WARNING: The following contains spoilers for RE-MAIN Episode 8, "Who Are These Guys?," now streaming on Funimation.
RE-MAIN is most definitely not your typical sports anime. Many of these stories have a tournament-style format where characters are aiming to win a competition and simultaneously undergo extensive training and development to reach the top. RE-MAIN, however, has been largely character-driven with Minato trying to piece his old life back together with his new life.
Episode 8 reveals a startling epiphany that shakes Minato's entire world and who he thought he was. As he loses his memories all over again, he goes back to where he was at the beginning of the series. And this time, he might be in a far worse place than before.
In Episode 8, Minato seeks out Chinu to ask about what he saw in his practice recordings: was he really once a tyrant in water polo training? Chinu asks if he remembers Hiroshi Ichinose, who was the reason Chinu started playing water polo. But once Minato joined the team, Ichinose's love for the sport started to fade; Minato had treated him so badly that he quit water polo completely. Because of what Minato had inadvertently done to Ichinose, Chinu wants him to take responsibility for his actions and continue playing the sport, despite knowing the one-time prodigy is nowhere close to where he was before. As soon as he hears Ichinose's name, Minato's memories of his junior high days and the day he got into the accident come rushing back.
It's difficult for Minato to reconcile who he thought he was and who he really was. As he cycles home in the pouring rain, he slips on the road and hits his head hard. At the hospital once again, the doctor informs his family that the car accident might have reopened a slight brain wound that happened prior. The second fall ended up bringing all of Minato's memories from his junior high days back, but consequently took all of his memories that have happened thus far in RE-MAIN. He now has the mind of his sixth-grade self.
Minato is a completely different person here: everything from his attitude to his voice screams of being a jerk. His cheerful, often silly, voice gives way to a deeper, more arrogant tone. Unable to sit still in his room, surrounded by familiar and unfamiliar things, Minato goes to Shogakukan High to beg Advisor Bizen to let him back on the team.
However, because Minato has regressed back to his sixth-grade level, he won't be able to catch up to where his former teammates are at now. Even if he were to start training again, the gap is already too big to overcome. What's more, Riku Momosaki, Amihama's older brother, has already taken Minato's place as the ace. There is no place at Shogakukan High anymore.
When Minato returns home, he is met by his teammates from the Yamanami water polo club who came to visit him, both out of concern and to discuss their game plan for the tournament. He brushes them off, his words derisive as he asks why he would ever play with them. They're far beneath him in terms of talent and skill, and he doesn't believe they deserve to be on the same team as him.
All of Minato's frustration, anger, and bitterness builds up as he trashes everything in his room, knocking over pictures and shelves. When he first lost his memories, he was sad but eager to start fresh and begin a new life. It was only because his old life caught up to him that he even decided to take up water polo again, but he was looking toward the future with optimism. Now that he's lost his life's memories a second time and retains those of his old glory days, Minato doesn't feel that at all.
He wants to hold on to the past even though everyone has already moved on. It'll be interesting to see where RE-MAIN takes this after subverting the classic amnesia trope. Will Minato change his cocky attitude and work with his new team or will he have to lose his memories for a third time?