Imagine that you are wafting in a sonorous orchestra by a maestro, with a cacophony of musical rhapsody, dripping in your ears to exorcise you from this mortal purgatory to a misty utopia. Suddenly, with the sound of a ambulance siren, you’re brought back to the banal reality and a burly gentleman advises, “Stop phasing out before my doorstep and get lost!”. What? Who? Why? When? This reaction was somewhat similar to what I felt upon seeing ReLIFE. My tout ensemble.
Enter, my hors d’oeuvre; the characters. The characters are undoubtedly one of the strongest forte of the anime. The main character, Kaizaki Arata, is a typical NEET, who tries to turn over a new leaf with the help of the ReLIFE laboratory.
He wishes, and is granted, a chance, with the story mainly revolving around his post-NEET life and interactions. But it would be unfair to deem him as the “only” main character. The queen of the hive here, is perhaps Kariu Rena. She Was Alive. She is a true human, with both the shades of the monochrome in her persona. A true student in all senses, she is the spitting portrayal of talent losing to genius. Like a protective mimosa, she keeps herself curled up, only to reveal herself to the warmth of her tomodachi.
Mimosa is perhaps a very apt comparison, for her story also unfolds like its leaves. Spoilers debarred, I’m afraid further description is difficult. Another important part here is played by Hishiro Chizuru whose character, and part, is “interesting.” Naturally shy and reticent, her relation with Kaizaki is developed subtly and smoothly, to bloom into a blossom in the later episodes — a relation fitting for its own leitmotif.
For the music, my own impressions are curt. The “ting-tong-ting-tung-ting-tong-ting-ton” set aside, I didn’t really take much notice of OSTs. The openings were passable, but the endings really stole the show. If the music of an anime is compared to the universe, the ending, or rather the “endings,” is the Sirius of ReLIFE, the brightest spot in the sky. Compared to other magus-grandiose of the world of anime ending, like FMAB or Monster, it would seem to be just an apprentice. But still, it is an experience which was unique to me, and I daresay that I don’t lack experience. See through the whole ending, I advise, else you’ll be missing a lot out.
For the story, I’ll be mirthless. It was lacking, it was rushed, it was incoherent. The story was awfully wanting of something better. It goes on like a gushing river, full of energy and vigor, and then suddenly catapults you into Sahara, dry and arid.
The ending was sudden, was tactless, was naked, and lustily depressing. It was one of the most abrupt endings I’ve ever seen. That is why I started as I did. Transmutation from a world of magic, to a pitfall. That was it. It did not let the story develop, it hampered the rest of the strong points, it did not even leave a proper conclusion for a sequel. Really, it was the “only” thing positively “wrong” with the anime.
In the end, ReLIFE was brilliant from start till the end. But its end really ruined everything. It pains me to see such potential wasted, but the only hope is the webcomic which is still running. Being patient as I am, I’m willing to give it a second chance, in hope that it’ll fulfill my desires. As bad as the ending seemed to me, I forgive it all due to its exceptionally strong characters who really tie the story together. Such character development was unique to me, and thus I withhold any conclusive judgment and recommend the reader to watch it, and decide for himself.