Re-Main is the latest of what I’d call a series of anime series made with the Summer Olympics in mind, highlighting various sports from the game, including Sk-8: The Infinity (Skateboarding), Sport Climbing Girls (Bouldering and Speed Climbing), and Wave!! (Surfing). While those covered some of the new sports at these Olympic games, Re-Main focuses a longer, more established Summer Olympic sport – Water Polo.
Re-Main follows Minato Kiyomizu, a middle school water polo prodigy who was part of a group of students who were certain to be Japan’s best high school team. And then on their way back from a match, Minato’s family’s car gets in an accident. The rest of the family is fine, but Minato is left comatose for several months, and when he recovers he’s forgotten the last 3 years of his life. Consequently, having lost not only 3 years of life experience, and having experienced the muscle atrophy that comes with being in a coma for that long, he’s also lost 3 years of academic knowledge, leaving him meaning that instead of going to Shogakukan High School with his friends, he instead goes to the less prestigious Yamanami High School instead.
On arrival, he’s persuaded to join the High School’s Water Polo club. There are just a few catches. First – he has to restore his physical condition to where he was before. Second – he has to reacquaint himself with the rules of the game. Third – Currently the Water Polo club is made up of one person so they’re gonna need some more players.
Amnesia can be something of a hackneyed trope in anime, but here I think it works well. It gives good reasons for why Minato to not be going to the same school as his friends, and it also serves, particularly later in the series, to show some particularly interesting character growth – how Minato had changed over Middle School, and why he became that person, and how this version of him is different. There is a point where Minato returns to being the person he was in his senior year of Middle School, which is a moment that I found frustrating, as that version of him is kind of a shithead. However, the way they get the two personalities to reconcile works out fairly well.
As this is an anime original work, I can reasonably say that this is a show that felt like writer & director Masafumi Nishida was very much trying to channel some energy from Kyoto Animation’s Free! Both in the sense of how the show is depicting an aquatic sport, but also very much in the sense that the show definitely doesn’t hesitate when it comes to the man-service. It’s not as overt as Free! was – where the last shot of the first episode had one of the male character’s bare muscular butt square in the camera gaze. However, the Female/Gay Male gaze is very much present here.
Now, as a cis-het guy, this particular flavor of fanservice doesn’t do that much for me, so the question then becomes – how’s the water polo? The answer is that the water polo that we get is alright, but I did find myself wishing there was more. This is not to say that the rest of the series is wacky slice of life hijinx meant to fuel doujinshi for the next Comiket. It’s a lot of training and prep as we dive into the backgrounds of the various team members as they try to turn themselves into a Water Polo team.
However, this is where Re-Main being an anime original show fumbles. Because it’s anime original, what we don’t get is more show. Were this an adaptation of a manga, there would potential that there was more of the show that had yet to be adapted. Thus, if we never got more episodes, we could confidently say there would be more available to us, just not in animated form. However, because this is an anime original show, the only way we get more would be if this show gets a second season order, which there is no guarantee of.
In all, I liked the show, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a second season, but I don’t know if we’ll get that.
Currently, Re-Main is available for streaming on Funimation.
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