Go to high school – Again! By turning back time…
Arata Kaizaki is 27-years-old and unemployed. He quit his prior job after working for the company for 3 months. Arata decides to take part in a research program. He takes medication that makes him look younger and he is to attend high school for a year. There, he falls in love with female high school student Chizuru Hishiro.
Native and/or alternative titles: リライフ; Riraifu
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Director: Takeshi Furusawa
Writer: So Yayoi (manga), Kumiko Aso
Cast: Nakagawa Taishi, Taira Yuna, Takasugi Mahiro, Ikeda Elaiza, Okazaki Sae, Chiba Yudai, Ono Kensho
ReLIFE is basically that – reliving your life. In the movie, there is some sort of organization in the field of medical research and development which has developed a pill which can make a person younger. Not only that! That person of the subject can relive one year of their life (last year if high-school in this case) and after that year is up they go back to the life they were originally living, no strings attached. Which means that no one can remember that one year that the subject ‘relived’ and also all traces like memories of the subject or photos or written records disappear into thin air. It’s like that year never happened. (Additional perk, the subjects are even offered jobs and recommendation letters if they take part in the experiment) The main purpose of this time travelling is so that the subject can redo their lives!
So basically, the main character in this movie, Arata Kaizaki, is 27 and recently quit job giving reasons that the company is not suited to help, nor can it help him reach his highest potential. Unfortunately, such reasons simply don’t cut it in Japan and he finds it extremely difficult to find another job. The result, he is a 27-year-old unemployed man with no bright future.
One day a mysterious man, Ryu Yoake, who seems to know a lot about Arata comes to him and offers him a proposal that he can’t resist. He offers Arata a chance to go back in the past and relive his high-school year. When he comes back, he would be offered a job as well. At first hesitant and questioning the whole ordeal, he eventually comes around and takes the pill. The next morning he is 10 years younger!
While at first Arata finds attending high-school all over again cumbersome and pointless, he ultimately starts enjoying himself after making new friends. He tries to teach them about the value of their high-school memories and endeavours to make special memories with them. Along the way, he even falls in love with one of his new friends.
Throughout, untold stories are revealed about things like why Arata really quit his job. He learns to enjoy life again. He even finds a new side to himself and is now more determined about living life to the fullest and not giving up. In fact, he has a complete change of heart about his career as well and studies hard once he gets back to get into the field that he now feels is his true passion.
The movie is definitely a bit slow for me at first but it picks up speed soon enough. The movie is based on subtle emotions and drama which don’t seem like a big deal but actually are quite important issues. I guess this is the trademark style of the Japanese, they generally are not overdramatic or overemotional, their way of working through matters is in a calming and peaceful manner no matter how not-at-peace you feel at the moment.
The entire manner in which the movie is shot gives a very anime-like vibe. Which makes sense since it is based on a manga by the same name. I really enjoyed this style of shooting and felt it gave a deeper meaning to many of the scenes and emotions of the characters.
I liked the get-up of the characters as well, though I felt that their acting wasn’t anything spectacular. Maybe it was because of the role itself, but none of the characters (except the leads) actually stood-out to me. I feel that it is the story which kept this movie afloat. But the lead actors playing Arata and Chizuru were definitely good! They had a raw and real feeling to their acting.
Like I said, the story is basically what gives fuel to this movie. The story is very good and up to an extent quite unique as well (in the time-travelling and de-ageing realm). I really enjoyed it. But I feel it would become redundant and boring for those who have already read the manga or seen the anime.
But undoubtedly, the movie has a charm of its own with an anime-like vibe which makes it even more fun to watch. I would recommend it those who haven’t already seen the anime~
P.S. Despite me not liking this very much, I really want to see a sequel! I want to see the romance blossom between Arata and Chizuro after they resume their normal lives! I even want to know what Ryu does with the data on Chizuru and Arata~