Despite her warm demeanor, one should not forget the fact that Echidna is indeed a Witch. The Witch of Greed. And this notion is thrown in our face when Ryuzu Bilma reveals about the immortality experiments that Echidna was carrying out in the Sanctuary before her death.
When Subaru came face to face with the Witch of Envy, he was engulfed in her dark shadow. In this dark abyss he was flooded with fragmented memories of a lot of people that the Witch of Envy had similarly swallowed. Some of these memories seemed to belong to Echidna. With the help of these memories, Subaru discovers her experimentation facility which lay hidden in the wilderness of the Sanctuary. Here he finds the original Ryuzu Meyer enshrined in a magic crystal.
We had explained previously what Echidna’s reason behind creating the sanctuary was and how its barrier was formed sacrificing Ryuzu Meyer. After the barrier was formed, Echidna began using the magic crystal to carry out experiments on immortality. Why would she do that though? Well, because she is the Witch of Greed. Echidna had a thirst for knowledge. An immortal life would guarantee that her quest for knowing everything won’t be hindered by the limitations of her mortal body. Also this would also help her preserve the vast knowledge that she possessed.
Subaru had come to over idealize Echidna for having lent a helping hand to him. But, after knowing about Echidna’s immortality experiments, he wonders if his Return by Death, which is the closest one can get to immortality currently in the world of Re:Zero, was what fascinated her.
Echidna’s Immortality Experiment:
Sometime after the Sanctuary’s barrier was constructed, Echidna began experimenting on Immortality using the copies of Ryuzu Meyer. They were created with the help of the magic crystal powering the barrier of the sanctuary. The replicas of Ryuzu Meyer were made as dolls with no personality. They were wired to obey every command that Echidna gave them. These replicas were essentially empty vessels in which the Witch of Greed would pour her personality, memories and her knowledge. In other words, the Ryuzu Meyer replica was supposed to act as a vessel for Echidna’s soul.
Her near death experience while battling Hector, the Warlock of Melancholy, made Echidna realise that her mortal body had limitations. And if she dies, all the knowledge that she had assimilated would also be lost. This could be one of the primary reasons why she chose to begin the immortality experiments.
When one of the vessels would grow old or be in danger of being destroyed, she could transfer her memories and her personality into a new vessel. Echidna intended to conquer death by passing down her soul, implanting it into new vessels. And if she could somehow save these memories and her personality somewhere (think Echidna’s mind palace), she could be revived even if her vessel gets destroyed due to some reason, by simply transferring the saved data to a new vessel.
Or atleast, this is what Echidna theorized. Achieve immortality by creating mighty replicas and transferring your soul into them. However, her experiment was not entirely successful.
Why did Echidna’s Immortality experiment fail?
Echidna did not succeed in passing down her soul and in turn her wish for immortality incompletely granted. While Echidna succeeded in creating vessels out of Ryuzu Meyer, the Witch of Greed’s soul was simply too much for the vessel to handle. The vessel was not entirely compatible to hold the vast and extensive knowledge, memories and personality of Echidna and thus what was born instead was an entirely new personality.
If you read our blog about the Sanctuary, you’d realise that this happened because Echidna made haste in using Ryuzu Meyer to complete the barrier. At that point of time, completing the barrier was a more important task and she overlooked the details that in future would affect her immortality experiments.
However, Echidna did not give up and she tried to modify the net volume of the soul. Or in other words “compress her soul” so that it would fit in the vessel. But by the time she could come up with a solution, she was swallowed by the Witch of Envy. Thus her quest for immortality remained incomplete.
Do you think Echidna could have found a way to complete her immortality experiment? Is she looking to transfer her soul into Subaru? Let us know your opinions in the comments section!