「１０年前に戻ってきて」 (Jyuu-nen Mae ni Modotte Kite)
“Ten Years Back in Time”
Episode 02 of Bokutachi no Remake gives us a grim reminder that a second chance is the opportunity to do something different. Otherwise, you get locked into the definition of insanity where you expect different results by jumping into the same pitfall.
For someone who historically buckled at any instance of adversity, Kyoya’s biggest obstacle is his tendency to operate more or less like he always did. At the very moment Tsurayuki realized he ordered the wrong camera, Kyoya automatically assumed he wasted his time traveling on another future where his team would fail to deliver.
He might’ve turned the tides by trying to use his time traveling as an opportunity to push back against the fate that kept telling him “No”, but it was baffling that he thought he wouldn’t have any obstacles along the way and live out Harem of the Dead with his favorite game developers.
It doesn’t help that Tsurayuki is a real piece of work. Not only is he a bad roomie who eats his fellow roommates’ food because he thought everything was fair game, but he’s also terrible at group projects. As soon as Kyoya gives him the mere suggestion of shortening the scope of the short film to adhere to the three-minute limit, he acts like his grand vision is being compromised because his team just wants a good grade and isn’t trying to make Window Water Baby Moving for a class project.
And that’s not even getting into the weird direction behind Tsurayuki accusing Kyoya of coming up with the same idea he did. It’s so oddly constructed because it’s set up to look like Tsurayuki is trying to get to the bottom of why they could come up with the same idea while Kyoya is horrified that he “stole” Tsurayuki’s idea and ends up exasperatingly attempting to argue he never meant to submit his idea first. It’d be like getting pissed that you and your friend are craving the same pizza and then have a fracas about the thought crime of wanting the same pizza.
I’m also pretty sure Eika came up with the same idea too because she’s also scouting out the train platform and waiting for a train to come as time progresses is about as original as you can get for a film school project about the concept of “Time”. If the concept was “Purity”, I’m sure they’d be filming someone standing alone in the rain or someone scrubbing themselves frantically in the bathtub. If the concept was “Chaos”, they’d film a couple’s argument about cheating or household items being thrown at a wall. It’s all unoriginal, but you’re in art school. Not every A+ you try to get is going to end up like Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB.
Aside from the project, the content of Bokutachi no Remake’s second episode is still hit-or-miss. It was nice to get some background on Nanako and Aki’s motives for attending an art school in the big city. Similarly, it should be fun to learn more about the Fine Arts Club, especially with how funny Kiryu’s entrapment plan was and how cute that one girl in the club is.
But it can be really difficult to take any of the drama seriously when everyone operates through such simple archetypes, notably for Nanako. Any time Nanako has to contribute to a scene, the show starts to bash its head against a table until it sees stars. We’re talking about the ’90s Love Hina throwback of having Nanako slap Kyoya and only Kyoya when she’s the one who entered the room half-naked to interject in an argument.
And then there’s the cringeworthiness of Kyoya letting Nanako’s breasts hang on his back while she stocks the backroom of their part-time job. It gets even worse when Kyoya reflects fondly on having her breasts on his back. It’s like the show has zero faith in getting the audience to endear to any of the female characters unless they’re either infantile like Aki or an angry piece of meat like Nanako.
You can give them stock motivations to make them seem complex, but I don’t have much of a reason to be invested in them because, at the end of the day, this is Kyoya’s story about how he lives vicariously off of their experiences to empower himself. Creating tension with the side characters can only go so far as to circumvent the show’s issue of wedging in everyone’s favorite anime tropes so it can be classified as a comedy. In the process of trying to add a sprinkle of drama and a touch of comedy to this story of Kyoya’s shot at redemption, it flounders at delivering both. As a result, you get a self-indulgent redemption story with little depth and even less charm.