ReLIFE 02-03

relife 100 2003

Nice try buddy, but she’s not that kinda girl

I’m sitting in an undergrad class as a TA and feeling a bit like I’m the one going back in time, hiding amongst a bunch of younger students. The difference here is that I’m not falling in love with any of them.

I’ve noticed that ReLIFE has a whole lot of talking, but it’s all so charming that the long banter doesn’t end up being a detriment. Arata plays off the other characters quite well, and I like that he’s immediately bonded with An and Oga as his go-to buddies. It felt natural that he’d grudgingly accept tutoring from a smarter student, with a ditzy yet outgoing girl tagging along as well to expand the friend group. It’s quite nice, as there’s no romantic tension between the trio. You would think the first person Arata would befriend would be the girl he has his eye on, but no, he starts building a firm base of friends he doesn’t want to bang.

relife 100 2008relife 100 2002

They all come together to mock Oga – and that’s true friendship

This show is really working for me largely because this isn’t coming across as a harem. Arata isn’t going back to high school and shamelessly falling in love with all the girls around him (as they in turn fall for him). If the focus was all about Arata having flings with various girls to re-invigorate himself, I’m not sure I’d be as on board. I much prefer it this way, where he has his eye on one particular student, and the rest of them are sitting comfortably in the friend zone.

At first I thought Arata’s attraction to Hishiro would be creepy given the age difference, but now I think it’s actually being handled rather deftly. Arata is fully aware that it’s kind of sketchy for a 27 year old man to be getting worked up over a jailbait schoolgirl. He mentally wrestles with this constantly, and I’m pleased they addressed this instead of just letting him go full-speed ahead as a superperv. I can imagine other guys in his position couldn’t help but develop a little crush either, so it’s not that unusual. I’m just glad Arata has the sense to at least feel a bit sheepish about it.

relife 100 2006

The girl of his dreams…or nightmares?

Age difference aside, the chemistry between Arata and Hishiro is a treat to behold. Hishiro is just an all-around great character for joke set-ups, and now that Arata has got her to drop her guard a bit, the jokes are just getting better and better. I like that now Hishiro is starting to interact not just with Arata, but with her other classmates as well. The story is really opening up quite well as the “web of connections”, so to speak, becomes more intertwined. It’s not just Hishiro talking to Arata, but now Hishiro is talking to Kariu who is also talking to Arata more.

relife 100 2007

Not the best way to make friends but it’s…a start?

As I get more emotionally invested in these characters, my heart also starts to drop a little as I realize that everyone will forget Arata after all this. These two episodes tell us a little more about ReLIFE, explaining that after the 1 year experiment is over, no one will remember the 17-year old Arata. So even if he wins over Hishiro and makes a bunch of new friends, he’ll lose them as soon as he reverts back to his old age. This springs up even more questions about how this experiment is supposed to help him, as after all this he’s still going to be sad and lonely. Even more so, even.

relife 100 2001relife 100 2005

This makes every step he takes towards being closer to his newfound friends feel bittersweet. On one hand, I’m glad Arata has found a place to belong. On the other hand, he’s going to lose everyone in the end unless they pull some sort of wacky twist at the end like “surprise! Hishiro was also a reLIFEr all along!”. However, maybe parting ways is not so different from the last year of high school anyways. The last year is filled with uneasiness, worrying about the future, and inevitably going to different schools or even cities as your best friends. The last year of high school is your last shot to set yourself up for the future, and basically decide what you’re doing for the rest of your life afterwards. It’s hard.

Hishiro mentions just how much she wants to make the most of her last year, and I think that earnestness to change for the better will rub off on Arata. Now I’m starting to see why they chose the last year of high school as opposed to the first. Maybe after getting himself back in the same headspace as someone about to graduate and choose a future career, he’ll be more motivated to do it right. But once we get him into that stream of thinking, I’m sure some dark memories will be dug up as well.

Until then…let’s enjoy the jokes about LIME stamps and pathetic attempts to smile naturally.

relife 100 2004

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A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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20 Responses to “ReLIFE 02-03”

  1. Highway says:

    Yay, more ReLife posts! I’ll try really hard to not say anything spoilery, but you’re going down the exact path I did. Through these early episodes, they have been doing such a good job setting up the interactions between the characters. And even though it seems like kind of a “Why haven’t they talked about all these questions I have already?” thing, I think it’s interesting that as you go through, these questions that the viewer comes up with are addressed as the show gets deeper.

    I also think you’re starting to see through these episodes why Hishiro is such a wonderful character. I love that this person that you’d think is joyless and serious in the back of the class is so self-aware about her social shortcomings, but when Arata starts to get her to open up she doesn’t cling to him, but starts going exactly down the path that you’d want her to, terrible smiles and all. The fact that she thinks of “Let’s find an interesting way to give the money back.” is just golden.

    All I can really say is “You need to watch more!” I think you’re really getting the charm of the show, and it really just keeps going in the same vein.

    • Overcooled says:

      Hehe thanks! Yes, the interactions are really enjoyable right now, so I don’t mind them pushing some of the nitty-gritty of the ReLIFE system out of the way for now in favour of more Hishiro antics. We’ll get to it when we get to it! But I can’t help but be curious

      That’s true, I think in most shows the quiet girl would cling exclusively to the MC guy in order to change before branching out to other people. Here, she does the noble thing and tries to just be a better person overall and makes friends wherever she can. That’s really sweet. And yes, her going through the effort of googling creative ways to give back money is also adorable. And then she probably had to practice to get the folding just right…

      Yes, I’m looking forward to more! I wasn’t expecting this shoe to perform at all, so I’m glad I switched from Cheer Danshi to this one. Sooo much better

      • Highway says:

        It’s certainly a show that doesn’t flash up the first episode, and it’s got the “usual high school setting” thing, but a show like this is why I always harp on characters over setting or fighting or story or anything else. ReLife is letting its characters decide which way they want to go, and it really gets those interactions between characters right, especially the “27-year old in a 18-year old body interacting with 18-year olds but remembering that he’s 27” thing. And I think you’re starting to see that even if Arata is the main face of the show, he certainly doesn’t hog the show. And the show doesn’t suffer for not having a main character out there leading the charge, because all of the characters hold the show together.

  2. skylion says:

    Yes, Hishiro is a fave character for so many reasons. By the third ep, if you aren’t completely smitten with her, you’re a very bad person…and you get no Christmas presents…
    …and just in case you were curious…

    • Overcooled says:

      She’s so good, I’d definitely befriend her!

      And of course LINE would do a tie-in after being (sort of) mentioned in the show. Cuuuute~

  3. Joojoobees says:

    > my heart also starts to drop a little as I realize that everyone will forget Arata after all this.

    Yeah, and I love the way they rub your face in this at the beginning of every episode. At the end of the OP we see Arata all alone in the classroom, then he magically disappears.

  4. ProtoSovereign says:

    Yeah, Its really quite sad when you think about he’ll be forgotten, as the op really likes to remind us. I think I used to smile like Hishiro when I had to take pictures…

  5. HannoX says:

    OC, I think you’re learning why those of us who marathoned the show did so. We just couldn’t get enough of it! One of the touches I like is that while Arata looks 17 he is 27 and his body isn’t as supple as it used to be. Which he learns the hard way in P.E.

    I’d like to say more about this wonderful show, but I can’t without risking spoilers and I don’t want to even put them behind spoiler tags. This is a show you should let unfold as the story progresses without peeking ahead by reading spoilers.

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      Lol, the first thing I did before even watching the show was spoil myself about certain character. Show ▼

    • Overcooled says:

      Yeah, it’s addictive haha. I thought it was interesting that his “body” is still technically 27 too, although he’s very out of shape for a 27 year old…

      I’ve been pretty good at avoiding spoilers so far, whew.

      • Highway says:

        I’ve rewatched this whole series three times. I just love it. I think it does gain something on rewatching.

      • Highway says:

        Oh, something else occurred to me: Nobody is talking about “How do they make their appearance switch back and forth?” And I think that’s because it doesn’t really matter, and you don’t care. Even though it’s a central device to the plot, they wave it away with “we have a drug that can do it, and we’re testing out the whole process” and we all completely buy it because even though it may be improbable, it’s at least not completely impossible that something could be developed in the next however many years.

        Plus, let’s be honest: 17-year old Arata and Ryo don’t look much different from 27-year old Arata and Ryo.

  6. Highway says:

    I did think of something that annoyed me with episode 3: The “OMG 27 is an old man!” thing. I realize that Arata hadn’t exactly been working out, but 27 is a lot closer to peak human performance now than 17 is. It’s not like he’s been sealed in a pod for 10 years. Maybe he hasn’t been super active, but he’s still been moving and walking and keeping himself trim. So they really overplayed it with “I threw my shoulder out!” especially. I’m sure he’s in better shape than I am at 45 (or was at 27, when I’d dislocated my right shoulder twice). I realize their playing it for laughs with him and Oga, but it was still a little annoying.

    • HannoX says:

      Yeah, it seemed a bit much to me as well. I don’t expect him to be as supple at 27 as at 17, so he could feel some stiffness, but they did overdo it.

      • Overcooled says:

        It bugged me too that he claimed 27 was some geezer age where he couldn’t even run without tripping. It made me feel old =_= …but also very strong in comparison.

        • ProtoSovereign says:

          …yeah somehow I can’t imagine 27 year olds being that derelict physically.

  7. Author says:

    Show ▼

    EDIT: Spoiler tags added by Highway, please be careful about intimating what is important.

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