This episode of ReLIFE was something of a tease and something of a breather. The latter because it stepped back from the heavy teen drama inherent to high school existence, and the former because in the end it didn’t follow through on the promise of real information about Subject 01. We certainly got a snootful about what happened to that person, and the impact the failure of the experiment had on Yoake. But it seems to me as Subject 01’s identity itself is going to be of significance when it’s revealed. I have my theories, certainly, but we’ll just have to wait and see (tempting as it is not to wait, I just don’t have the time to scratch that itch).
ReLIFE has long since cemented my impression that it’s one of the better and more thoughtful series of its type that I’ve seen in a long time, but the jury is still out on how much it can convince me to buy what it’s selling Just where does it come down on the whole notion of what ReLIFE Corporation is doing? On a very fundamental level I distrust this experiment – it’s not the sort of thing companies do out of the goodness of their social conscience. No, they see money in this – and it smacks of paternalism, too. Who gives them the right to go around “fixing” people they think need it? In the end I don’t think I’m going to be convinced that this whole operation is a good idea, even if it does sometimes produce good results. I’m just curious whether or not ReLIFE will try and convince me.
If we’re going to get good results, it seems Arata is a likely candidate to provide them. In addition to the background (only inferred) on Subject 01, we get a good deal on Arata here too. And the picture that’s emerging is that he was a good deal more together than the original impression ReLIFE gave us. Yes, he quit his job – but he quit it in protest of an injustice. His crappy job at Lawson’s might have been crappy, but he was very serious about it and got along well with his boss. He’s honest (returning Yoake’s “lost” wallet) and conscientious (he demands a pill to temporarily age him up so he can put in his notice in-person). Is this a person that really needs to be fixed?
I suppose the whole picture about what ReLIFE (the show, not the company) is trying to sell here would be a lot clearer if we knew the details of the first test subject. But we definitely know that test was a failure, and that Yoake is blamed both by himself and his bosses (one of whom is played by Miki Shinichirou). What we don’t know is what baggage Yoake is referring to when he questions Arata’s ability to bounce back from having “lost” someone, though it seems as if he was halfway talking about himself.
One other element of this episode that I found especially interesting was that very nearly its entirety (and that’s not an exaggeration) was accompanied by the soundtrack of piano jazz by Tsuboguchi Masyasu. That’s not something you see in anime a lot, and while one might think it would be intrusive, I found it to be oddly effective. Tsuboguchi’s gentle, vaguely Latin-influenced (I thought of Vince Guaraldi more than once) compositions somehow seemed to perfectly reflect what was going on inside Yoake’s head (which was where we spent most of the episode).