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July 24, 2016

ReLIFE, an easy solution

This is going to offer massive spoilers. Please make sure to read the manga before proceeding to tell me how wrong I am with the easy solution.

The main problem mangaka made characters to struggle with is as follows. Characters X and Y have secret identities X1 and Y1, for the period of the experiment. If they leak their identities, the experiment terminates in a failure, and everyone lose their memories of it. They also miss the success reward. But if they succeed in keeping the secret to the end, they capture the reward and keep the memories of the experiment (everyone else still lose theirs though). Seems simple enough, but the mangaka set it up so that X and Y would want to confirm their identities to each other. Is there way to do it without failing?

Note that it's completely all right for Y to know that X is X1. It's just not all right for X to leak X1 (however, if Y were to leak X1, it would be a failure too). So, a naive approach would be to X to march up to Y and say: "Please don't tell anyone, but actually I have a secret identity X1." That would be immediate failure, however, because both X and Y are under a blanket surveillance. They basically live in a fish tank. For that reason, I struggled for a while with a way to defeat the surveillance. If X were to send a steganographic message to Y, it would solve the problem. I went quite some ways down exploring this solution area, but it turned out to be too fragile. The risk of capture is too extreme.

But after exhausting the covert confirmation, I think I found an elegant solution. All X needs to do is to be patient until the end of the experiment, collect the reward, then re-establish contact with Y and confirm identities. The end of the experiment lifts the restrictions, does it not? The only issue here is that without the confirmation X1 and Y1 have trouble finding each other. But that is much easier to solve. X can tell Y: "I have a request for you. Do not ascent or reject, just register this: on date T1 in the future, come to the place L1. I'll be waiting." That is all.

BTW, it may be more practical and safer to put the request down in writing and arrange for Y to read it alone.

A request of this kind would be natural for X to make if they were innocent, so making it does not leak any information. Heck, X can confirm the legality of this move with the handlers beforehand. Looks like I solved it.

The remaining question is, if this is what the author is going to make X to do (or Y, they are symmetric). There may be another solution. An author has a unique command over the work. The author may yet arrange some kind of happenstance that allows a steganographic message to work, for example. Or the characters may fail. In Japan, there's no requirement for a happy ending. However, I think I have proven that at least one solution exists, and thus anything else would be lazy writing.

UPDATE: See also a prediction regarding the memory loss.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at 07:09 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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