ReLIFE (2016) Anime Review

ReLIFE (2016) poster 1.png

ReLIFE is a sci-fi fantasy drama seinen directed by Tomo Kosaka. The story revolves around Arata Kaizaki, a hopeless adult that has given up on his dreams. After struggling to find work after leaving his previous employment after only 3 months, Arata has been given a proposition to turn his life around. Ryo, who works for a ReLIFE, offers him a trial drug that was turn the clock back on how he appears. 27-year-old Arata must now attend high school again as his 17-year-old looking self as part of the experiment. Will the experiment fail, or will he come out on the other a better person?

ReLIFE 1.png

It was hard for me to get into ReLIFE, starting with the premise. The concept of being able to go back and do things differently or relive a time in your life isn’t new. On top of it the story isn’t setup well enough as the first episode starts out fast with a weak explanation as to why this is happening. There isn’t a believable motivation that the government would spend so much money for a program to assist a small group of people in such a covert manner. The sci-fi element is flimsy and under utilized. It’s ridiculous that a pill would do that in one day. Later the pill is used to further the story, but it’s never explained how the pill works or how it’s made. The series felt like it took a different tone after the first 8 minutes. Started as a turn your life around drama. The secrecy behind the company and the sci-fi element felt as if the series might be a thriller. It immediately just turns into a show about high school drama with occasional references to real life situations as an adult.

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There is surprisingly good character development for most of the characters in the short amount of time. In fact, most of the subplots deal with life issues for the teens. The main character with hindsight, deals with those issues and assists his classmates on how you would look at those situations differently. That’s all great except, the main character gives me problems that force me to not enjoy the series. Like the premise, he is creepy. A grown man pretending to be a teen without question. In the first half of the series, it doesn’t take him very long to be leering at high school girls. That in itself is creepy enough to not root for this character. Later in the series he seems to have calmed down as there is less emphasis placed on this part of the premise. Having the main character be put in romantic situations was unnecessary, as the goal was to grow up into a different adult than how he turned out. As an afterthought when I finished ReLIFE, it left me wondering why didn’t he just back to university to get back his life. I just found it hard to believe that life lessons learned in adolescents is what he needed.


I wasn’t expecting ReLIFE to have as much humor as it did. Just based on the “sci-fi” element and how the series began I thought it would go a more serious route. As I said before the tone of the series changed almost immediately so given that it’s really a drama about high schoolers, the amount of humor isn’t surprising. The music gets old as fast as the story. Lack of variety adds to the music getting repetitive. While it is good, early on it doesn’t fit in a lot of scenes. As the series progressed it felt like either the music has grown on me or they parse out the music to fit the tone better. The artwork is on the average side, and the animation itself is good.


ReLIFE gave me mixed emotions on how I felt about it. In the end, the negatives out weighted the positives. The series could have been setup a better way. Instead all I get is some weirdos think it’s a good idea to grow up into a better adult by sorting out students lives and maybe falling for a high school student is okay since they won’t remember when the experiment ends. The series has some great ideas and memorable characters, but it all feels wasted. Give it a watch, if you don’t mind the premise as the drama can be good at times. Although as the short series feels unfinished, you are probably better off just reading the manga.

Episodes: 13 (1st season)

Director: Tomo Kosaka

Writing: Michiko Yokote and Kazuho Hyodo


Kensho Ono as Arata Kaizaki

Ryohei Kimura as Ryō Yoake

Ai Kayano as Chizuru Hishiro

Reina Ueda as An Onoya

Haruka Tomatsu as Rena Kariu

Yūma Uchida as Kazuomi Ōga

Himika Akaneya as Honoka Tamarai

Music: Masayasu Tsuboguchi

Studio: TMS Entertainment

Categories: AnimationsTags: , , , , , , , , ,


  1. The show was fine outside of the ending. It really needed to go further and just didn’t. I disagree with you regarding why he wasn’t sent to University. Especially in Japan, high school makes way more sense. The idea is that these people in the ReLife program turned out poorly because they didn’t make strong social connections. There were good ideas here and I enjoyed most of it, but by the end it left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth as is. I think if it got another season it would recover just fine though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I hear you, but that just feels like a weak excuse to put these adult characters into a high school setting. There maybe not as much forced social interactions in a university, but it didn’t really matter with the main character. His issues weren’t that he couldn’t interact “normally”. Right away he made friends and was able to be a social butterfly. His problems stemmed from trauma and his not wanting to follow social norms that went against his moral compass. Going back to high school to sort out growing pains for other teens just didn’t really flow for me personally. I agree there are some good ideas, but it’s presentation and overall narrative just aren’t good. Some moments were enjoyable, but for me personally I’d rather invest my time in better anime/manga.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I remembered this show looking interesting with it’s promo, but I don’t really know if I’d like it.


  3. I’m more of the kind who looks at things idealistically than realistically, so I didn’t feel that the show was negative for the way they tried to introduce the sci-fi concept and the purpose of the programme.
    I was more interested in the notion that (instead of ‘going back to being a high-school student’ to live a different adult life) somethings we as individuals need to take a step back and look back at how we lived, felt and acted when we were younger – how some of these are not very desirable; and how some of these are actually important for pushing ourselves towards an ever uncertain future.
    In our real lives, one would probably do that by going into reflection/deep-thought mode – but knowing the anime/manga industry, something like that wouldn’t work out as entertainment (but would probably be a good non-fiction book like Mitch Albom’s works) which probably led to the whole pill-highschool situation (highschool cliche XD)


  4. I’m looking forward to where the anime takes the story in season 2.

    Liked by 1 person

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