I wasn’t ready for this.
Kagari a cute! A CUTE!
I’m worried. I’m really, really worried. Above all, I’m feeling conflicted – as wonderful as it is to hear Koibumi, and as bittersweet as the feels were when I remembered the ending to Shizuru’s route as it was played, this episode was everything I didn’t want this adaptation to be. I thought it was really weird when it started off with a saury scene, and the copious amounts of Shizuru in the first half only served to further arouse my suspicions. But even then, I just believed that they were trying to make up for the relative lack of interaction she’s had with Kotarou thus far as she’s in the year below him. I didn’t think much of her appearance when Kotarou visited Esaka, as it wasn’t too unusual for her to be visiting as well. Even after Shizuru told Kotarou about her past, I thought everything would work out somehow and that there was a perfectly good explanation for all of this – like how the Kagari route would be more Guardian-aligned and so they’d need to develop Shizuru because she’d play a big part in it. But when the credits finished rolling and it became obvious that we would be adapting some of the Lucia route, the expression of anxiety on my face turned into one of horror. In other words, I placed my trust in Tensho, because for all its faults, this Rewrite anime has kept me entertained. I was a fool.
It’s Grisaia all over again. I don’t think there’s any other way of putting it – the way things are progressing, we’ll be getting an episode that’s dedicated to each girl. I have two major problems with this. Firstly, I don’t see how this can be called a Kagari route any longer – when they said they were going for a Kagari route, I thought we’d get some common route scenes and then the anime would go off on a frolic of its own by focusing on Kagari. It even initially began with a scene from Moon, right? And everything about the Krivoy Rog battle seemed to indicate that Kagari would be playing an important role that we’ve never seen before, and that her increased involvement would prompt changes to the story in interesting ways – but nothing visible has happened due to Krivoy Rog’s death other than Kotarou having occasional flashbacks to it while wondering what it was. By presumably spending the next four episodes developing the four remaining heroines, we’ll have to sit through weeks of bastardised versions of each route, while at the same time not even touching upon some of the core issues or events that each route offers because we have to stick within the confines of the common route.
This brings me to the second problem I have – how exactly will this be done? Is it even possible to go into (let alone solve) Lucia’s problems without ending up on her route? A botched version of the Chihaya route is somewhat feasible, as they could spend half an episode on Sakuya and the other half with Midou and Fuego attacking the school while ignoring pretty much everything about Gaia. It’s also not impossible to do Kotori as her route is fairly standalone. But I really don’t see how the issues raised by learning about Lucia or Akane are something you can divorce from the plot as a whole, not least of all because Kotarou only does what he does in those routes because he loves them. Conversely, it’s now going to be really weird when all of the occult club members just randomly spill the beans to Kotarou despite not having any close relations with him, not to mention how they’re going to do so without even confirming his allegiances. Having Shizuru reveal she was a superhuman from Guardian just because Kotarou gave her an old music player he used when he was rebelling against his parents is in no way a rational course of action – in the VN, she did so because she deeply trusted Kotarou and had started having feelings for him. On top of that, he’d started showing indications (for example, through the questionnaire) that his world view aligned with that of Guardian.
None of that seems to be the case in the anime – if anything, Kotarou’s shown that he’s primarily being motivated by Akane’s lewd body. It’s also odd that Nishikujou and Guardian would even allow Shizuru to tell him everything about her – the idea in the game was that, if Kotarou is going to be spending the rest of his life with Shizuru, he needs to know who she actually is and what she does. The fact that Nishikujou knows he is a superhuman himself just makes the clearance issues slightly easier. But as things are now in the anime, Guardian should be trying its very best to keep him away from them. It’s really out of character. The anime is trying to do what the routes have never done – the routes leave things unexplained on purpose because the game is meant to be played as a whole. If Kotarou chooses a Gaia-oriented route, he necessarily sacrifices getting to know Lucia and Shizuru. Trying to cram every girl’s character development into what’s supposed to be a Kagari route is exactly what I hoped this adaptation wouldn’t do.
I did enjoy the first half of the episode though, it was really nice seeing Imamiya and finally putting a face to the name for Winter Fang (I think that’s supposed to be Winter Fang). All of the hindsight makes encounters like this really poignant – I kind of wanted them to animate the scene where Imamiya helps Kotarou out from being scammed due to their previous relationship. And in light of who they are, it’s pretty hilarious that Kotarou wanted to bring Akane and Chihaya right to Esaka’s doorstep. I also sometimes wonder whether all the age jokes are intentional or not, with Esaka welcoming visits from a ‘young’ customer to his antique shop and all that. This guy is younger than you? You don’t say, Kotarou. You don’t say.