Video Game Review: Pokemon Sun/Moon

alola-islands720-pokemon-sun-moon

(Might be slight spoilers)

Pokemon celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. It made me come to the realization that I’ve known Pokemon my entire life. It’s crazy, really. It felt like yesterday that I was sitting in front of the TV watching the Pokemon anime as a kid. I never really played Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow until Fire Red came out, and I still didn’t exactly play that one much too, but I would sit next to my brother and watch him play it.

My first Pokemon game was Gold and I’ve noticed just how far the main series Pokemon games have come. Here we are now to the lovely and warm region of Alola as Gen 7.

Once I saw the concept art of Pokemon S/M, I had a strong feeling that it was going to be based around a tropical part of the world. Once it was revealed that the region was named Alola, of course everyone’s minds went straight to Hawaii and I was completely ecstatic. Seeing as how the past Pokemon games were finally being based on places outside of Japan, like New York and France, I was desperately hoping for a region based on a tropical place. A region based on Hawaii was perfect. Well, not completely perfect because we still don’t have a dolphin Pokemon. Dropped the ball there, Game Freak. :’)

Pokemon Sun/Moon starts off with you speaking to this region’s professor, Professor Kukui, through a web cam. You go through the usual intro like you always do, then you pick what gender and what character model you want. After you finish that, you’re treated to an intense cutscene and the game’s title appears, and you finally start the game.

In my personal opinion, Pokemon Sun/Moon is probably the most different Pokemon we’ve gotten (so far). We have the same formula, such as going on a journey to catch Pokemon, which Pokemon is known for. But the task of visiting each gym and collecting badges has instead changed into taking on Alola’s traditional island challenge. Pokemon Sun/Moon gave us the opportunity to really immerse ourselves into the world they created. The story keeps you on edge, filled with an array of colorful characters. And of course, their changes to some of the game mechanics also helps to make your journey through the Alola region a smooth one. There’s so much to talk about, so I’ll try my best to not make this review a jumbled mess.

da0o6ctctimmhe8cilbn

The Alola Region

Like mentioned above, the Alola region is based off of Hawaii. Just like how people in Hawaii say “aloha”, people in Alola say “alola”. Just from the first moment you play the game you can feel the calm and relaxed atmosphere. The Alola region is filled with culture and its own traditions and, such as the island challenge. Alola follows its own ways and is much more old-fashioned than the other regions. While the region is a modern tourist destination, it also stays close to its roots with the Tapu and their shrines. It’s said multiple times that the Alolan people are the closest with Pokemon than any other region, and it shows through what you see in the game like seeing Pokemon running around or hanging around their owner. It feels natural.

The game does wonders with its worldbuilding.

cj8rl0kweaaxztnI don’t know what they were thinking back in Game Freak, but this gen is notorious for having the most bizarre and gruesome Pokemon entries in the Pokedex we’ve ever had. Does it have to do with the fact that Rotom, a ghost Pokemon, is the Pokedex? I don’t know, but that could be a reason. We’ve gotten entries before of Pokemon eating other Pokemon, but they really made the details more specific. Some entries are just plain weird, or really funny, and they’re not like any we’ve had before. But it really gave us an idea what life is like in the wild for Pokemon and we come to understand it much better, like how documentaries teach us about the circle of life and whatnot. The Rotomdex isn’t different from a regular Pokedex other than the fact that an actual Pokemon is in the Pokedex talking to you. Sometimes Rotom will give you hints to your next destination, it’ll give its opinions of certain situations you go through, or it’ll say some snarky comments at you and they’re hilarious. I always found myself reading whatever Rotom had to say and found myself smiling or even laughing and for once I could actually say that I got attached to my Pokedex. The Pokedex this time also got some aesthetic changes, where when you catch a Pokemon you get a portrait of them and can immediately see if they evolve or not. When you have the whole evolution line, the back of the screen glows red showing your completion. To me, it made for a satisfying moment that I’m still trying my hardest to complete the Alolan Pokedex. Game Freak, keep the Rotomdex!

team-skull

Team Skull

For this region, the team we face this time is Team Skull. They’re the baddest of the bad…at least, that’s what they think. In all honesty, they’re a simple street gang that’s out trying to steal Pokemon. They dress in all black with skulls adorned on their bodies, and when they speak with you, they make sure their presence is known by flapping their arms around like wannabe rappers. Unlike other the other villainous teams in the Pokemon games, Team Skull is a complete joke. Literally no one in the game is afraid of them, instead they’re just seen as a nuisance and ignored. Their dialogue is the funniest in the game and they rap and rhyme most of the time that you can’t help reading their lines out loud. They’re my favorite team in terms of enjoyment, amusement, their design, and their music! I like rap/hip-hop so I was basking in the Grunt theme, Plumeria’s theme, and Guzma’s.

Plumeria unfortunately was the least important character. You would battle her a few times but she didn’t make much of an impact unlike other team admins. But…Guzma. YA BOI Guzma, I really like him. He’s kind of a deep character when you find some things out about him later on postgame, but he was just a joy to encounter in the game. And to battle! He’s actually pretty tough and his Golisopod is a demon.

Story

When it comes to the story, I won’t say too much because I would spoil it. Pokemon Sun/Moon’s story has to be the darkest, or at least one of the darkest stories Pokemon has made. There were twists and I admit some weren’t surprising considering some of the scenes and hints we got throughout the game, but there were times that I was legitimately creeped out and surprised. Another new thing this Pokemon game did was include many cutscenes. I’ve seen people complain about them because the scenes are long but I love them. They are a little tedious in the beginning because of all the tutorials, but later on the scenes are part of telling the story, and they also give us moments to learn about some characters. Up until now Black/White’s story was my favorite, but now I’m not sure anymore. They’re both tied to when it comes to story.

Also, there’s a lot to do in the post game!

Characters

Again, can’t say too much or else I’ll spoil. What I like about the new formula in this game is that there are a lot less characters. Before we would have the eight gym leaders, but after the battle with them, we never got to know just who they were except for what type they used and just their general personality. We never created a bond for gym leaders, but in Black/White they actually managed to do that for us once. The trials gave us time to interact with the trial captains and know just who they are, and in some cases we could even barge into their home life and battle them. This is the same with the kahunas as there are only four, and they all made some sort of impact to the overall story and post-game story. I can’t say anything about the villainous characters, but they were written really well.

But, I can say that I love Lillie. She’s…an absolute angel. I get so angry when I see people call Lillie a weak character and I couldn’t disagree more. I find her a very strong character and she had a fantastic growth that I just felt so proud of her! I love her! She’s became one of my favorite Pokemon characters next to N (do you see a pattern here?). But I also really love Hau and Gladion and I just want to take these three children and just hug them really tight. I also hate that people hate on Hau because there’s nothing to hate about this kid. He’s just a kid with an enthusiasm that’s contagious, who supports you and also battles you along the way, and he’s so kind that it’s hard to hate him. I know people don’t like him because he’s not a true “rival” (tho I disagree), but I just think that’s a silly reason. Hau also has some growth for himself and he’s just so likeable. In general, the story does extremely well with its characters.

Gameplay/Aesthetic

I’m going to keep it short and say that Sun/Moon is the best-looking Pokemon game that we’ve ever gotten. It helps that Alola is beautiful itself, but the game’s scenic shots made it so nice. Unlike X/Y we have full character models and thankfully the walking grid is gone so we can actually move around any way we want. Facial expressions, body language, and different camera shots are used a lot in the cutscenes and they’re done so well that they add to the story. Unfortunately our trainer character is stuck with the default 🙂 face so some scenes look a little silly.

Now modes were added such as Poke Pelago. It’s a place where the Pokemon in our PC boxes visit islands, and each are different. At first I didn’t really care for it, but after I learned more about it and developed more islands, it actually became pretty useful and fun. Also, I’m happy knowing that the Pokes in my PC box aren’t bored and sad.

The Festival Plaza is a new feature where you can play little games with people around the world in order to get points and use them to purchase items in the shops you have there. When you increase the rank of your plaza, you can add different shops. You can interact with all kinds of people and request battles and trades with certain people if they allow it. This is also where you can also do the online services like trading and battling, which is what I mostly do. But the plaza is also where you can dye your clothes, which is another thing I do a lot.

We have Battle Royal, which I don’t think it’s too big a deal. I actually like playing Battle Royal more against people online than in the actual Arena. It’s a fun mode and it’s a nice change in the way of battling, but I found it didn’t change too much, and if you want you can just completely ignore it and nothing about the game will change.

Character customization continues again this generation. Again we can choose which character model of which skin color we want, though I’ll be picky and say from the start that I wish we had more choices. Of course this is just me. I don’t necessarily make my trainer look like myself, though I try, so I try to pick the model with my skin color. Though I was stuck between the second and third models because I’m neither of those, but a combo of those. But I picked the third model because playing the game with brown skin is awesome, and I’m sort of tanned. I just wish we had maybe one more lighter tan option.

As for the rest, again we can change our hairstyle. One gripe I have about the styles is that we have no idea how they look, and the only way we can find out is paying and then checking the result. And if we don’t like it? Gotta spend more money again. The hairstyles we have, at least for the females, I liked and I also liked the colors. Though again I wish we had more options with hair color. Just gives us all the colors! You unlock more colors and hairstyles after you beat the game, but giving us the option of knowing how they look before we buy the haircut and color would be nice.

A new feature added is contact lenses and lipstick for females. This was welcome and I had fun picking which eye color and lip color to use to make my trainer more cute. Of course, the way to see a lipstick/eye color is to go into the dressing room, pick one, then have your trainer walk out. If you don’t like it, then you have to repeat all this and it actually takes awhile. Like with the hairstyles, I would like it if you could just switch around with the eye and lip colors instead of having to pick and wait.

As for clothes, thankfully you don’t need to reach a certain level of “style” to purchase any. Matching with the region, most of the clothes choices are tank tops, shorts, and skirts. But the options are a little dull with the colors, with the same colors in every store. Having the same tank/shorts combo can get pretty boring after awhile, but you can try your best to pick a good outfit. Also, you don’t have to wear a hat. You can wear hair accessories too, which is a plus.

One HUGE change in this game are the fact that there are NO HMs. That’s right, none. Because we have Ride Pokemon. We can surf with a Lapras or Sharpedo, break rocks with Tauros, and fly anywhere we want with a Charizard. Usual HM moves from before are now TMs or moves that some Pokemon can learn naturally. I was surprised to see my Pikipek learn Rock Smash on its own. No longer will you have to pick a Pokemon to become your slave and have them learn dumb HM moves, only to put them away when you no longer need them. It’s a wonderful change and I hope they do this again because HMs suck. Also, it’s fun to see your 11 year old trainer ride on the back of a Tauros smashing rocks. A big positive!

And lastly, another feature added was the Poke Finder. Really, this was probably the most underwhelming add-in. You don’t really do anything with the Poke Finder other than just take pictures for fun. The pictures don’t really add to anything and they’re not important, and if you want, you don’t have to take pictures at all. Sure it’s another way to fall in love with Alola’s scenery, but the low frames while taking pictures and the only 3D in the game looking a little iffy, it’s okay to skip it if you want.

Speaking of low frames, if you have the older 3DS, there’s going to be a lot of lagging. When you play double battles, play against the Totem Pokemon, or worse when you play a Battle Royal, expect a low framerate and a lot of lagging. I have the New 3DS XL and I still have problems with the lag and framerates but not as much as people with the older models, so that’s a problem.

If you couldn’t tell, I love this game. I love it to death. My older brother stopped playing Pokemon games after Diamond because he got tired of the same gameplay the games had. I managed to persuade him about Sun/Moon but was surprised to know how into it he got from just the trailers. Visiting him on Christmas today, I found out he finished the game and that he loved it, and what he specifically loved was that this game took things from the old and added a new twist to it to make it original, and he was all for it. He had lots of fun with the game and I was glad. Game Freak did a wonderful job changing its style a little bit, but not too much. It was the perfect amount of change that made Pokemon veterans happy, while also still remaining open to newcomers and people that haven’t played the games in awhile. Seeing how happy I was with the game, and seeing how happy my brother was with it too made me realize that Game Freak did good.

If I haven’t made it obvious enough, I love Pokemon Sun/Moon and people really need to play it. It has a wonderful story and characters are full of heart. The game is engaging and fun and even though I’ve finished the game and (I think) did all the post game stuff, I’m still playing it and having fun. Just…play this game! Get it! It’s great! Alola!

Rewrite Episode 13: The Promise I Made With You [Final Impression]

Holy fuck.

Impression

I’m actually stunned. Of course, I was fully aware from the very first episode that salvation would most likely happen, and that humanity would (for all intents and purposes) be completely exterminated. Hoping for anything different would be far too optimistic. But I don’t think that made it any less shocking to see it actually happen in animated form. As profound a story as visual novels can tell, they often lack the sheer visual impact that motion pictures have. In particular, I actually found it really haunting to see Kotarou turning into a tree this time. From the moment he overwrote himself to match up to Esaka and his wound turned into bark, I had a feeling it was inevitable, but it was pretty gruesome watching it actually happen. In the game, we mostly got descriptions and not his anguished cries as he turned into what was essentially a familiar.

rewrite-13-img081

In fact, it’s a bit strange that this ending was as despair-filled as it was. A lot of it was subtlety, but it was made clear that many of the characters died before the final stage to salvation even happened. Imamiya died before the episode even started. Esaka and Nishikujou were clearly corpses when they turned into light – Nishikujou had a sword stuck through her. All the Bayern Knights most likely died fighting against Sakuya. From the fact that Chihaya mentioned Sakuya being really heavy, Sakuya was no longer granting her super strength and so he too was already dead by the time Chihaya was carrying him through the ruins. And why did Lucia and Shizuru have their minds broken before they disappeared? What the fuck, this is too depressing! I know each character route ending (arguably apart from Chihaya’s) is supposed to be a bad end, but did they really need to make it so tragic?

rewrite-13-img077

rewrite-13-img078Who else was surprised by Kotarou’s decision? Any Gaian would argue that he chose the planet’s future over humanity’s present, but really it looked like he chose to be with Kagari and sacrifice all of humanity in the process. Salvation was still avoidable at that point, and it was the whole reason as to why Esaka fought him – the natural disasters may have already happened, but it’s not like everyone was dead yet. I was initially rather shocked, but in the end I guess it’s a Kagari route and it wouldn’t be strange if he did really fall in love with Kagari as various events occurred. It might have all been skipped in the adaptation due to time constraints, so maybe Rewrite+ goes into more depth on this. I was really sad though! Seeing Kotori cry is the worst thing ever, I love her so much. I mean, I love Akane the most, but… I want to protect Kotori’s smile the most? Is that allowed? I’m not sure how to explain it, I’m still reeling from the episode. For all the shitty quality throughout the season, I have to say 8-bit did pretty well with the finale. The Rewrite anime has never felt more Key-like than it has here.

rewrite-13-img063I want to mention a bit on salvation, as an important thing I paid attention to during all of the character routes was to see exactly what happened during salvation and how it was triggered. It was really interesting that they subtly told us that Akane shot both Kashima Sakura and Nagai to death, but was then fully brainwashed and became the next holy woman. I presume that’s why the song of destruction stopped before continuing again. If that’s the case, Akane should have killed both Shimako and herself, but she’s probably too kind to kill a cute loli in cold blood. I would have started questioning my devotion to her if that’s what she chose to do. I seem to recall that in some routes, salvation consisted of the disappearance of humanity, but in others that disappearance wasn’t magical and instead occurred due to natural disasters killing everyone. What we got in this Kagari route was both, which is slightly strange. I wonder whether it’s because those disasters weren’t enough, and the second time salvation started up Kagari decided to go with another method? It’s also really cool seeing salvation happen all over the world, instead of just in Kazamatsuri. The entire thing felt really biblical actually, although I’ve never really thought about it in that way before.

rewrite-13-img048Most of all, this final episode was a massive hype train for Moon and Terra. The last few seconds of the episode featured Moon Kagari and her blueprint, in an anime rendition of what is probably Moon’s most famous CG, whilst the entire episode was filled with references to Terra. Bond made a final appearance in a Kotori flashback as she narrated how she saved Kotarou’s life, and Chibimoth turning back into Pero was pretty heartbreaking. Yoshino fighting the familiars was similar to what he did during Moon, and you could tell that, just like what was going through the minds of everyone who’s played the game, Esaka was thinking about his Guardian training with Kotarou all those years ago, that the current Kotarou in his ‘half-baked condition’ has forgotten all about, although his ‘body seems to have remembered’. In the state he’s in now, he’s forgotten his youth. At 27 years old, he has no idea what youth is, and he wants to set out on a journey to discover what it is. His true youth happens during the events of Terra, and that’s what we’re getting next.

rewrite-13-img065

Overall Thoughts

Rewrite is actually such a fantastic story. It’s been my favourite VN ever since I finished it exactly two years ago now, and although it has many flaws, this adaptation has made me remember many of the reasons why that is. I’ve talked about those flaws countless times since the anime began, so there’s no point in me beating a dead horse any further – I’m still unsure as to whether it should have existed at all, but it has served its purpose as fanservice really well. From the point of view of a visual novel reader, it’s extremely interesting to explore another one of the dead end routes that Moon Kagari has spent so long studying within her blueprint.

rewrite-13-img086

Remember this post? In the end, the anime chose to opt out of dealing with the potentially very messy consequences of adapting multiple routes and chose to go with an original one to be properly fleshed out as an individual Rewrite+ route. Come to think of it, I’m not actually sure whether the route was first envisaged through the anime and was later expanded in Rewrite+, or whether it was vice versa. As you probably know, Moon and Terra are next, and thus they’ve decided to adopt the latter part of how I originally thought an ideal adaptation of Rewrite would play out. I predicted that the common route, all the character routes and Moon and Terra could be accomplished within three cours, whereas 8-bit have decided to go with a Kagari route as the first season, followed by another cour consisting of Moon and Terra. And I’m sure Moon and Terra can be finished in a single season, Moon isn’t very long at all. In retrospect, three cours for everything might have been a little ambitious actually.

key-4I’m looking forward to it. It’s slated for Winter 2017 (i.e. Rewrite has ended up being a split-cour adaptation) and so it won’t be too long a wait. 8-bit will be around to make things worse as usual, but the times during which I felt the most excitement about their work on this was during the opening scene of the hour-long first episode, featuring the start to Moon, and the anime rendition of Philosophyz during which Bond faces off with Kagari. It’s fucking Kazamatsuri Bond, fighting Middle Eastern terrorists and shooting little girls’ parents in the heads in front of them, how much can they mess up? And I just realised, we’ll get to see young Nishikujou. With short hair. I love short hair. Not to mention loli Akane and Kotori. That being said, I’m more excited about Moon as a whole. It was extremely surreal when I first played through it, but in retrospect I really enjoyed it. It’ll be interesting to see what the Kotarou formed by the culmination of all Kotarous is like on screen, and as I’ve said before I believe that there’s more intimacy between Kotarou and Moon Kagari during Moon than there ever was between him and Earth Kagari in Terra. The rooftop dancing scene, that time when he ascends to a higher plane of existence and has to be brought down by Kagari, even the three cups of coffee scene – it’ll all be really good. Hopefully.

Finally, if you’ve reading this post about Rewrite for the first time, or if you’re an anime-only who even vaguely liked the story that you’ve seen thus far, please play the visual novel. It’s extremely long (>50 hours) but it’s well worth your time. That I can promise you. It’s at least as good a work as the rest of what Key and Visual Arts have produced, trust me when I say that their prestige and name brand means something in the industry they compete in. Just like with Little Busters, don’t let the relative lack of money thrown at its anime project dictate the quality you perceive either the original work or the story to have.

rewrite-13-img021

Rewrite Episode 12: Song of Destruction

‘,
enableHover: false,
enableTracking: true,
buttons: { twitter: {via: ”}},
click: function(api, options){
api.simulateClick();
api.openPopup(‘twitter’);
}
});
$(‘#facebook’).sharrre({
share: {
facebook: true
},
template: ‘

{total}

‘,
enableHover: false,
enableTracking: true,
buttons:{layout: ‘box_count’},
click: function(api, options){
api.simulateClick();
api.openPopup(‘facebook’);
}
});
$(‘#googleplus’).sharrre({
share: {
googlePlus: true
},
template: ‘

{total}

‘,
enableHover: false,
enableTracking: true,
buttons:{size: ‘tall’},
urlCurl: ‘https://angryanimebitches.com/wp-content/plugins/hueman-addons/assets/front/js/sharrre.php’,
click: function(api, options){
api.simulateClick();
api.openPopup(‘googlePlus’);
}
});

// Scrollable sharrre bar, contributed by Erik Frye. Awesome!
var $_shareContainer = $(“.sharrre-container”),
$_header = $(‘#header’),
$_postEntry = $(‘.entry’),
$window = $(window),
startSharePosition = $_shareContainer.offset(),//object
contentBottom = $_postEntry.offset().top + $_postEntry.outerHeight(),
topOfTemplate = $_header.offset().top,
topSpacing = _setTopSpacing();

//triggered on scroll
shareScroll = function(){
if( ! ( $window.width() > 480) )
return;

var scrollTop = $window.scrollTop() + topOfTemplate,
stopLocation = contentBottom – ($_shareContainer.outerHeight() + topSpacing);

if(scrollTop > stopLocation){
$_shareContainer.offset({top: contentBottom – $_shareContainer.outerHeight(),left: startSharePosition.left});
}
else if(scrollTop >= $_postEntry.offset().top – topSpacing){
$_shareContainer.offset({top: scrollTop + topSpacing, left: startSharePosition.left});
}else if(scrollTop 1024)
topSpacing = distanceFromTop + $(‘.nav-wrap’).outerHeight();
else
topSpacing = distanceFromTop;
return topSpacing;
}

});

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?

rewrite-11-img004

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.

rewrite-11-img018

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.

Rewrite 10 Img018

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.

Rewrite 10 Img009

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?

Rewrite 9 Img046

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.

Rewrite 9 Img004

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?

Rewrite 9 Img039

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.

Rewrite 8 Img023

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.

Rewrite 8 Img042

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.

Rewrite 7 Img043

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.

Rewrite 7 Img047

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.

Rewrite 6 Img041

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.

Rewrite 6 Img027

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).

Rewrite 5 Img038

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!

Rewrite 5 Img019