TV (12 eps)
3.726 out of 5 from 2,160 votes
Rank #2,967

The anime's story centers on Minato, a boy who stopped playing water polo due to a certain incident in the winter of his third middle school year. He picks the sport back up again with a new team when he starts in high school, but the fledgling team runs into many problems.

Source: ANN

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Maybe the best way to describe RE-MAIN is that it’s a sports melodrama that’s more about its drama than the actual sport. Although this isn't the first time something like this has been attempted in a sports anime, you see very few other shows like it for a reason. That’s because melodramatic tones have not traditionally worked for sports anime – usually, they’re at their best when they keep their plotlines strictly on the court.   But then you’ve got something like RE-MAIN that comes along to try and buck the trend. It doesn’t seem like it’ll work at first, but fortunately for us, it’s a gamble that pays off in the end.  There are many moving parts that make up the quiet drama that is RE-MAIN, most of them revolving around its main character, Minato Kiyomizu. After he wakes up from a coma, he finds that he can't remember anything about his past – including the fact that he was once water polo’s rising star. From that alone, you already know what you're in for. You’ll also forgive Minato if he strikes you as generic and loud at first, because him being generic and loud is kind of the point. And if the show starts to get too dramatic for its own good, then know that that’s kind of the point, too.  From there, it’s a roller coaster of twists, turns, and a whole bunch of other scattered revelations, until you get to the meat of it all and see our characters as they really are. This is, in no small part, why RE-MAIN’s story is something that works: while the story is anchored on Minato’s memories, it also makes sure it doesn’t forget about its other characters. The number of twists is enough to exhaust even those who know which story beats are coming, but because you’re already so invested in the characters, the resolutions feel earned. Thanks to the character drama, you also forget to notice that not a lot of water polo actually happens in RE-MAIN. In fact, it’s only in the last couple of episodes we see any real game action at all. But look past the surface elements that make any sports anime what it is, and you’ll eventually get to the core of the genre's true meaning: that sports anime, at the end of the day, are really about achieving self-improvement and personal change. They’re just more literal-minded about these things, that’s all.  In a way, RE-MAIN’s almost the same. Even if its plot is centered around Minato’s memory loss, that’s not really what defines the show. Like every sports anime like it, it’s got more to do with the power of change and the people who help us achieve that – and of course, a little water polo, too, to give you a concrete sense of direction.

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