Hindsight is 20/20. No, 20/2. Reliving your life over again is a fantasy for anyone with major regrets, or anyone curious about taking a wildly different path to death. The only person who would not choose a DO OVER are hopeless romantics, religious whackos, monkey pawists, and paranoid schizophrenics, provided they are not one in the same.
In the anime Tatami Galaxy the story takes us through the protagonist’s life as he repeats his college years over and over again. The main theme being that his obsession with an ideal reality entombs him in a coffin of regret, which sends him back in time, only to revert the same mistakes. The point being that eventually, he will realize that the perfect ideal doesn’t exist.
“The root of all your evil is in always relying on one of your other possibilities to get your wish.”
Yes, life is NOT a web of endless possibilities. It is multiple choice. In real life, you have to pick a road and go with it, and not dilly dally around because there are no second chances. This is the aphorism, the moral if you will. Only in the world of Tatami Galaxy, there are second chances. There is magic and myth and demons that look like a Japanese Jay Leno. So given reincarnation=true, suddenly the idea of living your life over again seems interesting, regardless of your current state of happiness.
Only the caveat here is, the protagonist in Tatami Galaxy doesn’t get a mulligan in the way we normally think of it. His parallel lives aren’t cognizant of each other(It’s more or less like this: You meet a genie who offers to alter one innocuous choice in your past, and you have to live with the effects of that choice in the present – the choice has to be fairly monumental but its effects not immediately recognizable, i.e., you can’t say I’d buy google stock instead of blowing money on nipple-tasseled strippers, it would have to be something like matriculating to a different college, choosing a different career, etcetera. Do you take his offer, and if so what choice do you change?).
However, for this protagonist, even the selection of a different club ends in a hopeless cycle of pain. The only real choice available to him is whether or not to pursue the girl (Akashi), and even then the show becomes the victim of Hollywood devices, i.e., we only see up to the point where they are most happy; it’s entirely plausible that in a month this will happen and the two will break up in a horribly macabre double murder, and the protagonist will be miserable again, and of course, on the lam.
In the end, however, the protagonist has no choice. Either he goes after the girl or he remains trapped in a 4.5 tatami cube of despondency. The choice, of course, has already been made, and is in a way, the fate of all protagonists everywhere. No how much they struggle to escape it, their happiness is contingent on following the black leather leash of cliche(or else be choked by it). It is a tragedy in a way, because as focus groups will tell you, 99% of all audiences will kick and scream and throw an absolute tantrum if ending =/= boy + girl.
Semi-Related Quote I Wish I Thought Of First
William Burroughs, Place of Dead Roads
NYC circa 1910… Concrete evidence of survival after death and reincarnation has given a new perspective to assassination. There are ethical brokers who will only take on a case after careful inspection of the karma involved and selection of the victim’s future parents. In some cases death may even potentiate the power of an enemy who can now operate through a number of carefully prepared receptacles…