Imagine you’re 27. This might be hard, unless you really are 27, but stay with me. Now take that clock off the wall and lets wind it backwards – say – 10 years. Now you sit, fresh-faced in a high-school classroom, a second chance at finishing on a high note and breaking into the workforce.
This is the premise of ReLIFE, and while it seems simple and almost dull, it’s executed so well that it’ll suck you in like New Year’s fireworks lighting up a clear night sky.
So what makes viewing on par with a glittering fireworks display? Well, there were two key touch points in ReLIFE that will have you bedazzled (what a great word). And just like happiness and the humble smiley face, they’re inextricably linked. I’m talking about characters and animation – facial animation, to be specific. Because who doesn’t love a good jaw-dropping moment (pun intended).
What’s most striking (besides your good looks) was just how raw and realistic the characters’ emotions felt. At no point did the characters or the dialogue that bounced between them feel contrived. They drew you in. When they’re were concerned you are too. When they feel awkward you feel awkward. And when a particular character receives his test results back and feels dumb, you’ll feel like the goddamn genius you are, because there’s no way your grades are anywhere near as low as his.
Kariu, Chizuru and main character Kaizaki Arata in particular had astounding character development throughout the series. Their growth was quick, but it felt well-founded, often triggered by simple yet incredibly engaging incidents. Similar to Harry Potter’s teen angst, these events are tumultuous and packed with raw emotion. So expect teary eyes and random shouting.
As you may expect from the random shouting, overall the tone is rather serious. However the incredible face animation brings fresh snaps of humour and lets you enjoy an awkward chuckle amidst the drama at play. I should add – the art was impressive too. But not quite as awe-inspiring as the underlying life lessons that ReLIFE teaches. While the events at play are enthralling, they’re also deep and thought provoking – letting you take away and learn from them.
To put it simply, when you watch ReLIFE you’ll feel connected – like a puzzle piece that glides into place. Be ready to go beyond the superficial. Be ready to laugh, for your mind to be expanded, and for your emotions to go a little haywire.
Thank you for reading my review!