“The story follows Kaizaki Arata, a 27-year-old jobless man, who fails at every job interview he had after quitting his last company. His life changes after he met Yoake Ryou of the ReLife Research Institute, who offered him a drug that can change his appearance to 17-years-old and to become a subject in an experiment for one year. Thus, he begins his life as a high school student once more.”
The story is small scale and self contained with a fairly fresh concept in terms of how it’s been done within anime. The rules set up on how the ReLife experiment works are interesting and the world building while simple is great hinting on a larger story behind the works.
It’s also a relatable idea for many people , since I’m sure a lot of you would be glad for the opportunity to change how your high school experience played out. It’s an anime with the power to make you daydream within its world.
This show is listed as “ high school comedy/slice of life “ by anime networks but it’s unlike any comedy set in a high school I’ve seen so far. It uses the setting in a completely different manner with the MC being a 27 year old and someone who’s lived through high school before the jokes play off of that , him forgetting basic rules , being confused by school politics and bringing his cigarettes into class. This different direction is aided not only by the genius script-writing which allows our main character to look into the dynamics of modern high school life through the outside but also by the amazing sense of pacing and delivery of punch-lines. Anime humour at it’s most shallow is lightning fast with every feature overtly-exaggerated , ReLife as I see it has the pacing and comedic structure of a typical western comedy with the joke being set up over time and allowing the viewer to guess the punch-line as it comes in the style of Charlie Chaplin. That’s not to say that it lacks speed , when the punch-lines rolls in the animation moves along-side with a breakneck speed and is a superb accompaniment to the written humour.
The OP is fairly standard and visually tame , it sets up the cast and covers the bases that the story will touch on , but that’s about it fairly run-of-the mill stuff. Same goes for the ED.
The sound-design ( something I don’t usually praise since its job is to blend into the background) is very tight with the animation and SFX cuing up at an almost 1:1 timing in a unusual twist I’d have to say the sound engineering of SFX is far superior to the actual OST which is extremely lazy.
The voice actor for Kaizaki ( Kensho Ono ) who some of you might recognize as Slaine from Gen Urobuchi Aldnoah Zero series does a fantastic job breathing life into the character and giving him a wide range of emotion and expression.
The direction features some really interesting cuts and shots to both amplify the humour and to liven up the rather tame setting of a high school. The director Satoru Kosaka hasn’t handled an entire anime series before ReLife focusing on stand-alone movies and single episodes , and you can really see him trying to implement his own style into the animation with unique shots and livening up standard ones that have been used for years.
The art is very clean with a pleasant sharpie-style , it’s fairly muted for the most part but livens up and can be particularly impressive around the comedic segments. Experimenting with different effects and angles.
The colouring is very bold with minimal shading which compliments the line style of drawing and is pleasant to look at giving the show a welcoming feeling.
The MC is one of my favorites these last few season he has a wide range of emotions and characteristics and is extremely believable , he reacts to the world and situations in a relatable manner and his ongoing internal monologue is the highlight of most episodes for me.
The side characters aren’t bad either , they all have distinct and colorful personalities while still remaining interesting. There chemistry between each other and the main character are believable but still they’re all weaker than Kaizaki himself.
Character designs are plain and have clean designs with none of the typical anime traits i.e enormous purple hair , it’s fitting since they’re just meant to be regular high school students. Despite that I fear that only Kaizaki is distinct enough in both design and personality to stand-out and be instantly recognized.
Despite some later bumps in the story-telling ReLife manages to keep a consistent level of good animation, lovable characters, hilarious comedy and a decent amount of intrigue all throughout the 13 episode run time. I’d recommend it almost anyone looking for a great comedy with a small amount of commitment involved.
Despite the show ending on a definite note I think the world is established well enough to allow a second season following a different character in a different setting breaking away from the manga. So far the show has enjoyed enough critical acclaim to see a good possibility of a season 2 being funded , all though as almost always it’s still in the hands of the blu-ray and DVD sales.