Blend: A Second Chance
Featuring: ReLIFE (Episode 1)
"If I could go back in time, I'd do things so differently..."
This is something I hear so many people say, and it's 100% relatable! As you develop your fertile mind into a sturdier foundation of knowledge, you reflect on what you consider to be your "mistakes of the past" and have aspirations of cleansing them from your personal record. However, our lives aren't that simple, and moving on from the past and adapting is a necessity that we should foster, not reject. However, let's hypothetically say that you could go back and relive your life again. How would you handle this rare blessing of an opportunity?
Kaizaki Arata barely scrapes by day-to-day, allowing his poor employability to drag him down in interviews and living off of an allowance from his parents at the age of 27. When he fails yet another job interview, his family finally decides to cut the lifeline and say "enough's enough". 'Tis a scary kick in the teeth, but we all have to become independent, especially by that age. Trust me, while I took value in every job experience I had and realized the importance of maintenance in jobs I disliked, I had periods where I felt the brutal sting of unemployment and felt the paranoia of watching my monetary pulse fade.
At a certainly low point in his already low status, Kaizaki is set face-to-face with a stranger calling himself Yoake Ryo. With a cheery disposition, he approaches our degrading protagonist and claims that with one single offer, he can grant Kaizaki another chance at life itself. That, is what they call ReLIFE.
The program is lengthy and intricate, yet it can be surprisingly easily summarized. Consume a pill that reverts you back to your teenage years, re-attend high school for a year (I know, it has to be high school or it won't be an anime, right?), and essentially act as an observation piece for the ReLIFE team to study. Some would argue the twisted nature of a thought experiment like this, but for people like Kaizaki, the promise from the project of a post-experiment job and the ability to return to his true age is highly enticing. Without much else to lose, he accepts this ridiculous proposition. If you were in the same boat as Kaizaki, would you accept the deal? What regrets would you want to erase from your past?
Thus, Kaizaki awakens the next morning to find that the magic pill has indeed worked. After shaking off his initial shock at seeing himself hurled back about a decade, he's placed within a high school to start his new life for the next year. From left to right, he meets the socially awkward Hishiro Chizuru, the sporty Kariu Rena, the academically-impressive but romantically-dense Oga Kazuomi, and the playful scamp Onoya An. A quick little aside: anime characters often tend to fall under some label of stereotypical personality traits; recall your own friend group in high school, would any of them qualify for the same classification?
So how does Kaizaki adapt to his newfound youth? Not too well. But trust me, I've graduated, entered the workforce for a long time and returned to the educational environment. It's no walk in the park. You're practically yanked out of a very straightforward (not easy by any means) routine and shoved back into the hectic micromanagement of juggling sustenance with enhancement. Still having the thoughts of his older self as well, Kaizaki ends up saying and doing some things that instantly make him a gaze target in his class. A year seems so far away already.
At the end, we get a glimpse of Yoake writing his initial report on his subject Kaizaki. Out of pure curiosity, let's jump into the shoes of Yoake and ask: is this a job you would do? Would you work in a position that (in theory) provides the essentials for someone to restart their broken lives? Would you be comfortable spending that year with them, basically writing a journal about them for one of your superiors to study? Me, I'm not that kind of person who could fill those shoes. But still, I'd be interested in knowing if any of you out there would take a position like this. If you do, please comment below and let me know your ambitions behind the decision!
With all that said, I hope you all check out ReLIFE. I had a ton of fun watching it, and will never forget its relatable scenarios blended beautifully with its gorgeous soundtrack.