Re:Zero: Camera Shots and Angles in the Foot Fetish Scene

I’m the foot fuckin’ master. — Jules, Pulp Fiction.

Re:Zero Priscilla foot fetish

The third arc of Re:Zero -Starting Life in another World- begins with a tedious grind of forced misunderstandings and annoying displays of male chauvinism from the protagonist, but it also contains my favorite scene in the anime thus far: the foot fetish scene.

After an establishing shot and several tilts, pans, and close-ups setting the environment and the characters, we get to the crux of the scene: Priscilla demands that Subaru lick her foot in exchange for her favor.

Of note is the following sequence:

Re:Zero medium shot Subaru foot above
Cut 1. A medium shot of Subaru sitting on the ground, Priscilla’s foot looming above.

Re:Zero low angle dutch shot Priscilla
Cut 2. A low-angle shot with a dutch tilt of Priscilla that tilt-up from her foot along her figure.

Re:Zero two shot Subaru Priscilla foot
Cut 3. A two-shot variant of Subaru and Priscilla’s foot

Re:Zero low angle dutch tilt over the shoulder Priscilla
Cut 4. Another low-angle shot with a dutch tilt of Priscilla, this time, over the shoulder of Subaru.

In just four quick shots, Re:Zero effectively illustrates the dynamic between the two characters. The sequence prominently employs the low-angle shot on Priscilla. From this camera angle, she fills the screen and her large presence eventually dominates the sequence.

Tarantino Pulp Fiction Inglourious Basterds trunk shot
Jules and Vincent in Pulp Fiction (top). Aldo Raine and Smithson Utivich in Inglourious Basterds (bottom).

These shots are reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino’s trademark trunk shot and its variations.1 In Tarantino’s films, the subjects of low-angle shots (typically in a wide frame) hold power and authority. For example, Jules of Pulp Fiction retrieves his Mr. 9mm—the shepherd to his righteous authority, or the power to his tyranny. In Inglourious Basterds, Aldo Raine holds the knife that enforces justice over Hans Landa. Likewise, in a characteristic low-angle shot in Re:Zero, Priscilla raises her feet, the tool she uses to impose her power and perceived moral superiority over the selfish and greedy Subaru.

Shots of Priscilla are interspersed among medium shots Subaru, a sequence which juxtaposes Priscilla’s domineering character with Subaru’s mediocrity. Indeed, in both medium shots of Subaru, he is either below Priscilla’s foot, or at best, at level with her foot. In the over-the-shoulder shot, he has to look up to see Priscilla’s sneering veneer. The use of dutch tilts on Priscilla from the point of view of Subaru also emphasizes Subaru’s disoriented, wretched state.

Re:Zero Priscilla looks down on Subaru
“Lick it. Crawl on the floor, savoring the shame and humiliation. And like a wretched beast, like a baby suckling on its mother’s teat, lick my foot.”

Re:Zero Subaru licks Priscillas foot

Furthermore, as much as this is a display of Priscilla’s strength and morality, it is also a display of her sexual power. Not only can feet be inherently sensual, Priscilla’s language adds to the eroticism: shame, humiliation, lick, suckling, mother’s teat, etc. In an ironic reversal of Subaru’s male chauvinistic tendencies—for several episodes, Subaru has felt that he is owed something from Emilia for his self-imposed knightly role—we have in Priscilla a more outspoken parallel: Priscilla strips Subaru of sexual agency and orders him to perform a sex act for her help.

Spliced into this scene is a momentary flash cut of Emilia, which reminds us of Emilia’s dignified rebellion against Subaru’s aggressive insistence in an earlier episode. The contrast emphasizes the lowliness of Subaru at this point, such that we both want and expect Subaru to fail. The resolution of this scene is thus highly satisfying. When Priscilla is disgusted and throws Subaru aside for his prostituting his own dignity, the uncomfortable sexual tension and our disgust with Subaru is released in a violent, cathartic climax.

1. Hints of Tarantino go beyond the shots. The director’s foot fetish has been well explored. See, for example, Pablo Fernández Eyre’s “Quentin Tarantino’s Foot Fetish.” (Pablo. “Quentin Tarantino’s Foot Fetish.” WHO IS PABLO. Pablo Fernández Eyre, 2015.)

6 thoughts on “Re:Zero: Camera Shots and Angles in the Foot Fetish Scene

  1. Ah great article. I remember this scene particularly as initially I was confused by priscilla’s reaction to subaru’s prostration. I suppose this is one of the earlier signposts of Re:Zero’s overall message; that for all of Subaru’s supposed altruistic, love-driven actions, his true character is one that forces himself on people and then expects a certain outcome. And you’re right, it was highly cathartic seeing Priscilla’s rejection of him here. The way you broke this down helped me clarify my thoughts on this scene, great post!

    PS. It’s matured but your writing is still reminiscent of your old style Yi. I don’t know why but I had an inkling to check back on all the anime blogs I used to read and I was pleasantly surprised to find you writing again. Although I didn’t comment, I’ve quietly looked through the posts here and very much enjoyed them. This is the first comment I’ve made on an anime blog in years. Glad to have you back and look forward to reading, and hopefully commenting more! 🙂

    1. @Naussicaa:
      Thank you so much for the kind words of encouragement. These days, my writing doesn’t get many views or comments, and I’m fine with that (less pressure to keep to a strict schedule and chase after stats). But when I do get some feedback, they are very much treasured. So thanks!

      I remember your comments from my old blog, and I do hope you occasionally check back again. I’ll look forward to that. ^ ^

      1. @Yi:
        No problem, it’s a pleasure to read so I should thank you! I’ll definitely check in regularly, you’ve given me a few new things to check out anime/manga wise so perhaps you’ll get my belated thoughts on your articles on those once I’ve checked them out 🙂

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