Life and living aren’t always beautiful.
WOAH WOAH WOOOOOOOOAAAAAHHHHHH
A Yoshino song reference. If that wasn’t fanservice, I don’t know what is. To be honest, the entire episode was fanservice. It was, quite literally, service for fans of the game – even more than it already has been so far. From an anime-only point of view, it must have felt like nothing really happened – but in reality, there’s a lot of tension subtly lurking beneath the surface, and we’re rapidly hurtling towards the end of the common route. Even putting aside that Bond flashback, the dam that is the Gaia-Guardian divide has now burst. The girls (Akane and Lucia in particular) shouldn’t have anything more than suspicion toward each other for now, but once we get to the Leaf Dragon scene the Occult Club will be done for. It’s also fairly obvious that we’ll be going down a Guardian-focused route, as I mentioned last week – we’ve had a crash course into developing Shizuru and Lucia, but there’s been absolutely nothing for Chihaya or Akane – and pretty much everyone predicted after Shizuru’s episode that the next four would be dedicated to each of the girls. Given how shocked Kotarou was when Akane proposed that they literally use the Final Solution as the method to solve all of the Earth’s problems, and how he thinks there are people like Lucia and Shizuru doing their best to save the planet, I doubt he’ll be joining Gaia any time soon. Akane was absolutely perfect in that scene, by the way – as well as the cute ice cream one that came before it. Look at her. So evil, yet so irresistibly alluring. So ideologically immoral, yet so lewd. Being this sexy should be illegal.
It’s odd that Guardian will be his secret organisation of choice (again) as they ultimately want to kill Kagari, but I can live with it. Shizuru makes it sound so shady – she wants him to lead a peaceful life, far from the ‘clutches of the organisation’? They’re not that bad, although to be fair they would probably pull him in if not for the fact that Esaka still has influence despite being retired and doesn’t want to see him back either. Guardian is still better than Gaia from a promotional standpoint – an anime-only won’t be very impressed if they see Kotarou joining Terrorist Greenpeace, and they’d walk away being even less interested in playing the game than they already were before. In fact, the only route in which he genuinely joined Gaia and played an active role in their operations was Akane’s, and he only did so for her sake. During Chihaya’s route it felt more like he joined a Chihaya-specific camp that was so far away from the inner workings of Terrorist Greenpeace that he didn’t really have any connection with them.
If there’s anything I’m really surprised about, it’s Kazamatsuri Bond. I was already happy to see so much of Terra hinted at in the OP and in the first few episodes, but it’s honestly weird that Kotarou seems to be on the verge of remembering his time as Bond – which I swear he never managed to do during the character routes in the game. That’s why Terra was such a shock, right? Everything we knew about Kotarou prior to Terra came from the small hints dropped by Kotori and other characters like Imamiya in the various character routes. Could him recovering from his amnesia come from the increased common route contact he’s had with Kagari? Just staring at her face triggers brief flashbacks, and returning to that clearing with the massive tree made his head hurt so much he couldn’t even stand. The closest he ever came to the truth was probably during Kotori’s route, but I don’t think I ever appreciated the significance of her saying that she saved him when they were ‘younger’. It’s made really, really obvious in the anime that something isn’t right, because Akane and Kotori are now lolis (and Kotori has that adorable Gao Gao Stegosaurus shirt on) while Kotarou still looks the same age – if not older, given the suit. Actually, what am I saying? That’s not Kotarou. That’s the legendary spy, Kazamatsuri Bond. UMA-hunter and saviour of the Earth.
The remainder of the episode was essentially made up of selected common route Occult Club activities, with a dash of plot and Doki Doki Maid Party thrown in for good measure. A subtle thing I noticed was that the Rewrite dial from the game has now moved forward slightly – it’s now almost at 3 o’clock, and so Kotarou has used up almost a quarter of his total rewriting capacity between strengthening his legs and resisting Lucia’s poison. I’ve always wondered what happens if it reaches the end, and I remember trying my best to make it happen during Chihaya’s route – but it never did in the game. I think it went on overdrive during one of the Earth Dragon fights? It’s something that I think worked really well in the VN – you’re told that there will be irreversible inhuman changes to Kotarou’s body, but because he’s not normally featured in the CG images you’re left in suspense as to what they look like. The same applies to what his voice sounds like, it was a lot deeper than I had been imagining up until Terra. He sounded older than I’d thought, in other words.
I didn’t finish all of the UMA stuff when I played through the VN, so some of the episode was new to me – like the Excalibur one for example, as well as the one where Yoshino turned out to be the ogre that lives in the school building at night. I remember the dinosaur investigation though, and of course the ‘rainbow paradise’. It only looks rainbow because it’s toxic waste. That scene really struck a chord with me during the game – I think it was way better portrayed there, as we weren’t too exposed to all the supernatural stuff until then. It was basically a wake-up shock that helped us transition from the slice-of-life segments to the true plot of Rewrite, and that sentiment is a little diluted after the premature character development they shelled out for Shizuru and Lucia. There were slight hints though, especially the fact that none of the girls wanted to go into the forest – they know there are familiars, and they know it’s dangerous. Lucia and Shizuru momentarily running off was almost certainly to kill some familiars that had strayed nearby so as to not endanger everyone else (whom they think to be civilians).
I also had the impression that Black Star Sickness was supposed to play during the river scene, and that it was only Kotarou and Kotori who came across the toxic waste. Which had quite some significance in itself – Kotori being there is important as she’s supposed to represent the forest and the Earth by extension (which we later learn is literally close to the truth). As she says, life and living aren’t always beautiful, and all of the girls probably know that better than they’d like to. Chibimoth is a perfect example from Kotori’s perspective – actually, I was rather concerned with Chibimoth appeared. Didn’t the Gaia girls recognise it immediately as a familiar? Didn’t all of them? Kotarou recognises him because it’s made from the corpse of that vicious dog Kotori used to have, but the rest of them should immediately know something is off – Guardian might think Kotori is with Gaia because she can create familiars, and Gaia will think she’s a rogue summoner of some sort. Couldn’t Imamiya immediately tell that Chibimoth was a familiar during Kotori’s route?
It’s absolutely adorable though. My absolute favourite line of the episode was when Kotori estimated Chibimoth to be three Yoshinos strong. Kotori is truly marriage material, there’s no-one softer and comfier than she is. I don’t think I’ve said this before, but she’s been my phone wallpaper ever since the season started. I’m thinking of changing it now. To another Kotori.