ReLIFE, which began as a manga on the manga app Comico, is a bit of a strange beast. Is it a romantic comedy? Is it a time travel story? As a long-time ReLIFE fan, I hope to clear up some of the misunderstandings that are flying amongst the interwebs. Just what is ReLIFE? And what is it not?
A Story about Workplace & School Bullying
I know, right? It’s hard to believe, but although the premise might give off the feeling of a happy-go-lucky school comedy, ReLIFE deals with some serious issues. Not only does the original manga depict a student being bullied so severely in school that they have to transfer, it even touches on workplace harassment leading to suicide. The cruelty of society as a whole and grief are a major theme in this story that pushes the characters forward.
A Romance Story
Some people who have not read ReLIFE yet seem to get the impression that it’s a romantic comedy, but I would lean more toward pure romance. While there are comedy elements thrown in (and they are funny), the romance is taken a lot more seriously than other romantic comedy shows, like, say, Ranma 1/2 or School Rumble. As the protagonist Arata only has a year to be with his classmates, one of his major dilemmas is how he’s supposed to deal with his feelings for a certain girl, even though she’ll forget about him when the experiment is over.
ReLIFE is NOT…
A Time Travel Story
This is by far the biggest misunderstanding I’ve seen around the internet. I’m sorry Steins;Gate fans, there is no time travel in this story. Arata Kaizaki, who is 27, takes medicine that turns him physically back into a 17-year old. He attends a brand new high school in the present day in order to gain life skills he needs, but he is able to get permission to turn back into a 27-year old to deal with specific pressing matters (his parents, his former coworkers, etc.). Arata does not have the ability to go back in time and change the events that occurred during his high school life ten years ago.
A Harem Romance Story
Despite the fair number of girls in the original manga, Arata’s milkshake does not bring all the girls to the yard. There is a balanced main cast of three girls and three boys, and only one girl in the entire story has shown potential interest in Arata. In turn, Arata has only shown interest in one girl. The remaining female characters either have interest in the other male cast members, or show no interest at all.
Comico will begin streaming all 13 episodes of ReLIFE on its app in Japan on June 24, which users can view for a fee. The television broadcast of the anime will officially begin on July 2, and Crunchyroll will stream the anime with English subtitles as it airs.