Hello and welcome back to Otaku Thursday! The sun is shining, the weather is warm, thankfully nobody has started any large forest fires this year, and we’re back at it with our first impressions for summer anime 2021! I, personally, am thankful for the incredibly mediocre group of anime that we have this season. Because it all makes it pretty easy to see which anime is standout, and might make the end of the season just a little easier on me. Not to say that any of the anime this season are bad! No, in fact, a lot of the anime are a complete delight to watch. But out of all of them, a few have caught my attention and today we’re going to be talking about one of them–Re-Main.
Water polo. A sport I have no idea about nor interest in for the most part. However, make an anime out of it and I am suddenly incredibly intrigued. I personally, am just super psyched to see more and more sports anime coming out that don’t focus on tennis, basketball, or baseball–aka the sports anime staples. Star believes we’re seeing a large variety coming out due to the Tokyo Olympics, and I believe it. For the most part these anime feature sports we’ll be seeing at the Olympics. Water polo being one of them. But Re-Main feels like more than just your average sports anime with a unique sport. It feels like it has and will have, sustenance. Let me get into why.
So, Re-Main introduces our main character Minato (look, I remembered the main character’s name for once. This won’t be a theme this season). We find out in episode one that Minato had been in a coma for 203 days–and that he used to be his middle school’s water polo star (ace, legend, etc.). Which y’know, that alone is pretty heavy. But then you find out that in the accident he was in that ended up with him in a coma, also made him lose three years of his memory. Which again. Okay that sucks a lot–how much worse can it be? WELL, since he lost three years of his life, guess who doesn’t have any memory of how to play water polo? That’s right–Minato. Which of course, made this anime go from like a five to an immediate eight in my book. It immediately set up a solid plotline beyond just a kid joining a high school sports team. After all, Minato doesn’t even really want to join the team. AND YES. You read the right. Minato really doesn’t want to join the team since mentally, he has no connection with the sport and he doesn’t even remember how to play. Everyone around him expects him to jump right back in and be the ace that he was before, or at least have muscle memory of the sport. Which, if I were him, I’d be friggin’ TERRIFIED. Like absolutely terrified to join a team for a sport where everyone expects me to be a legend.
Another thing that feels very drama esque and can lead to potentially great moments down the lane is how the accident happened. Which again, yes, is covered in the first episode (they didn’t reveal it right away–groundbreaking. That’s either really good or really bad). He was hurt in a car accident where his mother was the driver and his little sister was in the backseat, bringing in drama on the family side that we see effecting their lives. His mother feels guilty and his sister has nightmares of the day it happened. The resonating effects of that day is something I hope echoes throughout Minato’s story, as it has a great potential to be a huge point of drama later on. So fingers crossed we get back to it at one point.
So plot so far (in the two episodes I have seen) is solid. We see some nice threads of potential conflict. So what about the other characters? Well, decidedly O.K. right now. We’ve been introduced to Minato’s family, his club mates, and his ex-girlfriend he doesn’t remember. I wouldn’t say I feel any kind of affection for any of them right now, but I guess it only has been two episodes so there’s plenty of room for them to grow on me. I DO however see potential in a few of the club members to be really interesting characters with interesting backstories. For instance, both the club captain and the red haired Shorter wannabe had great moments in episode two. We learned red-head Takekazu’s reason for joining water polo, and we learned how the team captain practiced alone all that time. And we saw moments of glasses dude remembering Minato in the hospital. So we certainly got some potential here for some further character exploration with them, but I hope to see more with some of the other main cast.
On the production side of things, it’s pretty solid. While we haven’t seen any of the water polo sequences yet, their test-run sequence in episode two was fairly smooth. The water is beautiful (though not as bonkers beautiful as Shiroi Suna no Aquatope), the characters design and animation are pleasant to look at. No glaring issues yet. On the soundtrack side of things, we have an excellent opening and ending, but the soundtrack itself feels very standard. Which, I mean that it doesn’t necessarily standout (not to say its bad).
Overall, Re-Main is definitely a runner for one of the best anime this season. The good animation, generically likeable characters, unique sports focus, and intriguing dramatic elements could possibly provide for a very memorable anime. On the other hand, a lack of follow through on the drama could possibly end this up being a good but mediocre sport anime. It’s a little too early to tell which side it’ll edge on but for now, these have just been my first impressions.