Monmon: Sorry for the late post! I somehow got caught in an unproductive loop where I prepare multiple posts at a time. Just like Q-ichi, right? 8D
Monmon: Well, if he ever finishes the prologue, he will have a ton of content to work with. Maybe the pace will pick up from there~
Hey. Didja check out my last manga recommendation, Ib – Instant Bullet? A bit worn from all the condemnation if the world? Well, this recommendation is a series that is all about self-empowerment and redemption. I recommend the anime and manga series ReLIFE.
Down in the slumps? Future looking bleak? What if there is an offer to relive your high school life for one year? Will you be able to change your perspective and strive for a better future? That, is ReLIFE.
ReLIFE is manga created by Yayoi Sou. The manga is read in a peculiar way in which the manga is read as a loong comic strip. Well suited for reading on a mobile phone.
The manga starts with Kanzaki Arata. He has been on an awful streak of failing job interviews. Each interview pushes him further down the unemployed path. Having failed his most recent one, he is approached by a man in a suit. He introduces himself as Yoake Ryo, an employee of the ReLIFE program. Araki has been selected as a candidate for the ReLIFE program.
Spend one year in a body that has an appearance of a young teenage boy and attend Aoba High School. The program aims to reinvigorate the subject’s perspective in life and offer a job for the subject upon completion.
So Arata takes the pill for future consideration but ate it while he is drunk. Next morning, his body is of a teenage boy, so he made his choice to enroll into the ReLIFE program. From then on, one year of high school at age 28 begins!
From then on, Arata will interact with the high school students, make friends and try to survive the present high school environment that is completely different from his experience 10 years ago.
At first look, the art style is pretty simple. Somewhat crude, even. But this is needless conjecture. A few chapters in, the art quality is bumped up. And that’s not even the end of it. The quality REALLY bumps up in later chapters. The characters are more defined with top notch expressions. The background is constantly drawn in with good quality. No more white backgrounds! The flow of the dialogue and scenes is expressive and presented in a way to compliment the scrolling reading style. I tend to be so drawn in by the story that I only noticed the end of the chapter when I stop at the end. When I caught up with the series and have to read a new chapter on a weekly basis, I would check the side bar to know how much of the chapter is left, hoping there is more to read. If a manga makes me check on how much is left every chapter, it is a really good manga.
The characters of ReLIFE are really the stars of the manga. They have their own unique personalities and each of them striving for their own goals. Much like the energetic nature of high school students. Arata, who is supposed to feel out of place as an adult, finds himself making good friends, helping them in their troubles, and through that, learning new lessons from the experience itself. Plus, when it comes to relationships and love, they can get so adorable. There are moments where Arata smugly grins at his innocent classmates who are taking their first foray in the world of love. I joined him in the same boat, grinning as I scrolled through the chapter.
Aside from growth in love, the characters grew in character as well. While reading through the manga, I watched them fail, succeed, laugh, and cry as they faced their obstacles in life. Arata helping his friends grow and in turn, Arata grows inside as well. Even Yoake, who is monitoring Arata’s progress, picked up some lesson along the way. And I as well, picked something and grew a little as I read through their story.
As for the story… What can I say… It is very robust. The events in the story have a very good lead up and its climax is brilliantly executed. When the arc wraps up in a resolution chapter, I feel content, having seen a picturesque happy ending. There is one story arc that is caused by the characters’ childish outburst. I thought to myself that the issue would have never occurred or even resolved quickly if the characters acted a bit more mature and a lot less insecure but then I realized that these are teenagers. So I slugged through the arc that probably drew out a lot longer than it should. Aside from that, it is charming all around. And as the one year of ReLIFE draws to a close, the manga wraps up and ends.
Wait. WHAT? That’s the end?! That can’t be the end! There are many issues that still carry over! There is still more story that can be done. It has become the elephant in the room! How could Arata take one year of ReLIFE and already take on this ‘job’ without continuing whether he could perform the job properly!
Dammit… Let’s have a look at the anime. When the anime aired, they aired all 13 episodes on the same day.
They even have a gimmick where they used a different song for the ending of each episode with unique artwork slipped in between. In the anime, the scenes are trimmed down, rearranged, and streamline into a 13 episode season. The changes aren’t anything major and they still stuck to the core of the story. However, I do have some gripes on how they presented the anime. When they streamline the anime, they have to cut some of the story out. And BOY did they really cut it down. There are a lot of scenes of character interaction cut out and it’s significant enough to be noticeable to a reader of the manga series. Even small instances of the characters’ reactions in the main scenes are not spared. These scenes establish the characters so they could be relatable and endearing. Cutting them out causes the character to be less developed in the anime. Like they are living in the moment and have little introspection separating the view from relating to them. It’s not like they shave off so much that the characters become cardboard cut outs and the anime is still compelling with interesting character arcs, but coming from a reader of the manga, a missing 20% is still a lot.
Then, this is one a bigger pet peeves of the anime. Upon listening closely to the background music, the quality is cheap. As expected from an anime series that has all of its episodes released on the same day. Most of it is solo piano and soundboard tracks. Some of them are piano sound clips put on loop with a pause in between. What’s more, there are times where the sound clips do not match the tone of the scene. Time and time again, a serious scene will start and the upbeat sound clip on a loop will play and I’m just flabbergasted at the butchered immersion.
So after the 13 episode season, a 4 episode OVA is released as a direct sequel. And it looks… Cheaper. The characters and scenery is still the same but the background characters are reduced to silhouettes.
Furthermore, the story is compressed and rushed big time. The 13 episode season uses half the content of the manga. The other half is compressed and cut down to fit into 4 episode OVAs. Just from that, you should know how butchered the OVA is, don’t you? The major drama that contributes to one of the development of one of the character is cut out. CUT OUT. That character is my favourite character. Goddamn fuck you, anime execs. The OVA ended on the pseudo ending of the manga instead of the open ended ending that gives way to more content. I get that it gives the viewers closure, but the way the pseudo ending ended makes it look like a heavy handed asspull. It’s still an asspull in the manga, but come one. Let’s hope for an explanation in the continuation of the manga. Right? RIGHT?
So with all the injustice done by the anime and OVA is it still a recommend to pick up? Well, this recommendation post is not an empty sell, mind you. I recommend it. But whether or not you pick it up, that depends on you. This series is centered heavily in the slice of life, high school life, and teen drama genre. If it falls within your tastes, have a go at it. I liked it because it has an amazing story performed by a stellar cast of characters.
So, how do you get started on this series? Given that it has a ‘mature slice of life’ theme, it’s pretty hard to get into it. Plus, it’s not sugar coated with all the eye catching, cool stuff like action. Subtle taste or bitter and sweet with an aroma and energy that keeps you going. Like freshly brewed coffee on the morning of a public holiday. Not Starbucks coffee.
So which to start? I recommend starting with the manga first before watching the anime. As I mentioned before, the anime shaved A LOT of scenes that would otherwise make the characters deep and charming. So reading the manga will let you invest more in the characters, so when you get to watching the anime, you don’t feel put off by the shallow characters as you already know how deep they are supposed to be.
Now, straight to the point. Free up some time, and start off by reading the manga for a good forty minutes to an hour. No need to rush through the chapters, spend a good time reading them. That said, if you like it after reading it for that time, pick it up! If you happen be compelled to continue reading or you read while not noticing you passed an hour, that’s even better. This series has a very mellow start, but this pace allows it to give an endearing story starred by delightful characters.
You may be alarmed at the crude art style, saying:
“What is this amateur webcomic crap?!”
But hang on! The art style is only crude for the first few chapters. That’s how all manga started. A few chapters to gauge reader interest before investing some effort into it. Heck, Boku no Hero Academia did not start out as a flagship manga. It started out as a oneshot in 2008 called My Hero with Jack Midoriya as the protagonist.
So, when you’re a good bit into the manga, keep reading! Read it until the end. Revel in the best that the manga has in store and when you finish, do some deep thinking in what influence this manga has for you. Then, hop on to the anime to see how this story is brought to life. After all the bashing I’ve done, you might think it is shoddy, but it is an enjoyable experience nonetheless. Keep what you remember from the manga and enjoy the select scene that are animated to life in this anime.
Thank you for reading my recommendation. I hope you would pick this series up and I hope you enjoy it. This series made a deep impression in me and I wish it to be known so it can influence others as well aND GET MORE ATTENTION ON IT SO A CONTINUATION IS GREENLIT!!!
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Also be sure to check out Q-ichi’s web novel R.A.M.!