Review | Is Re-Main Worth Watching?

Re-Main is an enjoyable series with compelling characters and beautiful animation!”

Re-Main is MAPPA’s latest project – an original sports anime about water polo. The 12-episode season started on July 4th and ended last week. MAPPA is a popular Japanese studio known for Banana Fish, Yuri on Ice and Attack on Titan. So, is their new work worth watching?

THE PREMISE

During his last year of Middle School, water polo rising star Minato Kiyomizu was caught in a car accident leaving him unconscious for 203 days. When he wakes up, he has lost the last three years of his memories and he is about to start High School. So he has completely forgotten his successes at water polo and how to play that sport. Nevertheless, he has to join his High School water polo club when Chinu informs him of a bet he had done with her. Indeed, if he looses the High Schools tournament, he owes her a lot of money. Several problems quickly arise.

The first episode mostly focuses on Minato, the series lead. He has to come to terms with what happened. It also introduces us to two other main characters – Eitaro and Jo. And it’s in the second episode that we meet Yoshiharu, Takekazu and Yutaka. Then the third episode fully introduces the last member of the water polo team – Shugo. It takes three episodes to properly set the story. For a 12 episode season, it may seem a lot. Though, there is a lot to unpack with Minato’s lost memories. So I think three episodes were necessary. It really gives us a look at the different characters’ personalities and what to expect from the rest of the season.

BUILDING THE TEAM

The first half of the season focuses on creating the bonds of the team. They are facing a lot of problems. Firstly, most of them are inexperienced in that sport. Secondly, there are some tensions as they don’t know how to work as a team. Despite the tensions, they quickly become friends reinforcing their team. This part of the season is a lot of fun and radiates comfort. In episode 5, the team looses against a Junior team. It’s so ridiculous but it works as a wake-up call for them to train harder. There’s also some emotional scenes especially with Yoshisharu who’s struggling as he feels he’s useless to the team. By episode 7, the group has finally found how to work as a team.

THE TURNING POINT

However, real problems arrive in episode 8. It’s a turning point but a wrong one. Indeed, it features the laziest plot point I have seen in a while. Minato regains his memory but has another accident and looses the memory from his time at High School. That means New nice Minato is gone and Old grumpy and mean Minato takes the stage. I was really mad the first time I watched the episode. There could have been so many different ways to create problems for the team but that one was the laziest. Exploring Minato’s old self was important for the character but that way definitely wasn’t. Nevertheless, I continued to watch the series because I still loved the other characters and the rest of the story was still interesting.

Episode 9 and 10 keep Old grumpy Minato so he’s really annoying. Though, we slowly see a different side of him. He opens up to the team a little bit and tries to help them with his renewed knowledge about water polo. His interactions are different with the team but these two episodes are still highly enjoyable as the first part of the season.

THE TOURNAMENT

Episode 11 really changes things, it’s pure joy. It’s finally the beginning of the High Schools tournament. At first the team is loosing but Grumpy Minato realizes that team work is key to victory. Nice Minato had understood that so it’s nice to see the grumpy one grasping the concept too. The match is a celebration of team work with each character having their moment to shine. Eitaro scoring the final point is definitely an highlight!

Episode 12 concludes the tournament and the season in a beautiful and meaningful way. The Grumpy Minato becomes Nice Minato again. Indeed, he finally plays because he’s having fun and not because he absolutely has to win. But maybe the most powerful moment of the episode is seeing Yoshisharu scoring the only point of the match. He who felt so useless finally sees that he’s worthy of the team. I couldn’t have asked for a better season finale. Though, now I really need a season two announcement because I really like this series.

THE CHARACTERS

Eitaro became an instant favorite character for me. He radiates positivity and he’s constantly cheerful. He really wants the team to succeed so he does his best to help and at the same overcome his own insecurities. In many ways, he reminds me of Nagisa Hazuki in Free!. It’s also probably why he is my favorite. I loved his character arc this season.

Minato is my second favorite up to a certain point. During the first part of the season, he’s an absolutely sweet heart. It’s so compelling to see him learning everything again about water polo. He’s so motivated. His storyline about his old memories is also quite interesting. Indeed, we learn his old self wasn’t a good person. It sets a goal for him not to become that person even though he still searches to get all of his memories back. It’s in the second part of season 1 that I hated Minato because of his Grumpy self who comes back. I talked more than enough about it above. In episode 11, I finally started to like him again. It’s still Grumpy Minato but he finally accepts to change.

The other characters of the team are all enjoyable. We spend enough time with each of them to get attached. Each one has their own struggles that they have to face and the story spends time to address that.

VISUALS

Re-Main is visually beautiful. In my opinion, it’s one of MAPPA’s best works. The highlight of this animation is the characters. Indeed, it feels like its own style and really sets it apart from their other works.

OPENING AND END CREDITS

The opening credits feature the song ‘Forget Me Not’ by ENHYPEN and it’s so fitting to the atmosphere of the series. I like the opening, it’s colorful and has a lot of energy. It nicely symbolizes the team’s spirit.

The end credits is different. It starts with a more somber vibe but ends with on a joyful note as Minato rejoins his friends at the beach. It feature the song ‘壊れた世界の秒針は’ by Shuugo Nakamura. That one also fits well with the credits. Now that the season is over, I feel like the end credits were actually figuratively representing Minato’s story in the second half of the season. I do find this beautiful.

VERDICT

Despite its flaws with Minato’s plot choices, it’s worth watching! I definitely encourage you to watch the season. Re-Main is an enjoyable series with compelling characters and beautiful animation!

We will keep you updated if Re-Main returns with a second season or movie!

The season is now streaming on FUNIMATION!

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