Remake Our Life!
by Mercedez Clewis,
How would you rate episode 1 of
Remake Our Life! ?
How would you rate episode 2 of
Remake Our Life! ?
How would you rate episode 3 of
Remake Our Life! ?
Remake Our Life! was something of an easy pick for me: I watched the fifty-minute premiere the day it dropped and found myself wanting to see this series become something more, which it's not… at least, not yet. And I'll readily admit, episode 1, “Nothing Was Working,” is fifty minutes of table-setting that during my first watch of Remake Our Life!, I didn't particularly enjoy consistently, and honestly… on a second watch, have come to mildly appreciate and see the potential that's hinted at around the edges of the developing plot. It's intensely relatable at its core, following 28-year-old Kyoya Hashiba, who's in the midst of a low point after his life gets flipped turned upside down. In an era of high unemployment and general dissatisfaction with work culture, it strikes home, especially when Kyoya moves back home with his family, and who hasn't had to do that at least once?
Yet where I started to actually like Kyoya during that very long fifty minute premiere episode was when he wakes up a decade younger in 2006, right on the cusp of heading to Oonaka Arts College for a second chance that, at first, struck me as wish fulfillment, but soon, became less wishy and more earnest in nature. And I suppose that's what made episodes 2 and 3 compelling. Kyoya isn't just faffing his way through a second chance, though there's antics aplenty in the second and third episode. He's actually serious about redoing his life, which makes Remake Our Life! less of a sitcom kind of anime and more complex. It helps that Kyoya is actually a genuinely likable everyday kind of guy, as are most of the characters in the general cast. In fact, there's something pleasant about watching this iteration of Kyoya: one who has a decade of knowledge and a desire to be happy, something that everyone in their twenties (and beyond) can certainly relate to. As a lead, he's strong enough to support the show without overpowering it. I just hope that the plot opens up even more to show the journey of Kyoya and his friends rather than just Kyoya himself.
Episode 3, “Just Who Am I?” is really where all of the character development done over the double-length opener and episode 2 shine, and where I was like, “Wow, I think I really want to root for this show.” It comes in the form of a film assignment: rather, the results of a film assignment, which goes very awry in episode 2. The result is a series of stills stitched together as a short film: inventive, but not particularly stunning in execution. What is stunning is the emotions it evokes from Kyoya's dorm mates Aki, Nanko, and Rokunoji, characters that have kind of felt buoyed along up until now. When they tell Kyoya that they're not going to be shown up by him, it actually feels earnest, and even kind of made me feel like Remake Our Life! had serious potential to make me cry, which is always my personal metric for good anime.
What ultimately gums up the episodes are the few instances of fan service, which, personally, slow down what is otherwise a decent show. I'm all for a bit of fan service: heck, one of my Top 5 series is Keijo!!!!!!!! and that show is full of fan service, but here, it just feels out of place, stuffed in from the source material (which, as of the writing of this review, has no legal English localization) in an almost hamfisted way. Plus, it feels weird to have mentally 28-year-old Kyoya hornily blushing over his actually 18-year-old dorm mates. I'm not sure that'll ever strike me as funny, though it's clear the show wants you to think it is. Hopefully, there'll be less of that going ahead.
Stil, Remake Our Life! is… unexpectedly compelling, combining time-traveling with a slice of life in a way that creates a show quite grounded in reality, magical realism included. Kyoya is a likable protagonist, not just because twenty-somethings can identify with him, but because his desire to be happy and do work that makes him feel is so intensely understandable. Like I said, the other characters are interesting enough, though honestly, they still need development, especially female characters Aki and Nana, both of whom have potential… but not yet. The same could be said of redhead Eiko Kawasegawa, who we meet in episode 1. While she has a heck of a lot more characterization than Aki and Nana, and even seems to be a potential love interest for this version of Kyoya, she's still a bit flat. I expect all three of them will grow on me the more I sit with this series.
That all said, I'm not sure I'd call Remake Our Life! good: at least… well, not yet. It has a lot of potential, but as it stands, things are still coming together and the show just getting its legs. It's at a tipping point of sorts: it has the potential to go from average—which like, isn't a ding at all; average anime are necessary to every season, and can often be satisfying—to a compelling story about getting a second chance to find happiness. Remake Our Life! also has the potential to really dive into everything Kyoya's learning in a Shirobako-esque way.
I hope my reservations will fade away somewhere around episode 5 or 6 at the latest. But ultimately, I'm pretty on board with Remake Our Life!.There's something enticing about the notion of getting to go back in time with all of the knowledge you have now, escapist as it is. There's a lot of neat little things happening, especially the dissonance of Kyoya having a decade of memories and the ability to adjust the future through “stealing” ideas. (Oh yeah, and at one point, they go to karaoke and sing “Freckles” by Judy and Mary, which like… blast from the past, am I right?)
I am incredibly optimistic for Remake Our Life!, and for what's to come in episode 4 and beyond. Ultimately, what I hope is that the show will continue to push Kyoya to really think about this second chance and everything that's happening in this new second life. If it can do all of that, then it'll actually become pretty good, and might even be a solid recommendation by the end of summer.
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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