When Subaru chanced upon the Witch of Greed, Echidna, in the Graveyard at the Sanctuary, she was already dead. Well, she does tell Subaru that she was dead.
The meagre history that existed about the witches of sin in the world of Re:Zero stated that Satella was responsible for killing them all. So, fans end up believing that Echidna was a victim of the Great Calamity that happened 400 years ago.
Meaning, Satella killed her!
However, that is not the case. Satella was not responsible for Echidna’s death. Hell, the question we need to be asking right now is this “Is Echidna even dead?”
Considering how Echidna was fixated on immortality, this question gains more prominence, especially at the end of Arc 4 (season 2 in anime).
Is Echidna dead?
This is a tricky question to answer. We could say that Echidna did die, physically at least. Her body is peacefully lying in the tomb. But her soul somehow managed to exist for 400 years in the dream palace.
When Subaru meets her in the sanctuary, her physical body is long gone. However, her soul seems to be perfectly fine.
It has retained the memories, knowledge and personality of the Witch of Greed. This soul even seems to be aware of what is happening in the present to a certain extent.
But why does her soul exist the dream palace?
To know the answer, look no further than the conversation between Subaru and Echidna in the first tea party that took place in the Web Novels.
In this conversation, Echidna admits that she lost her physical body and was a ghost. The reason she existed as a ghost was to act as a counterforce to the Witch of Envy.
The witch of envy might be sealed in some faraway land, but the seal itself was not unbreakable. And every change that happens in the nature might be chipping away at the sealing stone making it weaker.
The dragon and the heroes who had banded together to take her down previously might not survive for long. So even in their absence, there needed to be someone, who could oppose her.
Echidna’s soul was left behind for this very reason.
A ghost, I can’t really deny that. After all, I am a spiritual body that has lost its physical body. But now, as to why I’m here like this…… well. It is as a counterforce. That would be the most accurate answer, I supposeEchidna to Subaru in Re:Zero webnovels. Translation done by TranslationChicken.
But then, this part was removed from both the light novels and the anime. So Tappei Nagatsuki, the author of Re;Zero, either thought this was too much info too early into the series, or he decided to change the storyline a bit.
We decided to go with the former. It was probably too much info too soon. This might probably revealed later in the series.
Now that we know Echidna’s soul is doing all well and good, let’s try to look at this information in the light of her immortality experiments.
These experiments were carried out to validate if Echidna can attain immortality by passing down her soul along with her memories and knowledge. And she comes very close to achieving results.
In fact, after Echidna’s death, Roswaal perfects this method of soul transcription.
So, it goes without saying that if Echidna’s soul manages to find a suitable vessel, then she could technically resurrect. And something similar happens in light novel vol 15.
Warning: The following section contains a particular scene from the light novel which is not shown in the anime yet. Read ahead at your own discretion. You can skip and read ahead to the next section to avoid spoilers!
Content from the Light Novel:
If you are an anime-only fan, you might have noticed that Ryuzu Shima speaks, or rather thinks, in a different voice during her conversation with Emilia and the other Ryuzu copies in episode 23.
This was a very subtle foreshadowing by White Fox about what was set to follow. In the Light novels, Echidna has actually revived in Ryuzu Meyer by transferring her soul into the copy.
Well, these Ryuzu copies were actually created to be puppets for Echidna’s exeriments. So in a way, they finally served their purpose.
Now, if we were to answer to question about Echidna being dead in short, it would be this; as things stand currently in the world of Re:Zero, Echidna is not dead. She has resurrected in the body of Ryuzu Meyer and is calling herself Omega.
The revival itself was a complex concept and we will look into it in a separate blog.
Who killed Echidna? How did she die?
Well, if her physical body was lost, it certainly means that someone did kill Echidna close to 400 years ago. Who could that be?
Whatever happened in the Sanctuary after the arrival of Hector remains a mystery.
It seems that Echidna did survive that encounter. We say this because she proceeded to create copies of Ryuzu Meyer and conduct immortality experiments after Ryuzu became the core of the sanctuary.
Sometime after this, Echidna died.
She did not die of old age. Her body in the tomb is in the late twenties. Well, she could have died of some mysterious illness of sorts.
Other than that the major candidate for being her murderer is the Witch of Envy. However, like we mentioned before, Satella was probably not responsible for killing her.
Let’s go back to the web novels to understand this part!
The dragon Volcanica was responsible for binding Echidna’s soul to the dream palace. Echidna was sealed in her grave to act as a counterforce to the Witch of Envy.
This could mean that the Witch of Envy was already sealed by the time Echidna died. So, it goes without saying that Echidna was not killed by her.
By that Dragon’s power, I am sealed here in this Grave. And the reason Volcanica did this was, as you correctly inferred, to serve as a counterforce against the “Witch of Envy”Echidna to Subaru in Re:Zero Web Novel, Arc 4.
But, we can only take this information with a pinch of salt because it was later removed from the Light Novels.
Also, the events happening in the Sanctuary (Hector’s arrival and all that) happen before Satella swallows the whole world. So, it is still possible that Satella did swallow her.
But, there isn’t any conclusive proof that says so.
But if it was not Satella then who? The Divine Dragon Volcanica is the other candidate.
If the dragon was responsible for sealing the soul, it could also be responsible for killing Echidna. However, there is also the discrepancy about Echidna looking different in the tea party and in the grave .
So, it becomes a bit complicated when you consider all these factors.
In short, Echidna was not killed by Satella. The cause of her death 400 years ago remains unknown.
But now that we know she was resurrected, we might be getting more information regarding her past in the future.
What are your thoughts on Echidna’s death? How do you think she died? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!!