Keywords: , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - MAPPA
Minato Kiyomizu awakens after 203 days in a coma as a result of an auto accident. His memory of the last three years has vanished, but he's told he was a pretty awesome water polo player, and last year his team won the highest prize for middle school players. Having forgotten everything he ever knew about the sport, and with his physical strength badly diminished by his coma, Minato isn't inclined to give water polo another try. But at his new high school numerous people urge him to do so.

12 episodes
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent Stretch [series:4339#628]
(All episodes watched):

Can an athlete who is basically forced to start over from square one regain his greatness? To what extent is a person born with talent, and to what extent is talent earned through hard work? These questions seemed a good deal more interesting to me than the sport of water polo. It seems that practically every sport, real or imagined, is getting an anime these days, and it was a good idea to include this extra angle. Nevertheless I wasn't exactly excited by episode one of RE-MAIN. Perhaps that was because I was still unsure whether Minato or anyone else would be a dynamic, likable character. Also, no serious water polo takes place in episode one, so I still had no idea whether it would be an interesting sport. I almost didn't watch any more, since my thinking was that a show that hadn't grabbed my attention in episode one probably wouldn't in episode two, either.

Fortunately I did watch episode two, and was modestly encouraged by it. It turns out that Minato has a strange motivation to take up water polo again (though I wouldn't feel obligated to honor this supposed wager he once made), and the motivation of the current WP club leader seems sincere. We get an idea of how the sport works--the water is deep enough that all the ball passing and such must be done from a swimming posture rather than just standing on the pool floor. I had had no idea how it was done. How do they catch such a big ball with one hand? In episode three we get the usual 'star athlete who would be a miraculous blessing for the team is available except he has become estranged from the sport and must be reinvigorated' bit. This show can be fairly amusing, such as the opponents that are arranged for the team's first practice match in episode four. I found that RE-MAIN had gone from a show which hadn't thrilled me at the beginning to one that I was looking forward to watching. The team undergoes a crisis when they are rudely awakened to just how much effort lies ahead to become a noteworthy outfit. But Minato gets a tentative answer to his question of how he had managed to be so good at the sport at one time (when he sucks so badly now), and the answer was fairly believable and intriguing. The story isn't entirely about Minato as we learn that several other team members have self-doubts and secrets which make them reluctant to give their all; these could have been better and could have been worse.

At the end of episode seven, Minato makes a disturbing discovery while watching an old videotape of a practice session once held by his old championship team. While he was truly an exceptional player, he was also quite an asshole--an unforgiving, extremely demanding star who was abusive of anyone who didn't perform as well as he did. That intrigued me. What didn't intrigue me was what happened in episode eight, namely a little bike accident causing him to instantly revert to his old personality. This was hard to buy; a single one-in-a-million coincidence (the one in the premise of this show) is OK, but two is a little hard to take seriously. And the implication that a person's personality is little more than a matter of chance was not exactly thrilling. Still, this turn of events creates an intriguing situation as we wonder whether nice Minato or jerk Minato will triumph in the end--or can they merge? What explanation will there be for the way he winds up? Given the less than brilliant way he shifted personalities last time, it might work or it might be a total flop (which added an element of unintended suspense). I was afraid that Minato would just take another knock on the head which would fix everything, and this team which not long ago couldn't even beat elementary schoolers would somehow snatch the championship, but fortunately things didn't end in such a simplistic manner. This show actually had an unexpectedly plausible, yet still cathartic ending. It might have been a good idea to have previously called a little more attention to the problem which a certain player overcame at the climax, but things worked out well and I was happy with the way it ended. The final match was exciting and didn't go the way one would expect. It could be argued that Minato's personality problem hasn't been completely fixed, which makes me wonder if a second season might be forthcoming. If so, I would gladly watch it. RE-MAIN was a show which got off to a slow start for me but improved steadily afterwards.

Last updated Monday, October 04 2021. Created Wednesday, July 07 2021.

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