What Is It About? Hashiba Kyoya is as unsuccessful as they come: at least, as a game director. So when his company goes bankrupt, leaving him in the lurch, he heads back to his family home, all while considering everyone who’s succeeded and not him. Then, in the blink of an eye, Kyoya finds himself a decade in the past with a second chance and a shot at a brighter future.
Episode 1, “Everything is Useless,” starts off with Kyoya on a bus in the wake of his entire life being upended. A mood, as the kids call it these days, and the most relatable. He’s currently heading home when we find him, which stung in the year of our lord 2021, as many of us are back home or just scrounging by. Worse, he inhales a leaf on the walk to his parent’s home, getting his daily dose of vitamin C as an extra kick in the pants from the world.
In an unexpected way, Remake Our Life feels quite grounded in its opening. You realize that Kyoya, like a lot of twenty-somethings on the verge of their thirties, desires more from life. He wants to turn passion projects into a career. He ponders what his life would be like if he’d gone to art school versus a regular college. He asks questions that he’ll never get answers to, questions that clearly cause him some strife. It’s actually pretty good, which feels good as a viewer.
But somewhere around fifteen minutes in, you realize that things aren’t happening. Yes, we get backstory onto Kyoya’s work and why he lost his job, but… that’s about it. And while it does flesh out his character a bit, it also feels unnecessary. I’d much rather get into the time travel plot, and what the show’s going to do with that.
And then you realize this is a double length premiere and start to feel a bit of creeping anxiety as you start to wonder, “What the hell is going to happen?”. The simple premise of “a man gets a second chance by traveling back in time” isn’t enough to carry a fifty-minute episode, even if you can sympathize and empathize with Kyoya’s desire to change one single decision that might have led him to success.
In terms of animation, Remake Our Life looks generically good. Nothing about the style stands out, for better or for worse. That said, it’s easy on the eyes and makes it easy to sink into this very long premier without too much fuss. The same could be said of the music. It’s cheerful, bright, and matches the mood of Kyoya’s day-to-day well enough to blend in, but not dynamically enough to be of note. This would be good instrumental music to work to, in large part because it’s so unremarkable. I’m beginning to think that that’s the “appeal” of this premiere: it’s unremarkable, enough that it’s something to throw on between everything else airing this season.
Ultimately, Remake Our Life isn’t outstanding, nor is it horrible. It sits in that healthy middle ground of “just okay.” And honestly, that’s not a ding: sometimes, series are just okay, hitting all the expected plot points without any bumps in the road. There’s some fanservice, but ultimately, it’s actually a really grounded show that’s just… average. In a way, that’s a bit of a letdown for me: I tend to only review shows that I know I’ll have something to say about, and what I have to say about Remake Our Life isn’t particularly insightful. I wish I had more glowing things to say, but by the time I closed my browser tab, all I could think was, “That was okay.”
That all said, I can see where Remake Our Life has potential, and I certainly don’t regret this premiere. I can see the possibilities around the edges, the potential for this to be a coming-of-age story for adults. I can even see this becoming a really powerful, impactful story about being happy and seizing second chances. Those little seeds of a bigger plot, of seeing Kyoya become part of something bigger with his second chance, are tempting, and as I neared the end of my watch, I could see myself adding this to my watchlist out of genuine curiosity.
I’d actually like to see Remake Our Life pull a bit of a SHIROBAKO on me–or heck, even a New Game–and give me a behind-the-scenes look at what’s happening because a show about video games always has the potential to be fascinating. Moreso, I really want this ensemble cast to grow the plot a lot more. I’m all for slice of life, but not when it’s glacial.
In the end, if Remake Our Life ends up just being wish fulfillment on part of Kyoya, then so be it. That’s not a bad plot, and thus far, seems like it’ll provide some sort of satisfying conclusion. I think it’ll find its audience and be perfectly fine. That said, I’m really rooting for Remake Our Life to grow the plot and be a bit more dynamic. Count me in until at least episode 3, just to see if where things go.