ReLIFE – 04

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Raising the wrong kinds of flags here

Slowly but surely, I’m making my way through the series. I feel a bit like someone playing a game that came out 5 years ago and having people cheer me on as I finally get around to playing it.

It’s time to shift the focus a little bit away from Hishiro and Arata, and address the issues with Kariu. I’d say that’s a good idea considering that Hishiro, Arata, An and Oga don’t actually have any real “problems” in their life right now. Arata, for a guy who was suddenly flung into a 17 year old body and shuffled off to highschool, is doing quite a stellar job of fitting in. So far, so good. On the other hand, Kariu has been rather bitter about life since her first introduction. I wouldn’t call her mean, as she wordlessly lends her pencil to the smoker weirdo next to her. However, her thoughts are easily clouded by her own pessimism, which puts her in a constant state of despair.

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Hishiro’s not the only one with resting bitch face

Simply put, Kariu is a competitive perfectionist. She judges her self-worth exclusively based on how she compares to other. Getting 99% on a test is only meaningful to her if no one else gets 100%. Anything less than perfect is a total failure. This means that as soon as anyone threatens her superiority, she gets depressed. Interestingly, she doesn’t necessarily hate the person who has surpassed her, as you can see with her and Honoka. Instead, she directs all that frustration inwards and calls herself a loser. It’s a vicious cycle that almost guarantees that she’ll never be satisfied with her own performance. The worst part is, this thought pattern is all her own doing.

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Oh hey, Honoka is basically me

This episode, we finally see her crumble under all the stress she’s pretty much been bringing upon herself. She goes from being noble (such as saying she lost to Hishiro during the exam period simply because she studied harder, not because she was sick) to being malicious and vengeful. It was a tense moment when she was looking at the bag and deciding whether or not to take it. I enjoyed it thoroughly, especially her nervous conversation with Arata on the stairs. But then things got a little too melodramatic when Kariu ran, fell and then got (sort of) caught by Arata. It was a little too much for what otherwise felt like a natural yet ~scandalous~ scene.

I know I should probably make this a 2-part post, but I’m running a little short for time and I think this is actually quite a nice cliffhanger to stop at. I want to talk about Kariu at her worst right now because I feel like in episode 5 she’s going to start a different phase. My guess is that she’ll either repent for her crime or just enter a different state of depression where she now hates herself for becoming a thief. But for now, it’s nice to see her precisely at the moment she reached her breaking point – especially since it’s been building up since episode 1.

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Something I really like about ReLIFE is that it’s not restricted in who the story focuses on. Arata hardly does anything this episode except mediate the opposing forces of Kariu and Hishiro the best he can. This allows the story to properly go into depth with Kariu without shoehorning Arata in. If this were a typical harem show, Kariu would be confiding all these worries to Arata and getting closer to him in the process. But since this isn’t that kind of show (and I’m still so, so happy and in awe that it isn’t), Kariu bottles it all up inside, which is a big part of why it consumes her so deeply. And no one can get her to change her thought pattern because they don’t even realize just how badly she’s beating herself up. Her friends all treat her nicely and all, they just don’t see the bigger picture. And Kariu isn’t making it easy for them to notice, either.

Episode 5…soon!

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Kitty loves Metanya~rn

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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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7 Responses to “ReLIFE – 04”

  1. skylion says:

    Something I really like about ReLIFE is that it’s not restricted in who the story focuses on. Arata hardly does anything this episode except mediate the opposing forces of Kariu and Hishiro the best he can. This allows the story to properly go into depth with Kariu without shoehorning Arata in

    They’re done really well with the seamless transition of these characters as merely “supporting” to part of the true ensemble cast. This still gives Arata that “first of equals” status, since the story started with him without sacrificing the other’s development.

  2. Joojoobees says:

    Not getting all Harem was truly a great thing for this show. It makes the story seem much more real to me. The characters don’t seem to exist merely to fall onto the MC, even if that does happen in this episode. Kariu’s moral quandary is darker without being comically villain as a result.

  3. Highway says:

    I loved the way Kariu’s thoughts just kept running away from her, no matter what she tried to do to corall them. And then the main reason that she gets so angry at Hishiro isn’t anything that Hishiro has done, it’s the extreme meaning that Kariu has put on the Silver Pin. You’re entirely right that it’s all pressure that she’s put on herself, like she needs to justify her spot next to Oga, even though she could just tell him how she feels about him. No, it’s gotta be this big roundabout way of getting there.

    And I thought her “fall” here was wonderfully written. A terrible idea just as the opportunity presents itself, something she’d never have thought of, just as she’s entered her blackest mood yet (and that one scene wipe with the darkness spreading around her was great). But as great as this episode was, I really like the next one better. 🙂

  4. ProtoSovereign says:

    Kariu is like a walking problem factory, she has problems being bottling up all her anxieties and is thus prone to downward spiraling but I can’t hate her for all her faults. Her faults are just all too real.

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      Just to clarify usually having similar faults to Kariu will get a character shoehorned into the tsundere category and played for drama/ and or laughs but ReLife does it seriously and realistically which really makes a big difference.

  5. Author says:

    Glad that someone is enjoying the show… Although, since METANORN’s site feed is broken, I didn’t realize it. I hope you keep this up, because I need a control sample of someone who didn’t read the manga. Not going to spoil it,

    Show ▼

    EDIT by skylion: an opinion on the ending is by default a form of spoiler

    • ProtoSovereign says:

      Lol Author, did you read the manga first? I watched the anime first then read about 30 chapters of the manga.

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