First Impressions – ReLIFE


Neo, it’s time to take a pill and wake up from the Matrix

ReLIFE is an odd duck. Instead of airing week-by-week, the whole series just got dumped onto the internet all at once. Some of you may have already marathoned the whole thing, while others of you may not have even clicked play on the first episode. Everyone will be at different viewing stages, so please remember to put any spoilers under spoiler tags!

ReLIFE is kinda like ERASED mixed with Re:Zero. Okay, wait, that’s a very lazy way to explain it. ReLIFE is a show about a downtrodden 27 year-old NEET being given the chance to relive high school. However, he doesn’t actually break the space-time continuum and go back in time to take algebra class all over again. Instead, he physically turns his body back into that of a 17 year old while keeping his mind in tact. It makes it a lot less confusing to unravel any weird butterfly effect events that would happen due to tampering events whilst time traveling. This allows for more focus on the journey itself as opposed to jumping ahead and wondering what the consequences will be for the future. We can focus on the here and now…and the here and now is quite good.


He’s got his fair share of demons

ReLIFE had a great starting episode that shows off a lot of potential for future episodes. However, I found that I did feel a little iffy about this method of going back to high school. First of all, the way it starts is far too sketchy. All Arata has to do is drunkenly swallow a pill some shady guy offers him in an alleyway and then sign a bunch of papers. While it sounds cool at first, and I admire the simplicity, it does seem a bit odd. It’s more like this happened because it was a convenient way to jump into the plot.

Furthermore, how is he going to actually fix things in his life and get a job if he’s not really going back in time to redo that last year of high school? If it’s just a matter of changing his outlook on life, I think there would be easier ways than developing what could be a multi-billion dollar pill to reverse aging. Like…therapy? Wouldn’t that do the exact same thing except cheaper, less sketchy, and less potentially dangerous? I’m not sure I see the point of redoing another year of high school other than making friends, which is something he could do in much easier ways.

ReLIFE seems to have that small hole in the base concept, but it’s not enough to completely throw off the good forward momentum the first episode picks up. I’m also a bit optimistic that later episodes (yes, I’m honestly waiting to see them one-by-one) will explain this concept more deeply, and perhaps give us a good reason why reliving the last year of highschool is particularly meaningful. I hope the reason isn’t “because the directors know having cute high school girls means instant blu-ray sales”.


Well, at least he’s fitting in with those that are “his age”

Otherwise, ReLIFE has a surprisingly strong start. It does a good job introducing Arata as a bit of a bum who can’t even admit his own failures to his friends and family. I immediately felt sorry for the dude. There are lots of subtle hints at bad things that may have happened, like the way they suggest the reason he quit his job is actually extremely significant to understanding why he became like this. All the side characters are also introduced in a way that efficiently tells us their personality, and hints at potential ways Arata will interact with them. For example, he clearly feels respect for the young teacher who managed to get a job and I imagine that angle will continue be played upon and developed. I’m also interested in the other transfer student, who could very well be another ReLIFEr. Maybe any budding romances will be less pedophilic if it turns out they were also 27 all along.

It’s a shame this didn’t end up releasing week-by-week, because there’s quite a bit of allure to the little mysteries behind ReLIFE as well as the issues all the side characters (and Arata) secretly face. I’ll talk more about the rest of the cast next time when I have more to work off of, since this episode was mostly about Arata getting his feet wet.

The concept of reversing age physically in order to rehabilitate NEETs is a little shaky if you think about it too long. Why NEETs? Why not people with depression? Why not 50 year old dudes going through a mid-life crisis from their tedious office job? Also, how is this helping in a way that something easier wouldn’t be able to achieve? It’s all a little odd. I will admit that it’s a great set-up for a high school comedy with some drama, because there’s less worrying about the itty-bitty nitty-gritty of a sci-fi aspect (although maybe we’ll got here with how the pill works). ReLIFE is a solid show with a good hook as long as you don’t question it too much. But then again, anything where a pill magically makes you 10 years younger probably shouldn’t be compared to cold, hard reality too closely.

In terms of how I’ll cover this, I’ll do it episode by episode unless I find there is a that would go well together in one post. It’ll be hectic, so you’ll never know when I’m posting! Don’t you just love surprises?


Even Ryou is blogging about ReLIFE


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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19 Responses to “First Impressions – ReLIFE”

  1. HannoX says:

    I marathoned the whole thing, so I’m not going to make any comments to avoid spoiling it for others except to say I recommend it. Yes, it has some problems like Overcooled pointed out and a couple not mentioned, but it’s still a good watch.

  2. Highway says:

    I’ve finished the series as well, even though I intended to watch it more slowly. Around episodes 3 and 4 I realized I really liked it. I’ll also say that some of OC’s “plot holes” are explained away (well, sometimes kinda handwavey, but whaddaya want?).

    I’ll say that I would love to see more of this show. So you guys should watch it! Then we can discuss!

    • HannoX says:

      It is addictive, isn’t it? That’s why I marathoned it.

    • Overcooled says:

      Oh man, everyone’s gonna be done watching already and I’ll be the one left in the dark as I blog lol. I’m glad they try and explain things a little more in the episodes to come. It doesn’t have to be a bulletproof explanation, but just a little more justification would make it more plausible for me. Should be good!

  3. ProtoSovereign says:

    Yup I also marathoned it :D. I look forward to your next post Overcooled. Show ▼

  4. zztop says:

    The surnames of most of the characters are based on regional Japanese train stations.
    Like Yoake Station:
    Kaizaki Station:

    The source webmanga’s still ongoing at about 130+ chapters currently. The anime covered roughly the 1st 100 chapters.

    • Highway says:

      For those who subscribe, the manga is licensed in English on Crunchyroll, which has up through Volume 5 (83 chapters).

  5. Highway says:

    Something that isn’t spoilery but I found fun was that the show uses a lot of older songs as the ED, like they’re in Kaizaki’s personal MD collection.

    I also really like the part in the OP where Hishiro messes up the folk dance and ends up switching parts and then looks surprised when faced with An.

  6. Author says:

    What is so “pedophilic” about romancing a 17-year-old, coming up to 18? There may be some issues with a juvenile not being ready for a serious relationship, but the way that phrase was framed really raises my shackles because it raises the spectre of the moral panic gripping this hopeless society. In general, the way Americans are intent on treating young adults as effective children is terrible, and the 21 year old drinking limit is just the tip of this iceberg. These inclinations form the shaky foundations for the awful “child pornography” laws, which do nothing to stop exploitation of children and everything to ruin lives of anime and manga enthusiasts. And that is the reason why otaku should buy into the “pedophilia” scare the least among the public. At least have some self-preservation sense.

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