Re-Main is a sports/drama anime series that came out in the summer 2021 season. The series centres on Minato Kiyomizu who is a star player in his school’s water polo team. On the day of his major triumph, he gets involved in a major car crash that leaves him in a coma for 203 days. After finally awakening it becomes quickly apparent, he has suffered from amnesia and cannot remember any events before his accident. Trying to get his life back on track through a gruelling rehabilitation process it is not long before Minato is thrust back into the water polo world!
When hearing this plot, one may feel a sense of apprehension about the prospect of watching yet another anime that applies the common amnesia trope to it story. In the case of Re-Main though this trope largely works as the idea of mixing amnesia with a sports anime is not something that has done much before. What is more the trope is not used to forget cliché details, instead it is applied to add depth to the story as his lack of memories creates an aura about Minato’s former life.
Indeed, his legendary abilities, means that many of his new friends are also aware of his star status and it is this stark contrast between his former and current self that generates a sense of confusion for Minato. This difference in physical prowess and skill between his old and current self all adds to his journey of self-discovery and recovery which becomes not just a physical process but also a mental one as well.
Still, despite the issue of amnesia featuring heavily one should not think Re-Main ever takes on a dark tone as Minato’s group of friends are a rumbustious and loud bunch that often create amusement and embarrassment in equal measure. Outside of the group though each of Minato’s friends have their own personalities and even their backstories are covered so even they are not cardboard cut outs.
Now I won’t spoil things and reveal the details of this said twist, suffice to say that it will leave you scratching your head. It could even get people to check out. However, after getting over this initial shock I felt this development was actually a good one. As a person who enjoys real life sports in various shapes and guises the issues raised in this twist are actually fairly common talking points about major super star athletes. To me it brought forward some interesting dynamics not just from the characters but how people handle these common sporting scenarios.
The twist also adds an unconventional means of adding character and team growth that whilst uncomfortable to witness is not actually too uncommon to see in real life sports. It is certainly a unique feature that I have not seen in any anime although I will add the caveat that I have not watched much sports anime.
If there is one disappointment, I had with Re-Main it would be that despite all the good drama the show did not have enough sporting action. Fortunately, the little we do get is good and what I like in this series was the fact none of the matches were plain sailing. The constant struggles were real and it was not simply a parade of victories that is more typical of anime of this genre. This sense of struggle added realism to the series (and reminded me of my fav team’s recent form ). What is more, the climax was good although this is tempered by the fact this series is begging for a sequel that, if I am going to be frank, is unlikely to happen.
This series being a Mappa show means the animation throughout the show is strong. I liked the character designs and what is notable is the various outfits each character had. The sense of fashion and hairstyle on display gives this series a sense of flair that made this a series that was easy on the eyes. This quality of animation was largely consistent throughout the shows running with only the later episodes showing any noticeable declines but even here those drops in quality where relatively minor. This being a water polo series I am sure this series could appeal to the girls as unsurprisingly this show is packed with scenes of guys walking topless with all those six packs exposed and in plain sight.
The musical score was decent but didn’t totally sell me over. The animation contained within the opening and ending sequences were good though. The opening song is "Forget Me Not" by ENHYPEN while the ending theme is "Kowareta Sekai no Byoushin wa" by Shuugo Nakamura.
You got to ask yourself what you want from a sports anime. Most people who are into such series are keen on getting plenty of sporting action. That won’t be had here so if action is your sole focus, then I would recommend giving this a pass. However, if you can look beyond the action and hot bods then there is a good dose of drama that is largely gripping. Yes, a big a source of this surrounds the amnesia that Minato suffers from but the way this common trope is applied is done in a unique manner that adds a good amount of depth to our protagonist.
Moreover, there is a major turning point that will likely take you for a loop although eagle eyed viewers may pick up on it as the series does provide some foreshadowing to this event. I admit it will not appeal to all, but me being a fan of sport stars I thought it was a commendable twist as it is something I see commonly in sports especially for star/champion athletes. The ending is good but it does make you wish for the impossible which is never a good thing… I don’t want to be Scottish football supporter!
Story 7 – For a sports anime Re-Main is steeped in drama. If you don’t mind your sports anime to be heavy in inter and intra-personal conflicts then you can buy it. You just have to understand it will sacrifice action to accommodate this drama. If you can get over this hurdle then you will enjoy this as the story is largely engaging and the little action we get is entertaining as well.
Characters 7 – I liked the different aspects of Minato and he was an easy character to like. His personality is not a simple one and things do get complicated. What can be said is his character certainly adds to the story. The main bit of contention will come from the supporting cast which I did find were personally enjoyable but their brash nature is likely to rattle the nerves of some. For all their faults they do a good job of preventing this show becoming dark and melancholy.
Animation 8 – One of the stronger points. I liked the character designs used here in particularly the facial designs. It was also good to see our characters in various outfits but for boy lovers add an extra point for all the hot bods out there! Not my thing but I did like the animation for the opening/ending for this series. I was not completely feeling the music however.
Overall 7 – If you are a big fan of sports anime this could still appeal to you. Maybe I am dead wrong here but my thought is many sport anime fans will be guys so I am not sure how appealing seeing guys play water polo will be to that demographic. If you can get over that then Re-Main tells a good tale and if this ever got a second season, I could see this going another level as you just got a sense Minato and his crew were turning things around by the shows end.
Do you like bishies going topless? Saying that there are some cute girls to be had too so check the gallery for some nice eye candy!