ReLIFE – 11

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I love getting texts from sentient apples too

It’s been a while since I’ve written about only 1 episode at a time. I wasn’t sure if the “finale” would be a 3-part thing or not, so I went ahead and watched episode 12 to see. Nope, this is pretty much a stand-alone, Arata-centric episode.

I’ve been incredibly pleased with ReLIFE for its ability to make every character feel like an equally important person with their own, unique hold on the overarching storyline. Characters can easily be defined outside of how they relate to Arata – which are two things that can be very hard to disentangle in harem shows where the girls only exist to be tantalizing to the main character. ReLIFE is very much not a harem show, and it’s taken a lot of time and care into developing relationships that don’t involve Arata. It’s quite impressive. As a result of this, we’ve taken a bit of a long time to learn about Arata’s past. This is a welcome approach to storytelling, as his story is just another piece in the puzzle that this show has been diligently putting together all along.

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“I’ll inject this coffee directly into your brain to maximize your productivity”

This episode is very, very direct in how it explains Arata’s issues and how he’s coping with them. Most of the insight we get is from Yoake, who just repeats information he researched on his own time for the benefit of the audience. The rest, Arata says outright or communicates through flashbacks. A lot of it is repetition, but that’s because we’ve only seen snippets here and there – never the full story. It felt a little monotonous at time to go over the same stuff again, so I can’t say I was totally entertained this week for a lot of it. Ah well, at least everything is crystal clear now.

Long story short, the new info we get on top of what we knew last week is that Arata was working like a dog for a black company and that his co-workers will still dicks even after Arata’s senpai committed suicide. This lead Arata to ragequit his job because everyone was so callous about a death that they indirectly caused. I liked the added touch that he couldn’t even tighten his necktie because it reminded him of a noose. Basically, this whole sequence of shitty life events shows us why Arata became the guy he was when Yoake found him.

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On a side note, I’m not sure why quitting your job after 3 months is such a big deal that it means no one in your field wants to ever hire you afterwards. I know getting a job overall can be tough, which is why he only found a convenience store gig, but it’s framed in a way where it seems like the whole reason Arata wasn’t hired was because he quit. It’s weird. Arata was hired to this shady-ass black company with zero experience in the first place…isn’t 3 months of experience even better than that? Shouldn’t his chances be even better now? Maybe it’s more of a faux-pas if you’re in the business industry in Japan, but in that case I would just leave it off of my resume and say I have no experience. That also stops employers from calling his terrible boss for a reference.

Getting back on track, I think it was about time for us to see the adult Arata again as a reminder of who he really is (and what life he will inevitably return to once this experiment is over). He was able to speak to Yoake as an adult without having to lie. He can’t talk about his 27-year-old life with his classmates, so this is his only chance to vent. Just admitting he wanted to go see his senpai’s grave was probably hard enough, because he knew it would lead to a waterfall of probing questions.

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I thought Arata had come to peace with meddling in affairs after what he and Hishiro did for Honoka. Guess not. I thought he’d wrap things up by going to the grave, but they oversold it by having some kouhai pour their hearts out to him. It felt contrived to see his lingering pain healed by some randos passing by in a graveyard. This isn’t a light issue either. It’s the whole reason Arata is in this mess. To have it be solved by outsiders in this off-the-cuff manner felt wrong.

I was with the concept of this episode at first, but then things got repetitive, and Arata got over his trauma with the help of a conveniently orchestrated meeting. It felt like it was too wary of the audience, like it knew we were all waiting for info on Arata so it was all dumped in this one episode. The whole meeting with the kouhai felt forced, but that’s also because Yoake literally forced this meeting to happen. It’s presented with a knowing nod and wink, but that doesn’t make me feel any less put off by it. Still, in the end, we got the info we wanted and now Arata is just a little bit more prepared to move on after the experiment is over.

I took a sneak peak at the next episode, and it’s quite the surprise. Arata really doesn’t know how to be the star of his own show. See you next time for the final 2 episodes!

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An promises not to not meddle

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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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15 Responses to “ReLIFE – 11”

  1. Joojoobees says:

    I think you nailed this episode. 1) Japanese business culture (at least as presented in anime) is unreasonably harsh. Any deviation from consistency and parochial norms is seen as unacceptable. 2) The scene with the kohais felt improbable. 3) The way this anime’s plot works, we needed to resolve Arata’s back story, in preparation for the finale.

    • Overcooled says:

      It’s pretty cutthroat that quitting your job means you’re essentially dead to the business world, yikes.

      Yeah, some improbable scenes but we needed this to be resolved for completion’s sake, pretty much.

  2. Highway says:

    I don’t have a problem, like I said last week, with the “yeah, we told you some of this stuff before, but here’s more of the story” type of storytelling. It usually makes me feel like a story is comfortable enough in itself to realize it can build upon its own story without feeling that the audience is going to bail on it, and that confidence makes the story seem better to me.

    And I wasn’t turned off by the “coincidence” setups that they used, although there’s very little the show could do to turn me off. Arata has been dancing to the tune from the ReLife corporation the whole time, and I don’t know that An suggested to the two kouhais that they go, or just investigated to see if they were going. I also don’t know if this was as much of a turning point for Arata as just confirmation for him. Like Yoake said, “isn’t it good to find out?”

    And I was thinking that the culture parts were probably spot on. It seemed like Arata has gotten a pretty useless graduate degree, and had a hard time finding *any* job after college (which he didn’t want to leave anyway), and ended up at that crappy company. And I’d imagine that managers at other companies don’t want to hear a new hire say “Oh, that other company was crappy and didn’t care about their workers enough for me” because they’re probably all thinking they’re about the same. So Arata’s a potential troublemaker, and not a good risk in a situation where employees are apparently easy to get.

    • Overcooled says:

      I like the concept, I’m just a little too impatient to actually enjoy it lol.

      Yeah, I guess it just didn’t work for me. They may not have completely fixed everything for Arata, but like 5 minutes ago he was standing at a grave wondering if he did the right thing….and then all of a sudden he tells the kouhai that he absolutely made the right choice. It was weird for me. However, I do see that this could just be more of a confirmation that kind of helped him make the final step. He’s been doing a lot of growing up until now.

      Man, japanese corporate life is hard!!!

      • HannoX says:

        I think you’re giving too much to his meeting with the kouhai. I think it’s more likely that as time has passed he’s been subconsciously working through the suicide of his senpai and his overall experience at his former company. And the time he’s spent and the bonds he’s forged with his classmates also have been helping him. The meeting with the kouhai was merely the trigger that allowed it all to jell for him and allowed him to move on from a rotten period in his life.

      • Highway says:

        They may not have completely fixed everything for Arata, but like 5 minutes ago he was standing at a grave wondering if he did the right thing….and then all of a sudden he tells the kouhai that he absolutely made the right choice.

        I think what you talk about is actually pretty authentic as far as how people decide things. He could have been really close to thinking it was the right thing to do, and having people tell him that it mattered could easily have tipped the scales. It’s not like he was adamant that he was wrong before and then changed his mind.

  3. Rathje says:

    In all fairness, the meeting with the juniors did NOT resolve everything in the manga version. It helped. But I got zero sense that he was healed or “over it” from the meeting.

    And later in the manga, events and reactions demonstrate firmly that it is definitely not resolved yet.

    • Overcooled says:

      Oh wow, guess they didn’t have time for everything. Interesting! Is there still a lot of the manga that hasn’t been adapted into anime yet? Like enough for another season?

      • Highway says:

        I don’t think there is, I think the anime goes through (what would be) volume 6 (when it’s released). But they’re not that much further than that as written. Maybe in another year or so.

    • HannoX says:

      I haven’t read the manga so it looks like my comment above about his being able to move on wasn’t correct.

      • Highway says:

        It’s the kind of thing that you don’t just “get over it”, to be fair. But he’s doing better now than he was before. Just going on and living is what’s helping him, and that’s the point of including him in the ReLife program.

        • HannoX says:

          He may feel he’s put it behind him. However, from what I understand about trauma months or even years later something can trigger a return. So maybe that’s what happens in the manga because the anime left us thinking he is moving on from it.

  4. ProtoSovereign says:

    Sometimes I forget Arata is a traumatized guy 😛

  5. Author says:

    It didn’t seem to me that Arata was failing in the job hunt because of his short employment duration alone. What actually happened in the interviews was that his short stint prompted natural questions as to what happened, and he could not explain it satisfactorily. Could not even maintain the conversation afterward. Once he started getting over it, he’s grown a significant gap in the employment history. So, it does not seem like an evidence of unduly harsh business environment (although we get plenty of said evidence elsewhere).

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