(Sigh) aw Key… You are some influential mother fuckers. For you boring ass schmucks who don’t know who Key is. 1, you’re a lame ass. And 2, it’s a studio well known for producing visual novels. Which are interactive games featuring mostly still illustrations, text and voice narration with very few other interactive elements and used to convey a story. Usually romance or erotic scenarios. But sometimes there are also adventure and puzzle solving aspects thrown in.
Now Key themselves doesn’t make anime but almost all of their games have gotten an anime adaption by some other studio. The most famous and well received of which was Clannad by Kyoto Animation and released way back in 2007 and its second season After Story one year later. And it was by far the best anime adaption of a Visual Novel Ever. I highly recommend it even if you’re a cold hearted shit like me. I watched that shit and even I fucken melted. I and other people fell in love with the touchy feely romance and tragic heartache the series doled out.
The only other Key Visual Novel that hasn’t been animated is Tomoyo After: It’s a Wonderful Life which is a spinoff of Clannad. Well…that and Harmonia. But that one sucks compared to Clannad so I don’t give a shit about it. But the fact Tomoyo After hasn’t been adapted angers me because Clannad was amazing and it needs all possible associated source material animated. It’s literally that good.
But what can you do?
While the following anime is based on yet another adaptation of a Key Visual Novel the difference between this one and most others is that it adds in fantasy and action aspects as well. Which sounds awesome. But is the presentation well done. Not really.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m The Angry Misanthropist Freak. And I bring you my review of…Rewrite.
Now see the biggest thing that annoyed me about Rewrite is that it decides to throw a curve ball. You see in the visual novel there are branching paths that you take that change the story and end up getting you a specific ending. But instead of going just one route in the anime like most other adaptations do… It goes down two. And plus it has its own anime original story somewhere during the end of Season 1 dealing with one scenario where pretty much everyone dies. The second season covers a route where everyone lives but omits almost every other major character from the first season. And both of them kind of disappointed me in their own ways yet completely seceded in others. Not to mention doing the research for this review gave me a god damn headache. This shit was insane. There are literally about 4 or 5 different routes the player can take in the visual novel. Meaning that the writers of the anime adaptation could literally have written several different story lines. If I explain something inaccurately. I don’t give a shit. Get the fuck over it or find some other review. The funny thing is the second season constantly reminds you that this is based on a visual novel by popping up these little choices that protagonist Kotarou Tennouji chooses from.
Yeah, it’s a true game adaptation. And, the routes the anime follows – at least up to a fucken point – is the Common Route, Terra Route and a little bit of the Moon Route in the beginning of the second season. And the setting itself – or at least one of them – takes place in the fictional japanese city of Kazamatsuri where Kotarou is yet another high school student. Thankfully though he’s a rather pleasant character then most other high school protagonists in a sense that he’s more socially engaging. Loving to annoy the shit out of an asshole in his class who threatens to beat the shit out of him and honestly doesn’t get all that flustered when dealing with the female cast. In fact, he’s a straight up fucken letcher.
Anyway, not until several minutes in to the first episode do we find out that he possesses a superhuman ability that allows him to permanently rewrite any part of his body to multiply his strength and speed. Hence forth the name of the game. As a result of this Kotarou is naturally drawn to the supernatural. One day one special meeting with the lone president of the Occult Research Club, the “Witch” Akane Senri, leads to Kotarou reviving the Occult Club by recruiting three other members with their own little personality quarks and comes to realize later on that they all possess some strange super power or curse that affects them and their lives in some negative way. All of these discovery’s eventually leads up to the reveal of two warring factions – Gaia and Guardian – both centered around finding a girl named Kagari who basically holds the power to basically destroy or rebuild humanity.
And this shit is only the first route! One the first season follows. But Kagari remains a “key” character in all the routes. Watch it and you’ll get the joke I just made. But in the other route that’s covered Kotarou isn’t even a high schooler anymore. Instead it follows Kotarou’s life as a solider/spy who keeps an eye on all of the forces trying to get to Kagari.
And this is where I get some mixed views. All in all I like the second season way better than the first. It follows what I think is the Terra route where he becomes a spy and shit. Shooting guns and making friends with all these different organizations basically making him a double agent of sorts. But unfortunately, most of the female cast members that I grew fond of in the previous season were pretty much gone.
And it made all of their own small little two or three episode arcs in the first season pretty much forgotten. Lucia Konohana for example was the most intriguing character in the first season as she was basically an experiment by one of the two aforementioned organizations that left her skin poisonous. Meaning whenever someone touches her they disintegrate and die. And while not all of them has such a story to tell they all were good characters in their own small ways. But they were all gone in the majority of the second season. And I hated that. Yeah, I guess we meet different versions of them at some point including little Kotori but really they just weren’t the same and that really bummed me out. I mean hell in the second season Kagari herself went form a wise snarky character who loved to crack jokes toward Kotarou and drink coffee to a lowly mute who doesn’t talk and was even kind of stupid.
But it’s not to say the second season was all bad. There were some pretty damn good moments that made the second season amazing. The time Kotarou spent as a solider was awesome and it was the time span where he went through hell. And that’s how he grew as a character. In fact, now that I think about it the second season is where you see the most growth from him. There was a part in the second season where he accidentally shot a kid in a war zone and later we get a heartwarming scene of him parting with the rest of the kids. And all of it was all rather well done. Not anywhere near as heart wrenching as Clannad but if you are easily moved you’ll still probably cry.
I just really don’t like arcs or second seasons that cover different timelines. Especially if they just end up omitting characters or alters the orignal story at its own leisure. Almost every other Key adaptation doesn’t do this. And that’s a large portion as to why they often worked so damn well. Clannad only featured one main heroin. Just one. Not counting the Tomoyo and Kyou Chapters that were released as OVA’s. They don’t count in regards to the main arc. And that’s often a feature in a lot of visual novels. It’s usually a fucken harem where the player can choose from a bunch of girls. The writers of the Clannad adaption picked only one girl and one girl only to focus on as the love interest of the main character. I guess you can say it doesn’t matter since the main love interest of the protagonist here in Rewrite also remained just one girl but still the jump between timelines just felt really lame and irritating. Still it could’ve been worse I guess. If it was one of those deals like Siren – another anime from this season – then this shit would’ve really sucked.
And then there’s the matter of this animes ending. I’m going to cut this anime a little bit of slack in this regard because the ending was actually pretty awesome and tied everything up rather nicely. If there’s one thing I can appreciate from almost all Key adaptations it’s that they all have a good ending that I can appreciate. I’ve come to realize that there endings have never been bad. Name one anime adapted from a Key Visual novel that’s had a bad/rushed/unfulfilling ending. And don’t you mother fuckers even think about saying Angel Beats. I well murder you!
As for the animation, here. Yeah not so much. Just another average animation by 8-bit Studios. And I’m not really all that surprised. There the ones who made the Infinite Stratos adaptation and a few other average sauce animes that didn’t make any damn sense. The only other anime I really liked by them was The Fruit of Grisaia which in a way kind of resembles this quality wise. The story and characters were better and it didn’t diverge from the main plot into different story routes at its leaser. Animation was average. Bottom line. Even the CGI used for some of the monsters or “Deamons” as they called them here were pretty lame looking. And then there’s the matter of Kotori’s little pet Chibimoth.
I’m sorry but nothing screws up an anime more for me more than cute adorable creatures. Even if they pose a significant part in the story. I mean do I honestly look like a person who can stand cute adorable animals. Fuck. Even more so since this animal is supposed to be a dog. Yeah, a dog. And speaking of dogs….
The character designs here? Well some of them were pretty stupid while others weren’t. I fucken hated the school uniforms the girls wore in the first season. They were just to frilly and looked more like dresses then actual school uniforms. But then there was shit like Shizuru Nakatsu’s outfit during those action scenes when she was shooting them guns. She reminded me of fucken Black Rock Shooter with that outfit and sweet petite ass. Part of me wanted to reach into my screen and just gently stroke it.
Yes there, is some pretty worthwhile action scenes here too. I enjoyed them and everything but all things considered I’ve seen better. 8-bit studios have never been all that impressive from a purely visual standpoint. There outmatched by a lot of other more impressive studios and aren’t even on a lot of people’s radars. Including mine. I do however like how Key slipped their logo into the anime via Kagari’s coffee cans.
She’s literally a key character in a key anime drinking key coffee. (lol)
In the end Rewrite doesn’t stack up against the other adaptations of Keys Games. At all. While I’ll admit that it got good with the second season I still hated that the characters were gone or their personalities had changed in the second season. It didn’t have the same heart wrenching plot elements and memorable characters that some of its more beloved Key adaptations had. That and I hate multi route based story telling. It’s just really confusing and it takes away from the overall package. I’m sorry but at the end of the day Rewrite gets a very fair score of a 6 out of 10. Only a smidge above average. And gets the Moe Blob and Drama Seals of approval.
I recommend this shit only to people who don’t mind rewinding story arcs and characters that up and change or are omitted entirely half way through. There are some well-done action scenes here. I’ll give it that. But it isn’t anything to go all ga ga about in the end. And I would sure as hell love to see the actual ending animated instead of an anime original ending. But what can you do really.
And with that I’m fucken done.