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Regrets – I’m willing to venture out on this strong, sturdy limb and say that we all have a few. Maybe you wish you were a little more daring when you were young and had a wealth of free time. Maybe you wish you realized you were being chatted up in the moment instead of three years later, you dense rom-com anime protagonist. Regardless, regrets are one of those universal things that we all have in common. As such, it makes sense that there is a growing number of anime series about characters being able to change their pasts and erase a whole lot of regrets.
If there is one thing to regret, it is leaving a girl in a park and learning that she was apparently murdered soon after that. That one probably stung a bit.
Erased is a time traveling murder mystery in which the main character finds himself sent back to middle school right before three local children are murdered by a man that the police never caught. This is triggered by a murder in his present that was linked to these previous child murders. The series sets itself up as a pretty addicting murder mystery that scoots you to the edge of your seat and keeps you there.
While Tokyo Revengers has a whole gang culture spin to it, the series is still all about fixing regrets. It is just that his regrets are he let his only girlfriend slip from his hands and she died in the future. That being said, much of the series focuses on him infiltrating the gang that would later kill her and trying to affect the future through friendship instead of other, probably easier means. What I’m saying is that there is a much larger focus on fighting in this series compared to others.
Remake Our Life is the newest series in this trope, and as such, it pokes a little bit of fun at it in the beginning with him going to sleep and being like, “of course you can’t go back in time” when he wakes up the next day. However, then that exact thing happens the day after. He goes back to when he was choosing a college and chooses art school instead of business school so he can really not half ass going into game production.
Iroduku wields magic to send its protagonist into the past where her grandmother hopes that her young self and her friends will help her granddaughter. While it has that whole “magic” element to it, make no mistake, this is a teenage drama show, not a supernatural one. It is simply young people dealing with their feelings.
ReLife dares to do something that you don’t often see in this situation – explain why the characters are young. It’s not time travel or “Just because. Go with it, you nerd” but rather it is a drug that makes him look young for a year. The main character is still very much an adult and in the same time period, but he is being rehabilitated through having a pleasant school experience to help him overcome the trauma that occurred to him at his first job.
While ultimately regrets play a part in all these series, they are the central theme in Orange. One of their friends killed themselves, and those that remained considered all the things they would have done differently if they could. Except unlike in real life where you can’t do shit, they can change things! It is done via letters from their future selves to their past selves.
This has time travel done less gracefully than other series on this list and more melodramatic akin to its visual novel roots. However, unlike the other series that are rather straightforward with all information, especially important information like what the main character is actually trying to accomplish, Island keeps that a mystery and uses constant sleight of hand to keep it that way. The main character uses time travel to save someone. It is clearly one of the many cute girls that he becomes entangled with, but the “who” and the “why” makes up the entire plot of the show.
Do you have more anime series where the main characters get to redo their youth? Let fans know in the comments section below.