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Anime Hajime Review: Remake our Life

Original Run: July 3, 2021 - September 25, 2021
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Drama, Romance, Slice of Life
Based on the Series Created By: Nachi Kio and Eretto

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Remake our Life. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

The year is 2016, and Kyouya Hashiba (voiced by Masahiro Itou) is down on his luck. Having given up a well-paying job to pursue his dream of game making, nothing has gone his way since. Now, he is unemployed with no longer a direction to chase. All Kyouya can think about is that fateful decision years ago:

Why hadn’t he taken a risk and gone to art school?

Had he done so, Kyouya might now be working alongside some of the biggest names in the creative industry, a.k.a., the Platinum Generation. But one cannot change the past. Or so Kyouya thought.

One day, Kyouya wakes up and sees that he has reverted to his 2006 self. This time, he doesn’t hesitate and enrolls in the Oonaka University of Art.

Raring to go, Kyouya moves into the home he will be sharing with three roommates: Aki Shino, Nanako Kogure, and Tsurayuki Rokuonji (voiced respectively by Aoi Koga, Aimi Terakawa, and Haruki Ishiya).

Determined not to waste this second chance, Kyouya throws himself into transforming his remake into a life worth living.

Series Positives

Have you ever thought, “Hey, you know what was really good: Tokyo Revengers. But what if instead of gangs and violence, the show was a time-skip slice-of-life romance that explored the inner working of the entertainment industry? That could be fun.”

Well then, do I have the show for you.

Now, for the record, saying that is utterly unfair; I don’t want to imply Remake our Life was trying to jump onto the Tokyo Revengers’ bandwagon. After all, the two series are contemporaries, both in anime and print forms. Unless I hear otherwise, these shows airing at the same time was purely coincidental.

Also, Tokyo Revengers was solid and easily supplanted itself as one of the key anime of 2021. Remake our Life, on the other hand, was good, but if it came down to either this show or Tokyo Revengers getting a continuation, time-traveling gangsters would get my vote.

To give Remake our Life some real credit, when starting this series, I mistakenly assumed it would carry a similar burden to many isekai anime, i.e., the hook would turned out to be a gimmick rather than a central plot point. For isekai anime, I am referring to how the actual traveling to a parallel world bit sometimes means nothing more than a pointless excuse to tell a fantasy tale. For this series, I was waiting for the moment when it would ignore the whole traveling-back-in-time angle.

That never came to be. From beginning to end, the “reset” was a prominent feature of Remake our Life.

Rather than having Kyouya Hashiba use his second chance to give himself an advantage, all the time-skip did was provide the protagonist with an extra ten years of experience. Granted, that in itself is one hell of a leg up, but it wasn’t a guaranteed recipe for success. Kyouya still had to take risks, and things didn’t always go his way. Knowing the future wasn’t something he could rely on.

If we want to think of things another way, we can split Remake our Life into two halves: The events following the first time-skip and events following the second. In fact, we should do this because these two halves have entirely different feels and elicit different emotions. 

Plus, while one half makes this show worth watching, the other leaves behind a nasty blemish on an otherwise remarkable story. 

And for this section of the review, I want to focus on that first half – Kyouya returning to 2006. It was here where Remake our Life was at its strongest.

Something this series did extremely well was how effectively it established the potential of its main cast of characters. For this, let’s look at Kyouya’s house/teammates: Aki Shino, Nanako Kogure, and Tsurayuki Rokuonji.

Of the three, I would list Aki as the one who oozed raw-talent. Not only was she skilled at her chosen craft, drawing, but she had also dedicated many years to improving her skills. Making art was something she enjoyed, and though the thought of it becoming her career had crossed her mind, it wasn’t a priority.

For Nanako, passion came first. When we learned she enjoyed singing, she was actually terrible at it. But what she lacked in ability, she made up for with presence. Nanako had a voice that captured people’s attention. She was a rough diamond that could sparkle after some refinement.

Then there was Tsurayuki, who I would describe as the prodigy. Writing and storytelling came naturally to him. And due to him knowing he was good at what he did, he was his harshest critic. Although perfectionism existed in all the characters, it was most evident in Tsurayuki.

While Aki, Nanako, and Tsurayuki’s personalities and talent might be all well and good, is there a point I’m trying to make?

In their unique fields, everyone was at the top of their game. However, Remake our Life had these characters come together to create an even bigger project. And this was what made this series so interesting to watch.

Seeing our heroes solve problems and think outside the box was fascinating. Having everyone balance creative vision with deadlines and schedules was engaging. This show gave us a crash-course glimpse into what it takes to bring a multifaceted medium – such as video games, anime, etc. – together.

Then, Remake our Life took things a step further. 

Although Kyouya and his friends released their project, which did well, there were drastic consequences that came from changing the past. And this show was in a prime position to explore how good intentions sometimes lead to unwanted outcomes.

Unfortunately, how Remake our Life went about this was a problematic mess. Perhaps the second time skip made better sense in the original light novel (if it existed at all), but it left a bitter aftertaste in the anime.

Series Negatives

Since this review is getting longer than initially intended, I will try and get this final point out as succinctly as possible. But before we get to that, I need to get something off my chest.

Remake our Life’s fan service was weird. As in, there was a lot of it, and it always felt out of place.

Additionally, there is a huge difference between “happy accidents” and characters attempting seduction, and both were in this show. The former, by definition, is optional and adds nothing substantial to a show; it is always extra. However, seduction and trying to be sexy for someone are character traits and can push a narrative forward.

But when Kyouya wakes up next to a passed-out Aki whose pajamas are barely holding back her boobs, a scene like that brought Remake our Life down a peg.

That aside, the direction this series went in following the second time-skip dampened what could have been something worthwhile. More specifically, Kyouya went into an arrogance-fueled spiral of regret.

I’m not sure how to talk about this half of the show since it would require massive spoilers. And since I will be recommending Remake our Life, I don’t want to give too much away. Except, I can’t just stay silent. 

The short story is, Kyouya got into his mind that he was the reason his friends gave up on their dream. This feeling was particularly strong with Aki, who – for reasons – had put down her pen. While that does sound sad, Kyouya never once considered the possibility that Aki’s dream might have evolved into something else, and maybe – just maybe – she was living a happy and fulfilled life.

The result of Kyouya’s “guilt” was a third time-skip. And I don’t know if this series thought its conclusion was a happy one, but what Kyouya ended up doing could not have been more horrifying to me.

What Kyouya gave up was something I could never consider if I were under the same circumstances.

Final Thoughts

I was not too fond of this ending. However, it wasn’t so awful that it turned all the proceeding events unwatchable. 

On the contrary, this show, for most of its run, was a ton of fun.

The characters had their moments, and you find yourself rooting for them in the long run. 

Therefore, Remake our Life has earned a recommendation.

But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Remake our Life? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m Odyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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