RE-MAIN: After the Water Polo Team’s Lowest Moment, Minato Makes a Breakthrough

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for RE-MAIN Episode 5, "Dude, That's Scary!!!," now streaming on Funimation.

From the very start of water polo-focussed anime RE-MAIN, Minato knew he wasn't as good at the sport as he was before his accident stole his memories. He warned everyone not to get their hopes too high, but his past still haunts him as everyone continues to have high expectations for him.

Episode 5 sees Minato have a breakthrough, however, as he realizes his biggest rivals aren't the teams he'll have to play against. If he wants to be Japan's top player again, he'll have to find a way to surpass his previous self.

re-main eitaro quit team

In RE-MAIN Episode 5, the lack of coordination and training brings swift defeat in the water polo team's inaugural game. Almost everyone is frustrated with how they played -- none more so than Minato who is angry at himself, especially knowing he was once a star athlete. Eitaro remains strangely calm, but that's because he's considering quitting. It's all very odd since he was the one to pull Minato back into the sport and was a huge contributor in creating the team in the first place.

Later that night, Eitaro speaks to Minato alone and confesses he's been lying this entire time. He had said that he and Minato were close in the past -- in actuality, Eitaro admired Minato but never spoke to him. His desire to play in an official water polo game was so strong that he constructed this narrative and assumed any team with Minato would be a strong one. But now that they've lost their first match, Eitaro wants to be done with the sport. It's ironic because Eitaro, who confesses he ran away from his teammates back in junior high, is now abandoning his current team because Minato lost his memories and isn't as good as he remembers.

To find out exactly what he had that made him a water polo 'prodigy,' Minato seeks out his old advisor. Even though he's back in the water and training, he's still struggling to reach the same level of skill he was at before the accident. Advisor Bizen tells him that although his physical capabilities were part of what made him strong, his greatest strength was his effort.

Minato later scours his room and finds a stack of CDs, where he recorded himself training his form for a half-hour every day. He practiced passing the ball against the wall, explaining the huge indent first shown in RE-MAIN Episode 1. Minato had also studied videos of water polo games and planned out strategies by reading through the old rules. He's no prodigy -- he just put 110-percent into the sport. Minato had been distressed at the thought that his skill in water polo was tied to his memories, but knowing he just needs to continue training hard takes a huge weight off his shoulders. He successfully gets Eitaro to return to the team, promising he'll become an athlete to be admired again.

RE-MAIN's symbolism of Minato's family's pet turtle struggling to walk up the steps parallels Minato's own journey. He had always been under the impression he was a water polo star because of some innate talent, but it was really due to the endless hours of work he put in, building on every bit of training until he was at the top -- which means he can do so again.

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