OP: 「Forget Me Not」 by (ENHYPEN)
「ごめんなさい、誰ですか」 (“Gomennasai, Dare Desu ka?)
“Sorry, Who Are You?”
The best way I can describe RE-MAIN upon first impression is “a breath of fresh air.” The opening sequence wasted no time establishing an interesting premise that was never mentioned in the synopsis (more on that later). This was followed by a gorgeous opening sequence with a catchy tune by Korean boy band ENHYPEN that really set the mood for what looks to be an upbeat series full of hope, inspiration, and passion. Without further ado, let’s break down the events that transpired in this first episode:
The Prologue that Changed Everything!
When I wrote up the preview for RE-MAIN on RandomC, my prediction from reading the synopsis was that the “incident” that stopped the main character Minato Kiyomizu (Yuuto Uemura) from pursuing water polo was related to middle school politics, such as a disagreement with a classmate or something. I could not be more wrong, and I was profoundly shocked to find that Minato had been involved in a coma-inducing car accident that sent him to sleep for just over six months.
To top it off, Minato awoke to find he had lost his memories of the past three years, which made the whole situation that much more detrimental. Before knowing any of this, I genuinely thought this series would be a little more like the generic school sports trope where the main character discovers their love for the sport, makes new friends, and joins the school team, you know, think Haikyuu or Kuroko no Basuke. Instead, RE-MAIN takes place after Minato had already accomplished great things in water polo, having won the junior high championship and lifting the trophy with his friends, possibly even having a romantic relationship with the beautiful Chinu Kawakubo (Lynn), who makes a shock move in the final sequence.
In many ways, it’s as though RE-MAIN is an epilogue of a finished series where the protagonist has already achieved his main goals, and that life is now far behind him, albeit because of the amnesia. I very much like this approach, as it keeps things fresh but without re-inventing the wheel of mainstream sports anime. As the world of water polo is constantly trying to pull Minato back into that life, we as the viewers can only wonder if he’ll ever reignite that passion, all the while remaining (see what I did there) intrigued as we ponder just what kind of sportsman he really was in his heyday.
Jokes aside, one of the things that boggled my mind most was why on earth this series was called “RE-MAIN” in the first place, and as someone who knows nothing about water polo, I had no chance of knowing, that is until this first episode dropped. Minato recalls the “Remain” rule violation of water polo, which states that a player cannot receive the ball within two meters of the opponent’s goal. I found it interesting that this rule was highlighted in Minato’s textbook, as though it had some kind of importance to him.
Upon seeing this highlighted text, he proceeds to reflect on how his family has “remained” stuck on the day of the car accident, alluding to their inability to move on since Minato entered a coma. I’m not sure what kind of significance the term “remain” will have throughout the series, whether referring to the rule violation or the protagonist’s analogy to relate the term to his family situation. Either way, I’m still glad that some light was shed on the mysterious title of the series, and I look forward to seeing how things unveil as we learn more about what RE-MAIN actually means in the grand scheme of the plot.
The Animation Delivers
It was clear from the trailers that RE-MAIN was going to have beautiful and aesthetic animation, but this opening episode really did reinstate the brilliance of MAPPA studios. Even though there was no water polo theatrics in this first episode, the visuals alone were enough to keep me invested, even in the most trivial of sequences, and it seriously brought the art style to life. From the colors to the smooth animations, and the engaging characters, it was impossible to spot even a single frame of poor editing by MAPPA. I sincerely take my hat off to all the hard-working staff across the animation industry for their diligent efforts and dedication, as this was a job well done of epic proportions.