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