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ReLIFE Final Arc Blu-ray Anime Review

8 min read

A quiet glide into closure.

What They Say:
As the year begins to wrap up, Arata and Chizuru must face the end of their ReLIFE. But there’s still plenty to do, like get ready for the cultural festival and…Christmas dates?! Except there’s one thing that’s been on Chizuru’s mind, and despite her best efforts, she can’t get An to confirm whether or not Arata is a part of the experiment. Even so, Arata and Chizuru find themselves growing closer to one another. Though they both know the consequences, will they dare to follow their hearts, or will the fear of forgetting kill their growing romance?

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo as well as the English language dub, which gets the 5.1 boost, both of which are encoded with the lossless Dolby TrueHD codec. The show doesn’t garner a lot from having a 5.1 mix as it’s mostly a dialogue oriented piece with a couple of bigger moments that wouldn’t even qualify as action. The show handles everything well as it’s a real-life kind of piece so the ambient noise and background sound effects give it a bit more life and the music hits some good notes within the show as well as through the opening and closing, but it is by and large just a dialogue show. This is well-handled where there’s some good placement from time to time and the inner monologue aspects but it’s not something that’s going to stand out. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2018, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The four episodes are kept to one disc with plenty of room to work with. Animated by TMS Entertainment, the series works its real world setting well with some very solid detail to the backgrounds and its overall color design while not going for something that’s overtly rich and toned, instead coming across as a bit cool and perhaps a bit careful with its budget. It all fits and works but it doesn’t have that high gloss sheen and polish to it. The encoding works this well as there’s a certain coolness to the colors that holds up well and with it being all about the dialogue it’s not trying to deal with a lot of high motion scenes, rather scenes involving a lot of sitting around talking or walking around talking. Everything is solid and problem free throughout which makes it a very good experience.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release comes in a standard-sized Blu-ray case that holds both formats against the interior wall. The o-card that comes with it uses the same character artwork as the case cover but it goes for a different background where it’s showing off the blackboard which gives it a different feeling.The main cover is just as appealing as it goes with the blue, pink, and white color design of the two walking toward the school which has a very nostalgic youth aspect to it. The back covers are different as well with the slipcover has white block along the top with the summary of the premise and the features. The bottom half goes for the chalkboard background some more with shots from the show along the top of it, the digital copy strip in red, and the technical section below. The case reworks all of this with an all-white background and smaller shots from the show but with an extra shot. Each cover has a different feel about it and I really like both of them. While there are no show related inserts included with the release the artwork on the reverse side is a zoomed in headshot version of the front case cover that looks nice through the case..

Menu:
The menus for this release are a bit simple but effective though I think it could have had a bit more style. The release works with clips from the show to give it a bit more life but with it dealing with slower and more emotionally based scenes, it feels a bit more depressing than some of the key artwork that we’ve seen as a static piece that could have been done. The logo is done up in white center top that’s simple but effective while the larger full-length block along the bottom gives us the standard navigation selection that doubles as the pop-up menu during playback. Both work well and are functional and problem free but it just lacks a little something to give it some style as opposed to being a cut and paste of most every other menu.

Extras:
The extras for this release are pretty minimal as all we get are a pair of “internal secret files” that has a look through security footage of what Arata is up to as narrated by his handler. They’re both about two minutes each and are cute little bonus pieces.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga series from Yaoiso, ReLIFE is a thirteen episode series that aired in the summer 2016 season. The original manga from Yayoiso kicked off back in the fall of 2013 and also got a live-action film earlier this year, which certainly upped its visibility. The manga itself ended in March 2018 which had its ending set and a four-episode OVA run produced that brings it all to a close here, which came out around the same time as the manga ending. Getting that here a few months afterward all told is definitely nice and getting a series with actual closure is a rare treat since so many shows are produced simply to get people to pick up the manga to see more.

The four episodes for this set, numbered as continuing on from the TV series, essentially play just like the show itself. With a lot of emotion building up in the last few episodes of TV series in regards to Chizuru and Arata realizing more and more of how things will play out once their ReLIFE ends, that’s making a lot of this bittersweet. The early fun here is definitely familiar territory with the culture festival coming up and seeing how Arata and Chizuru end up being the reps for it. That lets the focus shift to getting it together and putting it on, but that’s not really the focus even if you might fear that it will be. It’s more about again showing them being proactive in dealing with life here while also experiencing things that they may not have really engaged well with the first time around in order to make them better people.

And all that time together is really doing its work to push them closer together. That’s not exactly a bad thing because they are definitely well suited to each other. But the reality is that once their ReLIFE period ends they won’t be remembered by anyone else. And neither knows that the other is involved in the program so they’ll forget each other as well. It does seem like a bad idea that the experimental run is being done at the same school but the whole ReLIFE idea still just doesn’t connect well for me. With that period coming to a close, however, we also get a shift where Ryo focuses on Arata exclusively to finish things out and set him up for post-ReLIFE opportunities while Onoya takes over full time for Chizuru. And that provides its own stresses, especially since Onoya is really invested in these two being together but knowing that the program won’t allow them to remember each other.

The way the show finishes events essentially gives us the final episode as a kind of epilogue but one that again has me wishing we could get a full series focusing on what comes afterward. It’s no surprise that once back into his old self that we get Arata feeling like working for ReLIFE is his best opportunity because he wants to share what he’s learned and help others, far more so than just standard corporate work. We don’t get to see Chizuru for much of it but both of them seem like they’re haunted in the background by something and the way the show strings out the viewer to really deliver what we want here is pretty masterful. And I say that while wanting to have a lot more time with it. I wish Chizuru had more time devoted to her but this is Arata’s series and watching him come into his own here and seeing the potential for rediscovery of what was lost definitely is an exciting and heartwarming way to end the series.

In Summary:
I liked the TV series pretty well even if it was kind of light on the mechanics of everything, which I get that it didn’t want to get into so I didn’t hold it against it too much. The focus on the characters and trying to get a better handle on life the second time around is interesting and Arata provided a fairly standard character that we’ve seen before going through the process and coming out better for it. There really aren’t any surprises here and most of it is fairly well telegraphed in what it wants to do because the harder endings aren’t things that most creative produce in general. I do wish it had gone further to explore the future but we get a solid sense of closure here. Funimation go this out far faster than a lot of people expected – less than eight months since it got streamed – and they did it up solid here with a great encode and a fun dub for it. It’s good to get a series with real closure to it and filled with some fun moments as the characters go through the next phase of life.

Features:
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Internal Secret Files

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B

Released By: Funimation
Release Date: November 13th, 2018
MSRP: $29.98
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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