What would you give to be able to relive a crucial part of your life and correct mistakes that you had made at that time? Would this give you a better chance for the rest of your life? Are you up to the task? Can you keep a secret? Do you like having a minimum wage job and no girlfriend? Have you registered to vote?
This is the interesting idea behind “ReLife” (“Riraifu”), although one aspect of it wasn’t really explained fully. We are going to follow the miserable life of Arata Kaizaki (guy in the middle), a 27 year old man who became unemployed after quitting his job of three months at a ‘black company’, claiming the reason is “it did not fit my highest potential”. There is a deeper reason for it, but that gets revealed during the run.
After several failed job opportunities in similar companies, he works part-time at a convenience store. There, he is ‘scouted’ by Ryō Yoake (guy at far right), who offers him a job opportunity, but first he needs to become a tester for ReLife. This is a scientific experiment to rejuvenate him by 10 years and then they send him back to high school as a student. We then follow his attempts to ‘make it right’, as he only has one year to make it work.
There are the usual provisos: you can’t tell anyone the truth; try not to fall in love with anyone; he will forget most of what happened, but not the experiences and if you mess it up, all bets are off. Adding to the confusion, he is noted as Case #002, so there is someone else in the mix. The show reveals how Arata tries to make the most of this opportunity, but he gets off to a rocky start. Keep in mind the pill only makes you look younger; you still have all the problems of your 27-year-old self. Forget Sports Day; no way are you running a sprint like you actually were 17.
Like most people his real age, he has forgotten what he learned in high school and hasn’t kept up with things, so there is a ton of remedial testing and retesting to do. I mean, this guy isn’t any smarter than a sack of door knobs, so it makes him having to do better a bit of a force. We also learn the real machinations behind this ‘testing’. It’s not all mean, cruel and vicious, but there is an authentic purpose behind this madness. You just feel he isn’t taking full advantage of what has been laid before him and he may be falling into the same traps now as he did 10 years earlier, despite a wealth of experience he has over his friends. And that is when you learn the truth behind it all.
Nope, nope, nope. You get to find that one out on your own. Overall, it is a well thought-out series idea, but I felt the execution was a bit off. I know we want to keep the hidden agenda hidden, but all this does is deepen the distrust as to the eventual plans the Government has in all of this. The Big Question I did have was ‘how many of his classmates are in the same situation?’, as it felt more like it was an entire school of these misfits, but that’s just me.
I would still suggest this series, as it put the high school rom-com in a more sober light.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (It’s standardly standard)
Plot 8 (A nice reworking of the ‘second chance’ idea)
Pacing 7 (Moves along in fits and starts, much like Arata’s life)
Effectiveness 8 (Good use of Arata’s struggles)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 7 (Got a bit too bogged down in self-pity for me)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. All you need to do is take this pill.