Image source: TVアニメ”Re:CREATORS”公式 on Twitter
What does it takes to be a hero in Re:Creators? One of the best places to look is though the eyes of the character Alicetelia February.
Re:Creators is set in a reality where anime and game characters suddenly appearing in the real world. The villain behind this is the likewise fictional Military Uniformed Princess—a character who wants to sow chaos and destruction in the real world. To do this, she enlists the help of other fictional characters with the promise they can change their worlds by influencing their creators. One character, Alicetelia “Alice” February, has taken this to heart and will go to great lengths to change the fate of her world.
The idea the fictional characters in Re:Creators can change the fate of their own worlds by influencing the authors or creative team is fascinating—despite the actual process being more complicated than it seems. For one, it places the various heroic characters at odds with each other despite having the same basic goal: to improve their respective worlds.
It also calls into question what exactly a “hero” is in the series. Do they try to change the fate of their world with no concern to the well being of the people in ours? Or do they try to minimize their impact on the real world while affecting change in their world? It’s an interesting dilemma especially when you look at Alice.
Alice acts upon her desire more so than the other characters in the Military Uniformed Princesses party. And so the drive to change her world makes Alice a woman with an incredibly pragmatic mindset. She believes “Defeating those who do evil is righteous” and by proxy, “The ends justify the means.”
We see an instance of the latter in the third episode when Alice uses force to try and achieve her stated mission of changing her world by abducting and terrifying her creator. This is by no means a heroic act by our standards, but when we consider it from Alice’s perspective, this makes all the sense in the world—why not force god to save your world from utter desolation if you can?
Yet, things become tricky because our understanding of real world heroism and fictional heroism comes into conflict all the time with Alice. Yes, Alice’s goals are noble—after all you’d be some kind of monster if you didn’t want defeat evil—and she is right to try and change her war torn world.
Now that she’s found a way to do so by influencing her creator, why not take advantage of it? This idea rings even more true in the sixth episode when she said she is shouldering the burden of her world. And isn’t that what heroes in grand tales do, work towards making their world a better place? So, yes, Alice is trying to be the hero her world needs. But, when she is placed in a real world context, the lines between what is and isn’t heroic become blurred very quickly.
Image source: TVアニメ”Re:CREATORS”公式 on Twitter
This blurring of lines is especially true when we take into account Alice is so driven and desperate to help her world that she willingly believes everything the Military Uniformed Princess tells her—despite there being every indication she is being lied to. Originally, Alice is led to believe all she needs to do to change her world is to make her author re-write part of her story. When this doesn’t work, she confronts the Military Uniformed Princess only to be told she will have to cause a bit more chaos in the real world for the revisions to work. While obviously skeptical, the dangling hope her world can be saved in this way is enough to keep Alice siding with Military Uniformed Princess.
As we see in later episodes, it’s clear Alice is skeptical of what she has been told, but is in far too deep. She has long since passed the moral event horizon when it comes to her actions and she full well recognizes it. Her actions can only be justified if she is able to save her world in the end. Therefore, no matter how much the protagonists try to convince Alice otherwise, she can’t accept it. If Alice were to accept the truth, it would mean accepting all the evil she has done in our world, which stands counter her core belief of destroying evil.
This duality in Alice’s dilemma makes her one of the most interesting antagonists in Re:Creators. Thus, by including her in the series, it makes the audience consider what truly is heroic and villainous. At the same time, seeing how her ideals and morals play against those of her ally Mamika—and those of protagonists Sōta, Selesia, and Meteora—makes the series more than just a mystery surround the Military Uniformed Princess and fictional characters entering the real world.
Alicetelia February is definitely an interesting character and she steals any scene she’s in. This is because we understand she is a hero, but her methods aren’t always the most heroic. But, even so, the mere fact she wants the best for her world is admirable. So while she uses what we might consider villainous tactics in the real world, she is only playing by the logic of her world. So, while Alice is an antagonist in Re:Creators her actions show she really is a heroic character trying to better her own world.
Re:Creators is streaming with English subtitles on Amazon Anime Strike.