ReLIFE – 08

ReLIFE - 08-1The narrative structure of ReLIFE is a bit oddball, though it’s mostly in an endearing way.  We started out with what looked like a strong focus on the central plot, diverted to side stories about kids in Arata’s class, went back to the central plot, and now we’ve pivoted back to another classmate.  All of these stories have worked, but I’m not sure this is how I would have gone about ordering them (or indeed, whether or not this is the way the chapters are ordered in the manga).

ReLIFE - 08-4This time around the focus turns to Honoka Tamarai, Rena’s BFF and the captain of the volleyball club.  She’s been around for a while as an accessory to Rena’s storyline, but I was kind of surprised to see her getting her own arc.  That’s compounded by the fact that so far at least Arata isn’t an important part of it, which gives the story a rather disconnected feel.  With Kariu and Hishiro’s arc, Arata and his interactions with those two was an essential component at the very least.  Why is Honoka’s story getting a multiple-episode run if Arata is irrelevant to it?  Perhaps that will be answered in the next episode (perhaps he’ll prove to be relevant after all).

ReLIFE - 08-6Honoka certainly has her problems, don’t get me wrong – if indeed ReLIFE is intending to make this a series a compendium on the various social syndromes facing teens, she’s doing her part.  Turns out she’s almost as academically challenged as Arata (she fails five midterms to his seven), though she seems pretty OK with that.  A bigger hurdle is that because she’s always been so gifted athletically that others don’t tend to relate to her, and don’t appreciate how hard she works to get where she gets to.  The only ones who really understand her are her osananajimi Inukai (whose mother is the school nurse, played by the stellar veteran Shiraishi Ryoko) and Asaji, whose presence is the reason she attended this school with its weak volleyball team in the first place.

ReLIFE - 08-1Honoka’s story is fine, though as I said it feels pretty disconnected to me at least.  I also find Kariu and Hishiro more interesting and relatable, so it’s no surprise that their scenes are the best ones of the episode.  Hishiro’s encounter with Arata in the classroom is utterly charming – her  social cluelessness remains endearing.  And Kariu’s blowup at Honoka after she injures her ankle is the most tense moment of the episode.  Kariu means well, but that temper of hers does present a real problem because while the person she’s really angry at is usually herself, she vents it by lashing out at others in a very hurtful way.  And they’re not always going to be as patient and forgiving as her classmates have been so far.

ReLIFE - 08-2There are a couple of extraneous (even more than Honoka’s storyline generally) moments that I can only assume are foreshadowing of some sort.  First Hishiro’s consciousness “leaves her body”, whatever that means – I took it as a manifestation of her larger social awkwardness, but given what happens later with Honoka I’m not so sure.  She’s described as “pale” more than once, and passes out during practice after feeling weak (which indirectly leads to Kariu’s injury).  Is there some kind of anime illness brewing her, or is this connected to ReLIFE in any way?  Could it be both?  Please don’t answer – I’ll find out soon enough…

 

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9 comments

  1. The episodes are still in manga order!

  2. Thanks for clarifying. I still feel like I might have ordered them differently (anime directors do have that option and often exercise it) but that’s just MHO. Not like it’s a deal-breaker or anything.

  3. C

    The hidden truth is that Kariu is actually the secret main character of this entire anime, for some reason.

  4. I actually like Honoka, even if her character is pretty simple I like the idea of someone so gifted that their gift feels to them like a curse. Now, I did watch the entire series so there may be some bias there.

  5. If you’re someone like Kariu or Takumi from Battery, the drama practically writes itself…

  6. R

    I thought it was fairly obvious that Honoka was pale because she had spent so many long nights studying for her makeup exams. And that her passing out was due to exhaustion from studying and not getting enough rest before putting herself in a physically strenuous activity. Inukai’s mother mentions how many nights she had stayed over at their house studying.

  7. R

    And I took Hishiro’s comment about her conscience leaving her to be her de facto answer for spacing out because she couldn’t think of a response to the situation with Arata. Or her way of explaining the experience anyways.

  8. After I watched the entire series, my conclusion is that my enjoyment of this series is proportional to the duration of Arata’s appearance in the show (and one other character, but saying the name might be spoiler-ish as that will leads to something). Without Arata’s perspective, ReLife is just a normal HS drama. His surprisingly mature insight and relatable antics (and background) is the thing that sold the show personally.

    Which is why few episodes in the midseries is the weakest point for me (still not bad, just not special), but the rest are great! I’ll wait for your impression for the rest of ep, Enzo!

  9. I completely agree with both your opinion and your explanation. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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