Far from sober and lamenting his failure at finding a full-time job, Kaizaki Arata wanders home from a local bar, only to bump into Yoake Ryou: a strange man with a strange proposition. Ryou offers him a drug, and the opportunity to turn his life around. Drunk and desperate, he takes the pill, which transforms his 27 year old appearance into that of someone ten years younger. With promises of a job at the end of the experiment, Arata has to infiltrate a high school and act as a regular student for a year. But unfortunately for him, it’s not as easy as it looks.
I’d originally dismissed this series as jumping onto the time-bending bandwagon which had made Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (or Erased) so popular last season. Although, I decided to give ReLife a chance and so far it’s not bad. It seems as though anime about careers (or lack thereof) are becoming more and more popular, and even though unemployment rates in Japan are falling, NEETs (Neither Employed nor in Education or Training) make up a significant part of the anime audience. From Winter 2016’s She and her Cat mini-series, to this season’s New Game!, it’s almost as if the industry is trying to give that demographic a nudge in the right direction. Like Erased, it raises moral questions about maturity and being friends across age groups so it’d be interesting to see how that’s handled over this series. However, unlike Erased, Arata isn’t actually time-travelling; he just looks a decade younger. I’m not entirely sure about Ryou’s intentions, and he comes across as very shady under his cheerful ‘genki’ persona. Arata does seem like your average anime protagonist, and hasn’t really grabbed my attention, but his classmates seem interesting enough to compensate.
Boku Dake ga Inai Machi: Part-time workers struggle to launch their careers, and are given a second chance to make things right.
Sword Art Online II: An agency approaches the protagonist to re-enter a world that feels both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, with promises of being paid to do it.
For more Summer 2016 coverage, click here.