I would suspect that for the majority of us the idea of returning to our teenage years would be our idea of a nightmare, and probably given the chance we would decline. But that is exactly what the protagonist of ReLife - a twenty-seven-year old NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training.) called Arata Kaizaki is offered. Effectively having dropped out of society Kaizaki instead jumps at the chance, and is soon re-entering school as a seventeen-year-old.
I am relatively new to anime TV, the other series I’ve seriously watched are Fairy Tail, both iterations of Fullmetal Alchemist and Death Note. The reason I am stating this is because it became obvious watching this series that there are a couple of cultural differences between western and Japanese cultures that are perhaps important to grasp when watching ReLife. For instance at one point I got a little confused when Kaizaki said that he’d been at school a month, but it was May 1st. (Japanese school years apparently start in April.) Then of course there’s the fact that doing well I’m class goes hand-in-hand with popularity - this, of course I had picked up watching early episodes of Death Note, but it is still something important to register when watching ReLife.
The first two thirds of ReLife simply play around with the conceit of the initial idea of a twenty-seven year returning to High School. Looking the part, but with the mind, knowledge and experience of an adult. Such as the awkwardness of interacting with High School girls and the like. But it is in the last third where is gets interesting. At this point the events occurring at the High School start to uncover things in Kaizaki’s past which empower him to not only deal with what went on, but how to support the teenagers around him that have now become his friends.
The fact this change happens so late in the proceedings frustrates me, as it is at this point that I feel the series hits its stride, it’s got through the set up and is now running with it. It just ends too soon.
As many anime series it is based upon a Manga. In this case it is based on the first 100 chapters of a manga that I believe is still going on. I’m unsure how many chapters have now be published, but it is evident there is far more story to tell. We are going to have four more episodes in 2018, but I personally feel there is way more mileage here, so wonder not only why they are not carrying it on further, but also how on Earth they are going to wrap it up so quickly without shortchanging all of the characters. I will wait and see what they pull off before making my final judgement, but I must confess to being apprehensive.
Overall ReLife is a thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking series, I just hope it gets the send off it deserves.