Rewrite Episode 11: Countdown

Dawn of the Final Day.

Impression

rewrite-11-img020If you’d asked me, before the anime aired, exactly what sort of original scenes I wanted to see coming out of it, a brainwashed Akane talking to Midou would not have been one of them. I ended up enjoying that talk though, as strange as it was – I’ve found it really nice getting to explore all these possibilities beyond the character routes of the original game, as unfitting as the Kagari route label has turned out to be. I wonder if Romeo made it a point to include lots more Midou – he was kind of underused I guess. This Midou also feels far more affiliated to Gaia than the Midou of the Chihaya route, who was only ever loosely linked to Gaia and mostly did whatever he wanted. I’m a little uncertain about Akane deciding to give the Earth Dragon to Midou, however. Not least of all from a technical perspective, because from what I can recall the Earth Dragon needs a hell of a lot of Gaians to power it. It was made a particular point in the game. Whilst it was fighting Kotarou in both the Akane route and in Terra, I distinctly remember its summoners repeatedly dying and getting replaced so as to enable it to continue fighting. I know Midou isn’t an ordinary summoner (and neither are Tenjin and Tenma) but are the three of them really enough to run the Earth Dragon alone? As for his life span, it looked like Midou had already half-killed himself by reviving Fuego.

rewrite-11-img015At any rate, it’s a terrible time to be an Akane worshipper. I really liked the holy woman flashback at the start of the episode, along with the memories of Kashima Sakura slowly taking over her – it was mentioned in her route, but it’s amazing how similar Kotarou was to Suzaki in terms of the role they played to the holy woman vessel they loved. Makes you feel for Suzaki a bit more, and perhaps explains why he spent so much of the Akane route being so antagonistic towards Kotarou. Given that Kashima Sakura looks pretty dead, I don’t think we’re going to get to see that scene in the OP where Akane faces off against her – and not least of all, it seems like she’s already been taken over anyway. As much as I want to see her breaking out of it (and it seems like she’s trying) is that even possible? I’d actually rather see her not break out of it than break out of it because of the power of friendship. There are just some canonically established things that friendship shouldn’t be able to rewrite. See what I did there?

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rewrite-11-img034I guess Lucia is also guilty of this to an extent. I certainly felt the irony in Kagari saving Lucia with her ribbons. My first reaction when Chihaya brought Lucia to Kotarou and Kotori was that it could be really unsafe for Kagari. Lucci (isn’t that the cutest nickname) isn’t a bad girl by any means, but I’ve always gotten the impression that she and Shizuru are far more loyal to their organisation than, say, Chihaya has been to Gaia. Even if Kagari had saved her life, I was worried that Lucia would turn around and attempt to kill her for the sake of humanity or something. Then again, she’s already melted before from Kotarou’s overwhelming display of friendship, so it’s not implausible. Maybe that episode had an effect on events after all! Interestingly, when Kagari offered Kotori her ribbons I also had the fleeting thought that Kotori would implant them into Lucia to heal her, and so Lucia would end up just like Kotarou. That moment of hesitation Kotori felt when the ribbons were put in front of her must have been picked up by anyone who’s read the VN. While we’re on that note, more references include Kotori talking about making familiars out of corpses while a shot of Chibimoth was on the screen.

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As I mentioned last week, this is literally the first and only route where so many of the occult club members band together whilst the main conflict is still going on – it’s really weird, and all the slice-of-life scenes and occasional fanservice shots really makes me want a happy end. The unfortunate reality is that a happy end for humanity (and thus our characters) implies that either Kagari is killed, or that salvation is somehow stopped, averted or doesn’t affect too many people – and it’s got to be the latter this time, right? It’s the Kagari-chan route and all. She definitely won’t survive whatever the outcome, but killing her in cold blood is a little harsh for her own route. I’m also wondering whether salvation is mutually exclusive with a happy end. I’d hesitate to call something like Terra happy, you know? The way I’m thinking of it is that if Kotarou and whichever girl he’s with end up living together happily (and not too many people end up dying, not least of all the other girls) it’s a happy end. Chihaya’s route would be the best fit for those criteria, as would Kotori’s route and to a lesser extent Akane’s. I don’t know, maybe the contaminated power spot will have an effect in stopping Kagari from singing along to the song of destruction or something. Imagine the irony in that. Lucia’s poison actually saving the world.

Rewrite Episode 10: Simply, As Friends

What the fuck?

Impression

Rewrite 10 Img028What the fuck? Is Lucia really dead? I wasn’t concerned for her during her fight against Midou, not least of all once she got the upper hand and it looked like she had won – the chances of her losing were supposed to be minuscule. And even if she had lost, I was expecting Shizuru to appear and save her. Or even Chihaya, given that Akane has sent her over to Kotarou and Sakuya. The issue now is that Lucia has fallen down a massive crevice, and unless she somehow saves herself by creating a foothold in the rock using her sword, I don’t see her surviving at all. Are we heading towards a bad end of some sort? As conflicted as Akane seems to be, I don’t think she’s in any position to stop Kashima Sakura from triggering salvation, nor will she try to. I don’t think it’s up to Kagari to choose whether or not to destroy humanity if she hears the song of destruction, so the plan is most likely to stop Gaia. Midou wont be a problem given that he probably used up a lot of his life force to reignite Fuego, but the Earth Dragon will be. The current Kotarou is far too weak, so defeating it will most likely be a job for Sakuya and his final form.

Rewrite 10 Img017I might have mentioned this once before, but I’m in love with Akane. Huh? What do you mean I’ve said it too many times by now? Akane is just that perfect! I was really surprised to see her caring so much for Kotarou after he’d entered a route that wasn’t hers – she’s sent so many people to look after him, and during her discussion with Kagari it almost felt like she was about to have a change of heart away from the world view she grew up surrounded by. Isn’t she an angel? She’s not going to do anything wrong this time! I’d even like to think that if she could, she’d try to go against Kashima Sakura, but as the next holy woman there’s very little she can do. Unlike Kagari, she doesn’t even get the opportunity to find herself. The only way she can help is by lending Sakuya to Kotarou for protection – by the way, who else thought that Kotarou and Kotori were in serious trouble when Sakuya confronted them?! I pretty much assumed that they were going to be captured by Gaia at that point.

No, but really. Akane is the cutest and the best.

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Rewrite 10 Img020I’m also glad that the questionnaire was brought up again. As I’m sure many of us were expecting, his answer was the one affiliated to neither Gaia nor Guardian, and was identical to what he wrote during the Kotori route: ‘I don’t know’. It essentially means that in Rewrite+, there will be two routes where he doesn’t know, two routes where he chooses to change himself, and two where he chooses to change the world. That being said, I’m still having trouble seeing this adaptation as a proper Kagari route, although I’m aware that the anime has most likely skipped out on a lot of content that’ll be in the game. All the girls seem to be prioritising their friendship with Kotarou and their ties to the occult club instead of staying true to their initial allegiances, which is something that should really only happen if they love Kotarou. In particular, I thought it was strange that Akane didn’t take Kagari in and just allowed her to leave with Kotarou. I guess it’s not like anyone has gone so far as to abandon their original objectives, though – Gaia only really want Kagari to hear the song of destruction (meaning it’s all the better for them if she has a bodyguard) and I’m sure that if either Lucia or Shizuru had stumbled upon Kagari whilst looking for Kotarou and Kotori, they would both have killed her on the spot.

Rewrite 10 Img023Above all however, it just feels really weird thinking of Kagari as a romantic interest – because as hilarious as she is, her current character feels more like a compilation of memes who’s occasionally involved in lewds and just happens to have a somewhat important role in the story. On top of that, Kotarou seems to have friendzoned her. In fact, I thought their interaction in both Moon and Terra was more romantic than anything we’ve seen here so far, especially as they were alone together for the majority of Moon. I still remember that dance on the rooftop of the abandoned shopping mall. At the moment, we have three episodes left, and Kagari has only gone as far as to ask whether Kotarou loves her when he is clearly nowhere near to feeling that way (not to mention the fact that she’s slowly starting to recover her former emotionless self). With so many plot points still to be covered, it’d be great if we got something even vaguely resembling a confession.

I have to say though, this anime is doing brilliantly as fanservice for those who have played the game. Almost fulfilling the Oppai End while Rewrite of the Life plays was way too overkill. Kagari holding and sitting on Chibimoth was also super cute, at least until I saw the two coffins placed by Kotori in one of the houses.

Seriously, I can’t imagine how Kotori can keep a straight face when looking at former Bond.

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Rewrite Episode 9: Fate Begins to Turn

Gao Gao Stegosaurus.

Impression

Rewrite 9 Img042What the fuck, Gil and Pani?! I thought they were cool! I mean, Gil is annoying as fuck, but I still haven’t forgotten how they chose to stay with Kotarou to the bitter end when he became a tree – yet here they are, ratting him and the barrier out to Sakuya. I know he hasn’t exactly been treating them well, but doesn’t he have a contract with Gil? And they were the ones who raided his house to begin with! Sakuya arriving to take custody of the Key is honestly the last thing Kotarou needs right now – no-one except possibly Kagari will be able to do anything to the strongest familiar. On top of that, Gaia are preparing the Earth Dragon and rehearsing the song of destruction. With Midou also around, the cumulative result is that Gaia should be the biggest threat to Kagari in the coming episodes, the irony being that Guardian actually want to kill her outright instead of using her for their ends. It’s also interesting that Akane seemed a little unsatisfied at the end there when she was watching the Earth Dragon being nurtured with Shimako, although as much as I want to see more of her I doubt anything will come of it. As her route proves, she’s never been one to let her personal feelings sway her from her allegiance or the role she has to fulfil as the next holy woman. What I do really hope to see is the Earth Dragon talking. Maybe even in a fight against Kotarou where it agrees to wait patiently whilst Kotarou rewrites himself?

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Creamy Kagarin is too lewd. I definitely wasn’t expecting a naked Kagari-chan, but if Romeo knows what’s good for him he’ll have that scene as a Rewrite+ CG. Maybe even a lewd expression for her character sprite when she begs Kotarou to hurry and give her it. In fact, coffee (and horrible reproductive acts) might be the good memories Kagari uses to decide that salvation isn’t worth triggering. Coffee will literally have saved the world.

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Rewrite 9 Img022The fact that she has a defence mechanism that activates whenever she’s in serious danger all but confirms that her amnesia was Moon Kagari’s doing – it’s probably something she built into the current Kagari so that she wasn’t inadvertently killed. It actually would have been easier if Kagari had taken out both Midou and Fuego right there – she’s easily capable of doing so, and it’d avoid Midou being a pain in the ass in the future. In fact, Kotarou alone could take on Midou himself just fine, given how a lack of physical ability isn’t unusual for summoners, at least in relative comparison to both the familiars they control and Guardian superhumans. Exceptions including Chihaya and Takasago, though I think the latter ended up reinforcing himself with familiars anyway. Kagari then deals with Fuego, and that’s one threat gone. Of course, neither of them know anywhere near enough to do what’s best for them – it’s hilarious how he literally brings the Key to Guardian’s doorstep through looking for Esaka and meeting Lucia, and at the end of the episode both of them prepare themselves to hunt the very thing that’s been under their noses just moments earlier. I’m wondering whether Midou knows what Kagari is, though. He can sense her – but as what? As a familiar not affiliated with Gaia?

Rewrite 9 Img034I have to say though, I enjoyed the Kotori scenes the best this episode. The remix of Soft Windflower was amazing. It’s probably where there’s the most overlap between the Kagari and Kotori routes (most of the other scenes were all original) but I was waiting to see how much they would reveal of Kotori and Kotarou’s past. In particular, I wonder whether it raised any alarm bells for Kotarou to realise that he hadn’t previously heard of such a major incident like Kotori being in a classic Key bus accident (that may or may not have killed her parents – just like Kotarou himself, my memories are little fuzzy on this). His most painful memory involving Kotori is probably her rejecting his confession during middle school, which of course is because of her fear that he only confessed to her because she does in fact like him, and thus as her familiar she thinks he’s doing what she wants him to do. Which turned out to not be the case. Who wouldn’t fall in love with someone as sweet and precious as Kotori?

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What I’m worried about is what Kotarou and Kotori plan to do from now on. It can’t possibly be the same as what they did during the Kotori route (because that’s not what this is supposed to be adapting) but if Kagari doesn’t get her memories back, that’s effectively what it’ll be since Kagari will be just as useful as the relatively mute version that was dragged around by Kotori during her route. Midou, Sakuya and the Earth Dragon will make a huge difference, as Kotarou is now more involved in the Gaia-Guardian conflict than he ever was during Kotori’s route – and there’s also the song of destruction to contend with, although I’m not sure how far away it has to be before it starts having an effect on Kagari. This’ll be exciting! It’s been a bumpy ride, but I think we’re finally getting there.

Rewrite Episode 8: My Name is Kagari-chan

Kagari-chan a cute!

Impression

I-I’m strangely excited. I’ve forgotten how exhilarating it is to not know exactly what will happen next in a route of Rewrite. We are now officially into anime-only territory (at least until the full version of the Kagari route in Rewrite+ is localised or fan-translated) and it’s pretty bizarre to say the least. It’s a little sad to be honest, because all we have to work with is less than half a season – and this could potentially be a really informative and interesting route for existing fans of the game. Now that I’ve seen this, I’m definitely going to be playing through Rewrite+ when I get my hands on it – meaning that Key and Romeo have achieved their main objective with this adaptation.

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Rewrite 8 Img014Kagari-chan is talking! Holy shit! I kind of understand how Romeo plans to give Kagari some character development now. Kagari-chan was always the Key heroine that never was, and this route is apparently supposed to change that (although there’s only so much they can do given that she’s destined to never have a happy ending in every timeline). Giving her a personality is a good start, although Moon Kagari making her Earth counterpart amnesiac was quite a clunky way to go about it – it came out of the blue precisely because it’s never happened in any of the other routes. I actually thought Kotarou would get to know this iteration of Earth Kagari through similar methods to what he did during Moon, and that he’d slowly teach her things and bond with her that way. Maybe even over coffee. Instead, she seems to have become a very smug and spoiled Creamy Kagarin and is now living in his house of her own accord, sleeping with him and playing with turtles in her spare time. It’s actually really cute. The inside jokes are as on point as ever – she tells him she doesn’t know how to find herself, and he replies ‘Go on a journey or something’. Heh. It almost felt like an abridged series at times, even.

Rewrite 8 Img025It was obvious what the first scene was meant to be – we’re exploring a single branch of the complex blueprint being studied by Moon Kagari that represents all the parallel timelines. In other words, it’s a route. And I have my suspicions that this route is one of the solutions thought up by Moon Kagari which she later abandoned – sending a rock down could be her attempt to have Kotarou bond with Earth Kagari so that the latter would be able to collect good memories. It’s super cute that they’re casually living together, it’s going to be the Kagari-chan romance we never got! I don’t see any other reason why Kagari would suddenly be able to communicate with humans and have everyone see her other than if that rock was loaded with lots of information enabling her to (sort of) function within society. From a story-telling perspective, it’s impossible to do a Kagari route in any real sense if she can’t talk. And it’d be really awkward doing horrible reproductive acts with her as well, although I hear that Rewrite+ will be no less PG than the original Rewrite was. Speaking of which, I’d wipe Kotori’s sweat off for her any day.

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Rewrite 8 Img034Apart from the Kagari scenes, the rest of the episode felt purely preparatory – it set the scene for the future Gaia-Guardian conflict over the Key, and introduced all the major players on each side. It’s at this point that Kotarou usually ends up following whichever girl he grew the closest to during the common route, but nothing really happened this time other than Shizuru momentarily coming back to say goodbye to him (it’s a little strange that Lucia never appeared, given all that he’s done for her). I guess this is how you would enter the Kagari route during the game, although it sounds like a thin line separates that and a common route bad end. Anyway, Guardian is comprised of many characters we’ve already been introduced to, from Esaka to Nishikujou and Imamiya. They’re generally a close, efficient and cooperative organisation, although by no means monolithic. Getting to see Gaia must have been an interesting experience for secondaries, if there are even any left – it was actually much the same for me, because this is the first time many of the Gaians have gotten proper character designs. They were primarily silhouettes in the game, which was an intentional attempt to present them as being detached and bitter individuals that you had to imagine for yourself (and with that in mind, both Suzaki and Takasago were depicted in the anime pretty generously). Apart from the main characters, the main exception was Shimako – the cute but silent loli who is yet untainted by the twisted world-view possessed by Gaia.

Rewrite 8 Img030That being said, the scene with Akane, Chihaya and Sakuya felt really warm and homely. I’m also pretty sure it’s the same room that Kotarou and Akane lived in during her route, going by the wallpaper and the fact that it’s connected to the occult club room by a hidden passageway. It’s super ironic, because Kashima Sakura or Akane herself might well be the last boss if the OP is any indication – all those scenes from the Akane route are hinting that it’ll be her (the latest in a long line of holy women) who tries to trigger salvation on behalf of Gaia. Also, did anyone else feel like that OP just appeared out of nowhere?! To start with, it’s not Rewrite of the Life, but I don’t think anyone was expecting that. It’s better saved for a Moon and Terra adaptation (if ever) and it’s absence implies that that’s still a possibility sometime in the future. What’s most concerning is that it features lots of events from the various non-Kagari routes, from Sakuya sacrificing himself to Yoshino fighting familiars. Are they going to be able to include everything they’ve teased in the OP, not least of all the (presumed) Kagari route-exclusive scenes like Lucia vs Midou? They still haven’t delivered on Bond. As for why it’s titled ‘End of the World’, the intention is probably to remind us that the world is eventually doomed in every timeline except that of Terra’s – and as we all know, this is not Terra. Even the ED depicts a Kagari cradling an Earth that eventually dies out and becomes a ball of light, joining the numerous other lights floating towards the sky.

Finally, Inoue was super cute! I want to protect her smile.

Rewrite Episode 7: A Place Lost

Playtime is over.

Impression

Rewrite 7 Img033I still don’t know why girls go to the bathroom in groups, but they’re definitely not a group any longer. Playtime is over. According to Sakuya, if Kotarou treasures his current, ordinary life, he should stop sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. I’m not quite sure how to respond to that, not least of all because Kotarou is and should be involved in the struggle over Kagari more than anyone else – and as the person who previously held the rewriting ability, Sakuya should be perfectly aware of that. Yotarou only ended up being able to leisurely enjoy his ‘youth’ in school in the first place after Kagari wiped the floor with him when he was still a Guardian agent. You can tell from his passionate speech at the start that he really did love the Occult Club, though – it felt a little out of place in the anime given that they haven’t animated enough of the many Occult Club activities contained in the common route, nor have we heard much of his inner thoughts on this matter, but it was a really important place to him. Remember that despite his seemingly outgoing nature, Kotarou has very few real friends outside of the club members and Yoshino – he believes that the girls think of the club as highly as he does, which is why he teared up when they accepted its demise without arguing against it at all.

Was it Inoue’s fault? Kind of, but not really. In the end, the girls all have very different prior affiliations, and this is why the Occult Club was doomed from the very start. Even if Inoue hadn’t disappeared, it’s not like Kotarou would be able to continue living like he has been for much longer – in the near future, it’s possible that everyone’s ordinary lives will be over if Gaia succeeds in invoking the song of destruction. And even if Kotarou hadn’t chosen to stick his nose in, the club would still have fallen apart – the escalating conflict between Gaia and Guardian means that the girls in the Occult Club would have gradually drifted away in the days to come regardless of whether they found out the truth about each other. So although the breakup was accelerated by Inoue’s disappearance, it was inevitable either way. It’s just a matter of when, and that time just happened to be now.

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Rewrite 7 Img032I liked the Leaf Dragon fight! I was never a fan of the CG used when animating the dog familiars, and somehow they managed to make the dinosaurs look even more bizarre than they already were in Moon, but I really liked what they did with the Leaf Dragon and how it was illuminated from behind by the moonlight. It gave off a similar sense of imminent danger to what I felt whilst reading through the fight in the VN, especially when it was sucking Kotarou’s blood out with its proboscis. It would have been nice if the entire Occult Club had been there during the encounter though, as from what I can remember it was the crucial turning point that got everyone to realise that they were all involved with the supernatural in different ways – and the dinosaur familiars just don’t have the same impact. I’m pretty sure they’re only supposed to appear in Moon actually, and only because of Kashima Sakura. I’ve also always wondered why the Leaf Dragon chose to attack Kotori – was she just the easiest target? It wouldn’t attack Akane or Chihaya, but it’d be interesting if it had some sort of reason for going for Kotori over Kotarou. Like if it could sense the druid in her or something.

Rewrite 7 Img030Just like in the game, Kagari-chan saves the day! It’d be pretty funny if Akane and Chihaya now believe that Kotarou is strong enough to beat a Leaf Dragon on his own – they must already know that he’d killed some familiars prior to meeting them given the blood on his clothes. I’d like to think that Kotori was the one who brought Kagari to save Kotarou, instead of Kagari just wandering to him on her own volition – but it’s possible that Kagari sensed that he was in the forest and went over for a snack. Kotarou is still far more terrified of her than he should be, you’d think that he would have had a conversation or two with her by now given that this is supposed to be a Kagari route – I guess all he can remember of her is that she has a shocking level of combat ability and that she’d grievously wounded him sometime in the past. It definitely looked like a ribbon was about to attack him as she approached him at the end there, although I can’t tell whether Kotori didn’t want Kagari to hurt Kotarou or the other way around. Maybe both? I’m fairly sure that Kagari only becomes a threat when someone tries to do something to her first.

Rewrite 7 Img044So the cat is out of the bag, and we Guardian now. I think. I actually don’t know – this is supposed to be the point where Kotarou chooses a heroine based on how he’d interacted with them during the common route, and given the two episodes dedicated to Lucia and Shizuru you would think we’d be leaning towards a Guardian alignment. It’d be really helpful to know what option Kotarou chose on that questionnaire Akane gave him during the first episode, although maybe there’s something to be inferred from the fact that she wasn’t too impressed with his choice. It’s unlikely to be the Gaia-affiliated response, in other words. Add that to how the confrontation between the girls went down, and everything seems set up for Gaia to be the antagonists. But then there’s also Kagari to think about – this is supposed to be her route, and I really doubt her route involves teaming up with hunters to kill her. Whatever happens, we should be onto anime-original material from next week onward, and I just hope it involves Kotori. I want to give her a big hug, she doesn’t deserve to suffer alone in the forest.

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Rewrite Episode 6: Occult Club Activity Log

Life and living aren’t always beautiful.

Impression

[embedded content]

OOOOOOOOOOOOHHHH, YOSHINOOOOOOOOOOOOO

MINNAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

OMAE NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

KANSHAAAAAAAAA SHITERUUUUUUUUUUU

WOAH WOAH WOOOOOOOOAAAAAHHHHHH

Rewrite 6 Img017A 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.

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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.

Rewrite 6 Img037If 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.

Rewrite 6 Img003The 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.

Rewrite 6 Img025I 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).

Rewrite 6 Img023I 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.

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Rewrite Episode 5: Asahi Haruka

We unreliable narrator now.

Impression

I kind of liked this episode, actually. It’s exactly what I thought (and feared) it would be -a butchered, single-episode version of Lucia’s route containing only all the events relating to Asahi Haruka whilst ignoring both the romance and the actual plot- but I enjoyed it. Whether that’s because I preferred Lucia’s route to Shizuru’s when playing the VN, I don’t know. It could also be because I’m starting to see a reason and a purpose behind compressing so much of what is essentially forced and unnatural character development (at the pace it’s going at) into these last two episodes. Are we Guardian now? At the end of the iconic church scene, they could have easily just had Kotarou and Lucia go back to school without Nishikujou ever appearing – it wouldn’t be the first thing they’ve skipped over, nor will it be the last. But Nishikujou did turn up. And Kotarou learned about Guardian and Gaia (yet again) and was basically given their recruitment speech. On top of that, unlike last week there’s no indication that another girl will be next up – instead, it feels like Lucia and Shizuru are getting ready to hunt the Key (if you’re an anime-only, this is the bit where you marvel at how Key have managed to plaster their brand name not only over all the coffee cans in the series, but also within the very plot itself).

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I could be wrong, of course. But what I’m hoping is that the anime has extracted bits from the Lucia and Shizuru routes only because the upcoming Kagari route will be very Guardian-centric, and therefore it would have been a good idea to reveal the full extent of both their abilities before the original plot begins. Hopefully this means that we also see more of Nishikujou, Esaka and Imamiya. A clear difference, however, between this episode and the previous one was that we delved into the actual Lucia route itself – which is kind of inevitable if we are to learn anything about Lucia as her route is probably the most character-driven one of them all. Kagari and the impending salvation is almost a mere afterthought in the midst of Lucia’s own ‘salvation’ that’s also mentally destroying her on the inside. You can easily tell that all the events that happened are slightly out of place, and that’s a necessary result of engaging in Grisaia-style butchering – for example, trying to cram in so much stuff meant that Chihaya and her fight with Lucia was forgotten completely.

Rewrite 5 Img025And it’s strange that Kotarou would rewrite himself for Lucia if he doesn’t love her. The power of friendship is a pitifully weak explanation when the anime has shown him having very little interaction with Lucia thus far. It ties into how there seems to have been very little emphasis on the dangers of Kotarou’s rewriting abilities and the fact that there is a limit – I’m pretty sure rewriting his body to enable it to withstand Lucia’s poison (which I think he does more than once during her route, as the corrosion gets stronger and starts to leak) turns the dial in the game by quite a bit. In other words, it’s a significant change that brings him a lot closer to the extent of what he can do to his body. Of course it’s hard for Nishikujou to believe that he’s resistant to Lucia’s poison by nature – he wasn’t at all, before. To do that for her when she’s a mere acquaintance is weird.

Rewrite 5 Img017Likewise, why would Lucia tell him literally everything about herself if she doesn’t love and trust Kotarou with all her heart? To her, he’s just a random civilian classmate who licks her used plates. From her surprise at him also knowing about Shizuru, it’s clear that Shizuru didn’t tell her a single thing. She should have no idea that he used to be with Guardian when he was still Bond, and he currently isn’t affiliated with them at all. It’s very unnatural for someone as guarded as her to just spill her deepest secrets to Kotarou. I know I’m just nitpicking here, I understand it’s impossible to include any romance (not least of all when the Kagari route implies horrible reproductive acts with Creamy Kagarin only) but this is yet another reason why a one-cour Rewrite anime is a bad idea. There’s so much good content to adapt! The church scene without a proper hug almost doesn’t feel like the church scene at all, because physical contact is such a big deal to Lucia. Hand-holding should be like the lewdest thing in the world for her.

Rewrite 5 Img012It was fun seeing the Asahi Haruka stuff, even though it was very obvious that everything was actually Lucia’s fault. I wonder whether that’s just an anime thing – or is it because of hindsight? I remember being really surprised that Lucia was actually Haruka when playing through her route. It actually felt scary when Kotarou was investigating, and despite all my suspicions towards Lucia they vanished during the unreliable narrator scene. In anime format, being able to clearly see the ‘ghost’ of Haruka (and to know from the ED if nothing else that this is what Lucia looked like as a loli) made everything pretty obvious. Still, I thought it was good – I know Lucia’s route sometimes gets a lot of flak from fans, but I really liked the Asahi Haruka plot. Loli Lucia not so much – the indisputable best loli in Rewrite is loli Kotori. She’s a gift from God, and a young future wife!

I’m also slightly butthurt that we never saw Doki Doki Maid Party, if even for a few moments as Sunbright played as the ED. Would it have killed them to draw that? Teasing it and then not delivering is typical 8-bit behaviour – the way they started displaying a bunch of Lucia-related scenes in the ED before running out of them and replacing the ED with a GIF of Lucia in a sunflower field is classic 8-bit as well. I bet they play this sort of material at Kyoani staff inductions to demonstrate exactly what they should not be producing on the studio’s behalf. At least we got some other stuff, like Yoshino carrying an old lady on his back and more subtle age jokes aimed at Kotarou. And a distressed, worried Lucia wearing nothing but panties and a shirt soaked with her sweat was kind of lewd. Lewdcia a cute!

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Rewrite Episode 4: Until We Return to Those Days

I wasn’t ready for this.

Impression

Kagari a cute! A CUTE!

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Rewrite 4 33I’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.

Rewrite 4 24This 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.

Rewrite 4 16None 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.

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Rewrite Episode 3: Welcome, Supernatural Phenomena

Akane is a miracle of the universe.

Impression

Rewrite 3 Img010Today, I got to witness Akane-sama coming out of the shower while wearing nothing but a loose bathrobe. My life is complete. She’s just too perfect. Ravishing a clean and fresh Akane doesn’t even begin to describe all the immoral things I want to do to her. I’m sure that scene was something from the early common route that I’d forgotten, not least of all because there was no sprite or CG for it until Harvest Festa, but don’t worry! I’ll never forget it now. I’m already a fan of the club room scenes because of the beautiful lighting and concept art that’s used for it, but from today I’ll also get to look forward to the many lewd Akanes wandering around in various states of undress. For a studio unfortunate enough to have to animate a scene of students walking in the hallways with terrible CGI, they sure have patrician taste when it comes to best girls. Last week’s camera angles of Akane focused on her thighs and legs, and this time it was her boobs and ass – and it’s not the forced sort of fanservice you sometimes get, with artificial sound effects or exaggeration. It’s just small movements, like Akane leaning back in her chair so a bit more of what’s under her bathrobe is exposed, or her curling up on the sofa in such a way that her blanket hugs her butt curves. I don’t know who’s responsible for this, but they’re doing god’s work.

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Rewrite 3 Img032Anyway. A butler, an old man and a flashy guy were all supposed to appear this episode, according to Tensho. While the butler and old man ended up being Sakuya and Esaka respectively, as many expected, the identity of the flashy guy was a surprise. You’d immediately think it’d be Imamiya, but it was Midou! I have three things to say about Midou. Firstly, I would love a Jasmine reference, no matter how subtle it is. Their relationship is one of those unexpected endgame surprises, and I’m hoping for a mention of her given that the anime hasn’t shied away from embracing Moon and Terra. Second, the relevance of both him and Krivoy Rog to the adaptation (as well as a brief appearance for Sakuya in his true form) indicates that the Kagari route will be making use of the several Chihaya route characters that never had any role in the other character routes, perhaps due to the lack of communication between the scenario writers of the original game – I hear this is something Rewrite+ aims to improve on, alongside adding new character sprites and CG images. Finally, was Midou really flashy? It’s only when he uses Fuego that I’d call him flashy, and just summoning a dog familiar doesn’t quite meet the mark for me, no matter how edgy his character design is. It also felt like the summons itself was rather dubious, both in terms of the cheap animation and the fact that it’s not exactly how the process is supposed to go from what I remember – was he creating it or calling it to his location? I really hope it’s the latter, because from my vague recollections of bird familiars and frog puppets in the Akane route, creating a familiar should take a lot longer than that.

Rewrite 3 Img031In general, I thought it was an odd scene. For an adaptation that’s done so well with depicting Kotarou’s internal thoughts and personality (at least as far as the common route is concerned) I was hoping we’d get to hear more than Kotarou just running and panting from the dog the entire time. A related point is that Kotarou rewrote himself this episode – it was a great opportunity to finally go into detail about his Rewrite power and all the thorns that come with it, but his explanation felt like it barely scratched the surface. The most important thing to take away from it all is that the process is irreversible, and therefore each change must be made out of necessity and nothing else. His legs can never return to the way they were before, and there will come a point where, if he keeps rewriting them, they will no longer look like human legs. As for this scene’s place in the wider narrative, it’s rare that those dog familiars even end up in the real world to begin with – it wouldn’t be surprising at all if Kotarou stumbled across one in the alleyway entrance of the closed space replicating Kazamatsuri, but to see it chasing Kagari was really unexpected. It could be a consequence of Kagari having killed Krivoy Rog – Terrorist Greenpeace are now on the move, and Kotarou having unwittingly told Esaka about his experience might prompt Guardian to take action too. It’s a pity he ran into Midou of all people, actually – I remember a common route scene where a genuinely lost Kotarou was helped out by a kind Gaia cultist, who silently directed him to the exit. If not for Chihaya-san’s tree knight, it definitely would have been a bad end.

Rewrite 3 Img036Shizuru was rather bold in healing his wound and then telling him that his encounter with both Midou and the dog was all a dream. As I said last week, underneath the slice-of-life facade of the common route, absolutely no-one is who they appear to be on the outside. Not even Shizuru. It’s amazing how many subtle things there are to pick up on in all the early-game scenes – the entire Esaka scene is a good example, but even seeing Kotarou enjoy school so much is a little melancholic. Nagai (or Tsukuno, I suppose) is also cuter than I thought she would be, and is equipped with an excellent poker face as I expected. Actually, she probably already knew that Kotarou was in Kazamatsuri High. It’d be more interesting if she ran into Nishikujou one day. I can’t remember why she managed to leave Guardian with her memories still intact, but she’s one of the very few who have.

Rewrite 3 Img034It must have really hurt Esaka for him to have to ask Kotarou what his affiliation was. I mean, the answer clearly won’t be Guardian, or he’d already know about it. His aim was probably to ascertain exactly how much Kotarou knew at this point, because he was able to identify the dog as a ‘familiar’. I guess there was a slim possibility that he’d now be with Gaia – but even if he was, Esaka must be aware that it’d be the last thing Kotarou would reveal to a complete stranger who clearly didn’t recognise Esaka and his status in Guardian. Note that Esaka’s question would be just as valid even if he was absolutely certain that Kotarou was affiliated with Terrorist Greenpeace. It just goes to show that Gaia isn’t monolithic by any means, as we learned in the Akane route – and Gaia is a shitty organisation anyway, both in terms of its people and its goals. I’m sure I made this clear when I covered the game, but Guardian made a far better impression on me in practically all of the routes, even in Terra – and I think that’s what you were supposed to feel, especially given that Gaia treated Kotarou worse in the Akane route than Imamiya treated Bond when he first joined Guardian. Being with Akane is literally the only conceivable reason to join Gaia. She’s just that perfect.

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Rewrite Episode 2: Where Youth Begins

Why is Akane so perfect?

Impression

I hate how terrible the production values are. I hate how rushed and inconsistently paced everything is. I hate how only a select few of all the common route scenes are ever going to be animated. So why am I so hyped? Why did I thoroughly enjoy today’s episode? Why is Rewrite, of all things, quickly becoming the series I’m most looking forward to every week?

If we put aside my love and lust for Akane, I think the answer might have something to do with the OP. And the ED, with all its wonderful Terra references, but mostly the OP. I haven’t been this fucking excited over an OP in what seems like forever, it was fantastic. I can’t believe the entire first scene was dedicated to Kazamatsuri Bond facing off against Kagari, complete with a split-second frame featuring a hospital room and a certain small hand reaching out for Bond – I never thought I’d see that scene animated in my lifetime. And I loved the shots of all the characters, from Esaka to Imamiya to Inoue. Imamiya’s part would have been even more amazing if it’d been him, Kotarou and Nishikujou standing together. Even Mappie and the Rewrite dial from the game made an appearance!

Rewrite 2 Img056I didn’t recognise the last key frame of the OP though – the one with Kotarou sitting in what seems to be a destroyed club room whilst reminiscing about his ‘good memories’ with the occult club members. I mean, it’s very possible that the club room and school both get destroyed during certain late-game events in many of the routes, but I don’t remember it ever being of particular note – not least of all because Kotarou usually had much bigger problems to deal with at the time. Alternatively, it could be something completely original from the upcoming Kagari route, which would make quite a lot of sense as it’s what this anime is supposed to be covering. If Bond is also featured in the OP, however, does that mean we’ll be having certain events in Terra playing a significant part in the Kagari route somehow? During the pilot episode Kotarou even had a painful ‘vision’ of that exact scene, where Kagari cuts his hand and lower arm off as she stands in front of a tree – they really seem to want to emphasise it for some reason. I do agree that it’s a really important encounter as far as their relationship goes, but it’s so bizarre at this point that it’s only going to make people more confused if they don’t understand exactly what they’re looking at.

Rewrite 2 Img050The same issue applies to the breakneck pacing, although there’s reason to believe that things will slow down after this. If you’re an anime-only, the second half of the episode must have seemed like extremely poor writing. And it is – I’m a little incredulous that they managed to make Kotarou gather every single occult club member together within half an episode. A lot of the common route material in between each additional member joining was skipped over. But those who have finished the VN are not only in a position to understand why this has had to happen within the constraints of the adaptation – they’re also able to roughly fill in the blanks themselves as they’ll have run through the common route multiple times (and the most industrious of fans might even have repeated it from start to finish five times to pick up on new foreshadowing and completely reset their Kotarou before starting a new character route). And I thought the scenes that did make it into the anime were done brilliantly – everything from the parfait scene (ONNA NO TEKI, TENNOUJI KOTAROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOU) and the shikigami dreams (TOMOKOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO) to that one scene where Kotarou has Shizuru repeat his lines to Lucia over the phone. Like with the first episode, I couldn’t help but think the entire time how it was a real pity that the animation is such an utter pile of crap, because the banter and dynamic between the characters has turned out to be really, really good. It’s almost perfect, and that’s not just the nostalgia talking (although it has made me want to play through the common route again).

Rewrite 2 Img032I say ‘almost’, because nothing’s perfect. Except Akane. Being this irresistibly sexy shouldn’t be allowed. If there happened to be a genocidal religious cult that worshipped her as a divine prophet, I would join in a heartbeat for her sake. I want to do lewd things to her. I want her to do lewd things to me. Even Kotarou wants to perform horrible reproductive acts together with her, and I suspect that someone at 8bit does too (given how much focus there was on her thighs and legs). I don’t usually care for H-scenes in visual novels, often because they’re not very good and can be jarring at the best of times, but Rewrite is an all-ages game and I really, really wanted some lewds of my snarky, FPS-loving NEET waifu. You don’t know how many times I clicked the ‘ravish her’ option when it came up as a choice during one scene, hoping that something would change if I went for it repeatedly. Sadly, I think Rewrite+ is all-ages too and so I’ll have to content myself with fan art and that one CG from Harvest Festa featuring Akane coming out of the shower. What a semen demon.

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Rewrite 2 Img057If you’re an anime-only viewer, what you have to understand (and you’re most likely already vaguely aware of this, depending on how much promo material you’ve seen) is that every member of the occult club is unlike what they appear to be at first blush, and that Kotarou remains unaware of this for now. Kotori is no exception, as hard as that may be to believe – she can indeed see Kagari standing outside the club room, for example. I won’t fault Kotarou for having spilled the beans to Akane about literally everything he experienced last episode, because at this point he doesn’t know any better, but he might come to regret it in the future. I don’t know what she thinks of the ‘ribbon-clad ghost’ he mentioned, but there is a very high likelihood that alarm bells went off in her head when Kotarou talked about encountering a massive monster in an odd dimension under the school. I’m confined to mere speculation because these events are all anime-original, but Akane probably knows about Krivoy Rog (or at least has a vague understanding of what’s being kept down there). As a result, she’s now been put on a higher level of alertness and suspicion than she’s ever been before at this point in the story, and it’ll be really interesting to see how that changes events in the common route and beyond, if at all.