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Manga / ReLIFE

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"How did my life turn out like this?"
Kaizaki Arata

ReLIFE is the story of Kaizaki Arata, a 27 year old man who can't find a job after quitting from his last company.

He meets someone named Yoake Ryou claiming to be from the ReLIFE Laboratory and is offered a mysterious drug that can change his appearance to that of a 17 year old. He becomes the subject of a one-year experiment, which aims to have people relive high school and see how they deal with it. If he completes the year, he'll be referred to a new company, but if he's discovered, the experiment will end and everyone's memory of him will be wiped.

Written by Yayoi Sou, the manga ran on the free manga app Comico from 2013 to 2018, and received a physical publication in 2014. An anime adaption was made for the Summer 2016 block, and in an unusual move, all 13 episodes went live at the Comico website simultaneously in late June, ahead of the original broadcast schedule. A four episode OVA to conclude the storyline was released in March 2018.


Provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the original manga, male and female students wear the same gray sweaters as part of their uniform. The anime adaptation changes the girls' to a pale yellow.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Among the Childhood Friends trio. Inukai likes Honoka who likes Asaji who likes Inukai's sister.
  • Art Evolution: The art was much rougher and simpler, while backgrounds were almost non-existent before the artist developed their style 20-30 chapters in.
  • Art Shift: The characters constantly shift from their usual designs to Super-Deformed drawing for comic effect.
  • Bland-Name Product: LIME as a stand-in for the LINE messaging app.
  • Book Dumb: Kaizaki, who's stuck in an endless cycle of make-up tests. The other transfer student Onoya as well, though she was faking it.
  • Book Ends: Arata's ReLIFE experience comes full circle by the end of the manga; where the series starts with him being offered a chance to do the experiment, he ends the series a part of the company, giving the same chance to Ogha's recluse older brother.
  • Bullied into Depression: Workplace examples, rather than school:
    • Ohga's brother was heavily bullied at work by his peers until he snapped and became a shut-in.
    • When internal competition ramped up at Kaizaki's previous workplace, his senior was so bullied by her jealous peers over being successful as a woman that she eventually committed suicide.
  • Call-Back:
    • In a flashback it's shown that Yoake approached his previous subject in the same manner he did Kaizaki with the experiment proposal. He also hid the fact he would supervise on-site disguised as a fellow high schooler. Both subjects had similar reactions when they found out about it.
    • Kariu and Ohga mock Kaizaki's disastrous first day in the beginning of the second term by reminding him of what he did during the test.
    • In Chapter 198, Kaizaki asks if he can hold hands with Hishiro after they've confessed to each other, mimicking her asking the same of him chapters ago. Kaizaki rejects the first time because he thought holding hands is a lover's action, whereas this time he asks her because he's planning on dating her.
  • The Cameo: Kensho Ono makes an appearance in the live-action movie during the cafe scene where Oga and Kaizaki are talking about Hishiro's video.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Kariu has trouble talking about her feelings for Ohga, in true tsundere fashion. Likewise, Kaizaki won't admit his feelings for Hishiro, though in his case it's because of the experiment. He resolves to confess after the experiment ends.
  • Character Narrator: The reports that Yoake writes, either before or after an event occurs, serve as narration for the series. Later, Onoya's reports get added to the mix.
  • Character Tics: Onoya notes that whenever Yoake is bothered by something, he taps his right index finger.
    • Kaizaki also has a tendency to hold his throat when he's bothered, since his senior coworker killed herself through hanging.
  • Childhood Friends: Honoka, Akira and Nobunaga.
  • Class Representative: The boy and girl who score highest on a test are chosen as the class representatives. Kariu had been class rep for three semesters, but for her third year she was in the same class as Hishiro, the top student in the school. Ohga is also chosen as class rep.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • Kariu, at least part of her grudge against Hishiro at the start of the series was because Hishiro was spending a lot of time with Ohga because they became class reps. She isn't particularly fond of Onoya too because she spends time with Ohga everyday at lunch.
    • Hishiro never likes the idea of Kaizaki spending time with other girls and got mad when was said he had lots of past experiences with other women. She dislikes Onoya just because Onoya is touchy feely with Kaizaki.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • Each character has a specific color (usually the color of their eyes) that's often used to distinguish dialogue. It's also present on their belongings, related items and in their ReLIFE pills if they use one.
      • Kaizaki is teal.
      • Yoake is orange.
      • Hishiro is mint/green.
      • Kariu is violet.
      • Ohga, and for his brother, is yellow.
      • Onoya is pink.
      • Tamarai is light blue.
      • Inukai is purple.
      • Asaji is lime green.
    • The pills themselves have their non-coloured halves white if they are used to make the user look like a teenager or black if they're used to return to their adult form.
    • The third year students use a red clip-on on their uniform since their 1st year of high school, younger students use green or blue depending on which grade/generation they belong in. Class representatives also use an additional silver colored one.
  • Compressed Adaptation:
    • The 4-Part OVA, The Final Arc, adapts the second-half of the manga. This results in approximately 120+ worth of chapters being condensed into 4 episodes. This is also the case for the TV series to a lesser extent, with episode 1 alone covering roughly the first 12 chapters.
    • The live-action film is even more so, as it covered 100+ chapters in around 2 hours, along with fitting in a completely original ending.
  • Credits Jukebox: The anime featured a different ending theme for each episode.
  • Date Peepers:
    • It wasn't quite a date, but Hishiro asked Kaizaki to stay with her and watch Kariu and Ohga's confessions.
    • Later, Kaizaki and Hishiro choose to stalk Kariu and Ohga's first date to make sure it goes well. Amusingly, this constitutes as something of a date for Kaizaki and Hishiro themselves, so of course this leads to a chain where Yoake and Onoya stalk the latter two as well (with the chapter end image even joking on how Kaizaki and Hishiro are amateurs).
  • A Day in the Limelight: Many of the bonus reports serve as this, if they star one of the supporting characters.
  • Dramatic Irony: Come Chapter 199, Kaizaki has come to terms with his love for Hishiro and plans to start dating her after his ReLIFE program ends, even knowing she'll have forgotten about him. The irony comes in when you realize Hishiro is also part of the experiment. All Kaizaki's memories of her will be wiped at the end of the school year.
  • Driven to Suicide: It's revealed that this happened to Kaizaki's senpai at his first company, and is the reason for his trauma that plagued his situation.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Each of the major cast members has or had some kind of issue. Kariu, Ohga, and Tamarai all get arcs focusing on theirs, Hishiro suffers from a Friendless Background that's negatively impacted her social skills, and the entire plot is basically about helping Kaizaki with his trauma. Meanwhile, Yoake is also grappling with his own problems for most of the series, and while Onoya is mostly well-adjusted today, it's revealed that she was once falling into a depressed funk until Yoake pulled her out of it.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: Kaizaki notices Hishiro does this and tries to convince Yoake to eat with her. It doesn't work, but Hishiro does manage to become friends with Kariu and Honoka.
  • Everyone Can See It:
    • Everyone realizes Kariu likes Ohga but him.
    • Everyone seems to realize that Hishiro likes Kaizaki except herself, with the developing situation between them even got the higher ranked officials to wonder whether both of them could remember each other after the program is over
      • Actually her doubts are in fact suspicions about Kaizaki's involvement in the experiment, and her denial might be caused by the possible age difference and the fear of Kaizaki's memories being erased.
  • Fireworks of Love: Ohga and Kariu independently decide to confess at the fireworks festival.
  • Foil: Kaizaki and Hishiro are both ReLIFE subjects who are exact opposites. Kaizaki is book dumb but has good social skills, compared to the intelligent but socially awkward Hishiro. Kaizaki is noted to not only be changing, but is changing many of his classmates around him, compared to Hishiro who was indifferent to everyone around her during her first year of ReLIFE.
  • Following in Their Rescuer's Footsteps: Aside from Yoake who's been an employee for several years, many of the named ReLIFE employees joined because they were helped by the company previously. When she was struggling with her current life, Onoya made use of the anonymous help line—talking with Yoake specifically—and chose to join them, with Yoake even commenting on how it was like she followed him. Kaizaki and Hishiro both join at the end of the series, and the epilogue reveals that Ohga did as well, out of gratitude for them helping his brother.
  • Foreshadowing: Lots of information regarding the experiment is hidden from the reader but there are many hints dropped through the story.
    • When Yoake first explained his role as a member of the support team during lunch both his and Onoya's pills are shown.
    • Onoya is seen contacting Yoake using her mobile phone several times before the reveal.
    • There are several hints regarding Hishiro's true identity:
      • Kaizaki notes she used a very old fashioned method of making an envelope from around the time he was in school.
      • She talks about the lack of communication skills in society as an adult, several times, as if she already experienced it.
      • She says she has no friends whatsoever but she always talks with Yoake in a very familiar way.
      • When Kazaki says he will never forget Hishiro after school ends, she makes a sad smile. In her perspective such things are impossible, Arata, being a high school student, will have his memories erased by the end of the year.
  • Forgotten First Meeting:
    • A short story given to those who saw the movie in Japan reveals Kaizaki met Yoake while on a trip to Tokyo back when he was in high school. He met Hishiro on the same day.
    • Kaizaki actually met Onoya a year ago, when he was working at his part-time job. He also met Yoake again soon after.
  • The Gadfly: Both Yoake and Onoya, mostly to Kaizaki. Onoya doubles as a bit of The Tease.
  • Half-Truth: Due to the nature of the ReLIFE experiment, the Support Team is fond of using these, Yoake Ryo in particular since this one contains two subjects doing it at the same time. A great number of those are only noticable in subsequent readings.
    * "This school is attached to a university you can go to when you graduate. Which means it's not rare to have a transfer student. Onoya-san should be one of those transfer students."
    * "Please get along with Hishiro. I've been in the same class as her before, everytime I saw her, she was always alone."
    * (Regarding why he needs to spy on Hishiro) "You're the one that choose to impact the fate of those two, that's why I have to continue to observe."
  • Hard Truth Aesop: Played with. One lesson Kaizaki learns is that it's sometimes more important to let a bad situation between people – bullying, discrimination, or a spat between friends – run its course, because intervening might only make it worse and screw you over, too. Kaizaki can attest to how badly this can go. That said, neither protagonist is entirely satisfied with this way of thinking, and some other characters eventually come to praise Kaizaki for having had the balls to do the right thing despite the consequences.
  • Have We Met?: In the finale, Kaizaki & Hishiro managed to overcome their memory loss and remembered each other for a relatively short time. In the epilogue, Ohga and Kairu feel some familiarity with Arata, despite losing all of their memories of him taken away.
  • Inhuman Resources: The ReLIFE company to its own employees and, in a strange twist, to the unemployed. They even went so far as to try and have Yoake enter a relationship with Hishiro. Their altruistic image is nothing more than marketing, at least for the top. Yoake and Onoya actually do care.
  • In-Series Nickname: Honoka is the only one who actually calls Hishiro "Hishiron". Kaizaki was also dubbed "Cigarette Guy" and later "Good-For-Nothing Guy" after some incidents at the beginning of school but luckily for him it didn't last long. Kaizaki also nicknamed Ohga as "Showga" for a while.
  • Ironic Echo: Onoya tells Yoake after he collapses at work that he can't go around with a depressed face or else he'll be troubling his subject, as a means of lifting his spirits. Much later, he tells Onoya the exact same thing, when she's struggling with her emotions as Hishiro's handler.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Kaizaki blames himself for his senpai's suicide, feeling if he didn't try to stand up for her, the bullying wouldn't have intensified.
    • Yoake blames himself for Hishiro's failing through the project the first time around since he kept his distance after advising her went poorly. That's why he's so much more proactive with Kaizaki.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: Yoake and Onoya, hate having to keep that both Kaizaki and Hishiro are members of the program because if they tell them, they'll both have their memories erased. Because of this, they can only watch as the two fall in love with each other and feel guilty over it since they think they're falling for someone a decade younger.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: Received one in 2017.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Kaizaki's bothered by seeing that both Hishiro and Yoake eat alone at lunch (Hishiro likes it but also admittedly struggles with making friends, Yoake does so for work reasons). When Yoake asks if Kaizaki thinks they're weird, Kaizaki answers with a Blunt "Yes".
  • Love Epiphany: Kaizaki helps Ohga have one, and later has his own when he spies Ohga's confession with Hishiro. He tries to deny it for a while, but by Chapter 139, he can't deny it anymore.
    • Hishiro has one in Chapter 152 after she finds herself being happy to be touched by him.
  • Love You and Everybody: While Kaizaki is trying to get Ohga to realize his own feelings.
    Kaizaki: Is there a girl that you like?
    Ohga: I like everyone?
  • May–December Romance:
    • While not forbidden by ReLIFE, Kaizaki is hesitant to allow this to happen. Subverted, unbeknownst to him, his main love interest is also an adult in the ReLIFE program.
    • The fact that Yoake's not exactly into this serves as a hint to Hishiro over Onoya's true identity, as it raises suspicions when he's seen hanging out with her outside of school.
  • Mistaken for Gay: When Yoake enters Kaizaki's apartment using a spare key, Onoya immediately concludes that they're lovers. Though it's immediately revealed that she's actually Yoake's junior, so she knows exactly why he has a key to Kaizaki's place.
  • Mood Whiplash: The humorous short scene at the end of each chapter can become this when the chapter itself ends in a serious or dramatic moment.
  • Mundane Utility: Much of what ReLIFE does — altering someone's outward age with a simple drug, erasing memories, etc. — can be seen as this. There's no indication that their remarkable technology is used for anything but rehabilitation since they're largely plot devices for the story.
  • Named After Someone Famous: Or "Something Famous" in this case. All of the characters' surnames come from railway stations across Japan.
  • NEET: The ReLIFE program is about rehabilitating NEETs, though the series offers a much more sympathetic and down-to-earth view of them than usual. It's made clear that there's nothing "wrong" with Kaizaki, who did well enough in school and is a likable, hard-working person but struggles to gain employment due to workplace trauma; likewise, Hishiro is extremely capable but suffers from interpersonal skills due to her background, and Ohga's older brother became a Hikikomori from workplace harassment and bullying but Ohga has nothing but respect for him. It's even discussed within the story about how although society views being a NEET as shameful, it shouldn't be because it's not really always the person's fault.
  • No Loves Intersect: Outside of teasing a few pairings early on, the main cast is quickly paired up as such.
    • Kaizaki and Hishiro
    • Kariu and Ohga
    • Yoake and Onoya
  • Oblivious to Love: Ohga and Hishiro.
  • Official Couple:
    • Kariu and Ohga.
    • Kaizaki and Hishiro.
    • Yoake and Onoya, in the epilogue.
  • Older Than They Look: Kaizaki and Yoake, due to the pill from ReLIFE. Also Onoya, another employee of ReLIFE and Hishiro, a ReLIFE subject.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: After the Wham Episode that reveals Hishiro was Subject No. 001, many scenes are shown again in a different light. Moments that suggested Hishiro had feelings for Yoake were actually her addressing him as her handler, conversations Yoake had that were seemingly about or with Kaizaki were with Hishiro instead, etc.
  • Relationship Upgrade: In chapter 106, Kariu and Ohga. Kaizaki and Hishiro receive one in chapter 198, while Yoake and Onoya finally get one in the bonus epilogue.
  • Shipper on Deck: Many for various relationships.
    • Onoya, Kaizaki and Honoka for Kariu and Ohga. When Ohga finally realizes his feelings, Onoya and Kaizaki can't stop smiling.
    • Onoya and Yoake for Kaizaki and Hishiro.
    • Kaizaki for Onoya and Yoake.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The series isn't shy about how the real world doesn't always reward positivity or good intentions — but ultimately suggests that it's worth it to keep trying. When Kaizaki tells Kariu that her efforts will be rewarded in order to encourage her, he later admits to Yoake that he wonders if it was careless to say that, as he knows that reality isn't that kind and that people will let you down. In response, Yoake agrees that the world isn't a nice place, but disagrees with the latter point and thinks that Kaizaki was perfectly valid in giving Kariu that bit of hope.
  • Theme Naming: Every character is named after a Japanese railway station.
  • Twice Shy:
    • Kaizaki won't admit his growing feelings for Hishiro since she's 10 years younger than him and still in high school. Turns out she's also in the ReLIFE program and is having the same problems after realizing she might have fallen for him.
    • Likewise, Kariu and Ohga struggle to admit their feelings to each other (at least, once Ohga even realizes it) and need pushing from their friends to set up the right occasion, at which point they're still terrified.
  • The Virus: The memory loss stems from a virus that's introduced into the subject and support staff that infects others and destroys any memories of the virus holder at the end of the experiment. The subject and support don't forget since they're given antibodies, but because Kaizaki and Hishiro had spent so much time together before they could prepare one the infection has reached a point where it just wouldn't work.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Kaizaki with Yoake and Onoya with the both of them.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 111. Hishiro reveals that she knows about the ReLIFE project.
    • Following that is Chapter 112. She is Yoake's first subject.
    • Chapter 116. If Hishiro reveals to Kaizaki that she suspect he's an adult, his experiment is terminated and his memories of her are erased, no exceptions are made.
    • Chapter 197. Kaizaki finally admits to Hishiro that he's fallen in love with her. And the follow-up chapter has the pair finally start dating.
  • Wham Line:
    • In chapter 52:
      Yoake, to Onoya: We're not allowed to make excessive contact with our subjects. How many times do I have to tell you?
    • The very end of chapter 111.
      Hishiro: Isn't Kaizaki-san also a subject in the ReLIFE experiment?
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Chapters 113-114 / Episode 7 are from Yoake's perspective, detailing his experience with the previous subject.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Ohga tries using this to cheer Kariu up after she doesn't get the top score on a test, but she dismisses the idea. After Kariu does get the top score, she's convinced this must have happened to Hishiro.