|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
ReLife is a comedy-drama focused on a NEET young man named Arata Kanzaki who participates in a one-year experimental project where he is regressed into the form of a teenager via taking a mysterious medication and re-experiences life as a high school student, as a means for him to repair whatever personal defects prevent him from being a productive member of society. While under the project, Arata puts up with the behavior of his supervisor Ryo Yoake, tends to some of the personal problems affecting his classmates, and reflects on the personal problems of his past that led him into becoming a NEET.|
ReLife strikes up a solid balance of light comedy and drama in exploring everyday life as a high school student and the personal problems that affect Arata and several of the high school students he comes to befriend during his participation in the ReLife project. The students that Arata encounters go through the typical pressures that teenagers face growing up such as struggling to make friends, jealousy between rivals, and first love. The series is also not afraid to tackle some darker territory when Arata's backstory is focused on that elaborates on how he became a NEET and it offers a rather painfully believable look at life within a former employer he worked with that he is still recovering from. While the comedy for the series can be a hit or miss relying on the typical goofing off from teenagers and bemused expressions made by characters in response to specific situations, the strong focus on the developments of the characters and their personal problems more than make up for the shortcoming. It also offers up a surprising twist on exploring who the first volunteer for the ReLife experiment is within the high school, yet makes sense when considering the particular character's personal problems. The series ends inconclusively with Arata still in the middle of participation in the ReLife experiment, but the series is supposed to be getting a sequel OVA series starting early next year that is supposed to be tying up loose ends with the show's storyline.
In regards to presentation, ReLife is less than extraordinary. The show's visuals have solid character designs sporting a decent amount of detail, though animation shortcuts are a frequent occurrence throughout its run and especially become apparent during its later episodes. Its soundtrack relies heavily on piano pieces to convey its light and heavy dramatic scenes. The effectiveness of this is hit-or-miss as I found it effective during the show's more mundane moments yet not so much during its more heavier dramatic moments, especially in the case of Arata's backstory).
While having some hiccups with its presentation, ReLife is still one of the better 2016 anime titles I got to see thanks to its effective mix of comedy and drama in exploring the typical developments of growth faced by teenagers and Arata having the opportunity to relive them through his current experiences in the ReLife program. It's a definite recommendation if you enjoy anime that are a bit more mundane with their storytelling, in light of this show's setup leading to it for our male lead.
Last updated Thursday, May 18 2017. Created Thursday, May 18 2017.
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This show sounded intriguing, what with the 'pill that can make you appear ten years younger' premise. Surely the protagonist would find himself in novel situations which ordinary people never experience as they grow up. But it soon became clear that science fiction was not going to be the main topic of this anime and questions like how repeating a year in high school would fix Kaizaiki's problems were not going to be answered. At times entire episodes would pass without a reminder that Kaizaki is in fact 27 not 17, and you might wonder if there was really a need for this twist in the plot at all. It relied more on humor and romance than Sci-fi, and the humor wasn't all that great. Fortunately, the romance was better. Basically, Kaizaki shouldn't fall in love since he'll revert to his adult form eventually, and somehow people who didn't take this fabulous pill will forget him when that happens. Again, it wasn't exactly supposed to make sense. Up to the very last episode I was uncertain if romance would ever come about between him and the brilliant but socially awkward (to say the least) girl he hangs around with. The story isn't entirely about these two, as friends of theirs form a couple as well. We get to know the cast fairly well, though I was bored with a squabble between two girls and would have preferred that the main plot move forward instead. Also, I wish Yoake and Oga, the male class rep, didn't look virtually identical. Character designs are not this show's strongest point. Another plot thread forms as we learn that Yoake's previous case as a ReLIFE handler didn't go well—the details are kept from us for now. Kaizaki isn't the only member of the cast who is ten years older than he seems, and even if it isn't scientifically plausible the premise makes for some fun twists and turns. Sometimes the show is little more than farce and at others it gets serious and interesting. Things get serious in episode 11; The largely nonsensical filler episodes in the middle of the series weren't completely pointless, as by thoroughly familiarizing us with the characters they have set us up for the climax. I was a bit surprised and impressed at the handy way the series ended. I had guessed how we would get around the problem that Kaizaki mustn't fall in love, but the way it was revealed to the general audience was subtle and effective. We know why things will work out OK for the main characters, even though they don't know it themselves. We aren't shepherded through the story, no, the exact way things will end is left to our imaginations, which is admirable. Still, at the end you sort of wonder if a second season of ReLIFE might be in the works.
Last updated Sunday, July 02 2017. Created Wednesday, May 17 2017.