Rem and Ram emerged from Re:Zero as the stand out characters who spawned memes, fan art, and hundreds of doujinshi.
Their star status is due in part to their character arcs in Re:Zero, but it goes beyond just that. The careful crafting of their character design by Shinichirou Otsuka molded these twins into the phenomenon they became.
Why do we love Rem and Ram French maid uniforms?
There is no surprise maid uniforms in anime are extremely popular.
The reasons can be complicated like a Mozart score.
The uniforms represent obedience and unparalleled devotion, sometimes to the point of supporting darker ideas of cute slave girls meant to fulfill sexual fantasies.
The formal look of primarily black in the uniform typically makes characters look slender, mysterious, and proper. The color black actually draws a viewer’s eye and when accompanied by pure white elements there is an explosion of contrast that is really appealing.
The cut and design of maid uniforms vary giving a designer a lot of artistic licenses to emphasize the elements of the uniform, such how cute or sexy it is, which is important in anime. You can see the variety in maid uniforms with characters like Tohru (Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid), Faris Nyannyan (Steins;Gate), and Nekopara’s Chocola and Vanilla.
Lolita goth is also an offshoot of maid uniforms that has taken its place in anime and fashion. It takes a tasteful Victorian style and puts a cute spin on it that is really popular among Japanese youth.
Two are better than one!
People are fascinated with the idea of twins, which often times makes the supporting role characters much more important. It’s a story element we’ve seen before with coincidental characters like “Ram and Rom” from Hyperdimension Neptunia, but the plot is key to the importance of a character.
This is where Ram and Rom differ from Rem and Ram. Part of what makes Rem and Ram so loveable is that they function as a unit despite their developing personalities. No matter who your favorite is, either one on their own without their yin-yang personality would be much more ordinary.
Why are unsuspecting innocent characters so powerful?
Re:Zero © Tappei Nagatsuki / Shinichirou Otsuka / Media Factory / White Fox Co., Ltd.
From anime to video games, people are always fascinated with small characters that look aesthetically weak but turn out to be physically powerful, which makes them look special.
The irony is the fact it’s being used so often in video games, manga, and anime it’s almost expected, yet somehow it’s still fascinating to viewers. Even anime like One Punch Man openly mock the idea as their main comedic plot.
The decision to highlight the power of the most innocent and calm character in the series, like Rem, takes full advantage of the popularity of this successful yet simple plot twisting device.
Appearance is everything.
While the industry has been trending towards natural hair colors like in Yuri on Ice, Attack on Titan and Kill La Kill, characters with bright hair colors are still going strong and usually are linked to their personality to some degree.
Hair color in anime typically follows a stereotype paved by hundreds of characters before.
Blue and pink seem to have been carefully chosen to complement each other’s traits and balance the formal look of the maid uniforms.
Rem, arguably the fan favorite, has light sky blue hair that is usually found in calm characters who have a hidden talent and a keen sense of the emotions of people around them.
Blue haired characters are not always noticed since they tend to be quiet, but at the same time, they have a huge impact on the plot since they usually drive other characters to open up and to be honest about their feelings.
Ram with her pink hair represents her spicy, youthful yet orderly behavior while having a benevolent side to her sister and master.
However, Ram’s character design has ジトー eyes (Jito), which means to “stare.” Her eyes look half-open, which are found in scornful characters, which is another stereotype. This trait is obvious in Ram’s personality.
This is what distances Natsuki Subaru from Ram in the story and ultimately her role, which damages her popularity with viewers.