Natsuki Subaru (ナツキ・スバル) is the main protagonist of Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu. He was a hikikomori that was transported to Lugnica through unknown means, and given the ability to Return by Death by Satella. He officially became Emilia's knight following the incident at the Sanctuary and is later revealed to have the necessary qualities to become a Sage Candidate.
Subaru is a reasonably tall young boy of athletic built with short black hair and brown eyes. He is described to have an ordinary look and an evil gaze due to his sanpakugan. He usually wears the tracksuit that he was wearing when he was summoned, but other outfits have included the butler's clothes he wore when serving at the Roswaal mansion.
During the events of Arc 5, Subaru's right arm and leg were infected by Capella's Black Dragon Blood, thus wrapping a bandage around his leg to hide the wound.
During his journey through the Sand Dunes in Arc 6, Subaru wore a black cloak with a green jacket and a yellow cowl as protection against the desert winds.
While Subaru tends to not read the situations he encounters, ultimately leading him to make irrational decisions, he is loyal to those he holds dear, willing to help them, even if that means taking the thorny path. He has his resolve confirmed through the many situations and circumstances he faces in the fantasy world, originally having been one to always take the 'easy' route. As a shut-in NEET, he is hopeful of the possibilities that being sucked into a new realm brings, but later realizes the realities of the predicament he is in. Eventually, he resolves himself to be faithful and protective of the ones that he cares most about.
Beneath his eccentric demeanor, however, Subaru is actually a very insecure person suffering from a severe inferiority complex due to growing up in his father's shadow. This also caused him to develop a fundamental misunderstanding of relationships where he believed he would be abandoned if he wasn't the center-of-attention. Even his otaku-tendencies were really just another method he used to stand out. Ironically, though, these desperate attempts to connect to others only caused him to make a fool of himself and push others away. It wasn't until he was transported to Lugnica that Subaru finally met people who accept him for who he is and he began learning how to build genuine relations.
Subaru is first seen at a local Japanese convenience store, buying consumer goods. After leaving the store, he somehow ends up in a fantasy world, after the atmosphere around him distorts itself. Confused by the happenings around him, Subaru later realizes that he has been sucked into another world.
Back in his original world, Subaru was the only son to two odd, but well-meaning parents. From a young childhood age, Subaru idealized his dad in particular, a popular man in his community who was highly talented in whatever he did, a loving father who prioritized his family above everything else, and had a boisterous personality that charmed anyone he met. Kenichi was everything he wanted to be and growing up around him had a huge influence on Subaru's life. Taking pride in being his son, Subaru worked to live up to the expectations that came with that in his mind. For a time, he achieved this, as Subaru found himself smarter, more physically able, and popular than his peers. When he received praise, Subaru would of hear how it was expected of him being Kenichi's son, which made him feel special and entitled to a sense of superiority.
However, as the young boy's small world started to gradually expand upon entering middle school, Subaru would come face to face with limits of his own ability. Suddenly, he found people who were becoming smarter and faster than he was and, in general, being better at the things he used to be. He felt as if he was slowly losing his place and began to harbor a deep sense of shame at letting down his parents and fear of everyone leaving him for failures, doubt and self-loathing began to develop in his heart. But rather than prioritizing getting better at those things to combat his anxieties, Subaru instead placed more importance on doing daring and outrageous things to maintain his fragile dignity and keep himself the center of attention. However, the more reckless Subaru's actions became, the fewer people wanted to be around him. Yet Subaru continued to deceive himself and believe his own lies because as the son of his seemly indomitable father, he couldn't be seen as a failure. Eventually, one day, Subaru noticed he no longer had any friends and in his loneliness, Subaru realized he wasn't anyone special.
From then on, the comparisons between his father and himself turned into a curse that wounded and suffocated him everywhere he went, yet his strong admiration for his dad made it impossible to show that pain to anyone. Eventually, he stopped trying to stand out and when high school came, he found himself in a new environment where no one knew his past. Seizing this opportunity, Subaru tried to build new interpersonal relationships, but he had no idea how to be himself around others and instead only ended up emulating his father, his only frame of reference which instead led to others to treat him as a clown and classmates simply ignored his existence altogether. One day, Subaru skipped a day of school out of lack of enthusiasm, which slowly turned into a constant thing until at one point, he hadn't been to class for three months. When out of public spaces, Subaru felt liberated, but more than that, his own degradation meant people would start distancing him from Kenichi and in a twisted sense of hope, his parents come to acknowledge him as worthless and cast him aside in self-abandonment.
After coming to this world and first meeting Emilia, he felt that he gained a new sense of purpose and salvation now separate from his old life, but his lingering insecurities that Subaru tried to push aside worsened due to the more unforgiving conditions. It was only when he finally hit a wall, lost everything, and was brought down to his lowest, did Subaru shred his ego and began barring his heart. With the support of Rem, he was able to stop running from himself as he did in his old world. However, he would not start to forgive himself until much later.
According to the author, after Subaru went missing (was transported to Lugnica), a police investigation was launched but ended up empty-handed. As a result, his parents now spend their days praying for their son's safety.
Return by Death (死に戻り Shinimodori): Return by Death allows Subaru to return back to an unspecified, unpredictable and uncontrollable "save point" after his death. It happens instantly after his life is taken and there's no lag between the point of death and the point of resurrection. To Subaru, it looks exactly as if someone switched camera angles inside his head and the sudden influx of new information and sensations often makes him feel dizzy and confused. This ability was given to him by Satella as a means to help him save the ones he loves, should he need it. In the beginning, he himself referred to it as a curse but later started to view it as some sort of a blessing, though he's still having a hard time fully accepting it and its side effects.
- Penalties: Subaru is unable to reveal his ability to others. There are three primary penalties for attempting to do so:
- Subaru will be forcibly and painfully silenced by the Witch's hand, and, in some cases, die.
- Anyone who is told about Return By Death might potentially die.
- It will increase the density of Witch Factor at least for a short time, which will draw any Demon Beasts in the immediate area to him like moths to a flame.
Authority (権能 Ken'nō): Subaru is currently able to use two Authorities: Sloth and Greed. According to Echidna, Return by Death also seems to be an Authority gifted to him by Satella, but no actual conclusions have been drawn so far.
- Authority of Sloth (怠惰の権能 Taida no Ken'nō): After Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti's death, Subaru became the current holder of the Witch Factor of Sloth, enabling him to develop an Authority of Sloth.
- Invisible Providence (インビジブル • プロヴィデンス Inbijiburu Purovidencu): After Echidna synchronised his body and the Witch factor of Sloth, Subaru manifested an Authority of Sloth, allowing him to cause physical interference by creating an invisible force field in the shape of a hand that can phase through objects if he focuses his thoughts. This Authority heavily aches to Petelgeuse's Unseen Hands (見えざる手 Miezaru Te) though he is only able to control one hand and its range and damage are minimal and it also sprouts out of his chest as opposed to his back. Despite its eerie similarity to the aforementioned Sin Archbishop's very own cherished Authority, Subaru's Invisible Providence is vastly inferior compared to other Authorities of Sloth we've seen so far. In addition to it's inferior capabilities, using Invisible Providence also puts a great strain on Subaru, and can make blood pour from his eyes when overused.
- Authority of Greed (強欲の権能 Gōyoku no Ken'nō): After the death of Regulus Corneas, Subaru became the current holder of the Witch Factor of Greed, enabling him to develop an Authority of Greed.
- Cor Leonis: A somewhat reverse form of Regulus' Lion's Heart which Subaru gained in Arc 6. Similarly to Regulus' Authority of Greed, Cor Leonis has two phases; First Shift and Second Shift. First Shift allows him to take on the physical and mental burdens and fatigue of others, effectively eliminating problems such as injuries or lack of dexterity for his comrades in combat. He is also able to shoulder fatal injuries and save his allies' lives, however, at a cost of receiving the same wounds himself as his body naturally reproduces the sources of pain he suddenly receives; a deadly side effect which can easily kill him, if ignored. When using this phase, Subaru is able to locate his allies' position and status as he sees pale white dots, wherever they're located. It only works on people he recognizes as his friends and allies. Second Shift or Division of Labour, however, works very similarly to Regulus' very own Lion's Heart, in a sense where Subaru can divide the burden between the allies of his choosing. He can freely regulate how big of a burden he'll employ on each person, kind of like opening or closing a tap. Naturally, the same side effects will apply to each and every bearer of the shared burden, meaning their lives rest in Subaru's hands for the entire duration. The only condition for using the Second Shift is that the person Subaru wants to share his burden with, must be willing to accept his burden and open their heart to Subaru.
Spirit Affinity: Subaru has a rare innate gift to form contracts with spirits.
Spirit User (精霊使い Seirei Tsukai): Subaru is contracted with the Artificial Spirit Beatrice, though according to her, he isn't a true Spirit User. She also has a terrible mana consumption rate and formerly got around this by draining mana from people in the mansion using the library as a medium. Like Julius, Subaru is also considered to be a Spirit Knight (精霊騎士 Seirei Kishi). As she is an Artificial Spirit, she also has several conditions Subaru is forced to follow:
- Subaru cannot form a contract with other Spirits
- Beatrice cannot restore mana on her own
- Beatrice cannot use the mana in the atmosphere
- Beatrice can only drain mana from Subaru
Spirit Arts (精霊術): Subaru is capable of using Spirit Arts with Beatrice, and is thus able to use Yin Magic with her aid. He has also created a number of original spells with her, unique to the pair. He is able to use
- Minya (ミーニャ): Subaru can create stakes made of crystallized mana covered with light purple flames as an offensive attack via Spirit Arts. They are strong enough to penetrate defences. Any stakes in the air explode and release smaller stakes that fly in all directions which then rips targets apart
- El Minya (エル・ミーニャ): The spell works very similar to normal Minya. The only difference is the number of stakes, which increase to around 40.
- E・M・M (エミリアたんマジ女神 Emiria-tan Maji Megami, "Emilia-tan is Seriously a Goddess"): E・M・M is an "absolute defense magic". Beatrice uses Yin Magic to interfere with the time and space around Subaru, and while he can't move during activation, he experiences no interference from outside the barrier. It is similar to Regulus Corneas' Authority of Greed, but doesn't have the same risk, and can be used until mana runs out.
- E・M・T (エミリアたんマジ天使 Emiria-tan Maji Tenshi, "Emilia-tan is Seriously an Angel"): E・M・T is an "absolute negation magic." A spherical field several ten meters long with Subaru and Beatrice at the center is created, which negates effects from mana within it. Julius remarks that it is useful against mages and those who use mana to assist their techniques. However, the magic only negates the use of mana, and so it has no effect against opponents who fight without it.
- Rental Goa: Not being one of his spells made after forming a formal contract with Beatrice, this was instead a makeshift fire spell created on the spot during Subaru's provisional contract with Ia. It was used against Petelgeuse to set him on fire after being doused in oil.
- Shamak (シャマク Shamaku): Shamak enables Subaru to trap his opponent in an area of darkness that confuses their senses. As it was the only magic he could use before his gate collapsed, he used it a number of times, and even came to grow attached to it, calling it "Shamak-san." He is still able to use the spell through Beatrice.
- Murak (ムラク): Subaru reduces the effects of gravity. Just by jumping lightly, a person can jump as if they had springs. If Subaru wishes to, it can also be used to fly, although Subaru will get blown around by the wind like a leaf, but they won't flip around in midair.
Melee Fighter: Subaru grew up an active athlete in his early years in his school, and although he drifted from partaking in any school activities prior to his transportation to the new world, he nevertheless still maintain a strict fitness regimen and as a result, he has raw athletic prowess and a high degree of physical strength, reflex and stamina. While he is not a skilled warrior like Reinhard, Julius and his other companions, he is a capable and competent fighter that he can defeat three thugs that assailed him. He also has sharp reflexes and demonstrated it when he was able to dodge Felt's confused swings when she confused him for an intruder and Rem's flail attack in the second attempt for his life.
After his humiliating defeat at the hands of Julius, Subaru received some rough sword training from Wilhelm but he is still unable to hold his own against anyone who's relatively skilled with a sword as he's completely talentless with a blade.
Subaru personally mentions that he is able to bench 80kg (176 lbs). Before being teleported into the new world, he maintained a fitness regimen of one hundred push-ups, sit-ups, and squats a day, allowing him extremely above average physical ability, especially for a hikikomori whose diet consisted of mostly convenience store items.
Deductive Ability: Arguably Subaru's greatest asset, aside from Return by Death, is his own mind. Though he wasn't blessed with particularly noteworthy intelligence, he has always had great deductive ability, something he prides himself on. This works well with his time-looping, as the information it provides would be useless if he wasn't able to think and act on it to find the optimal course of action. Both Garfiel and Reinhard have complemented Subaru's strategic ability.
Parkour and Survival Skills: During the following year after the incident at the Sanctuary, Subaru learned the basics of parkour from Clind and began training himself. The butler also provided Subaru with essential survival skills, which came in handy to Subaru in the start of Arc 7.
Dragon's Blood: After his fight with the Sin Archbishop of Lust and getting infected by her so-called Dragon's Blood, Subaru's entire right arm has been covered in thick and pulsating black veins. During the 5th Arc, it was this liquid that miraculously healed his shredded right leg, after his initial fight with the Sin Archbishop of Greed. Roughly three months later, during the events of Arc 7, Subaru lost his right wrist against a giant Demon Beast snake. Immediately after falling unconscious, Dragon's Blood miraculously healed it, forming an entirely new and fully functioning arm, covered in thick black and pulsating "skin". It was noted by Subaru that the new skin was rubbery to the touch and not as sensitive to the touch as the other parts of his body. The pseudo-skin was also easily peeled off, revealing fresh skin underneath.
- Guiltywhip: Subaru uses a whip as his main weapon. Like his parkour, Subaru learned the basics of using it from Clind. In the Light Novel, it was revealed that his preferred whip was made of the Demon Beast they fought in Arc 4, the Jet Black King of the Forest Guiltylowe. He named said whip the Guiltywhip.
- Crested Vollachian Knife: Upon encountering the Masked Man in his second loop of Arc 7, Subaru was given a small but very well-made knife. The blade itself was surprisingly sharp and noted by Subaru to be very hard to chip or damage. It's crested with the national symbol of the Empire of Vollachia; a head of a wolf with its head pierced by a sword. According to Todd, it's a gift bestowed directly from the Emperor, making it an extremely prised piece of weaponry.
Lack of Physical Power: Subaru's most obvious weakness is his lack of overall physical power. While definitely more fit than the average person, due to him working out daily, and capable of fighting off a robber, he is without a doubt one of the weakest characters in the series. Though his weakness can partly be attributed to never having been properly trained, as stated by Wilhelm, he doesn't have any talent for battle in the first place and will thus likely never be able to reach the level of some other characters.
Defective Gate: After the events of the Sanctuary, Subaru completely ruptures his "gate" due to over-stressing it by casting magic while it was still recovering from the demon beast incident in Arc 2. Now he can no longer use magic on his own at all because he cannot expel the mana, which puts him at risk of dying from "Mana Poisoning," a state when too much mana builds up in one's Od due to poor mana circulation. Fortunately, his now permanent contract with Beatrice allows her to absorb the excess mana via physical contact which they do daily.
Mentally Compromised: Especially early in the story, there were times when Subaru couldn't handle the pressure of repeatedly dying and time-looping, causing him to not think straight. This is an especially big problem for someone who's greatest strength is arguably his mind, and loops where Subaru was compromised would always end in disaster.
- According to the author, Subaru's birthday is April 1, and his birth flower is a Gypsophila elegans, or annual baby's breath.
- In astronomy, "Subaru" is the Japanese name for the constellation Pleiades. Of which, seven stars in the constellation are named after the Seven Sisters, the daughters of Atlas and Pleione in classical mythology.
- Due to his name being related to a constellation, Subaru used to have a love and obsession over them, thus having vast knowledge of Earth's stars. It was through this knowledge that he was able to solve of the first trial of Pleiades Watchtower, and deduce the stars the Sin Archbishops were named after corresponded with their abilities (Petelgeuse, "Hand of Orion", Sirius, "Shining", Regulus, "Little King", and Capella, "Little Goat", respectively).
- He's surprisingly talented at sewing. In the later arcs, his skill improves to the point where he can even make stuffed toys.
- He did kendo in middle school for a bit, so he has some basics in swordsmanship.
- Before My Fair Bad Lady, he had cross-dressed once in his old life under the name "Schwarz Natsumi".
- "Schwarz" means "black" in German.
- Like his parents, he has a personal bottle of mayo back home.
- The reason why he tapped Crusch's hand instead of shaking it in episode 27 is because he was shy about shaking a girl's hand.
- From the very moment Subaru was summoned to another world, he subconsciously knew he would never return to Japan.
- Subaru's phone ringtone is "Yoake no Michi" from Dog of Flanders.
- In a Q&A, the author stated the chance of Subaru not dying in an arc is 0.
- According to the author, Subaru still has two transformations left as the protagonist.
- Even before meeting Emilia, he preferred girls with silver hair.
- He has a personal ranking of his friends and he would use Return By Death if one of them died.
- According to the author, the reason he made Arc 3 was for Subaru to say two lines. The first one being "I hate myself" and the second one being "I love you" (to Emilia).
- In Arc 6, Subaru is revealed to regularly partake self-harm, scratching his arms until he bleeds, biting his lips, et cetera.
- Shamac was in fact more useful to Subaru than Invisible Providence is, according to the author himself.