ReLife is an anime about a NEET, Not Employed, in Education, or Training named Kaizaki Arata. He is 27, and fakes having a fulltime job to his friends while holding down a part time job and receiving money from his parents.
Just as his parents were cutting off the money a stranger appears and offers Kaizaki a year of paid expenses. All he has to do is take a pill and re-enter high school in the ReLife Program, a program designed to rehabilitate NEETs. The pill shaves 10 years off of Kaizaki appearance and he goes to school.
Well a 27 year old has been out of school for a while so those habits, such as bringing pencils, and leaving your cigarettes at home, are conveniently absent from Kaizaki mind. So its fair to say his first day is a wash.
As he is getting chewed out by the teacher for having cigarettes, Kaizaki has an intense flashback about a faceless woman. She doesn’t hurt him but its unclear if the flashbacks are his own memory, or a side effect to the ReLife pill.
The ReLife ‘handler’, as he calls himself is a short blonde boy named Yoake. He too has taken the ReLife pill to observe Kaizaki participate in the experiment. He is mysterious, appearing in the middle of the night at first. Later he becomes Kaizaki classmate, and enjoys watching him struggle. His eyes are always closed as if he is smiling, but its an uncomfortable kind of smile. I wouldn’t want to be alone with him in a dark alley. At one point Kaizaki was complaining, Yoake sprouted a dark blue aura.. Kinda demon-y.
The inner monologues in this episode were quite frequent. As the main character is easily 10 years older than his classmates he has no one to talk to yet, so monologing is the only way he speaks. He asks himself questions such as is it even legal for him to be friends with high schoolers, and how he would remember classmates names, or what to do now that he had forgotten a pencil for taking tests.
His reactions seem to be quite honest, with him easily showing nervous behaviour or embarrassment. Kaizaki blushes, a lot. Granted it is because he is put in awkward situations being 27 around a bunch of 17 year olds, but with a 17 year olds body, its quite adorable.
The art style shifts for a second when Kaizaki is embarrassed or awkward. One example is when he felt defeated, the lines became super thick and jagged, but only for a moment. The shifts do a good job of reflecting the emotion, and keep the scene interesting. Other times when Kaizaki is feeling stupid the art becomes super simple, almost Chibi like for a moment.
On the topic of backgrounds, they are often static with motionless characters. They are often outline-less and a bit blurry. A couple scenes had a branch in the foreground, which was blurry because the ‘camera’ was focussed on the people past the branch.
The music was jazzy, with pianos and other soft percussion instruments. The music was ongoing throughout the episode, the tune changed from scene to scene. In a restaurant the adequate amount of restaurant noise was added. Occasionally the music would be as loud as the inner monologue, making me grateful for subtitles.
Other than the music being loud at some points, I cant think of anything negative. The anime did not blow me out of the water, but it hit all of the points it needed to. I really like the transparency of the main character, his emotions coming right on his face. I am curious to see how the ‘handler’ will play a role, and if his role gets darker as the experiment continues.
Since the experiment ends in 1 year, Im assuming the pill wears off and Kaizaki returns to being a 27 years old. What happens to the friends he made while ’17’? Do their memories become erased? Is their fate the dark secret of the series? Watch and find out!