I watched the first two episodes of the anime of ReLife at a friend’s house and decided to hunt down the manga/web comic. While there’s nothing wrong, per se, with the manga, this is probably one of the rare instances when I think I’m going to quit reading and, instead, go back to the anime.
I’ll tell you why.
The premise of ReLife hooked me. Our hero, a twenty-seven year old NEET (not in employment, education or training), Kaizaki Arata is not having a good night. His friends are all having successful careers and he quit his job after only three months. He’s been working part time at a convenience store and living off his parent’s largess. When he fails yet-another-interview, his mother cuts him off. He’s already had a humiliating night because his friends invited him drinking and he lied about his work prospects, and so when a random stranger offers him a way out–take this drug and be part of a year-long experiment and we’ll pay all living expenses–he jumps at it.
Or, at least says he’ll take the drug home and sleep on it… only to drunkly take it almost immediately.
In the morning, he discovers that the drug makes him look 15 years old again and the experiment involves sending him back to high school for a ‘second chance.’ Kaizaki considers saying ‘no,’ but the sweetener to the deal is that the agency, ReLife, of the title, promise a job placement after the year. It’s just too good of a deal. Kaizaki signs on the dotted line.
The things that initially excited me about this manga was thinking about what it would take for me to consider returning to high school. I’m not sure there’s enough money in the world for me to consider this, and the manga does play around with what is awful about high school including embarrassing yourself in gym class and having to think about algebra again after forgetting about it entirely for a decade or more.
I also moderately enjoy redemptive arcs, though I have to admit that I never saw Kaizaki as terribly awful?
I do like the moments when he acts like ‘an old man’ or has to hide the fact that he’s still smoking and drinking like an adult, but the manga wandered off early into some high school subplots that I really didn’t care about–while ignoring mysteries that I cared a lot about (what happened at the previous job that Kaizaki quit it? Who was subject 001 and what happened to them?)
Probably, if I keep reading, some of those questions will be answered, but I’m currently bogged down in some drama involving the high school volleyball team (Kaizaki isn’t even remotely involved in this part of the story) and so I think I’ll be better served watching the condensed anime version.
However, if you try this and it’s your jam, there’s a lot of it and the story is complete (and completely scanlated/officially translated.) For myself, I think I’ll go watch what there is of it on Crunchyroll and call it even.