Remake Our Life! (No Time Travel Needed)

Just two episodes in and the slice-of-life time travel series, Remake Our Life!, is already falling flat. There are a number of reasons for the disappointing start, but the greatest is perhaps that the vehicle for the protagonist’s life change is too extravagant. While I feel bad for Kyouka making the “wrong” choice in career and failing at two separate companies, being gifted an opportunity to begin again ten years earlier just so that he can follow his passion (and romance, too, probably) is a bit much.

Admittedly, I’m a bit salty about the story line: You’re going through what a lot of people have had to…good thing you got a magical power so that you get everything you wanted instead of, say, working through this challenge.

Unlike series like ERASED and Tokyo Revengers, where character growth and success happen to the protagonist as well, there are no greater stakes here. There’s no sacrifice. It’s just fun for Kyouya, with the only hardship being that which faces every student in college. His second chance is unfair.

Do you detect a little envy in voice? If so, I would admit that you’re on money there.

In my daydream world, I’ve often thought about what I’d do if I was in a similar situation as Kyouya, if I had a chance to redo my young adult life while still retaining my memories. I would make better choices. I would do everything right. I would invest and make myself rich. You know, all the stuff that would fulfill me.

It’s humbling when these thoughts come into my mind, because they exactly oppose why I purport to believe, which is a humility before God and a life focused on seeking his treasure rather than earthly ones. I guess I’d throw all that out the window if I was spirited way, time traveled, isekai’d, or otherwise given a power to allow me to get what I “really” wanted.

To so quickly abandon what I believe (even just in thought) is troubling to me. I realize that by doing so, I’m forgetting that God already did provide me a rescue, one that’s a lot more like Kyouya’s than I’m willing to admit.

Rescue from Drowning

In the opening episode of Remake Our Life!, Kyouya resembles a drowning man. The world has washed over him, and just when he gets his head above the surface, another tide comes in and pushes him down. By the time Kyouya returns home on a bus, he’s nearly drowned for good, unable to tread the waters of work, to face another attempt at a career, which hitherto had been cobbled together as a conglomeration of a pursuit of his dreams and his education in a “safer” field.

When I think of that drowning analogy, I turn to the story of Jonah, a prophet who was on the verge of a real drowning. Jonah was called to preach to the city of Ninevah, but he refused—he hated the Assyrians, cruel conquerors and oppressors as they were, and thus didn’t want to be part of the mercy for them that God was offering. So Jonah jumped on a ship that was literally headed the exact opposite of the known world.

God put a storm in the way, and after drawing lots, the sailors determined that Jonah was to blame. He told the sailors to throw him overboard, knowing that his disobedience was the cause of calamity. After some hesitation, the sailors acquiesced and threw him to his death. But Jonah’s story wasn’t over—he was swallowed by a sea creature and eventually, after repenting, brought back to dry land. He would go on to preach at Ninevah, overseeing a great revival.

When I was younger, I didn’t have a lot of sympathy for Jonah. Even toward the end of the story, as he pouts about what’s occurred, I kind of thought, “He had it coming to him” or “He still doesn’t get it!”

As I’ve become older and more stubborn myself, I’ve come to see Jonah as a familiar. I know what he’s thinking. I know what he’s doing. He’s acting the same as I do, deciding that his way is best and ignoring God, running away from what scripture reveals.

Remaking a Life

As the Ninevites didn’t deserve God’s mercy, and as Jonah’s extreme disobedience didn’t deserve forgiveness either, I feel like Kyouya doesn’t deserve the great gift he receives. He gets to relive his youth, have beautiful girls around him, master something with all the intelligence and experienced gathered from adulthood, and cheat his way, basically, into the life he wants.

And here, envy strikes again. Why would Kyouya get all this? I have to live with the results of my disobedience. I don’t get a second chance at life.

Kyouya’s new life includes new friends. How nice.

Except that I do. And it’s every bit as miraculous as Jonah’s second chance, every bit as undeserved as Kyouya’s. A non-Christian or even a Christian worn out at the platitudes of other fellow believers might wonder, “Is this new life really that much better than the old? Did I really need rescue?” We do. I do.

My life is a lot like Jonah’s. I’ve been through the storms, major ones that were the result of living life without purpose or meaning, in a way that was all about myself and thus, in a sense, about nothing at all. And then more minor gales in later years and even now that mostly seem to be for the purpose of pushing me to repent—3rd, 4th, 5th, 70th chances, as it were.

My life is like Kyouya’s too. Just as he is, I’m absolutely a quitter—sensitive, easily depressed, surprisingly prideful at my accomplishments. I shouldn’t have received get that second chance at a new life, but I did.

Through Christ, my lifeline has moved toward a much better place. I almost get physically sick thinking about how I was living 20 years ago—selfishly, unwisely, even grotesquely. The results of both where I am now and how much I still need Jesus daily point to what a deliverance he has given. I’ve done nothing to earn my second chance, my new heart—and yet, Christ still gives it to me, to one who has gone astray completely (Ninevites), even given up at times (Kyouya) and then day by day still often runs away (Jonah).

Better Than Karma

Earlier, I referenced two better time travel series in which the main character also transitions from loser to hero—ERASED and Tokyo Revengers. In those stories, it’s some mysterious force that allows them to go back in time. There’s something impersonal about how and why it’s happening, though I ultimately would guess that the one allowing and pushing for these changes is the universe in some sort of karmic way.

However, if Remake Our Life! has anything on those two shows, it’s the title, the very essence of the series. I’m not sure why the series is named what it is—it’s both plural, as if the other characters are also getting to relive their lives (which I guess they could be) and more importantly, is given as a command—”Remake our life!”—or is it possibly as a request? I like that latter possibility, that Kyouya is asking to be remade—to be made new—for his life to be redone.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

– 2 Corinthians 5:17

In that way, the title feels a bit like a prayer. And really, as I am, with a prideful, disobedient soul like Jonah’s, and too often a weak, defeated one like Kyouya’s, there’s almost nothing else I can say, and nothing at all I can do, except to plead for just that:

God, please remake my life.

Remake Our Life can be streamed through Crunchyroll.

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