The Junkyard presents a review by Daz of the anime series ReLIFE:
You know when you’ve wanted to watch something for a long time and you finally do but it’s not what you were expecting so you feel like it was a waste of time? That was how ReLife was for me.
When I first read the synopsis about a guy being given the opportunity to go back to school and try to fix his future, I jumped straight in the passenger seat. Fully on board with this concept. I mean, who hasn’t sat around with friends or even just wondered what you would change if you could go back to school? What I thought was going to be a tale of time travel sadly wasn’t to be.
Our main character is 27 and not doing well professionally. It is then that he’s approached by the ReLife company and offered a chance to experience school life again for one year, claiming it will help him regain who he was and give him that fire he once had. He will do this by taking a pill that will make him look 17 (there is no science behind this so don’t expect it).
I really wanted the time travel angle. It would have been good to see somebody actually given the chance to redo their life but knowing what they know now. It’s a concept that has been flirted with in western media but not actually done. The most common example of that I can give is Back To The Future. He doesn’t go back to school to sort his life out but his life does change by changing the past, seemingly for the betterment of the people around him. A show that did do this kind of thing was Erased. The main character was able to time travel and manipulate his own past so it would work out differently. That anime works really well and in such a realistic way too. Maybe it has been done before and I just haven’t seen it but that’s what I was looking for in this instance.
Ok so no time travel but I’m still on board. Our main guy gets to school and realises he’s so out of touch with it. What he thought was going to be an easy ride turns into a nightmare. School life isn’t the same anymore and he’s gotta ReLearn (see what I did?) everything again.
It’s at this point that the show takes a massive nose dive into melodramatic teen problems. It wouldn’t be much of a problem except the problems aren’t his. We are introduced to some of his classmates and they have their own stuff to deal with and whilst very real to them at the time, as an adult you can’t help but think “get on with it”. This isn’t helped by the fact that this goes on for the majority of the show. I wasn’t left wondering if these secondary people would sort their stuff out, I was wondering when we were gonna get to the MC again.
All the supposed edge of your seat stuff left me at wits’ end. I was a whisker away from leaving this behind and never mentioning its name again. I mean we all like a bit of melodrama when it’s done well but their problems didn’t seem to solve anything or have anything to do with the MC. He was just…there.
There is one moment around ep 8 or 9 where we get an insight into how our MC is feeling about his adult life when we see him bump into somebody that works at his old job. I loved this part. It was what we were expecting as an audience but sadly didn’t get and frankly took far too long. I was bored and on the verge of not caring.
Toward the end of the show, a love angle starts to emerge. This was flirted with throughout the anime but I didn’t think it would come to fruition as he’s older and vocalises his thoughts on not getting close to girls. All of that seemed to go out the window in what felt like an attempt to win back viewers.
And it worked…
Throw in a random love angle and all of a sudden I’m involved.
The sad thing was that the show was nearly over. They had waited 10 episodes before bringing in a love angle when there are only 13. This is far too late and can only end in one outcome…
Luckily there were 4 more episodes that were labelled “Final Arc” that let you find out the fate of our MC. I have no idea if this was fan power or if this is how they set it out. Either way, it was definitely needed. Now it has an ending.
The voice acting was solid throughout and I liked the animation. The art style was kind of flat but that’s fairly standard nowadays. I hated the soundtrack to this show massively. The music cues and the little interludes were jarring, repetitive and just plain annoying.
I rate this show a 4/10 but added with the final arc I would give it a 6/10. Maybe it deserves less. It sure felt at times that they had no idea what they were doing or where they wanted it to go but I can only go on how I felt when the end credits came on.
I really hated this show but somehow the romance made it better. Says something about how easily swayed I am. DT