Remake Our Life!
by Mercedez Clewis,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Remake Our Life! ?
Remake Our Life! Saturdays – as I've come to call them privately – have slowly become one of my favorite parts of this summer season. While my reviews of shows like Kageki Shojo!!, The aquatope on white sand, and The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! are enjoyable, Remake Our Life! has something unique about it that captures my attention in a markedly different way. And this week, I think I've put a finger on it: it's nostalgia, and how the show uses that to enrich its cast. I'll leave that aside for later, because there's something else I want to focus on this week.
Episode 5, “Reveal Your Feelings,” lands us right before the school festival at sunset with Kyoya and Nanako, and right from jump, it's immediately apparent that we're going to get some Nanko singing in this episode. Because it's a school festival, and because this series is set in 2006, my mind instantly flashed to one series, and one series only: The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi. But after the OP, we're not at any big music moment yet; we're just with Kyoya at the school festival, which is in full swing.
School festival episodes are a favorite of mine. They have a particular kind of playfulness to them, and they also feature maid cafes, which I'll admit to really liking. I've gone to plenty, and find the experience to be colorful, fun, and overall entertaining. That's not even getting me started on the food, which while usually pretty average, takes on a certain taste due to the atmosphere. That same atmosphere suffused my watch of episode 5, making for a genuinely enjoyable transition to the next arc.
And that's really what episode 5 of Remake Our Life! is: it's a transition episode that bridges the character growth we get from Kyoya and the gang in the first four episodes with what preemptively feels like a bigger, more fleshed-out arc. Thankfully, the show's also continuing to shift focus away from Kyoya to more regularly including the perspectives of the other characters, including best girl Nanako, who really takes center stage this episode when things go south.
It's this moment I really want to zero in on this week: the sequence where Nanako freezes up and starts to get anxious ahead of actually taking center stage and saving the day. Nanako was not initially my favorite character: in fact, I used to find her intensely off-putting, even though I generally like genki tomboyish girls. A lot of that was because she felt intensely one-dimensional when Remake Our Life! was still Kyoya's story in its starting episodes, instead of the story of him and his friends. Episode 4 really swung me around to her in full, in large part because she became a much more fleshed-out character, especially through her singing.
So when Nanako gets nervous, and Kyoya has to talk her down, I genuinely teared up a bit, especially because Kyoya believes in her so, so much. It's sweet, earnest, and when Nanako goes on stage thanks to his encouragement, I truly felt my heart growing a million sizes larger. While I don't ship them (I'm solidly Kyoya x Eiko) I do love the depth of Kyoya's friendship with Nanako, and I love that they really are just friends, even though the shipping vibes are... kind of right there. Still, Kyoya is a good friend, and his encouragement is enough to get Nanako to showcase her genuinely good voice. And let me tell you: her performance was enough to get me on my feet, especially since Suzumiya Haruhi's God Knows was being blasted through my earbuds. (I also cried again because I love the power of friendship and anisong – especially the song God Knows.)
So much of Remake Our Life! evokes nostalgia: while I was only in high school in the late aughts, I still have these vivid memories of my dreams of working in the anime and manga industry. Of course, like a lot of fans, I eventually put them on shelf. Unexpectedly, I'm here now, working in the industry in multiple ways, whether that's as a journalist, an anime review, or as a J-E localizer. I have fingers in as many pies I can, and much like Kyoya's second chance, my own second chance feels like a dream. But to call Remake Our Life! just a nostalgic show is to cheapen how strong it's actually become. I don't think Remake Our Life! is shaping up to be the best anime of 2021; I don't even think it'll necessarily top the charts this season. But in my heart, episode 5 has solidified Remake Our Life! as one of the best this season, and a show I implore you to spend some serious time with.
All that is to say that I really, really dig Remake Our Life! and what it's doing with its cast. It's gone from this average, middling anime to something quietly special, even though its end game is still a mystery to me. While I don't know the future of the franchise outside Japan (please give us the light novels, Yen Press!), I hope that this series will find both domestic and international success. I really, really love what this story is becoming, and while I'm fully prepared for it to crush me in the end re: Kyoya, well… I still think that'll be okay because of the journey. I can't wait to see what episode 6 brings us: hopefully, we'll get to see the spotlight on Aki, who gets shelved a bit in this episode for some very good Nanako development. Whoever takes the spotlight next, you can guarantee I'll be along for the ride. I'm here for Remake Our Life! Saturdays until the very end!
Remake Our Life! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Mercedez is a JP-EN localization editor & proofreader/QA, pop culture critic, and a journalist who also writes for Anime Feminist, where she's a staff editor, and But Why Tho?. She's also a frequent guest on the AniFem Podcast, Chatty AF. When she's not writing, you can find her on her Twitter or on her Instagram where she's always up to something.
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