We’re finally getting a look into Kaizaki before the ReLIFE program, and interestingly enough, it’s through Ryou’s moments leading up to their first confrontation. Kaizaki is Ryou’s second chance, as his first test subject didn’t produce much results. That we already knew. What we didn’t know however, is that the outcome of the first experiment may have had something to do with Ryou’s mishandling of the situation. Ryou feels somewhat responsible for what happened, as during the experiment he was torn between two approaches for supporting his test subject: hands on or hands off. He was rattled by his employer’s judgment as well, but ultimately he feels that it was his fault.
Ryou expresses his anguish to An in a strange, rainy bridge scene. He’s walking around, alone, with his head hung low and no umbrella to shield himself from the downpour. He meets halfway across a bridge with An who has two umbrellas, and then she tries to hand him one but he doesn’t accept, so she holds the one covering herself above his head. It’s a nice, albeit somewhat cliché scene.
What’s important about An is that she was supposed to be Kaizaki’s support, but Ryou took the assignment from her, so she bears a little resentment because of it.
In this episode we find out the character traits that made Kaizaki a prime candidate. He’s polite and considerate, just like every other generic anime protagonist. But then Ryou gives him another characteristic in his log that I don’t quite agree with. He types that Kaizaki’s “forward-thinking nature is infectious”. Where does Kaizaki demonstrate his forward-thinking nature? If he was forward-thinking, why would he be stuck at that part-time job, struggling to make ends meet? If he was forward-thinking, why would he be so shocked in previous episodes about students allowed to be on their phones? And why the hell would he smoke if he knew what the future holds for that kind of lifestyle? I suspect it might’ve been just an error in translation, but nonetheless I do not find Kaizaki to be a forward-thinking character.
I also found it odd that Ryou wrote about Kaizaki experiencing remorse and how he works to improve because of that. This also seems out of character, considering his nonchalant way of shrugging off his continued terrible test scores. But perhaps Ryou is trying to tell what the audience cannot yet see, as if the way Kaizaki is framed to us isn’t exactly all there is to his character.
Quick notes on the music of the episode: They’re finally expanding on that overused piano rift, which has been used for a wide variety of scenes regardless of tone. I felt this episode in particular was pretty abundant with the music as well, so I’m glad it was at least something new.
This episode I felt was actually quite weak, as flashback episodes tend to be. There was some useful nuggets of information on the characters, as well as the ReLIFE program, but a lot of it felt like it just existed to fill time. It’s cool how the ReLIFE program feels like this huge, mysterious, conspiracy thing, and I’ll be interested to see how it plays out in the end.