RE-MAIN episode 2 is here and its title, ‘I’m No Prodigy,” speaks to the issues Minato faces as he attempts to get back into the sport he once excelled at. This episode focuses largely on the recruitment of new members to the water polo team, as we find out they’re severely lacking in players.
Minato decides to join the water polo team
Episode 1 of RE-MAIN concluded with Minato receiving a surprise kiss from fellow water-polo player Chinu. I’d predicted that, being a pretty girl, Chinu would provide Minato with the motivation he needed to return to water polo. But instead of using romance as motivation, RE-MAIN goes for the blackmail route. It turns out that Minato and Chinu didn’t have any kind of prior relationship and had only spoken twice before.
The surprise smooch was part of a promise she made, to kiss Minato if he became one of Japan’s best water polo players. The other part of the promise? For Minato to pay Chinu 220,000 yen if he wasn’t Japan’s best high school water polo player.
Of course, Minato is now a total novice at water polo due to his amnesia. So Chinu insists he either join the water polo team or pay up, as per the promise. For someone who claims to have no relationship with him, she’s certainly passionate about getting him back in the water.
To me, this scene felt like a very round-about and needlessly convoluted way to introduce Chinu as a character. Not to mention, blackmail is an odd choice of motivation for Minato to return to water polo. RE-MAIN is certainly avoiding the usual sports anime cliches, but perhaps at the expense of a sensible plot.
The weight of expectations
The most compelling aspect of this episode was the focus on the disparity between Minato’s former skills and where he is now. A well-meaning Jojima creates a flyer to recruit new members, using Minato’s prior status as a star water polo player as the main selling point. This could’ve been a great opportunity to explore the effects of this pressure in a serious light. But just as in its first episode, RE-MAIN episode 2 suffers from an inconsistent tone and pacing issues.
Minato does explain to his overzealous peers that, due to his muscles atrophying and his memory loss, they shouldn’t expect so much from him. However, this moment is quickly followed by humorous dialogue, cheapening any potential emotional impact.
New characters introduced
Another highlight of the episode was the introduction of the water polo team’s new recruits. Besides boisterous team captain Jojima and Minato’s enthusiastic underclassman, there are three other students who decide to join the team with Minato.
My personal favorite of the three, Yoshiharu, is adorably shy and soft-spoken. On the other hand, Takekazu is a character who’s just as loud and confident as Jojima. Naturally, this causes them to clash, and results in an impromptu competition to determine who gets the position of ‘keeper’.
Minato takes on the role of ‘shooter’ in the match. We aren’t given an explanation of water polo rules here, so I can only assume that will happen later. As Jojima, Takekazu and Minato prepare to play, the gap between Minato’s past form and his current form become abundantly clear. His now slender figure is a great deviation from his previously athletic and muscular body. And despite hoping for muscle memory to take over, Minato finds it difficult just to tread water.
Thinking only of his prior achievements, his teammates don’t seem to fully grasp that Minato is completely starting from scratch here. As a viewer, it’s frankly quite frustrating to watch them get annoyed with him for not knowing water polo terms.
Jojima earns the role of keeper
The competition ends with Jojima coming out on top, and earning the role of keeper. It’s here that we get a bit of insight into why Takekazu was motivated to join the team. He was hoping to find success in a minor sport, having spent time as a benchwarmer in his baseball team.
We also get a brief montage showing us glimpses of the other members’ motivations. It will be interesting to see these explored more deeply throughout the series. The characters are likeable enough so far. But a good backstory would be a great way to provide them with the depth I need to be truly invested in their sporting pursuits.
RE-MAIN episode 2 showed us the beginnings of a solid water polo team. While most of the characters have a long way to go in terms of skill, they certainly have the enthusiasm. Seeing how they improve throughout the series will no doubt be a satisfying experience. As of now, however, the team is still one member short. Jojima has his eye on a potential player, but will he be able to convince him to join? We’ll have to wait until next episode to find out.
RE-MAIN episode 2 is available to watch on Funimation. You can also vote for it as Episode of the Week in our poll. The next episode of RE-MAIN is delayed due to a special broadcasting for the British Open, and will instead air on July 24.
© RE-MAIN Project