something like a love spell on him, or something. This is why he instantly fell so madly in love with Emilia.

Subaru was summoned by Satella to keep Emilia alive...
... because while Satella is going to posses Emilia's body, The Time Is Not Yet Right.

Someone has subverted the Witch Cult to get it to stop the resurrection of Satella
Someone is messing with the Gospel books to change the Ordeal from whatever it's supposed to be to "try to kill the female half elf, and if she survives then she is The One". Or maybe the Gospels and their brainwashing power is entirely the work of someone who wants to divert those susceptible to Satella's influence from helping her, but that person can't make them consciously turn against Satella, so the victims are brainwashed into doing the Ordeal.

Subaru only forgets the first two loops because he wasn't perfectly in sync with Return by Death yet.
The reason Subaru doesn't remember the first two loops is because he hadn't fully attuned himself to Return by Death yet. Every time he dies, he gets more in sync with it. As a result, he is able to keep more of his memories as well as having the Witch Miasma around him growing deeper and more intense. In addition, the more often he dies, the more resistance he gains to witch related powers, like Petelguese's Invisible hands and being able to see them after a certain point.

The romantic line in the series will repeat the path of Nisekoi and Koi to Uso
Watching these two series, I'm getting more and more feeling that the persistent transformation of Rem into Butt-Monkey against the background of the monotonous Puppy Love with Emilia is moving along their path and is deliberately created by the author to increase more drama and tension in the romantic line and evoke in fans greater sympathy for Rem, like these series. Similar to the girls who won in these series, Rem gets more development than the first girl and demonstrates the sincerity of her feelings, stating that she is primarily interested in the happiness of the protagonist and she will not interfere with "their happiness". And similarly to the protagonists of these series, Subaru gradually realizes that he loves not only the "first girl", but also Rem, beginning to experience Angst because of the romantic feelings for both girls and the inability to choose from them. Thus, I think that the author deliberately contrasts them to each other and makes the development of the Rem's ship more consistent against the background of Emilia, so that later he could bring the victory of Rem as The Woobie and Ensemble Dark Horse.

If the author ever follows up on the Rem IF timeline, the plot threads resulting will be addressed.
And they'll bite his whole family in the ass. Hard.

Subaru is the Archbishop of Despair. that's why he always so despairing and stuff and that he has the same kind of scent as the other archbishop guy that mabeasts are attracted to

Satella is in love with Subaru and gave him Return By Death because she mistook his dying promise to save Emelia in the first timeline to mean he would save her.
The first timeline shows Subaru falling in love with Emelia. She told him that her name was Satella. Emelia and Satella are identical to one another. Add that all up and you can see everything Subaru's feeling about Emelia in that moment could be accidentally directed towards Satella.
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