If you were given the chance to experience high school again, would you? Well, that’s what Arata Kaizaki did.
Dismissed from society as a hopeless NEET, 27 year-old Arata Kaizaki skips from one job to another after quitting his first one after just three months. This repetitive, boring existence soon changes, however, when he bumps into Ryou Yoake from the ReLIFE Research Institute, who offers Arata the opportunity to change his life for the better. With Ryou just giving him a single pill, Arata takes it without much thought, only to awaken the next morning as a 17 year-old! He soon learns that he is now the subject of a unique experiment and must attend high school as a transfer student for one year. Predicting it’d be an easy task, Arata is soon proven wrong as he fails his tests, is completely out of shape, and is unable to keep up with updated school policies that have been enforced in the last ten years. With Ryou being assigned to observe his every move, Arata struggles to adjust to his new life, but will he avoid making his past mistakes?
Honestly, this would be a dream come true for me, personally, but I can’t dwell on my own past. It’s time to review this magnificent anime. I initially started watching it when I picked it as my Exec Pick for the Anime Society I’m involved in at university, but sadly it didn’t make it past the third episode, which is a complete shame, considering the emotional rollercoaster everyone would have experienced in later episodes. At first, you will probably think that this isn’t special at all. You will think that it’s your standard time travelling, school-based, slice-of-life anime. I know you will. Trust me, so did I. At first you might be bored. It’s a slow series to get into, I know, but it’s completely worth the wait. Once you hit the fourth episode, things start to get good. You will begin to experience all sorts of high school drama all over again, but boy is it good to watch it from a distance!
The characters in ReLIFE really do, in my opinion, capture high school in the best way. You have Arata, who, despite actually being ten years older than the other students, represents the one guy that everyone is friends with. He’s the genuine one, the one who’s always honest and gives great advice. Again, that might be to do with the fact that he’s actually 27, but- whatever. Next, you have the girl who’s a complete introvert – you know the one who everyone shuns away? Here, this would be Chizuru. Chizuru seems to be quite a useless character to begin with, but, once her storyline develops, you will see how much of a good character she actually is. Next up is Rena. She’s definitely representing the girl who’s a complete all-rounder; she’s intelligent and good at sport (ugh). And finally, there’s Kazuomi – the good-looking, popular guy who’s really intelligent. These four characters are definitely the main ones in the series, but all of the characters in the show, like Ryou for instance, are all great. Their storylines are all written in a way that you’re routing for the person who’s having trouble, you’re envious of the support and when they’ve resolved everything, you’re happy for them. The characters are that relatable, you almost feel as if you know them, as cringey as that may sound.
What I like about ReLIFE, apart from the storyline itself, is the animation style. It just seems so much brighter than other anime. The art style, particularly in the eyes, is what I appreciate the most. It’s just so nice to watch; it looks so smooth and so well done and I applaud the animators somewhat. Another thing that I like is the soundtrack and I don’t mean the fact that the ED is different for every episode. What I mean is the simple piano riff that you hear at key moments in the series. It’s simple, but definitely effective in creating a mild dramatic effect that’s suitable for high school drama.
As much as I like ReLIFE, there is one small negative that a lot of people have previously picked up on. The narrative doesn’t stick to Arata’s experimental life and often delves into the minor character’s lives more so than his. It’s not necessarily a completely bad thing for it gives you the usual high-school life storylines in doing this, but the way they tie things up because of this is sometimes a little messy. Despite that, however, as it didn’t really affect my enjoyment of the show that much, I still recommend that people at least give this show a chance as it’s a sweet little show that doesn’t require too much attention, yet it still gives the sudden dramatic twists to keep you watching.