For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been doing episode reviews of Remake Our Life, an anime currently airing this season, every single week for the past six. It’s been my first time tackling episode reviews, and it’s been fun. They haven’t always been on time. I mean for them to go up a day after the episode airs, but sometimes life gets in the way.
This is, however, not an episode review this time around. Remake Our Life is actually doing a recap this week, so no episode for today. To fill that spot, and also because I wanted to talk about this more, I thought it would be a good idea to do another post of Remake Our Life and how I feel about the story in general.
This is also not the full review that will come a week after the final episode airs. This is just me having a chance to discuss some of the themes present in the series because you know I always like to get all philosophical when I can, and what better story than one about redoing the past?
If you’d like to read the prior episode reviews, you can: Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3 Episode 4 Episode 5 Episode 6 Episode 7. If not, hopefully, you do have some prior knowledge of the series because I will be spoiling some things that happen around the fifth episode.
Remake Our Life has a fairly simple premise, but one that brings to light a lot of interesting discussions. Kyouya Hashiba is a really quite talented 28-year-old who dreamed of becoming a game dev. Unfortunately, things never worked out for the guy, and he becomes a complete failure in life. He believes this comes back to one decision: what college he chose to go to when he was 18.
So through dumb luck or something, he falls asleep one night and wakes up back in the past. He decides that the normal college can screw itself and goes to follow his dreams as a student of an arts college. You can understand pretty quickly the message this series is trying to convey. It’s pretty on the nose.
Obviously, we cannot turn back time like Hashiba somehow can, so that means we need to make sure we follow our hearts why we can. When we get a choice between two colleges, we pick that damn art college! Or at least whatever our equivalent to it is. That way, we don’t end up miserable like Hashiba in the future. We need to follow our hearts “now” so we arrive at the “then” we want because, by the time we get there, it’s too late to change it.
We as humans have no power over the past and very little control over the present. All we can hope to accomplish is altering that present ever so slightly so that tomorrow takes a shape closer to want we want. That is how little we can do, or that is how much we can do, depending on how you look at it.
Many things that happen are out of Hashiba’s control, as many things in our lives are. Even then we can’t change the past, but we can change how we deal with the future. That’s what we as humans should do. Learn from the past to never make the same mistakes in the future, and make tomorrow a brighter day than the last. I say this because Remake Our Life doesn’t do that at all.
That is very much the message it wants to convey, but Hashiba went about things entirely the wrong way. What he’s doing is less learning from the past and more running away from the future. He’s literally altering the past without a care for how it affects anything purely because he himself was unhappy with his life.
He doesn’t think about how it could alter the lives of anyone else. Something even more obvious when he gets into a relationship with Shino. In his future, she’s a very talented artist with fans around the world. In the past, she’s a talented girl with a lack of self-confidence. Without him there, she found her way. With him there, she still may, but does he not care what being together with her will do to the world?
Really, all Hashiba has done since traveling to the past is boost his own confidence while bringing everyone else down. He became the reason Nanako sings, then broke her heart. She may never become N@NA now. He stole one of Tsurayuki’s stories and, in general, critiques a lot of the guy’s stuff. To them, he’s just better. He’s smarter. He’s their age yet knows so much more. It must be disheartening. Well, he’s actually 28, so that would do it.
Hashiba’s clearly a good guy, but I don’t think he’s as smart as he acts. If I traveled back in time, I would panic like crazy. I’d take as much care as possible not to alter the future or cause the universe to crumble. I certainly wouldn’t be making out with the girl from the past, I’ll tell you that.
But that’s the reason Remake Our Life is so fascinating. Hashiba does not think about these things. He was so happy to travel back to the past, to have his easy way out of the future he dug himself in, he doesn’t even stop to consider how that will affect anyone else. It’s not that he doesn’t care. It’s that he’s not even considering the possibility. He’s on a constant high. He randomly got everything he wanted. He just doesn’t consider the price it might cost. And that will come back to bite him.
It’s such a good premise. I’ve constantly compared it to Sakurasou…because it’s almost the same thing, but Remake Our Life has officially found its footing as something different. It’s no longer just a story about living your fullest life without regrets. It’s now about what those regrets cost and how much you have to pay to fix them.
We’re no longer fun art students doing fun art stuff. We’ve stepped into the realm of time and space and are now altering the lives of people in the past just to save one person’s future. I love moral dilemmas, and this one is even better because Hashiba really hasn’t done anything wrong. He didn’t make himself go back in time. If anything, this is a “be careful what you wish for” scenario.
Hashiba living in the past is wrong, but he can’t exactly stop it now. Everything has a price. What’s good for one person is bad for another. That’s what’s happening. As Hashiba goes through his college days erasing one regret at a time from 10 years in the future, he’s piling up a bunch of eventual regrets for everyone else.
I ask you, is Nanako going to keep singing when the one who gave her a voice broke her heart? Of course not. Is Shino going to have the drive to make her talents recognized by the world anymore? No, Hashiba loves her art. Just that was enough to validate her. Will Tsurayuki write when…well, Hashiba hasn’t really done too much to him yet, but for the sake of keeping with the theming, of course not!
Hashiba really does just try and help, but what he forgets is that they didn’t need his help before, and they don’t need it now. Perhaps he’s worried that his presence is affecting them. That’s a valid worry, but what’s worse is him altering things more than he has.
This is one of the cooler takes I’ve seen on time travel. There’s absolutely no malicious intent, yet ends up being an incredibly dangerous situation. If anything, this shows that time travel should never be trifled with. Just don’t do it. If time travel happens, the world will end. But considering I’m typing and you’re reading this, I guess we haven’t got there yet.
I’ve said this multiple times: I didn’t expect them to run with the time travel thing as much as they are. What I thought was just a plot device to tell a coming of age story ended up being an integral part of a deep and complex plot about selfishness and changing people’s lives.
It’s shaping up to be one hell of a story, and one I can officially say is not Sakurasou. Hurray! I’ll stop comparing the two unless it’s for a joke, so I probably won’t.
This leaves the question of what you would do in a similar situation. Would you travel back in time? I feel like most of us would, depending on events in our lives. In Hashiba’s case, I understand why he does it. If you’ve had something bad happen to you, then you would probably want to change it.
As for me, my life hasn’t been perfect. Some things have certainly gone in ways I might not want, or I may have wanted to change a thing or two, but ultimately I don’t think I’d change the past. Not yet, at least. I can still change the future, and with Hashiba as some motivation, I think we all can. Because, you know, we can’t do what he does. We aren’t anime time travelers.
Thank you very much for reading
So what would you do? Go back in time or not?
This Post Has 2 Comments
Very good insight. The price to be paid would add an interesting twist to this story. But somehow I doubt it will. More likely the Platinum Project, or whatever it was called, will be a bigger success and whatever happened to them that ultimately triggered the current situation will resolve for the best for everyone. My guess is the focus will remain on the drama in the past, and not turn towards any major negative consequences for the present. But I hope you’re right. It would be more interesting.
The Steins;Gate comparison is unavoidable, but would make even more sense if the situation plays out as you described. Anytime I get a Steins;Gate vibe from a show I expect more sadness. There’s a lot of sadness in this show already, but not to the Steins;Gate level. So we’ll see!
Funny thing is, writing this has been in my mind since around episode 5, really earlier than that. I started thinking about this as Shino and Hashiba grew closer early on. I’ve been careful to avoid spoilers for obvious reasons but based on the few things I’ve heard about the light novel in passing and me stumbling on wikis to fact check, I may not be too far off at all. What I don’t know is how much they’re going to roll with the idea because the story is very much ongoing.