ReLIFE: Music Nostalgia of Youth

This anime season, the TV series Re:LIFE aired. It is human drama-type anime that has the themes of career, high school, second chances, and self-improvement. Centered around 27-year old part-timer Arata Kaizaki, he is recruited into an experimental program called ReLife Project after he got drunk and lied to his friends on his career.

Instead of being transported back to his personal past to change his future, he instead takes a drug that turns him back to look like his 17-year old self. He is then placed in high-school for a year in order to re-live his youth and fix his life. While his mind is still of his 27-year old self, he gives advice and insight to his classmates while keeping his real age a secret.

It is a great series to watch for comedy, life lessons, and reminiscing of happier times, especially for us older fans way past high school. Myself, a 32-year old that does not have a stable work history (who doesn’t nowadays?), found this anime such a joy while at the same time hit a nerve. After watching, I reminisced about high school, college, and everything else in between. I also questioned my decisions on life and how I dealt with them.

The Ending Songs

ReLIFE MD Player

While watching this series, there was something about the endings that caught my ear. I noticed that the songs were ones I have already heard of, and from some time ago. I realized each episode has a different ending song that were made more than 10 years ago, to hone in that our hero is from a different generation. Here is the list of songs that were used (and their release year):

Second Chance for Music

While the overwhelming majority of tie-in songs are either made as promotion for the bands or directly for a series, it is rare to use songs that are considered too “old.” Similarly from Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED), where they used Asian Kung-fu Generations’ Re:Re as its opening theme (the song came out on 2003, while the anime was released in 2016) instead of a new song. Older content can be relevant years later!

I mean when I was watching these episodes, at least half of them I already knew and could sing along with! To finally hear “Hot Limit” “Saudade” “Yuki no Hana” or “HONEY” being used in an anime more than 10 years after their release, such a strange and satisfying feeling.

In high school, I was rather fervent in researching J-pop and J-Rock even before the anime boom in America, and would do anything to get my hands on the great music I heard. I learned of T.M.Revolution and L’Arc~en~ciel from Rurouni Kenshin, and wanted more music from them and a myriad of artists from more anime I watched.

Anyone Remember the MD?

ReLIFE MiniDisc

Even on Episode 6, where Arata had two friends at his place for a study group, he had a MiniDisc player playing, and thus the friends wondered what it was. One of his friends, Oga, thought a MiniDisc Disc was a floppy drive! Imagine talking about CDs at your nearby high school (much less the MD!), and you would get weird stares or be called an ancient dinosaur. I never owned an MD player, and I knew only one friend who even had one back in high school (my friend was an international student from Taiwan and was rather rich).

Time of Nostalgia

Like the main protagonist, there are times when you question your present life and if you should have made better choices back then. You may even put in music you loved from high school just to better reminisce the fun times as well as the hard times of your youth. There might not be a magic de-aging pill for you to get, but if you have your music from back then in your collection, it is the next best thing to “travel” back.

You can watch the series at CrunchyRoll.

What are the music of your high school days?

  • Hoshiko

    I see! So those different songs are from different times! I don’t listen much to Japanese music so didn’t realize it. It’s kinda like a reflection of Kaizaki himself. He’s at least ten years older and lived in a different times compared to his classmates. Even the school rules are different! That was a nice touch.

    Not just MD, my colleagues who are younger than me are shocked that I submit my college assignments in floppy disks. Back then, there’s no such thing as online blackboard and stuff. Gosh, I feel old.

    ReLIFE does make me want to learn how to live in the now and just
    concentrate on making memories in the present moment. As for music, I listen to
    90s pop songs most of the time and love to sing along just for
    nostalgia’s sake!

    • I hear ya with the floppies too (had to archive some of them for work recently).

      I agree on living in now, and not dwelling on the past. Time to move forward.