Mar 21, 2018
Stark700 (All reviews)
What if you were told that there’s a chance to relive your high school days again? High school is a place to learn, develop, and begin the stairs of adolescence. The opportunity would be an experience like almost no other. ReLife offers a story of life experience, one that tests the water of a character’s values and chance for reinvention.

ReLife’s return consists of a 4-episode OVA that brings the staff and cast back from the original series. While I had hoped for a full season to capture the true essence of the manga, it’s important to note that these four episodes are imperative for the overall story plot. The main characters return and their personalities are what you’d expect from these OVA episodes. Furthermore, we get the comedy gags that fans may be familiar with from the previous season and manga.

The story itself isn’t complicated to understand. With an established premise already being set, these episodes focuses on expanding the characters’ roles along with their relationships. These include learning more about Ooga’s family, building an important connection between Kaizaki/Hishiro, and reflecting on their life experiences and values. While some of the elements of this story is easily predictable (in particular the romance), it never ceases to stray from its storytelling. There are hints dropped throughout these episodes that heavily hints on a developing connection between the main characters. Furthermore, it takes place in a high school life setting and there’s almost no limit on how characters can enjoy themselves. The first three episodes includes a cultural festival with maid outfits, butlers, and dates. While it seems silly at first glance, it’s also hard to not fall in love with the characters in their roles. The moments when Kaizaki and Hishiro are together can be described in so many words and can easily make viewers cheer for them to get together. The final OVA episode serves as the ultimate end game that ties to dots together.

While this OVA series may sound almost like a big ship tease, it’s about more than that. It highlights the importance of human life and what one can do if they had a chance to relive a part of it again. For Kaizaki, I believe he learned a lot from his experience. He begins to value himself and what he can do for others while learning from his past mistakes. It’s a title that invites reflection. Plus, I feel like these OVA episodes accomplishes at expanding and concluding the plot of the original series. After all, the first season felt rather open ended and invited questions of ‘what ifs’ and ‘how will it end’. Luckily, we have the answers now.

As a fan of the manga, my personal impressions from the OVA left me wanting for more but it’s evident that there’s not much else they can expand on this. An experiment doesn’t last forever and neither can a story. From just these four episodes though, it manages to capture the attention of the audience and get its point across at how important life experience is for high schoolers. The psychology and inner thoughts serve as a constant reminder of character connections. However, I will say that after a while, it feels the show can be a bit tedious as many of the dialogues gets repetitive. If you’re not a fan of this type of storytelling, then it may be hard to enjoy.

Staff from the previous series return to make this happen so expect the anime adaptation style to look very similar. Luckily, it manages to retain the quality with the character designs, setting, and facial expressions. A big part of the comedy comes from the humorous character expressions and I can gratefully say that this anime manages to capitalize that once again. It can range from silly looks that characters throw at each other during casual conversations to a more serious moody tone during emotional moments. Character voice mannerism on most parts are adapted in consistent with their personalities. The one that caught my attention the most is Hishiro as she is able to open herself more to others.

ReLife: Kanketsu-hen (ReLife Final Arc) serves as not just a gift for the fans of the anime and manga but also as a way to give this franchise its deserving sendoff. I began reading this series since its debut and can safely say that it’s been an emotional journey. The final arc made me fall in love with this series all over again and proves how an unorthodox plot like this can work in modern times.