Arata Kaizaki is a single unemployed 27 year old guy who pretends to have a job while in reality is living off his parents’ money while making ends meet using part time jobs. One such day, after drinking with a friend, he receives a message from his parents that his allowance will be cut off. Before he could even recover from the shock, a guy named Ryou Yoake offers him a chance to work as an experimental subject for RELife laboratories and must use a pill that will make him 17 again to attend high school for an year. His expenses would paid off for the year and a job will be offered to him later on. Drunk and cornered, he accepts the job and wakes up to find himself young and handsome again. Thus begins his new school life, which he intends to pass passively without attracting any attention. But little does he know that his friendly attitude is going to affect him and his new friends more than he could imagine.
A guy given a second chance to relive his school days so he could fix his current lifestyle, I know that you are imagining, 17 again, yeah the movie has some miner similarities to the show but trust me, RELife is completely fresh and different.
Its like comparing Satoshi Kon's Paprika to Inception.
For those of you who don’t know what 17 again is, it is a Hollywood movie having similar theme to RELife but follows a different story. Now if you are not new to anime, you might have already guessed that there is bound to be ecchi and harem in this show, but fortunately, you are wrong. Believe me, when I read the synopsis, I also thought that this was going to be an ecchi anime with perverted jokes and that the MC will be a lolicon or a pedo. But RELife is anything but that. What we have is a really well paced story that has NO FANSERVICE, NO HAREM and NO LOLIs. It has a very unique and challenging theme, and trust me, it is very well done. The story begins with a normal looking guy dressing up for going out with friends and throws light on who Kaizaki is and what type of person he is but before getting boring or predictable, it immediately introduces a sudden change of pace and twists to keep it interesting. The first episode is enough to tell you what kind of anime it is going to be. I like the fresh plot and the tension it creates every now and then while providing room for a lot of funny and laughable moments.
Their are quite a few characters in RELife and all of them are given enough screen time (Considering that RELife is only 13 episodes long). And even better thing is that their is some nice character development both for the main and the side characters. Our MC is Kaizaki Arata, an unemployed 27 year old guy who lost his job after a tragic incident. I was expecting him to be more of an anti-social guy considering that RELife program works to improve lives of Shut-ins. But Kaizaki turned out to be a friendly and open person who could easily talk to other people. Despite him saying that he is selfish and would love to pass his new high-school year while staying under the radar, he makes friends on his first day of school and throughout the course of the anime, works to help and guide them. He has some solid character development, but frankly it was more like him turning back to his normal original self who was lost somewhere when a tragic incident took place at his workplace.
I’ll try to keep descriptions of other characters limited to a line or two. Hishiro Chizuru is classmate of Kaizaki, she is quit and shy person who doesn’t have any friends and is the topper of the class. Oga Kazuomi is another classmate of Kaizaki, he is smart, helpful and a really cheerful person but is a total idiot when it comes to understanding others’ feelings. Kariu Rena is also a classmate of Kaizaki, she is a topper type of girl and has typical tsundere characteristics. Onoya An is a transfer student who sucks in academics and gets along pretty well with Kaizaki considering that both of them fail the exams and like to gossip during study time. Yoaka Ryo is Kaizaki’s assistant and handler and a researcher in RELife Labs, he is also in the same class as Kaizaki and is a very funny person.
The art in RELife is amazing with well detailed background and really funny expressions on characters’ faces. The music is also top notch with decent Opening theme and really good background piano music that plays whenever anything important is happening.
For the sake of the review, I have to list some negative aspects of the show. Although RElife was a blast, it had its drawbacks. The first one might be the length of the show, a good anime like RElife deserves to be longer than the 13 episodes it got. The second thing I hated in this anime (along with most other anime) is the crying scenes. Why can’t they let the characters cry in a normal manner without those loud screams that make one cringe harder than those stupid SJW cringe compilation videos. I understand that there are people out there who like some good drama but drama is not equal shitty crying scenes that destroy any impression that particular character made on me. I have never seen any girl or boy of that age cry like a baby in front of other people. Atleast try to keep it real.
Other than the minor flaw I listed above, RElife turned out to be pretty good. Even better thing was that all the episodes were released on the same day so I did not have to wait 7 days for upcoming episodes. RELife came like a breeze, and quietly made its impact while other anime released in the same season are still fighting for success. The story kind of ends in a cliffhanger so that does leave scope for a season 2.
I loved the story, the humor, the romance and the drama of RElife, for me it was a nice experience. If you want quality story with quality execution, go watch RElife.
Who would watch RELife?
Slice of Life, Drama fans will surely like RElife. Ecchi lords will surely be disappointed though.