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Villain Overview

In the same way you find hope by having faith in another's strength, I believe in the end everyone always remains helpless! They're so fragile that they're only capable of clinging onto one precious thing. Fulfilling their own desires or grasping for anything beyond that is out of their reach entirely, of that I am certain! For four centuries, there's one woman I've ever truly loved. That's far longer than we spent together. And even after being without her for all that time, her image is forever burned into me. It never stops burning, scorching my very soul. My heart's still in pieces, as it has been since the day we parted. No force outside her has changed that!
~ Roswaal explaining his reason for living.

Roswaal L. Mathers (originally born as Roswaal A. Mathers) is a major anti-villain in the 2014 Japanese dark fantasy light novel series Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World, as well as its 2016 anime television series & 2014 manga adaptations of the same name. He served as the unseen overarching antagonist of the first story arc and the main antagonist of the fourth story arc. He also appears as a major anti-villain in Isekai Quartet, a 2019 comedy crossover anime television series that features characters from several properties of the "Isekai" genre.

Born to the noble Mathers family, Roswaal A. Mathers was a mild-mannered and eloquent young man. He possessed a vast amount of magical potential and was frequently plagued by inexplicable pains in his youth that were caused by the excess magical energy stored in his body. When Roswaal was an adolescent, the Witch of Greed Echidna took Mathers as an apprentice and taught him how to hone his abilities and control his power. By the time he was sixteen, Roswaal was the greatest mage of his era. The kindness the Witch showed him in contrast to the treatment he faced from the society that couldn't grasp his potential made Roswaal fall for his teacher. However, the peaceful times didn't last, as Echidna found an aggressive pursuer in the form of the Devil of Melancholy Hector. Although he was powerful, even Mathers stood no chance against Hector. The young wizard suffered a brutal defeat at the hands of the Devil that deeply affected his psyche. Eventually, Echidna's body was destroyed by the Holy Dragon Volcanica and her soul was trapped within a tomb constructed for her. Mathers resolved that he would resurrect the woman he loved and defeat Volcanica, regardless of what it costed.

To aid him in his goals, Roswaal used a copy of Echidna's Tome of Wisdom that accurately predicted the future, allowing him to make decisions that would lead to his ideal future. However, as the tasks Roswaal sought to accomplish were so large, there was no way he could make them happen in a single lifetime. As such, he used a form of magic to permanently possess his own child. Each time he grew old, he would possess his direct descendant, allowing him to live many lifetimes. Roughly three and a half centuries later, Roswaal's soul possessed his tenth body, a female one named Roswaal J. Mathers. During this time, Roswaal fought in the Demi-Human War and personally hunted Sphinx, a failed experiment created by Echidna that had something in her possession that Mathers wanted. During this era, Mathers became close with the soldiers fighting in the war, particularly Wilhelm van Astrea.

Forty years after the war, Roswaal's had a male body named Roswaal L. Mathers. Mathers adopted a pair of orphaned twin demon girls named Ram and Rem, as he recognized that the former had the latent potential in her to one day kill Volcanica. He also took to supporting a claim to the throne made by the half-elven girl named Emilia. Although his reason for doing so remains unclear, Emilia would be given access to Volcanica's blood if she took the throne.

Roswaal is voiced by Takehito Koyasu in the Japanese version of the anime adaptation and by Ray Chase in the English version. Koyasu's other villainous roles include Dio Brando in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Zeke Yeager in Attack on Titan, Fairy King Oberon in Sword Art Online, Luke Valentine in Hellsing, Gorilla Grodd in Batman Ninja, Joker in Suicide Squad and Hearts in Dragon Ball Heroes. Chase has also voiced Sukuna in Jujutsu Kaisen, Dr. Genus in One Punch Man, Gendo Ikari in Neon Genesis Evangelion, Tengen Uzui in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Bruno Bucciarati and Rubber Soul in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Zash Caine in Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry, Genichiro Ashina in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Fernand in Fire Emblem, Rustal Elion in Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Atsumu Matsuyuki in Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, Susano'o in BlazBlue, Bishop Mozgus in Berserk, Artorius Collbrande in Tales of Berseria, Rhys in Borderlands 3, Marlon in The Walking Dead: The Final Season, Cinder in Killer Instinct, Gebel in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, and Winter Soldier in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order.

Appearance

Original body

Roswaal's original/true body, known as Roswaal A. Mathers, was male. His long straight indigo hair flowed freely down his back and his eyes were blue. At the age of sixteen, Mathers had a wicked charm about him that was only possible for a blooming young man of his age. He was also rather tall, towering over Ryuzu Meyer by a full head despite still having room to grow. Despite his youth, Roswaal possessed a natural elegance befitting of his lineage as a noble. Many of his physical traits, such as his hairstyle and color, would be adopted by the descendants he possessed.

Tenth body

Roswaal's tenth body, known as Roswaal J. Mathers, was female. Like previous generations, she had heterochronic eyes, with the left eye being yellow and the right eye being blue. Her long straight indigo hair was partially tucked behind her left ear and reached down past her shoulders. Roswaal's skin was as fair as porcelain and her bust was considerably large. Despite the fact that this iteration of Roswaal wore little makeup, her astounding beauty was still enough to captivate men.

Although her clothing was fairly different from previous and succeeding generations, she still stayed true to the general taste maintained by every Roswaal. Her ensemble, that was a uniform of sorts in deference to the Demi-Human War that was ongoing at the time, consisted of a pair of long black boots, white tights, a white long-sleeved shirt, and a purple jacket with golden lining and rolled cuffs that was worn over the shirt, essentially obscuring the white garment from view. Her cleavage was not covered by the shirt nor the jacket, essentially meaning that it was exposed. Like her grandson, Roswaal wore a long black cloak that nearly trailed along the ground and had a red interior.

Twelfth body

Roswaal's twelfth body, known as Roswaal L. Mathers, was male. He was a rather tall man standing at six feet and one inch, making him taller than Subaru Natsuki by at least half a head. His well-toned body was slender and appeared delicate despite its impressive musculature. His rather handsome face was ghastly pale and gave him the impression of a classic pretty boy. However, his physical beauty was somewhat wasted by his peculiar makeup and getup. Like previous generations, he had the same heterochronic eyes in the same arrangement. His straight indigo hair was long enough to cover his whole back and was tucked behind his ear on the left side of his head. His face was usually decorated with a light-lavender powder, purple lipstick, and purple eye shadow that was adorned on his right eyelid. His yellow left eye was also bedecked with eye shadow that was more elaborate than the right's eye shadow and covered the whole area around the eye rather than just the eyelid.

History

Early Life

Roswaal A. Mathers was born into the Mathers family, a noble house active within the Dragonfriend Kingdom of Lugunica. The wealthy family owned, governed, and occupied large portions of populated land in the north-east region of the nation. The era in which Roswaal was born into had a distinct ignorance regarding magic, which was unfortunate for Mathers who possessed incredible latent magical talent. In his youth, Roswaal became known for his magical potency, although he struggled to comprehend the power within him.

At a certain point he began suffering inexplicable burning sensations that would last for hours or even days and could not be explained by any doctor. As he tended to thrash and moan during these random moments of pain, no one ever dared comfort the boy. In fact, his family considered him a burden because of his unexplainable condition. As time went on, Mathers became more accustomed to the pain to the point that he could behave normally whilst under the burning sensation.

Meeting the Witch

One day, when Roswaal felt that the pain was on its way, Mathers rushed to his room to have some privacy. However, upon entry he discovered a beautiful white-haired woman sitting on his bed in black clothes. The woman stood up and approached Roswaal as she praised him for his capability to resist his pain. Just then, a jab of pain struck Roswaal, causing him to vomit onto himself and the woman. Feeling shame at what he had done, Roswaal tried to apologize to the woman. However she approached him before he could utter his words and kissed him on the lips.

After holding the kiss for a few seconds, the woman backed away and explained that she had extracted the magical energy in his body, as the excess energy within his body was poisoning him. From the woman, Roswaal learned that mages with high quantities of magical energy in their bodies were susceptible to great pains and even death if they didn't get rid of the excess magic their bodies absorbed. The way to do this was to either use magic on a regular basis or release a large quantity of magic at once.

The woman explained she knew this because she had suffered similar problems in her childhood. After breaking into tears because someone finally understood him, Roswaal asked the woman her name. She introduced herself as an "evil Witch" whose name was the Witch of Greed Echidna. Mathers introduced himself to her in turn, and eventually went on to become her loyal apprentice. He fell deeply in love with the Witch to the point that she mattered to him more so than anyone else including himself.

Powers & Abilities

Powers

  • Magic: Roswaal Mathers was a practitioner of the mystic arts whose skill had reached the pinnacle of human possibility. His magical power was said to be on par, if not surpassing, that of his teacher Echidna's. The original Roswaal, Roswaal A. Mathers, was known as the most talented mage of his era, a feat especially impressive considering the living legends who roamed the world at that point. His twelfth body, Roswaal L. Mathers, had magical potency that eclipsed the already impressive might of the original Roswaal. It has been stated that with the considerable magical power at Roswaal's disposal, he could single-handedly defeat a whole army's worth of soldiers. He was one of the rare individuals capable of channelling the magical power of all six magical elements—earth, fire, light, shadow, water, and wind. His skill was so impressive that he earned the titles "The Yellow," "The Green," and "The Red" that were bestowed upon the one considered the most skilful at utilizing earth, wind, and fire magic respectively. There was allegedly no type of magic that Roswaal couldn't attain, with the exception of healing magic, that, for whatever reason, he was unable to use.
    • Atmokinesis: Through the combination of wind, fire, and water magic, Roswaal L. Mathers could manipulate the atmosphere to a certain degree. To be more specific, Roswaal could alter the state of the weather within a large radius, manipulating the temperature, moisture, and various other factors. Doing so created a large pulse of magical energy, indicating that it likely took an impressive amount of magical power to conjure. Roswaal demonstrated his capability to manipulate the weather when he made it snow inside the Sanctuary of Kremaldy.
    • Flight: By combining the magical power of the earth, fire, and wind elements, Roswaal could float in the air, or, if he wished to do so, fly. The speed of his flight was superior to a ground dragon's and roughly on par with a flying dragon's, and he could apparently reach roughly one hundred kilometers per hour.
    • Thermokinesis: Despite its name, fire magic was based around the manipulation of temperature rather than the manipulation of actual fire. By superheating the air around him, Roswaal could generate and manipulate powerful flames. There were several levels of fire magic that determined the amount and intensity of flames conjured. One of the most basic-level fire element spells was "Goa," which when cast, would produce a flame from Roswaal's hand that would incinerate its target. He could also use a higher version of Goa called "Ul Goa" which produced a barrage of flaming bolts that could blanket an entire area with their destructive might. Lastly, Mathers was capable of the ultimate version of the Goa spell—"Al Goa." Al Goa, which was apparently Roswaal's most powerful attack, summoned an enormous inferno when cast. Like earth and wind, Roswaal was considered the greatest wizard in the Kingdom of Lugunica when it came to fire magic, bearing the title "The Red" as recognition of that fact.
  • Superhuman Physical Characteristics: Several generations of Roswaal were physically honed to act at a superhuman level. For instance, Roswaal J. Mathers trained for twenty years to defeat the failed Ryuzu Meyer clone Sphinx whilst relying on only her physical might and martial skill. Similarly, Roswaal L. Mathers also sharpened his body into a lethal killing machine as a fullback encase his magical power ever failed him. However, Roswaal found relying on physical measures somewhat distasteful for someone such as himself who was truly a mage at heart.
    • Superhuman Strength: The physical strength of Roswaal J. Mathers vastly surpassed that which was accepted as possible for a human being. Her mighty blows were powerful enough to snap bones, rupture internal organs, shatter boulders, and split large trees in half. She could throw small-yet-heavy steel balls with enough force to shatter bones and organs. Roswaal L. Mathers also displayed a degree of superhuman strength, as he was able to impale the incredibly durable Garfiel Tinzel with his fist.

Abilities

  • Extensive Arcane Knowledge: Roswaal's knowledge on magical practices was quite probably unrivalled, save for possibly his former master Echidna and the Sage Flugel. Over his four hundred years of life, Mathers learnt numerous magical techniques and concepts from across all four of the world's great nations, giving him a humungous stockpile. He also spent time to read every single book inside the large Forbidden Library that contained all of the important knowledge his master had accumulated during her life. Presumably, Roswaal knew of many spells and magical rituals forgotten by civilization due to the passage of time. In addition to harbouring an impressive understanding of pre-existing magical information, Roswaal was a keen inventor of new magical practices that were often known only to him. One creation of his was a magical theorem that allowed a mage to imbue objects with light magic enhancements. A majority of the magical spells Roswaal made active usage of were invented by or heavily modified by him. However, as he saw no point in it, Roswaal never allocated names to his techniques.
  • Master Martial Artist: In order to counter the powerful magical abilities of Sphinx, Roswaal cultivated the body of Roswaal J. Mathers to be a master martial artist rather than a master mage. From a young age, Roswaal painstakingly trained her body in the martial arts. Over twenty years, her training coupled with her natural talent forged her into a true fighting genius. Anyone who saw her in combat could tell that she was an accomplished practitioner with a flawless technique. Her style was based around landing lightning quick and precise punches that sowed ruin upon the bodies of her enemies. Although his later bodies like L. Mathers probably weren't as physically powerful as J. Mathers, they still maintained the fighting techniques Roswaal had coalesced during that particular life, meaning Roswaal remained a true master of the martial arts.

Themes

Mask of a Joker by Kenichiro Suehiro

Roswaal L Mathers by Kenichiro Suehiro

Quotes

Goodness me, what terrible luck. And here I am, not even knowing the outcome of the trial. If you wish to walk through hell, then I will gladly accompany you. If instead you wish to live in hell, then I'll make certain that is what I strive for. One request. No mistakes next time, Subaru Natsuki.
~ Roswaal talking about his firm resolve to Subaru, who wasn't actually present.
Subaru: Hang on, I'm not finished yet! You might think it can wait until next time, but I'm telling you...
Roswaal: You seem to be mistaken about one important factor, Subaru. While you may well have the ability to start over, I do not. My present self will end here. It's sudden, but that's quite alright. Another version of me will be there after you return to the beginning. As long as he fulfils my goals one day, it makes no difference.
Subaru: But that isn't how any normal human thinks.
Roswaal: There's not a single doubt in my mind that the time will come when you truly catch up to me. Now listen carefully. There is only one thing that is clearly and above all the most precious to you in this whole world. You have to get rid of everything else but that, and think of nothing but making sure what you hold so dearly is protected. By doing that...
Subaru: Roswaal, no!!
Roswaal: You can then, become just like yours truly.
~ Roswaal telling Subaru he must reject his humanity to protect what he loves as he is killed by the Great Rabbit.
Roswaal: I believe you've already faced many of the problems that arise within the grounds of the Sanctuary, although there are some that aren't limited to the Sanctuary alone.
Subaru: Y-you mean the mansion, right? Are you telling me you know about what happene—
Roswaal: Of course I do. After all, the order given for the assassins to attack... that command, was one that I personally issued.
~ Roswaal revealing that he was behind the mansion attacks.
Subaru: Y-you're seriously insane.
Roswaal: Yes, indeed. And I've been that way for quite some time now. From the moment I was enchanted by those eyes four hundred years ago, it's fair to say that I've been rather unhinged.
~ Mathers admitting to his own insanity.
I will continue to corner you, to strengthen your focus... until I deem you as one who's perfected. Don't get conceited about this. You're not the only one who understands how Echidna's mind works!
~ Roswaal affirming his own strong connection to the Witch of Greed.
Subaru: If... I-if you hate me, punish me alone...
Roswaal: You think that's how I feel about you? I could never hate you, of that you can be certain. You're my beacon of hope. The only ones who allow me to experience even a flicker of that sentiment at all are you and Ram. From the very bottom of my heart, I believe in you.
~ Roswaal revealing his hopes for Subaru and Ram.

List of Appearances

Light Novel

Ex Volume 2

  • The Love Song of the Sword Devil: Second Stanza (First identified as Roswaal J. Mathers)
  • The Love Song of the Sword Devil: Third Stanza
  • The Love Song of the Sword Devil: Fourth Stanza
  • The Love Song of the Sword Devil: Fifth Stanza (Mentioned only)
  • The Love Song of the Sword Devil: Sixth Stanza
  • The Love Song of the Sword Devil: Seventh Stanza
  • The Love Song of the Sword Devil: Final Stanza

Ex Volume 3

  • The Love Ballad of the Sword Devil: What Became of Them
  • The Love Ballad of the Sword Devil: Lovers' Interlude

Volume 1

  • Epilogue: The Moon is Watching (First mentioned)

Volume 2

  • Chapter 1: Self-Conscious Feelings (Mentioned only)
  • Chapter 2: The Promised Morn Grows Distant (First appearance)
  • Chapter 3: The Sound of the Chain
  • Chapter 4: A Deadly Game of Tag
  • Chapter 5: The Morning He Yearned For

Volume 3

  • Chapter 1: Subaru Natsuki's Restart
  • Chapter 3: The Meaning of Courage
  • Chapter 5: All In
  • Interlude: A Private Chat Under the Moon

Volume 4

  • Chapter 1: Return to the Royal Capital
  • Chapter 3: On the Very Worst of Terms
  • Chapter 4: The Candidates for the Throne and Their Knights
  • Epilogue: Knightly Expectations (Mentioned only)

Volume 9

  • Chapter 1: The Gospel Known as Warmth (Mentioned only)
  • Chapter 2: Setting the Stage (Mentioned in flashback(s))
  • Chapter 3: The Self-Declared Knight and "The Finest of Knights" (Mentioned only)
  • Chapter 5: —A Tale About That, And Nothing More (Mentioned only)
  • Interlude: A Brief Moment In A Dragon Carriage (Mentioned only)
  • Interlude: Let Us Feast (Mentioned only)
  • Chapter 6: To Each Their Vows (Mentioned only)

Volume 10

  • Chapter 1: At the Place of Return (Mentioned only)
  • Chapter 2: The Road to the Sanctuary (Mentioned only)
  • Chapter 3: A Long-Awaited Reunion
  • Chapter 5: The First Step Forward

Volume 11

  • Chapter 1: Maid, Maid, Maid
  • Chapter 4: The Value of Life
  • Chapter 6: Loveloveloveloveloveloveyou

Volume 12

  • Chapter 1: Loveloveloveloveloveloveloveloveloveloveloveloveme (Mentioned only)
  • Chapter 4: The Taste of Death
  • Chapter 5: Ending List (Mentioned only)

Volume 13

  • Chapter 2: Ignoring the Odds
  • Chapter 3: Straight Bet

Volume 14

  • Chapter 2: The Beginning of the Sanctuary and of Ruin (Appears in flashback(s))

Volume 15

  • Chapter 6: It Started With Revenge
  • Chapter 7: —Pick Me (Appears in flashback)
Anime Adaptation
  • Episode 4: The Happy Roswaal Mansion Family (First appearance)
  • Episode 5: The Morning of Our Promise Is Still Distant
  • Episode 6: The Sound of Chains
  • Episode 7: Subaru Natsuki's Restart
  • Episode 8: I Cried, Cried My Lungs Out, and Stopped Crying
  • Episode 9: The Meaning of Courage
  • Episode 10: Fanatical Methods Like a Demon (Mentioned only)
  • Episode 11: Rem
  • Episode EX: Memory Snow
  • Episode EX: The Frozen Bond
  • Episode 12: Return to the Capital
  • Episode 13: Self-Proclaimed Knight Subaru Natsuki
  • Episode 26: Each One's Promise (Mentioned only)
  • Episode 27: The Next Location (Mentioned only)
  • Episode 28: The Long-Awaited Reunion
  • Episode 30: A Step Forward
  • Episode 31: The Maiden's Gospel
  • Episode 32: Friend (Mentioned only)
  • Episode 33: The Value of Life
  • Episode 34: Love Love Love Love Love Love You
  • Episode 35: I Know Hell (Mentioned only)
  • Episode 36: The Taste of Death
  • Episode 37: The Witches' Tea Party (Appears in flashback(s))
  • Episode 38: The Sounds That Make You Want to Cry
  • Episode 39: STRAIGHT BET
  • Episode 40: Otto Suwen / A Reason to Believe (Mentioned only)
  • Episode 43: The Day Petelgeuse Laughed (Appears in flashback(s))
  • Episode 44: The Permafrost of Elior Forest
  • Episode 45: The Beginning of the Sanctuary and the Beginning of the End
  • Episode 46: Reunion of Roars
  • Episode 47: Happiness Reflected on the Water's Surface
  • Episode 48: Love Me Down to My Bloods and Guts
  • Episode 49: Choose Me
  • Episode 50: Offbeat Steps Under the Moonlight

External Links

Navigation

                    ReZero logo.png Villains
Witch Cult
Capella Emerada Lugunica · Louis Arneb · Lye Batenkaitos · Pandora · Petelgeuse Romanée-Conti · Regulus Corneas · Roy Alphard · Sirius · Stride Volakia
Witches of Sin
Carmilla · Daphne · Echidna · Hector · Minerva · Pandora · Satella · Sekhmet · Typhon
Mabeasts
Black Serpent · Great Rabbit · White Whale
Gusteko Assassin Organization
Elsa Granhiert · Mama · Meili Portroute
Others
Balleroy Temeglyph · Bean Argyle · Heinkel Astrea · Kurgan · Melaquera · Miles · Reid Astrea · Roswaal Mathers · Sphinx · Ton, Chin, and Kan
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