You know what could have saved this series? A “Rewrite”.
… Yeah, I know, lame joke. Plus it's not like it's true either. After all, this project was without a doubt doomed from the very beginning.
So, here's the deal: Adaptations are made with different goals in mind. Sometimes, when light shines down from the heavens, the creators of the original work get together with a crew of talented animators and a passionate production team (writer, director, sound director etc.) that have a vision in mind of what the project should be like in order for us to end up with the best animated version that is
humanly possible. We call that the best case scenario, it's what gave us shining examples such as Monster, Fullmetal Alchemist, Mushishi, Ping Pong The Animation or, to name a Key adaptation, Clannad (no, not the movie). All shows that managed to match or even exceed the quality of their source material. Yet other (or, to put it more accurately, most) times adaptations are just a tool to make a quick buck off an already popular name for a studio and get some cheap advertisement for the original creator. Which is what happened with the Anime we're talking about today, „Rewrite“ or, as I like to call it, „why I sometimes hate capitalism“.
Disclaimer: I can not guarantee that this will be a completely unbiased review. I do consider myself a fan of the original visual novel and while I will mainly be looking at this show in regards to how it manages to stand on its own, I will also be addressing the issue of it completely failing from an adaptation stand point, as you could probably tell from the intro. I am in no way a source material purist. Changes need to be made in order to properly adapt a story from one medium to another. You could add dancing reindeer, as long as it is for the benefit of the anime I wouldn't care one bit. This is not about the adaptation being different from the visual novel, which is by no means perfect, just so we are perfectly clear here. I will also be going easy on spoilers for anything beyond episode one, so don't be afraid to read this, even if you haven't seen the show yet, which I strongly advise against anyway. If you are however afraid of long walls of text (no idea what kind of illness that would qualify as), then I recommend that you skip to the bottom of the page for a summary of my thoughts. Because it's going to be a long one.
So, what is Rewrite?
Rewrite is a blatantly cheap and lazy cash-in on the popularity of its brand name. Wait, no, that isn't right.
Rewrite is an insult to both fans of the visual novel and people who enjoy decently structured stories alike. Still not quite what I wanted to say.
Rewrite is produced by 8-bit, a studio full of talentless hacks who'd be better off cleaning toilets for a living. Ah, just screw it.
Rewrite is a piece of shit. There you go.
I'm not going to bother with a summary since you can find that sort of thing anywhere else. What I should mention though is that the anime is based on the visual novel of the same name, released in 2011 and dubbed the „flagship title“ for Key, the video game studio that perfected the art of tempting you with cute and obviously mentally retarded children before killing them off in cold blood. Interesting to note is that Mr. Key, Jun Maeda, the man with which I assume has to be the largest anus in Japan, considering all the things he managed to pull from there, was not involved with the writing of the story whatsoever. Instead the head writer of the project was one Romeo Tanaka, who you may or may not remember as the creative mind behind works such as „Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita“ or „Cross*Channel“. Rewrite is, putting it simply, a massive project, consisting of one of the largest common routes I have ever played, five individual girl specific routes and two more that go into depth about our main character, all adding up to over 50 hours of play/read time. Adapting such a huge project is no small task. You'd have to pick the perfect studio, one with a lot of credentials. Maybe White Fox, who worked on the visual novel and have proven to be successful at adapting such projects in the past? How about Kyoto Animation, the former go-to studio for Key adaptations? P.A. Works? Madhouse?
No, none of the above, the obvious choice is of course 8-bit, creators of such highly acclaimed (wait, I don't think that's the right word) Visual Novel adaptations as Grisaia no Kajitsu.
Yes, 8-bit, a studio which, like few others, stands for astonishingly disappointing mediocrity. The only reason why I can see somebody thinking that 8-bit may be a good choice is if they wanted to highlight the harem aspect of Rewrite. I have no idea why anybody would want to do that in this particular case, but if we were to look at things the adaptation succeeded at doing, making it more heavy on the fanservice and, for the lack of a better word, harem-y is certainly one of them. Little surprising since sub par harem shows are more or less 8-bit's calling card. I personally struggle to think of an 8-bit series that was significantly better than “meh”. Still, I'm by no means one of their biggest critics. While the studio gets a lot of criticism for their poor adaptation of the Grisaia series, I never really joined the hate wagon on it, taking more of an indifferent stance along the lines of „Hey, at least they sort of tried?“ (I should probably mention that I'm not a big Grisaia fan). Which is unfortunately not something you can say about Rewrite's production. This is about as effortless as you can get without being accused of ripping off Toei Animation (which, I am pretty sure, is what Studio Deen have been trying to do for the last 15 years or so). Okay, that might be a little harsh, but the point is that this is a lazy and unpolished product that looks like something that could have easily been produced several years ago.
The art lacks detail and looks cheap as a result, especially by 2016 standards. There is absolutely nothing appealing about it. The CG elements, which are nowhere near the level they should be considering the year we are in (especially the “monsters” are complete eye-sores), are integrated horribly and serve more to irritate than anything else. The 3D and 2D models don't mesh at all and both stick out like a sore thumb when looked at in front of the rather pretty backgrounds. Furthermore, the 2D models aren't consistent, especially when shown in wide shots, the facial expressions look bad and sometimes objects just disappear between cuts. The series also never managed to stabilize in regards to animation, like some shows do, but instead got worse with time. It seems pretty clear that the people involved either didn't really give a fuck or couldn't afford to do so.
The direction is just plain bad. Rewrite lacks any sense of scale, though it's still far from the level that Little Busters! was on. Seriously, what's with all the space? Why are there so many wide shots? If there was any intention behind this other than making it easier for animators, then I obviously didn't get it, since the purpose is clearly not to create a feeling of isolation. It seems like the director knew that wide shots are something that competent directors use, but not why. And it's not like the environments are pretty to look at either. Most of them are rather empty and if they're not then they usually „compensate“ for that by having ugly CG character models walking around the backgrounds. Add to that the often obnoxious editing where scenes of very different tone are just hard cut into one another and you get a cluster fuck of impressive proportions. The show never manages to create any kind of flow. Events just sort of happen one after another with little context or set up, which serves to make the story seem even more confusing than it had been without the abrupt shifts.
I mean it should go without saying that the show is rushed. Again: So many hours of story and only 13 episodes, how could it not be? Still it seems to me like they had a lot more scenes planed than they ended up using. Of course this is little more than conjecture, but the very hard turns the show takes make me think that it's true nonetheless. Even if you have to go through source material at a fast pace, you can still achieve smooth story progression, which is far from being the case here. If I had to point out one thing Rewrite desperately needs, then I would go with transitional scenes. What I mean by that is that we often just go from one story point to the next, even if the feel and tone of the scenes is a very different one. This, by the way, stands in stark contrast to some of the rather lengthy slice of life sections the show has. Now, it would have been difficult to handle this properly, no doubt, but that doesn't really count as an excuse. Especially if you consider the number of side plots that were introduced without getting any pay-off in the end (I'll get to this later) and thus could have easily been cut. The way the show turned out it's not only rather hard to follow and confusing in regards to things like character motivations (hell, I don't even know why some people act the way they do and I have read through the source material more than once), but it seems pretty clear that the director isn't a big fan of “show – don't tell”. So while story and character definitely got streamlined quite a bit, they would have profited from being simplified even more since what we got was just more and more pieces of exposition being thrown at the viewer that not only made for a rather unpleasant watching experience, but also left the picture incomplete in a lot of places, resulting in plenty of plot holes.
Oh, and the music, the god damn music … Okay, I don't think that Rewrite has the most amazing score to begin with. While there are some really good pieces like „Scene shifts there“ or the different versions of „Philosophy“, plus even a few that manage to perfectly convey the tone of the action scenes („Toxoplasma“/„Scene of carnage“), which I personally wasn't expecting from a Key score, it still doesn't come close to the level of quality that Little Busters! or Clannad had. While I may hate Jun Maeda's style of writing with a fiery passion, there is little point in denying that he is a genius composer. But that's not to say that Rewrite's music is bad, after all it still has Shinji Orito on board. The sound track works just fine in the context of the visual novel. It's the way it was integrated into the anime adaptation which is the obvious problem here. Visual novels have a ton of different tracks as they are long reads with a lot of different scenes that are almost all considerable in length and have different tones to convey. Thus having a small number of pieces to choose from would make it seem repetitive rather quickly. Giving all the scenes different tracks to accompany them is fine here, because they are all considerable in length, the transitions are mostly smooth with silence in between and the songs get to play out before a new one starts up. This is not the case when it comes to anime, especially when the show in question is as fast-paced as this one. Yet they still decided to keep basically every piece of music with the scenes it originally belonged to. This is one of the times where a faithful adaptation isn't necessarily a good one. Because the scenes are mostly brief we constantly have one piece of music starting up only to be interrupted by a hard cut into another one that is completely unrelated to the former. The best way I can possibly describe it is that it feels like holding CTRL to skip ahead in a visual novel, in which case you always get to hear the first few notes of every piece before moving on to the next scene and thus the next track on the list. It's absolutely atrocious to have to listen to someone doing such an amateurish job with a more than decent OST, I actually find it kind of insulting. Then again, it does get better during later episodes and I am obligated to mention that some of the covers were actually pretty damn good (that “Rewrite” piano version during episode eleven in particular), so there's at least that.
Still, there are also quite a few positive points to be found in the sound department. At least the voice acting is pretty good, which is to be expected considering the involvement of prolific voice actresses like Chiwa Saito, Eri Kitamura and Kana Hanazawa. There are also some relative new comers who do a good job with their respective roles, resulting in the voice cast being all in all one of the shows stronger points. The (first) OP is good as well, but it lacks the impact the same song had in the visual novel. This is due to the song being used as sort of a leitmotiv in the original material (with the core conflict being all about differing philosophies) and getting multiple reprises through different versions over the course of the story. These just aren't as present in the adaptation, so the OP lacks meaning. Also, considering that they decided to use two different OPs, how dare they not include the visual novel's badass second opening and instead use one that leaves no impression whatsoever? Oh yeah, there were also two regular ending themes. They were, in my opinion, completely forgettable. To make up for that they decided to include some of the visual novel's ending songs, which they play at the end of each “character arc” (imagine massive quotation marks around that term). A fine idea in concept, but it backfires seeing how they just lack the build up to have any meaning here. I do appreciate that they gave a good song like “Koibumi” its spotlight, but do they really expect me to get emotional when the show has done nothing to earn such feelings? This is comparable to being served a steak at McDonald's Drive-Thru, it just feels like a waste.
I think I have now spent enough time explaining why the show's production is absolutely terrible. I'd really like to end this review here, but production quality is unfortunately not Rewrite's only failure. Both story layout and characterization are equally, if not more, disappointing.
When adapting a visual novel with multiple routes you have a couple of different options in regards to how you're going to put the non-linear source material into a linear format. They include: Just adapting the main route, putting the different routes into individual arcs that end with the respective girl being friendzoned, going Omnibus (needs more use) or just hitting the key points of the material in the context of an anime original story, which means blending the routes completely and usually results in disaster. Guess which one Rewrite falls under.
Now, blending routes is one of the hardest issues visual novel adaptations have to face. You aren't really able to commit to one specific route, seeing how that will eliminate too many of the elements that you want to show off, but on the other hand just throwing stuff into the metaphorical cooking pot and putting it on the stove will hardly result in something edible. The problem is that it completely destroys the appeal the visual novel originally had to me, that which made it special. Rewrite deals with a lot of very heavy topics that need proper explanation as well as a nuanced discussion about the different sides and aspects, something the visual novel spent a great deal of time on. It's not something you can just rush through and still get the point. I find it hard to believe that the original author was involved with the adaptation, considering that it completely misses the point of the work it was based on. In order to completely understand Rewrite's conflict it is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL, I cannot stress this enough, that you get to see both sides of the argument. Its one of the main points of the visual novel, yet nowhere to be found in the adaptation. Instead we get the protagonist poking his head into every one of the factions without really getting involved with any, which obviously doesn't suffice since you're getting little more than a short summary of the position, but also opens up a plethora of plot holes. Man, those secret organizations are sure lenient, just telling a random stranger, who has done nothing to earn their trust and isn't committed to them at all, all about their super secret plans, aren't they? Kind of makes you wonder what's the point of being a secret organization then.
Sure, it would have been hard to handle a change in perspective effectively, but that is what the Omnibus format, a perfect match for this type of visual novel, is for. Instead they decided to just blend things together and thanks to the nature of the material, which has most of the important stuff happening after the relationships change and important world-shaking events occur, we end up with a bunch of rushed half stories that do nothing for the characters the focus is supposed to be on and don't really leave an impression. Amazing!
But the worst thing is that this adaptation makes Rewrite come off as completely generic middle of the road trash that you, me and everyone else has seen plenty of times. Not only is this a gross misrepresentation of the visual novel, but it isn't even particularly good when looked at in the context of these types of show, on the contrary, it doesn't even meet the average. Hell, I have read and liked the visual novel, yet watching this makes me question my opinion on it. Was I on drugs while playing through the visual novel and just remember it being good despite that not being the case or is the adaptation really that bad?
There is a reason why the common route of the visual novel is as long as it is. It strives to create a contrast. A lot of the later routes is about yearning for the days where life was pleasant and easy. But that doesn't mean anything if we do not first get to experience said life. It's similar to something like Higurashi in that regard, which I have often heard being described as boring thanks to just how much slice of life build up there is. I, on the other hand, never had a problem with this seeing how it makes the drama hit far closer to home. The anime never manages to create the feeling that something valuable has been lost here. Why should I care about the Occult Club disbanding when they have done approximately five things together that got about twenty minutes of screen time at the most? I simply do not give a crap.
Instead the series decides to waste time on pointless shit. Hell, even after watching the entire anime you still won't know what that random excursion in the first episode was about unless you've read the visual novel. As a fan of the series I do appreciate seeing some cool minor characters animated, but considering the tight schedule the show was on and the lack of an impact said characters end up having on the plot, you can't deny that the show would have been better if they had just been excluded. For example: Why are Gil and Pani in this? Their contribution to the plot is minimal at best and we already had more than enough comic relief without them. Well, at least they served some kind of obvious purpose, I'm still trying to figure out what Imamiya was there for. Sure, some of those characters may gain importance in the recently announced sequel, but I can't help having doubts about that after watching the first season. Speaking of the characters: Since we have already talked at length about why Rewrite fails at telling its story, lets move on to its next big flaw: Characterization.
As I mention in my Fate/stay night review (shameless plug), adapting a visual novel is hard, especially when it comes to the characterization of the main character, which is mostly done through the use of extensive inner monologue, something you can not do in the context of a visual medium like anime. You therefore run the risk of having your main character look like a dumb, obnoxious and unlikeable twat, see Fate/stay night for reference. So then we get to Rewrite's main character, Kotarou, a dumb, obnoxious and unlikeable twat. God damn, this adaptation makes him seem like a jackass. Now, don't get me wrong, it's not like the visual novel didn't portray him as a dick from time to time, but you had the inner monologue as a balance. It's not about what a character does, but how said actions are framed. In the original material you see him do a lot of stupid and weird stuff for the sake of comedy, but you can always tell that he means well and that he has some obvious issues he's trying to cover up. This doesn't apply to the anime version of the character, who just comes off as a perverted and otherwise pretty bland asshole, who does some rather uncharacteristic stuff from time to time, which only serves to make him seem inconsistent. His choices just make no sense in the context of the story since we have no inner monologue to connect the dots. Now, I'm by no means an advocate of having a story tell you the information normally conveyed through inner monologue, I'd rather have them find a creative way of delivering it, like through visual metaphors, but it's still better than simply cutting (close to) all of it and thus leaving a character without any substantial development. This way our main characters ends up staying rather bland until the very end of the story, which only adds to the pile of problems. Now, as opposed to other Visual Novels, Rewrite is most definitely Kotarou's story. He's an intentional blank slate throughout most of the game's first half, really growing into his own during the second one. It's the kind of character development that takes ages to do and is near impossible to achieve with only 13 TV episodes to work with as long as you're not going to make it the focal point of the project. And Kotarou, make no mistake about it, is in no way the focal point of the anime adaptation. Despite the amount of screen time he does get, I can see him as little more than a side character in his own story. The real focus in on the more marketable characters, the girls, with one in particular finally getting her time in the spotlight.
So, let's talk about the girls: There is Kotori, the childhood friend (with a tragic past), Chihaya, the airhead (with a tragic past, which apparently wasn't important enough for the anime to focus on), Lucia, the super tsundere class president (with a tragic past), Shizuru, the loli (with a tragic past), and Akane, the club president (with a tragic past). That's pretty much it. Yes, I do realize that there is more to these girls than that, but this is basically what the anime version told us about them without getting into spoiler territory, so there really is no point in elaborating on it any further. What little development there is, is so rushed that even McDonald's wouldn't dare sell it. They don't have much of a character here, which brings down their appeal to little besides their character design. And even that's not anything to brag about either, considering how bad of a job 8-bit did with the art. The designs are significantly less appealing than they were in the visual novel, which is bad, seeing how they're supposed to be one of the biggest initial selling points.
As you can see, there is little point talking about the main female cast any further. Well, I suppose there is one character that I should be talking about a little: The mysterious ribbon girl or, as I will refer to her, Kagari (seems like you finally got that spin-off you wanted, good for you). Now, as far as I know, this adaptation was specially designed to put the spotlight on her and it shows. She does (sort of) have her own route in the visual novel as she is one of the main focal points of both the Terra and Moon route, but it would have been impossible to adapt these without knowledge of the other routes (expect the second season to be an even bigger disaster that is impossible to follow), so they decided to come up with a mix of Moon/Terra, Harvest festa! and a bunch of other things for the second half of the show, which results in us ending up with six episodes that feel even more rushed than the rest of the show, make little sense, create a ton of plot holes and never manage to capture the feeling that the individual routes from the visual novel had (even the lesser ones, looking at you Chihaya and Shizuru). The second half of the show isn't even bad per se, but that somehow makes the final product even worse. At least the first few episodes were somewhat interesting, in the same way that watching two trains collide is interesting, but the later story arc is just so mediocre that it has little to no draw to it whatsoever, making it hard for me to believe that this was supposedly written by Romeo Tanaka. Not to mention that the tone of the second half of the show is far more inconsistent than it was in any of the visual novel's routes. Yes, some comic relief is appreciated, but you're supposed to create a contrast here, so make the main tone more serious. This had way too much dumb comedy, it didn't balance out at all. Kagari herself was quite possibly the biggest victim of this.
(Oh, and can we just mention the fact that Kagari showing up at the school in broad fucking daylight is a damn insult if you consider that there are supposed to be hundreds of people looking for her? Or is that even a thing in the adaptation? Because honestly both Gaia and Guardian seem to be pretty disinterested in regards to capturing her until the last two episodes or so. Way to make your main factions look completely incompetent and downplay your conflict. I don't believe for a second that there is a war going on here. Random rant out.)
Personality-wise Kagari is nothing like her visual novel counter part. Sure, I too am aware that she acted that way during Harvest festa!, but that one is a fanservice game for a reason. People who buy Harvest festa! want little more than to see the characters they love act all moe and maybe have a shower scene here and there. But that doesn't really fly for the main story. Not only is she a nothing character in this, but the set-up of her individual story being the most eye-rolling cliched thing ever (amnesia) certainly doesn't help. Like or hate her visual novel version, but it made sense in context, provided some good scenes and served the story just fine. This moe blob, on the other hand, has absolutely no depth to her character, being seemingly relegated to mostly doing lame and repetitive comic relief, which, again, is not a good fit for what is supposed to be the climax of your story. Where is the drama here? It's obvious that I'm supposed to care about the relationship between Kotarou and Kagari (you may as well change her name to that of any other character), but I see little reason to, they just didn't set aside enough time for the two of them apart from comedy hijinks. And I think that this is a good point to finish this section on: The show never managed to make me care about anything thanks to there being an imbalance between set-up and pay-off. Rewrite talks a great deal about the importance of friendship and bonds, but if these bonds are developed only partially, in a rushed fashion or even not at all, then they hold no worth whatsoever. This is made painfully obvious during the final two episodes, the supposed climax of the story. There is no real drama because the show got so absorbed in trying to include as many things as possible, most of which end up going nowhere anyway, that they completely forgot to properly set up said drama. And this is just sad, because it makes watching Rewrite feel like an empty experience and a waste of time.
To be fair: It isn't all bad. You'd have to be pretty talented to turn material this strong into something with no worth whatsoever and I'm afraid that the director is just too mediocre to make that happen. One of the points I really liked about the visual novel was its comedic writing, especially in comparison to other Key works, and while they generally did a poor job translating the humor, some of the jokes still got a chuckle out of me here and there. This is helped by the comedic timing being pretty decent most of the time. Furthermore, as much as I criticize the look of this show, the backgrounds are actually rather pretty to look at on their own (well, some of them are). Truth be told: The standard for this series isn't bottom of the barrel awfulness, it's mediocrity. So much so that I didn't even bother adding an adjective to the word “mediocrity”. And that's often a thousand times worse. Awfulness is interesting, mediocrity is not and while I thought that the first episode of this show was just so bad that it made me genuinely curious about where it's gonna go from here and the climax was without a doubt a complete mess, most of the rest of the series was just sort of boring, little more. I decided to write this review pretty early on and if I didn't, I definitely would not have even kept up with it, even as a fan of the source material. Which leads me to think that the anime may have failed at fulfilling its most basic task: Getting people interested in the franchise. It certainly seems so, I see no Rewrite hype movement or people swarming out to find out more about the material, do you? The MAL community certainly doesn't seem to be hyped about it, seeing how it is, at the time of this writing, only the 16th (!) most popular show of the season, which seems weird when you compare it to other Key titles like last years Charlotte or any of their prior big name adaptations. Say about Studio Deen's adaptations like Umineko or Fate/stay night (2006) what you want, but they at least got people talking. So maybe Rewrite would have actually benefited from being intriguingly terrible. Yet, as much as I tried to make it seem so throughout this review, Rewrite really isn't that bad. Yes, it's like a “Best Of” album of adaptation failures, but this is about judging the anime series on its own. Decently written dialogue, an OST that is strong on its own and some pretty shots here and there are definitely enough to keep it somewhere around the lower end of “meh”. Which, again, may not be something to be happy about in this case. What you should be happy about however is the fact that due to the creation of a new route for the anime adaptation, watching said terrible adaptation will not completely spoil the experience of reading the visual novel for you if you decide to do so at some point down the road. Sure, you know some bits here and there, but they hardly ever went into the real meat of each route, so there is still enough stuff left uncovered to make it worth a read. So, that's a positive, I guess.
And at the end of the day you've got to give 8-bit credit for one thing: If they intended to recreate the feeling of skipping through the visual novel, then great fucking job, because they absolutely nailed that.
Okay, time to be honest: I don't actually hate Rewrite nearly as much as I pretended to over the course of this review. Truth is that I don't have all that many negative feelings towards it whatsoever. And that isn't because I secretly think that it's good or maybe entertaining in the same way that watching an elephant try to break a wall with its head is entertaining, no, it sucks from pretty much every angle imaginable, but more that I had absolutely no expectations going in. I knew from the moment I finished the visual novel that doing a good or even faithful adaptation for Rewrite would amount to being a Herculean task, which made it highly unlikely that it would ever be done. After all, if you really wanted to convey all the visual novel had to offer you'd need somewhere between 50 or even 75 episodes if you really wanted to be thorough. And there's no way that would ever happen. Still, I kept on hoping. After all there is always KyoAni, who clearly have some absolutely insane people in charge, so you never know. But that tiny bit of hope disappeared when it was announced that 8-bit would be the studio doing the adaptation. I'm really not mad, just a little disappointed. At the end of the day all that I'm left with is the sentence „at least we got something“, which, to be fair, I really didn't think we would any time soon. It's the same with this season's painful iteration of Berserk. But isn't that a shitty attitude to have towards something you love? To actively lower your expectation to the absolute minimum because anime is mostly used as a tool to promote the far more profitable source material? I get not expecting too much out of the show, because there will never be that perfect adaptation which we all crave, that is a fact, but this is going too much into the opposite direction and makes me more than a little sad just thinking about it. I also get why Rewrite turned out the way it did. In the end, many people profited from it. 8-bit probably made decent money, Key got some cheap advertisement and the average Japanese teenager found another way to put off doing his homework for another 30 minutes during the 13 weeks the show was airing. So, why even be mad about it? True, there is no reason to be mad. But at least let me be disappointed.
At this point I should probably mention that a season two for Rewrite has officially been confirmed, adapting what you could call the second half of the visual novel, the “answer arc” so to say. That being so, I guess that this season could potentially gain in value if its sequel manages to make up for all its failures. But can you honestly have faith in that? I for one can not. Not as long as the same people are in charge of the project. So Rewrite may return in the coming Winter season, but I don't think that I will.
Summing up: Should you watch Rewrite? No. The series has very few redeeming features. The best it has to offer is boring mediocrity. All you'll end up doing is to spoil yourself on important aspects of the story in case you ever feel like reading the far superior source material. Rewrite is, without a doubt, the worst out of the Key adaptations, which is saying something when you think about how poorly put together Little Busters! was and that Toei Animation actually used to be the gaming company's go-to studio. New viewers will be thoroughly confused by the messy job the production staff did trying to put all the different elements of the visual novel together and fans will most likely be enraged by the lack of care given to the project. Just save yourself the time.
If I could only “Rewrite” my memory and forget all about this mess. Ha. Ha. Ha. *sigh*
Since Rewrite is a visual novel by Key, a lot of people will compare it to the likes of Clannad, Angel Beats, Air Cannons, etc. But, I propose some new comparisons.
1. Shitcom, because both are pretty shit comedies.
2. The sensation of hitting your head against a brick wall for six hours.
If you enjoy either of these, then Rewrite might be the perfect show for you. Otherwise, I consider it one of the worst anime of 2016: a fucky jambalaya of overdesigned characters, dumb memes, and a plot that was probably written by someone putting a bunch of sticky notes on a dartboard and writing in
whatever they threw at.
Before I go on, let me just say that I don’t give a flying fuck about how good the visual novel is or isn’t. I don’t care what purpose this anime serves to it, whether to be some sort of adaptation, if you can even call it that, or just a teaser meant to advertise it, whatever. I’m just reviewing the anime the same way I review any other anime: like a little dickbag who isn’t good at anything els--I mean, independent of any other source material. I did not at all write a Shokugeki review comparing it to the manga to contradict myself and then delete it out of embarrassment.
So if you’re not very familiar with Key’s works, here’s how they generally go: The MC is an everyday normal guy with just enough wit to keep him from being 100% beta, but not enough substance to put him above the level of a general self-insert. He goes to a weird school filled with even weirder people (mostly overly-designed cutesy girls) with some maddeningly strange characteristics. Various shenanigans occur for a few episodes until the plot finally comes in, or maybe there’s one to begin with but doesn’t have much of a focus yet.
If you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of these Key guys who think it’s funny to put their logo on every coffee can in every episode of every show. The way they tell their stories is very jarring because of their spontaneous, bombastic sense of humor. Half the time, I can’t tell if they’re trying to make a teenage melodrama, or if they’re trying to make a dinnertime cartoon sitcom for dummies. It's an uncomfortable mixture of both, like ketchup and mac and cheese. Since they like to dick around with their storytelling, things can get rushed and/or confusing in the end.
These things are increased thousandfold in Rewrite.
There is no plot in Rewrite. None. It pretends to have one in the second half, but the “twist” being that something is actually happening comes out so half-heartedly that the writers seem disappointed in themselves that they can’t write in as many dank maymays into their show. Instead… eh. There are monsters, eh. People are fighting, eh. The world is gonna die, eh. FEECOF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whoops, there goes Rewrite being funny again xDDDD!
Don’t believe me? Here’s part of MAL’s synopsis, albeit fanmade by MAL Rewrite (that joke is funnier than anything else in this show):
"Equipped with the superhuman ability to permanently rewrite any part of his body to multiply his strength or speed, Kotarou is naturally drawn to the supernatural."
You know when this Rewrite ability is shown for the first time? Episode fucking four. Not one. Four. And, as usual, the story just reveals it as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. No prior hints for him having this power, no explanation as to how or why he has it, nothing. And that synopsis isn’t even accurate, because it's not just about increasing strength. At one point, he “rewrites” his body to resist poison. What else can he do? Resist age? Resist death? Become invisible? Triple the size of his dick? You know, that would be a good power to have in a massive waifu war such as Rewrite. I think there was a hugely missed opportunity here.
Other people have powers too. Just because. And there are shitty CG monsters sometimes. Just because. Eh. It’s all part of the hilariously goofy fun that is the Whatever Club at Whatever High School!
The real plot towards the end turns out to be some environmental awareness campaign. People are assholes and don’t take care of the planet, so other people need to out-asshole them and activate a thing that will kill everyone so that the planet can live. I don’t know how this is supposed to tie into the main character having the ability to theoretically give himself the neck of Alolan Exeggutor. Maybe there’s a reason somewhere that I missed, but it’s a little hard to follow along when the show tries to adapt every possible waifu route in the game while playing catch-up with the plot because that took forever to come in and now it needs to do 3,000 things at once if it wants to wrap up in time. Except the plot took so long to come in that I lost interest before it even happened. Maybe this show should’ve had a rewrite, eh? Ehhhhhhhhhhhhh???
And at the end of the day, what did this amount to? A dead end. Literally. The ending is not satisfying, as it’s apparently just one route of many, leading me to wonder what the point of all of this even was. Was it to introduce the characters? Anything could’ve done that within a couple episodes; to say an entire thirteen-episode season can be dedicated to that would be an outright lie. Is it to introduce the setting? Kazamatsuri has basically no focus at all. I know that it’s a big place and kinda environmental-friendly. My fucking bedroom could've been a more interesting setting, because at least I have Big Order posters. Is it to explain the conflict of the show? Well, it only took them until at least six episodes for them to reveal that there was any conflict in the first place, so… no. It’s all a bunch of mush, and I’m not quoting whatever that pink sheep dog thing was. It tries to please both visual novel readers and newcomers by adapting the visual novel with an anime-original route that tells a complete story while also introducing a story. I don't even know what the fuck that means, but it failed at all of it.
Key should just make their own Nichijou. A show where nothing happens, everything is stupid, and it’s funny as hell. Make something like that to satisfy their own sense of humor, so that maybe they can tell a compelling story and find a way for someone to get attached to its characters beyond humorous interactions. Ha ha, Kagari likes coffee and calls it "feecof"!! What a deep character!!!
As everyone will write in every review for every comedy anime in the world: comedy is subjective. Not everyone is going to love it or get it, so making the characters more like a bunch of running jokes in the midst of a deep melodrama might not be the best idea. When they fed me a character's sob story, my reaction wasn't "Oh no, how sad! I'm emotionally invested now!", it was "Wait, I was supposed to take this seriously?" The usual nonsense that follows a sad moment leads me to believe that I had the right idea.
I can admit that the show was a little funny at times. It was. There was about… one gag per episode that got a laugh out of me. For about four episodes. Because within those first few episodes, I was still somewhat invested in the show. I thought everything would make sense in the end, that something was gonna happen at any moment that would tie everything together and make me believe the show was actually a work of genius. But then it never happened, and even still I was trapped, because I was at a point where I was in too far to pull out and cut my losses. I needed to see it to the end, so I could at least splash more salt than Arataka Reigen. Perhaps that was the point, just to lure everyone in and keep them thinking that, someday, it’ll all come together and make sense, only for them to post a note at the end saying “lol fuk u idiot”. If so, congrats Rewrite, Key, Studio 8bit, you totally PRANK’D me bro!! XDDDDDdddeDdDdrefzdfxff
Ah, it’s like someone probably once said, a good piece of entertainment is one that leaves the viewer thinking. Rewrite leaves me thinking that I should’ve died in that car wreck I had last year.
I don’t know who the fuck this 8bit studio is, and given the art of this show and that their most popular work is Infinite Stratos, it seems I haven’t missed out on anything. Rewrite looks terrible. Not even because of the mediocre studio, but even designs imported from the visual novel. Who in the name of Lady Gaga designed the school uniforms in this show? What kind of cruel monster would subjugate these poor girls to this kind of torture? They all have to wear these extremely overdesigned, uncomfortable-looking dresses with skirts and sleeves that you could drive a truck into despite the torso clinging to their tits like a wet washcloth. Isn’t that nice? No, they don’t look cute in the slightest, they look like they take a half-hour to actually put on. And I’m sorry to disappoint everyone, but I’m not really into fucking the wrappers of strawberry-and-creme hard candies. But, whatever fetish you relish.
The animation is mediocre, which for the most part isn’t a problem, but for some reason the anime becomes an action series with a bunch of fights, and then it’s a problem. Even worse is that there are a bunch of weird supernatural beasts in the second half of the show, and while they have an interestingly jaded color scheme, they’re done in really poor CG. At other times, it’s inconsistent, such as the way they animate Kagari. Do her ribbons move around with a mind of their own, or don’t they? I dunno, I guess whatever key animator 8bit hired for that episode gets to decide that. No particular positives about the art can make up for the big negatives; the only things possibly worth mentioning are that the OP’s and ED’s look surprisingly good, and that maybe the character designs are okay, but as you can expect from a visual novel full of girls, some of them are gonna look strange, like Shizuru and Kotori.
I guess I should also mention some of the voice acting, because Hana Kanasamanawamallama voiced the main loli girl. Apparently that means it’s good. Not really, because her role didn’t have anything impressive about it, but at least her voice is nice to hear. Otherwise, the soundtrack was decent; it never felt spectacular and most of the time it was pretty average, but there were some good, emotional or light-hearted tracks here and there, especially when (and this is weird to say) Kotaro was about to grope Akane, they played the VN's OP. Nice. The OP’s and ED’s were all pretty decent as well, though not impressive either.
Do I need to say anything else? Don't watch this anime, no matter what sort of relationship you have with the source material. This anime sucks. The story sucks. The idea of it sucks. The way it’s told sucks. The people who are in it suck. Hell, the people that made it probably suck too. Maybe I’ll join Gaia. Not because I care about the planet, but because, sometimes, I just feel that a lot of people dying would fix things. Kefka did nothing wrong. Get well soon, Maeda-san.
Story - 1/10
Art - 3/10
Sound - 6/10
Character - 2/10
Enjoyment - 1/10
Memes - Aboutaslifelessasharambe/10
Overall - 1.25/10 (Range - 1-2)
Favorite episodes - 0
Favorite characters - Akane’s Boobs
Recommendation level - no
Rewrite, one of Key’s most prominent visual novels getting an anime adaptations? This almost feels surreal, right? I’ll get straight to the point. While the idea of Rewrite finally getting an anime has been a dream for Key fans for many years, it may also be somewhat a tarnished reality as we realize what we’re really getting. After finishing the show, it’s more than just tarnished. Much more.
On paper, Rewrite follows a lot of standard Key formulas you’ll recognize easily if you’re already familiar with their work. The slow paced story from the beginning, generic character personalities, and supernatural phenomenon are just a few to
name. However, one thing this adaptation didn’t fully embrace is its ability to move the audience. What that literally means is its inability to make the viewers feel tearful unlike some other series. (ex. Clannad After Story) Some may question that it would be unfair to compare Rewrite to other Key’s works but in reality, the adaptation really has more humor than it should.
From the first few episodes, we meet Kotarou Tennouji, the male protagonist. He gets involved with his school’s Occult Club where we meet the other female characters. They range with different personalities and all more or less oddball characters at first. The real catch though is that they are also involved in some kind of darker plot that unfolds as the series progresses. But on paper, the first few episodes doesn’t reveal much of itself as it tries to get viewers to familiarize with the franchise. In essence, the main female characters will likely be a hit or miss to get attached to. Most of them are stereotypes like the school council representative type or the redheaded tsundere. Meanwhile, the series does also introduce a mysterious character from Tennouji’s dream, a young girl with ribbons that seemingly kills him. Perhaps this is where viewers will get intrigued by the show.
From a standard viewpoint, the storytelling of the series bounces between acceptable and awful. There are some episodes that nails the coffin when it comes to creativity while others makes you feel like it’s a forced chore to finish. As an anime original viewer, I confess that the show itself is underwhelming particular with characters such as Lucia. The way their own story is set up not only feels rushed but lacks concrete feelings. It’s hard to feel what they are going through with the pacing especially from the buildup and ultimately doesn’t really satisfy what its intentions were. On the other hand, some other background storytelling such as with Shizuru (the eye patch girl) feels it’s done right because of the more tragic mood. Still, with the show being just 1-cour, you really shouldn’t expect a full adaptation of each girl’s story. In fact, this particular anime actually develops into a more mysterious plot that unfolds with connecting events. Unfortunately, the insert episodes of the girls’ routes doesn’t do much justice and weighs down the show overall.
As Rewrite retains a lot of comedy, there’s also the mysteries that carries over the course of the show. I already mentioned about the strange ribbon girl from Tennouji’s dreams. However, we also get the main setting that itself is a mystery. The series takes place Kazamatsuri and has quite a lot of hidden secrets, some that ventures into the supernatural realm. Being the curious guy that he is, Tennouji is drawn to these mysteries as he has a supernatural ability of his own. A major turning point revolves about the utopia-like environment and where all sorts of strange occurrences takes place. When one of the students at Tennouji’s school goes missing, that’s where we realize Rewrite can be darker than it seems. We are also introduced to factions that have conflicts with each other and some of the girls from the Occult Club are involved. Tennouji himself also begins to display inhuman talent with his own Rewrite ability. And finally, we also learn a lot more about the mysterious ribbon girl that appears in Tennouji’s dream. It’ll take patience for viewers to eventually get to the main meat of the plot and if you’re the type that sees Key as an insufferable product, then this will be a hard show to follow.
Perhaps storytelling isn’t just what Rewrite emphasizes on though. There’s also relationships, connections that tries to be meaningful. Tennouji develops several important relationships with others including Lucia, Kotori, Kagari (the ribbon girl), among others. However, the show itself seems to focus on that mostly on the surface level. Because of time restraints, they aren’t concretely developed as you’ll anticipate. Oh and it’s easy to forget about characters like Haruhiko when his role in the show seems to be mainly comic relief. And romance? That part is mostly teased at and hard to really appreciate if it’s even there. At best, character relationships are subtly memorable but because of the mediocre buildup, they aren’t very memorable.
Adapted by studio 8-bit, the show itself is underwhelming when it comes to visual quality. The characters look blend while it does retain Key style features such as the moe-eyes, feminine parts, and surreal-like atmosphere. However, the action is more of a disappointment. Well to be honest, the action was never a main attraction in the show anyway and the brief segments where we see that isn’t so appealing either. There’s not much fan service in the show except with the blushing and that one episode where Lucia puts on a maid outfit. Oh yes, a maid outfit.
On the other hand, soundtrack for Rewrite is impressive. Well, not in the impressive that it’s a masterpiece but definitely hits the key points. The theme songs offers choreography that fits the show quite right while the OST is mysterious as it should be. Even during comedic moments, the music seems to fall in place naturally. Furthermore, character voice expressions are well delivered if you compare to their characters from the VN.
So in the end, what should you really take for granted from Rewrite? It’s pretty much a popcorn entertainment that’s perhaps only easy to watch if you come with an open mind. For those with high expectations, it’s probably a good idea to drop the show as it seems to appeal to a broader audience, beyond the visual novel fans. I think Rewrite tried to take a risk and although it partially succeeds, there’s more failure. In the end, it’s a nice show to pass time with for fun but not something to talk about for years to come. Oh and season 2 has been announced for the love of God, let’s pray for a better sequel.
Not long ago, when I first wanted to write reviews for this site, I asked a few people for tips and tricks to make my writing more engaging and interesting. I don't know if I took all the advices into consideration as they were, since english is not my native language, but I remember one in particular: Zephsilver, a great reviewer here on MAL, fervently told me that I need to pay special attention to the introductory paragraphs. They're the first thing people see so it's primordial to make them interesting so that they keep reading.
So here I am, searching for something to write about.
Something that represents Rewrite... and it's kinda hard. It's also weird, because when I first thought about writing about this show, I had a ton of ideas. Moreover, every week, when I saw a new episode, more ideas appeared and appeared. What's happening, then? Well... the same fact there are so many things to point out is the problem. It's hard to pick just one to use it in the introduction. But, after some minutes overthingking it, I just realized that all those things I wanted to talk about were correlated. I could have made a huge paragraph about them in general, but before I noticed, I had already written all this balderdash you're reading, which is also a good introduction (right?)! And since Rewrite doesn't deserve any more time that I'm already giving it, I'll briefly keep that generalization here, just so you know: Rewrite is the result of making a checklist of visual novel tropes and using every fucking one of them to make a story. Do you want moe chicks? Do you want unexplained super powers and not-so-evil organizations? Do you want some kind of edgy pseudo-nihilistic philosophy? And, more importantly, DO YOU WAN'T TOO SEE THE SAD PASTS OF YOUR WAIFUS? Well, you've come to the right place!
/*This review isn't by any means a recommendation. Huge spoilers ahead.
Also, I'm not talking about the visual novel. I don't care if it's better.*/
The animation studio in charge this time is 8bit. You know, that studio in which the only things they do are about moe chicks and otaku pandering? I'm looking at their repertoire right now and there isn't a single title that it isn't that, I know that and I don't think I have even watched any of these shows! Let's see: Absolute Duo, Grisaia no *insert some random word here*, Infinite Stratos... Oh, here's Walkure Romanze! A show I started to watch thinking I would at least see some interesting medieval joustings, but at the end everything was about girls with enormous boobs battling so that their senpai notices them. A great deal amirite?
Let's see at the director, then. Motoki Kanata, huh? I don't blame you if you don't know who he is... I didn't knew either until now. So, he directed Kiniro Mosaic, a show about teen moeblobs, blonde fetishist and yuri undertones...! I see where this is going.
As for the source material, Rewrite is an adaptation of a visual novel with the same name, created by the famous studio Key. And why are they famous? That's indeed simple: There's nothing a weeb likes more than his waifus making him cry. Everything Key has made is about cute girls with sad pasts, tragic events and happy endings. That's pretty much it, or at least what I have saw. And please, don't make me talk about Clannad After Story's ending.
Writing and execution:
Rewrite starts with a "deep" monologue about silly contemporary nihilism. About how this society has made the purpose of life meaningless and a waste of time. That is, the same thing teenagers moan about over and over. So, this is mature, right? Anyways; I could use a buzzword right now and save me some time, but bear with me. I can already belabor clarifying all the issues this show has. Let's get started then.
-10 seconds since the episode started "That pocket I thought it was full with happiness, was actually empty."
-2 minutes since the episode started: "It is as if I had no weight. I could even fly."
-4 minutes since the episode started: *Gets stabbed*.
-6 minutes since the episode started: "Moshu moshu!".
-8 minutes since the episode started: "I bought a bottle of juice from the vending machine..."
From the very beginning of this scene until the last moment of the show, one of the typical problems this kind of series have comes to fruition: awful tone shifts. At one moment, we see the show trying to talk about its themes or at least to be serious because something important happened... but just after that a loli appears to tell to the protagonist "Hey, this coffee is great!" At another moment our protagonist and his harem are happily walking around a forest... and then giant monsters come out of nowhere and attack them. And I could carry on with this examples all day, but you wouldn't like that, would you? Happily (or not?), every one of these problems are the effect of —the writers being idiots— a single issue: The setting doesn't fit at all with anything else. You can't pretend that a bunch of highschool students who act friendly and comical the majority of time will fit correctly from one moment to another into a world of conspiracies and secret organizations. Of course you will have problems of tone if you try to mix such different ideas just for the sake of it and without the proper time to build up anything but flashbacks and shit. The result can only be something too juvenile for its own good. I still find funny to see the eyepatch loli wearing a sexy black suit in an organization formed almost completely by manly men.
Tone itself is just one concept of narrative. And narrative is probably the biggest deal when writing something. It's what mainly differences the Bible's book of Exodus from The Ten Commandments movie. And if I have learned something about it, is that if you fail in one single aspect, your whole narrative will most likely be bad. You know how this goes. Bad things lead to more bad things, and Rewrite's discordance in the tone now caused another narrative aspect to fail: pacing.
Have you by casualty watched Charlotte, dear reader? If so, you probably remember how the show developed. Half of the episodes weren't actually about the main story, but standalone ones which only purpose was to make the viewer empathize/sympathize with the characters (and introduce some). This isn't a bad thing per se... if the story has the time to develop those stories along with the main one, which wasn't the case with Charlotte, isn't the case with Rewritte, and will never be the case with any 10-13 episodes long series that tries to do the same. I should also say Rewrite did it even worse than Charlotte because this second at least used the dead time first and then started with the main story whilst Rewrite is just a mess that mixes story with useless events all the time. If you want space to display your characters, you have plenty if they are important enough to appear in the main story. It's just stupid how this kind of series waste so much time doing nothing, and then have a hasty incoherent ending allegedly because of "time issues". That, my friends, is bad pacing at its finest. You can find it boring, you can find it entertaining; it doesn't matter.
Speaking about time wasted, don't think I forgot what I've already said since the first paragraph of this review. It's time for those special moments... Ladies and gentlemen, let's talk about SAD PASTS.
Oh, flashbkacks. That special device used and overused in every kind of narrative media. That special device that help us understand whether a situation of the plot, a character's motivations or simply work as backdrop or background. And Rewrite, as many others, has a misconception about them: flashbacks don't ever give real character development. What they do give is depth, which is a good thing too, but it's sad to see characters that are more defined for their pasts than for what happens in the plot itself. The thing is, I wouldn't be complaining as much as I do if at least the execution of these things were at least decent, but it wasn't. Morevoer, all the main flashbacks are about how a character suffered in their past, so that our hero resolves their traumas with his blarney and optimism (and super power). Also, just two of those last longer than a few minutes; there is one that lasts like 20 seconds, just before the character dies! I obviously will feel sad because of a 20 seconds flashback that tells me absolutely nothing... That's totally how it works.
/*If you don't like a show in which all characters are victims of this cruel reality, then you will hate every minute of Rewrite. I know I did.*/
You can tell by now how I feel about the characters, don't you?
The main protagonist is Kotarou Tennouji. You will easily remember his name; the tsundere of the harem yells it like a b*tch every time she punches him. If you have played or watched an adaptation of a visual novel, you know that their protagonists are almost always dull, boring and cliche characters made for weaboos to self-insert into them. Welp, let me emphazise the obvious: Kotarou is just that. He's like Clannad's Sunohara's lost brother. He's smiling almost all the time, making idiotic jokes or reacting to his bad luck. And when he's not smiling, he's either running away, losing a fight or making speeches about how his harem deserves the best. Character development, you say? Please, don't make me laugh, I'm writing a review right now. He has the special power of... rewriting. That is, he can do whatever he wants with his body. His power represent everything that's wrong with magic in fiction, it's incoherent and works just because it's magic. Even the goddamn name of the power is literally a synonym of bad writing.
I would love (?) to dedicate a paragraph to every main character... I actually tried, but given how simpleton and ummemorable they are, it was a lost cause from the very beginning. Instead, a list will do:
-Kotori Kanbe, aka "the childhood friend". She lost her parents because SAD PAST, and then became a druid because she wanted them back... although they never came back, just some familiars that look like them. Pretty smart girl, pretty smart decisions. All of this in a flashback that lasts like 2 minutes at most. In the present, she's just a easy-going girl... and that's about her characterization.
-Lucia Konohana, aka "the class representative tsundere". She was experimented on when she was a child because SAD PAST. Everything she touches dies because of that... You know, like Timmy's mom in The Fairly Oddparents? She uses gloves because of this, and she's also traumatized. But then Kotarou appeared in her life. At an specific moment she touches him, but he conveniently can rewrite his body so... ta da! Nothing happened and the trauma is gone. She's a tsundere and a class representative... if you have been watching anime long enough, her characterization is self-explanatory. Pretty much a combination of tidiness and violence.
-Shizuru Nakatsu, aka "the eyepatch loli". Her house exploded when she was a child. She discovered she had the power of healing while trying to help her parents and her eye after the explosion. Then Guardian conveniently found her and offered money if she join. She did, but one day she found her parents arguing. She yelled for them to stop fighting, but it happens her power also includes memory destruction for some illogical reason, so they lose their memories about her (wait for it...) because SAD PAST. Then, the years passed, she knew Kotarou, who beared her memory destruction power thanks to his rewrite power (again), then said some inspirational babble to her, and she ended up happy; yay! She's characterized for having heterocromia, and being a loli, and... sorry, I would talk about her personality if she had one in the first place.
-Chihaya Ootori, aka "the idiot who occupy space". The only thing I remember about her I that she wears underwear... Oh, and she also has super strength!
-Akane Senri, aka "the misterious edgy girl". She had a SAD PAST, but we don't know any precise details about it. But, just like expected, she hates humanity, blah blah blah, they all deserve to die, blah blah blah, crawling in my skin and more sutff like that.
-Kagari, aka "coffee loli". So, she has amnesia. And she likes coffee. And she is important for the plot. That's it. Nothing else matters!
And then there's a lot of secondary characters you will never care for. A copycat of Sasuke that complains all day, a student from the journalism club who is only a plot device, a blonde guy that likes to talk edgy shit like "HUMANITY IS SHIT, HURR DURR", an old lady that likes to say the same stuff the blonde guy says but politely, a bishounen clone of Black Butler's Sebastian, two fairies (or something like that) we barely see but they sacrifice so we need to feel sorry for them, and all the people from Guardian, who have less of a personality than fucking Clutch Cargo.
And I havent even talked about the plot yet, huh? Well, I'll keep it brief. Here goes nothing.
Roughly, Rewrite's main conflict is about the battle between two organizations, Guardian and Gaia, in search of "the Key", a being that can end civilization as we know it. Guardian wants to kill them and protect humanity, whilst Gaia wants the opposite of that. And I emphasize "main conflict" right away, because this isn't completely told to the viewer until half of the show was already wasted. You could say there was foreshadowing, which is true, but it meant nothing thanks to the messy narrative and lack of context. The first episode for its own, that also lasts 40 minutes, is a proof of this. The first thing we see (apart from the starting monologue) is a dream that makes no sense given the current circunstances, then the protagonist wakes up and it becomes a slice of life, and then monsters and fairies appear (and dissapear) out of fucking nowhere. Now apply this formula to all the series, and you have Rewrite!
Seriously though, although Rewrite's story is fairly simple, it feels way harder because of this kind of thing. Everything is all over the place, comedy is terribly placed, and slice of life moments are too invasive. This is again the narrative's fault, and I've talked already too much about that, but it ended up affecting everything.
By the way, I called Rewrite's story simple, but amazingly it achieves to be very implausible or incoherent at the same time. All the magic is never explained as an organized system, it just... works; the Key exists and that's all we need to know, all of Kotarou's harem happens to be conveniently special just like him and there's no logical reason for their meeting (also, two of them are from an organization and the other two from their enemies), teenagers are involved in this kind of thing somehow, so on and so forth. The more information the writers added, the more dumb it became. More complexity and congruence were needed if they wanted to add this much... but it didn't happen.
Thematically-wise, Rewrite just tries to convey the same optimistic answer that all this kind of shows do. Humanity is terrible, they destroy the environment and cause a lot of wars and pain; but at the end of the day they are good. Why? Because of coffee... I mean... the power of friendship! Also, it should be noted that Rewrite simply implies that humanity is bad because we, the viewers, as humans, know all the atrocities our species has made. This is probably different in the visual novel, but in the anime humanity does nothing wrong, but they're automatically bad because history. In other words, lazy writing. At the end of the day, I don't think Rewrite changes the point of view of anybody nor answers all the questions, so this is just wasted time and potential (if it ever had it).
Now, let's take some time to talk about the last episode. That one in which all the stuff the show has made comes together. Since the only thing Rewrite has made is shit, what can we expect? Well...
Do you remember I said the answer of the main theme's issue is optimistic? Well, although that's true, it happens that at the end all humanity is wiped out! Isn't that great? Obviously the theme fits with this, there's no doubt!... But let's stop sarcasm for a bit, I'm getting tired of this. Excluding the fact that the final battle is against a guy we don't know literally nothing, and that this one ends with a loli on a bike smashing him, all that happens just reinforces my point: what a waste of time this was! Everybody dies, but for some reason the plot saves Kotarou's life until the last time. Kagari learns that there are good people, but it doesn't matter, they no longer exist! Kotarou helped the girls surpass their traumas, but at the end the only thing they can remember is that... What kind of crap is this! I mean, this is not the happy ending I was expecting, but it isn't by any means any better than that... ugh. You know what? Screw the world. If humans can do such a terrible anime, we clearly don't deserve to exist. And to think there will be a second season...
Art and animation:
Not even here I can stop complaining.
At a technical level, Rewrites doesn't achieve anything but to feel incredibly anachronistic. Since designs are extremely simple and with too little detail, at first the show tries to have fluid animation, but given how undynamic everything is, it hardly makes a difference. Also, the drawing loses a lot of steadiness because of this. I'm not the kind of person that captures weird inbetweenings and says animation is bad just because of them, but the innatention to detail and polishing is clear all along. And the CGI... ugh. I will be recurring to an old joke, I'm sorry, but it's incredible how at this point the better CGI Japan can achieve for their series looks like PlayStation 2 graphics. Absence of textures, mechanic movements, bad framerates, and complete discordance with the style. All it is used for is to make ugly giant monsters and crowds, but that's enough for it ruin a lot of the visual experience.
At an artistic level, Rewrite is once again nothing special. Animation isn't used in any artistic way, it just works as an engine for the show. Character designs are the same thing Key has always done: moe chicks with enormous eyes and the cutests faces you can imagine, along with generic male designs with zero personality. Colors are just as everything else: flat and plain boring. The color palette is too opaque for a show like this, and the excess of white is nerve-racking.
All BGM consists in the typical visual novel melodies. Repetitive motifs, cheap digital sounds and orchestrated music nobody remembers five minutes after hearing it. The music here just tries to fit with the situation, forgets about any kind of memorablity and creates a loop of boring shit. I can say the same about the openings and endings. Hell, this is based on a Key work, BUT LIA DOESN'T SING ANY SONG? Bullshit! I don't even like her that much but at least I remembered her music. All in all, I obtained what I though I would. Bad things lead to more bad things, you remember?
About the voice acting, the only thing I can say is I can't do but remember Angel Beats' Kanade every time I hear Kagari. She's little, has white hair, and is voiced by Kana Hanazawa. It all makes sense! This and all the performances are OK, they don't stand out between all the anime that comes out. The lolis sound like typical lolis, the tsundere sounds like a typical tsundere, the protagonist sounds like an idiot, and so on. I guess this counts as a redeemable factor, although it is completely mediocre? Welp, something needs to stand out between all this filth.
That was terrible. I decided to watch this show just because Key works weren't a chore for me before, but this is pathetic. You have the most forgettable characters, the most forgettable setting, the most forgettable theme, the most forgettable everything. Even with that dumbfest the last episode (and everything as a whole) was, I don't see myself remembering this for any other reason than saying "I wrote a review of that show." Hell, even visually and audibly there's nothing worth reminding! Do yourself a favor, and don't ever watch this. I at least hope the visual novel is better.
2/10 is the most despicable score I give to something. 1/10s are something I at least take a time to reminisce. After this "experience", I don't think I will never see another anime that has the group Key involved in it. The only thing I would be making if I did that is wasting my time. Now, if you can excuse me, I need some zen.
Before starting the review I would like to say that I have read most part of the Visual Novel, and I love it, but I will not compare them and I will not argue about the number of episodes, because the review section is supposed to tell about the anime only, and why you should watch or not watch it according to my opinion.
Rewrite is set in the fictional city Kazamatsuri where treeplanting and afforestation have caused the city to become overgrown with trees and flowers in much the same way that other cities are filled by buildings. Tennouji Kotarou lives here. He's a high
school student who has the ability to rewrite his own body. He can become stronger and faster at any time he chooses. He investigates supernatural mysteries with five girls from his school.
That's the story very simplified, it doesn't really catch many attention by simply reading the synopsis, despite being much more complex than it seems.
This anime is an action, comedy, romance and school genre, but why is harem not included here? Refering to the ANIME it really should be a harem genre, a guy staying with five girls in a club, getting along better with each one at each episode. As regards to the action genre I really think they tried to have many action scenes since the very beginning of the anime, which I think was not necessary, because if it followed a slower pace I'm pretty sure it would be way better than that, there's too many action and too many things happening, I mean, things happen too fast and sometimes you don't even know anymore what you are watching, I think the word that fits it better is: messy, I also saw many people saying that weren't understanding anything about the anime. About the Comedy in the anime, it's funny, not a anime that you will laugh every minute, not even every episode, just because it is not meant to be this way, so I really think it doesn't lack comedy at all, in other words, in my opinion the comedy was almost used in the right way, there are some scenes where comedy wasn't necessary, actually, it shouldn't be there. About the Romance, until now the romance was not very present, it just seems like a generic harem anime, not romantic, even the characters personalities seems like harem.
The Art of the anime tried to be the most moe as possible, all the girls were supposed to be cute, I don't think it fits the anime at all, it could be a lot better, but I didn't found it bad or ugly. It has some CG's, some of them were well made, but most of them weren't, I don't consider it unpleasant, maybe for the majority it can be, also some scenes I feel like the art is a bit bad, but it also has some scenes I found the art pretty, specifically at the beginning of the first episode only, to be honest, as the episodes went by I had the feeling the art worsened.
About the sound, I think it's almost perfect, it fits with the scenes and they are very pleasant to hear, OP and ED are beautiful, also 2nd OP and ED are great, Koibumi from Yanagi Nagi and Sunbright by Ayaka Kitazawa are wonderful, I just think the musics were used in the wrong way or timing sometimes, that's why I wouldn't give it a 10 score.
About the characters all of them are pretty funny in their own way, all of them have unique characteristics and personalities, although they seem like the same generic harem type of characters in the beggining, they are pretty well made and show their real selfs at some point.
I can say I did enjoy it a lot, and also that I didn't, probably because I read the novel it disappointed me in some points, but it was so enjoyable to see some good scenes being animated, many action scenes, drama, some funny scenes and some romance aspects, although it really feels like just another harem action anime in the beginning. The anime has a fast pace and that's the bad point here, this "original route" was not bad, the way they adapted it to be a 13 episodes isn't bad, but the way the story was presented and how rushed it is, this is what makes it bad, also the original route is pretty much a mix of every route in Rewrite in a lighter version, when what's happening is "too heavy" it seems that they tried to break the ice making a comedy scene right after it, that's another bad point.
A new season has already been announced, which I think is great, this entirely season seemed to be rushed and it really was. Anime-only viewers probably disliked it, also some people who read the novel too, they left so many things unexplained, but there's still hope for this, next season Moon and Terra routes will be adapted, so it will probably be more understandable for everyone and it's expected to be better adapted too. I'm looking forward for it and I hope everyone feels the same, I mean, this entire season feels like an introduction for the vast and complex story of rewrite, and probably everything will be much more clear after season two, and also depending on how good next season will be, people may change the opinion about this, unfortunately(or not) some people probably just won't watch next season.
Have a great story and long stories like Key usually get them done, are priceless to see in animation, this one, even with its own factors, it's one of them...
The characters are the basis in all stories, and in this one the characters have a great color because each one tell its own story and with that, the story change itself to its true colors.
The sound and art are nostalgic to the novel, even the 3D sprites, and the usual BGM, so you gonna have a great environment with the luxury of a visual novel material in animation.
The story, good this animated route, it explain
characters, environments, plot, etc... but for the popular opinion, this is only at the start, when the real problem enter in the play, the anime take a speed of explanation and change of scenes that can make you say: "What I am seeing?! How? What?", so that was the very weak point with this animation, maybe because the length of the visual novel, this story have so much to say, so transfer this to the animation was unsuccessful at certain grade.
Even that it's a story that can be valuated well if you see it with calm, maybe if you get very confused and intrigued, you can awake the feeling to play the visual novel (like me).
I think this is all, so be patient and play the VN, that a solution, if you reach this point and feel this review useful or only time lost, anyway thanks for read it all, happy anime and happy VNs, remember the other routes will be animated in 2017!!
A lot of anime each season tends to adapt material from a different medium. Manga, light novels, videogames, and sometimes even visual novels. Of all of them, a visual novel is arguably the hardest to adapt. Why, you ask? Since visual visuals novels tend to have branching narratives with multiple possible storylines and alternate endings, it’s difficult to simply “choose” one to adapt or adapt the “right” one and pull out a good anime from.
Decisions made by the player during the game compound on top of one another and can eventually change which storypath the VN goes down and lead to an alternate ending.
It’s not uncommon for VNs to have well over 5 alternate endings, so when it comes to adapting it to anime, how does it actually work out? How do you adapt multiple story lines into one 13 or 26 episode anime?
In the case of Steins;Gate, studio White Fox decided to adapt a “true ending” route, which is the route that tied up the most loose ends and had the most satisfying ending. In the case of Fate/stay night, studio ufotable and studio DEEN both adapted two out of the three distinct routes from the original VN, and next year studio ufotable will adapt the final route in a trilogy of films titled “Heaven’s Feel”. So when it comes to Rewrite, a commercially successful and critically acclaimed visual novel with around 5 distinctive routes, what does studio 8bit decide to do? Well of course, fuse half of them into one monumental mess!
Adapting a VN is hard enough, so why does 8bit try and make it harder for themselves by blending multiple stories into one? The original alternate story lines are alternate for a reason; they are purposefully set as different playable routes for the player because of their distinctive nature. The main character, Kotarou, forms different and unique relationships with each of the supporting characters in their respective routes, so what happens when you blend half of them into one? Disharmony is what happens. Unevenness. Asymmetry. A narrative that isn’t well-rounded nor that has a clear and defined goal is what is produced. I can say with sufficient surety that nobody watching Rewrite as it was airing (without prior knowledge from the visual novel) was able to understand what the main conflict or goal was that was present in the story. Studio 8bit’s unreasonably resolute determination to adapt a careless fusion of routes spawns a monstrosity of an anime that forces its viewers into a submission of perplexity.
Rewrite’s disjointed narrative overflows with a smorgasbord of elements that just don’t click with one another. Slice of life moments, pseudo-harem elements, convoluted supernatural magic powers and giant CGI monsters that will more often that not leave you bewildered and lost rather than intrigued. The stakes are raised to unfathomably unreachable heights, but it is difficult to grasp them tightly enough to take seriously, what with all the convoluted magic stuff and the irrepressible escalation of “what the fuck” moments.
The problems arisen from the show that materialize from its poor adaptation are mostly contained and limited to the first half, in which Kotarou forms and develops his relationships with the all-female supporting cast he’s constantly surrounded by (hence, “pseudo-harem elements”). Originally, Kotarou is supposed to develop separate and unique relationships with all the girls individually, but since 8bit decided that “just didn’t cut it”, Kotarou insteads fleshes out relationships with only half of the cast. This results in back-to-back episodes expanding on Lucia and Shizuru’s backstories (“sob stories” would technically be the more accurate term) that collectively feel episodic in nature and superficial in execution. It’s very obvious, almost as if explicitly implied, that the show just had to find a way to squeeze in these two character’s backstories because those were part of the routes 8bit decided to fuse together. No real respect is offered towards the rest of the cast, they all feel like plot devices used to escalate the narrative towards the back stories of the two. This lack of authenticity makes the show and characters mechanical and robotic, the only characters that you can empathize with are the two the show force their backstories into.
Now of course, the poor adaptation isn’t to blame alone. The original narrative of the Rewrite visual novel has its fair share of innate problems that deserve a respectable portion of the blame as well. The narrative of Rewrite shifts its focus from cute girls, high school club goals, supposedly heart wrenching sob stories and then finally sets it sights on world destruction and human extinction. How can it all connect? Where is the delicacy in execution? Earlier I said the show had an irrepressible escalation of “what the fuck” moments. This isn’t an escalation of say, running up a set of staircases dangerously fast like a frantic 10-year-old who’s been suppressing his bladder all day; it’s more like a clinically insane and frenetic individual rocket jumping from the CN tower to the moon, only because the moon “looked cool”. Shifting from cute girls doing cute things to a commentary on the nature of humanity and world destruction is already a pretty implausible change in tone, but actually not entirely impossible.
What Rewrite lacks is a sense of scale. It starts small, with a comfortable high school setting and fictional city within its reach, which disallows room for expansion of tackling immensely bigger topics and more impactful themes and premises; it started with a small scale, when it should have started with a large one and focused on a small part of it; It outlined and gave away little information, when it should have outlined a lot and gave only a small part of it. If it did those things it would transform its irrepressible escalation of “what the fuck” moments into an irrepressible escalation of “oh, that’s how it connects. Awesome!” moments.
So how could they have adapted it properly? While we’re asking that question, let’s go a little broader. How can an anime adapt its source material properly? Well, the answer is simple: with care. Just care. A little attention to detail here, a little improvisation there, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll be able to translate a possibly great work into an equally great medium.
Overall: 3/10 || Enjoyment 4/10
Amongst many avid visual novel players unlike myself, Rewrite is beloved. Talked and praised about endlessly, news of its anime adaption left its near-obsessive fans with a bloated sense of ecstasy; just think, the joy of having something you truly love with all your heart being reshaped into the medium that you love just as much… It’s an unfathomable state of euphoria, albeit if funnily enough trivial, that just can’t be achieved by other things in life. Nothing else raises people’s moods quite like that. There is a “but” though, and it exists because of a studio’s lack of care; not to say studio 8bit didn’t necessarily care for the work, but more so the evident absence of care in execution that can be seen by anyone who’s experienced both the visual novel and the anime adaptation. This execution that lacks finesse and charm unfortunately forces Rewrite to join its brothers and sisters in the collection of anime grouped as “the source material was much, much better.”
Sometimes I can't help but wonder why certain things have to be animated in the first place.
Already back when it was first announced that Rewrite was going to be adapted, I was getting some very mixed feelings. On one hand I was happy that one of my all-time favorite visual novels was finally getting an anime against my expectations, but on the other hand I also knew that making a good adaptation out of it would be incredibly difficult. This is partially because the visual novel is extraordinarily long and partially because all of its routes directly contradict each other and therefore wouldn't make much
sense in a linear medium like anime. So it's fair to say that I came into this with a fair amount of skepticism, especially considering that 8bit were the ones pulling the reigns: the same studio which had already completely destroyed another top rated visual novel two years earlier in Grisaia no Kajitsu.
And as it turns out, I was right to be skeptical, albeit not quite for the reasons I initially expected. See, the main reason Kajitsu was butchered so hard was because it was unbelievably rushed: they tried to squeeze in a full 80-ish hour visual novel into 13 episodes, and unsurprisingly failed miserably at it, so I was expecting Rewrite to get roughly the same treatment. But as it turns out that wasn't quite the case, because this time around they decided that instead of trying to adapt an enormous amount of content in an impossibly small time frame, they made an anime original story instead. They tried to circumvent the problem by doing an original arc instead of adapting any of the routes of the game itself, which felt like a bit of a cop-out move to me, but given the circumstances it was probably the best thing they could have done. On paper that is.
The main problem is, however, that this series doesn't actually function properly as an original anime. Why? Because if you're an anime-only viewer, the story makes absolutely no sense. For anyone that hasn't played the visual novel, you're most likely going to come out of this anime thinking "wtf just happened" more so than anything else. Basically what they've primarily done is taken certain snippets from Rewrite's various visual novel routes and put them all together into something new, but it just doesn't work out very well at all. It's like blindly taking out all the contents of your refrigerator and throwing them into a blender, and hoping that the resulting slurry turns out to be tasty (protip: it probably won't). There are so many characters that are just thrown into the show with barely any explanation whatsoever, so many plot twists that come across as pulled totally out of nowhere, so many underlying themes and deeper messages that will fly completely over anime-only viewers heads due to lacking proper exposition, and so many supposedly emotional scenes which wholly miss their mark partially because they feel spontaneous and unnatural, and partially because the show does almost nothing to make you empathize with its characters due to how little development they get. Also how they insist on using some of the amazingly beautiful soundtracks from the visual novel for a few such scenes feels almost insulting due to how low the actual emotional impact of the scene itself is compared to where those tracks were originally used in the game... it's like watching a death scene from Another set to the music of Continued Story: you just don't.
Anyway, despite supposedly being an anime original version, it's still part of the same complex universe that the visual novel routes play out in, and if you're an anime-only watcher it'll all be very confusing to watch not only because of how lightning fast the pacing is, but also because of how many scenes are omitted and how much information about the bigger picture of the world itself that you don't have. As I mentioned earlier, Rewrite is built upon having blatantly contradictory character routes which together create the overarching story as a whole. Everything is connected and part of a much greater picture. So when you're doing an anime original route instead, you can't really avoid having to leave a ton of loose ends open. As a result this is barely even watchable as an anime-only viewer, and even if you have played the visual novel it's still rather inexcusable. Yes, I might understand what is going on a lot more so than most viewers as a result, but it doesn't change the fact that the entire anime is a huge clusterfuck that doesn't even come remotely close to the level of the visual novel at any point. It just doesn't feel satisfying to watch at all, and constantly leaves you hanging with this feeling of "what could have been".
There are also certain plot points which are so obviously catered towards people familiar with the source material that they don't really function properly for those who aren't. For example, in the beginning of episode 8 there is a minute-long scene of a tiny rock floating through space at high velocity, eventually crashing through Earth's atmosphere and hitting Kagari right in the head. Evidentially it hit her head pretty badly because from that moment on, her personality makes a full 180, which has a rather drastic impact on the following turns of events. Now if you've played the visual novel you should be able to figure out how and why this happened as it's certainly not anything random, but for an anime-only viewer this plot point is completely absurd. A random tiny asteroid ending up hitting a girl's head as it crashes onto the planet, forever altering her personality? I mean it'll look like the most forced plot twist ever made if you don't know any better. Sure, after the upcoming second season (and yes that was announced at the end of episode 13) they should be able to piece it together as well, but the entire joke of the scene won't really work retroactively and it'll still come across as somewhat forced that way. I just can't help but feel like this is the wrong kind of execution to do when you make an anime original route, because again it pretty much assumes that the viewer has knowledge of latter events which at the current point in time only people who've read the visual novel will have. If this Kagari route had been part of the game, it'd probably have been pretty far down on the recommended route order chart; certainly not at the very top at least.
Now I've seen some people argue that 8bit have still done a decent job under the circumstances considering that they had a basically impossible task to begin with, and while I do see what they're getting at (because let's face it, making a proper adaptation of Rewrite with this few episodes is a laughable idea regardless of who's pulling the strings), I can't really agree on it. While it is true that this anime was more or less doomed before it even started, there were definitely things they could have done a lot better. For example, episodes 4 & 5 were in my opinion a complete waste of time. What I was promised was an anime original story focusing on one of the girls that didn't have a normal route in the visual novel, Kagari, and nothing more. I wasn't exactly satisfied with that prospect but I could live with it given the lack of realistic options. But despite that they still insist on spending entire episodes solely on going into the backstories of some of the other heroines in an incredibly rushed manner of fashion that not only felt extremely unsatisfying on their own due to the terrible pacing, but also it has almost nothing to do with the anime original route itself. So why even adapt it? Like you either adapt a route properly or not at all, don't just throw in abridged versions of them out of nowhere just because you can, geez. In the first place, what's the point of teasing so much about the other girls when you're not ever going to follow up on it and properly show the full picture of what the truth behind them is? To tease people into buying the game I guess? Perhaps even more importantly though, by doing this you're taking away precious screen time that could have actually been spent on developing this original arc you're so insistent on doing. Like if there's one thing which you should never end up having pacing issues with, it's an original anime. I mean the entire scenario script is supposed to be written from scratch specifically to fit the episode count damn it.
Another thing I found really disappointing is how incredibly casual the anime is about revealing the supernatural. In the visual novel you don't even find undeniable evidence that there even is anything supernatural until the end of the common route (adapted in episode 7 in a different version), which is almost 20 hours into it. Yes, you know Kotarou can rewrite himself, and yes, you encounter ominous-looking black dogs in the forest and the city at night as well as numerous suspicious people, but that's about it. Then when the actual reveal comes, it hits you like a hammer with how dramatic the tone shift is. The early part of Rewrite is supposed to be school/comedy/mystery, and then in the actual character routes it transforms into action/drama/supernatural. But in the anime, they've kind of just... jumbled everything together. Kotarou is like yeah I have a super power, Shizuru casually reveals hers without much explanation provided, and when Kotarou is given his "claws" then you're just going to have to accept what you're watching because the anime sure isn't planning on explaining where they came from anytime soon, etcetera. It all feels very mish-mashed without any clear direction, almost as if they did everything in the wrong order. I don't know, making a good anime out of Rewrite with such a tight schedule is probably impossible no matter what you do; even an original route like this doesn't really work because the world itself is far too complex for you to be able to make a satisfying standalone arc without it becoming entangled in the "real" story of Rewrite in some way, causing a ton of loose ends that will never be able to followed up upon. It only forces 8bit to include a bunch of scenes they seriously shouldn't, wasting even more of what little precious screen time they have at their disposal. It's no wonder the pacing is so all over the place. On top of that the anime also has some incredibly awkward usage of CGI for all the various types of familiars it contains, so the action scenes aren't exactly a pleasure to look at either. Hell, even the regular 2D art really dips in quality every so often, especially in the last few episodes of the show. It felt like they were having some serious budget issues here, and as a result there were a lot more derp faces than I would have liked.
As far as the characters goes, I'm also pretty disappointed. I actually consider the visual novel's character cast to be in my top 5 even to this day, due to its diversity, great character development on many different fronts, and for just being plain entertaining in general. But the anime does... basically nothing to showcase either of these things. First and foremost, there are simply way too many characters in Rewrite for such a short anime to support. It's a very complex universe including multiple factions, people with drastically different ideals and goals, driven by their own respective backstories, etcetera. There just isn't anywhere near enough time to explain who they all are and what their purposes in the story really are. Especially considering that (you guessed it) for many of them, said explanations are provided deeper into the various heroine routes of the game, and they're not just something you can throw out at a moment's notice. In other words they really never had a chance to be anything more than random supporting characters in the anime because the script doesn't permit their characters to ever be properly explained or developed. Maybe you should have thought about that before you decided to go full anime original? And this is just talking about the supporting cast; if we talk about the actual main characters here then it's obviously even worse because all the original main heroines (Kotori/Chihaya/Lucia/Shizuru/Akane) just come across as random harem members in the anime as none of them get any proper characterization to speak of at all. Why? Well... because their routes aren't adapted. It all keeps coming back to that, doesn't it? Even Kotarou suffers from this because he's supposed to grow in those arcs as well.
Sooo I don't know, I don't straight-up hate the show but I just can't help but feel that it's so pointless. If you've played the visual novel, the anime feels like a massive downgrade in comparison, and if you haven't played it then you'll be missing out on so much that it'll barely be comprehensible due to how confusing the story will be, how much content is cut out and how rushed it is. So what is the target demographic supposed to be? No one can say they're truly 100% happy with this anime. At least on that front it's certainly no different from Kajitsu.
I think the obvious yet unfortunate truth here is that the whole point of this anime is nothing more than to be an advertisement for the Rewrite+ release of the visual novel, which is a new version released on July 29th in Japan this year, I.E: shortly after the anime started airing. It contains new CGs, more voice acting, slight scenario revisions, etcetera. For a long time I was also under the impression that this release was going to contain the new Kagari route as well in visual novel format, but as it turns out that's actually not the case. It doesn't really seem to contain any noteworthy new story content at all. So my hypothesis is that the release of Rewrite+ in combination with this original anime is nothing more than a marketing ploy, where people who have no prior experience with the franchise will get a first-time introduction to it through the anime and get interested enough to at least be willing to purchase the game. Then of course since Rewrite+ has just been released recently, which sounds like a much cooler version than the original for people not knowing any better, those new fans will throw their money at the much more expensive "new" game instead of the cheaper "old" Rewrite from 2011. Again, this is just my theory but honestly it's the only idea I can come up with that can financially justify re-releasing a game 5 years later with hardly any noteworthy changes made, as well as simultaneously making an awful anime adaptation of the same game that is neither satisfying for old fans of the games nor anime-only watchers.
So with that said, in the end... I can't help but feel like this anime is meaningless, or at least it'll only function as a sales booster for the new game release, which is nice for the creators I guess but that doesn't actually make the anime itself any better for me personally, nor should it for any other viewers of it.
It has to be said though that if we ignore this show's origins for a second and just look at it as any other anime among the thousands of others out there, then it's not the worst thing I've ever seen, far from it, but it'd probably be something most people would forget about almost completely within a day or two of finishing it. However, we can't avert our eyes from the truth that much, and the fact of the matter is that this is supposed to be a representation of one of Key's three biggest visual novels, alongside Clannad and Little Busters. Personally I'd even say Rewrite is the best of them all; I played all three of them back-to-back way back in the beginning of 2013, and at least for a short time afterwards I actually considered Rewrite to be my favorite visual novel. It might not have maintained that spot for too long but either way the point is that... it just deserves better than this. Yes, I've known ever since the day I finished the game that making a proper adaptation of Rewrite was probably impossible no matter what, but I was still hoping for a lot better than what this anime gave us. At the very least it should have gotten more episodes than this; Clannad got 4-cours and Little Busters got 3, why is Rewrite stuck with merely 2? If anything this is the one which needed the most episodes out of the trio since it has a lot less content that can be omitted. Realistically speaking 4 cours would probably have been the optimal pacing-wise given the length of the game. But I guess that's just the world we live in nowadays: anime are mostly produced in order to promote their source materials and boost the sales of those, and as a result we very rarely see shows with more than 2 cours anymore. For a lot of series that's totally fine and all, but for ones with very long source materials like this, it's basically a killing blow, unfortunately.
Last but not least though, as mentioned previously we are at least getting a second season for Winter 2017 (so it's a split cour), and this is giving me a certain feeling of déjà vu. See, as badly as 8bit destroyed Grisaia no Kajitsu two years ago, they actually did a very respectable job with its sequels, Meikyuu and Rakuen, and the main reason for that was simply that the sequels are way shorter to begin with and thus much easier to adapt since they didn't have to rush them so badly, unlike with Kajitsu. And I feel like the same thing could very well happen with Rewrite. In case you don't know, the visual novel has one route for each of the main heroines (Kotori/Chihaya/Lucia/Shizuru/Akane) and then a two-part True route at the end, with the first part being called Moon and the second part being called Terra. Now in the anime they've basically replaced the five girls' routes with this original Kagari route, and the upcoming second season will adapt Moon and Terra. In other words the second season should actually not be anime original, unlike this one. There will probably be minor changes in order to accommodate for everything they've done in the first season, but for the most part I reckon it should be pretty much the same as in the game. And above all, just Moon and Terra on their own should actually be doable in 1 cour, so we might actually have acceptable pacing next time around as well. With all that being taken into account, it could actually turn out to be a pretty good anime. The downside is of course that we seriously lack proper buildup for it since none of the heroine routes were adapted first, so I'm not sure how everything will turn out in the end regardless. But I think it at least has decent potential to come out alright for those who are already familiar with those routes, I.E: those who have played the visual novel first. And for those who haven't... maybe, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
If nothing else, given how unsatisfying this first season has been on its own it can only go upwards from here. Let's hope the second time's the charm in this case. Then again I know better than to expect much from 8bit no matter what by now, so I won't get my hopes up too high just yet.
Really good anime, as usual for a Key VN adaptation.
Though of course like any other visual novel, unfortunately the reviews have run amok with morons endlessly bickering over how the VN was adapted. Can't please 'em all I guess.
Anyone interested in this anime, go for it. Definitely give it a watch. Unless you're one of the bizarre new race of try-hard anime critics who couldn't judge something well or properly if their lives depended on it, you will enjoy this anime.
I have a strong feeling season 2 is much better, just given that they decided to adapt a specific route from the Rewrite VN, and
season 2's is more interesting. But still season 1 did a solid job. I don't really have any complaints really.
Obviously this isn't a proper review, it was just disgusting seeing the review section of this anime being such a horrid garbage fire. Really i'm sure most intelligent anime fans don't actually read the reviews on this site, since within 2 sentences you can already tell it's just complete trash. But for any that stumble on this review with the thought of not watching the anime because of what others have said, give it a shot. Just do it. It's only a 13 episode anime anyway.
Well well well, Romeo Tanaka. We meet again. It hasn't even been a year since I reviewed that last atrocity with your name on it, and now you're teaming up with a company that people only remember at this point because After Story still ranks high on MAL after all this time in order to get recognized by anime fans who will never play your supposed masterpiece Cross Channel, and thus will only remember you as the guy who made Humanity Has Declined and a load of shit that no one cares about. I sympathize with you. I really do. The anime industry is a
fucked up place that holds back actual talent. We all know that by now.
But like the people who okayed that godawful Ratchet & Clank movie, you've got to ask yourself this: is having an anime adaptation of your work really the ultimate prize it's all cracked up to be? Don't you realize by now that you work in a video game industry, and thus are inherently incompatible with an entertainment medium that the viewer can't physically interact with? Don't you realize that for ever Steins;Gate and Madoka Magica that ends up making it big, there are fifty World Conquest Zvezda Plots, Robotics;Notes, and Classroom Crises. And assuming you do know this, don't you know that teaming up with fucking 8-bit is considered a mistake in every sense of the word? I mean who even remember what anime they made? Oh right, these are the guys who made Grisaia. And yet somehow, even when you're working with them, they end up creating a product several times worse to the point that I could have done better.
You'd think I'd have spent all my outrage regarding Rewrite after the last post I wrote about it and you'd be mostly right, but the thing about this show is that it's my favorite kind of bad to review on the grounds that it fucks up so royally that you could write more essays about what it does wrong than you can about the many interpretations of Utena. It's not bad in that "incredibly lackluster to the point that I can't even remember what it is I'm supposed to be complaining about" that characterized the last few shows I reviewed. This is straight up "I see how this could have been better if it was handled by people with actual talent, or at least a chimpanzee" bad. And even when I'm being calm about it, there's so many words dripping with unsubtle bile I can write about the product that I can actually cause some impact on the industry by making the producers lose even less money than they already have. Hell, I've already written quite a bit and I haven't even actually started describing Rewrite as of yet. Girls Beyond the Wasteland wishes it could have fucked up as much as this.
Rewrite is an anime about a young boy named Kotarou Tennouji, living all by himself (of course) in the incredibly environmental-friendly town of Kazamatsuri. A town which houses a bunch of mysterious secrets such as dodgy CG crabs and annoying fairy creatures that our git of a main lead just has to discover the truth about, so he ends up joining an occult club and recruits members to help him out that all happen to be female and only two of them at best exist for the sake of more than just fetish fuel. Of course, in this show's defense, there is some semblance of a reason for his decision to only invite girls to hang out with him on one of his nature walks whilst ignoring the one male dude who he antagonizes more than Bugs Bunny did to any of the other Looney Toons. It's because he's a grade-A pervert who thinks sexually harassing his friends and touching their boobs is a charm point. Hey, I didn't say the reason wasn't "pants-on-head"levels of retarded.
But as is usual for visual novel anime, this is all just a smoke-screen for some upcoming serious plot that the writers seem to think would be a good idea to wait until halfway through the show to introduce for some reason, and in Rewrite's case, it turns out that Kotarou's friends actually belong to secret government organizations that are in conflict with each other because one side wants to destroy the world in order for it to be birthed anew and the other side wants to protect humanity even though said world is a morbid state of affairs where humans can kill trees without any repercussions. Yes, the plot is basically X/1999 if you replaced all the pretentiously cool CLAMP characters with little girls who would rather drink tea and bathe in hot springs than actually do something interesting. And yes those are your eyes that just rolled on the floor right now, because your mind can't comprehend how fucking retardedly mismatched the two plotlines are. I mean what's next? Harem school club anime that suddenly turns into Breaking Bad?
Admittedly though, Rewrite does lean heavily on one of its mismatched sides to the point that the other one doesn't cause much interference. It's just too bad that said side is the banal school life side where nothing interesting ever happens and there's no drive to events other than curious retardation. Yeah, remember how I said before that I hate most visual novel anime (and most anime in general for that matter) because for some reason people can't get it into their heads that "comedic episodes and light conflicts that solely exist to build up the world and the characters so that when the true dramatic story hits, it's all the more effective" is an absolutely awful concept that no one with a brain would possibly enjoy, let alone prefer to just "starting the dramatic story at the very start"? Well generally, these sorts of shows stop with their inane prologues by the halfway point, but Romeo Tanaka adaptations just can't seem to grasp the definition of the word "stop". It takes more than three quarters of the runtime for both Girls Beyond the Wasteland and Rewrite to get something even approaching an ongoing plot, and even then the latter seems to think that it can take a break and let girls relax in hot springs as a sort of reward for all the action that occurred previously, even though said action is only a minor skirmish against a twat that looked awful and no lasting impact because apparently stab wounds are easier to recover from than paper cuts.
The show is just littered with every bad adaptation choice you could possibly make when adapting an interactive non-linear product to a non-interactive linear world to the point that it feels like we're living in that shitty visual novel adaptation phase of anime again. Do you remember how one of my big complaints about Charlotte was that it had a severe lack of drama when it was desperately needed? Well it seems Rewrite misinterpreted the complaints people have made about Key products being overly manipulative even harder and decided to only give service to the company's token melodrama in the worst way possible. There's only two episodes that try to tug at the viewer's heartstrings and of course, it'd be directed towards the two girls with no plot-importance whatsoever, as well as being fucking botched to boot.
Just as an example, one of the episodes in the first half of the show is centered on the purple-haired girl, Lucia, and plays out like a bad horror story with its poorly directed attempts to be creepy that end with Kotarou discovering it was her who was causing all the strange things to happen because she has the ability to poison anything she touches thank to experiments done on her. Said episode ends with her throwing a hissy fit, accidentally poisoning Kotarou, him fixing himself up, revealing that she works for a secret organization, and then happy school life continues again in the very next episode. Excuse me Rewrite for not having the tear ducts required to appreciate sadness caused by "magic" that has never been foreshadowed until now, has no impact on the story beyond a few plot points that you could have conveyed better by shooting someone, doesn't further anyone's characterization, and indeed is never brought up again after it's told!
I could go on listing all the bad adaptation decisions...so let's continue, shall we? The animation is uglier than Andrew Lloyd Webber, looking like one of those crappy flash animated shows from the early 2000s with the shining buffed up a bit. And that's not even getting into the 3D animation for the monsters in this show, which looks so retarded and clashes so badly with the backgrounds that Polygon Pictures themselves would have fired the people working on it. And even by visual novel standards, the characters are just completely unlikable. Kotarou basically bullies and sexually harasses his friends for no reason, constantly begging to touch their breasts even during serious moments to the point that you sympathize with Lucia in regards to wanting to murder the bastard. But for some reason, the girls still hang out with him like the moe tsundere sycophants they are. Even dressing into cat-eared maid costumes at his request because apparently we're living in an age where people still think it was funny when Higurashi did this. It's like someone took a bunch of dating sim stereotypes, tacked on an arbitrary twist to each of them, and then beat them over the head with a crowbar that was made out of concentrated STUPID.
Finally there's the ending, which is both the best part of the show in how laughably terrible it was in a "I can't believe you did that" kind of way, as well as the worst part of the show because you couldn't believe they actually did that. To those who played the visual novel, remember how every single girl's route would end with the world getting fucked? Well instead of using one of those endings to cap things off, the producers decided to go a bit more original...by ripping off Evangelion like every other anime under the sun. One of the girls performs a ritual that kills off every human being on the planet and turns them into glowing orbs so that our plant life sovereign can reign supreme in a manner that would make Poison Ivy blush. No, I am not kidding. That is actually what happens, and before you guys start thinking "hey, that actually sounds pretty awesome", note that a sequel adapting the true route that will no doubt retcon the ending harder than Aldnoah Zero did after its three-month break is coming out next season because the creators were so confident that die-hard fans would want it after sitting through this misery. Starting right at the end of this sentence, you have one second to name a single anime where keeping the prologue and the actual meat of the story divided into two distinct series was a good idea. Time's up. That's what I thought.
I am not exaggerating when I say there is literally no audience for this show at all. If you're a fan of the visual novel, you'll be turned off by the insipid adaptation choices that basically scream "fuck it, if they paid full price for that Little Busters anime, they'll pay full price for this". And if you're not a fan, you'd be clawing your eyes out at the complete lack of fun on screen assuming you can work up the interest necessary to acknowledge Rewrite's existence in the first place. I don't know how well the blu-rays sold, but the number can't be high. I mean we're living in an age where the fujoshi market makes up the numbers now and Rewrite definitely doesn't have much in the way of manservice for fangirls to slobber over. The only people I can possibly see enjoying this show are those with a lead pipe shoved in your brain's front lobe, and if that's the case, it'd be cheaper and more exciting to just shove poo down the pipe's hole.
The idea of having an anime original content is something that can be rather double-edged when it comes to adaptations. It can either be something that can go and help with the narrative point of view of the series, or it can make things easier for the series in question for certain reasons.
For Rewrite's case however, where does it stand around with this? ever since they made the announcement of the anime series coming around, they did announced the staff members, mainly the director being Motoki Tanaka (aka the director behind series such as Kiniro Misaic and the Grisaia series) along with the addition
of them making an anime original route, in order for "make people understand this easier" to say the least around. The idea itself doesn't sound bad on paper due to the circumstances of the original Visual Novel, but where does it really lead up to? We'll find out, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my anime review of Rewrite.
Please before you continue with this review, I might tell you guys some warnings throughout here. The first warning is that yes, I will spoil some plot points in order to make my point across on my opinion of the anime overall, that also includes things that are connected to the original source material in order to justify my reasons for the negatives and the positives.
The second thing is that if you disagree with this review, that's completely fine, everyone has their own personal opinion on shows so that's something I can understand on that. Without further ado, let's begin:
The story is set in a place called Kazamatsuri, the beautiful home of our Main Protagonist, Tennouji Kotarou. Our main protagonist has this ability, which he gets drawn around in the Supernatural Phenomenon, and one day he meets up with the Occult Club President, Akane Senri, as then, Kotarou would start recruiting new members to the club, and usually living the daily life being in there, until certain moments happens within the series where it changes their paths forever.
Now you see, the thing about this series is that I have a lot of mixed feelings towards it, so of course this might go a bit confusing but I'll try to keep it simple, or at least attempt to.
Basically, for the first half it did a decent job at a lot of things more than the wrong, just because for one, I believe it did a decent job at condensing the amount of hours because if they extended the dialogue a lot, at the same time dragging this for the period of time (lets say focusing this on an entire season of sorts) a lot of people would get bored of it, and it would basically become a chore to watch.
I think while having a good concept as how Rewrite just showed, it shouldn't be dragged out a lot because it then becomes rather slow and at the same time it would bore the person, probably. If I was the one watching this and then for example I haven't read the source, depending, I would feel tiring and before we even get there I might have fallen asleep with it.
In a sense, Rewrite's anime did a pretty good job at that and condensing the Slice of Life aspects through.
And the second thing that I give props to the anime is basically some of the anime original jokes which are for example the Fart joke from one of the first few episodes (I'm not gonna lie I did laughed at that) as well with few references in the middle parts of the first half.
Some of the episodes that were focused around the characters were done decently, and for example Shizuru's Beginning of her route or, her route taken place in Common still, it was done pretty nicely and it was condensed pretty alright, and as a standalone it was pretty good because it gives a solid background to her story. I give props to the anime at that stance for it.
Now for the first half's downsides are a few things that I got in mind:
- Some of the Original Things that they added don't really add much in the end (which I will explain later on in the problems of the second half)
- Lucia's Route (which was taken 2 weeks before the certain event happens) was probably the worst contender of this first part, the reason why I say this it's because the way they condensed it didn't really helped in their favour, in fact, compared to Shizuru's Route which was done rather nicely since the pacing was good and slow, this one felt abrupt.
It seemed like they immediately forgot how to pace out the moments for the route and this doesn't even take 1 episode, it would most likely take 2 for at least to cover part of her story, and even the shifting of events are pretty weird placed because in one moment for example, Lucia and Kotarou were in the room talking and revealing her curse, and then the next moment we're at the church right now. I don't think that's a good transition at all in all honesty.
It's basically like moving from my own house having a happy and jolly time, towards a sad scene where a friend of mine died, there's no actual in between for the scenes and it just feels and looks awkward and it makes a lot of people question what the fuck happened between the time gap between those two scenarios. Compared to how they handled Shizuru's ending point, this one felt like a poorly written and executed route, and well I'd say before anyone goes and argues about the 2 other parts, that's not really needed for certain reasons, at the end, point being, is that the way they handled Lucia's first half of her end was pretty weak by comparison.
And while I don't think this is the worst part of the show, it is quite disappointing how they handled her this way, and it's because of the amount of time that first half takes for her end, which actually left me on a mixed bagged feelings about it. It is probably the worst part about the first half.
Now, as for the second half this is probably the big mix, and this is where I will point out something. The idea of an anime original route is NOT a bad idea on paper, the reason why I'm saying that the idea isn't bad in the case it is because in the original Visual Novel, it is quite difficult to adapt different plotlines in which, will connect to the second season, and also, it takes a lot of episodes' worth to even focus on all of those things including certain plot points to where it connects to the true routes, so they wanted to take the easier approach to do an anime original "6th Route" which was supposed to be focused around Kagari. The BIG problem with the second half are basically these:
- Remember when I said that some of the stuff that they added in the first half didn't helped much? Well, in the second half they pretty much made most of it rather pointless.
For example, in one of the first half episodes they introduced Midou, which is one of the major characters of the series that goes around in the second half. In the second half however, in my eyes they treated him pretty much like fodder, in which they literally gave no actual background to him to know him as a character, and in the next episodes, they pretty much decided to pull a middle finger and just take him off. I feel like this is one of the major problems of the show which kinda sours me.
The second thing that comes around is Lucia, and remember when I said that her route was pretty much condensed only for the first half? I wouldn't really mind this, as apparently she was supposed to play a major role in the second half.
Guess what happens? She pretty much looks even more useless in the second half. The problem I have with this for her is that, in one of the episodes she was pretty much fighting against Midou, and in that episode they pretty much gave some sort of point where she would want to protect Kotarou and everyone else, and that in itself would have been a great thing in some way because it then brings a bit of reality towards Kotarou and to how he was going to go and shake things off, basically to try to explain it more shortly, in that episode, they could pretty much bring a bigger impact towards the characters.
But then what happens? She survives, but not only that, right? Where is her actual role around here? If the role was pretty much go and Pretend to be dead then that's just actually pointless, it takes away a lot of the tension and possible buildup towards the show and it's even worse when you don't really utilize her further. I wouldn't even mind if she was alive as long as they could make her role useful, or at least position. In the end that's probably another sour moment throughout.
The other thing that I need to point out is that, the series isn't really well explained, further into it, there's a main conflict within the series which, the anime really never have made it cleared for those that are anime onlies, and only those that knows about the Original Source would know what it is, and that in itself is bad because it then would either cause confusion or when they watch the second season, it will pretty much be difficult for them to understand, and only those that have read it would probably try to explain it. Because of this, its really hard to get the message across for my perspective.
Lastly and not only... the amount of repetitive, and forced comedy. This is probably the biggest issue around the entire Original Route, and this is pretty much where I would have to explain a bit into it. I wouldn't mind the comedy in this route, if they didn't repeat the same joke over, and over, and over, and over, about the Fee Coffee and then the Boob grabbing, and the boob grabbing is the lesser thing that bugged me. But, repeating the same comedy skit again and again doesn't make it more funny, it makes it even more boring, and worse, it takes away the tension from the certain situations as well. And only few episodes worked well with the comedy skit, at least the Fee Coffee wise. It was only on the first few episodes of the second half, and those were actually funny because they weren't recycled, but when you constantly use it, over and over, it wouldn't help much and it will feel like the audience will have a major headache out of it.
This all causes the majority of the execution to fall poor and very flat, the idea in itself for the original route isn't bad, the problem comes from how it was executed majority of the time in there. It doesn't help the series in itself to make things easier at most, in fact it hurts the series because there's no clarification, lack of consistency and a lack of explanation at a lot of cases, including the pacing in itself. Those are my major complaints around the second half from a perspective.
While there were very much a lot of downs, I do will give it where it's due with the second half and one of the things that I will give towards it, it's around one of the messages that the anime displayed it easier, which was basically the sense of not wanting to be in this fate, and they would want to be normal. That's basically one of the messages that the Original VN has, but it really hasn't been that noticeable, and as much as the story did wrong in this half, it did that thing right in its own.
Another thing I will give credit to the second half is the ending itself, as it was a decent buildup towards the second season, which is coming around pretty soon. The ending pretty much ended as I expected it to be, with then hinting the scene with Kagari at the end, which hoping the second season does justice on the manner.
Overall, I think Rewrite's story in this anime is pretty mediocre overall, it started off decently with minor issues within the show, but the second half was pretty much a middle finger and giving more wrong than right, in the end cause a lot of inconsistency, explanation and clarification throughout, which will be hard to understand in the runtime.
This is pretty much another thing that falls around flat and poor a bit. The problem with this as well is that majority of the characters in Rewrite's anime had either their backstories skipped (for example Chihaya's) towards being butchered or just poorly executed, to be frankly honest.
Majority of the cast lacked any further background and were given little snippets of their backstories, and the only backstory that was handled decently was Shizuru's.
Despite how everyone or a lot of people says that her route was rushed in the past, it was well paced by comparison, given to how short that section of her route was and second, the way they utilized it was pretty much more of an opening connection towards Kotarou as a character and for Shizuru as well, and at least it did something very decently over there on the manner.
The other characters barely had any clarification towards their backstories (exception of Kotarou for reasons), a lot of them are either unexplained, have been explained but poorly executed, have been explained but finely executed, but somehow wasn't of any much of use, etc.
It all depends around which character I'm talking about, for example Akane's end wasn't really explained further and well, basically it leaves to confusion at the hand, as for Lucia's end her end was basically condensed rather poorly as explained in the story's part, Chihaya's was never explained in her and her backstory is important for the later parts of the second season for reasons. Kotori's was explained fine and well, however there's something that left rather shallowed.
As for the other casts, I wouldn't really say much but given to how it was handled here, it will affect a lot in the later parts of the series at least to my eyes, but they do bring importance in the story but I won't go and explain further, I will only say that because of how the second half turned out, it will affect a lot of the stuff in the later parts, unless you have read the original Visual Novel.
As for personality, I'd say the main cast got some pretty decent characterization, and pretty much enough to make them feel like they have some liveliness within them, so that's pretty much a plus.
Overall, on the character department it's pretty much the weakest, due to how a lot of the characters have poorly handled backgrounds or have not really explained them at the slightest amount, with some pretty decent characterization towards them as a positive side.
Now we're going to talk about the production side of Rewrite. As you already know, this anime is produced by 8bit, also known as the studio behind works such as Infinite Stratos, Absolute Duo, Tokyo Ravens, Comet Lucifer, etc.
In the production stance, Rewrite doesn't really look like the worst in their production side but, the art does go and drop a lot after the first episode, and that's mostly because of the horrible schedule the staff has for this production because of the company at hand (Aniplex), and they have to rely on a lot of stuff (or from what I remembered the helping studios) in order to make it look good, but it still looked like completely bad by standards due to a lot of massive derps put into it and it's all because of the horrible schedule they received, along with the huge amount of lighting that usually would bug a photographer.
You know when you try to go and take a picture with one of those high quality cameras, but then someone tries and ruins it for you by turning the brightness up to 5 or max, and it then looks completely horrible where it ruins the atmosphere? Picture Rewrite in your head, with that imagery, and just take a moment to think. The artwork that already looks bad enough from the facial structure towards the body forms, looks worse when you put a light at the side of the backgrounds, and if the backgrounds looks beautiful in there, they're probably ruined by the big amount of lighting it puts around in the outside of certain places.
Now don't get me wrong, lighting in here can work at times, like for example when few occasions when the main protagonist is in the Club at night time, or when the side of the Club is pretty dark, those types works pretty decently and it doesn't look like completely dark, but it doesn't work in other occasions in the show.
For the CGI, I'll say this, for the most part... it's pretty bad. They're pretty much poorly rendered and hardly any fluidity on them, and it feels like they're either stiff or just not fitting at all, and in some cases for the CGI it doesn't even need CGI for some of the monsters displayed, some of them are even easy to draw around, so it is rather sour at the end when it comes to this.
As far as the animation goes, it's a hit or miss for majority of the times. In some cases the animation looked alright, some of them pretty average, and well... being real, a lot would pretty much look inconsistent with the amount of animators given, and it doesn't look pretty fluid either, and compared to Episode 1's Nonaka animation which gives fluidity and life towards the characters, in the later episodes it doesn't really deliver much, which is disappointing in a sense because I really liked the animation from Nonaka's end.
And it's also a shame as well, since this series is supposed to be action-focused as well so it should give some pretty nice battle choreography and fluid animation in that stance, and even the Aurora doesn't really look that pleasing by comparison.
It looks like it lacked any flavor or consistency and we only see that in the first episode and in bits and pieces of the final episode, plus some decent animation when it came towards the episode between Midou and Lucia, despite some inconsistency around, it still was pretty alright... when you have that, it's pretty bad. Even by action genre standards.
As for the plus, I will give the show this, the character designs looks nice and adorable, but I am talking more about the Nonaka designs, from the drafts towards the PVs, even Episode 1 and some certain moments when the designs look okay, it does look nice. So I'll give it a plus around, the color usage isn't bad either, I did liked the brightness colors around for this series.
Now we're going to the part where I usually like about the anime, but I'll pretty much get into the music first, but we'll talk about the sound department first.
For the sound department, let me tell you this. Who hired this person to be in here and why? and don't get me wrong I don't mind first timers a lot, in fact there are few weird occasions where a newbie staff member would come to such big projects and for my end it's pretty much rare to get a good solid start or first-timer. So that isn't much of a problem.
But the sound directing for this anime is pretty horrible, even worse than Berserk 2016's sound directing when it came to the "CLANG CLANG" sounds from the sword. The sound consists of a lot of loud noises and at times even covering or just disturbing the music while certain moments happens, and it's not really pleasing to the ears because it will pretty much explode them.
From what I got this person mostly is a producer, so while I don't have anything against the person, they should need to work on the sound parts further, since this is clearly not a good thing when it comes to watching this show. It disturbs the ears and it pretty much for me leaves me deaf around, wanting to go and just check on other things further afterwards. Or they could replace that person with another sound director or someone that handles the sound department better, because I don't really think this would work well for this show with these type of sound effects.
Now as for the music? I'd say this, they played the Original Soundtracks at most for this adaptation, and a lot of times it works for the scenes, sometimes it really doesn't in certain situations. Some of the OSTs don't even last that long, they only endure depending on the music like 5-10 seconds more, it pretty much either feel painfully useless or rather weirded out. However, there were some compositions that fits well in certain situations, like for example Koibumi in Episode 4 which fits pretty well throughout for Shizuru's end. Same with other compositions such as the Kotarou vs Esaka fight.
Speaking of that, I might give credit where its due to this as well, while having the OST from the Visual Novel, we do have some arrangements of the soundtracks or remakes, there was a piano version of the ending of the season which is the ED for Havest Festa, as well as the Piano version of the song "Rewrite". Also there there was an arrangement for the Kotarou vs Esaka fight which was great to listen towards.
For the OPs and EDs they're pretty good arrangements at least for the main ones, since depending on the episodes they might enter the characters' respective ending songs around, but for the main OPs and EDs, they're good to listen to, especially the 2nd ED of the anime, sang by Aoi Tada, which brings this beautiful tone to it which makes my ears ring of happiness.
And for the voice acting, at most they did a good job with their performances, while the most lively one was Kotarou, since I did loved Morita's voice acting in the later parts of the Original source, so seeing him bringing Kotarou to life around here is pretty lovely to listen to, as well with the other character voice actors bringing life to their own despite how the show turned out in the end. Especially Kotori's end, though my major complaint is probably Kagari's voice acting but that goes more towards the final episodes, there's a reason for that in all honesty.
The Personal Point:
I'll pretty much be honest, despite how the anime turned out from those flaws, it did somehow felt enjoyable, and yes there were half and half issues with the story, and at the same time there were some under development throughout the anime, however my enjoyment for at least mostly the first half was pretty good, it was fun, enjoyable, and pretty much nice to see the characters animated, despite how the series went of course for a lot of reasons, and it is a shame really, as I didn't enjoyed the second half more than the first due to how poorly executed it went throughout with the inconsistency of the writing and the forced Fee Coffee joke.
Should you give Rewrite a shot? Well, it just goes towards you, but if I can go and suggest, I'd suggest to go and read the Original Visual Novel more, and it's not only because of the flaws of the series that I have mentioned, it is because since the second season is in the works, and it's pretty close to coming around, I'm suggesting you guys to go and read it because just in case if the anime does go and do things correctly, either way, it will be confusing for the anime onlies, but that depends for each person but I do assume a lot will be even more confused than the usual. If you want to go to the anime, and want to see it, then go ahead and check it out. Who knows, you may end up liking it perhaps? But that's all up to you in the end.
And also in the end for this review, I don't really hate this adaptatio (as I stated as long as they are enjoyable in a way), but I do think it could have done so much more than what it just delivered, or anything of the sorts, but I do hope that the second season becomes better, hopefully? Who knows. We'll just have to wait and see when the second season arrives.
This is one of the worst adaptations I have ever seen, and easily the worst Key anime to date. 8-bit, Tensho, and the entire staff should be ashamed of what was produced here. This Rewrite adaptation is in the similar vein as M Night Shyamalans "The Last Airbender" adaptation where you have characters with the same names and some of the story elements, but presented without soul and crushed down until it possesses none of its quality. The original source material wasn't perfect. In fact I would deem it inconsistent and flawed, but it was refreshingly different from other works from
Key and was a very interesting read. However, to see it degraded to this ugly mess was utterly depressing.
Story: 1/10 (atrocious)
Seriously!? Who is this adaptation for? Studio 8-shit thought it was a great idea to horribly rush events directly from the VN for the first half, and then go anime original into a rushed incomprehensible second half. Like... if you don't have the time to adapt it and were going to make most of it original, you might as well have made it completely anime original. If you wanted to adapt the whole thing then trying to do it in merely 13 episodes was a terrible idea in the first place. The first half will immediately turn off people who haven't read the novel since it appears to be something generic with rapid tonal swings and horrible pacing. The second half only goes out of its way to give fans of the novel the finger by creating a train-wreck of several side routes combined into a weird anime original clusterfuck with only one frigging thing original outside of the source material. Finally if your a Key fan, you will be so emotionally distant from the generic underdeveloped characters that if you were hoping for the famous "feels" you won't even get that. There are many elements of the story that will probably seem incomprehensible to new viewers, and when you need the source material to understand what is going on, then it has failed utterly as an adaptation.
Characters: 2/10 (terrible)
Incredibly thin and underdeveloped. Like the other flawed Key anime Charlotte, most of them only have time to be defined by some single trait that is repeated for punchlines. "Pervert and lets be BFF generic" Kotarou, the ribbon girl loves coffee, Chihiya is a dumb jock, you have tsundere "don't touch me pervert" Lucia, you have "cute loli that defends protagonist no matter what" Shizuru. I don't even remember what they gave Kotori as a character in the anime. Two of the characters are given backstories with some scenes that feel like they were on fast forward... I am not even kidding, all of it is so rushed that even as someone who read the novel, I was BARELY able to follow, and felt disconnected pretty quickly. When you speed up events with no flow or breathing time, it ends up moving too fast for you to digest and process what is going on and what you should be feeling. The result is a rapid slideshow summarizing whats going on without giving you time or space to feel or care about the events on the screen.
There are only two characters in the show that could be somewhat entertaining. One of them is in it for like 10 minutes (Yoshino), and the other was the ribbon girl who ironically has the least personality in the original source material. The ribbon girl has an anime original circumstance that occurs, and there is a charm to her that sort of works for a single episode that I thought was passable.
However, it was when I saw the final episode that I realized how terrible the cast was treated in this horrid adaptation. You see characters being injured, dying, yelling and screaming in a chaotic battle with supposed high stakes in the air. Yet, despite having read about them for 50+ hours in the novel, I simply watched bored and emotionally disconnected from everything happening onscreen. I didn't care about any of these characters that I remembered liking so much from the visual novel. None of the charm, fun, or heart of these characters were there. They were became nothing but hallow shells carrying their names.
Art/Animation: 3/10 (terrible)
Rewrite looks ugly. The art and animation is somewhat passable for the first couple episodes, and then it takes a quality nosedive in the second half. 8-shit decided to make this show CGI heavy and the result is atrocious. It honestly gives Berserk 2016 a run for its money in awfulness. I hate the character designs, which look too small and way too "cutesy" for my liking. The character are very often off-model and look awful in motion at times. Tensho, the director, is also very weak at framing good actions sequences so even if your just there for decent spectacle it can't even manage that. Plus, a personal gripe, why is the lighting always so bright? Jesus!!
Sound: 8/10 (very good)
Like... the one saving grace? Maybe? Something good to say about this trash is the soundtrack that was taken straight from the visual novel...
I honestly wished this anime didn't exist. The fans of the visual novel and of Key deserve much better than this. I feel very bad for people who loved the original material and was expecting something good. Unfortunately this isn't the adaptation you were looking for. If you aren't a fan of either Key or the novel, I don't recommend this either since there are much better options out there. This entire adaptation needs a rewrite, and from a studio that doesn't rhyme with shit.
As someone who has played the Visual Novel, this adaptation is disappointing. It is not impossible to create a perfect depiction or adaptation of a VN, a fine example would be Clannad which just happens to be another Key VN.
I am not saying it has to follow through the VN's story completely, I am fine with many new plot twists because new content actually excites me. However it is obvious that 13 episodes is not long enough to condense the story of a VN no matter how much you twist and turn the storyline. I wouldn't hold my breathe for the announced 2nd season either.
advise to whoever is interested in picking up Rewrite is, play the VN first then watch the anime.
For me, my experience with Rewrite the video game has been truly astounding. The animated adaption has only served me as fanservice.
Rewrite. The second highest rated Key Visual Novel on VNDB, only surpassed by Clannad. Something more than well worth reading, in my eyes.
That's not what this anime is, at all. Not only was it hardly an adaptation with its gratuitous anime original content, but they managed to ruin any small thing they did adapt.
Therefore, I'm going to review this while trying to put aside my thoughts of the original material.
-What is the premise? What am I watching? Where is the plot?- All questions asked throughout Rewrite's duration. None of which were answered. The fact is, this series had no direction.
We have "twists" that are in no way surprising, and generally poorly executed. We have info dump after info dump of information that in the end, really amounted to nothing, and yet we still were left with a plethora of questions. We also got an ending with a vague after credits scene to try and lure us into the next season. A complete, and utter mess. The only reason I rate this a 3, is due to the fact there was a beginning and end, something that I admittedly cannot say for some anime series.
-While obviously lacking, and rather flat, I can't say I have much to complain about on this front. It was derpy, but hey, with the schedule Aniplex gave 8-bit, who can blame them?
-The Sound Director for this series... was not originally a sound director. Poorly placed BGMs that blended together awfully, despite being very pretty on their own. Cringe like screams and grunts that generally felt unnatural. Only thing redeeming was the OST itself, which is absolutely perfect.
-A large cast of characters, of which really only two were given any real development, which even then was minimal. Felt nothing for them, and little to no attachment to them existed. Only rated 5/10 because none of them were bad characters, just very two dimensional and forgetful.
-When the pacing and overall themes are so much of a mess they don't make sense, things go south quickly. Enjoyable, nonetheless, for certain character interactions, and an interesting premise. (Assuming you were able to figure that out)
Honestly, I would've dropped this at around Episode 8, if not for my fondness of the somewhat related original material. The show on its own didn't feel like a chore, but wasn't something I particularly looked forward to. I honestly wouldn't reccomend this anime to anyone, even to people who enjoy the genre. If it must be anime, I would have to reccomend something else.
I do hope that the second season, supposedly adapting the later parts of the original, will be done well. I assume the only people watching it will be fans, or people who actually enjoyed the first season. If that's the case, let's hope for the best. :)
I had to write a review for this. Because Rewrite is my favorite Key work of all-time. Because it deserved better than this.
If you are wondering if this anime is worth your time, I say this: if the premise catches your eye, or the character designs, or anything at all, I absolutely implore you to check out the original visual novel. It's deep. It's beautiful inside and out. It's got a message that cannot be ignored. None of which can be said about this travesty of an adaptation. 8bit did not know what they were doing, and do not deserve five hours of your time
spent here. Avoid this trainwreck at all costs.
The story jumps around like a pinball in a dryer. There is no semblance of cohesive storytelling to be found. It takes bits and chunks of the branching "routes" from the visual novel and attempts to tie them together in a haphazard, charmless sort of way. At first I wondered if this was on purpose, like the show was just meant to be a treat for people who have already read the source material it is based on, but no. No reader of the visual novel can find anything redeemable at how badly 8bit botched this.
Characters have been derailed extensively. Shizuru, Lucia, and especially Kagari act in ways that are unthinkable for their VN counterparts. Kagari is supposed to be an ominous, mysterious entity, a legitimate threat to Kotarou's peaceful life and instead becomes a caffeine-addicted, narcissistic victim of fart jokes.
The one thing that Rewrite gets right is the music. It's taken straight from the visual novel, some truly great pieces that practically tell a story all by themselves. The voice actors are all returned to reprise their roles for this adaptation, but Chiwa Saitou, whose turn as Kotori Kanbe made the character one of the most beloved in the novel, sounds almost chronically bored. It's a shame, but I think even she saw that this script and this adaptation would be lovingly omitted from any resumes she makes going forward. Kana Hanazawa, my favorite seiyuu of all-time, returns as Kagari, but I've already mentioned how badly they've botched her character, and it feels like KanaHana knew it too. She puts forth only just enough effort to keep the dysfunctional train on the tracks.
The art is dreadful. The characters, whose designs are lovingly detailed in the visual novel, are reduced to frilly moeblobs with very little detail. There are some decent panning shots of Kazamatsuri, but that's about it. And the CG monsters that crop up routinely during the show are just about at the point where they might have looked passable in a 1980s Gundam show. But it's now 2016, and these CG dinosaurs and leaf dragon look pitiful. Perpetually locked at somewhere south of 18 frames per second, it feels like you're watching a particularly unappealing PlayStation 2 game.
In short, this is something to be avoided. I thought I had learned my lesson when I watched their dreadful Absolute Duo adaptation, but at least that was a case where the source material was also uninspired and trite, so 8bit could be almost excused for going through the motions in adapting it. Rewrite is not only great, but a downright tome of greatness, with nearly 100 hours of content. There was no way they were going to be able to do it justice with just 13 episodes, but I would have at least respected an honest attempt to try. Instead, I got a fanservice-laden clusterfuck of scenes that go nowhere, schizophrenic pacing, dull action scenes, and an ending that teases the inevitable second cour. I'll be taking a pass on that, 8bit. Don't take it personal. I'll be too busy "Rewriting" my brain to cleanse it from this disaster.
Until next time, may the Song of Destruction be heard all across 8bit's headquarters.
The first two episodes are funny school life characterization stuff that was genuinely enjoyable to watch. Then the mystery, supernatural, and action elements begin to become more prevalent, and my interest dived.
This anime is plagued with issues. Some of them have to do with having too much source material to adapt and thus make the anime feel rushed or overall poorly paced. I will not be talking about those issues.
Even if an anime is poorly paced, there is a limit to how much an anime can jump from one scene to the next with wildly different tones without it being jarring. One scene can seem
pretty tense and traumatic, and then the next scene goes to a short BS school drama thing and sours all of the emotion of the previous scene. The characters act as if they have NO MEMORY of past events unless the plot demands it, and it screams bad writing. This occurs from the very first episode and doesn't stop until the plot kicks into high gear around episode 8-ish (your mileage may vary).
The animation is serviceable in the slice-of-life-y portions, but in action scenes apart from maybe the last episode, the animation is cringe at times and almost laughably bad at others, especially with the anime's heavy use of CG. Even when the characters are standing still, I don't remember any points where they looked great. There is nothing visually interesting in this show, which really hurts it since some characters are supposed to be super powerful and action is supposed to play up the tension in some areas.
These two things alone make the anime painful to watch, but if you are willing to look past them, then you might find a surprisingly interesting story with a few twists. The problem is that the storytelling is bad enough that you might not see the story.
At the very least, I kind of liked the ending, for both ironic and non-ironic reasons. It sort of hints at the possibility of a continuation. Idk, it could go either way, but I can't say I'm excited to see another whole season with this kind of quality.
My advice: Maybe watch the first two episodes. If it looks something like you'd be interested in experiencing, stop watching and figure out some way to play the game. The anime has a different story from the routes in the game, but every route in the game is probably way better than the anime so don't look back.
Rewrite tells the story of Kotarou who has the ability to rewrite parts of his body giving himself superhuman strength or speed. The show follows him as he joins the Occult Club to research supernatural phenomena along with several girls from his school. He is also followed by a mysterious ribbon-wearing girl named Kagari who kills him in one of his dreams, causing Kotarou to consider her a threat.
The anime is split into two story arcs with the first being the better one out of the two. In the arc, Kotarou learns a lot about the girls during their club activities. At times he is
also attacked by mysterious creatures forcing him to use his abilities to survive. The overall story of the arc is interesting and later takes a lot of unexpected turns. At times however, the plot can seem a bit rushed and may leave the viewer with a lot of questions.
The second arc mostly follows the ribbon girl, Kagari, as Kotarou learns more about who she is and why she’s following him. Although the arc starts out pretty well, in the end it turns into a rushed mess with the anime trying to explain all the questions raised earlier in a way too short span of time. It also does constant twists that are all done in such a short amount time they only end up confusing the viewer. The ending feels like it was intended to be the something amazing but the writers simply didn’t have the time or the talent to execute it properly. In the end it turns out to be nothing but random events and twists happening constantly with the viewer having barely any idea of what’s going on.
The interactions between the characters were the best parts about the show for me. One of the most enjoyable things about the first arc was watching Kotarou and the girls living their school lives and doing Occult Club activities. Also, the first half of the second arc, which heavily features both Kagari and Kotarou, was the best part about the otherwise lackluster arc for me.
Kotarou is very different from the characters in other Key series. He doesn’t have the personality of the typical harem protagonist, making him one of the most unique main characters in a Key anime. Kagari starts out as an emotionless character but later on goes through a change and learns about the positive aspects of humans. The girls in the Occult Club are also very interesting characters. At first, they seem to be there just to create the harem setting most Key series are known for, but throughout the anime it’s revealed that there’s more to them than meets the eye. Some of the girls also have interesting backstories. While they help flesh out their characters, they end up feeling a bit too rushed to have any kind of emotional impact present in other Key anime. The show also feels way too short for the amount of characters in it which leads to a lot of the side characters not getting nearly enough screen time.
I have some mixed feelings about the animation. The 2D animation for the most part is decent but can dip a lot in quality in certain scenes. There are still certain moments in the series such as the first ending theme that I feel are really well done. The 3D animation is definitely one of the weakest points in the series. It can be very low quality and feel out of place in a lot of the scenes that use it. Even the frame rate in some of the 3D scenes is very low, which should be unacceptable for a pre-rendered scene.
The soundtrack is really good which is to be expected from a Key series. It fits the overall theme of the show really well and does a good job supporting a lot of the scenes. I also liked the opening and ending themes as well as the voice actors of the show. One of the noteworthy performances to me was Hanazawa Kana voicing Kagari as I felt like she did a good job portraying the curious nature of this mysterious ribbon girl as she learns about the daily lives of other people.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about Rewrite. The show has its moments but ends up being way too rushed. It has a lot of potential with the story and the characters being interesting but suffers from poor execution. The anime felt like it was way too short to properly tell its story and flesh out all the characters. I’d recommend skipping it unless you’re a big Key Studios fan.
KEY Anime Adaptations plus those KEY Original Anime have been disappointing me for the past few years because of poor handling of said series and the goddamn pacing. I get that producing a 2-cour series is expensive than 1-cour but due to how KEY's story structure is set-up, 1 cour is NEVER going to work.
A lot of KEY fans who read the Rewrite VN hyped this series even though the red flags were already raised and flying. I do understand why though. Firstly, it's a KEY work. Their works are usually really great with great story and amazing characters. Secondly, I just started
playing the VN 2 weeks ago and it's a lot better than the anime but I'm not going to do a lot of VN - Anime comparisons for this review. I'm just going to write this review as if I'm writing this with no knowledge of the source material. What were the red flags you ask? For starters, 8bit is handling the adaptation and the director is the same director who also directed that messy VN anime adaptation called "Grisaia no Kajitsu". I mean, need I say more?
We all thought that 8bit was going to prove themselves by producing a 1 hour 1st episode. Turns out that wasn't the case. The biggest problem with Rewrite is how rushed the series is. The story wasn't even bad, by any means, but most of the time, the story can get really confusing because of how rushed it is and how they spend little-to-no time explaining what the hell is going on. The pacing did slow down a bit once the Common Route was over and switched up to the original route called "Kagari's route" (but it was still rushed as fuck) which wasn't present in the VN. Not like I have any problem with 8bit doing original route. That was kind-of the purpose of this anime adaptation. To advertise Rewrite and also, to present a new-original route for "fans of the VN and new fans alike". Notice the quotation marks? Take that quote as you may but my eyes were rolling when I read that quote.
If you've seen a KEY anime work before before then you're familiar with how the show is going to be structured. Rewrite's first 7 episodes is basically the Common Route. It introduces the characters, show some happy and fun slice of life moments and all that crap. I already mentioned this but I'm going to say this again but the pacing pretty much ruined the first 7 episodes. How am I supposed to know the characters properly if the pacing is so rushed? I just didn't feel for the characters when the show decides to abruptly switches from a slice-of-life moment to dropping a dramatic character flashback right at my face. There's just no way in hell that's going to work if the show decides to focus on a certain female character for just 1 episode then her problem gets resolved at the end of the episode and switches to another female character in the next episode.
Now I want to talk about the episodes past episode 7. Episode 8 and the rest of the episodes after that was when the plot finally began. The show introduces us to the Guardian and Gaia organization. They both work differently so that's why they fight each other but they have the same goal. Saving the Planet. It's just that their ways of achieving their goal is completely different from one another. One of the organizations (I forgot who it was) decides to get rid of the humanity because of how they ruined the Planet Earth. Yes, the plot is like some Environmental Awareness ad, to remind us how we're ruining this planet and to also, probably, make us feel bad about our actions. Kagari is also a major character for this arc and she got more character development than the rest of the characters in the series. That's not really a praise since Kagari's character development was just too messy, really rushed and the development wasn't that much. There's also a few plot twists, here and there, like how Kagari is actually the Key....whatever the fuck that means...And etc. Some surprised me, some didn't and some I just didn't care.
Rewrites comedict aspect was a hit-or-miss. At times, it made me laugh and at times, it made me laugh...awkwardly. More like the show was trying to force me to laugh. I just didn't like Rewrite's sexual jokes. It was mostly Kotaru "accidentally" grabbing someone's breasts or that he always thinks about groping the "president's boobs". I'd like to think that Rewrite's fanservice was anime-original because there's no way in hell that these fanservice scenes are present in a VN that's rated for "all ages".
I'm going to be in the minority here when I say this but I'm not really a fan of KEY's art style and the Character Designs in their VNs. I just find it really ugly. Because of those reasons, I prefer 8bit's Art Style and the anime's Character Design. Now, in terms of Rewrite's Animation, it's very mediocre. You can tell that 8bit wasn't given that much time to produce this series. Since Aniplex and a whole load of big-name companies are funding this production, I'm very sure that the Animation Issues that this show had wasn't because of Budget Issues. For example, when it came to the fighting scenes, the staff had to resort to cheap animation tricks because of time constraints. The fighting scenes didn't even look good and it's just very unappealing to watch. Even in the 2nd OP Animation, you can tell that the Animation was just crap.
If there's one thing that the staff did justice in this Anime Adaptation of a Visual Novel, it's the soundtrack. The VN's soundtrack sounds really good and it's one of KEY's best OSTs yet so I'm glad that 8bit kept most of the OST. Even the 1st OP and ED from the VN was also in the anime. As the show's OP and ED theme song. For the first 7 episodes, at least.
The OP theme songs are "Philosophyz" by Runa Mizutani and "End of the World" by Anri Kumaki. I'm really glad that 8bit reused and even remastered the 1st OP, even if it was only for the first 7 episodes. Right now, I love the anime version's OP way more than the VN version. The anime version sounds more modern and puts more emphasis on the background, something the VN version lacked. As for the 2nd OP, it sounds really weak compared to the 1st OP. It's not a shitty song, per say, but the 1st OP is miles better than the 2nd OP. However, I still like the 2nd OP though and I like it way more than the VN's 2nd OP. I hated that song and it baffles me that a lot of people even liked that song. So I'm glad that 8bit made their own OP instead of re-using/remastering the VN's 2nd OP.
The ED theme songs are "Sasayaka na Hajimari" by Runa Mizutani and "Word of Dawn" by Aoi Tada. You wouldn't believe how much I squealed when I heard the 1st ED in Ep.2. The VN's ED is one of the best ED's (Also in my Top 10) I've heard in a long-ass time and hearing the remastered version in the anime makes the 1st ED sound more beautiful. I also like the anime version more than the VN's version. Just like the 1st OP, they put more emphasis on the background and making it sound more modern which is the reason why I prefer the anime version. As for the 2nd ED, it sounds surprisingly great. I mean, it's not better than the 1st ED but it sounds really great and unlike the 2nd OP, the 2nd ED doesn't sound weak at all.
Honestly, the only characters that I liked in the series are Lucia and Kagari. I liked Lucia because she's a tsundere and I'm a big fan of tsundere girls. I also like Kagari because she's the only funny character in the series. As for everyone else, they could have been a lot better if they've gotten a lot more screentime. Or in other words, the series needed MORE THAN 13 episodes to flesh out the characters instead of rushing through their character development. Also, those 1 episode arc that focuses on Shizuru and Lucia was simply not enough for me to give a crap about their past and the problems that they were facing in the present. They were simply too rushed.
Now I'm going to talk about some of the main characters. Kotarou Tennouji, the main protagonist of the series, is a high school student and has an ability called "Rewrite". I really have no more idea what to talk about him because his character is bland, his personality is really inconsistent, and he barely got any character development. Why is his personality inconsistent, you ask? The guy doesn't have his own personality. His personality somehow switches depending on the girl that he hangs out with. The guy gets all perverted and idiotic around Akane (The president of the Occult club) but he acts differently when he's around with Kotori or Lucia. He's like a different person depending on the girl that he hangs out with and I just couldn't figure out his TRUE personality.
Then there's Kotori, a childhood friend of Kotarou. She seems like an innocent normal person at first who doesn't know anything about the supernatural things but then there's a plot twist about her. I was, honestly, surprised learning the truth about her. Then there's Chihaya, a girl with super-human strength. Chihaya felt like she was a non-existent character. The show didn't really focus that much on her. It's like she only got 5 mins. of screentime every 2-3 episodes. Hell, I didn't even know her name throughout the show. While the show was airing, I kept calling her the "Orange-dressed Tsundere girl". I wasn't even sure if she was a tsundere but since she was an almost non-existent character, I just don't care.
Then there's Akane Sunri, the president of the Occult club. She's a gamer because she can be constantly seen playing a FPS (First Person Shooter) game and she has the personality of "Why the fuck am I here" type of girl. Then there's Shizuru Nakutsu, a loli girl with an eye-patch that made her look like a chuunibyou at first but turns out, it was more than that and there was a reason why she was wearing an eye-patch. Then there's Lucia Konohana. All you need to know about her is she's a stereotypical tsundere girl who punches Kotarou from time to time and if you pay attention to her hand, there's a reason why she's constantly wearing a glove and that's where her 1 episode-arc will focus on. I admit, I enjoyed Lucia's arc but it could have been better.
Last but not least is Kagari. A mysterious character who kept popping up on Kotarou's dream and making mysterious appearances on Kotarou's bedroom and his school. Kagari became my most favourite character in the series after episode 7 because I love her personality and she was really hilarious. Her jokes did become overplayed on the later parts of her arc. For example, her "FEECOF" jokes were funny at the start but became somewhat annoying at the end. I can't wait to see more of her in the next season because I heard from VN readers that she gets more focus on the "Moon" and "Terra" arc.
Despite how mediocre this series, I still somewhat enjoyed this series. The 2nd arc was more enjoyable and bearable then the "Common Route". I wouldn't say that this is the worst anime I've ever seen because there's a whole lot more anime this year that's worse than Rewrite.
Rewrite could have been a great series if it had 26 episodes but sadly, it suffered the same fate as "Charlotte" and "Angel Beats". The story and the characters needed more than 13 episodes to flesh out the story and its characters. Instead, what we got is a series with a very rushed/poorly explained story and a cast of characters with barely any focus, screentime or character development. If you're a fan of the Rewrite VN or you're looking for a great KEY anime then Rewrite is not the anime you're looking for. Charlotte and Angel Beats were also rushed but not as rushed as Rewrite and those series were more bearable to watch than this.
+Amazing Soundtrack, especially the remastered OP and ED theme songs from the VN
+Kagari's character is quite hilarious
-The Pacing is very rushed
-Storyline can be a bit hard to follow due to how rushed the show is.
-Almost every characters in this series got little to no character development.
-Needed more than 13 episodes to flesh out its story and its characters
-Unnecessary Fan-service scenes
This review is split into two sections:
- The first section is devoted to those who are new to Rewrite and are contemplating watching the anime adaptation. This section is entirely spoiler free.
- The second section is dedicated to those who have already read the Visual Novel. This section contains major spoilers.
First Section (for people new to Rewrite)
An Introduction: Key is a company that is renowned for its visual novels, most of which enjoy critical acclaim. Almost all these VNs have anime adaptations, which enjoy varying degrees of fame – be it Clannad, which holds the position of one of the top few anime of MAL,
or Air, which is relatively unheard of. Whichever the case may be, the general consensus is that all these anime are quite good, since they all take advantage of the ‘feels’ factor (as in making the viewers attached to the characters and then making them feel some degree of emotional turmoil by putting those characters through adverse conditions). Rewrite is Key’s latest flagship VN, which was released way back in 2011. While Rewrite was very successful in the market, it still took around 5 years for it to get an anime adaptation, which we see here today. I shall be going into some detail about this anime in the paragraphs to come.
While the plot itself is passable, let me remind you that plot is not the only element under consideration in this section. The biggest issues with the story are the pacing and presentation.
The pacing is extremely haphazard and the various scenes seem to jump from one to another without any concern for flow. This often ruins the impact of many important scenes and makes the viewer wonder what exactly is happening. The presentation of many scenes tend to unnecessarily give the viewers the wrong idea about these events of the anime, which can lead to a good deal of frustration.
When you try to cram a 60+ hour Visual Novel into a 13 episode anime, there are two possible outcomes – A badly paced rush-job or a completely different story. While Rewrite was supposed to have a different story from the VN, it has all the features of the former case.
I knew that the short duration of the anime adaptation would limit the amount of character development that could be given to most characters, but I never expected it to be this terrible.
The characters are extremely clichéd to begin with - a happy-go-lucky protagonist, a childhood friend girl, an ‘aho’ transfer student girl, a modern tsundere class rep girl, a healing presence/small furry animal type kouhai, a domineering yet lazy senpai, a mysterious loli and a chuunibyou delinquent – basically a buffet of all the stereotypical characters that you may find in any school-based anime, with some combinations thrown in the mix…. And that’s the good part.
A little later into the show, development is forced on the characters so hard that almost all of them feel broken by the end of it. Some of the characters are changed so much that they’re not even the same characters any more. Viewers who are new to Rewrite will have a lot of difficulty understanding the behaviour and dialogues of many of these characters.
The soundtracks and the OPs are just remixed versions of the same from the VN, but are still quite pleasant to the ears, though there are some moments where the soundtrack doesn’t match the situation. The EDs are above average.
This is where the low budget of Rewrite really shows. The regular animation is passable at most times, though you’ll find a lot of horribly warped faces and such if you happen to pause at the wrong moment.
It also makes use of some really clunky CG at times, which serves to further ruin the effect. The main issue is that the scenes where CG is used tend to be rather important to the plot, thus decreasing the enjoyment of the series on the whole.
The anime version of Rewrite seems to be fan service aimed at those who have already read the VN. Those who are new to the series will find it extremely difficult to follow. It is quite dull for the majority of the episodes, while some episodes are mildly intriguing.
You’d think that 8bit studios might have learned something from their extremely messy adaptation of the Grisaia trilogy, but guess what – Rewrite is an even bigger abomination. I had predicted that it would end up something like Charlotte… looks like I was mistaken – Charlotte is infinitely preferable to this.
As I have already mentioned before, the main purpose of this adaptation seems to be – to appeal to the pre-existing fans and to advertise the source material. Both of these seemed to have failed rather miserably.
Verdict – Don’t watch it. You’re just spoiling a perfectly good Visual Novel for yourself. Even if you’re not planning to read the VN, the anime is still not worth the effort. Give this one a pass unless you really want to waste a couple of hours of your time (for which there are far better methods and shows).
Second section (For the Rewrite veterans – HEAVY SPOILERS)
I’ll mainly be talking about the story and characters in this section.
As you may already know, the anime was supposed to follow an original route, which should give a brand new story. In fact, what we actually got here is an amalgamation of pretty much all the routes, done in a very messy fashion.
The base is the Terra route, with a few scenes from the Moon route thrown in every now and then. The first parts (back-stories) of Lucia’s and Shizuru’s routes are given one episode each, while Chihaya and Kotori are largely ignored. Akane gets a little bit of time, but more focus is given to her transformation into the new prophet rather than anything else. Pretty much all of them are broken or close enough to make no difference. In fact, the only character who actually got a decent representation was Yoshino, short as his screen time was. Kagari is the most messed up of the lot, as they completely changed her personality… and not for the better.
In the end, this anime can be considered a tutorial on ‘How to butcher a perfectly good Visual Novel’. If you absolutely must watch it, go in with zero expectations, with only the hope of revisiting the world of Rewrite. Otherwise, just don’t bother.
With this, I conclude.
If anyone has read some other review that he has done he will know that clarifies whether or not it contains romance and this is no exception.
Rewrite is a full-fledged harem but it gives more importance to the mystery than to the same romance but of course the romance is more than present, each heroine has its own small story that helps us understand why its actions but not this Deceive them since centering more on the mystery leaves you more doubts than answers so if you are of people who hate not knowing what happens best think twice before seeing it, entering more into
the romance could describe it as boring and deceptive but clear Is my opinion of the first season, as it seems that the second will bring great changes. In short Rewrite is an anime that I catalog as a gamble as it may interest you or it may bore you.