First Impressions time! Luckily for me Ace Attorney takes a break this week so I’m able to churn a bunch of these out before it returns with the start of the 2nd game. I’m moving back to Japan on the 23rd so I doubt I’ll actually blog anything this season – although if anything’s good enough I might just do a batch review of the first 4-5 episodes after I get internet in my new place there.

This screenshot is so different in tone to the rest of the episode.

Kaizaki Arata is 27 and things aren’t looking good for him life-wise. The only job he was able to get he quit after 3 months because it wasn’t for him, and he fails his only other job interview after they find this out. To make matters worse, his mother is sick of giving him money and finally tells him that he needs to survive on his own and grow up.
Conveniently, right after he received this phone call he meets a strange man named Yoake Ryo, who represents something called the ReLIFE agency. Yoake tells him that if he agrees to participate in an experiment, the agency will pay all his expenses for a year – offering him a small blue and white pill. Half because he’s so desperate for money and half because he’s slightly drunk, Kaizaki agrees. The next day he wakes up after having swallowed the pill – without actually remembering doing it – to find that his appearance has changed to how he looked 10 years ago as a teenager.

Yoake comes to explain to him the nature of the experiment again – he needs to live as a high school student again for one year, all expenses paid. His transfer has already been organised to a certain high school and all he has to do is show up. He explains that the year should hopefully help to give him a fresh start in life and a second chance. Kaizaki’s first day back at school as a grown man in a teenagers body does not go well, though – he’s forgotten how algebra works and he gets busted by the teacher for having cigarettes in his bag. The other students are already regarding him as some kind of idiot delinquent, but there are a few who seem like they might become his friends.

It’s our good friend Brock McDoesntOpenEyes!

The first thing I noticed that amused me about ReLIFE is the fact that it airs on the exact same day as another show I’m going to review called ReWrite. The second thing I noticed was that when I went to watch the first episode, crunchyroll had 13 episodes of the show up already. For a moment I thought there must be a mistake on the anime season chart and what I was supposed to review was season 2 of a show that already aired in the past and I’d somehow missed it in a previous batch of first impression allocations. But…no. All 13 episodes of ReLIFE were dumped online in one day. Why? I have no goddamn idea. It’s apparently based on a webmanga, but that doesn’t really explain anything. Did they think ”hey a lot people who read webcomics binge-read them in one hit, I bet they want to do that with the anime too!” I’ve never seen this happen with an anime before unless it was dumped all at once by a licenser after it had finished. Not on the first/second day of the new season. Regardless, if anyone sincerely expects me to review all 13 episodes as a first impression haha very funny how about no.
Anyway, on to the show itself.

When I read the synopsis on the new season chat I expected something a lot more dark, pretentious and navel-gazely, but this first episode was mostly just school comedy. It’s vaguely amusing at first – and it makes you wonder what you’d be like if you were suddenly sent back to highschool (well, it did for me at least, being the same age as Kaizaki) but it kinda gets old pretty fast. It’s an interesting concept, but there’s not much evidence yet that the show is doing all that much with it.

At first, I really empathised with Kaizaki – being the same age and being almost just as directionless – but he doesn’t really seem to have much of a personality at all beyond ‘some dude’. It’s also just a little creepy how excited he gets at the prospect of being able to ‘legally’ talk to high school guys. Dude, you’re at least 10 years older than them. Don’t make this weird. But I was at least glad to see there’s already romance flags being planted for the young homeroom teacher, so if it decides to go on any romance route (which is likely – as, like I said, all the episodes were posted at once and the last one is called ‘confession’) I hope its with her and not one of the students.

The characters aren’t really good or bad, they’re just ‘pleasantly dull’. To be honest, ‘pleasantly dull’ sums up this whole show. The art is relatively bland and doesn’t stand out, the animation neither good nor terrible, the plot is vaguely interesting enough to not be too boring while familiar enough to threaten to be, and the overall experience I would say is ‘whelming’ – neither under nor over. The only thing that really stuck out to me as actually bad as opposed to average was the music. It doesn’t really sound like how background music should sound in an anime. It sounds like someone running a bunch of random piano samples in Garage Band. Is that what it actually is? I wouldn’t be surprised.

There is one rather interesting mention at the end of the episode of a ‘failed test subject’ from the previous year, so the story could end up more serious than it appears on the surface. It’s kinda weird to think that I could just find out right now if I really wanted to, I mean the episodes are all just there already. And maybe I will some day, but right now this first episode didn’t really do enough to pull me in.

I think this girl has the best design of the characters shown so far but it’s still a little on the bland side.

Out of 5,