Meet Kaizaki Arata. Your average mid-twenties guy, unemployed, single, and generally unhappy with his lot in life. Then, introduce Yoake Ryou, who promises Arata that he can send him back to Arata’s seventeen year-old self. After surprisingly little consideration for whatever consequences this action will cause, Arata agrees, and this sets up the plot for this rather fantastically enjoyable romance anime.
I discovered this while browsing Crunchyroll’s simulcast and was delighted to see that all the thirteen episodes had been released in one go, rather than one episode per week, which is the usual business. And so, a binge-watching session started. We rather quickly get to know the main characters. There is, of course, our main guy, but also Ryou, whose role in the show is more akin to the mentor who guides Arata through the various rules and regulations regarding the ReLife program. Then, in random sequence, is Hishiro Chizuru, Kariu Rena, Onoya An, Ooga Kazuomi, plus a few more supporting characters. The character design is not groundbreaking. You have Chizuru, your usual stoic classroom representative:
Rena, the tsundere redhead:
The silly blond guy, Kazuomi, who is also smart (rather refreshing, that one):
There’s our second blond, Ryou, who also succeeded in being wonderfully forgettable:
And, of course, our protagonist, whose character design is very weak (in my opinion). However, his character is supposed to be a very ordinary, average guy, so I guess that means they succeeded in how they drew him:
My personal favourite was An, as she’s just so adorably ditzy and it shows in how her character is drawn. Everything from the glasses to the pig-tails just is very cute to me, so I might just be biased with this one…
Despite the fact that I sound very harsh towards the character design, I actually didn’t have anything against it. It just isn’t very original, which doesn’t mean it’s bad. Rather, the focus is on the feelings developing between the different characters. I was roaring with laughter at Chizuru’s smile and moved by her fervent wish to just get along with people, despite her non-existent social skills. The romance between Rena and Ooga is tiresome at first, with Rena’s tsundere antics, but then develops into something adorably sweet and naïve. That whole side-plot was very relateable, and I think the writers did a great job in sticking with the characters’ personalities and quirks.
The story isn’t the deepest thing you’ll ever see, but neither is it bad. I would have liked to see some more regarding the details of the program, as it effectively sends a person back in THEIR timeline, but not time in general, which is what the usual timetravel anime does. I guess this is a case of ‘logic does not apply’, but I still missed that extra level of description. The romance, for me, was great. It didn’t give us that ‘almost, but not quite’ thing that romance anime so often do. You know, where the characters aaaaalmost kiss/confess, but something gets in the way (I’m looking at you, Nozaki-kun…)
The music is nice, but forgettable, though the opening, ‘Button’ by Penguin Research, sticks to your brain like a more than usually insistent mosquito. But that’s not something I would rate too harshly. It may not have given me an exceptional soundtrack, but ReLife gave me four hours of laughter, squealing, and fangirly stupidity. And for that, I love it. For me, anime doesn’t have to be groundbreaking or original. Sometimes, you just find a series that hits all the spots. For me, ReLife came very, very close to that. A little more detail on that timetravel device and I would have liked it even more.